A Black Hole

A Black Hole
Robert Wurtz II

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. (Job 38:1-3) 


The book of Job is a very insightful book for those willing to take time and mine out its truths. It contains what God describes as 35 Chapters of darkened counsel by words without knowledge, bookended by 2 chapters of brilliant light on the left and 5 chapters of brilliant light on the right. In the first 2 chapters we learn some essential truths that have to be factored into any catastrophe that takes place in the earth, either individually or corporately. Let us observe:


Satan is walking about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The only ones that seem to be protected from his antics are those under God’s hedge of protection. We then observe what he is capable of,


1. Mass plunder and murder (Job 1:13-15)

2. Mass catastrophe (Job 1:16)

3. Mass armed robbery and assault (Job 1:17)

4. Weather related disaster and loss of life (Job 1:18-19)


Satan is the agent of all of these disasters. It seems to me, that had Job not been under God’s protection in the first place, Satan may have leveled these disasters upon him already. In fact, the text seems to imply that Satan was capable of and likely willing to snuff Job himself out, but God had to put a restriction on him not to touch Job. (Job 1:12) After a relatively short period of time he appears before God again and receives a green-light to touch Job’s body. In all these things I see Satan take full advantage of God’s permission. He is the real cause of Job’s otherwise unexplainable suffering. (N. Geisler. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, P 683)


Satan’s Objective


Satan obviously had studied Job’s life. He knew he had a particular ‘fear’ or ‘concern’ that those whom he loves would curse God in their heart. (Job 1:5) You will know that his wife was the only person of his immediate family that was spared. After seeing all these events we read, Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. (Job 2:9) This was worse than death itself. Job commented saying, For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me. (Job 3:25) Our Hebrew words for ‘greatly feared’ are pachad pachad. This is literally feared feared. In Hebrew idiom words are doubled for emphasis. This is why we have king of Kings (the ultimate king), lord of Lords (the ultimate lord), holy of Holies (the ultimate holy place), etc. Job effectively said, ‘my ultimate fear’ has come upon me. This is what Paul called ‘a fiery dart from the wicked.’ (Ephesians 6:16) Notice it takes faith to extinguish such fiery darts (fiery arrows). 


The enemy among us


There seem to be a mystery at work here. Why does God allow Satan to walk around causing havoc (seeking whom he may devour), seeing fit to hedge in His own people? Obviously he has a right to be here in some sense. Adam opened the door, and now he is here. This begs the question; if the evil and suffering that is in the world is directly related to sin and Satan, why do we hear certain ministers attributing these disasters directly to God as an expression of His sovereignty? Some seem to suggest that every single minute detail of the world is scripted by God. Obviously God could stop Satan if he wanted to, but there seems to be something else at work here. Did Adam’s sin open the door for Satan to come into the world to reign? We know he did not have authority in the Garden of Eden. He was allowed there by God for the purpose of testing Adam and Eve. But once they submitted themselves unto him, we see his ‘authority’ in various places as:


1. The ruler of this world: John 12:31; John 14:31; John 16:11
2. The prince of the power of the air: Ephesians 2:2
3. The god of this world: 2 Corinthians 4:4
We see his authority also being expressed in places like Daniel 10:13; “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” and again to the Ephesians, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly realms.”
Some theological persuasions, zealous to vindicate God, simply say that what happened to Job was none of Job’s or anyone else’s business. This has the sound of a high degree of piety, but it is not the whole picture. The fact is, God did tell Job what happened and He told us what happened. Some would suggest that God simply ‘told Job off’ in Job 38:1ff, but this is not the whole story. We know by virtue of our possession of the revelation, that at some point God backtracked to the beginning and told Job how the whole thing went down. 


Zealous for Sovereignty


To ignore the first 2 chapters of Job is to overstate the way in which God expresses His sovereignty. It is easy to skip to the end and therefor paint God as an omnipotent being that goes around on a power trip doing what He wants no matter who likes it. Granted, He could do that if He wanted to, but that is not how God has revealed Himself to man. There is always a wisdom to what God does that is in harmony with His revealed attributes. He cannot deny Himself. If the theology or doctrine does not square with God’s revealed attributes, yea, if the doctrine smite the conscience of the Saint, wherein can it be judged biblical? 


Light in the end


It is worth observing, that Job had no idea what was happening to him as the crisis unfolded. Yet, in time God showed him the truth. God is careful to show enough light to the situation of Job so that we do not get the wrong idea about Him. To skip the first two chapters of Job, that were added in retrospect so as to give a complete account of the events, is to rush to judgment in a way characteristic of the modern media that moves in its own biases. Contained within Job 1 and 2 are facts to be held in evidence, not chapters to be skimmed over as if one were scanning a book you would just as soon not read. It is essential to Job’s theology. What can we learn from this?


1. We live in a fallen world that is subject to spiritual realities
2. Satan accuses man of serving God only for the benefit
3. If God were to lift the hedge, likely all would be destroyed
4. God protects the saints in ways he/she is not aware of
5. The events were not an arbitrary expression of sovereignty


Indeed, God may not have told Job at the time, but obviously He told him what happened latter on or the first 2 chapters would not be part of the corpus. Why some attribute everything that happens in the world simply to God’s sovereignty, when obviously Satan has a certain level of free-reign, is to deliberately misrepresent our life experiences. Make no mistake, Satan is bringing the full measure of his authority to bear for evil all over the world. Indeed, he has come down having great wrath for he knows that he has but a short time. Yet, God is charged by scoffers and credited by certain Christians with deeds carried out by Satan every day. Amazing!




A Black Hole 


A black hole is a region of space having a gravitational field so intense that no matter or light can escape. Job’s counselors were like a black hole, they opened their mouth to give counsel and before it was over with, drew out what light of understanding did exist. They had given their ‘two cents’ and it is as if God told them, “Who art thou who pretendest to speak on the deep things of God, and the administration of his justice and providence, which thou canst not comprehend; and leavest my counsels and designs the darker by thy explanation?” (Adam Clarke) 


Most of the time it is better just to keep quiet about things, but these men insisted on speaking. We see the exact same thing going on today. God as much as told Job that all the ‘talking’ did nothing more than cast darkness on the already dim situation. This is what happens when men and women are provoked to give answers where God has chosen to be silent for the time being. For Job, he would eventually learn about Satan and how he accuses the Saints day and night before the Lord; how he walks about as a roaring Lion seeking whom he may devour. But, when the talking and commentary begins, independent of Divine Revelation, it only can lead to greater darkness. There is an old saying that states that many situations would be viewed differently but for a critical piece of evidence. Imagine that; if we knew just one more detail we would see the whole situation in a totally different light. Many times we think we have all of the facts, but we do not. The fact missing in Job’s case were the events that took place at the beginning of the story in the Heavenlies. Solution? Be content with the revelation you have and stand in faith knowing that at some point in either time or eternity the truth will come out. Speculation is no contribution and merely leads to doubt, distress and disillusionment. There may well come a day when God shows us chapter 1 and 2 of some of the severe trials we have been through.  


Words Without Knowledge


It is staggering to listen to these men speak chapter after chapter knowing the truth God revealed at the beginning. They did not have the privilege we have. We have a God’s eye view of the situation. After all, that is what scripture is, a God’s eye view of human history. These men had no idea what had happened in the heavenlies, yet they just kept on putting two and two together with their limited information. What they did not know is that what they were doing was sin. Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? They had set themselves up to judge as God. They had made all sorts of pronouncements from a position of ‘no knowledge’. There was only one problem. God was listening. This ought to give us pause. God is concerned as to how events are construed. The fact was, Job lived in a fallen world no matter how peaceful things were in his household. There was a merciless, unmitigatedly evil Enemy walking about seeking whom he may devour, a Greek word (καταπίῃ) that means, ‘to swallow’ or ‘to drown.’ (see Matthew 23:24, 1 Cor. 15:54, Hebrews 11:29) He is here and he means business. The only thing standing between Him and us is any hedge of protection God may have placed around us. God blasted Job’s counselors as sinners for wrongly and presumptuously interpreting the events that happened. What they did was sin. Job had to pray for them in the end. 


Darkening Counsel


Job was obviously hoping for answers. His family was dead except for his wife. He was scratching himself with broken pieces of pottery to ease the boils on his body. These men saw the devastation and came to their own conclusions. Their counsel was so horrendous, that it actually drew what little light their was out of the situation. Like a black hole in space they opened up and the gravity of their comments drew everything into it. What a sad state of affairs! This is what happens when men and women speak about things too wonderful for them. Love puts the best construction on events. These men were so confused and settled in their confusion that they never stopped to wonder where the line of people were that should have been coming to bring them bad news. That is to say, ‘why were they spared?’ Didn’t bother asking that. They could not see how nonsensical and inconsistent with their own conscience that their counsel was. But they had answers, lots of answers. God’s response? Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 


Summary


God didn’t tell Job, ‘it’s none of your business.’ God is not a smart aleck. Paul wanted us to know that we serve a loving God. In Ephesians 3:18 he wanted us to comprehend it, to lay hold of effectively (kata-) with the mind, to grasp (see Acts 25:25). With all the saints (sun pasin tois hagiois). It is no isolated privilege. (Robertson) He wanted Job to understand as well. By revelation he took Job back in time to the beginning of his trial and showed him a God’s eye view of the Accuser of the brethren doing what he does. Job walked away with a better understanding of the inner workings of the world in which he lives. Paul said it like this, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:10-12) One of these days the Accuser of the Saints will be cast down and then we will rejoice. But for now we must arm our minds and clad our bodies because the enemy is coming. 


  

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