Read Job 2:1-8 and Matthew 22:31-40
BIBLE THOUGHT: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15 KJV).
In view of the seemingly endless triumph of evil in our world many people are falling into despair and asking, "Where is God in all of this?" In ancient times, Job was an example of this perplexity when he wished he had never been born.
His story is so well known that I need not repeat it here. Suffice it to say that Job suspected that God was somehow responsible for the suffering and loss that had been inflicted upon him in spite of his being blameless in his own (and God's) estimation. Ironically, this was the same God who had commanded Israel to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength and their neighbor as themselves.
So we ask: Why would any of us wholeheartedly love or trust the God who allows monstrous evils to continue unabated until now? Thankfully, Jesus answers us with an improved version of the original commandment to love God when He gave his disciples a "new" commandment to love one another as he had loved them. This new version provides us with the energy to obey the original command to love God and his other commands by focusing our attention on how much God loves all of us, even when we are experiencing what we regard as undeserved abuse, as demonstrated in the death of Christ.
Such love is so transcendent and all-embracing that everything which seems to contradict it is dissolved and requires no explanation, as was true when Job's eyes were opened to God's magnificent glory and alluded to in Paul's assertion that the sufferings of the present are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). The only word that can adequately describe it is "unconditional," which draws an unconditional response from us (when it is adequately perceived and assimilated). It is what Jesus offered to the people in Jerusalem shortly before his death when he cried out, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem....how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her children under her wings, and you would not" (Matt. 23:37). Sadly, Jerusalem declined his offer and, instead, killed him!
Apparently, this was because they pridefully failed to perceive their need for such a gift of love. Human experience suggests that only when we perceive ourselves to be hopeless failures can we be open to accept unconditional love, as recognized by Paul when he wrote that Christ died when we were helpless (Rom. 5:6).
Job's problem was precisely his prideful assumption that his exemplary obedience to all of God's commands had earned for him a reward from God, which showed that he had been living conditionally! So what we need is a renewed sense of how helpless any of us is to obey God's commands under a conditional (bilateral) covenant. Only in response to the unconditional (unilateral) promise God made to Abraham (and fulfilled in Christ) can we love God in spite of the injustices He continues to allow in our lives.
So it becomes evident that unconditional love is the ultimate truth with which nothing else can compete. Once we are drawn by it's magnetic power, nothing can separate us from God and His love (Rom. 8:38).
For anyone who has not experienced this kind of love by reading about it in books (including the Bible), it is good to know that for many people, the way they are introduced to it is through encountering people who are radiantly full of such love. Thus, even though God is the source of unconditional love, it is communicated to us through various channels such as through written documents or in person, through fellow human beings. And if our search for such channels fails to bring the desired results per Matt. 7:7, it is comforting to hear God say in Rom. 10:20: "I have been found by those who did not seek for me and showed myself to those who did not ask for me." So, in one way or another, God will provide us with the love we desperately need for an indestructible faith in Him.
Father, thank you for providing us with answers to our most urgent questions by means of your Gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
Harry Robert Fox
Editor's Note: Harry is not on the Internet, but you can write to him at the address below. Jan Antonsson
Harry R. Fox, Jr.
276-60 N. El Camino Real, Oceanside, CA 90258-1731 (Snail Mail)
Harry Robert and Jeri's Fox's Writings can be found at this link.
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This site was created on 09/18/10
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister
and last updated on 09/18/10.