As we wrap up our study of the book of Job, one of our questions was “Do you think God ever explained to Job why he had suffered?” Of course this one is a hypothetical question because there’s just no way to know whether God did or he didn’t. But if there’s one thing we learn from the book of Job, it’s the character of God. In fact, we can learn about the character of God all over Scripture, through story after story, on page after page.
Hebrews 11 gives us a bunch of examples all in one place of great men and women of the faith. If we look at these stories in our search for the character of God, we will quickly find our answer to the question posed in our homework about whether or not God ever explained to Job why he had suffered. We have to ask “Is God the kind of god that tells us the reasons for everything?” Let’s look at Hebrews 11.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen. The answer to our question is given right here in this first verse. If God were the kind of god that tells us the reasons for everything, this whole concept of faith wouldn’t even be an issue. We wouldn’t have to believe because we’d already see. But God wants use to be sure of who He is without seeing the full picture. He gives us lots of examples in this chapter of people who did just that. Take a minute to read through chapter 11 if you haven’t lately.
We read of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah. In verse 13, we find that all of these died in faith – they didn’t receive the things that were promised to them and still they persevered in the faith! We have the privilege of seeing all of the promises made to them fulfilled, but they didn’t get to see it. We can be confident that God’s promises to us will be fulfilled in the same way, even though we won’t get to see it happen.
Then we read more of the faith of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab and so many more. These people didn’t see the promises fulfilled either but persevered in their faith that God would do what He said He would do. Hebrews 11:39-40 says
And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Do you know what the “something better” is? JESUS. You see, these heroes of the faith had to walk through trials and tribulations without seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises to them. That’s because God had something so much bigger in mind than the simple answers to the questions I’m sure they asked. Hebrews 11:36 -37 says that many were mocked and flogged and imprisoned and stoned and killed. I’m sure they wondered why. After all, they were human, just like us. But the answer to their question was that God had provided something better – He would send his son to be the answer to every one of the “Why” questions we ask.
Isaiah 55:8-9 sums it up perfectly:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
So why is our natural inclination to ask “WHY?” every time something bad happens? Well, as much as it pains me to say such a simple answer, it’s because we’re human. We want answers. We feel like we need answers. And sometimes we even feel like we deserve answers. But in truth, we will almost certainly never get that answer this side of heaven. And in even greater truth, once we get to heaven, we will almost certainly not care about the answer anyway because we will be face to face with the PROMISE himself, the sovereign Creator, Almighty God.
As we finish our study of Job, take a minute to read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. How I wish that our friend Job had been able to open his Bible and read these words to find comfort in his affliction. We can rest assured that our pain is not for nothing. God is working all the time to bring about His perfect will and to accomplish things that are far greater than all we could ever ask or imagine.
Thanks for studying Job with me.