The Blame Game
Scripture: Job 5:1-7:21
Between the responses from Job’s friends and rebuttals from Job in our reading, it is easy to get lost in their conversations. Job's friends appear to give him sound advice, but because they weren’t aware of Satan’s request of God to send trouble to Job, much of what they said didn’t truly apply to Job’s situation. Rightfully so, Job seems to let their words go in one ear and out the other. Almost as if his fingers were in his ears and he was singing, "La la la la."
Eliphaz says in Job 4:8, "Who plants and cultivates evil will harvest the same." This suggests that because of his sin, Job somehow deserved all the calamities that befell him. Job’s friend indicated that God punishes His children harshly for their sin, yet we know that wasn’t the case for Job.
His hardships were not a result of sin on his part, something his friends couldn’t wrap their heads around. They didn’t know Satan’s mission and God’s permission, and therefore couldn’t rightly understand Job’s tragedies. There will be times when our suffering seems unexplainable as well. Some reasons for our pain will always be a mystery to us, like Deuteronomy 29:29 says: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God … ” He has a rhyme and reason that we can trust, even if we don’t know or understand it.
Other reasons for suffering are obvious, if we’re honest with ourselves. Many times, hardships fall us on as a result of our own poor choices. Rather than accept responsibility for my sin, I’ve often played the blame game with God. What I did wasn’t so bad. This isn’t happening because I did that. God must be mad at me. Does that sound familiar to anyone?
When I find myself in this line of thinking, it is important to look beyond my circumstances and ask some hard questions.
- Do I have unconfessed sin in my life?
- Is there someone I need to forgive?
- Are there areas of disobedience in my life?
There will be times when we can’t pinpoint the reason for our pain. Only God will know why. But other times, the answer is only a few heart-check questions away. Through any and all suffering, we can trust that God is good and will endure our hardships with us.
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