God is Greater Than Man

When Elihu rebuked Job after the great man of patience ended his final speech, he did not make the mistake of Job’s other friends but instead concentrated on a simple, straightforward truth. Rather than accusing Job of sin due to his suffering, Elihu focused on the nature of Job’s response. Job refused to curse God and die, as suggested by his wife, and he refused to give in to the attacks accusing him of sin based upon his misfortune; however, while he accepted his situation and never considered turning away from God, he all but demanded an explanation, and in this, Elihu found fault, saying, “Look, in this you are not righteous. I will answer you, For God is greater than man. Why do you contend with Him? For He does not give an accounting of any of His words” (Job 33:12-13).

God does not owe us an explanation for His actions for a simple reason: God is greater. We answer to Him; He does not answer to us. In this egalitarian age in which people tend to assume they have rights and privileges as great as, if not greater than, everyone else, spiritually-minded people can mistakenly apply this to God. They then approach what God has said in the Bible and begin a cross-examination demanding God provide more information until they get the answer they want. God requires baptism for salvation (Mark 16:16); He does not owe us an explanation as to why. We might connect it to the pictures of both burial and flood to which the scriptures refer. We might find a hint in the practice of baptism that preexisted during the ministry of John the Immerser. However, neither of these changes the simple fact that God requires it. Yet people often want to argue with God about this and demand a more extensive explanation to their liking. Of course, the simplest explanation is also the hardest for people. God has always required obedience (Heb. 5:8-9) even in extending His grace (Gen. 6:22). Therefore, His selecting baptism as the medium of obedience to connect the figure of faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ to our salvation is perfect for its purpose (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rom. 6:3-4). And this actually does get down to the heart of the matter. It is not that important that we understand all of the reasons why God chose to require baptism, but it is essential to we acknowledge and obey it. And the same thing could apply to various facets of New Testament Christianity.

God has explained so much of His plan to us in the pages of Holy Writ. To complain about what He has not explained is, in many ways, a form of passive-aggressive behavior that is unbecoming to anyone. Job’s problem reminds us of this simple truth. While God has revealed the whole of Job’s situation to us, including the origin of the problem, God’s motivation, and the reasons underlying his suffering, we need to remember that, despite all of Job’s requests, we never find a record of God giving Job the answers that He chose to give to us. Therefore, instead of constantly arguing with scripture, let us instead accept what God says and obey it. This is the reason why He has communicated to us in the first place—not to provide theological stimulation, but to teach us how to be right with Him.

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