Day 232 (Aug. 20): God describes Israel’s sins and Judah’s siege using a riddle about eagles, punishment to go to the sinner not multiple generations, funeral song for Israel’s kings

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Ezekiel 17-19

Questions & Observations

Q. (Ezekiel 17:1-10): Not sure why God told this story with a riddle.  I had a little trouble following it.  But, know that I think about it, I guess God is showing how one grows and prospers.  On a side note, this riddle sounds like something I would hear from The Doors.  I wonder if they read Ezekiel.

A. Here’s how I would break it down: the cedar is the royal family of David, and the “top” of the tree, which the eagle captures, is the most recent king.  The first eagle is Nebuchadnezzar, who took the “top” people of Israel back to Babylon.  Those who were left behind, not being the best of the society, were mere “vines”.  These vines, those not taken by Nebuchadnezzar, including the king Zedekiah, rebelled against the first eagle by reaching out to a second eagle, most likely the Pharaoh of Egypt.  God is condemning the actions of the “king of the vines” by saying that Egypt will not rescue them from Babylon, and all will be lost.  But in the same sense, God has also described the way that the righteous of the nation will be saved, for the first eagle has “preserved” the cedar in a foreign land.  The real kicker is in 17:22, which contains a Messianic prophecy about the ruler that God Himself will “plant” or make king.  This king, Jesus, is of David’s line (the cedar), and will be chosen by God to be the eternal King that will draw all nations to Himself.

Q. (17:24): That last comment “I will do what I said” reminds me of the steadfastness of God and also of the free will vs. predestination argument.  Rob, you are on the “free will” side.  I agree with this because we have obviously seen where God gives people choices and most of the time, we read that they make the wrong one.  But, we have also seen where God empowers people where things are done that they could not do on their own and may have not chosen to do.  So, that’s not free will.  Maybe God just strengthens intentions, i.e. an invading army would become stronger with God’s help and win.  For Christians, we really only have one choice and that is to follow God.  So, there are no options if you want to receive God’s blessings.  I don’t think God would interfere with someone’s faith in Him.  I think He tests us with some pretty harsh circumstances (like he did with Job), but as long as we remain steadfast and see the only real choice — if we want to receive His gifts — is to follow him.  And on the predestination side, do you know of anywhere in the Bible that says God purposefully created someone to fail or be evil?

A. Ok, first, let’s get a few things straight; because I think you’ve rigged this question a bit (not intentionally of course).  God does not require us to follow Him in order to bless us (as Jesus reminds us in Matthew 5:45), but He blesses all of His children just for the sake of them being His children.  What you are describing is the opposite effect: you see or realize the salvation that God offers in Christ as a blessing, and IT IS!  But, many do not see it that way: Muslims, Jews, atheists, etc.  They see Jesus as not being divine, or not dying for our sins, or not even existing (which is frankly stupid, but a discussion for another day) or something like that.  This does NOT mean that God does not bless them, quite the opposite.  God provides what we might call “basic” blessings upon all people, no matter how sinful.  For Christians who have come to faith, we believe that the Bible teaches that Holy Spirit plays an active role in our lives, but only after our saving faith.  Those who do not have faith in Christ do not have access to this particular blessing, but this hardly means God does not bless them.

 

So I think the question of God’s determinism as it comes to human choice is not as slanted as you have indicated.  You can certainly point to a large number of references to human choice as you have mentioned.  There is a degree of interplay between what we might call God’s overriding will and man’s free will that is simply impossible to know this side of heaven.  We will only be able to see the way that our choices (or whatever role we have in our eternal destiny) and God’s will intersect on the other side.  So as a manner of focus in this life, I choose to focus on human choice, there are others (primarily Calvinists) who choose to focus on God’s sovereignty, but neither position has all the answers- there is simply no way to know how these two positions fit together.  As to your question about specific people in the Bible and their “predestined” role, let’s revisit that question when we read the book of Romans (Paul addresses the topic there and I don’t want to jump ahead too much) or if a relevant scripture comes up before we get there.

 

Q. (18:4): Historically, God has punished multiple generations for the sin of one.  It appears that He is changing His rule here? “For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die.”  Personally, I don’t understand why God would turn such a 180 turn on this subject.  I thought He punished several generations for sins as a deterrent to try to stop them from sinning.

A. I think that there is no change in God’s “policy” if you will, but what God is talking about to Ezekiel is related to what we have established before.  In Exodus 34:7, God tells Moses that He will “punish” children to the third and fourth generation for the sins of the parents.  It says nothing about their deaths for the sins of their parents; and while some might see that as a subtle distinction, God is, well, in the details.  What God is addressing is whether the children should DIE for the sins of the parents, and to me that is a whole other can of worms.  Each of us (says the person who believes in free will) must make our own decisions when it comes to God, and each generation has to make its own choices, no matter what their fathers or grandfathers (or mothers or grandmothers) have done.  So while God may indeed punish us for the sins of our parents, we still have some form of capacity to choose God of their own will.  While the generations may be interconnected via good and bad decisions parents make (as we have discussed), the burden of life verses death lies with each of us in every generation.

Q. (19:1-14): OK, I am trying to connect the characters here.  At first, I thought it may be Joseph was the first cub and Benjamin the second.  Don’t think that works out.  Then, I thought that the first cub was Israel and the second, Judah.  But, then who would the vine be?  Can you clear the confusion here?

A. I think the lioness is Judah (David’s symbol was a lion), and the two cubs are her two sons who have been recent kings: the first, viscous, cub (verse 3) is Jehoahaz, who ruled for only a short time and was taken to Egypt as a prisoner (2 Kings 23:31-34), and the second cub is Zedekiah, who was taken to Babylon as a prisoner.  Their fierceness and man-eating habits are most likely a subtle critique of their cruel and viscous rule that killed many people even in a short period of time.

Day 229 (Aug. 17): God walks Ezekiel through coming judgment, Ezekiel prophecies destruction from mountaintops, desolation of Israel, people will know God when they see devastation, idolatry in the temple, God spares the sorrowful and punishes the wicked

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Ezekiel 5-9

Questions & Observations

Q. (Ezekiel 5:1): Why does God call Ezekiel “Son of Man?”

A. I don’t have a great answer to this question since it is not a term God uses for people elsewhere, but we each understand God in our own personal ways, so this might be the way that God chose to speak to him.  The term is a reminder of Ezekiel’s humanity, in strong contrast to the transcendence of the Almighty.

Q. (5:1-4): Why use hairs?  We don’t know if this really happened, right?  Or, if God is saying this as a demonstration.

A. I see no reason to assume that it didn’t happen as God instructs Ezekiel — it is a demonstration of sorts — but I do not know why God instructs the use of hair.  It might be so that Ezekiel would stand out and be in a “state of mourning” for Jerusalem after he shaved his hair, as we have seen the use of shaving to signify grief in multiple OT locations.

Q. (8:1-18): This is a vision.  What is the purpose of the vision?  I am guessing it is to show Ezekiel why God is so mad at Judah’s leaders so he will be totally on board with God, especially given what God is asking him to do!

A. God is explaining to Ezekiel what exactly it is the people are guilty of, and how they will be punished for their sins as the vision continues in chapter 9.

Q. (9:1-11): This is a vision too?  Because I thought that armies from the north were going to destroy Jerusalem, not from six men with deadly weapons and a man dressed in linen.

A. This section is a vision, full of symbolism of things to come.  The Babylonian army destroys Jerusalem, but God is symbolizing judgment on the corrupt in Jerusalem via these angelic beings.  Note what God orders: that those who truly repent (the remnant) will be spared, and the rest are given the death sentence for their crimes.  It was surely a horrific scene for Ezekiel to watch unfold, but sadly the vision God paints is nothing compared to the famine within the besieged city that will lead many of Judeans to horrific acts such as cannibalism and other horrors.  God’s vision to Ezekiel is frankly more human than the real life story.

Day 209 (July 28): A prayer for mercy and pardon, judgment and final salvation, Hezekiah dies

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Isaiah 63:15-66:24

2 Kings 20:20-21

2 Chronicles 32:32-33

Questions & Observations

Q. (Isaiah 63): It’s kind of confusing that sometimes Isaiah talks for himself, sometimes for God and I guess, here for the Israelites?

A. He is dialoguing, if you will, with God.  Isaiah begins in chapter 63, and then God responds in 64 and beyond.

Q. (63:17): Can that happen?  Can God “allow” people to turn from Him?  That seems just to be shifting blame to God.  Is it saying that God created them, so why did He make them where they could turn away from Him?

A. I guess that depends on your personal theology and perspective.  I personally am of the camp that says that God does not override free will, so we choose to turn away from Him, rather then His “allowing” or ordaining that we walk away (which would be much more of a Calvinistic argument, and I don’t want to go into that here).  Note well God’s reply in the next chapter, He basically says, “I was just waiting for you to call on me, but you never did.  You chose the path of sin, and now must deal with the consequences, but it is your own doing, not Mine.”  I think the way God replies sheds much light on His perspective on the matter.

O. (64:1-3): What an awesome picture this is painting.  Humans seem to have good short-term memories though.  And, when we don’t have frequent affirmation of God’s existence, our doubt rises.  But, like here, they are remembering God’s greatness.  We just have to keep that at the forefront of our memory.

O. (64:4-12): This reminds me of a child who keeps returns to home asking for money and forgiveness.

Q. (65:12): Who is the executioner?

A. Babylon, and King Nebuchadnezzar in particular.

Q. (65:20-25): God is describing heaven here?

A. He is describing His own restored Kingdom, as we have seen over the last few chapters.

Q. (66:2b-3a): This basically sums up who will be rewarded with salvation and who won’t, right?

A. I would say it makes for a good foundation, but a contrite heart alone is not enough: our hearts must allow us to see the salvation that God so generously offers, and accept the offer via the blood of His son Jesus.  But frankly, as verse 3 indicates, many choose to go their own way, content in the “knowledge” that they are all right on their own, and don’t need God.  Such thinking is very dangerous according to God.

Q. This reading went back and forth between talking about the resurrection of Jerusalem and judgment day, right?  It’s a little difficult to follow.

A. Actually, it also covered the destruction of Jerusalem as well, but yes.  God explains His position in response to Isaiah’s requests in the first chapter, and God says there is a price to be paid, but for those who survive (the remnant), they will inherit God’s eternal Kingdom.

Day 201 (July 20): Lord’s case against Israel, Israel’s guilt and punishment, misery turned to hope, Lord’s compassion for Israel, Assyria invades Judah, Assyria king threatens Jerusalem

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Micah 6-7

2 Chronicles 32:1-8

2 Kings 18:13-18

Isaiah 36:1-3

2 Kings 18:19-37

Isaiah 36:4-22

Questions & Observations

Q. (Micah 6:8): I have a good understanding of the requirements of doing what is right and having mercy that Micah is telling the Israelites they need to have.  But, walking humbly with God is a little foggy to exactly what that should look like.  Can you describe that or better yet, how we should walk with God?  And, I take it that “walk” means have Him in our hearts.  Just another observance is that Micah clearly states here that all the offerings are no longer desired by God.  He wants a personal relationship with His people, right?

A. To me, the key word in that sentence is “humbly.”  Israel, like all of us, had an issue with pride that needed to be resolved if any sort of good relationship with God was going to be established.  We’ve actually been talking about a lot of different ways we can walk humbly with God: we’ve discussed having genuine faith that God has our best interest at heart, and praying accordingly, we’ve discussed the importance of worship, loving God by loving others, and so forth.  To me, when we see God for who He truly is (as the Bible describes it in both the OT and NT), we simply have no choice to be humble before all that God has done for us.  That, I think, is the starting point of a humble walk with God.

O. (6:10b-11): Talk about unfair pricing.  Sometimes I see this unjust pricing today.  If you have ever bought one of those craft kits for kids that are $6-$15 with all the cool photos of what you can make on the outside.  Then, you open it up and there are a few things in it that are worth about $1.  Then, there is the things you see on TV — I am an occasional sucker, not often though — like the slushes.  We try it and it kind of works, but I think that I could probably just make these with some ice cubes and a cup with a lid.  But, no, I paid $19.99 for it.  It makes me feel like a fool.  But then, I think that what person could sell this stuff and feel good about it!  I just watched Mystery Diner last night.  If you haven’t seen that, it’s pretty cool.  They caught people red-handed stealing or throwing away profits from the restaurant owner.  It was hundreds of dollars a day.

Q. (7:16-17): Here Micah is — and we have seen this a lot of other places too — describing the Israelites pretty much enjoying the astonishment that their enemies are experiencing.  I think we all do this or have done this imagining the shock of others when they realize how great we are — here the greatness comes from God.  But, I always thought the feeling of enjoying the fruits of revenge was not proper or godly.

A. I see a couple of problems with your reading.  First of all, I didn’t see any sense of revenge on Israel’s part in the passage.  It is God’s free choice to avenge His people in whatever timeframe He deems appropriate.  Another issue I see is that God is talking about a day in the future (i.e. something that hasn’t happened yet).  Once again, God is most likely speaking (through Micah) about His Day of Judgment that we’ve been talking about recently.  The nations will truly be in awe, but NOT in awe of Israel.  They will be in awe of God.  When we are living a life that truly pleases and brings glory to God, He will get the credit for it — as He deserves — not us.

Q. (7:18-20): And here, the Israelites seem to be taking God’s mercy for granted.

A. Now that I can say they clearly did.  It will be their downfall, but God has a bigger plan at work that we will have to watch unfold.

Q. (2 Chronicles 32:5-8): I think there is an argument with some folks that God will take care of you, you can just sit back and enjoy the ride and let God build your business or fight your battles.  Is this what God intended?  Or, do we still have to work hard, but know that if we follow God, he will make our lives good, especially the everlasting one.

A. God guarantees us nothing this side of His Kingdom.  Anything that He provides us is a blessing that is to be used for His glory, not our pocketbooks.  So I would say there is great incentive to be hard working — don’t forget that in Genesis, work predates the Fall (work is good!) — and to be proactive about the decisions that we are making.  But as Micah 6:8 reminds us, we must do so humbly, and remember the source of it all.  If we do that, then I believe that God will provide the guidance we need, even if we are not aware of the ways that He is bringing about His glory through us.

Q. (2 Kings 18:25): Is this true?  God set them up to attack?

A. I think the commander is lying to try and intimidate the people.  But, let’s see what happens, shall we?  If what the commander says is true, then nothing will be able to stop Jerusalem’s destruction.

O. (2 Kings 18:37, Isaiah 36:22): Can’t wait to hear the rest of this story!

Day 178 (June 27): Hosea tells of Israel’s sins and immenent punishment, Israel breaks covenant and will suffer consequences, wrongs of Israel and Judah, God’s wrath for wickedness, healing for those who repent

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Hosea 9-14

Questions & Observations

Q. (Hosea 9:10): When God first named Israel His people, they were few.  It seems that as they grew in number, like God promised the ancestors, that they fell to evil.  With greater numbers comes a greater chance for evil.  And, as we saw with Adam and Eve who were by themselves, that it doesn’t take much to tempt someone.  With more people, the evil just multiplies.

A. That is certainly true.  But Israel in particular has compounded the problem by putting corrupt and evil men on the throne (like Ahab and Jezebel), and continuous worshipping of other Canaanite gods.  They have abandoned God, just as Moses foresaw and warned the people against way back in Deuteronomy.  He warned them that choosing the path without God had only one end: death.  So Israel has reaped what it sowed.

Q. (9:15, 10:8, 10:9): The Lord mentions three places where evil started.  Can you refresh our memory of the sins of Gilgal, Aven (Beth-aven) and Gibeah?

A. Gilgal was the place where Israel camped after crossing the Jordan back in Joshua 4 and 5.  It was the place of ceremony where Joshua and the people re-established the covenant with God and remember His faithfulness.  Apparently this was a place of pagan worship of some sort, but we are not given the details.  Surely it was a great insult to God that a place that had been so significant between God and Israel be used for the spiritual “prostitution” as Hosea has put it.

Beth-Aven is actually making a mockery of the name Bethel.  It is the place where Jacob wrestled with God way back in Genesis 32.  Bethel means “house of God,” Beth Aven means “house of idols” or perhaps “house of nothing,” so you see the mockery of Hosea here.  Anyway, Beth-Aven is the location of one of the golden calves that Jeroboam established to keep people from returning to Judah back in 1 Kings 12 — it’s the thing that God keeps on referring to as the “original sin” of Israel.  All the problems Israel has come back to that moment.

Lastly, Gibeah, one of your favorite stories as I recall (note: Rob is being sarcastic!), was the place back in Judges 19-21 where the tribe of Benjamin went to war with the rest of the tribes over the killing of a concubine by the priest.  The tribe was nearly wiped out, and the other tribes had to resort to basically letting them kidnap virgin women in order to survive.  It was one of the most corrupt moments of Israel’s history, and one that God is recalling now to basically say that nothing has changed.

Q. (10:1): I think this is true today.  The richer we get, the cockier and more prideful we get and think we are self-sufficient, self-motivated and successful.  We probably worship things like work, TV, luxury.  But, why would the Israelites turn to other gods?  Oh, right, because you said when creating a God, you can try to control it — which does nothing anyway.  Whereas with God, He is in control, giving us no self-control.

A. I think you’ve got your own answer.  Don’t forget also, that Israel’s problem started with the king trying to control the people (don’t miss the irony of that statement as it relates to God!) via idols.  Jeroboam wanted the people to worship gods he could control, not the true God that he couldn’t.

Q. (11:8): I think we have found an answer here to the question of “Why did God not give up on the Israelites?”  He has given them so many chances because He remembers the companionship and trust that He had from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David.  Maybe He longs for that hoping Israel will turn around.  And, I’m sure that He wants to share His kingdom with them.

A. One of the central concepts of covenant is the idea that if one side of the parties involved does not keep its end of the bargain, the other party does not walk away.  God is demonstrating His faithfulness to His people, by giving them every chance to repent of their sin and return to Him.  But since they will not, they have repentance forced upon them, as we will see.

Q. (14:4): Why is God no longer angry?

A. Once the people have paid their penalty (and they will), then God’s anger (what we would call wrath) in this matter is complete.  He will be able to restore them to a right relationship with Him, and when there is right relationship between God and man — as Jesus will establish for each of us — there is no need for God to be wrathful.

Day 22 (Jan. 22): Job defends his character to his friends, Job argues and questions God

Job 12-14

Questions & Observations

At first I thought I wouldn’t have many questions with this reading other than to highlight a couple points about Job’s ranting to God.  But, I found that in his anger, he makes such good points that we can easily relate and pose great subjects for our discussion.  He gets down to the rift between being human and struggling to obey God.  Please feel free to add any of your thoughts and enrich this study!

Q. (Job 12:5-6): I think I understand what Job is trying to say in verse 5:  Those who are living without despair think they have all the answers and advice for those living in despair.  But, I don’t understand verse 6.

A. Job is attacking God for what he perceives as a lack of justice.  He is arguing that though he, a righteous man, is unjustly punished, the real evildoers are “getting away with it.”  I think we understand this verse very well, it is one of the most common refrains when we are going through suffering: we tell God that we feel that we don’t deserve it, and that since we’re better than (say) hardened criminals or those Wall Street fat cats, shouldn’t they be the ones getting punished?  It’s the flip side of the theodicy argument: too often we feel that bad things are NOT happening to bad people, at least as we see it.

Q. (12:7-9): Job is saying those that do not judge — animals — can testify that his devastation is not a punishment for anything he has done wrong.  Right?

A. I think Job is pointing to nature to make his case that God does as he pleases.

Q. (12:13): At first I just quickly read over this verse.  Then, I read it again and soaked it in letting the following verses support it.  I see two things in this verse: He is all-powerful, no question; and we cannot understand his reasoning.  Should we elaborate about this now or will it be expanded on later?

A. Let’s hold onto this thought, since it will really come into play around chapter 38.

Q. (13:1-12): To me, Job is saying here, if you have a gripe with God, you should go directly to Him and not rely on others for clarification because they cannot speak for God.  I feel that Job is questioning his friends’ relationships with God.  Job is putting the question to His friends that if they were so close to God, they would not be accusing Job of hiding this alleged sin from God.  Do I have this right?

A. Seems right to me.  He is certainly saying that they presume to speak for God, but Job doesn’t want to hear from them (especially since he doesn’t really like what they are saying), rather, he wants God to speak to him directly.  Classic example of a person not being careful what they wish for, which I think you’ll see.

O. (13:16): Job is saying that because he has a relationship with God that he is able to confront God.  To me, this is the way God wants us to be: acknowledge Him, grow close to Him through understanding Him, and glorify Him.

O. (13:20-25): Job can speak so candidly here 1) because of his loyalty to God, he probably feels like he deserves to be heard and 2) because of his anger.  When I am angry or hurt, the tough questions roll out.  I can’t hold them back.

Q. (13:26-14:6): Job seems to say “God you have us trapped.  You have put us here with your rules.  So can you just leave us alone while we live out our prescribed lives?” (14:1): Being a human, sinning is imminent, so why is God picking out all of our faults when we can’t help but sin?

A. Why does any parent insist on disciplining a rebellious teenager, even when the teenager says, “just leave me alone”?  It’s because the parent knows the danger in the behavior of the child, even when the child doesn’t see it or want to acknowledge it.  Ultimately, God’s anger at our sin is out of love for us; He desires that we would make wise choices and follow after the way that He wants to guide us in living (we will see this concept develop over the remainder of the Bible).

Another way to look at it is to think of the concept of what kind of God our Lord would be if He let sin slide; that God adopted what we might call a “boys will be boys” attitude.  Such a god would not be worthy of worship (and is not the God described in scripture).  To ignore or even cause injustice (especially as it relates to our personal lives and our families) would mean that God was not ultimately good.  If, God forbid, we had a family member murdered, we would not think much of a human criminal justice system that said, “but you only did it once” to the person responsible and let them go free.  If you were part of the family that lost a family member, you would rightly say, “Once is more than enough!”  It would be a miscarriage of justice (even by human standards) for sin like that to be ignored or marginalized.  Is it any wonder that a God that is not only just, but actually DEFINES just, cannot turn a blind eye to sin?  Though it may be in our nature, that does not make us any less responsible for our sinful decisions.  Thus, we see the paramount reason for our need for Jesus Christ: because God’s justice will not ignore our sin, and God’s love cannot ignore His children.  The cross where Jesus died can be seen as the union where God’s desire to be just AND to love His children come together to set all things right.

That last sentence was an awesome explanation!

Q. (14:13): Job’s cup is definitely not half full here.  He has nothing good to say to God.  He seems to have lost hope.  I can’t imagine being in his shoes and the anger he must feel.  How can you love and praise God when you are so angry with Him?

A. Honestly, I’m not sure how to answer that question because (thank God) my life has been greatly blessed, and I’ve never been that angry with God.  I guess the answer, which may sound flippant, is to choose to.  I believe that our love for God is, by God’s very design, a choice, and one that God goes to incredible lengths to respect.  I believe that God understands our anger, and the difficulty of expressing our love to Him when we are angry.  He will wait patiently, as the father character in the story of the Prodigal Son story in Luke 15.  But in the end, we must hope that the anger fades, and we can make our peace and return to right relationship with God.  Let’s see how Job does this as the story continues.

Q. (14:20-22): This sounds like the ultimate accusation from Job to God.  This is one that I hadn’t thought of: How do You create us, just to let us whither and die, not even giving us the satisfaction of seeing or children grow.  When we are gone, we are gone.  In this day, there was no promise of eternal life, right?

A. That’s a matter of some debate, but my understanding of Jewish theology moves more towards concepts of resurrection and eternal life as we move closer to the present day (so, say in the Prophets or Nehemiah, which were written much more recently than Job).  Yet here again, we are created beings, and not the Creator.  We must be very careful about making any sort of demand to the one who created us.  Ultimately, God alone has the final say in the span our of life, but the decisions He makes about life and death are just one more area where we as Christians must trust that He is working out things for the best, even if His reasons for doing so are clouded behind the veil of our own death.  We may not be able to see any reason for God’s decisions until we have crossed to the other side.