The Strange Work of God

“Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you.”
Job 22:21

I see the meme’s nearly every day on Facebook.

It is a picture of a huge pile of cash. And the text says, “If you share this post, this cash will come to you within three days.”

If only!

But it doesn’t work that way. The truest meme I saw on Facebook recently said, “If you want cash to come your way … go to work today!”

There are many people who see God as some kind of genie in a lamp. If you ask him for something, and you are a “good” person, then he will give it to you.

I’m sure there are a lot of people who read Job 22:21 above and assume that is exactly what Eliphaz is saying.

But I am just as sure that God doesn’t work like that.

God is not a “wish granter” nor is God an ATM machine that we can go to when we need something and leave be when we don’t.

The truth is that God provides daily bread for all people – whether they believe in him or not. Jesus proclaimed the truth of this in Matthew 5:45, “[God] makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Eliphaz doesn’t believe that. His philosophy is that God prospers the good and punishes the wicked.

And since Job has lost all his wealth (one estimate is that he lost the equivalent of $45 million) and suffered the death of his seven sons and three daughters all at once, and that he’s now covered in sores and on the verge of death himself – that Job must be one of the wicked!

But God doesn’t work that way!

There are several prominent Christian preachers who have distorted the truth of God and are leading people astray when they preach, “Trust in God and he will shower you with blessings of wealth and prosperity!”

God certainly will pour out his blessing on his people. But not because they do something for him. God pours out his love, mercy, and grace because he loves his people.

When we do good, this is in response to God’s love, not to earn it!

So what do we do with all this suffering? Especially when it is so unfair, like in Job’s case?

The Apology to the Augsburg Confession puts it so well:

“Troubles are not always punishments or signs of wrath. Indeed, terrified consciences should be taught that there are more important purposes for afflictions (2 Corinthians 12:9), so that they do not think God is rejecting them when they see nothing but God’s punishment and anger in troubles. The other more important purposes are to be considered, that is, that God is doing His strange work so that He may be able to do His own work…” (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XIIB, paragraph 61).

“Strange work” is an interesting phrase. Martin Luther – the 16th Century Reformer – used it to explain the use of bad things, bad circumstances, evil, illness, even death itself, to call people to repentance and back to God. The “strange work” is sometimes used to bring us to God’s proper work which is to save us by grace alone through faith alone!

Job’s friends don’t know this … yet. But Job does – or at least at this point suspects it. And he will know it in the end and will bring this truth to his three friends, as we will see later.

©2017 True Men Ministries

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