Cause and Effect

“For according to the work of a man he will repay him, and according to his ways he will make it befall him. Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.”
Job 34:11-12

In the early 1980’s I was fascinated with computers. My dad bought us first a Radio Shack TRS-80 and then, soon after, an Apple ][.

He had his own computer consulting firm and I worked with him. He encouraged me to learn how to program computers and I started with BASIC programming (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code).

But this programing language was too, well, basic to do what my dad wanted his company to be able to do, so he encouragement me to learn Assembly Language programming. I was soon in over my head. I just didn’t have the capacity to learn this more complex programming.

I had a basic (no pun intended) understanding of how computers worked – and still do – but most of what computers do and can do is beyond me.

And that brings us to Elihu’s continued discourse with Job and his three friends.

Elihu’s understanding of how God works is incomplete – as it would be for any human. We simply do not have the capacity to fully understand God.

But he knows enough to tell Job that he (Job) also doesn’t know how God works!

We all cannot understand God fully.

This is why God has revealed what he has in Scripture. God does want us to know him better than we do. So God reveals what he knows we can handle in his Word.

One of those revelations is often misunderstood and Elihu calls Job and his three friends out on one of these misunderstandings.

God will pay back people according to what they have done, good for good and evil for evil.

But the misunderstanding is that if I’m good, I will receive good because of it. If I’m evil, I will receive evil because of it.

The truth, however, is revealed in Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-10, and Hebrews 11:6.

Romans 6:23
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

In short, doing evil is equated with unbelief and that is the cause of damnation. But doing good is the result of salvation, which comes from God alone by grace alone through faith alone revealed in Scripture alone.

I admit, I cannot understand how this can be. But I believe that it is how it is. It takes faith, and that is something that is also a gift from God.

And it is comforting to know that God loves me, gives me faith to accept the things I can’t understand, and to be okay with that.

©2017 True Men Ministries


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Do What You Love

What is contentment? What does it look like? How do you know you’ve found it?

Well, one thing it is not is “settling.” This is a concept I’m still working out. I’m reading a book called “The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs” – the co-founder of Apple computers. I think that sometimes settling for something can feel or look like contentment. But it isn’t really. It can begin as contentment. But if what starts out as contentment doesn’t move you to carry out your mission in life, then it ceases to be contentment and degrades into settling. Here’s a quote from the book:

“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for yourjobs lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know it when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” (Steve Jobs 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford University, quoted in The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo, page 21).

It would be easy to dismiss because Steve Jobs is a multi-billionaire. The perception is that he must be greedy – the opposite of contentment. But if you do a little digging into who Steve Jobs is, you will find that he really does epitomize contentment instead of greed. He found something he loved and did that with his life – not to make gobs and gobs of money but because he simply loved to do it.

And Steve Jobs didn’t stop with the Apple ][ computer, but moved on to the Macintosh. He didn’t stop at the Macintosh but continued until the iPod was introduced. He didn’t stop there but continued with the iPhone and then the iPad. He doesn’t need the money – which is easy to say now that he’s got billions. But Steve Jobs was content with having nothing, as long as he was able to do what he loved.

Like I said, I’m still working through this idea but so far it seems to be a good illustration on contentment versus greed.