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The Ostrich and the Cross

Your responses to the previous question have been so good! Let me see if I can pull our thoughts together and move us a bit further.

Together, we have found a man named Job at the end of his moral and mental sanity.

His stature as the wealthiest, most influential, and most blessed man in the East has been replaced by immeasurable loss, public scorn, and  condemnation.

Even his friends accuse him of hiding a secret scandal, that if exposed, would be in proportion to what Job is suffering.

Through it all, Job, while despairing of life, insists that he has done nothing to deserve such suffering. He maintains his integrity even at the expense of God—suggesting that God is not being fair in refusing to confront him face to face.

Finally when Job’s friends have exhausted themselves doing moral math in defense of God, and when Job has said more than he knows about what is right, good, and fair, God speaks out of a violent storm.

With a series of questions about the natural world, the Creator questions Job’s competence to offer a professional opinion about the ethics  of Divine fairness. In the process he asks Job to compare what he has done not only with the stars, and cycles of nature, but with a comparison of the hawk, eagle, stork, ostrich, and horse. The questions leave a previously eloquent Job speechless. He cannot deny that all of nature, including the strangely designed Ostrich, rely on their Creator for their life and daily food.

In the presence of such cross examination, Job knows he has met his match, and that he is in no position to continue to question the goodness or fairness of God.

Yet, Job has not yet been told that his troubles can be traced to Satan’s scorn and God’s pleasure in calling Job his friend.  The victim doesn’t know he has been given a chance to show that Satan is wrong in declaring that Job serves the King only because he has been bought with material prosperity.

In this story, the ostrich seems to be among the natural evidence we’ve been given that God’s ways can look confusing and contradictory.  What else are we to think about this funny shaped, foolish bird, that abandons its children, can’t fly, but can outrun a horse? With all of this we don’t even have to know whether it’s really true that the ostrich hides its head in the sand when it sees trouble coming.

The ostrich in this storyline is “Exhibit O” as evidence of the mysterious ways of God. The problematic good news for Job is that God sees more, knows more, and therefore can answer more than Job can. Job is forced to go to his knees admitting that he is in no position to question the goodness of God by justifying himself at his Creator’s expense.

But now the question– how does the Ostrich and plotline of Job support the bigger storyline of the Bible?

I recently read an article by Mark Galli in Christianity Today online, that I find to be one of the best articles I have ever read about the goodness of God. He maintains that in light of the most troubling questions we can ask about life’s unfairness, we are not left with The Gospel of Job (i.e. that a mysteriously powerful God is wiser and better than we are).

Instead Galli goes on to eloquently and forcefully argue that God has not left us with natural answers to our dreams or our nightmares. Instead he shows that, as the story of the Bible comes to its climax, we find the worst of our questions answered by the God who suffered for us under Pontius Pilate.

Here’s a link to that article which I think you will appreciate, and hope we can talk about:   http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/april/crucified-under-pilate.html

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52 Responses to “The Ostrich and the Cross”

  1. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart –

    You wrote:
    “Finally when Job’s friends have exhausted themselves doing moral math in defense of God, and when Job has said more than he knows about what is right, good, and fair, God speaks out of a violent storm.”

    I agree that Mark Galli’s article brings together those things we find so hard to hold together in our oh-so-human thinking and feeling.

    Jonathan Edward’s statement that, “There meet in Jesus Christ, infinite justice, and infinite grace,” sits side-by-side with with Galli’s assertion that “We do not have to begin with the cold logic of God’s righteousness or the feel-good theology of sentimental love. In fact, the Bible simply shows no interest in our speculative questions or our sentimental theology.”

    The truth is too simple for us to take in at times. Paul asks, “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20) The concrete reality is that Jesus died to justify us sinners.

    Perhaps that silly ostrich lives its life simply to rejoice in God’s good gifts! In Christ, all things are redeemed.


  2. SFDBWV says:

    Rob Bell again…..Same controversy different approach.

    In one of the parables Jesus gives us He tells a story of a laborers who came in late in the day, who received the same wages as the men who had worked all day (Matthew 20: 1-16) attention given to Matthew 20: 16 in that many are called but few chosen.

    Mr. Bell has a good heart and wants to see no one lost to an eternity separated from God, I for one believe that to be an admirable condition of ones heart, and I also believe it to be the same desire God has for us all, that none should be lost.

    However with all sadness and fear I also read in Revelation 20: 15 that “whosoever” was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    Once again in relationship to the “Gospel of Job” and the Gospel of Jesus Of Nazareth the Christ; God is willing to do whatever it is to save people from that eternal separation, yet men and women who are of an accountable age and mental ability must make the choice at some point in their existence to either accept Christ or reject Him.

    We read in 1 Peter 3: 19, 20. that Christ preached the Gospel to those in *prison* from the days before the flood, and again in 1 Peter that the Gospel was preached to them that are dead so they might live according to God in the spirit in spite of the judgment of men in the flesh.

    Everyone gets to make the choice, as unimaginable there are some that will “chose badly”. In 2 Peter 2: 4 I read that God spared not the angels and just as Job found out God is God and in 2 Peter 2: 9 we read that the Lord knows how to deliver and how to judge.

    My proclamation to any within hearing of my voice or the reading of my thoughts is this; Do no wait and see if God is going to let you off the hook for your sins in spite of all the warnings of judgment, but rather act *now* and ask Jesus of Nazareth to be your Lord and savior submit to Him and receive forgiveness through His sacrifice and be at peace. Accept Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and *trust* Him to deliver you.


  3. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart and Friends —

    An ostrich (or any other non-human creature on the planet) cannot accept or reject the reality of Christ’s saving work. The bird can only live by the provision and the wonder of the Creator’s hand.

    Jesus is given everything by God. (Matthew 28:18; John 6:37) I take that to mean the entire creation.

    Yours in Christ,

  4. SFDBWV says:

    I agree Maru, in fact I am one of those who believe that every living thing has a soul, the reverence again found in Job 12: 10.

    However the breath of all mankind is something different according to that same verse.

    In Daniel 4: 19-37 we read of Nebuchadnezzar being foretold and then experiencing living as a beast without understanding, but when his understanding was returned to him he gave praise to God and understood clearly that God is God and will do as is His will Daniel 4: 35.

    I am a man and have struggled all my days to be as good a man as I can, in some ways I am far smarter than the simple ostrich, but could not compare if I tried to be an ostrich in the same way that silly bird could not compare to me. We are different creatures of God’s creation and both have different purposes in God’s design.


  5. oneg2dblu says:

    Nothing in all creation is made in the image of God but humanity, and all humanity must make a choice because, all humanity if the bible is truth, has been given that choice at sometime in this life to make, or God makes it for them.
    Why we who are made in the “image of light” would then worry so much about all the darkness? That would also qualify for such questions as man puts to his maker.
    Because we are Always Seeking the knowlege of both GOOD and EVIL, and God made us that way.
    To reshape a quote…
    “In all reality we as humans can only live by the provision and wonder of the Creator’s Hand.”

    In His Love,

  6. foreverblessed says:

    Mart, it is so true, if we realise how great God’s love is in taking the verdict of our sins upon Himself, why not be assured that God is good? He alone knows all He is going to do until eternity, we read things in the bible, and can easily misinterpret that what we read:

    Psalm 136 says in every verse: the the mercy of God endures forever.
    So when I then read Revelation 20:15, does His mercy endure forever?
    I always thought that the lake of fire is the end, but if I look at it now, it just says:thrown into the lake of fire …….
    Why cannot the lake of fire be the fire of God’s love?
    If God is forever mercyfull, and if He has the time in His hands, He could also wait forever, couldn’t He? Could He not wait in eternity for the cry of any of them who were thrown in the fire, a cry for help? Psalm 86:5, 145:18
    For there is also written: everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved, Joel 2:32, this is repeated in the New Testament, Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13
    And abut the fire, are we not all being purged in the fire of God’s love, the fire blazes everything away in us that is not in His love.
    In searching my heart I came up with these, anyone can think for himself, but I hope with his heart too, a heart that is touched by a God, who took our sins and shortcomings to the cross, and redeemed us from hell. How merciful is our God!? 2 Timothy 1:9

  7. poohpity says:

    What makes it so hard to say, “I do not understand” or “I do not know” when it comes to things of God? Is it because if we do not have answers we seem ignorant, weak, less then or not in control? I have come to realize that I am ignorant, weak, less then and not in control especially when it comes to things of God and therefore the things that people go through while on this earth or the things that happen in the universe.

    I do know and believe that God come in the form of man and took the sin of the world upon His shoulders to become sin for me. Then died the death I deserved and paid the penalty that was due me so that I can spend eternity with Him. Everything else is speculation or me trying to put my human spin on things that are to great for me to understand or comprehend. Every time I go there I risk being made a fool which is what Job realized when God spoke but I do not mind being made a fool for Christ.

    There is no “Gospel of Job” to me that was not good news at all because no redemption is found there but the “Gospel of Christ” now that is some real good news and because of that I am redeemed, justified, sanctified and made right with God who created.

    I really enjoyed that article.

  8. cjaway11 says:

    Wonderful article; thanks for sharing! To me, it’s easier to understand knowing that a finite mind cannot understand an infinite God. We can, however trust in the fact that the Savior gave himself and rose for us!

  9. Mart De Haan says:

    What I resonate with in Galli’s article is the call to affirm all of Scripture while realizing that so often we are, like Job (and his friends), saying more than we know about what eventually turn out to be possible rather than necessary implications of Scripture. Necessary implications when judged by the whole story of the Bible can take us a long way in the faith, hope, and love of Christ.

  10. poohpity says:

    I know I am guilty of that too. I hope I never direct people to not trust scripture, all of it or direct them away from it by saying it is not worth reading it, ALL.

  11. Loomis says:

    Well Mart, you got me thinking and I have come to a good conclusion about the ostrich. Suffering in a fallen world we all experience and it can be pretty overwhelming. Job needed God and His truth to come to terms with his experience. I take from from Job that we need the same thing. While we live in the land of the living, it is good to pray for help and grace. Thank God for those give aid and support any way they can. One day our suffering will take us home with the Lord. What we or others benefit from our trust we may not always see. We need heaven in the end and Jesus remains our hope and reality. We probably can only handle others burdens only so much, fuels our prayer and help for others. Suffering I have found can be intense. That it draws us closer to God and more Christ-like we see after usually. The problem of suffering remains in a fallen world

  12. fadingman says:

    The most difficult of those “How could a good God ____” questions is “How could a good God send His only favored beloved perfect Son to die for me?” What kind of a father would kill his child for the good of his enemies? It boggles the mind.

    I’ll never comprehend it, but I’ll be eternally grateful. It is this one thing God has done that resolves all the other questions about His goodness. It doesn’t necessarily answer the questions. It just satisfies the questioner.

    Faith in God’s goodness is the main thing faith is all about.

  13. SFDBWV says:

    At the expense of sounding just as foolish as Job’s friends, let me delve further into questions raised in the story of Job’s suffering.

    Job had seven sons and three daughters as well as having an un numbered amount of servants. It is not recorded as to whether his sons were married or if they had children. What is recorded is that his sons were all killed as well as Job’s servants. Interesting is that the three daughters were not mentioned as being killed only “the young men” (Job 1: 19).

    Later when God speaks He mentions that the ostrich just lays its eggs on the ground and leaves them to the sun to hatch and has no concern if they are trampled underfoot (Job 39: 14, 15).

    Having said this I am brought to the question about Job’s seven sons. Are their lives unimportant and uncared for as the ostrich’s eggs? They were breathing living men, children not only to Job but to God as well; did they not have worth or were their lives given just so as to test Job?

    The un numbered servants that Job had that were killed, were they so unimportant to God as to be killed off just to allow Satan to have his way in this game being played out between God and he?

    Thousands of years later we see God lower Himself to become a man and then humiliate Himself to allow brutal men to whip and beat and crucify Him; all so that every man woman and child could be redeemed to a fellowship with Him.

    This act at the birth and death of Christ showing that to God every single person has worth and is important to Him. The resurrection being a demonstration of His power to exact His will above every thing including death.

    So then in the story of the ostrich we see an uncaring parent, in the cross we see a parent willing to sacrifice everything for God’s children.

    As to Job’s sons and servants being killed, I am left to believe that their sacrifice is rewarded in eternity as their short lives here in this world were given with the acknowledgement of God. As my short vision would otherwise see their deaths as a terribly unjust act and left to ask *why* would a caring loving God allow for injustice to come from His control.

    But then I see what I consider injustice abound in life all around me, and sometimes ask where is God, and does He even care. Then am brought to the cross and shown that this is how much He cares. To not to worry about this world or this life but rather for that eternal life where there is no suffering, no tears, no more death and no more questions.


  14. foreverblessed says:

    Yes Steve, I believe it is better to leave the evil alone, and focus on the good.

    Gary brought up why we would consider so much about the evil, and the first thought in my mind was: God told us in the garden to eat of the tree of life, and to leave the tree of good and evil alone. So in that aspect, if we are just obedient to that call, we would put the thought out of our mind: “why would a good God allow ….”

    As many have written a lot already, that I think is all good, I have to come up with something new. And so let me talk for awhile and see:
    Say, for instance that we are not spiritual mature enough to hear the answer God has, as He must have real good reasons for all of His permissive will. The answer would hurt us, and even kill the newborn life of God in us, that’s why it says the tree of knowledge of evil brings death.
    Then afcourse there is the free will issue.
    God is working with us humans, and He wants our own free will, He does not want to force us, we would become machines. He wants children made and maturing in His image, free will never overruled. We are free to follow Jesus, He says, come, and if we don’t come, just as good. I would reason, it is not good, but it is good, because the free will is still free. God knows that later the person will come to his senses, maybe because of terrible experiences, maybe even a time in hell, who knows, and then decide to follow Him, and then it would be man’s own choice, with his own free will he surrenders to God’s will, and he would be so sure that that is the best thing to do in all the world.
    They have seen hell, and don’t want to go back to it.
    That is what God wants: the choice made for Him with all of mans heart and soul and mind, in other words not forced, but free.

  15. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All!

    As I read your post, Steve, I wondered at the work of a few of the “super-storms” we have had in the world. Houses are flattened in a few minutes or even seconds. Lives are snuffed out in just that amount of time as well. Insurance companies call these events “acts of God.” We truly do not know about the “why” of such events. I do not think of them as intentional “acts of God,” but as tragedies that we respond to with civil action plus heart-felt prayer. Galli quotes Psalm 131:1, 2, 3 in the article before us.

    I resonate deeply with Galli’s comment: “In the face of the most perplexing questions, we put our hope not in the God of our nightmares or our dreams, but in the God who came to us in Christ and died under Pontius Pilate, died not only for our sins, but for the sins of the world. To whom can we go if we cannot wholly and completely trust this God to be good?”

    In the face of all probabilities and all causation, we are Christ’s and Christ is ours.

    To claim what we do know about God in Christ is a lot – it is plenty. Other motives or “nightmares” are the stuff of repentance – the speculation that begins when I second-guess God’s purpose. These things derive from my mind in its weakness. I have just come through a two-year period of self-discovery by testing doubt and anxiety – attacks of Satan himself upon me and those I serve. May the Lord deal with him as he has promised. (Revelation 20:10) Only God knows how to love that old lizard! I must confess, I have not always been as firm in my hope and trust in the Lord as I would want. I sometimes felt as though I was being dragged into a deep dark place instead of being led to a high hill in the sun.

    God has taken me by the hand, and has led me to where he has chosen for me to stand. In my experience God makes even the ground we stand on – so he does. So, he allows me to continue to serve him in my sadder but wiser condition. I am so grateful! I could never praise him enough! I’m not perfect, but thank God I’m his!


  16. fadingman says:

    Steve, I wondered myself about the three daughters at the end of Job… why were they mentioned by name and that Job gave them an inheritance. Were they the daughters from the beginning of the story? However, when the fourth servant comes to Job with the news that his children were dead, he said “I alone have escaped to tell you,”, meaning the original daughters had died also.

  17. poohpity says:

    I think and believe we can go from the place of feeling sorry for ourselves or others because they have to go through suffering, trials, and disasters to trusting. When we do not have the answer to life’s perplexing problems and sorrows rather than jumping to conclusions or assumptions as Job’s friends did, they could have mourned with him (Matt 5:4; James 1:2,3)) or they could have just listened rather than in-sighting Job to anger and self pity (Matt 5:6,7,8; James 1:19,20).

    If we believe that this is all there is and death is evil then we will have a hard time reading about things like what happened to Job’s family, servants and property but it is not. We have a good God because He allowed us to have freewill and then knew that our decisions in life would lead us to eternal separation from God while we live here and the life after this one. If we believe that this is all there is then death has a finality to it but we are told that this is not all there is (John 14:1,2,3,).

    We were warned that there would be many things that happen here while we are in this world (John 15:27; 16:33) but no matter what we have Jesus who is for us because He lived among us and we can go from self pity and sorrows to live a life of trust and dependence because we have the Spirit of the living God within us (John 14:15,16). So we no longer have to give in to assumptions or guessing but to joy, faith and trust.

  18. poohpity says:

    That one reference was not John 15:27 but John 14:27.

  19. poohpity says:

    ODB today speaks volumes about this topic.

    Job’s friends spoke about God without knowing God. Job spoke as one who knows the heart of God. Are we speaking out of knowledge without knowing or speaking about someone with a limited knowledge and no understanding when it comes to God when we say things like “If God was a good God then why is this or that happening”?

  20. eriennejane says:

    Many thoughts have run through my mind during this discussion of Job and the Christianity Today article “Proof of a Good God: Crucified Under Pontius Pilate”. The first thing that came to my mind was the question, do we really want a God Who stays within our confines? One we understand completely? With our limited minds and perspectives, that would limit God and, in which case, He would not be God. Similarly, if we could understand Him completely, that would make us omniscient and, therefore, God, which we clearly are not. As Mark Galli stated in his article, and I’m sure many of us had heard it ourselves, people make comments like, “If God was good, then why is there so much suffering in the world?” or some variation of it. Generally, I believe these statements come for one of two reasons; either as an excuse to not believe in God or to rail against Him because life has not gone the way we want it to. There would be no understanding of “good” if God did not give us the moral law and the sense of good and evil. Let’s face it, we pretty much want life to go our way. We’re not as interested in “fairness” as we are looking for what we believe favors us.

    As important as looking at Jesus Christ’s willing death on the cross for the sins of the world and His subsequent rising from the dead (indeed, it is imperative to keep our focus on that), it is also important that we remember that the God of the Old Testament period is the same God as in the New Testament period, and He is the same God now. Even in the Old Testament, God repeatedly showed love, grace, and mercy for His people and made provisions for outsiders, including the Gentiles. (The story of Ruth is a perfect example.) We see the ultimate expression of this through His Son, but it was always there. God has sought out Mankind from the beginning.

    Sometimes, I feel as though we are trying to make God more “palatable”, either for ourselves or for others around us. Not everything about God and Christianity can be explained to everyone’s satisfaction, nor will it all sit well with us. (The cleansing of the Promised Land comes instantly to mind.) God does not need a public relations department. He has asked us to be salt and light, ambassadors to those around us, to bring more sheep into the fold. Faith in Christ is trusting Him to be Who He says He is and to do what He says He will do. It is nothing more, and it is nothing less. Jesus never promised us that life would be easy and painless or even that it would make sense to us, in fact, He said quite the opposite. He promised He would be with us through it all and that He would prepare a place for us. Interestingly, it turns my mind also to the Israelites as they went from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Through all the desert wanderings and hardships, God never left them, and through all our trials and wanderings in life, whether we sense His Presence or not, He will never leave us.

  21. eriennejane says:

    We are living in a cynical world, at least in the West, and there are very real people who are hurting and struggling with these issues. Let’s just be careful we don’t treat this as an intellectual exercise. People who are hurting do not want philosophical arguments. They want to know that they are cared for, and that there is a purpose for their lives and what they are going through.

  22. poohpity says:

    I totally agree.

    It also seems that those who are not all that familiar with the OT are usually the ones that do not see that the grace and mercy of our God has been around since the beginning of time as we know it. When we get to intellectual we forget the heart which is the key ingredient to all that God whats from us for our lives and those around us.

  23. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    Hope all is well in your lives. Mart, Want to comment on the question you asked in your intro comment, “How does the Ostrich and plotline of Job support the bigger storyline of the Bible?”

    Was thinking about the previous blog topic, “God and the Ostrich,” this morning, and I thought about the numerous times throughout my life that I “played the Ostrich” (or the fool). I know, now, that God knew that (at the time) I didn’t have the wisdom to make wise decisions. So, He took care of me, protected me, like He cares for and protects the Ostrich’s children, and protected my future. God also gave me wisdom (after I was taught to ask Him for it).

    Was also thinking about the fact that God protects the vulnerable on a daily basis, spiritually and physically. There’s always going to be people (in the world) who need protection, in the same way that the Ostrich’s eggs/young need protection after being abandoned. There will be some who will be abandoned by their parents and thrown away by society, and they’re going to need God’s care, compassion and protection. So, I believe that God was saying to Job that His care of the Ostrich’s eggs/young is symbolic of His care for mankind in that someone…a human being somewhere (represented in every corner of the globe) will need the same grace, protection and care that He provides for those vulnerable Ostrich eggs/babies. For God so loved the world (in our weak and vulnerable state of sin & carnality) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    In our most weak and vulnerable state, Christ died for us…showed *great* care, compassion and concern for us. He who knew no sin, bore the punishment of our sin so that we could be made righteous through Him.

    Love to all…

  24. fadingman says:

    “God protects the vulnerable on a daily basis.” That is why in spite of the ostrich’s foolishness, it isn’t extinct. (And why I’m not extinct either! :) )

  25. SFDBWV says:

    Some time back the J. Geils Band sang “Love Stinks”; its one of those titles that anyone who has ever loved anyone can understand. With love comes pain in some form.

    I know of no more selfish act then to not allow yourself to love, to keep your feelings so confined as to protect yourself from the pain that love will bring and selfishly live out your days filling your life with pleasures and actions designed only for your benefit.

    However when you open up your heart to allow another in, their actions their safety their lives become important to you, even over and above your own.

    But their safety, their actions, their lives, their decisions are for the most part not fully under your control, so you fret and worry about them, wanting the best, fearing the worst and always on guard trying to protect them.

    Job did this (Job 1: 5) and so do most of us. Like Job when the people he loved were killed he suffered heartache that only love can understand. Yet not really knowing the truth behind why his children and his servants were killed, he summed up his loss with his famous quote (Job 1: 21) and it is recorded in Job 1: 22 that this was the proper attitude for Job to have in not charging God foolishly.

    I wonder what Job may have said if at the time he had known it was a game being played out between God and Satan and he and those he loved the pawns in the game?

    Job didn’t accuse God as being the cause of his pain, yet we are given the bigger picture of the story of Job and are allowed to see what was going on in the mind of God throughout the process.

    Job did not curse God, but did curse his life (Job 3: 1). This is a report I hear daily from my own son, almost word for word the same complaints of Job (Job 3: 11) (Job 3: 20, 21).

    Knowing that God said that Job was right in the things he had spoken concerning God (Job 42: 7) we can gather many hidden truths about God’s plans not only for Job but for us as well.

    Job 19: 25, 26 speaks of the resurrection, Job 7:1 tells us there is an appointed time for man, Job 9: 3 asks who can contend with God and gives reference to not even the wise (one in one thousand ).

    So the wisdom of reading Job is found in looking for and with the help of the Holy Spirit, finding the pearls of wisdom and knowledge found there. Exposing not only the nature of God, but His plans for mankind as well.

    Why God withholds information from us is part of our trusting Him without that knowledge and part of what pleases Him about our *blind* trust.

    Certainly life has taught us that bad things happen to everyone, including those of us who trust in God to protect us from them. Does it pain God to see us suffer? Yes as the shortest verse in scripture bears out this fact (John 11: 35).

    It would seem that living in this world is just as that old revival chant bears out; “I am a poor wayfaring stranger a wandering through this world of woe. There is no sickness no toil nor danger in that bright world to which I go, I’m going there to meet my savior, I’m going there to meet my Lord, I’m only going over Jordan, I’m only going over home.”


  26. oneg2dblu says:

    Regina… great post. I thank God that he gave the ostrich wings that do not allow it to fly very well or very far and from the look of my soiled windshield today, that is a good thing!
    Who is man that he thinks going green is the key, and going to save God’s planet? As if man could undo all the God has done and is doing in the backgruond that now goes unseen by the unbelieving world who think that God has not created all things, and somehow man is in control.
    Then there are the questions posed to Job by God, equal to who put the stsrs in the sky, who made the planets and put them in orbit, who gives life and who takes it away?
    Yes, He provides all things whether we understsnd them or not does not really matter, they exist. But, knowing who Christ is, and what makes that knowledge a reality to us is exactly what does matter for Our Eternity…
    I’m not for pollution, waste, or not taking care of what is entrusted to us, that is all good. But, why we are here, or why we exist at all, that is all God!

  27. davids says:

    Hi Gary,

    I don’t understand how faith can be used to refute global climate change. There used to be a bird as foolish and flightless as the ostrich called the dodo, but they were exterminated by people. For a long time people refused to believe that an animal could become extinct, for religious reasons.

    We have cases of desertification, like the 1930’s Dust Bowl in the US, caused by unsustainable farming methods. So the idea that humans can degrade the environment to the detriment of others does not seem irreligious to me.

    Of course, I’m not saying that man is going to “save” the planet, or that God is not in charge. But the fact that God is Lord of all, does not keep us from taking action in other areas of life.

  28. remarutho says:

    Good Evening Mart & Friends –

    There is apparent contradiction in the loyal, godly witness of Job before his testing. God favors him in every way. Who knew whether he was God’s man through and through, except God? Satan asked for this amazing faith to be tested after God asked, “Have you considered my servant Job?” (Job 1:8) Satan hates and envies God – and God’s true servants. Is it contradictory for God to love and favor his servants and at the same time allow the Accuser to test them? Satan does “go to and fro on the earth, and walks up and down on it.” (Job 1:7) The Lord permits him to move freely in this way. The Lord allows him to call for testing also, according to the text.

    Mart, you wrote:
    “…Job has not yet been told that his troubles can be traced to Satan’s scorn and God’s pleasure in calling Job his friend. The victim doesn’t know he has been given a chance to show that Satan is wrong in declaring that Job serves the King only because he has been bought with material prosperity.”

    We are surely called to consider what is most important. The beautiful children, herds, flocks, lands, prestige – everything to do with the “good life” are not of greatest value to God. Finally, after all the grief, agony and doubt of testing, the loss of these things is not the most important thing to Job either. The new understanding Job receives is costly. He did not ask for greater understanding of God. Perhaps God’s favor – God’s grace – is the most costly thing that exists. Consider the way grace was bestowed upon us by Jesus’ obedient partnership with the Father.


  29. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    Hope all is well in your lives today. Thank you, Gary! :-) SO thankful that I had time to share! I’ve enjoyed reading the comments of other blogger friends, as well as sharing my own thoughts on this topic. Getting ready to turn in now.

    Love to all…

  30. Regina says:

    LOL, fadingman! :)

  31. Mart De Haan says:

    Good morning, friends, was feeling pressure to post something new this morning, but then started reading your comments again– and those added that I hadn’t seen yet… and was so impressed by your perspectives that I decided to wait another day hoping more would see and interact for at least another day on what you have said.

    Thanks to all of you for enriching our/one another lives by your transparency, thoughtfulness and vulnerability.

  32. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you for having a thinking blog!
    I have never thought of the ostrich in Job very much, but now with the many thinking about it here there is always more coming up. This makes me realise more and more, that there is so much in the Word of God, many layers, they go deeper and deeper.
    Like the ostrich, as if God is saying to me: you are a bit like the ostrich, he puts the head in the sand, he doesn’t see the reality around him very much, like I do not see clearly the reality, which is spiritual very much either, I look too much to this physical world, and do not see God’s Spirit as real, as The Reality as much as I could. If I did that full I would fully be a born again person.
    My soul is often more busy with the physical world, then with the spiritual world, That world is the real one, this physical existance only temporarliy, and so soon gone. What is the state of our soul when all is over here on earth, has if grown into the spiritual pearl, as God had intended? 1 Corinthians 15:32
    When Job had lost almost everything, he then saw more clearly the Spirital World: God, who is all knowing all caring, not wanting that any should be lost.

  33. foreverblessed says:

    Matthew 16:26 is a better scripture. Job lost almost everything, I think he gained a whole lot by this big trial, he gained a profound deeper understanding of God, Job 42:3 Job himself said he did not really know the meaning of the things he had said. God knows it all, and he was much happier after that. I know of a friend of mine, who had cancer, and thought she lost everything. The trial started and she looked up to God. After she was healed, she said she gained everything by losing almost everything, she found God.

  34. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry for going on a little, reading God’s answer to Job, God talks besides the ostrich a lot about seemingly untaming things like the ice, the lightning, other animals, the wild donkey, the horse, and He ends with the Leviathan, “can you tame him” God asks Job, the leviathan, Job 41:33-34. Suddenly I realised this letter of Job is God’s letter to the Leviathan, isn’t it? Someone else wrote here, somewhere above, let God love Satan, well I think He does, and we love God and hold our ground against evil, Ephesians 6:12,13, but think how much Job suffered for it!
    In the end we will know the depth of this all.
    Praise God, He is in charge! And this weekend is Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit, when Jesus left earth He did not leave us as orphans, (John 14:18,16-17) we are being led by Him.

  35. poohpity says:

    I know for myself when things continue to happen, one upon another I disparage and at times become disparate to try and makes sense of things. My heart aches and it seems hard to just lift my head. Knowing that God is God does not seem to make things any better especially when I go through my checklist of what I could have done better or maybe have done wrong. If I did not have the story of Job and more importantly of what Jesus did I do not know where I would be. Just think of how many people do not know those truths and are left alone to go through life.

    Sometimes just sitting and reading the bible the words found in the Psalms and the honesty that David expressed to God about how he was feeling I found an enormous amount of comfort. I then go to God and tell Him everything that is in my heart and pretty soon I take another breath and God gives another little balance and encouragement, like we do to our children as they take their first steps, to continue the journey forward which seem so far away.

    There are many people all over the world and even in our own homes that cry out for why’s and to say we have no answers seems so helpless but we can then be trusted with honesty and in that honesty offer no words but maybe just a hug or a listening ear when they cry out as we do. We can know God is listening but we can also trust that He is too! I know for myself when I let go of control it takes such a heavy load off of my shoulders. I bet although I am not sure that that was how Job felt after God asked questions that no human would have the answers to but showed how absolutely big God is, just a sense of relief that God took the time to ask and pretty much acknowledge that God was/is in control.

  36. davids says:

    Mart, I have thought a lot about this post and the article this week. Strangely, non-believers are more familiar with Job than with other parts of the Old Testament, expect for some Psalms and bits and pieces (the creation, David & Goliath, etc.).

    Yet it is a strange book. Abraham, Moses, David are all shown to be weak people, like us. Job is righteous, and is most remembered, even by Christians, for his Stoicism in affliction: The LORD gives and the LORD takes away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

    It reminds me that the Old Testament, with its laws and ceremonies, was about God preparing a people for the Messiah. Its message can only be correctly viewed through the focusing lens of Jesus life and death. Any other view seems to miss the point entirely.

  37. poohpity says:

    David do you really feel that Job was Stoic? I feel that he had all the questions, anger and every other emotion that goes along with grief just like we do but in it all did not curse God. Many of us go through stuff but never curse God either. I think the one thing that stands out in the book is God reply to him. Just a thought.

  38. Mart De Haan says:

    Yes, Job has a reputation for being Stoic in the face of troubles. But, as you indicate, that impression seems to come from being familiar only with his first responses.

    Chapter 2 ends with his friends speechless recognition that “his grief was very great”.

    Then from 3:1 to the end Job’s arguments with friends and one sided appeals to God are marked by huge waves of emotion.

  39. oneg2dblu says:

    Davids… yes, thank God that man changed his destructive ways and found better land management and farming techniques making the soil more productive, cleaning up that dusty mess he made of it. Is that God’s purpose for man though? Did that threaten God’s planet? Is hugging a tree as important as saving a soul?
    I wasn’t trying to connect religion into the going green conversation, having planted more than a few things myself, and because we both know that practicing nothing but religion only make you religious.
    To me, loving God and loving people are the two greatest commandments and are the greatest purpose for man, not hugging a tree.
    I believe the greatest loss to God would be the loss of the souls of those things He created in His image, not the distraction of the now worshiped planet, or any worshiped wealth or possessions of man which God provides for mankind.
    So, Job losing everything but his soul, and still having kept faith as his sole possession, was God’s greatest moment in showing Satan what being a servant of true faith in God was all about.
    I love this green world and everything green that lives upon it, as it was all given to us by God. But I would not give up “my faith in God” for them. The very faith I possess is God’s provision given to me alone.
    So, I see my real service or purpose is to share my faith with God and others. It does not make me greener, although I am less destructive to this planet than I used to be, but that religion or practice alone does not make me God’s.
    I hope we have not muddied up any water with all that dust talk! :) Gary

  40. poohpity says:

    I have to say in my journey through the bible that honesty and forthrightness about everything we feel and go through. God seemed to be OK with us sharing. It is when people deny their weaknesses or their problems by being stoic or trying to be in control that seemed to cause humanity to not hear from God. God already knows the things we struggle with and being real with God can only allow Him to work with us when denial is erased. God knows we are not strong without Him and sometimes even with Him our strength fails but I have never seen anywhere in scripture that an admission of anything we go through as human beings was not rewarded with a Word from the Master. God seems to want us to realize that we need Him and are not meant to go this journey alone with out Him and how do we ever come to a place to admit that need if we are not honest about the things we suffer.

    Jesus never went on saying, “Hey I got this and it does not bother me at all to take the sin of the world on my shoulders and be separated from you Father” being stoic. He sweat greats drops of blood in His fear and torment admitting what he was going through brought a whole range of emotions and feelings but He was honest and real about it. Jesus is our example to follow.

  41. narrowpathseeker says:

    I have been choosing to keep silent and just read the comments here and to pray about the negative as well as the positive thoughts that arise. However, this morning I feel compelled to address something I think is very important. I have discerned very subtle but very real political plugs here and there and feel compelled to break the silence. I can not see the ENTIRE political realm as anything other than satan’s territory regardless of who his people claim to represent or the right or wrong they CLAIM to be for or against. My intention is to pray for whichever enemy rises to power but not to help any one of them get there. Sorry,I am not trying to offend, but I had to express that belief.

  42. rivergal says:

    Every time I recognize a seeming contradiction or dissonance in Creation I’m looking at an ostrich. Sometimes when I look at my own life I see an ostrich — the paths, communities, opportunities, losses, gains and failures. Sometimes it’s the tragic ironies of a friend’s life circumstances like much loved children dying before they reach age 2 (one did, today). And sometimes it’s when I consider the heady theological concepts of predestination, eternal punishment of the wicked, God’s holiness, goodness, and the Cross. I see ostriches daily, and when I take time to think about them, naturally I ask, “Why?” The answer God gives, invariably, is two-fold, “I AM” (the Gospel of Job) and “I am Good” (the Gospel of Jesus). There is a reason why God gave us both, the proclamation in Romans 11 — “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” and the comfort in John 17:26, “I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

  43. poohpity says:

    Political issues? I guess I missed any subtle plugs for politics. It would also seem that God is in control since the bible says it is God who puts those who are in authority over us not satan in Roman 13:1NIV. So the “ENTIRE political” realm as satan’s territory would leave God’s hand out of the mix. Would “but not to help any one of them get there” does that mean you will not vote?

  44. foreverblessed says:

    Rivergal, thinking about eternal judgment, and God is good:
    Although the article at of Galli says not to speculate, I have in my mind: maybe the forever of hell, Revelation 20:10, is just not as long as the forever of God’s mercy, Psalm 136:1,2,3 etc.
    God’s forever mercy is more forever then anything else.

  45. foreverblessed says:

    “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” John 3:36

    If someone does not really know about Jesus children, or people who have never heard about Him, or people who have heard about Him in the wrong way, they have not actively rejected Jesus, so we better not say more then we can say.

  46. davids says:

    Pooh, as Mart already mentioned, I do not say that Job ended up stoic, only that it is the way that he is remembered, not only by unbelievers, but by many of the “bible-illiterates”.

    Gary, I respect your view, and believe that your intentions are sincere, brother.

  47. oneg2dblu says:

    davids… my brother, I respect your view as well.
    I was trying to make the point that we need to be careful about where we serve, put our heart, our strength and our mind, for surely the soul will tend follow. So, if we love the Lord with all your heart, your strength, and you mind, and that alone will change the world, His Way, and for the better.
    “Go Green and Save the Planet?”
    John 3:16,17 ” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
    The son of man did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
    I do not yet see the light in going green as God’s way he intended for us to save the world. In the pure politics or the religion of “Going Green,” as it now presents itself, is really seen in the legions who seem to follow it so fervently and never seem to present this serving of God as being first and foremost in their agenda.

    The much intended creation and now the preservation of this “Mother Earth,” is nothing more than a man made “idol of distraction,” that seems to serve nothing but man very well!

    Does the serving of this Mother Nature, or Mother Earth, or even Mother Mary in fact, just distract us away from the real god-directed focus to truly love, honor, worship, and obey God , or does it just occupy us so fervently into something else?

    We are not created to love the things of this world. We are created to love, honor, worship, and obey God first. To love, honor and obey our parents. To love others, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

    The worshiping of Mother Nature, Mother Earth, or even Mother Mary, in any way shape or form, will never qualify us as following the Commandments of Almighty God, where just Following Christ alone does. Isn’t that what being called His, should really represent?

    “Power is not achieved by striking hard or often, but by striking truth” Balzac

    God’s Word as followed is pure power, and with nothing but the Truth!
    Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living an active.
    Sharper than any doubled-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
    it judges the thoughts and the attidudes of the heart.”

    It divides family, the church, even the world!

  48. poohpity says:

    Oh well David, I must have misunderstood what you wrote. So Job will have to join us as weak people like Abraham, Moses and David which I have never found weak because they had faith in the Lord, great faith I might add. I pray that I can be as weak as they were/are.

  49. Regina says:

    Good Afternoon All,

    foreverblessed, you’re right in saying that God’s *forever mercy* will last forever, but the reason why people will end up in hell is because they want/wanted nothing to do with God. They don’t want a relationship with Him. Thinking about the passage in Revelation (don’t remember where it’s found at the moment) that talks about people running from God to hide under rocks or in caves. They’re going to be running away from God…running away from His mercy and grace (thinking that they could have been running from His wrath in that passage–not sure). And if God *forced* them to be with him, it wouldn’t be a mutually loving relationship. God gives us a “choice” and there are many scriptures in the Bible that support that truth (fact). We can choose to have a relationship with Him or we can choose to reject Him. The choice is ours. He’s not going to force himself on us. So, yes, He is truly gracious and merciful, but His mercy and grace can be rejected by people.

    Still reading the new comments. :)

    Love to all…

  50. davids says:

    Yes, Deb, I pray that God might use me despite my weakness, as he used many weak people!

  51. hera says:

    first, i have to say that i have not read the entire comments,i am sorry for that, but since i am not using my own pc, i have to be quick here. sorry again. but i read the article of mark Galli. perhaps i am incorrect in interpreting it, but it seems to me that it is saying to just look at the sacrifice at the cross as a proof of God’s goodness and love to us, and “neglect” other things that does not have – that seems to be impossible for us human to find definite answers? isn’t that sort of burying head in the sands too? i do not know what is the most correct, best way to respond to those kind of questions (buddhist child etc)but i am sure we have, are and will face those kind of things in our daily life and often we can not just let it pass or neglect it, pretend it does not happen..?

  52. poohpity says:

    hera, I find it quite the opposite we look and find things that have definite answers but do not suppose or assume the answers to those thing that do not have definite answers. The only way to respond to questions about Buddhism or any other religion is to have first the foundation of the bible then learn about those religions so we are armed with those things that have definite answers and just say I do not know for the rest. There is no where we are taught to hide our heads in the sand because there is enough knowledge out there to find out certain answers especially about the difference in religions but there are places that we must trust God when we do not have a clue, it is far better to say, “I do not know” than to give an answer that is not correct because of a lack of information.

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