Knowledge of the Holy: part 4

Hopefully everyone has taken the challenge to read through the Bible in a year (from Lent 2010 to Lent 2011).  If not, go to Garden to City and check it out.  If you have, then you, too, are reading through Job.  Of all the books in Scripture, Job is one of the most difficult for me to fathom.  First, it takes careful reading to ensure that I don’t fall into the logical fallacies of Job’s friends. However, second, and often most difficult for me, it takes constant discipline for me not to sit in judgement on the whole enterprise.

In chapter 4 of Knowledge of the Holy, Tozer discusses the Trinity, and how difficult it is even to begin to understand.  At one point he describes the purpose of the scholar in revealed religion.  This description has been a huge help to me as I read Job.  Here it is in its entirety:

“The scholar has a vitally important task to perform within a carefully prescribed precinct.  His task is to guarantee the purity of the text, to get as close as possible to the Word as originally given.  He may compare Scripture with Scripture until he has discovered the true meaning of the text.  But right there his authority ends.  He must never sit in judgment upon what is written.  He dare not bring the meaning of the Word before the bar of his reason.  He dare not commend or condemn the Word as reasonable or unreasonable, scientific or unscientific.  After the meaning is discovered, the meaning judges him; never does he judge it” (20, emphasis in original).

“…the meaning judges him; never does he judge it.” Ouch!  This is not Tozer saying that believing in the Bible is an act of unreasonableness.  But rather, we judge something by a higher standard.  To judge  Scripture by the standard of “reason” is to assume that our reason is greater than revealed Scripture–that is, greater than God Himself.  The reality is that our reason is limited by space and time.  God, who breathed Scripture into being, is not so limited.  Therefore His Scripture is to judge our reason, never vice versa.

This brings us back to Job.  His friends seem reasonable.  God is holy. God is just.  God is good.  Therefore, the fault for Job’s predicament must lie with Job.  And yet, we know that God himself declares Job to be righteous.  Job is not being “punished” for sin.  The world is broken. Bad things happen to everyone. Christ told his disciples that sometimes things happen so God can display his power and glory through the situation(John 9).

So I guess the question to wrestle with, then, is who is getting the glory?  When bad things happen in my life, do I look for ways to see God’s glory and give him glory in it?  Or do I wallow in the seeming injustice of it all?

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