The Evil the Lord Brought

Hey, thanks again for sending in your questions related to our recent sermons. As you know, we just completed our series in Job and Job chapter 42 wouldn’t let us out in a relatively easy theological way. We have a question this week and it really causes some complications, so let’s talk about it. Job 40 211 states that Job’s friends came to comfort Job for the evil the Lord brought to Job. Or some translations say the trouble the Lord brought or the disaster the world the Lord brought.

It’s the word RA in Hebrew. Most of the time that is translated evil. I won’t get tied up in the particulars whether it’s really evil the Lord brought or disaster because we know throughout the book of Job that it was Satan’s acting on Job that caused all of this trouble for him. So here we are at the end of the book of Job and it is the narrator that is summarizing everything that happened to Job and it’s the narrator that says the Lord brought this evil, trouble, disaster. We can’t dismiss that by saying, oh, it’s Job’s friends who are saying the Lord brought the disaster and everything the friend said was wrong.

So we don’t consider that accurate. This is the narrator speaking and it’s giving really credit to the Lord for the disaster that was brought. So what’s that about? First, I’d say this is very similar to what we talked about at various points in the series of Job’s understanding that his trouble was caused by the Lord. Job, as far as we know, didn’t know anything about Satan’s involvement in his trouble.

But Job accredited everything to the Lord because really everything is ultimately the Lord’s decision. We clearly see Satan has to get permission to do anything to Job in the beginning of the book. So while Satan is the more immediate cause, the Lord is overseeing all of it. As a comparison, I would look at when David King David is incited to take a census. And you can compare accounts in let me get the reference right.

First, chronicles 21 one. And second Samuel 24 one. So that’s first Chronicles 21 one and second Samuel 24 one. The author of Chronicles says that Satan incited David to take a census for which then David and Israel were later punished. Two Samuel 24 says it’s the Lord that incited David to take a census.

So which one is it? Are they the same? Of course they’re not the same, but the principle that we see is that the more immediate cause is Satan. But Satan won’t be able to do anything unless he has specific permission from the Lord to do it. You can look way later in the Book of Acts.

Acts chapter 428. The disciples are praying after Jesus is crucified resurrected and now persecution is coming and the disciples are remembering the crucifixion and they say Pilate and these other officials that crucified Jesus acted in accordance with God’s will what God had decided beforehand to take place. So on one hand, it’s the Lord who is in charge of everything. On the other hand, there are these more immediate causes of people doing the evil sinful acts. And of course in the crucifixion, the entire crucifixion was evil.

So what we see in all of these instances is God allows the evil for a purpose, on purpose. He would have complete control to stop it if he wanted to. He chooses not to stop it. He allows it to happen. It accomplishes its purpose for whatever that is.

And sometimes we know what that purpose is and sometimes we don’t know what that purpose is in terms of the crucifixion. We do know what that purpose is, right? Salvation of the world. But then what we always see God do is a reversal of the evil that he allowed. So he allows it for some reason, but then he turns it on its head, uses it for a good purpose.

So the evil does not really accomplish what the evil wanted to accomplish, which is the ultimate destruction, and God instead reverses it for whatever good purpose he wants to use it for. You can see in the crucifixion, evil tried to destroy Satan, evil tried to destroy Jesus. Evil tried to wreck God’s plan. They played right into God’s plan, accomplished the salvation of the world. And now we rejoice over the crucifixion.

We even call it Good Friday, as we’ve talked about in other sermons. So that’s what God always does. He allows it for some reason so we can say the Lord did it, but then he reverses it on itself and accomplishes whatever purpose that God wants to accomplish. I would say for anyone who it makes you very uncomfortable that the Lord holds all the cards and he could overturn evil at any moment but chooses not to. I would just ask yourself, is there anyone else you would rather hold all the cards?

Would you rather God not be in control or sovereign over the evil that happens? Would you rather Him be kind of wondering what’s going to happen next? Would any of those be more comforting to you than knowing God’s got this somehow? He’s allowed it for some reason, even though he hates it and he’s eventually going to overturn it and use it for my good. Which one is most comfortable?

I think for me the answer is clear and of course the scriptural answer is clear. God has allowed what he has allowed on purpose. He will eventually overturn it. He will judge it. He will punish the evil that’s happened and he will ultimately use it for our good, for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.

Romans 828, of course. So I don’t know if that gives everybody warm fuzzies, but I do believe that is the testimony of scripture and we hope that it is helpful for your question this week. Thanks for asking it and we will see you next time.