I am sure we have all seen someone pass the blame. I have had experience with my own children, heard it from politicians and done it myself. Passing the buck takes the heat off ourselves and focuses it on someone or something else. I think it feels like a ‘natural’ thing to do. Who wants to admit their own blame? It was the first thing that Adam did when he was questioned by GOD in Eden and then Eve just followed suit.
It is something that GOD wants to root out. He does not tolerate with Job.
Job is asked by GOD, ‘Do you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?’ Job 40:8. Job has said that in past chapters that if he had done something wrong, GOD would have had the right to punish him. Of course, the other side of that statement is that if Job hadn’t done anything wrong (which he hadn’t) GOD had no right to do what He did. Job was judging GOD in justifying his own righteousness. Job was discrediting GOD’s justice. It feels like dangerous ground to me. Who would do such a thing? … Um … us maybe!
It is a serious thing to accuse GOD of being wrong. There is a fine line between reminding GOD of what He said He would do and who He is, to implying that He hasn’t been faithful. A little while ago, we went through a time where we were wrongly accused of something. It was a tough time. It really challenged my idea that GOD was just. We knew that the judgement was wrong so how come GOD didn’t step in and change it? It really was a Job moment for us. We had done nothing wrong yet the result felt like a punishment. I had prayed, I had got my friends to pray, I had trusted GOD with it but the result was not what I expected. Who was to blame? What do I do with that?
The question GOD asks Job implies that when I selfishly justify myself, I condemn GOD. I knew that we had been wronged, I justified us at the expense of disregarding GOD’s true character and being. He had not been good to me, therefore, He was to blame. By doing this I condemned GOD. But what do I condemn GOD to? … to death and to the death that I deserve. My sinfulness in raising myself above GOD and considering my plans more important and better than His, has condemned Jesus to the cross and his death. What I saw and what I felt in that situation was that GOD was not just, but the truth is that He is. This earthly injustice is temporary compared to the heavenly justice that GOD has. I don’t have to exert my wants for justice … He will be and is just.
Your story may not be like mine but I am certain that we have all fallen into the trap of passing the blame or considering GOD to be wrong. The first people on earth did it and so do we. Like I said before, it is almost ‘natural’ to do so, but there is an alternative.
GOD points us to this when He talks about the Behemoth and Leviathan, two large and powerful creatures, the biggest that Job would know about. He asks Job if Job can pull in a Leviathan with a fishhook … because He can.
‘Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook
or tie down its tongue with a rope?
2 Can you put a cord through its nose
or pierce its jaw with a hook?
3 Will it keep begging you for mercy?
Will it speak to you with gentle words?
4 Will it make an agreement with you
for you to take it as your slave for life?
5 Can you make a pet of it like a bird
or put it on a leash for the young women in your house?
6 Will traders barter for it?
Will they divide it up among the merchants?
7 Can you fill its hide with harpoons
or its head with fishing spears?
8 If you lay a hand on it,
you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
9 Any hope of subduing it is false;
the mere sight of it is overpowering.
10 No one is fierce enough to rouse it.
Who then is able to stand against me?
11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay?
Everything under heaven belongs to me. Job 41:1-12
GOD warns that the Leviathan cannot be caught, will not beg for mercy and will not be treated as a pet. It will not struggle under a human because a human cannot subdue it. It is not our place to wrestle with this monster single-handed because the mere sight of it is overwhelming.
When GOD describes the Leviathan it reminded me of a dragon (even though the commentaries say otherwise). I drew a dragon because it is a great reminder that GOD has authority and righteous justice over the ‘dragon’ (the devil). He has authority over all principalities and powers. GOD has tied down Satan’s tongue with a rope and punctured his jaw with a hook. Everything under heaven belongs to Him (Job 41:12). GOD’s alternative for us is to trust in His authority. If we line up our lives with Him we will not be disappointed. Pictorially, the massive power and authority of Jesus has dealt with the monster of sin by catching it with a small fishhook. I don’t have to struggle with this ‘natural’ thing anymore. I am free.