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Reasonable Doubt

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Click here to read Job 37 on BibleGateway.com

humble-pieTell us what we should say to him;  we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.  – Job 37:19

Is there anything worse than being shown you don’t know as much as you think you do?  Raising your hand in class and confidently asserting that Timpooptu is the capital of Djibouti? (because perhaps an older sibling revealed this wisdom to you.  hypothetically.) Or that one can thrive on a diet exclusively of cheese and cheese flavored products (it was worth a shot).  Or that changing your oil is only “suggested.”  Sometimes the limits of our knowledge can be both embarrassing and expensive.

In the book of Job, one of Job’s “friends” named Elihu sarcastically recognizes our human limitations.  How can we really expect to understand God’s purposes?  We are finite creatures, caught up in our own darkness; and yet we think we can challenge a Creator who spoke the universe into existence?  What is there to say in that situation?  “Hey God.  Umm…I like that nebula over there.  By the way, how come I couldn’t find a good parking spot today?”  Seems a little  redonkulous.


Think back to when you were 5 or 6 years old (or if you’re an old geezer, to when you were a teenager).  Do you remember thinking “man, I really can’t wait until I age a little, so I can understand more about the world.”  Or did you think that you already knew what you needed to know?  Did you “know” wrestling was real? Did you “know” that hot dogs made good bookmarks? Did you “know” that a new puppy would solve all your problems? Is that still what you think when you look back?  Or do you think “how could I have been such an idiot?”

If you can look back and see how little you knew then – even when you didn’t know it then – is it possible that maybe you don’t know as much as you think you do now?  Maybe if you trust God, you’ll look back on this time and think “man, I didn’t know anything.  I’m glad I trusted God.”  If you talk to people who have followed God for a long time, as them if they have better memories of the times they trusted God, or the times they used their own reason.  And if you can, get them to tell you about all the dumb stuff they did so you can learn from it.  Or blackmail them.  Either way.


Let’s put on the maybe hats :  Maybe God just might know more than we do; Maybe God might actually know what’s best for us; Maybe God actually wants us to have the fullest life we can; Maybe we are not quite as smart as we think we are.  Maybe that’s what the Bible means when it keeps harping on the idea that God loves the humble.  Sometimes that’s a difficult concept to put into words, but maybe “humble” can best be described simply as “trusting God knows more than me.”

As you go through your day, pay attention to the prayers you pray (to yourself) or the frustrations you feel about God.  How many of those are focused on the idea that God should be “reasonable” in a way that makes sense to us? How many times do you pray with a feeling of “if God loves me, he’ll do this.” Isn’t that really saying that we trust ourselves more than God?

Maybe a little doubt in ourselves would be a good thing.

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