Whose God Is Real?
Preface:“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4, 5, NKJV).
Many verses in the book of Job you wouldn’t want to use as key texts. They are simply a record of Job’s friends’ theological views. When Job’s misery was over, the Lord said to Eliphaz first in Job 42:7 and again in verse 8 that he and his friends had not spoken the truth concerning God. If the Lord was correct in His evaluation, then there were some basic flaws in their views of God and truth.
In his first dialogue, Eliphaz tells of a spirit that had appeared to him in his sleep. The spirit had a message (4:17-21). Eliphaz took for granted that the message it gave was from God (the message fit in with his own theological views), and he then related it to Job as if it was gospel truth. It could easily have been an evil spirit. Parts of the message sounded like something from Satan’s original speech of deception. Satan’s lies seem to be mixed with truth to the point at which it is hard to extricate the lie. He is good at what he does. He was able to convince a third of the highly intelligent angels to believe his lies about God.
Satan’s lies have been taught and even cherished by many religious people throughout earth’s history. Job’s friends thought it was Job’s performance that was in question. They were continually trying to convince Job of this. In order to do this, they used their theological arguments, and they said some things about God that Job could not accept. Though they both believed in one God and even had the same name for him, Eliphaz and Job in essence worshiped different gods. Eliphaz was willing to attribute some of Satan’s characteristics to his God’s character. He wanted Job to believe that good things were arbitrary blessings from God, based on personal performance, and that bad things were arbitrary punishments.
In the end, God’s first concern wasn’t about Job’s personal righteousness. He seemed more concerned that Job still understood His character correctly (Job 42:7). There are many people today who tell us that they know who God is. We can respectfully listen to them and try to understand what they have to say, but I think we have to realize that some of what they say about God could be wrong. We need to study for ourselves like the Bereans, to find the truth about God. Maybe God’s first concern about us isn’t our personal performance. Maybe He is primarily interested in who we think God really is and in what we think He stands for. God’s character and truth have been misrepresented. How willing are you to unknowingly misrepresent God to others? Is your God real?
1. If you encounter someone whose belief in God is an amalgamation of truth and falsehood, how do you present the Bible truth to him or her?
2. How much room is there for personal opinion about who God is and what His character is like? Is it wrong to speculate at all? Explain your answer.
3. Some view God through a lens of pain and tragedy, others through a lens of harsh requirements and fearful consequences. In everyday terms, how can a person help someone achieve a more balanced and comforting view? Be specific.