This is a post about a question I asked on twitter. The question goes like this. Who told this man that the fire that consumed Jobs sheep was from God? and How do we know if he is correct?
Job 1:16 KJV
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
The short answer is he was wrong when he said the fire is from God, he said it was from God because that was the only way he could make sense of the situation. Now let’s look at the long answer.
The book of Job is one intriguing book in the Bible that has led to some erroneous believes about the nature of God and one of such beliefs which I would try to correct with this question is the lie that God was behind the fire and other attacks Job experienced.
The key point of contention is the phrase “the fire from God” that was made by a certain messenger of Job. This man assumed God sent the fire but that can’t be true because a couple of verses earlier we see Satan telling God about his plan to attack Job, so clearly it was an attack of the devil who is the prince of this world. The following points will explain why it wasn’t a fire from God.
- There was no sign from heaven announcing the fire or labeling the fire as from God. We can therefore conclude that calling it a fire from God was definitely his opinion based on the age he was in. People then credited God for everything that happened good or evil.
- There was no revelation of Satan and his ways back then. This is evident because the devil is mentioned between 5 to 8 times in the Old testament (One day I would count it). This showed that this man credited God for everything both good and bad. This is the same view Job had that’s why he said the Lord gives and the Lord takes. Another error.
- God was also not fully revealed in the Old Testament. Lets see why from the scriptures. Hebrews 1:1-3
1. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: This scripture shows us that in the old testament spoke in various ways to them (parables, prophesies etc) but today he has spoken by Jesus. This simply means God chose Jesus to show us his real image. In verse 3 of the scripture above it is written clearly that Jesus is the express image of God’s person. Meaning to know the nature of God you need to see Jesus and clearly this man was ignorant of this information of God because Jesus wasn’t revealed in the Old Testament. In John 1:18 it says No one has seen God at anytime but the one and only son has declared him. Meaning Jesus declares and shows us God clearly.
- Jesus the revelation of God does not kill. We established that Jesus reveals God today to us and we also see that in Col 1: 15 where Paul describes him as the image of the invisible God. Now John 10:10 says the enemy(devil) comes to steal kill and destroy but I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly. This is profound; Jesus that we have established as the explanation or understanding of God sets a big difference between what he does and what the devil does. He said he gives life and the devil takes them. That’s as clear as daylight. From this we can easily conclude that since the fire led to loss it didn’t come from God but from the devil that was so lowkey the messenger didn’t know.
- We also learn that God is light and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). Another consistent revelation of the character of God. This is very evident in Jesus life.
- Jesus shows us that mans view of God from men in the old testament could be wrong. A classic example of this is a story in Luk 9:51-56 where Jesus wasn’t received by a group of people and the disciples quoted an old testament story where Elijah rained fire on innocents to make Jesus do the same. What did Jesus do in Vs 55? He rebuked them and claimed they did not know what kind of spirit they were. The most important word here is “know”. They lacked knowledge on the nature of God and that is why they felt God would approve on killing anyone. Infact this also shows that Elijah was also ignorant in this regard and he acted based on that ignorance. If Jesus does not kill God does not kill either and just like Elijah that guy was also wrong.
In summary, there are more points that can be made to explain this but the simple truth is the man lacked understanding of who God was and his true nature and he therefore wrongly described an act of the devil as an act of God.
The reason why I asked this question is to make you think deeply when studying the Old testament. Wanted you to realize that the fact it is written in the Bible doesn’t mean we should not use our mind to analyze and interpret what was written. God doesn’t change but mans view of God does and we must put that into consideration when reading the Bible.
You may say but the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore every word is from the Holy Spirit. Please take note that inspired does not mean written, you can be inspired by someone to do something but it will remain subject to you knowledge and understanding. For example I can get inspired to write a beautiful poem or sing a song because of a beautiful lady but my execution will be different from someone that is a skilled musician. I don’t have an awesome voice so it doesn’t matter how inspired I am my music will not be an accurate representation of the inspiration I received but I know you would agree with me that a certain Sam Smith will be able to beautifully express that inspiration in music. My skill and knowledge of music will limit the quality of music I put out just like a mans knowledge of God will also limit or enhance his view of God. In this case it limited his view because he lacked full understanding as a spiritually dead man that could not discern spiritual things.
Finally guys we are lucky and just like it is easier to see what happens when you have a larger view of a situation we have to opportunity to see things from a large view because of the New Covenant. Lets utilize this priviledge that this man, Elijah and many others in the old testament lacked. No more errors guys let’s focus on the truth of God’s nature as revealed in Christ.
Let me know what you think in the comment section, the question is still open for discussion to whoever is willing.
Thanks for reading and God bless