26th December 2012

Question Time

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said:… ‘Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’”
Job 38:1, 3 (NIV)

In the UK, Question Time is BBC TV’s long-running flagship political debate programme where questions on important issues of the day are submitted by a studio audience to be answered by a panel of public figures.

At the beginning of the book of Job, God gives a glowing testimonial to the character and conduct of Job. “There is no-one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8). Later on in the book God conducts his own question time session with Job, but the questions asked raise important issues for the whole of humanity. For example, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?…Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons?…Do you know the laws of the heavens?  Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?…Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? Then adorn yourself with glory and splendour, and clothe yourself in honour and majesty.” (Job 38:4, 32-33, 40:9-10)  What God has outlined in question form are aspects of his own abilities and characteristics.  If Job had these qualities then God states, “Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you.” (Job 40:14)

The point being made is that, despite Job being blameless and upright, he cannot save himself. Salvation cannot be gained or lost through personal performance. Only God can save and therefore Job, like the rest of humanity, was in need of a saviour. God then adds a further point, “Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me” (Job 41:11). God cannot be put under any sort of obligation through good deeds and actions, nor can he be manipulated through techniques such as “naming and claiming”.

Despite the superficiality, commercialism and excesses of the Christmas period, it is a time when Christians are encouraged to acknowledge and reflect on their need for a saviour. Although the exact date when the word became flesh is still debated, the story of Christ’s birth is retold and commemorated at Christmas as a reminder that God has entered into history at his appointed time, at a particular place and as one particular person, Jesus. Whenever his birth was, all Christians can agree with the sentiment expressed by an angel that this event was, “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” that, “in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

Father in heaven, we thank you that your Son willingly gave up his power and glory to become a human being that, through grace, we might receive salvation.

Study by Eddie Marsh

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