Should There Be Faultfinding with God?
When we cannot understand God’s way’s, is it wise to find fault with God or to question his righteousness?
WE CAN learn a valuable lesson from the experience of that faithful servant of God, Job. Job did not possess the knowledge that God was allowing Satan to put his integrity to the test, to see whether he would be faithful to God. Job kept his integrity to God despite his sufferings. Yet, lacking knowledge of the great issue involved, he declared “his own soul righteous rather than God.” And in his distress he said: “I certainly am in the right, but God himself has turned aside the judgment of me.”—Job 32:2; 34:5.
However, Elihu told Job wherein he had not been in the right: “Only you have said in my ears, and the sound of your words I kept hearing, ‘I am pure without transgression; clean I am, and I have no error. Look! Occasions for opposition to me he [God] finds, he takes me for an enemy of his. He puts my feet in the stocks, he watches all my paths.’ Look! In this you have not been in the right.”—Job 33:8-12.
To give Job a proper understanding of the matter, the Almighty spoke to Job out of the windstorm. In a series of questions the Almighty asked Job how he could account for the wisdom in God’s manifold works of creation. Could he even fathom it all? The many examples drawn from the visible creation, including animals, showed Job that man was utterly incompetent to judge the ways of God. We can benefit by noting God’s questions regarding
THE HORSE AND ITS QUALITIES
“Can you give to the horse mightiness? Can you clothe its neck with a rustling mane? Can you cause it to leap like a locust? The dignity of its snorting is frightful. It paws in the low plain and exults in power; it goes forth to meet armor. It laughs at dread, and is not terrified; nor does it turn back on account of a sword. Against it a quiver rattles, the blade of a spear and a javelin. With pounding and excitement it swallows up the earth, and it does not believe that it is the sound of a horn. As soon as the horn blows it says Aha! And from far off it smells the battle, the uproar of chiefs and the war cry.”—Job 39:19-25.
Did Job endow the horse with these remarkable qualities? Did he give the horse its mightiness or clothe its neck with the rustling mane? Who gave the horse its ability to leap like a locust? Not man. Further, “the dignity of its snorting is frightful”; so much so that Jeremiah 8:16 says: “From Dan has been heard the snorting of his horses. Due to the sound of the neighing of his stallions the whole land has begun to rock.”
The monuments of antiquity abound with pictorial representations of the warhorse, and the horse is often referred to in the Bible as a symbol for war equipment. Horses were used to draw chariots in which the driver and one or two fighting men rode or as mounts for the warriors who fought from horseback. Israel for a long time won its battles without horses, but later they became common in Israel and Judah and were used in battle.—1 Ki. 22:4.
A war-horse, impatient for the battle, neighs and beats the ground with his hoofs. Jehovah’s description shows that it laughs at dread and does not turn back on account of a sword; and the quiver and spear, the arms of the rider, only intensify its eagerness to go forth to meet the armor of the enemy. Wrote English archaeologist Sir Austin Layard: “Although docile as a lamb, and requiring no other guide than the halter, when the Arab mare hears the war-cry of the tribe, and sees the quivering spear of her rider, her eyes glitter with fire, her blood-red nostrils open wide, her neck is nobly arched, and her tail and mane are raised and spread out to the wind.”
When the sound of the horn is heard, the horse can hardly believe what his ears tell him; he cannot believe it for his joy. But when he is certain that it is true, he leaps forward, saying “Aha!” He neighs. He rejoices. Forward he goes, ‘swallowing up the ground,’ which is an expression for prodigious swiftness in use among Arabians to the present day.
Yet this intrepid animal is easily subjected to man and made to obey the voice of the rider.
Has any man created this wonder of beauty and intrepidity and endowed him with these extraordinary qualities? Jehovah is its Creator, and He is the One whom the Bible shows also gives to his enthroned King Jesus Christ and the holy angels of heaven war mounts to charge courageously and swiftly into the war of Armageddon at the sound of the war trumpet, riding forward to God’s victory, as Revelation shows: “I saw the heaven opened, and, look! a white horse. And the one seated upon it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. Also, the armies that were in heaven were following him on white horses.”—Rev. 19:11, 14.
THE FALCON AND THE EAGLE
With more probing questions to correct Job’s thinking, Jehovah continued: “Is it owing to your understanding that the falcon soars up, that it spreads its wings to the south wind? Or is it at your order that an eagle flies upward and that it builds its nest high up, that on a crag it resides and stays during the night upon the tooth of a crag and an inaccessible place? From there it has to search for food; far into the distance its eyes keep looking. And its young ones themselves keep sipping up blood; and where the slain are, there it is.”—Job 39:26-30.
Is it owing to man’s understanding that the falcon is remarkable for the force with which it flies? No, it is not because of human wisdom that the falcon spreads its wings to the south wind, indicating great strength of wing.
God now turns his attention to the eagle, sometimes called the king of birds. God had opened the series of questions regarding the animal creation with the lion, the king of beasts. (Job 38:39) Now, closing this section of his speech, the Almighty asks Job about the king of the birds. Is it due to Job’s order that the eagle is remarkable in four ways?
First, the height of the eagle’s flight. The eagle “flies upward,” to immense heights. No bird is said to soar as high or to have such strength of wing. This power of flight has come from God.
Then there is the security of the eagle’s nest, because “it builds its nest high up,” even “on a crag it resides . . . upon the tooth of a crag.” Other birds are content with lower elevations, but the eagle builds on inaccessible heights, and thus sets her young out of reach of danger. Is it at man’s order that this bird makes her nest her castle, building it upon the “tooth of a crag”?
Third is the eagle’s farsightedness. God says: “Far into the distance its eyes keep looking.” No man gave the eagle its penetrating vision, enabling it to scan the wide expanse of the country and pierce into the deep ravines. Eagles have the peculiar ability to change the focus of their eyes rapidly, a great help in catching their prey. Commenting on their vision, Rutherford Platt writes in The River of Life:
“We find the championship eyes of the whole animal kingdom high in the daylight sky—they are the eyes of the eagle, the vulture, and the hawk. So keen are they that they can look down from a thousand feet in the air and spot a rabbit or a grouse half hidden in the grass.
“Sharp eyesight of the hunter eye is caused by the reflection of the object falling on a dense clump of pointed, cone-shaped cells. This tiny spot in the back of the eyeball absorbs light rays from the object through thousands of points, in a special manner which summons up a clear image in the mind. For almost all hunters, such as the skunk, the cougar, and ourselves, the single spot of cones is enough; we look straight ahead and approach directly the object of our gaze. But not so the eagle or the hawk, which, having fixed the rabbit in the grass with its sharp focusing cones, may then approach by a long, slanting dive. This causes the image of the target to move across the back of the eyeball on a curved path. Such a path is precisely plotted for the eagle eye so that instead of a clump of cones the diving bird has a curved path of cones. As the eagle zooms down, the rabbit in the grass is thus held in constant focus. It may seem to be a very small point that the curving path of the focusing cells in the eyeball corresponds exactly to the curving path of the dive, but it is of great importance to the individuals involved, and I wonder who thought of it.”
The Creator did! He, not man, has conferred on the eagle this marvelous eyesight.
Fourth is the remarkable way the eagle has of maintaining herself and her young. Some species of eagles do not disdain the carcasses of animals that have recently died, and thus their food supply comes from two sources: What is already dead and what they catch. Eagles prey upon small animals, which they seize and carry to their young ones. Baby eagles, still too feeble to devour flesh, sip up the blood of the prey. So the eagle maintains herself and her family by swiftness of wings and keenness of sight and the ability to capture prey and also by finding and searching out the bodies of the slain. “Where the slain are, there it is.”
GETTING THE PROPER VIEWPOINT
Following those words about his creation, animate and inanimate, Jehovah asks out of the windstorm: “Should there be any contending of a faultfinder with the Almighty? Let the reprover of God himself answer it.”—Job 40:1, 2.
Jehovah has spoken. Those words about God’s wonders in nature brought Job into the proper state of mind, to see that the creature is nothing in comparison with the Creator, that in the face of God’s grandeur, Job’s “declaring his own soul righteous rather than God” was not the thing to do. Since Jehovah has evinced so much power and wisdom in his visible creation and since there is also so much that surpasses man’s comprehension, God is entitled to implicit trust. Whatever God does, whether immediately understood by man or not, the only proper feeling for man is that God does what is right. It would be the height of presumption to question any part of God’s doings at the bar of human judgment. Who, then, will do any contending of a faultfinder with the Almighty? Certainly not Job. “Job went on to answer Jehovah and say: ‘Look! I have become of little account. What shall I reply to you? My hand I have put over my mouth. Once have I spoken, and I will not answer; and twice, and I will add nothing.’” Job’s remorse was not wordy; nothing to smack of self-righteousness. It was simply: “I have become of little account.”—Job 40:3-5.
Jehovah’s further words show the wisdom of Job’s expression:
“And Jehovah went on to answer Job out of the windstorm and say: ‘Gird up your loins, please, like an able-bodied man; I shall question you, and you inform me. Really, will you invalidate my justice? Will you pronounce me wicked in order that you may be in the right? Or do you have an arm like that of the true God, and with a voice like his can you make it thunder? Deck yourself, please, with superiority and highness; and with dignity and splendor may you clothe yourself. Let flow the furious outbursts of your anger, and see every one haughty and bring him low. See every one haughty, humble him, and tread down the wicked right where they are. Hide them together in the dust, bind their very faces in the hidden place, and I, even I, shall commend you, because your right hand can save you.’”—Job 40:6-14.
Will any man question God’s right to be Universal Sovereign? Has any man an “arm like God” to abase the proud and wicked and hide them in the dust of the earth, as God will do at the war of Armageddon? If so, then says Jehovah, “I, even I, shall commend you, because your right hand can save you.” It is not man but Jehovah’s arm and right hand that will deliver righteous men from the wicked. Armageddon is God’s battle for the vindication of his sovereignty. No creatures on earth will need to fight in that war for God. So if man cannot do God’s work, what right has any man to say God does not do it well? He can never have the right to impugn God’s actions.
We must be careful not to charge God with injustice or to be found faultfinding with the divine way. “We are not stronger than he is, are we?” (1 Cor. 10:22) Let us remember the words of Isaiah 45:9: “Woe to the one that has contended with his Former, as an earthenware fragment with the other earthenware fragments of the ground! Should the clay say to its former: ‘What do you make?’”
Let us realize our proper place, as Job did. Under the influence of the new knowledge that Job had gained, he realized the impotence of man and the greatness of God. Like Job, Christians need to get the true size of themselves, they need to see how insignificant their justification is compared with the vindication of Jehovah’s name and sovereignty. Let there be no faultfinding with God. Let our words be: “To my Fashioner I shall ascribe righteousness.”—Job 36:3.