Today the world stands in awe of the accomplishments of science. Man is surrounded by mechanical inventions. But God seems so far off in this twentieth century. Why?
WHEN 2,975 undergraduates at 11 colleges were asked about their belief in a God, only 1% reported they were atheists (Religions in America, edited by Leo Rosten, p. 304). But, paradoxically, in a society which professes belief in God, man finds it ever HARDER to see where God — or God's Word — has anything to do with daily life. God seems so far off! Perhaps you find yourself in this position! Does God seem "way off" to you? If He does, then you need to understand why! Did you know that God has devoted one entire book in His Bible — the book of Job — showing the experiences of a man who had this same problem?
Why God Was Unreal to Job
Job believed in God. He was not an atheist. In that one sense, at least he was like those college undergraduates. Job not only believed in God, he obeyed Him. That was rare! Notice Job's good deeds! He wept for those in trouble (Job 30:25). His integrity was unquestionable (Job 31:6). He was not guilty of adultery (Job 31:9-10). His servants received just wages and fair treatment (Job 31:13). The widows were relieved of their suffering through his efforts (Job 31:16). These are only a few of the works of Job (read the remainder of Job 31). God Himself said of Job: "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a PERFECT and an UPRIGHT man, one that feareth God, and escheweth [shuns) evil?" (Job 1:8) Then what was wrong with Job?
Job Was a Scientist
Job was no average man — either in character or in his abilities. The Bible explains that "this man (Job) was the GREATEST OF ALL THE MEN of the east" (Job 1:3). It will come as a shock to many but it can be proved! Through the skill of Job, was built the most massive structure on the face of the earth today — THE GREAT PYRAMID OF EGYPT! Read the accompanying eye-opening article explaining the historical proof. The Great Pyramid was put into place so accurately that one is unable to insert a penknife — to this day — between the joints of its inner stones. What scientific EXACTNESS! — and on the most massive building in the whole world! Job would have been on the TOP of the honor role in any modern-day technological university. Job also would have been among the 99% of college students who reported they believed in a God. Yet, God allowed Satan to afflict Job with painful boils and the loss of his children and possessions that he might learn a valuable lesson (see Job 1:6-2:8). That lesson has been written and preserved in the Bible for your benefit! God's Word tells us in I Corinthians 10:11: "Now all these things [which includes the trial and lesson of Job) happened unto them for ensamples [an example, type or figure): and they were written for OUR admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." On THIS generation, as in no other, the ends of this world — this society — are come. In OUR time, the prophesied "time of the end," ALL mankind will have to learn the same lesson Job did! Listen now to what God Himself told Job.
Turn to the beginning of the 38th chapter of the book of Job. We read: "Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE? Gird up now thy loins like a man: for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me" (Job 38:1-3). Notice! One of the first words the Creator told Job was that he (Job) was "WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE!" What a strange paradox indeed! God said Job — the greatest man of all the men of the east, the "brain" behind the building of the greatest structure on the face of all the earth — was WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE! WHY would God say a thing like this? Do you suppose God would say the same thing to the thousands of 'students in the 11 colleges who professed belief in Him? Do these soon-to-be great men in chemistry, astronomy, biology, physics, and geology need to learn the same lesson Job did? And — more important — perhaps you need to learn this lesson! Does God seem unreachable to you? Does He seem only like a sentimental thought for the day? Most religious people, like Job, have an active round of "do's" and "don'ts," yet never seem to know God as they should. They — like Job — are going about doing seemingly "good works," yet God is still far away to them. Belief and good works are not enough! It isn't enough to be a "good Joe" — or a "good Job"! God wants each one of you — whether you be a farmer, a clerk, a housewife, a scientist or whatever you might be — to know Him as Job came to know Him. God required Job to answer a number of questions: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of THE EARTH? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the cornerstone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4-7) Job built the Great Pyramid in Egypt. He was there when the foundation was laid for it. He was there when the lines were stretched out in anxious anticipation of its building. Job, you see, was a king of Egypt. He really got excited about his little project — the "Great" Pyramid. Job knew God created the earth. Job knew the earth was here before he came into being. He took the earth for granted. He accepted the fact that God had created it. But he had never COMPARED his own works with those of God! He had always compared his achievements with the achievements of other MEN — and he knew no man could approach what he had done! Comparing himself to those of lesser ability gave him the "big head." Maybe you, too, have been comparing yourself with men — seeing how your accomplishments are so much greater than or lesser than those of other men. You shouldn't (II Cor. 10:12). Instead of comparing yourself with other puny mortal men, compare yourself with GOD! How do YOU "stack up" with GOD? How do you think Job felt when he compared the line he stretched forth to build the Great Pyramid with the INCOMPREHENSIBLE EXPANSE OF THE UNIVERSE! How do your efforts compare with the Almighty's? Too many — like Job — believe in God only because it's "reasonable." Every now and then a leading magazine will publish an article telling why a scientist believes in God or why a certain person believes in God. Quite often, the reasons are good, sound reasons. But, all too often, the real application and significance of that reason is not understood. In like manner, many today have a mystical idea of God, they go through the ritual each week of attending church services, and with their lips they profess there is a God. Yet, like Job, they are "without knowledge." This is NOT speaking of physical knowledge. Man is increasing his knowledge about the physical world and universe around him every day — at a rate which staggers even the experts. Job was skilled in the various sciences. He had done many great things. But Job was without the knowledge of how great God is and what man's relationship should be to that God. Job was used to cataloguing and collecting facts and applying them in his own pursuits. This is what man is doing today. In this materialistic age we easily see the accomplishments of man — the cities of steel and concrete, with masses of cars rushing back and forth, jetliners zooming overhead. True, we are accumulating a vast store of technical knowledge. But where is God? Have we — like Job — gotten so close to OUR OWN "pyramids" — our OWN accomplishments — that we cannot comprehend GOD'S greatness? This is what happened to Job. His own personal achievements loomed BIG in his mind. He thought HE was the great one — and wondered how God ever got along so long without him! It took a direct visit from God Himself to bring Job low! Notice further what God told Job: "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades [a group of seven stars), or loose the bands of Orion [a well-known star constellation)? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus (a star) with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances (laws) of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are?" (Job 38:31-35) Job knew he could only see the stars. He could not MAKE them! But God not only made the stars, He SUSTAINS them and keeps them on course! Now look at insignificant man. Puny man is now able to tap a tiny bit of the same power which causes the stars to shine. From that power man devises weapons of war to DESTROY himself (see Matt. 24:22 ). God uses His great power wisely. But when man gets a little power, he becomes so vain he abuses that power. In like manner man invented the telescope. With the aid of the telescope the VASTNESS of God's universe begins to be seen in even more of its glory. But, what have men done? Instead of praising the One who MADE all the vast universe their telescopes revealed, they began to praise the one who made the telescope! Man began to set up SCIENCE as a god, and FORGOT about the true God! This is exactly what Job did! He could see his own works and how great they were in comparison to the works of other men. But he forgot how small and puny they were when compared with GOD'S handiwork! No wonder God seems "far off" to most people. They reflect on their own works and forget about God's. Meteorologists are able to study the weather, but they are not able to CONTROL it. GOD controls the weather. It is GOD who says: "I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered" (Amos 4:7). Whatever accomplishment one might name that man has done, GOD has done something greater. What if man has put a satellite weighing several tons in orbit? How does that compare with the moon in orbit around THE EARTH, or the earth in orbit around THE SUN, or the sun in orbit around THE CENTER OF OUR GALAXY, or our galaxy — called the Milky Way — which is in orbit with still OTHER GALAXIES? Vast multiplicate systems, each composed of billions of stars, all orbiting in a systematic way! Can man accomplish something like this? WHERE were the three billion people on the earth today when all this went into orbit? Is there ANY man on earth today who can answer that question and still feel BIG and IMPORTANT? What do you think "your opinion" means to God who sets before you life and death and commands you to choose? Do you think you can approach Him who made you on the basis of your own works? Job thought he could — until the ETERNAL GOD HIMSELF appeared before him in a GIGANTIC WHIRLWIND and showed Job just how small and lowly he was — and how little his works were when compared to the magnificence of God's great works. Our own works are much less than Job's works: they are as filthy rags in the sight of God. Read it in Isaiah 64:6. Don't try to measure up to Job's standards, but to God's standard of excellence. Yes, there is a great difference between knowing there is a God and COMPARING one's self with the handiworks of God and seeing one's own Insignificance.
Job, after all his much suffering and heartache, had to admit: "I have HEARD of thee (God) by the hearing of the ears: but NOW MINE EYE SEETH THEE" (Job 42:5). Yes, even though walking before God perfectly, Job had still not come to see his own Insignificance and the GREATNESS OF GOD. Job's measuring rod had been himself — not God. WHY does God want us to compare ourselves with Him? Is it in order to appease a harsh, stern God who selfishly wants people to worship him? No! This is not God's purpose. This is the false concept Satan has foisted off on an unsuspecting, deceived world. GOD'S purpose is to SHARE HIS VAST UNIVERSE, His vast POWER with US. Can we visualize the magnitude of the goal He has placed before us — can we see ourselves as utterly insignificant compared with God's greatness? Why can't we be willing to turn from our foolish ways to God's way and be privileged to share His greatness? Astounding? Yes, to a world doped with wrong teachings about the Bible. If you have not understood the TREMENDOUS purpose for which you were born, then you should write — without delay — for Mr. Armstrong's amazing booklet entitled "Why Were You Born?" You will learn the real meaning of Job's experience.
What All This Means to You
God is soon going to allow this world to be afflicted — just as Job was. The world is going to become filled with infested BOILS. Read it, in Revelation 16:10-11. And not until it bitterly REPENTS of having gone its own ways — ways which have produced hatred, strife, hunger, disease, and wars — will God pour out BLESSINGS upon it, even as He did to Job AFTER Job repented (read Job 42:10-17 ). Job was willing to say: "Wherefore I ABHOR MYSELF, and REPENT in dust and ashes" (Job 42:6). If you are willing to repent of YOUR own way, YOUR own righteousness, then you can begin now preparing yourself — with God's help — for a glorious position in the soon-coming government of God. The world has a BIG lesson to learn in the few remaining years before Christ's return, but you can learn this lesson NOW, if you will seek God WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND (Isa. 55:6-9). Jump to our companion articles What Is Real Repentance? and False Conversion — A Mortal Danger! You need to BE SURE you are not like Job!