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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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Theodicy; the vindication of divine goodness and providence in view of the existence of evil.
We’re going to open today’s devotion with a definition, and the word we’re defining is “theodicy.” In layman’s terms, the definition of theodicy means, “God is right even though things seem wrong.” In all likelihood, most of us haven’t used this word in a conversation, but it’s just as likely that it has been a point of contention in each of our lives.
We’d be hard pressed to find a person who hasn’t, at some point in their life, pushed back against this concept. “If God is all-good and all-powerful, then how can He possibly allow evil and injustice?” I’ve asked that question, so have you, and so did Job. In fact, the bulk of the book bearing Job’s name is a tug of war with theodicy. On one hand, Job knows God’s sovereign benevolence . . . yet he’s also up close and personal with a suffering that seems so wrong.
The tug of war ends when God speaks into the situation. How is Job’s wrestle to be reconciled? What can God possibly say to vindicate Himself? Watch what He says: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding” (Job 38:4 NKJV).
Interesting! God doesn’t go into a defensive diatribe. He doesn’t even apologize for anything. Instead He asks as question. Yet as is always the case with God, the question is actually a statement. God is saying, “Job, you weren’t the one who created everything . . . I was. You can’t begin to understand how everything in existence works, and you’re not in a position to judge Me.”
It’s human nature for us to think we know more than we actually do and to lose our sense of perspective with God. We see an instance of evil or injustice, and we rush to judge the Creator who allowed it—blind to the infinity of factors that only He sees and understands and ignorant to the ways in which He is working them together for an ultimate good. The injustice is actually on our part to presume we know enough to judge Him!
Theodicy begins by recognizing where we stand in relation to God, which is why He reminds us, through Job, of who He is and who we aren’t.
DIG: What does theodicy mean and how does it relate to the Book of Job?
DISCOVER: How did God respond to the judgments made about Him? What should you remember when you’re tempted to judge God?
DO: If you have ever found yourself in the position of judging God, remember today that you only see a tiny, miniscule fraction of the whole picture that God sees and is sovereign over. Remember that His ways are greater than ours and His wisdom and power go beyond anything we could ever imagine. Ask Him for forgiveness today for judging Him and His will, and ask for a heart of humility that recognizes who He is and who we are.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.