Job complained about his situation, but it doesn't seem that God was displeased with Job's complaining as much as his demand for God to answer.
One of my professors said, "God never laid sin at the feet of Job, and so we should not either." He was not implying that he thought Job was sinless, but we must be careful when pointing out error in Job within the book. The book seems to have as a presupposition that Job is a righteous man. God in his rebuking of Eliphaz and his friends seems to indicate that Job has not sinned (not in the absolute sense, which Job even says himself; see Job 10).
I have wrestled with Philippians 2:14, trying to implement this into my worldview. Being under the conviction that God is absolutely meticulously sovereign, I realize (at the intellectual level) that all events especially in the Christian life is for our good and for God's glory ultimately. I also know that no matter whatever happens in our life, it is much better than we deserve; God has never wronged a single fallen human. With all of this in mind, this should produce (with truth bearing fruit in my emotions, worldview, and heart) full joy, where one man who mentors me (and I think he genuinely feels this way) says when asked, "How are you doing?" "Hey! I've never had a bad day praise God!" Now I am aware that this will never be perfected in this life, but we should nevertheless pursue perfection.
Back to Job. As I was reading though Job this time, there came to my attention an error in my understanding currently. My understanding of Philippians 2:14 makes it seem that Paul would have told Job, "Hey! You just need to stop your complaining. You seem to be forgetting that you are the clay and He is the potter." However, if the book of Job has the presupposition that Job was a righteous man, and yet almost the entire book where Job is speaking, he is complaining, it seems to undermine its presupposition.
In thinking about this, I know how it is important to be honest about how we feel. If I am battling with serious depression (as my wife's doctor has told her when she refuses certain medications like ones that deal with nausea), there is no award for being tough. How can all the body suffer when one members suffer (1 Corinthians 12:26) if we are not honest with one another about our pain?
What about God? How can we grow in intimacy with God without voicing our pain? Do we need to tell Him in order for Him to know? No. Neither do we need to confess our sin to Him or pray at all as a means to inform God. There does seem to be something about speaking it to God that makes it real to us. This all seems to be apparent in the Psalms as the Psalmist is "complaining" to God. "God, how long? How long will you turn Your face from me? How long will You remain silent in my affliction?"
With all of this in mind, it seems that Paul would not be bashing all types of complaining (I realize that in the NASB and I think most translations the words are "grumbling" and "dispute"), but this then demands how does one pursue righteous complaining. What complaining feeds relationship with God and what feeds the flesh?
Maybe this makes sense.
Last Edit: Feb 6, 2014 18:06:38 GMT -5 by athanasius
Post by Mike Miller on Feb 10, 2014 16:16:57 GMT -5
I think this is really a semantic issue. While we say that Job and certain psalmists "complained," we are not talking about the same kind of thing that is discouraged in Philippians 2:14. Job expressed his confusion and questions to God. Numerous Psalms do the same thing. I encourage people to be honest with God about their feelings. However, the complaining mentioned in Philippians is more of a grumbling. In other words, this isn't just expressing our questions or even our displeasure, this is grumbling. For example, if I go home at the end of the day and say to my wife, "Today was a hard day," and I begin telling her about various problems I faced, that is not necessarily grumbling or complaining. However, if I go home at the end of the day with a negative attitude about all I have to put up with and all I endure, and if talk about how unfair my life is and how unappreciated I am, and if I go on and on, that would be grumbling. At times, the line might be unclear between the two, so it really seems to be a heart issue. Grumbling is an expression of an ungrateful heart, while I can still express difficulty or displeasure with a grateful and worshipful heart.