Reformed Commentary on Job: Chapter 9

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In Job 9, we extrapolate a doctrine on Job and delve into the issues of self-righteousness and God’s imposition of justice.

Chapter 9 (For Previous Chapter Click Here)

It is very difficult to interpret certain passages of Job, because in some ways there needs to be a doctrine on Job. Is Job mostly right in his complaints or are they mostly wrong? Should we take what he says with a grain of salt, or are we missing out on some great truth if we ignore his points? Is Job the good guy who is always right and his friends the bad guys who are always wrong?

Commentaries have generally taken the approach that Job is pretty much always right, as if he was the voice of Jesus Christ throughout the book. This is pretty much Gregory the Great’s interpretation of the book.

Thomas Aquinas’ commentary on the book does not quite exalt Job to such heights, but it likewise defends Job and rationalizes what he says in such a way so there is nothing negative about it. For example, in Chapter 33 in his commentary he writes that, “Job however wished to dispute with God to learn as a student does with a master.” Hence, when we read some pretty harsh accusations against God, Aquinas’ view is that Job’s questions are asked in an inquisitive fashion, but not in anguish and perhaps, grave disappointment with the God he thought he knew. This means, when Job is clearly laying his case to God to show Him where He is not right in the book, Aquinas’ interpretation would not allow for this. Job and God are always on the same side. Matthew Henry is another interpreter who also takes this position.

Since the Reformation, there has been a reevaluation of Gregory the Great’s caricature of Job. Silas Durand’s commentary, though given to the allegorical heights of Gregory the Great, sums it up quite succinctly: “Job has been murmuring under the mighty hand of God, thus contending with him, and reproving him for laying his hand so heavily upon one so feeble and insignificant, exhibiting the rebellious disposition of our poor fallen nature” (The Trial of Job, XIX).  Joseph Caryl, who we are very much indebted to, has notably taken the approach that many things that Job had said required correction from both Elihu and God.  More recent conservative interpreters, such as John Piper, have taken the approach that Job is grappling with the nature of God, which leaves the door open for falsehoods to leave his mouth.

However, modern liberal commentators, such as J. Gerald Janzen and James L. Crenshaw take more of the traditionalist approach towards the character of Job. They interpret the words out of Job’s mouth as a critique against the traditional Jewish view of God and of course, the critical commentators like a character critical of God. Regardless why liberal commentators feel the way they do, we don’t want to dismiss the traditional interpretations of Job out of hand, because they are even to this day the majority viewpoint.

For the sake of this commentary, we will interpret Job through the lens of how he is literally portrayed in the story. It is our hope that this avoids interpretive and heremeneutical difficulties. If we do this, the soundest approach is to not presume that everything Job says is correct and merely judge what he says by their own merits when judged by the rest of the Scripture. However, we must keep in mind that it theoretically can lend us the wrong interpretation if the medieval, allegorical views of Job are correct.

How does the book actually portray the man? He is a blameless man and did not do anything obvious to deserve suffering, but he does speak things he must later recant. A doctrine of a less than perfect Job allows to to square the facts that his three friends are wrong, yet at the same time Elihu’s and God’s responses correcting Job are correct. After all, when God says to Job, “Who is this that darkens counsel, by words without knowledge?,” (Job 38:2) we don’t want to turn God into a liar by saying the Job was not “darkening” God’s counsel in his speeches.*

*For a further discussion of the inadequacy of the majority doctrine of Job’s theological perfection, see chapter 38.

In response to Job 5:27 and Job 8:10, where Eliphaz and Bildad assert that they have certainty in what they say, Job appears to respond sarcastically to their view of the truth in the first verse. He does not disagree with them, but then via an argumentum ad absurdum shows what the logical extreme of such arguments would force us to defend. And so, Job starts:

In truth I know that this is so; (likely sarcasm is intended here)

But how can a man be in the right before God? (see Job 4:17)

If one wished to dispute with Him,

He could not answer Him once in a thousand times.

Wise in heart and mighty in strength,

Who has defied Him without harm?

It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how,

When He overturns them in His anger (Job 9:1-5).

Job does not agree that man is incapable of being just before God. Being that Job knew of the importance of repentance, sacrifice, and faith in God (see chapter 1), we have reason to believe that he understood his right standing before God was a gift of sustaining grace. However, Eliphaz purely sees God anthropocentrically, being manipulated by the good and bad actions of men to bless or curse them. When hearing the voice of Satan, Eliphaz apparently added to this theology that because man is always unjust, God can simply crush man with impunity.

Understanding that this is where Eliphaz, and essentially Bildad, is coming from, Job essentially says, “Yes, I will concede a man cannot be right before God, but why?” The next few verses cover why. If not for a specific sin, as Job knows is not the case for him, then such a god that Eliphaz and Bildad paint simply makes man in the wrong by imposing it by overwhelming force.

Hence, such a god is just not because its nature is flawless, but rather he cannot be reasoned with or opposed due to it power to decide things unilaterally. This is why, by verse five, God’s justice is seen even in His seemingly arbitrary desire to cause earthquakes because of an unquenched anger. If God wants it so, even for the wrong reasons, it is so and we have to say that it is right because no one is in the position to question Him. Obviously, Job is assaulting God’s justice here.

The next few verses essentially communicate the idea of “might makes right” that Thrasymachus asserts in Plato’s Republic. God has power over the Earth, the heavens, and the sea: both making them and controlling them. In fact, the way He controls the ocean parallels verse five in the way it portrays God acting out of unquenchable anger:

Who alone stretches out the heavens and tramples down the waves of the sea…God will not turn back His anger; beneath Him crouch the helpers of Rahab (Job 9:8,13).

The chaotic primordial sea, personified by the great sea monster Leviathan/Rahab, is not merely held in place but mercilessly crushed. Job in some ways appears wrongly sympathetic to Leviathan and his demonic “helpers”, and has already wished that it would swallow up the day of his birth. Nonetheless, the picture we see here is clear. God is not gentle in exacting His justice, but rather harsh, and Job in later verses minces no meat about it. He is terrified by such a god and prefers to be left alone.

However, there is a major error in this line of thinking: Job is being anthropocentric in his own thinking. He rightly assumes the universe is not anthropocentric and points to God’s great power, as God does Himself later, to prove it. However, who is a man to accuse God of being harsh or unjust? What is man’s measure?

This is what we think the heart of Elihu’s complaint that Job “justifies himself rather than God,” because even when Job concedes God’s greatness and justice, he does so begrudgingly, not fully understanding God’s nature and instead misattributing to God a gravely harsh character.  For example, Job says that if “He [were] to pass by me, I would not see Him; were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him” (Job 9:11). Granted, this does reflect God’s greatness, but it makes God unapproachable and altogether terrifying. Job opines, “Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, ‘What are You doing’” (Job 9:12)? Job is not portraying God as just because of His awesome character, but rather due to His irresistible strength and position in which because of His superiority, there is no greater source of justice that may be appealed to (see Job 9:19).

Apparent in Job’s response is that he believes God to be unjust, even while he begrudgingly exalts God’s inimitability. “How then can I answer Him and choose my words before Him? For though I were right, I could not answer; I would have to implore the mercy of my judge” (Job 9:14-15). So, God is the just judge because there is no one higher to appeal to, not because He is actually right.

However, Job here is patently incorrect. The Scripture states, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds” (Psalm 145:17). Hence, it is not possible for Job to be right in this situation and God to be wrong.

Now, let’s keep Job’s suffering in mind. He does not make such accusations completely without any reason whatsoever. Job is exasperated because of his pain and suffering to the point where he is seeing stars and cannot tell left from right. “If I called and He answered me, I could not believe that He was listening to my voice,” says Job incredulously in verse 16. Why is he so dazzled?  “For He bruises me with a tempest and multiplies my wounds without cause. He will not allow me to get my breath, but saturates me with bitterness” (Job 9:17-18).

We may forgive Job for his bad theology, he appears to be aware of this and therefore reminds us of his suffering. However, he then makes some very wrong claims about himself, which we know do not square with the Scripture.

For example, Job essentially accuses God of being unjust while viewing himself as in the right: “Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me;

Though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty” (Job 9:20).

This statement should put to rest any doctrines of Job in which his theology is perfect, given that the above translation above is correct. However, translation of the terms here affects how we may go about interpreting it.

Aquinas, who ascribes to the perfect Job doctrine, gives the following commentary based upon a slightly differing translation of verse 20: “He says clearly, ‘Even if I were somewhat just,’ to show the uncertainty of human justice by using the words, ‘even if I were.’”

However, other translators, and the context of both verses 20 and 21, appear that Job is making an affirmation of his own righteousness, instead of voicing uncertainty in it as Aquinas maintains.

If I be righteous, Mine mouth doth declare me wicked, Perfect I am! — it declareth me perverse. Perfect I am! — I know not my soul, I despise my life (Job 9:20-21, YLT).

Though I am righteous [tsâdaq צדק (righteous), compare to Gen 15:6 where Abraham is declared tse dâqâh צדקה (righteous)], my mouth will condemn me; though I am guiltless [tâm (perfect)], He will declare me guilty. I am guiltless [tâm (perfect)]; I do not take notice of myself; I despise my life (Job 9:20-21, NASB).

Without expertise in Hebrew a firm conclusion cannot be drawn, because better scholarship on this issue can make a more conclusive point. Nonetheless, it appears that the words “though,” “if” or “even” are a matter of the translator’s interpretation of what belongs before the words “righteous” and “guiltless.”. So, in the original Hebrew, these statements are “I am” statements. “I am righteous…I am guiltless…I am guiltless…”

To follow Aquinas’ prefered translation, we would be putting the word “even if” in front of all those “I am” statements in order to retain translational consistency.

Even if I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; even if I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty. Even if I am guiltless; I do not take notice of myself; I despise my life (Job 9:20-21, “even if” version).

The “even if” approach turns what Job says into nonsense. How can Job not take notice of himself “even if I were guiltless?” It does not make sense. Obviously, the choice of words is because of a preconceived notion about Job that the translator approaches the text with.

If we just stick the word “though” in place of “if” in before the “I am” statements, what Job is saying is pretty straight forward.  Even though he is righteous, he stands condemned. Even though he is without guilt, God will declare him guilty. Even though he is without guilt, he does not want to even think about it, he despises his life.

Job’s assertion of his righteousness is something that deserves discussion. The Hebrew word for “righteous” that Job uses is nearly identical to the term in which the Scripture describes Abraham’s righteous standing before God as consequence of his faith. Hence, Job’s assertion is of a serious nature: He asserts that he legally has a right standing before God.

Now, we already know Job is a faithful man, so his right standing is a consequence of his faith. Further, God smiles upon Job, so we know he has His approval. So, Job’s confusion is how can he be right before God, yet seem to be in the situation where he is not, being cursed by God with terrible pains.

This returns to the “moral fabric of existence” idea we spoke of earlier. How can a righteous man, be treated by a righteous God as if he were unrighteous (see Job 9:29)? On first glance, it appears as a logical contradiction that throws Job into despair and his friends into doubt as to Job’s righteousness. The above is underlined, because it is the very meat of Job’s whole complaint. Therefore, when God addresses Job’s complaint, we get an answer to this very important question!

The moral fabric of existence is a serious concern to Job. In his confusion over the moral chaos that results from God not being retributive in nature when He deals with man’s righteousness and wickedness, Job presses the matter:

He destroys the guiltless and the wicked. If the scourge kills suddenly, He mocks the despair of the innocent. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked; He covers the faces of its judges. If it is not He, then who is it (Job 9:22-24)?

It is apparent to Job that God indiscriminately destroys the righteous, such as himself, and the wicked. There is no benefit in this life of being one over the other, at least in this life.

Thus, God is ultimately responsible for not stopping the wicked, and in Job’s eyes, therefore smiles upon them to at least some degree. We will see later that Job and his friends believe that the wicked are punished in Sheol.

We must remind ourselves, God’s permitting of evil is not equivalent to approving of it. God’s dealings with Satan, where God disagrees yet allows Satan a degree of freedom in the first chapter, preclude such a simplistic conclusion. Job, like many others, is not aware of this and begins suspecting there is some truth to Epicurus’ argument from evil.

Job ends the chapter reiterating some of the same points he has already made. He wishes for death to come quickly (Job 9:25-26) and he asserts that though he is right God can make him wrong by His sheer power to decide matters of justice (Job 9:30-32).

Concerning justice, Job pursues this point in a fanciful sort of way. He wishes there was an arbiter between him and God (Job 9:33). At this point, we know that Job is daydreaming of this because, simply put, he thinks God is wrong. If there were a higher authority than God, the “umpire” would be able to show God what the right thing to do would be.

Obviously, there is no higher authority nor more righteous being to decide such matters than God. But oftentimes when suffering, people doubt this. We shall see later in chapter 19 just exactly how Jesus Christ fits into the picture.

Preaching the Gospel to Jehovah’s Witnesses

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My wife and I live in Patterson NY, which is home to the largest or second largest headquarters for the Jehovah’s Witnesses (the other big one is in Brooklyn NY). I often come in contact with them when they need to get their cars inspected, because I work in a repair shop.

Nonetheless, for some time now my wife and I have been taking part in a “study” with a man name Lou. He is quite friendly and I am impressed by, how in the words of James White, “They will do more for a lie than we will do for the truth.” For example, many of them are bilingual so that they can preach to more people groups.

I usually am cordial and agreeable during our “studies.” However, I will look for opportunities to pull out “difficult” verses and ask for an explanation in light of their theology. Usually, they like to stick to the prepared readings and questions in their proselytizing book “What Does The Bible Really Say.” When a question goes outside of the scope they are willing to talk about they promise to “do some research” and get back to you. Lou has been 50/50 on this, but this is better than the norm I hear as most will never get back to you (or will just not talk to you ever again, because they view you as someone that cannot be made a convert.)

Apparently, there is a certain amount of hours of evangelism they need to do in a month, depending upon their position and role in the church. For all I know, Lou just likes coming over to my place because my wife and I are very kind and hospitable, and he can scratch an hour or two of his quota.

As a side note, Jehovah’s Witnesses presume that the rest of us live very immoral lives and really do not seek to submit ourselves to the Scripture. The more they see that you take living by the Scripture as seriously as the doctrines found therein, the more they will respect you. This is because JWs adhere to narrow interpretations of Biblical practices such as shunning, not smoking, traditional courting for marriage, and etcetera. If they observe that you yourself are pretty conservative with these things, they are less likely to view your doctrinal differences as vain excuses made in one’s own mind to justify sinful behavior.

Nonetheless, our contact with Lou opened up an interesting opportunity last night to preach the Gospel. Lou wanted us to meet some “friends” back at where he lived at “Bethel,” the local Jehovah’s Witnesses headquarters where they train their missionaries. We went to a lobby to their dining facility, made some small talk, and three missionaries and a young man I believe training to be one sat down and introduced themselves.

We made some more small talk. It helped I was wearing a “Korova Milk Bar” shirt, because one of the missionaries spoke Russian. Apparently “korova” means “cow.” We also spoke a lot about New Guinea, because two other missionaries have spent significant time there.

Eventually, after impressing them with the information that I actually knew where New Guinea was, I asked, “If you are preaching the Gospel to someone there and they ask you, ‘What must I do to be saved?,’ what do you answer them?”

The answer they gave was the same as one I had heard before: “You must get to know Jehovah and what He is really like.” What they mean is view God the way they view Him. I said, “Paul was asked this question by the Philippian jailer in the Scripture and his answer was, “‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household'” (Acts 16:31). I said doing anything else or knowing anything else was not necessary.

The response I was given was that this was essentially “too easy.” They pointed to various false professions of faith and went as far as to say that someone cannot be saved “right away.”

I pointed to the example of Abraham and the thief on the cross. They were credited righteousness the moment they believed. I explained how the thief on the cross did not even have an opportunity to live out his faith for more than a few hours.

After a brief disagreement on some of their eschatology (they believe the thief will be resurrected and will have to prove his righteousness in the Millenial kingdom and if he screws up he won’t be saved), I spoke to them about the nature of good works. Good works are important, they are the evidence of our salvation, and most importantly God had prepared good works for us to do since before the foundations of the world were set. However, the basis of our salvation is grace and the means is faith. The works come as a result of God’s grace empowering one to be faithful (Phil 2:13).

This idea was very offensive to them. “Do you believe in predestination?,” they asked. “I am only saying what the Scripture explicitly says,” I replied. I explained that Eph 2:3 says we are all born “children of wrath.” The default is for all unbelievers that every inclination of their heart is continually towards evil, all the time (Gen 6:5). God does not need to do anything special to harden Pharaoh’s heart or anything else, the default for man is wickedness and the natural man cannot discern spiritual things. We stood stuck on this topic for a while.

I asked one of the missionaries to then pretend I was God and that he was dead. I asked, “Why should I let you into heaven?” His reply was, “I have lived faithfully and done my best to do so.”

I then said the following: “I don’t know if this is just me or if I sound like a horrible person, but let me confess this to you. Even when I am at my most righteous, in the middle of prayer or doing something good–When I am as righteous as I can be, I can feel a self-righteousness within myself. I detect my own pride. So, even at my most righteous, I can sense the wickedness of my own flesh.”

I saw some approving nods, so I realized I struck a chord. Apparently, this is a common experience for outwardly-righteous people. So, I continued: “So, even at my most righteous, my own righteousness is like filthy rags [Is 64:6] as God puts it. How can I ever stand before God, when I know if I broke one law I am guilty of breaking all of it [James 2:10]?

“And I know these sins are not a very big deal. I did not kill anyone or something. But, that’s not the point. It is not the nature of the sin, but who I sinned against. We do not appreciate it because we are not holy, God alone is holy. And we sin, no matter how minor in our own eyes, against an infinitely holy God. If we stand on own merits, we will always deserve His condemnation.

“This is how I stand before God: All my sin, including my self-righteousness, it is nailed to the cross with Christ. I stand before God credited the righteousness of His Son by my faith in Him.”

They were honestly flabbergasted. I was asked, “Well, can you tell me then what the ‘Good News of the Kingdom’ is?” Everyone was ready to go, so I said we would be up all night, we will have to get to the bottom of this the other time.

I just give thanks to God, that some guy that works in an auto repair shop like me and my wife (who recently worked at Dunkin Donuts), could by God’s grace stand up and speak the Gospel when surrounded by so many people who preach a false one as a vocation. I was surprised by how much I was able to speak and how much they listened.

I appreciate any prayers that whatever God’s will is in this situation, that it may be accomplished and that they may be accountable for having heard the Gospel. May He change their hearts.

A prayer for a church’s offering

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In the words of King David,

Blessed are You, O Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You (1 Chron 29:10-14).

Indeed, all things come from God’s hand. Let us pray:

Father, glory and majesty is yours, your dominion is endless, your righteousness is without question. You condescend Yourself to us, in Your Son Jesus Christ, bearing our transgressions and reconciling ourselves to you. You do so liberally, without preconditions. All you ask for is a broken and contrite heart that trusts in you, and such a heart we cannot attain on our own for even you prepare the heart.

Because you show us what love is, by laying down Your precious Son’s life for us, show us how to lay down our lives for one another in our thoughts and deeds, and in this offering. Bless this offering so that we may be blessed in the giving and that what is given may be used for preaching your Gospel, the most important thing that men need addressed. We ask this all in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, who sits at your right hand now constantly making intercession for us, Amen.

Reformed Commentary on Job: Chapter 8

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In this chapter Bildad responds to Job, cautioning him that all men are unrighteous and though they prosper for a time their destruction is assured as punishment unless they repent.

Chapter 8 (For Previous Chapter Click Here, For Subsequent Chapter Click Here)

Bildad now joins the fray. Much like Eliphaz, he cannot keep silent because Job is accusing God of not treating him rightly. This, he views as an assault of God’s justice. There is some truth to this as we find out later.

He asserts rhetorically, “Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert what is right” (Job 8:3)? Obviously the answer is no. So, without a hint of subtlety if God is both righteous and all powerful, it stands to reason that Job’s suffering is occurring as punishment.

To Bildad, other obvious explanations are not acceptable. One would be that God does not always see suffering and is not omniscient (this is the view of Jehovah’s Witnesses for example). The other would be that God is unjust and punishes “good” people. It is our presumption that he would agree with Eliphaz and assert by default, all men are deserving of punishment anyhow. In fact, when pressed on the matter and finding no specific unrighteousness to accuse Job of, he argues desperately, “How then can a man be just with God? Or how can he be clean who is born of woman” (Job 25:4)?

Though a not completely untrue position, if we use this to rationalize why we experience evil, then man is deserving of punishment all of the time and he is never to experience God’s blessings, but only punishment. As we have already seen, Job accuses God of being overly scrupulous for this reason. What is man that God, knowing he is flawed, seeks to crush him every moment?

Nonetheless, Bildad just as Eliphaz is self-righteous, but also inconsistent. On one hand he sees all men as unrighteous and deserving to be crushed. However, he somehow does not lump himself in that definition and asserts to Job that if only a man can be righteous (something they say before is impossible anyhow), only then can he be restored to God. It is, at it’s heart, a completely irrational view.

Bildad does not allow logic to get in his way from accusing Job immense unrighteousness deserving of death. He callously says, “If your sons sinned against Him, then He delivered them into the power of their transgression” (Job 8:4). Bildad then admonishes Job that if he merely repents of his sin, “He would rouse Himself for you and restore your righteous estate” (Job 8:6).

There is more to this than the idea “if you repent, God will restore you.” Implicitly, there is a very profound error in the assertion. God is not answerable to man, nor does he meet man on his terms. So, if we give the church more money, if we reject our inclinations to sin, and if we pursue righteousness, none of these acts put God in our debt. As Elihu later in the book astutely asserts:

If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against Him? And if your transgressions are many, what do you do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give to Him, or what does He receive from your hand (Job 35:6-7)?

If God is the one that makes us righteous by His Spirit leading us to and sustaining our faith in Christ, how can we buy God off with righteousness that was not our own to begin with? As the Scripture states, “But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You” (1 Chron 29:14). God made all of creation, everything we have is from Him. We can’t buy Him off with His own money, so to say.

In short, Bildad is wrong. However, he is going by what he believes is an orthodox tradition: “Please inquire of past generations and consider the things searched out by their fathers…Will they not teach you and tell you…?” (Job 8:8, 10).

The teachings of Bildad, perhaps old Near Eastern proverbs, are not that difficult to understand. Perhaps the metaphor about trusting in one’s own works instead of placing trust in God is the toughest one. Bildad teaches, “He [the wicked] trusts in his house, but it does not stand; he holds fast to it, but it does not endure” (Job 8:15). The man who exerts effort, perhaps by cutting moral corners so to say, will find that “his shoots spread out over his garden” (Job 8:16) and he feels secure as the roots wrap around stones (Job 8:17). Yet, in one fell swoop, God puts the tree to the axe (Job 8:18).

In a way, Bildad is saying that the wicked appear to be doing well for a time, but eventually they pay dearly for what they have done. He asserts that God takes joy in doing this to the wicked, knowing that the next wave of wicked men will raise themselves from the dust and will also be put to the axe (Job 8:19).

Bildad ends with advice with promises of restoration, which ironically will all come to pass by the end. God does not reject a man with integrity, He will not support evil-doers, and those who hate Job will be clothed with shame.

Morality and immigration into the United States

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According to self-described “liberals,” deporting children that are illegal immigrants is hateful.

A parent that abandons a child is beyond despicable. Even bad parents do not abandon their children. Pagans won’t. There is simply no excuse for it.

Now, I want to avoid getting overtly political in this blog, especially if it has no bearing on matters of theology, so please do not take the following as a “Red team” versus “Blue team” argument. It is not.

Further, I have not followed this issue very carefully, so I do not pretend to be anything close to an expert on it.

There apparently is some sort of upsurge, whether in media attention or in reality, in illegal immigrant minors. Now, there are many reasons for this. Many are teenage girls brought to the US as part of sex trafficking. Others have relatives or friends of relatives in the US and if they end up getting Green Cards, they can sponsor their parents over. In certain border towns, it has been a common practice for decades in order to get access to US public education.

Whatever the reason is, the indignation of typical “liberals” and “conservatives” is over the wrong issues. Conservatives just don’t want more immigrants. Refugees, people wanting a better life, people looking to go on public assistance…it does not matter. They just want them out unless they can hit homeruns or something.

Liberals like championing the cause of the “underdog.” Now, sometimes the underdog could be guilty of murder, but it does not matter. They “stick it to the man” by championing him or her.

So, the disgust over children among conservatives is something I find to be confusing being that we are talking about children. However, the preceding magazine cover from “The Week” in its July 25th issue is also disconcerting.

It shows a bunch of Mexican children, of varying age, jumping over a border fence. A teenaged girl, holding her younger sibling, has a look of desperation in her eyes. The message is obvious: “empathize with my plight!”

Here’s my question for the bleeding heart liberals: Where are the parents in all of this? America is not the answer to the problems of these children and it is arrogant to think so.

The Scripture teaches, “Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred” (Prov 15:17). It is immoral to support the tearing apart of families for short-sighted, materialistic reasons because the “big white bogeyman” is oppressing people they would have never known, unless they illegally entered into the country to begin with.

The main thing that jumped out to me in my trip to Cambodia, aside from the idolatry, is how much more important is family than wealth. No one I was there with was wealthy. My Grandmother-in-Law cooks with wood and showers with a bucket. However, in many ways, she is much wealthier then western elderly people who are abandoned in old-folks homes, sitting in a pool of their own urine.

There is a great dignity and wealth in bearing one another’s burdens, and living together the way God has intended since the beginning of time. To me it is close-minded and arrogant to think being in America is so much better than a childhood without one’s parents (which is one I essentially had, by the way).

Unless one is escaping a genocide or famine, it should be patently obvious that the place where the kids belong is with their families. A policy that encourages otherwise merely results in more broken homes and an increase in the amount of children that grow into anti-social adults (whether many of them learn to milk the system, become criminals, teenage mothers, or whatever is immaterial).

A government’s policies will always have flaws, so I cannot tell you I know what policy will “fix” this whole situation. But, I’ll tell you this: Children belong with their parents and if those kids should be going anywhere, it should be back across the border to be reunited with their families.

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