Presbyterianism, whose bodies are also called Reformed Churches, share a common origin in the 16th-century Swiss Reformation and the teachings of John Calvin, and today is one of the largest Christian denominations in Protestantism.

"Thus far you shall come, and no further..."

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    "Thus far you shall come, and no further..."

    “…who shut in the sea with doors… and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?” (Job 38:8a, 10-11)

    Where Is God? By Jason T V

    What sense can we make of this passage found in Job 38:8-11, concerning the great seas and their “limits” and “boundaries” the LORD Himself set, when we know that there have been many recorded events of the seas “breaching” the limits He established?

    In the past 10 years alone there have been at least two catastrophic occurrences called “tsunamis” in the Far East – great tidal waves (often caused by undersea earthquakes) that have literally decimated entire cities. In 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami killed over 230,000 people in 14 countries, and the latest tsunami, which took place in Japan in 2011, killed 15,000, with another 3,000 still missing.

    Does God’s word contradict nature – as many secular scientists have said? How is it that He commands the waves and sets the boundaries for the seas, but at the same time allows such cataclysmic events, such as tsunamis, to take place - where the waves and the seas have seemingly ‘defied’ the LORD’s will and overtaken the boundaries set for them? How are we to reconcile this dilemma?

    First we know that the LORD, being the Creator of the universe is sovereign over nature. He intercedes, either using natural means such as earthquakes, which can cause tsunamis, or through supernatural means, as in the great flood of Noah’s day or the parting of the Red Sea.

    But why does the LORD bring about these deviations? Why does He ‘reset’ the boundaries at times? We can’t know all the ways of the LORD, but we do know that He is a good God, and that He is in control. Just like throwing a stone in the water causes several ripples to go out from its center, the LORD’s work is always manifold – having many outcomes that bring glory to Him, and accomplish His will for His creatures. We began with a quote from Job, when confronted by the LORD regarding all He had created. In his sufferings, Job began to lose faith in the LORD. Each day Job awoke, there was the sun, and each evening, the moon and stars. Job didn’t realize how much he already trusted the LORD; that each day would pass and nature would be conducted in a very predictable way. It is when things became predictable, that he began to take them for granted, rather than finding them a source of comfort, seeing God’s consistency in nature as a reminder of His consistent nature. The LORD reassured Job by reminding him of the fact that He is LORD over all creation, setting the bounds of the sea, designing the beauty and speed of the horse, setting the stars in their place, and so on. And if He is the LORD over all creation, then certainly and faithfully, He is LORD over Job in his painful circumstances. What happened to this faithful man of God was certainly not Job’s plan, but we do know it was God’s plan. The LORD didn’t ask for Job’s permission, or warn him about what was to come. He simply ‘reset’ the boundaries of Job’s life, as the One who created all things has the right to do.

    So as we read God’s word, when He said to Job regarding the seas: “this far you may go and no further”, and yet we know they do go further, we must understand that far from the waves disobeying God, it is in fact the very hand of God who is present in that tsunami. At times, the LORD moves the boundaries, not just in nature, but in our lives. But we must never think they or we are not “stayed” by Him for a very specific purpose.

    The point of this paper is not to diminish the suffering people endure in tragedy, rather it is to remind and encourage the believer that whether He is in the whirlwind or a whisper, we are to know and be reassured that in all our circumstances we can trust Him. “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.” (Isa. 45:7).

    At any given moment, anywhere in the world, you could drive to the coast and see that the oceans are in fact bound. And likewise, at any given moment, we can know that because of Jesus, in Him we are securely bound.

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