Today we hit Job 38 and 39. God answers. The whole book has had Job and the other guys discussing / arguing about why this has happened to Job. Job doesn’t get it, the others claim its a lack of faith or due to sin. They get nowhere. Then God answers.
But God’s answer isn’t the answer we might want. He doesn’t explain to them that Satan was getting it stuck in his face with this whole scenario. He simply asks them why they think they are wise enough to question Him? He gives a long, and beautiful list, of what He has done, and what He does. It’s amazing to read. If you’ve never read it, take some time today to work through these chapters and think about all that God describes, and ask yourself why He describes the things He does. He could have picked anything. Why these?
He moves from creating the earth, to the universe high above, to the oceans deep below. He goes from the process of birth to death. He talks about how He created each of the animals. And in it all, you hear His love for each and every thing in the list. That’s what I was hit with; how much God loves to create, and how much He loves His creation.
He answers. And it’s not what everyone wanted to hear. But if you stop and listen, it’s much better than what they asked. It’s not the answer to “why did You do this?” It’s the answer to “who are You and can I trust You?” The answer to THOSE questions is a loud, resounding “YES!”
And that’s enough.
That’s His answer.
Reading through Job 35-37 today, it’s all about Eliphaz’s continuing speech. I read his version of what is going on with Job, and I’m pretty sure Eliphaz listens to Mark Driscoll’s podcasts and considers himself a Young Calvinist. What I mean is this; there is a large group of the American church who understands God as someone who transacts in sovereignty and justice. He is a God who chooses whoever He wants, and then gives them whatever He wants. He loves the pure in heart, and is heavy handed on the rest. They tend to be very close minded about any other views but their own, and live out of a place of fear.
God is sovereign (totally in control), there is no doubt. He is a God of justice, for sure. But He loves all of us equally, and gives all of us an equal chance to serve and love and follow Him. He extends grace after grace after grace to us, even though none of us deserve it. He saves us when we call on Him, over and over. We are all equal before Him, because He is so very, very, very good.
Because of this, we need to be humble in how we approach each other. It is not our place to judge. That’s one of the big points in Job. Job did not lose everything because of sin. Had he sinned? Sure. But that wasn’t what caused the detonation. In his case, God wanted to stick it to Satan, and He trusted Job to stay faithful through it. Nothing more. No one should have been judging Job for what happened. They were all off.
Obviously, when we sin, it has consequences. But even when it’s obvious, it isn’t up to us to judge people for those sins and consequences. When we love someone, we can talk about the consequences they face without begin judgemental. We need to walk in humility and speak in grace, just like the Almighty One does with us.
Who have you been judging lately? What do you need to tell them?
Today I hit Job 32-34. It’s the story of Eliphaz, this young dude who jumps into the fray with Job and his friends. He’s waited and listened to the older men while they spoke, but then his anger gets the best of him and he lets it fly. He tells them in no uncertain terms that he too has wisdom, and they need to shut their mouths and listen to him for awhile. He is strong on judgment and heavy with truth. He gets a lot of his understanding of God correct. But, it’s incomplete. You see, that’s the back story to the book of Job. Every one in the story has truth about God, but it’s incomplete. The problem is, Eliphaz speaks his out of anger.
Truth is not a weapon in our hands to be used on other people. It’s not. We think it is, but it’s not. The word of God is a sword, but it’s to be used against our enemy, Satan. Not other people. It’s God’s job to convict with truth in other people’s hearts. We are to speak truth, and speak it in very tough spots. We are to speak truth when it isn’t convenient, or when someone doesn’t want to hear it. But if we are speaking it as a weapon in our anger, we are probably out of line. Especially when we tie that anger to our pride. We’re in deep water then.
I have done, and continue to do this, far too much. God is changing me as the days pass by, but it is taking alot of work on His part, to be sure. What about you. Do you believe that if you have truth, that gives you the right to swing it like a hammer when you are angry? Have you used truth in anger to hurt someone lately? What do you need to do about it?
Reading through Job 29-31 today, I realized; I really love Job. He defends himself, and as I read it, I’m like; “This is a guy I want to have as a friend.” He’s bold, honest, compassionate, generous, and faithful. I’m really drawn to him.
Then I begin to think about my character and actions. Am I like that? Could God let Satan have his way with me, and I would be able to know that I was innocent like Job? No. I would not.
But I want to be. Job is just a shadow of who Jesus is. I want to be like Job, but more importantly, I want to be like Jesus. Bold, honest, compassionate, generous, and faithful. Today, I want to work on those traits.
What is your goal for the day?
I had to play catchup on my weekend reading in my Through the Bible in a Year routine. Job continues his discussion with his friends about his innocence. But today, one verse stood out to me above all others. I read about Job’s innocence and why God is punishing him. I hear his friends act rationally, and completely ungodly in their response. But one verse leaped out to me, it spoke to me. I found my life explained in this one verse.
In fact, this epiphany will become my life verse now.
What is it you ask?
It’s in Job 19:17
My breath is offensive to my wife;
I am loathsome to my own family.
Yes, I find myself in that verse. I am at peace now. God has spoken to me.
Still moving through Job, hitting 14-16 today. Job cries out and asks God again what is going on. His friends? They continue to lay into him, getting a little angry now at how arrogant they think he is being. They started well, sitting silently with him for seven days, not speaking, just hurting with him. But now, they are letting him know what they think. They are giving him their best wisdom, and they are wrong. They think Job has sinned, and hidden it, and that is why he is being punished so. In their minds, that is all it can be. They are letting their theology (what they think they know about God) rule their actions. That isn’t always bad. But in this case, they are wrong.
I guess if you have a trusted friend, who you know loves God, and they tell you they honestly don’t know what is going on, why things are like they are, then don’t play God in their life. The one thing I notice is that none of Job’s friends offer to pray for him. Back at the beginning of the story, we are told that Job regularly prayed for his family and others. His friends never offer that. They don’t take Job to God. They tell Job what they think about God.
If someone is hurting, step up to the bat and pray with them and for them. Jesus is the one who heals, not us. Prayer is so powerful. How different the book of Job would be if one of his friends had looked at him and said, “Dude, I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t get it either. But let’s pray and ask God for wisdom and help here.” That would have been a game changer. It never happens.
Reading through Job 10-14 today, and it is so interesting. You’ve got Job, who is suffering because God wants to prove Satan wrong. But Job does not know that. So, he questions God. He doesn’t doubt God, or accuse God of anything wrong. But he passionately, desperately questions God. WHY are you doing this? What have I done that you would do this?
His friends keep telling him if he will turn to God and seek help, it will all end. It’s his faith that is the problem. But Job won’t hear it. He tells them it is always easy to judge other people’s trials and faith when things are going well for you. That is so true. I am so often guilty of it, especially people I respect and hold too high. I think they are better than me, so when they struggle, I begin to get mad and tear them down. But I never consider what might actually be happening in their life at the time.
Sometimes hard things happen to us simply because God wants to use them for something, and He doesn’t tell us what that something is. We can ask, we can wonder, we can be unsure. But we still need to have faith in Him. The situation may make no sense, and God may not answer our questions, but we need to trust Him. He is worth that risk.
What are you facing right now that doesn’t make sense? Can you still trust God in the middle of it? Or is there someone struggling nearby that is disappointing you? Will you give room for God to work in their life, without feeling the need to convict them for the pain they face? It’s tough, but it’s worth it.
It’s a new year, and I’ve been challenged through the actions of a friend of mine in my small group to read through the Bible in a year. I haven’t done it in a while, and I feel like it’s about time. So, I went to YouVersion and poked around. I love their stuff. They have chronological schedule that you read through the Bible in the order that we think it happened. (The Bible is not in chronological order, if you didn’t know). So, I’ve been cruising through Genesis the first couple of days, and went Adam through Noah to the Tower of Babel. Now I’ve hit Job. Again, it’s been awhile since I’ve spent time in Job. It’s good stuff (like any part of the Bible isn’t, but anyway).
I’ve been reading the first few chapters of Job the last couple of days, and am fascinated by a couple of things. It’s God who points Job out to Satan. Why? I mean, He knows it will tick Satan off. Is that they point? “Hey Lucifer, you used to be a big time angel for me, but you blew it. While you are out cruising around the earth aimlessly, have you noticed Job? He’s faithful and he loves me. He’s pretty impressive.” It’s cool that God loves Job and is proud of him, but He pokes at Satan with Job. Of course Satan’s gonna get ticked. God is setting Job up for failure and pain. What do we expect the Prince of Darkness to do after getting his face shoved in it?
Then a very simple thing settled in with me. God isn’t afraid of Satan. At all. Not the least little bit. I KNOW this in my knowledge, but the experience of it hadn’t really settled in before. He can poke Satan all He wants, because Satan is a 0% threat to Him. None. Nada.
I respect Satan’s power to make life tough. I know on my own, Satan is way more powerful than I am. But he is a nothing in God’s arena. God can take Him down with just the word, or the thought. And judging from how Satan responds, he knows that too. God is not afraid of Satan.
And God promises to live in me. Protect me. Be my strength and hope. And He is not afraid.
So neither am I.