Category: Job–BibleTrekToday

God builds back better!

Scripture reading for June 1: Job 40-42

Finally, we come to the end of this long book of endless arguments concerning the nature of suffering and God’s ability to work out everything according to the counsel of His Word.   God continued His questioning of Job, who was now under conviction of being unworthy to say any more. (Job 40:4-5)  Job was to brace himself and give God some answers.  The first question was:  “Would you discredit my justice?”  The next related to the first:  “Would you condemn Me to justify yourself?” (Job  40:8)

Curiously, God directed Job’s attention to two of the most fierce animals.  Behemoth was a fierce land animal that is perhaps the hippopotamus or elephant.  Leviathan was a fierce water creature that was perhaps the crocodile or fire-breathing dragon.  These two animals brought fear to the hearts of men because of their power and ability to dominate.  But God stated that there is nothing on earth that was these creatures’ equal–a creature without fear.  He was king of all that are proud!  Could it be that God was teaching Job about Satan and his downfall, pride?

Job repented and came to a new understanding of God’s greatness and trustworthiness.  God instructed the friends to offer sacrifice and ask Job to pray for them to avert judgment.  Elihu was not mentioned and we are not told why. After Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored Job to his former prosperity and gave him double all that he had lost.  (Job 42:10)  Job had seven more sons and three daughters.  This was the same as before his trial and implies that he would see his other children in heaven as well!  We won’t always have all the answers and must be careful when trying to help those going through trials. We must remember that God works all for good for those trusting in Him.

James 5:10-11 “Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.  You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

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God’s piercing questions!

Scripture reading for May 31: Job 38-39

Job had been longing for an audience with God so that he could state his case and find mercy.  His friends had accused him of harboring sin in his life and being under God’s punishment.  They had tried to define God’s ways and actions to him but Job had needed to hear from God Himself!  Job had maintained his integrity and faith in God but had lots of questions.  God gave Job the desire of his heart and it turned out differently than expected!

God appeared to Job out of a storm or whirlwind.  (Job 38:1)  God’s first question was: “Who is this that darkens My counsel with words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2)    This is a strong word of rebuke for all of Job’s friends, particularly the last speaker, Elihu.  (He claimed perfect knowledge. Job 36:4.)  God was also there to correct Job’s understanding as well!

The next four chapters are filled with questions that only God can truly answer. There are about seventy questions about the world that God created and about the animal kingdom.  God never answers Job’s questions about why he is suffering.  He never tells Job His purposes for allowing the suffering.  God only shows Job through these questions that He is in control and knows more about life and creation than we do. He showed Job and his friends how limited their knowledge of God really was.   God revealed His great power and total authority over all creation to give Job and us hope and comfort.

God’s wisdom and understanding make us look small indeed!  To think that God Who created the vast heavens and unique earth would care about man is difficult to understand.  I am humbled and amazed that God would come to Job and personally talk to him!  I am reminded of Jesus Christ when He said: “Come to Me all you who weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)  God is humble too!  He stoops low to speak to us and teach us about Himself. 

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Perfect in knowledge?

Scripture reading for May 30: Job 35-37

“I get my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe justice to my Maker.  Be assured that my words are not false; one perfect in knowledge is with you. Job 36:3-4

Have you ever been around a person who thinks he knows everything?  For every question, they have an answer and even give information you did not ask for.  Elihu boasted of his great understanding and had some good information, but was really not much different from Job’s other three friends.  He talked down to Job and subtly accused Job of not knowing God while he claimed to know God perfectly. 

Elihu stated that God commands sinners to repent and if they listened, they would spend the rest of their days in prosperity.  (Job 36:11)  This argument had already been hashed around by Job and his friends. Job had reminded them that sometimes the wicked prosper and nothing seems to touch them while on earth.  (Job 21:7-14)  We must not judge others by their physical state, or prosperity or lack of it. Only God knows the heart.  

Elihu stated that our sin had no effect on God.  (Job 35:6)  But sin provokes His anger and brings His wrath because all sin is against God first.  Although Job lived before the law was written, Job and Elihu understood God’s basic commands through relationship and conscience. God never changes and His character was the same then as He is now!

Elihu also warned Job not to turn to evil and accused him of preferring evil to affliction.  (Job 36:21)  When we think that we are perfect in knowledge, we can easily become judgmental and critical of others.  Knowledge puffs us up, but love builds us up!  (1st Corinthians 8:1b)  Elihu’s last words told of God coming in majesty and splendor, but beyond our reach!  How ironic that God Himself next spoke to Job!

I am reminded of my own need to be more quiet and listen longer before I speak. (James 1:19-20)  No one is perfect in knowledge and understanding but the Lord!  (Proverbs 3:5-7) Examine your own heart today and confess any presumption or judgmental attitudes towards others who are suffering. Take time to listen to God and those who are needing His comfort. More love and less words speak loudly!

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God is impartial and knows all!

Scripture reading for May 29: Job 32-34

“So listen to me, you men of understanding.  Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong.  He repays a man for what he has done, he brings upon him what his conduct deserves.  It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice.  Who appointed Him over the earth?  Who put Him in charge of the whole world?” Job 34:10-13

After all the older and presumably wiser friends of Job were silent, Elihu opened his mouth to speak.  Elihu was a younger man, also a friend of Job, and had listened in on their conversations.  Elihu claimed to be full of the Spirit of God and have wisdom.  (Job 32:8)  Elihu confronted Job about his complaint that God had not answered him.  Elihu told Job that God spoke in many ways and we may not pay attention.  (Job 33:13-14)  He offered that God sometimes speaks through a bed of pain, which Job was then enduring himself.

Elihu pointed out that Job had tried to justify himself.  (Job 34:3-7)  God was the One who should have been justified instead of Job, because God is perfect and impartial. (Job 34:10-12)  God always gives each person what they deserve.  He is not partial to rich or poor and He knows each person perfectly.  (Job 34:19)

Elihu understood God and had placed much of his understanding on a knowledge of the Almighty.  The Spirit of God did give him insight that did not depend on age.  Elihu had correctly discerned God’s impartiality and ability to judge each person justly.  However, Elihu still didn’t have complete wisdom.  He made the assumption that God was giving Job what he deserved.    As we know from the first two chapters, this was not the case.  God, Himself, had declared Job righteous.   In Job’s case, he was not guilty, but only being tested!  Elihu was wise in some things but lacked full understanding that God had!

Have you ever been presumptive about the causes of sickness or great suffering? How does Elihu’s approach cause Job more suffering and not really help him? Ask God to help you discern His will and bring true comfort to those suffering.

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Taking inventory

Scripture reading for May 28th: Job 29-31

After all the friends were silent and their accusations ceased, Job was still suffering!    He remembered his past time of blessing with a sense of joy.  (Job 29) He was taunted by the young men of the city and then felt driven to do a self-examination and moral inventory.  (Job 30:1)  He had some core convictions about what was right and wrong, good and evil.  Job went over these things in a systematic way to try to be sure that he had not forgotten anything.  He was judging himself, so that God would not judge him.

Job first dealt with his personal life. (Job 31:1-12)  He was careful with his eyes, not to look lustfully on a woman and he had stayed away from his neighbor’s wife.  He knew that sexual sin was something that God would judge! (Job 31:11)  He also checked his honesty and truthfulness.  God would weigh him with honest scales in this regard!  (Job 31:5-6)

Job next dealt with his public life. (Job 31:13-23)  He tested his heart for his treatment of his servants.  Was he fair and respectful of them?  He then looked to his treatment of the poor and orphan.  Was he giving to help them with food and clothing?  He knew God was watching and would judge!  (Job 31:23)

Job also checked his spiritual life. (Job 31:24-40)  How did he treat money?  Was it a ‘god’ in his life?  Did he secretly worship anything other than the God Who created everything?  He also checked his attitude about revenge.  Vengeance belongs to the Lord–he must not get even or even rejoice over someone’s misfortune.  How had he treated strangers?  Were his motives pure in all that he did?  Job longed to be able to stand before God because he felt that he was doing what he knew to be right and avoiding evil!

What an inventory!  Take time today and allow this 4000 year-old inventory to give you insight into your own walk with God.  Remember, Jesus Christ has already paid the penalty for our sins and if we confess them to Him, He will forgive us and cleanse us from all sin!  (1st John 1:7-9)

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Choosing to trust God Alone

Scripture reading for May 27: Job 25-28

Bildad opened his final argument by citing the power and dominion of God.  He then questioned that in light of God’s greatness, how can man who is born of woman be right with God?  (Job 25:4)  This is a good question and finds the answer implied by Bildad in other writings of Scripture.  Romans 3:10 says that there is none righteous, not even one (Psalm 14:1) .  Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  The problem with Bildad’s statement was in his understanding of God and man’s relationship.  Bildad stated that man was like a maggot in God’s sight, only a worm.  (Job 25:6)  This view is neither encouraging or accurate!

Job refuted Bildad by asking him what spirit was speaking through him!  Job’s counter-argument was that he would choose to trust God, even if he didn’t understand!  (Job 27:2-6)  God was his only source of hope and encouragement!  God’s character and wisdom were worth more to Job than anything this earth had to offer.  Finding this wisdom was not easy! (Job 28:12-13)

The bottom line for Job was that the fear of the Lord was wisdom and understanding was to depart from evil!  (Job 28:28)  Respecting God and His power and authority is the very core of wisdom.  We can only live our life successfully if we have this wisdom in operation in our life.  Respecting God is the character trait of humility.  God, Himself, is humble!  Jesus Christ taught his followers to come and learn from Him, because He was humble of heart!  (Matthew 11:28-30)  By respecting God and being humble we are able to follow God and live successfully by faith!  We know from God’s word and character that there is a definite “good” and a definite “evil”.  We walk in understanding when we depart from evil and do good!

God is the most precious One in our life.  Job came to this conclusion as he was forced by the circumstances of a trial to live by faith.  He did not have all the answers, but he knew the One who did and Who would help him!  Are you going through a trial today? Are you resting in Jesus as your only Source of wisdom and help? Are you humble and able to learn from Him?

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The Lord knows the way I take!

Scripture reading for May 25: Job 22-24

When we walk by faith, we will go through testing!  Mary and I had set out to adopt two girls from Russia.   We believed that we had a Word from the Lord to proceed with this, even though we were in our early fifty’s at the time.  We needed a home study to send to the government and the court in Russia stating that we were fit parents and capable of handling our new children.  We proceeded with this requirement and had a social worker come to our house for the initial consultation.  We paid her $650 in advance for her report.  A week later , we received a letter and the report stating that we were not fit to be parents because of our biblical views on parenting!  Neither our references nor our three grown children had been contacted.  We began to question where God was and if we had heard Him right.

Job continued to be accused of wickedness when he knew of none. (Job 22:5) He had been walking by faith in God and had lost everything.  He was having trouble finding God and wanted to see Him and talk.  (Job 23:2-4)  Although Job had searched for God, he was confident that God knew the way of faith that he was walking.  He knew that testing would result in something good.  (Job 23:10)  Why?  Job was closely following the Lord’s steps and keeping His ways.  He was speaking his Words and truths.  (Job 23:11-12)

God’s eyes are on our ways.  In our situation, God was  watching us even though we were in the midst of a trial.  We tried another source for home study, payed another fee, and got  a good report.  We were to walk by faith and not by sight!  Our steps were closely following His Word and we were speaking confidence in God even though we weren’t sure what He was doing in that trial.  God knows the way you take, too!  In the end, your faith will come forth as gold!

“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”  My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside.  I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.” Job 23:10-12

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Live by faith–not sight!

Scripture reading for May 24: Job 20-21

Job’s friend Zophar was offended by Job’s warning to be afraid of punishment by God as well! (Job 19:28-29)  Zophar had a belief that the wicked only get by for a short time and then punishment will fall on them here in this life.  He held a strong belief in what he could see, but looks can be deceiving!  Job took exception with his theology and his way of comforting him!

Job stated that often the wicked seem to grow old and increase in power. (Job 21:7)  He observed that they appear to be safe and have no fear or problems.  They mock God and God seems to do nothing.  (Job 21:14, 15)  Some men die fat and happy, others die in bitterness and pain.  The grave swallows them both and we don’t know why.  (Job 21:23-26)

This controversy has been the subject of other writers of Scripture.  Psalm 73 was written by Asaph, a gifted musician in King David’s Levitical choir.  Asaph nearly lost faith when he observed the prosperity of the wicked.  (Psalm 73:2)  He saw that they had health and prosperity and were proud at heart.  They scoffed at man and mocked heaven and nothing seemed to happen.  This almost caused him to slip away from serving God.  Then he entered the sanctuary of God and he understood their final end.  In the end, God would judge them and send them away to everlasting destruction! (Psalm 73:16-19)

We can’t go by what we see!  The righteous live by their faith!  Job’s faith was tested by the taunts of Zophar.  Asaph was being tested by Satan when he began to reason with what he observed in the world.  We are often tempted to join the wicked in their sins and folly.  But when we enter the sanctuary of God and see the truth of His holy Word, we understand that the wicked will not stand in the judgment or sinners before a holy God Who will bring every secret thing into judgment!  (Psalm 1:5-6)  Allow the Lord to bring you understanding today.  If you are involved in sin or wickedness, repent quickly and begin a new path of faith and obedience!  You’ ll never regret it!

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Miserable comforters?

Scripture reading for May 22: Job 15-17

Isn’t it amazing how we can see the faults of another person and feel that we know the answer to their problems and the cause!  Theologians and students of the Bible can get proud about what they know and forget that they are studying God’s heart and His way.   Job’s friends again attack his character and accuse him of a lack of understanding of God.  (Job 15:3-5)  Job was told that his sin has caused his mouth to be crafty and deceitful.  He was accused of being impure and therefore under God’s wrath. (Job 15:30) They were ‘miserable comforters’ and took the role of ‘accuser’ of their brother!

Job’s response to these new accusations was to label his friends “miserable comforters”.  (Job 16:2)  Job needed encouragement and understanding.  He needed someone to pray with him and seek God’s help and answers.  Job was in despair over these latest accusations and the trouble he was experiencing.  He wondered why God had broken and crushed him.  He was depressed but in faith stated that his Advocate was also on high and his Witness was in heaven.  (Job 16:19)  Job seemed to know that although his physical body was broken, God still knew him, loved him, and would help him.

As I think on this passage, I realize that I have been the “miserable comforter” to some.  Sometimes it is easy to have glib answers and quote standard Bible texts.  God wants us to have His heart of compassion for the hurting and downcast.  We must listen to them and hear their heart.  Sometimes this alone is the best thing we can do.  We must seek to let the Holy Spirit speak through us and address the real needs.  What is on the surface is not always the real issue.  My prayer today is that I would be sensitive to each hurting person that I encounter and that God would use me to be a true friend!

James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God,”

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God forgets sin when . .

Scripture reading for May 21: Job 11-14

“Know this, God has even forgotten some of your sin.” Job 11:6b “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17

Job’s friend Zophar was frank in his accusation that Job needed to repent.  He was certain that Job had sinned and that God was being merciful in his harsh trial.  He stated that God had probably forgotten some of Job’s sins or it might be worse!  (Job 11:6)  If Job would put away his sin, God would be merciful to him. (Job 11:14-15)  Zophar could not get away from the common understanding of God’s justice: trouble and suffering were a result of sin in a person’s life.

Job, however, knew of no sin and did not want to fake a repentance or manufacture some sin just to try and manipulate God or appease these friends.  He knew that God alone could cover these sins.  He wrestled with how he could meet with God or if the grave would hold him at death.  Finally, Job made a statement of faith concerning his own life and sins.  It was in the form of a prayer discourse with God.  (Job 14:13-17)  Job asked God to hide him in the grave until His anger has passed and then “to set a time and remember me”.  He asked God “If a man dies, will he live again?”  He expected to hear a call from God and to respond from the grave because God longed to have fellowship with the “creature He has made”.  Job expected all his sins to be sealed in a bag, covered over and not remembered! God revealed these truths to Job by revelation to sustain him in his trial.

As believers in Jesus, we have a mediator Who is like us, but without sin!  Jesus Christ came and gave His life for our lives, promising to come again and remember us!  He forgives our sins and remembers them no more!  We will live with Him forever!  We will hear His call and come out of the grave! This is available now to all who will repent and confess their sins to the Lord!  (1st John 1:7-9)

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sin, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1st John 1:8-9

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