Job 39-40

“Then the Lord said to Job, ‘Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?’ “ 40:1-2

These chapters really continue on Bethany’s concept from yesterday of learning to rest in absolute trust of God. But the verse above reminds me how much humility is required in knowing and loving God. Humility and trust really go hand-in-hand.

The creature Behemoth that is mentioned in 40:15 is (according to my Bible commentary) a primeval monster used in ancient literature as a symbol of chaos and evil. “It is a prime example of God’s handiwork, and only it’s Creator can threaten it.” So, is God claiming to be the creator (and controller) of chaos and evil? Could this book POSSIBLY complicate my apologetics any more than it already has?!

So to answer God’s earlier question to Job, no, I don’t have the answers. And I really don’t want to have the answers. Almost every interpersonal relationship I’m in gets so much better and healthier when I introduce humility. When I acknowledge my strengths and recognize my weaknesses and when I take my given place. My marriage is heavenly when I recognize my role and take a seat in the spot I was given. Parenting is (harder and) more rewarding when I swallow my pride. There is so much freedom in relinquishing control. Because we never really had it in the first place.

Practicing humility with God when you are suffering is really hard. It’s learned. Practiced. Put on. But the more you discipline your heart to trust Him, the easier it gets. We write about this a lot, lot, LOT on here, but one of my favorite, fool-proof methods in teaching myself to trust God is to write it down. Don’t journal? That’s fine. Make two columns on a page. On one side, write “problem”, on the other “solution” and keep a list of what’s going on in your life and how God showed up during it. Do it for a month, and the next time you’re worried about something, refer to your list.

We are closing out the book of Job tomorrow! What has changed for you, thought-wise, since we started this book?

-Carly

 

 

 

Job 37-38

Something happened a couple years ago that unleashed an anxiety beast I’d never had to face before. I know some people have battled with stress, depression or anxiety for years and experiencing it, first hand, gave me new perspective.  

God approaches us in different ways in different seasons. He’s been very kind and gentle, leading me to truth, and drawing me to repentance by His kindness. But sometimes He jolts me with a Snap out of it! reality check. 

I don’t know about you, but at the root of much of my anxiety is either feeling responsiblity for something entirely outside of my control or zeroing in on something small, making it too big.

From my limited perspective, one reason God’s response to Job is so incredibly genius, is how He puts things into their appropriately sized categories.

“Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this.” (38:18‬)

One of the best feelings in the world is absolute trust. It’s a feeling of comfort when you don’t know, but someone else does and is answering. When you are weak, but someone else is strong, and has your best interest at heart. You don’t have to see the big picture, you don’t have to have all the answers. You can leave it to them.

Chapter 38 is a big reminder that we are small, but He is big and trustworthy. He’s handing things like ocean tides, sunrises, sunsets, the weather and feeding all the wild animals, even when it hadn’t crossed our minds to worry about it!

So when I suddenly am overwhelmed, but have the wherewithal to pray, He’s like, “already gotcha covered.” Which means it doesn’t even depend on my remembering to pray! (Prayer does make a difference, but I think more often than not, the best difference is remembering Who is in control).

This season has been been marked by a gradual healing from this anxiety. Sometimes really small, stupid things (like booking bus tickets online) can trigger a stress spiral, but thank God, He has surrounded me with friends who remind me of size.

We’ve waded through many different kinds of bad/unhelpful/incomplete advice in these 37 chapters. I am glad today is the day we remember how big God is and how small we are. Especially when He makes it so beautifully safe for us to be small. He is in control and trustworthy.

-Bethany 

Job 35-36

“Do you think it is right for you to claim, ‘I am righteous before God’? For you also ask, ‘What’s in it for me? What’s the use of living a righteous life?’ ” 35:2

Elihu brings up a very interesting point to poor ol’ Job. Does God owe Job something? 

We’ve read as Job has gone on and on and on about how he’s done no wrong, and what a great, selfless life he’s lived. This is normal. Suffering prompts self-reflection and often a why me reaction. And also, Job HAS lived a great, selfless life. Elihu reminds him (and me), that good behavior doesn’t protect us from suffering. We cannot earn an easy life.

Elihu doesn’t have all the answers for Job, and it’s REALLY easy for him to announce a point of view, when he isn’t the one siting all alone, in the wake of his former life. We want answers though! I’m 36 chapters into this book and still looking for clear cut answers about human suffering.

Pretty soon we are going to hear from God about all of this. In the meanwhile, do you agree with Elihu? Is Job prideful to think he doesn’t deserve any of this punishment? What do we deserve from God? 

 

-Carly

 

Job 33-34

“I am about to open my mouth; my words are on the tip of my tongue.” (33:2)

This book seems to be all about speculating, trying to understand life, God, and why bad things happen to good people. There have been chapters on chapters of thoughts, dialogues and observations.

What about you? It’s been awhile since someone weighed in besides Carly and I. What sort of ideas, reflections or feelings has this book envoked in you?

-Bethany

Job 31-32

“I am young and you are old, so I held back from telling you what I think.  I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.’ But there is a spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent.
Sometimes the elders are not wise. Sometimes the aged do not understand justice.
So listen to me, and let me tell you what I think.” Job 32:7-10

Elihu is about to lay it down for Job, and in my opinion, give the best insight we’ll read in this book. We have a lot to learn from him! First of all, he waited his turn. You know when you’re sitting around listening to other people give your friend advice, and it’s horrible? He sat through a lot of that. He humbled himself. He waited until his older and seemingly wiser peers spoke first. He didn’t insist on speaking first or turn the attention of the room on him immediately.

These are marks of someone with godly advice. What he said in the verses above are true: the Holy Spirit surpasses age. Age is just a number.

Has God gifted you with wisdom that surpasses your age or experience? Use it wisely. Let’s be like Elihu, and wait our turn. When the right timing comes, extend your advice with graciousness.

Another thing I noticed here is he doesn’t wait for Job to ask what he thinks.  He says “listen, let me tell you what I think”, and rolls right into it. If God has put something on your heart to be shared, don’t wait for an invitation from the person. Sometimes, that’s the right thing to do. A LOT of the time, it’s a way to wiggle out of speaking unwanted truth into the ear of someone who needs to hear it. Waiting for the right timing doesn’t mean waiting to be asked.

Do you have a truth God has put on your heart that needs to be shared?

 

-Carly

Job 29-30

“Oh, that I were as in months gone by…”Ahh, the glory days. Any difficult season is prone to lead us back to this lament. I must say, I would love to know a person like glory-days-Job. 

  • God is with him
  • He is respected by everyone; young and old, princes and people 
  • He helps the poor
  • Cares for the orphan
  • Makes widows happy again
  • Righteous 
  • Just 
  • Helps the blind and lame
  • Is a father to the needy 
  • Takes down the bad guys 
  • Is a wise counselor

Can I think of someone who is all those things?? (Maybe Bob Goff?) For sure, I know people who are some of these things, but it’s no wonder heaven knew about him! 

And, poor guy, there was no one like him who could return the same compassionate favor in his day of disaster. Instead his friends try to “help” him find something to confess. Others ostracize him and mock him. People can be so ruthless!

It’s easy to glory in the shame of others, judge, condemn and distance ourselves. But it is God’s Kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven” to care, adopt, nurture, pursue justice and bring joy no matter the circumstances.

It’s easier to make yourself feel better by bringing down others, but it’s a very carnal, deadly, wicked habit. I am all too guilty of this. For awhile, I “did ministry” out of the impression I was “picking up the slack” of Christians who I judged as lazy or self-serving. I needed to produce more, because not everyone was “doing their part”. But imagine how Jeremiah would have felt in the days of Israel’s impending exile; seemingly the only one following God, as Elijah also felt. 

Thank God, He has brought me to the liberating realization I am only responsible to Him for myself and He only expects from me what He has given me to steward. I “do ministry” because He has made me free and I want people to know Him and see Him glorified. It’s no longer a weight of duty.

This also frees me up to “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn”. Not being jealous of those who rejoice and judging those who mourn. That is unhelpful, unhealthy, and I’ve wasted too much energy doing that already. 

Yeah, maybe some “glory days” are behind us, but Jesus hasn’t come back yet, so there’s more to do and be.

Let’s encourage those around us today.

-Bethany 

Job 27-28

” He decided how hard the winds should blow and how much rain should fall. He made the laws for the rain and laid out a path for the lightning. Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it. He set it in place and examined it thoroughly. And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’ “ Job 28:25-28

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. This is stated repeatedly throughout the Bible, but my understanding of it deepens here, in Job’s context. 

I believe he’s saying, when you begin to understand God’s place, you begin to understand yours. The word fear here means heavily revere. 

Is Job starting to understand his place with God? Is he feeling less entitled to an explanation for his suffering? Maybe. Either way, he is staying engaged in the process. He hasn’t given up on seeking after  God or unpacking what has happened to him. 

Evaluate your understanding of God, his power and his sovereignty. If this book has taught me anything, it’s that I am upside down about what God owes me. 

What do you think God owes you? 


-Carly