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 

Job 23-26

I going to sneak in a couple more chapters since they’re small.

—-

“Oh that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat!” (23:3)

Something about these chapters struck me: Job had a relationship with God. He knows Him, and He wishes they could talk this out together. 

Even as Bildad keeps the limp advice coming, he retorts, this isn’t about being equal to God. Of course He is greater, bigger, totally other. I’m talking about why He is seeming inconsistent, and I don’t think He’s afraid to have that conversation with me.

This confrontation isn’t hostile, it’s refining.

“He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (23:10)

This is the response of a son. 

What is your relationship with God? When tough times come, do you call into question His goodness, cower like a kicked dog, say “yes, master”? Job’s friends seem to have this mentality of the slave or subject. Who do you think you are, Job? You can’t just march into His courts and start demanding answers!” 

Or can you?

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”‭‭ (Romans‬ ‭8:14-17)

Though thousands of years separate the books of Job and Romans, God has not changed. Even as we anticipate God’s response, we know He gives Job a run for his money, but also honors and restores him. He does, in fact, come forth as gold.

So, I ask again, what is your relationship with God? Do you know Him; approaching as a son? Or do you know about Him; reacting in fear?

-Bethany 

Job 21-22

Pay attention: today’s chapter’s are huge theologically.

You will succeed in whatever you choose to do, and light will shine on the road ahead of you. If people are in trouble and you say, ‘Help them,’ God will save them. Even sinners will be rescued; they will be rescued because your hands are pure.” 22:27-30

That’s a lovely verse, right? And a marvelous concept. Taken out of context, this is perfect! But this is being told to a man that has been described to us (by God) as blameless and upright (1:8), yet who has lost everything and been clobbered by more tragedy than anyone else recorded in the Bible. He sits there, side by side with a friend, who tells him if only you hadn’t sinned, things would’ve been perfect for you! 

This is what we call prosperity gospel, and it is Christ-less. It promises good will and physical well-being, claiming that this is the will of God for everyone. It claims that God’s will is for us to be happy on earth. I have yet to read this anywhere in the Bible, unless  Scripture is twisted and misused. As we often say on this blog, the Bible is a story. It is intended to be read and deeply studied in it’s context, and in it’s entirety, otherwise the verses like the one above, mislead us.

The true gospel is that even though we are completely undeserving and born into sin, our relationship with God is restored by the death and resurrection of his son Jesus. 

Don’t slip into the mindset that good behavior will result in easy living, or earthly riches. Let’s stay humbled that we are even invited into relationship with Him and offered eternal life! Praise God who loves me perfectly, justly and sovereignly. May I remember this when I compare my life and circumstances to others, and obey him out of a deep reverence and love, not an extended, demanding hand.

 

-Carly

Job 19-20

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” (19:25)

The waiting is excruciating, but Job knows it is not forever. He will be redeemed, he will see God. There is power in this hope. 

Let’s talk about the word redeem.

REDEEM :: verb

1. To compensate for the faults or bad aspects of. (synonyms: save, compensate for the defects of, rescue, justify, vindicate)

2. To gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment. (synonyms: retrieve, regain, recover, get back, reclaim, repossess, have something returned, rescue)

Christ is the member of the Godhead who most commonly receives the title of Redeemer, but we know it’s a glorious group effort (them being One and the Same and all). 

I find myself wanting to just meditate on those definitions this morning. God, my Redeemer, compensates for my faults and bad aspects. He made a payment, “with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:19) to regain possession of me.

Consider, with me, the implications of God being our Redeemer, just as Job called Him. That even in all the pain and suffering and accusations he could say, “I will see God, The One who vindicates and makes me His.”

-Bethany 

Job 17-18

“You must defend my innocence, O God, since no one else will stand up for me.” 17:3

It’s a hard lesson, meekness. Letting the Lord defend you, when no one else will. It’s a beautiful opportunity of Christ-likeness, but it doesn’t always pay off in the way or in the timing we want it to.

Job is waiting and waiting for God to ease his suffering, to defend him and announce “you are innocent!” and return his life to what it was. Spoiler alert: he does. But it’s less about how something starts and ends, and more about what your heart looks like during. 

How do you respond when you’re wrongly accused?

How does God want you to respond?

Time tells all might be a cliche, but it’s true. If you are waiting something out, take heart. No one is more atuned to waiting out innocence like Jesus, our brother and our Savior. Come to him in prayer, ask for strength, and remember what great company you are in.

 

-Carly

Job 15-16

“Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, And my advocate is on high.” (16:19)

It’s beautiful that even in his situation, Job calls God his advocate. God knows he didn’t do something sinful to deserve this pain, He knows everything surrounding Job’s situation. This is interesting to contrast with what Satan is called: the accuser. 

Think about that for a moment. That doomed little punk is the one who accuses, and the Holy Creator of the Universe is the One who advocates. 

We can gossip, slander, speculate, deprecate and shame, or we can encourage, champion, forgive, honor and praise. For each other and for ourselves. The question is, who’s side of the courtroom do you want to be on?

Yes, the Holy Spirit brings conviction, but that must always be differentiated from condemnation. One “always protects”, as 1 Corinthians 13:7 would say, “always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”. And the other is ready to throw you away. 

No, we don’t deserve the loving grace and mercy of God, but that’s the point! He fights, and has fought, for us anyway. Our witness is in Heaven.

Whenever you feel like you’re in a sticky situation and people are getting judgy, remember who you want to stay right with. Whenever a friend is going through a trying time, encourage them! Keep your limited persepective as a witness out of the stands, and agree with the Advocate, who teaches us how to love. 

-Bethany 

Job 13-14

“Though he slay me, I will hope in him, yet I will argue my ways to his face.” 13:15

This is a bright spot in a monologue of tortured complaining. A few sentences after this, Job asks God if he can hide out in hell until God’s wrath passes.

In the first chapter of this book, Satan insisted that if Job lost everything he had, he would curse God to his face. He was sure that Job’s faith in God hinged on his well-being. Here, in the depths of his despair, Job declares that he still hopes in God. 

What does the Enemy assume about you?

I don’t know how it works. How much he knows about me, or how often he’s watching.  But maybe that’s the problem; we all assume we’re flying under the radar and living a life undisturbed or bothered by Satan. I don’t have answers to my own questions, but am certain about this: whenever the Bible mentions him, we are told to be on guard. To flee from him. In John 12:31, he’s referred to as the ruler of this world.

So far, Satan has been wrong about Job. He’s wallowed, cried out, disagreed and complained to God. But Job has not cursed God. I want him to be wrong about me, too. To underestimate my faith, to disregard my trust and to downplay my prayer life.

Do you underestimate the influence of the Accuser?

 

-Carly