Friday, August 27, 2010

Job Chapters 21-24

21:7 - Job is dealing with questions that have plagued mankind for all time. I here high school students ask this question every year. Why does it seem like the bad people get away with everything? I love that the Book of Job, one of the oldest accounts in history, is dealing with relevant philosophical/theological questions in every age.

21:14-15 - Job continues firing back at his "friends" who insist that he has done some major sinning and brought all the calamity of his life down upon himself. He tells them, "I have seen men who reject and scorn God, live comfortable and safe lives." Job brings this up, because he believes this also means that there are God-fearing men and women who experience pain and suffering.

23:8 - Again Job is expressing feelings that are common to all people at one time or another. He is searching high and low for God, but he cannot feel His presence. Job feels like he cannot connect with God. It feels like God isn't there to him. Have you ever experienced a time like this?

23:10 - This is such a great answer to the problems he is facing. Even though he feels like God is distant, Job chooses to remind himself of who God is. He chooses to remind himself that God is just and that God is going to bring him through this terrible situation a better man...he is going to be refined like gold through the fire of suffering. I have often had people come to me and tell me they cannot feel God like they used to be able to. I tell them to do what they used to do when they felt close to God. Choose to believe what you used to believe about God...choose to seek Him in prayer and study...stay faithful to God even when it feels like He is distant and you will once again find that connection.

24:1-14 - Job describes the people in the world who are starving, poor, broken, and suffering...some of these are people who have not turned away from God. He says, "Look around guys, there are people in this world who are suffering that are not God charges with no wrong...they are just suffering because they live in a fallen world, not because they have been unfaithful to God."

24:14-25 - And he compares those people to those who are clearly evil, yet who live comfortable lives. Again he points out that there are good people who suffer and evil people who prosper. He doesn't understand why this is the case, but in verse 24 he chooses to once again remind himself of the truth about God. The people who reject God may prosper for a little while here on earth, but in the end they will be gathered up and harvested like wheat for their crimes. They will pay the price for their sins. Justice comes...but it comes in God's time. This is something that all of us need to remember - there will be justice, but it may not come until the afterlife.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Job Chapters 17-20

17:2 - This is how people feel about believers who feel to share openly their easy answers to tough situations and quick judgments.

18:21 - Bildad spends the entire chapter detailing, in very intense language,what happens to wicked people. He never outright says that he is speaking about Job, but it is easy to see from the circumstances that he believes Job has turned away from God. He is saying, "Job it is really simple...this is what happens to wicked people. Now look at your life, does anything sound familiar?"

19:23-24 - Job gets his wish...we only know about this story because it is written down for all to see.

19:25-27 - Amazingly, Job continues to maintain his faith through all of this. He doesn't know why his world has fallen apart...his wife wants him to die...his friends think he brought it all on himself...yet he still has the strength to claim that his redeemer lives! That is powerful. He still believes that no matter what happens to his flesh, he will one day see God and he will be redeemed. Hopefully you and I can take heart int hat same kind of hope no matter what happens in our lives.

20:29 - Now Zophar spends an entire chapter describing the horrific fall of the godless...Job's friends are like broken records! No matter what Job says, they believe he has rebelled against God and brought this all on himself. Zophar claims that Job is simply reaping a "wicked man's" portion from God.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Job Chapters 13-16

400th POST!!! Wow, it has been a while now... year or so more and we should be through the bible.

13:15 - Job maintains a really incredible attitude during his time of suffering. He understands that God is in control and while WE know that God did not cause the harm that fell on Job (He did allow Satan to act freely), Job did not know his mind God has put him through the pain he had experienced - yet he maintains that God is his only hope. Great example of faith.

14:1-2 - What a depressing, yet true, outlook on life! A single human beings life on earth is very short when you think about it in the context of "the big picture." And though there are plenty of god things that happen, life is also full of trouble for flawed humans - we get caught up in sin every day and the world is roiling from the consequences of human sin. Yet we can put our trust in God who is offering us a life with Him that is eternal ad perfect. These short/imperfect lives we live are not the ultimate end we were created C.S. Lewis said (my version), "When we are in heaven, our lives on earth will seem like a bad nights stay in a cheap hotel."

14:16-17 - Job longs for a time when his sins are gathered up like trash and thrown away, and when his failures will be covered by God's grace. Unbeknownst to Job - that was God's plan all along! The blood of Jesus covers over our failure and God forgives our sin debt.

15:2 - These guys are totally relentless! This guy, Eliphaz, basically calls Job a windbag with nothing valuable to say.

15:7-9 - Eliphaz actually says things that are very similar to what God says to Job later in this book. He asks Job, "Were you around before God created the mountains? Have you hung around with God and received council from Him?" He uses rhetoric to show Job how crazy it is to question God. As before, his friend is "right" BUT way off base in his dealing with Job (And not very loving).

15:20 - Here is a clear articulation of their sin theology. I their view: sinners get punished and the righteous get blessed - period...end of story. We know from the story of Job, that it really isn't that simple. In fact, it is often the blessed who arrogantly turn from God and the suffering who desperately reach out to Him. Sometimes, for the sake of your faith, it is better to suffer.

16:19-22 - Job knows that though the whole world (friends and family) have turned against him, that he has an advocate in heaven who knows his conscience is clean. He knows that God knows the truth of his heart, and just doesn't understand what God is doing. Read these verses again...Job may not have fully understood what he was doing, but he is clearly describing the advocate that we all have in the person of Christ Jesus. Jesus blood covers our sins and he stands before God testifying on our is through his witness that we are proclaimed "not guilty." Praise God!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Job Chapters 9 -12

Through this section we see the back and forth between Job and his friends continues. Job is wrestling with how to understand what he has gone through, while his friends try to convince him it is all because of sin in his life (really great friends!). It is really interesting to see Job's faith in God and his clear understanding of the nature of God (As clear as a man can have anyway), while he is also wracked with confusion over his terrible circumstances and looking for answers. Job can teach us alot.

9:2 - Job knows that God is just - he states it clearly - but he also knows that he hasn't done anything particularly bad to deserve the suffering he has gone through (This is all based on a flawed understanding that God doles out blessing and curse based solely on human righteousness...we all know this is not how it works, right? There will be total and complete justice in the end, but it doesn't always work out like that on earth). Job knows that there is no one perfect when compared to God, so nobody can really be "right"...but he is wondering what it is he did to provoke all this pain.

9:12 - He is still just speaking out loud and addressing his friends - he is not really accusing God of anything...he understands that people have no right to arrogantly ask their creator God, "What do you think you are doing , God!?" Job knows this is his head, but he really wants some answers...understandable, right?

10:11ff - Again Job shows us his great theology - he has a clear understanding of God's creative power and he knows that he would not be alive if God has not blessed him with life. He knows that his very existence is held together by the power of God. Even in the midst of all the things he has gone through, he knows that God is still working in his life.

10:14ff - Job believes he is in a lose/lose situation. If he sins, God will see it (Because God knows everything that is going on) and he will be in huge troubles (based on the system of sin=bad stuff happening as discussed before)...but on the other hand, if he is righteous and all these bad things have happened to him - he is still filled with disgrace because everybody else around him thinks he brought it all on himself.

11:7-8 - Again, Zophar like his other friends, has a right view of God, but fails to apply it correctly with Job's situation. He knows that no man can fully understand God (Which is absolutely true!) - but that doesn't help out doesn't bring him comfort. Job has questions that he wants answered and all his friends keep telling him brought this on yourself or you can't understand God. We should all remember that just because you have the right theological answers does not mean that you should ram them down somebodies throat when they are hurting.

11:12 - Great line from Zophar...this is the precursor to "whens pigs fly." He says, "An idiot will be able to understand truth as soon as a wild donkey gives birth to a man!" Basically, never! He is boldly calling Job and idiot and saying he will never understand what is going on - ouch! Job has some really great buddies!

12:2 - Job isn't spineless - he fires back and sticks to his guns! He says, "Oh yeah, that's right, I forgot, you have the corner on the wisdom market. When you die all wisdom and understanding will be gone from the earth!" We can all see how unhelpful it is to have a non-gracious, arrogant, know-at-all around when you are going through hard times. This is not what it looks like to live as Christ among the people we know. When Jesus came to the town where Lazarus died - did he start preaching to the people, "Don't you guys know that Lazarus is going to be with God? Don't you know that I can bring him back? Don't you guys have any faith?" Did he say those things? No, Jesus wept. He entered into the pain of the people who were suffering and he comforted them. That should be our example to follow, not Zophar and company.