June 11, 2017

June 11, 2017

JOB 35-37

Focus Verse: For truly my words are not false;
One who is perfect in knowledge is with you.
Job 36:4

At this also my heart trembles,
And leaps from its place.
Listen closely to the thunder of His voice,
And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth.
Job 37:1-2


I want to reiterate something from yesterday: there are no good guys and bad guys in the Kingdom of God. There is one enemy, and that is the devil, but while we are here on earth, he is our only enemy, never people. We have to see people in this light or it will give us reason to keep the gospel from them, and that goes against God’s desire that NONE should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).


My tendency in the book of Job is to tear down every statement of Job’s friends, to find fault in everything they say. But this little cross section of two verses will show you something that is so true of the human condition: we can be so screwed up, but still right on certain points with God. You could also say that we can be right on certain points with God, yet still so screwed up on other points. If this is true in all of us, then we need to be forgiving and gracious when we find faults in someone else’s views, correcting them IN LOVE, and at the same time we need to be constantly on our toes, even when we’re listening to someone whose counsel we trust deeply.


Here, Job’s friend Elihu starts his daily ‘why Job stinks at life’ rant with the statement, “One who is perfect in knowledge is with you” referring to himself. First of all…never trust anyone who refers to him or herself in the third person. Second of all…just no! The Bible teaches again and again what happens to those who suffer from pride…so we all know where Elihu is heading – for a fall!


But then look at the second part of the focus verse. Elihu talks about how his heart trembles and leaps with joy at the sound of God’s voice. I thinks it’s easy for those of us who have read the book of Job before to chalk everything that Job’s friends say up as heresy. We know that, in the end, God punishes Job’s friends for speaking falsely into Job’s life, so we just write them off into the ‘bad guys’ category.


That’s not the case though! Clearly from this passage in 37:1-2, not to mention many other verses from all of Job’s friends, these are individuals with pretty solid relationships with God. They know Him, they have experienced aspects of God, they clearly have walked with God during their lives. These aren’t ‘bad guys’ offering bad advice; they are flawed humans doing their best to help a friend.


Unfortunately, our best, most often, can get us no higher than sin in God’s book. This is why our relationship with the Holy Spirit is so absolutely vital. The right word in the wrong situation is a sin…that’s what we see from Job’s friends all throughout this book. They offer solid theological truth, but it’s in the wrong situation. The only way for us to know the right word for the right situation is to listen to the Holy Spirit and to follow His lead.


Job’s friends dropped the ball in the book of Job – there’s no question about that. Honestly speaking though, who among us can say that we haven’t? That we haven’t been in this exact same position where we have offered solid, biblical advice to someone only to have it blow up. But you know what, it’s ok. Spoiler alert, God forgives Job’s friends for speaking the right truth at the wrong time. And I have to believe, since I can clearly see that Job’s friends had a relationship with God, that they received God’s correction and became better friends, better counselors, better followers of God, because of their mistakes.


If we are open to correction, God will always redeem our mistakes. That’s just how amazing He is.

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