Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Eiffel Tower

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Jun 12, Job 38-39

Today's readings are Job 38-39.

God responds to Job but does not address Job's demand for an explanation. The first half of God's response, in chapters 38 and 39, portray God's sovereign authority and control over all creation. There is no profound truth offered, no reason given for Job's suffering. This is not a lack of compassion on God’s part, but a holy response to a childish demand for an explanation. God is effectively saying, “Have you forgotten that I am God? Do you realize what I’m teaching you?”

If we go back to Job 1-2, we are reminded that the Book of Job asks two questions; (1) Can a righteous man suffer? (2) Will a man accept good from God and not evil? The first question is readily answered by the breath-taking scope of Job's suffering, even though God declares him blameless. The second question has been undergirding the narrative of Job and his three counselors for the remainder of the book up until now.

The overall perspective Job has in his claim to innocence and unfair treatment, coupled with the accusations leveled by his three friends, is that life and prosperity should be benefits that arise from faithful service to God. Job claimed he was godly and deserved better treatment. His friends thought he was secretly wicked and had earned worse treatment. Throughout all the dialogue and posturing, they have collectively maintained that good people receive blessing and bad people receive curses and judgment. However, they are unable to agree as to who is good and who is evil. God remains silent throughout the exchanges.

When He finally enters the conversation, instead of explaining Job's sufferings, God turns the focus on Himself, His work in creation and His absolute sovereign authority over all of it. God’s unspoken message to Job is that He is sovereign over all creation, including Job's trials.

So, the first of the mistakes we see in Job and his counselors is in putting the focus on Job, not God. They wasted their time trying to figure out why Job was suffering and spent no time giving God the glory for being Lord over Job's suffering. What they're really missing are the lessons to be learned in Job's dilemma. Instead of striving to prove innocence, like Job or trying to lay blame, like his counselors, they should have been asking, "What is God trying to show us?"

How often do we get so consumed with our circumstances that we lose sight of our Father who has supreme authority over them? How often do we get so preoccupied with getting out of a situation that we neglect to learn what God wants to teach us in the situation? How often do we seek to vindicate, defend or explain ourselves instead of simply submitting to God and what He’s placed on our plate? How often do we spend so much time talking to God that we have none left to listen? These are all mistakes Job and his counselors have made. We can learn a lot from their errors. 

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