Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday, February 17th

If you live in the Evansville area you are only a matter of hours away from the largest known system of caves in the world; Mammoth cave. If you have never been to Mammoth cave I highly recommend you go. They have some great tours. Many are filled with eye popping visuals and most are rich in history. I have probably been at least three times in my life and plan on going back. There is one part of a certain historical tour that I always know is coming; the part where you get to experience absolute darkness. All of the lights go out and for about one minute you experience life with no light what-so-ever.

What begins to happen within a matter of seconds is that you lose all sense of direction. Interestingly enough some people begin to lose their balance while just simply trying to stand upright and still. Why? What has changed? In the darkness there is no longer a fixed point of reference. You lose the ability to discern where you are and in turn easily lose your balance.

Dark circumstances have an ability to mess with our spiritual discernment. Job chapters 13 and 14 are a continuation of a speech that Job started in chapter 12. It is in reply to accusations made by Zophar that Job needs to repent of some secret sin. Where I’m going with all of this is that Job keeps his balance even in the darkness of circumstance. As I read these two chapters I had to keep asking myself; could I do this? Job’s friends had some real and true insight into the nature of God. Could I “discern” enough to know that what they were saying was not true about my situation? If I were placed under the same set of circumstances that Job was under would I begin to doubt my standing with God?

Job sticks to his guns. He is sure that he is “blameless” before God. (Just for the record; blameless and sinless are two different things. Job is not saying he is sinless.) Job is able to discern that they have “misdiagnosed” his life; “you guys are worthless physicians” (12:4). He is somehow able to discern through all of the pain and circumstances surrounding that pain that the trio were “speaking falsely for God” (12:7).

Job makes this powerful statement in 12:15, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” That is a statement of balance even in the darkness. Job is essence says, “My hope is not in what I see (the circumstances surrounding his life), my hope is in what I cannot see (the big picture that is taking place in the throne room of God). I want that kind of balance and discernment.

It is a good thing that God chose a poetic type like Job. Chapter 14 is filled with poetic imagery comparing the natural cycle of things like trees to the “once your dead, you’re dead” life of mankind. Job uses nature as on object lesson on how God can wear a man down. If I had wrote it chapter 14 would have simply said, “Life is hard and then it’s over,” which would’ve made for a significantly shorter and less interesting book.

In the dark times of life do you have spiritual discernment? Do you know God’s word enough to see through bad theology, even if it looks good on the surface? Are we willing to have our discernment of right and wrong put to the test? May we be a people that “hope in Him” even unto death. Remember that “Job” without the trials and pains… is just another man who has never been put to the test.

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