Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thursday, February 10th

You have heard it said that the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. That is probably the best sort of analogy to which one could point to describe the speeches of Job’s three “friends.” This trio seems to hit the nail on the head when it comes to God and His power. (right thing) But the application of God’s power and their assurance that they know what the omnipotent God of the universe is doing could not be further off the mark. (wrong time)

For whatever reason the man named Zophar waits until the other two, Eliphaz and Bildad, have had their turn. One would hope that Zophar, who hails from Naamah (possibly in the Arabian desert), might have been sitting there listening to the back-and-forth between Job and the other two silently praying to God for wisdom. Maybe this guy’s words might reflect the worldview that God might be up to something bigger then anyone can see and more than they can understand. Not a chance…

Zophar’s message is much like that of Bildad; repent. Like I said in the beginning Zophar lays out some powerful truths that many of us would do good to remember. God gives wisdom (v. 5-6). We never really get what we deserve from God (v. 6). Who can know the mind of God (v. 7-11). In verses 13 through 19 Zophar seems to have a firm grasp on the fact the God is merciful and restores those who repent. Right on Z!!! Only problem; this situation has nothing to do with Job’s sin!!!

Does God bring about divine discipline when believers sin; absolutely. (Everyone should actually give an audible “Amen” and “Thank you Jesus” for that.) But we should never assume to know what God is doing in someone else’s life. The only thing that we can know for sure is that God is doing something. He is not asleep. He is not unaware. The forces of evil have not backed Him into a corner. It is the hand of YHWH who has done this (12:9).

For any fans of the movie “Tommy Boy” (and by fan I mean you have seen it 10 or more times) there is a scene in which David Spade’s character, Richard, is engaged in a discussion with a gas station attendant about directions. The gas station attendant tells him that he needs a new map. To which Richard responds with an audible “internal” monologue in which he tells the attendant that he is “real smart.” The attendant replies that he is picking up on Richard’s sarcasm. Then the classic reply; “that’s good because I’m laying it on pretty thick.” In chapter 12:2, Job tells the three that when they die that wisdom will die with them. Job is “laying it on pretty thick.” Good to know that he can maintain at least some humorous sarcasm through this trial.

Job then does something that can be extremely hard to do. He talks about the relationship between “God and suffering” out of truth rather than out of circumstance. Do you follow me? “When things are good; God is good.” “When things are bad” God’s nature somehow changes. Do you know people like that? Are you on guard to make sure that you’re not a person like that?

Job tells the three that in this fallen world that sometimes “bad people” sit in the lap of luxury while “good people” hurt. Job reminds them that God sets up counselors, judges, rulers, policemen, ministers, those born into privilege and those who are strong. He also tears then down; all at His discretion. And instead of walking away from God and His “higher ways” at that point; Job seems to say, “It is well.” “It is not well with my body.” It is not well with my heart.” “But it is well with my soul.” Believe you me; there is a big difference.

Are God’s “higher ways” well with your soul? “He is God and I am not.” Today you can continue to wrestle with that truth and try with all your might to grab bits and pieces of autonomy or… you can choose to rest in Him. I love it when my child stops fighting me and just leans on me in faith and love. My Father loves it too. Exhale… trust… obey.

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