Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Wisdom does not necessarily come with age ... "

Day #110:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - April 17th

Scripture Reading:  Job 31 - 32 ...

We spoke last week about pride sneaking up on Job and in Chapter 31 Job continues to try to defend himself against the attacks leveled against him by his "friends."  Attempting to declare his innocence of all wrongdoing, he used the word "if" over and over and over again.  He says, "IF I have done this" or "IF I have done that" or "IF I have not done this or that" ... "If ... if ... if ... "  You want to just interrupt and say, "Job, STOP!"  But in Job's defense, it is a bit difficult to ignore accusations being made repeatedly by those who claim to be your friends.  I don't want to make Job out to be "worse" than he was.  He had been through a lot, and his friends were not helping.  They offered him no comfort, did not point him to the God who is faithful and responded as though they KNEW Job better than he knew himself.

Finally, young Elihu, who had been listening to this long, drawn-out conversation, decided to end his silence.  He explains that he hesitated to speak because Job and his friends were all older than he and he expected them to speak with wisdom.  He explains that he was "angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God"  (32:3).  How many have done the same through the ages.  Wanting to maintain our innocence is folly.  "There is no one righteous, no not one!" (Romans 3:10).  We all know that, yet it seems some need to be reminded of that truth.  There is benefit in confessing our sin AND in knowing that God is always just and righteous in all He does.  When you try to justify yourself it often results in questioning God and thus makes you feel distant from Him at the very moment when you need Him most.  How much better to confess your sin, trust in God's grace and draw near to Him.

As believers we know that we have a great High Priest, Jesus, who is seated at the Father's right hand and Who is interceding for us.  Job believed in God and in His forgiveness, but somewhere Job and his three friends had taken their eyes off of God and became entangled in an endless and foolish debate that led only to a deadend.  Mercifully, young Elihu now decided to speak.

He says, "The spirit within me compels me ..."  It was GOD's Spirit within Elihu that prompted him now to speak.  He said "It is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding."  This is what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2, when speaking about wisdom from the Spirit of God:

"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. ... The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God ... he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. ... But we have the mind of Christ" (I Corinthians 2:11-16).

True wisdom doesn't come with age; it is a gift from God through the work of His Spirit.  As you listen to young Elihu speak over the next few chapters you will hear more wisdom in a short time than you heard from Job's other friends over this whole long discourse.  There are people in this world who are "smart," by the world's standards, but few who are truly wise.  The wisdom of man does not lead to the one, true God; it cannot, because true wisdom requires humbling yourself before your Creator and acknowledging that HE, and not YOU, is God.

Job needed God.  Job's friends needed God.  You need God and I need God.  He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  Humble yourself and in due time God will lift you up.  Job would learn that lesson, first from Elihu and then from the mouth of God Himself.  Be quick to listen and quick to learn.  Wisdom can be yours when you are willing to humble yourself and draw near to the One who holds Your life in His hands.

"Father, it is comforting to know that Your grace and love are sufficient for my every need.  I gladly and willingly humble myself before You, confessing my sin and resting in Your forgiveness through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Help me, Lord, to seek Your wisdom.  Fill me with Your Spirit so that I can share Your wisdom with others and give You glory for who You are.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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