Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"Dinosaurs, Job, God and you …"

Day #145:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - May 22nd

Scripture Reading:  Job 41 - 42 …

As God questions Job He points out some of the creatures He had created, including the behemoth and the leviathan.  Some have said these are imaginary animals or symbols of the spiritual enemies of man, but neither of those explanations fits the purpose of God's questions.  It is God's intention to teach Job or to remind him and convince him that God's wisdom and power so far exceed Job's wisdom and power that Job is foolish to contend with God or to charge Him with acting unjustly, as if He could not bring to pass whatever He desires.

It has been suggested, based on the discovery of certain dinosaur bones, that Job was describing two different types of dinosaurs.  Of course, this is a problem if millions of years separated men and dinosaurs, but the Bible indicates otherwise.  God's "conversation" with Job is intended to help Job understand God's greatness so that Job would know God and trust Him … no matter what!  We need to have that same confidence, yet the same enemy who was trying to persuade Job not to believe in God tries to deceive people today through the lies of the teaching of evolution.

If dinosaurs and other animals existed on the earth for millions of years before mankind "appeared," then suffering and death existed BEFORE Adam and Eve sinned against God.  And if that is true, the entire message of the Bible concerning sin and separation from God and the need for a Savior and forgiveness is unnecessary and without meaning.  Here in the book of Job, what some believe is the oldest book of the Old Testament Scriptures, God speaks of things that confirm the fact of His creation and the timing of His creation, as well as His wisdom and power in creating and sustaining His creation for His purposes.

We have seen repeatedly that it was and is God's desire to reveal Himself to those whom He chooses, and Job was one of these … perhaps one of the first with whom God spoke.  I could go into more proof of dinosaurs and men existing together, but it would distract us from the conclusion of this book that we have been exploring for quite some time.  The account of Job's life began with him worshiping the God of creation and it ends with Job giving this testimony:  "My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You.  Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes" (42:5-6).  Like Isaiah in Isaiah 6:1-5, Job's reaction in beholding a glimpse of God's glory was an overwhelming sense of inadequacy, of humility, of brokenness and of shame.

People today seem to want to approach God without any of these.  Today we hear, "God is love"  and people come to Him to get what they can and then walk away.  Such is not the nature of God.  At the end of God's questioning, Job replies by saying, "I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted.  You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know" (42:1-3).  Isaiah responds the same way.  Our approach to God must be like Job's at the beginning and at the end of his experience:  "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart.  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised" (1:21) and "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" (2:10).

God sovereignly rules over all things.  That's the point of His questioning of Job.  After this, God speaks to Eliphaz, one of Job's friends, and says, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right" (42:7).  They had told Job that troubles are God's messengers to punish those who do wrong, but God makes it clear that He only disciplines those He loves and that He is wise enough and powerful enough to bring good out of evil.  Satan is the author of Job's problems, of his suffering and his trials.  All the suffering in this world is the consequence of Satan, evil, temptation and sin.  While God allows it for His purposes, He is the Author only of that which is good and right and perfect.

As He did with Job, God promises to overrule evil in the end and to bless those who trust in Him.  "The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first!" (42:12).  God may do that even today for some.  But God has PROMISED to do that for EVERY person who trusts in Him when they enter into the new world that He will create.  How quickly would many today exchange an easy life in this world, a life filled with only good things and no trials, for eternity.  Given the choice, many would say, "I want it all, and I want it NOW!"  They would take all that God can give and give away their birthright, even as Esau, Jacob's brother did in Genesis 27.

Some might ask:  "Why can't we have BOTH?  Why doesn't God give us an easy life now and then eternal life in the future?"  Well, you can be like Job and question God, or you can accept God's Word when He says that His ways are not your ways and that in our bearing suffering and trials by the power of God our testimony to the world is enhanced and made all the more powerful.  Wasn't that the whole point of what we have been reading in Job?  Satan believed that anyone would serve God if they had the kind of "charmed" life that Job had at the beginning.  What Satan could not believe was that anyone would continue to worship God if God took it all away:  "Stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face" (1:11).

But as low as Job got, with the help of his friends, he never cursed God.  He protested too much, He questioned what God was doing and why, but he did not stop believing in God or desiring to worship God.  What about you and me?  How do you handle trials and suffering when they come?  Are you tempted toward despair?  Do you wonder if God is punishing you for some sin?  Do you accuse God of wrongdoing?  If you KNOW God … if you really know God, as He reveals Himself to Job, you will join David in Psalm 8 when he proclaims,

"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!  You have set Your glory above the heavens. … When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have set in Place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?  You made him (me) a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him (me) with glory and honor. … O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!"

Praise the LORD, the one true God, your Creator and mine, today!  Know that He has created all things and He created YOU for His glory.  We today can know Him even better than Job did, for we know that He kept His promise to send a Savior and in Jesus Christ God has revealed the way to come to Him for forgiveness and eternal life!!!  We who believe have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade away, reserved in heaven for us, and now, in this life, we are "shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time" (I Peter 1:3-5).

Our God reigns!  Let the earth be glad and let His people rejoice!!

"Almighty and everlasting God, YOU are my Creator and I worship You for Who You ARE!  I need You and I thank You for Your steadfast love and compassion through Your Son Jesus Christ.  Fill me now with Your Spirit and give me eyes to see Your glory in the creation around me and wisdom to trust You in the midst of life's trials.  You are ALL I need and to You I give my life, in Jesus' name, Amen"

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