Sunday, May 1, 2016

"Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?"

Day #123

Scripture Reading:  Job 37 - 38 ...

“God is love” (I John 4:16).  Without question, love is an important part of God’s character, but those who think that is all there is to know about God will undoubtedly be confronted with some of the same doubts and questions Job had when faced with trials and suffering, and like Job and his friends, will sooner or later discover that truly knowing God is necessary if you are going to trust Him in every circumstance of life.  Satan’s challenge to God at the beginning of the book of Job was that Job worshiped God because he didn’t have any problems and it was easy for him to believe in God.  Satan said to God, “You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.  But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face” (1:10-11).

For those who have read the book of Job before and who know how it ends, by the time you get to Chapter 37 you are beyond eager to get to Chapter 38, where God finally speaks to Job Himself.  But first, Chapter 37 and the words of young Elihu.  It is a continuation of the testimony Elihu began in Chapter 34.  In Chapter 36, verse 2, Elihu said, "Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God's behalf." Only Elihu realizes that God is neither deaf nor blind.  He can hear and see what is happening on the earth … ALL of it!  The first chapter of Job was a look “behind the scenes” and provides a glimpse into the spiritual world that is just as real as the physical world in which we live.  God WANTS His people to KNOW Him, for it is only in knowing Him that we are empowered by His Spirit to live by faith, not wavering when trials come. 

When you get to Chapter 38, you read in verse 1:  "Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm ..."  What storm?  The storm Elihu apparently sees or anticipates as he speaks in Chapter 37 ... the storm of God’s righteous anger!  He begins, "At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. Listen! Listen to the roar of His voice ... "  (37:1-2).  “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding” (37:5).  As you read through this chapter you can sense the anticipation in Elihu's mind and heart and voice.  GOD is coming!!  What a testimony Elihu gives!  He testifies to God's majesty and power and all that God displays throughout the earth "so that all men He has made may know His work" (37:7).  It reminds me of two other passages of Scripture:  Psalm 19:1-4 and Romans 1:20-21 ...

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world" (Psalm 19:1-4).

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Romans 1:20-21).

Elihu knows God!  And he wants to remind Job WHO GOD IS!!  His questions prepare the way for God to speak:  "Do you know ... ?  Do you know ... ?  Can you ... ?"  It is as though Elihu is saying what God is about to say, "Job, who do you think YOU are?"  And now ... and now, here comes God: "Out of the north He comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty.  The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power ..." (37:22-23).  And now the moment I, and hopefully, YOU, have been waiting for ...

Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm.  He said, "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?" (38:1).  So begins an array of questions unmatched anywhere in human literature or history, that takes four chapters to complete.  Those who do not know God might wonder about God's mercy or compassion in challenging Job like this after all he has been through, but remember, God's purpose for Job is GOOD.  Job NEEDS the TRUTH and God is a God of truth.  Sometimes, oftentimes, the most compassionate thing we can do is confront people with the truth ... GOD's truth.  We need to know that the God who is love is wiser than we are and we need to rest in His promises when things happen in our lives that we don’t understand.

So now, as God confronts Job directly, He is not being mean.  He wants Job to THINK about what he should already know about God; so He asks Job questions that have obvious answers in order to teach him to trust in the Lord his God and to stop doubting in the midst of his trials.  "Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” (38:4).  Then God asks several questions that begin with, “Have you ever ...  Have you journeyed ...  Have you seen ...  Have you comprehended?  Tell Me, if you know all this!"  (38:4-18).  And the questions keep coming:  "Can you? ...  Can you? ...  Can you? ...  Can you? ... Can you?"  (38:31-34).  And then, "Who? ...  Who? ... Who? ...  Who? ..." (38:36-41).  See the contrast between God and Job!  There is simply no one like God, who has done all these things, who has journeyed to the far reaches of the universe, who has seen everything (before He created it), who comprehends everything.  He is the God who CAN do anything and He is the one who has made it all for His glory!!

And as much as God wanted Job to think, He wants you and me to think, to know, to believe, to understand that He is God and there is no other, because in knowing Him, our Creator, we find what we need, what our soul longs for, what only HE can satisfy ... LIFE in its fullness, life with all its purpose and meaning and joy and ... eternal, everlasting LIFE!!  I pray that you have heard His voice and that you have found life in Him through faith in His Son Jesus Christ by the work of His Spirit within you.

"Almighty God, I confess that I continue to be amazed at Your majesty, Your splendor, Your glory ... and now we know only in part ... then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known.  I praise You, Father, for revealing Yourself to me and I am so thankful, so very humbled and thankful to know You as MY God, as my Creator, as my Savior and my Lord!  I am in awe of You and I love You!!!!  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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