Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Individuality

There is a lot of human drama in the book of Job.  Most of it is centered on long dialogues between the human players in this story. What I love about Job was his endurance to stay the course in getting the answers straight from the mouth of God.  'Righteousness' is a big deal. 'Righteousness', when truly understood, is an individual right. It is not  a 'group' thing. 'Rightness' comes from God in working through  and in any situation. That is where Job stayed the course.

Job's three friends had flaws in their thinking. Job had obvious questions for God , and  we are made aware of the big questions he had in his own thinking.They were all products of the world around them. In the end, God told Job to pray for for the three friends.  God does not take sides, he is all about what's right (Joshua 5:13-15). God's intent was growth for all of them: Job, and the three 'miserable comforters'. God showed himself to all 4 of them. I assume Job's friends learned that it is about looking for God rather than sin. Job learned about 'seeing' God! All's well that ends well!

There is another player in the scenario: Elihu. He disappeared in the end. When one honestly reads through his drama, he's not someone you would like to encounter in your local bible study. Job did not answer or argue with him and it seems, despite man-made chapter breaks, God's whirlwind swoops down, interrupts and clears the air.

The lesson of 'righteousness' a big theme in the Book of Job. Despite our questions and flawed thinking at times, we have the right to humbly ask for answers to life's questions. We have the right to the throne room of God. Guilt and shame can shut the door but Jesus Christ opened it for us in the New Testament.  Guilt and shame clouded and covered the light, Jesus Christ unveiled it. We have access to God, not thru some veil, but with clear bold access we too get to 'see' him distinctly.


Job's Sufficiency and Righteousness

Again I marvel at the multitude of opinions expressed about Job's predicament as exposed in the Book of Job. It continually seems like denominational biases try to sneak their cause into the word of God.  The Word of God will always be the Word of God and it is unbreakable. God has protected it throughout history. We can get answers to our questions about God from God himself.

Job was a man that God actually praised. Job had some catastrophic events occur in his life.  He had endeavored to live like God expected him to live. He respected (good fear, in a reverential sense) God and yet he had another type of fear, (the negative kind of fear) and felt insecure. Fear can at times eclipse the light of God. Mentally, he acknowledged God, yet his heart had some worries that ballooned into a big cloud over him:
25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. 26 I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came. Job 3:25-26 
In response to this, three friends visited Job and sat silently with him for a while and when they started talking they accused Job of having some secret sin that was causing his troubles.  They were joined by a fourth who added fuel to the raging fire that was going on.  It seemed like God was unreachable and yet Job never gave up. Job wanted to talk to God himself.

In the book of Job there is a lot of dialogue devoted to his three friends.  Elihu gets quite a bit of print also. It almost seems like these miserable comforters are trying actually to separate Job from God rather than bring him closer. Is God unapproachable? No? Can one ask God questions? Yes! Job loved God. He wanted answers. Can we get answers? Do we really think God wants us sitting around in the dark? God is relational, not a distant judge as is proved in the final chapters of the book. Job got  his answers!
5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Job 42:5
Job held on to his righteousness throughout the ordeal  and that is an important lesson for all of us especially in the day and time within which we live. We live under the New Testament Covenant. Jesus Christ has made the login to God much easier through the sending of the gift of holy spirit.  To live in righteousness, we believe in the actual 'right' to access to God. God doesn't want us stupid regarding his blessings and all that he is.

The greatest thing one can do for other humans is to encourage them to get to know God and understand that God can become their sufficiency (not us) as the relationship develops.  The results are beyond anything we could imagine! 'Seeing' God at work in another is one of our added riches of life!
17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. Isaiah 32:17

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Where is God's Focus in The Book of Job?

The Book of Job is one of the most hypothesized books in the Bible. There are so many opinions about things contained in the book that it is mind-boggling!  As I look into some of the sections of the book and take my time, it is fairly evident that most people get it wrong one way or another. Don't get me wrong, I don't have all the right answers, but I can see all the contradictions of opinions that pile up with each and every theory.
God actually spoke in the beginning and end of this book.  In the beginning, he praised Job for his righteousness. In the end, God praised Job again. In between, we read a lot of human dialogue page after page, where there is a lot of mention of sin and blame from Job's friends, which got worse and worse before God stepped in.

When God spoke to Job directly  ,he set the tone with:
2 Who is this that darkeneth (dims the light) counsel (advice) by words without knowledge (discernment, thinking)? 3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand (ask) of thee, and answer thou me. Job 38:2-3
These two verses are sliced and diced over and over by people who study  the book of Job.
I looked up what it means 'to gird up the loins'. The phrase is used several times in the Bible. Some historians describe this as pulling up the tunic and tucking it in to be ready to move. Job was not going anywhere physically, but spiritually he was moving forward. In  Ephesians 6 it says:
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
After the discourse in Job 38:1-3, God asked Job question after question!  God asks questions throughout the Bible and this is the longest list to any individual. The questions are thought-provoking! The questions allowed and encouraged Job to think! (Check out Genesis 4:6, Job 1:7, Acts 9:5, Romans 8:31-39, or the first question in the Bible 'Where art thou ?' in Genesis 3:9). The questions didn't box him in, accuse or blame him; they freed Job, because he wanted to be freed:
5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Job 42:5

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend and we got to talking about respect and the current culture. He made a statement to me t...