Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gleanings from Job #18

...continuing my devotional series on the book of Job

God is Sovereign and Acts Wisely (36-37)

I have been considering the trials of Job and his dialogs with his three friends. They proved to be hapless counselors by failing to give Job the perspective he needed to worship God in his trials.

Instead, Job was moving toward bad thinking regarding the Lord and His ways. He was beginning to stew in bitterness.

A fourth friend, Elihu, believing none of the other three friends adequately answered any of Job's questions in a meaningful fashion, was moved to speak.

Where as Job's three friends attributed his suffering to retribution - punishment for unconfessed sin - Elihu reminds Job of God's character as the focal point in his suffering.

Job was in need to RECAPTURE THE GLORY OF GOD IN SUFFERING and Elihu draws Job back to sound thinking about God by hitting on three broad areas.

I have considered the first two of Elihu's points to Job,

I. God does hear and has spoken (He has revealed Himself)
II. God is Just and acts fairly

with this study, I consider the third,

III. God is sovereign and acts wisely

Elihu begins by excusing himself for having a lot to say and ask for patience as he explains his words (36:1-4). In spite of his long-windedness he affirms that what he says is what he knows to be true about God. He draws upon what he knows to be true of God because God has revealed it.

- It is knowledge from afar, meaning it is "revealed by God" (3)
- Moreover, it is perfect knowledge (4) because it is knowledge from the Lord Himself.

That revealed knowledge tells us much about who God is as our sovereign maker, and this is what Elihu relates to Job and his friends.

God is Sovereign in His Authority over Men (36:5-16). Though God is sovereign over all, described as being "mighty in strength" in verse 5, He doesn't despise anyone. Elihu is saying God has not turned his back on God.

Contrary to Job's argument that the wicked go unpunished, Elihu argues that God will deal with them (6, 7). The righteous He does preserve and He doesn't withdraw His eyes from them. Moreover, God doesn't bring affliction upon a person, even the wicked, without revealing to them why it is they are afflicted (8-10). The primary purpose of trials is for our own personal instruction.

- Those who obey the instruction will prosper (11)
- Those who are obstinate will die without knowledge (12-15)

In like manner, Elihu points out (16), Job should be instructed by his distress, that perhaps God is using those trials to mature Job, to draw him to Himself.

God is Sovereign in His Instruction during Affliction (36:17-23). Moving from his last comment about Job seeking instruction during his trial, Elihu admonishes Job's attitude. Rather than despairing, speaking about God striking him down and longing for the night (20), Job needs to rest with trust in God alone.

- Job should not trust his riches or material gain to aid in comforts (18, 19) in his distress. Only God can uphold him in this trial, or anyone in his or her trials.

- Also, Job should beware of seeking death or acting sinfully to escape a trial (20, 21). When difficulties become severe, a person may be tempted to pray for death, maybe even committing suicide, but this should not be the direction a person heads. Moreover, there is a danger of pursuing iniquity or the making of sinful choices in order to get out from under a trial. That way should also be avoid.

Rather, the right way to go is to humble submit to God's instruction (22, 23). Only God can adequately instruct during time of personal distress. Instead of allowing despair over come you, turn to God in praise.

God Sovereignty is benevolent in His works in nature. (36:24 - 37:24) In order to illustrate God's sovereignty, Elihu points to several illustrations of God's power and majesty displayed in nature. God is almighty and sovereign over all His creative works, particularly the rain. It is through the rain that God displays his benevolent sovereignty to all men, because rain benefits all men by giving them water to drink and grow food (30-33).

Elihu also reminds Job of God's control over storms. He is seen in thunder and lightening storms which instill awe in all the inhabitants of the earth, as well as snow storms and the rain storms that are directed at God's command in the clouds.

As Elihu reminds Job, storms should remind all men, especially the Christian, of God's sovereign control over all events. Thus, as Elihu concludes his remarks to Job and his listening friends, if God is the authority and controller of all earthly storms and they obey Him, then most certainly he is the controller over spiritual storms as well. If men are easily awed by physical storms and God's power over them, how then can we presume to argue against God, particularly His providence with trials. We must rest upon the truths we know of God revealed in the storm.



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home