It’s the fourth year in a row where what I’ve read in Job on this day in my reading plan has been the thing that’s lingered afterward. The taste from my samplings in both the Old Testament and New Testament that has been the food for thought that I find myself chewing on.
I know this because often when I meditate on a passage I do a search through my online journal and see what thoughts have come to mind before. And there they were. Last year in 2018, and in 2017, and in 2016. But there is also one that goes way back to 2008. In many ways to a time when life was being done in a very different context. Very little experience back then, honestly, that connected with Job’s experience.
But as I read through this 2008 entry, I’m reminded how important it is to store up divine life principles before you really need them. Of what an act of grace it is for the Spirit to lead you into truth before you’re going to need to draw on that truth in a way you couldn’t have imagined. How what I learned back in 2008 has actually been lived out over the past few years.
So, you’re welcome to read my posts on this passage from 2016, 2017, or 2018, if you like, but I thought I’d rerun the one from 2008 if, perhaps, it might be of some encouragement to you as it was to me this morning.
I think when all was said and done, Job just simply lost focus on who God is. This man, who God declares is “a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil (Job 1:1,1:8,2:3), finds himself on the wrong end of a Divine reaming out. “Prepare yourself like a man!” God demands, “Answer me! You who would correct Me and rebuke Me . . . Let’s get a thing or two straight . . . and let’s start with Me reminding you of who I AM!”
These last chapters of Job really are quite amazing as you think about the sensory overload that Job must have gone through as he was addressed directly by the Almighty and was given a lesson in creation and divine power like none other ever given. And how did he end up at the end of such a stern lecture? Again, I think he just lost focus on who God is.
Now, I’m not blaming him. You’d think that a man as devout as Job kind of deserved better. By God’s own words he is singled out as a remarkable example of faithful and “set apart” living. And then to have experienced the disaster and tragedy that befell him so suddenly . . . who wouldn’t have been a bit confused . . . a bit bitter . . . a bit arrogant in demanding a one-on-one with God so that he could get things set straight? You can’t blame him . . . but you can sure learn from him . . .
In his unbelievable tragic circumstances . . . in his pain . . . in his frustration . . . Job loses sight of who he’s addressing in the heavens . . . focusing on himself, he chooses to neglect what he knows to be true about His God. And so, God, in a not so gentle manner, reminds him. In a whirlwind (Job 38:1) He presents Himself in all His power and glory as He recounts the wondrous evidence of that power in creation . . . and says, “Job . . . answer Me . . . where’s Your hand in all of this? Where do I see your power in creation . . . show me where your wisdom is displayed in the intricate workings of the natural world.” And then, in my reading this morning, Job 40, God gets to the point,
“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!”
(Job 40:2 NKJV)
There’s the line, Job . . . and you crossed it. No one can minimize the pain and suffering you’ve gone through . . . but remember who you’re talking to . . . do you really want to contend with the Almighty . . . do you really want to find fault with the Maker of all things . . . do you really think you’re in a position to rebuke and reprove God? What are you thinking?
The answer — he wasn’t. Caught up in trying to justify himself before his accusatory comforters, he goes too far . . . in his anguish and pain, his tongue gets too loose . . . overwhelmed by life’s unfairness, his brain goes on auto-pilot . . . and he loses sight of who His God is. Be warned, Pete.
Now I haven’t been through anything like what Job experienced . . . and I’m not looking to . . . however, I confess times where I have addressed God . . . or spoken of Him . . . in ways that reflect a loss of focus. Far too casual with the Almighty . . . way to chummy with the Maker . . . bordering on irreverent concerning Holy, Holy, Holy God. I fear it is easier than I suspect to become so “comfortable” with God that I can lose focus on who He is . . . and who I am . . . and speak to Him, or of Him, in ways that are inappropriate . . . in ways that serve to make me seem “bigger” than I am . . . and serve to make Him “smaller” than He really is.
O God, keep me from such mindlessness. Through Your Word and through Your indwelling Holy Spirit help me to maintain a healthy, ever-present “awe and fear” factor. Forgive me for irreverence . . . keep me from speaking of things I know very little about. Instead Lord, in all circumstances help me to be still and know that You are God . . . and nothing less . . . and that I am a man . . . and nothing more . . . for Your glory alone . . . amen!