Day 140 – Thru the Bible
Today we start the Wisdom books beginning with Job. We also continue Psalms. Here is the overview video for Job.
Video – Read Scripture: Job
How does today’s video help you understand Job better?
Job 1 & 2 – The first two chapters of Job set the stage for a great and climactic meeting: the encounter with God of a passionate man, filled with passionate rage concerning his life.
The background to this meeting is God’s allowing Satan to test Job’s faith—Job’s entire attitude to life—by tearing him down. Explaining to Satan that Job is “a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil” (1:8; 2:3), God puts “all that [Job] has” in Satan’s power, except Job’s body (1:12). Satan duly takes away every possession Job has, both things and family. Despite this, Job stays faithful to God: “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (1:21).
Then, however, God gives Job’s body to be put under Satan’s power, again with one exception: “only spare his life” (2:6). God exempts Job’s breathing existence from Satan’s strategy of demolition. God is more interested in Job as a person—in Job’s soul, we might say, the enduring essence of him—than He is in Job’s things, or even Job’s body. What goes on inside Job is more important to God than what goes on outside him. Job’s consequent skin disease (2:7) makes him repulsive to himself, and also to his wife. She shows him utter contempt: “Curse God and die” (2:9).
Job has three friends—Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar—all of whom care enough about him to sit with him—for seven days!—and commiserate. They see that Job’s suffering is very great (2:13).
The question for Believers here is this: Where is God in our suffering? Not in conceptual suffering, nor in the suffering of people over there; but in actual, personal, experienced suffering. Where is God when our lives are dismantled by inconsolable grief or crushing disappointment? The book of Job does not deny the reality of our sufferings. Indeed, at one level this book complicates our perception of God by making us aware that God may permit suffering. But the reality that Job will ultimately perceive through his suffering also makes us aware that our lives are not beyond God’s attention and our difficulties are not beyond His purposes.
The ultimate answer to questions about God’s nature and love in the midst of suffering will not come until the New Testament points us to the cross of Jesus. Where is God when suffering is great and all seems lost? The Gospel says God is there, in Jesus. Since God is there in that Jesus’ unfair suffering, when we suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” we are close to God, drawing comfort from His presence (2 Corinthians 1:5). And because there was purpose beyond the fathoming of those who witnessed Jesus’ suffering—despite its horrific unfairness—we can believe there is purpose in our difficulties, and eternal care beyond them, even if there is no fairness evident in them.
Job and also Job’s friends start out—and actually continue, until very late in the game—believing that God is normally present only in blessing and prosperity. Job and his friends (but only at the last) are eventually given a vision of God’s presence that is beyond a vision of worldly success. It is a vision outside and beyond human judging. It is also a vision that includes all things. “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”
How does Job’s (and our own) suffering point us to Jesus?
Job 3 – In light of the devastation visited upon Job’s possessions and also his body, Job complains bitterly to his three friends. He wishes he had never been born. He regards the dead as having ceased from all trouble and oppression. He also regards the present moment in his life—and who could not identify at some point with Job’s words?—as being “not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.” Job believes that having no life would be preferable to his life of suffering. His existence in the world having come undone, he wants out!
For Believers, the fact that the Bible includes such unvarnished words of despair as Job’s is a good thing. We sometimes hear the counsel, “first thought, best thought.” This is another way of saying, stick to your initial reaction to a situation, emotionally speaking, since it tells the truth of what is going on inside you. Job is able to tell the truth here, about his inner life; and we can tell the truth about ours. As Paul said later, “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; . . . that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart” (Romans 9:1–2).
We have a Savior who welcomes our unfiltered questions and laments. He is the Friend to the perplexed.
How will you choose to be honest in your conversations with God?
Psalm 135 – The God of Israel, the only true and living God, is worthy of all praise, for He has chosen Israel as His own possession, He is the sovereign ruler of all of the world that He has made, and He is the gracious and powerful Redeemer of these people of His choosing. What fools other peoples and nations are, who worship their idols. Those false, pretender deities cannot see or hear or speak or act, and those who worship them become as empty as their gods themselves are.
In contrast, how blessed the people of Israel are! Their God truly is God, and they truly are His chosen people. The privilege of their position as the people of God has nothing to do with them and rather has everything to do with the sovereign grace and power of God. Oh what mercy is shown in the gracious love of God. What hope fills the hearts of the people of God to know that they are saved and secured by the same God who controls the natural forces of the world. And, because they are the people He has rescued, He is committed to them, with sovereign power that rules heaven and earth, to bring about all the good He intends for them.
We can know for certain that everything that washes into our lives is for our good because this same God who controls creation and nations sent Jesus for us. Even when we cannot make sense of our circumstances, we know the character and power of our God revealed in His redemption and creation. Therefore we trust Him, believing all that we experience is from the hand of a sovereign God, who is also a heavenly Father.
In the plan and provision of Jesus, our God has infallibly demonstrated that He loves us eternally and, by His sovereign rule over creation, He assures us that He can direct all things necessary for our ultimate good. We could not be more secure.
In light of the first three chapters of Job—and our own experiences in this life—how does this Psalm bring you comfort?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.