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Day 149 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Job and Psalms.
Job 35 – Elihu “blows the whistle” on Job’s main character flaw. Job is angry! We can understand Job’s anger at his life, at his life’s “result”; and even share it. But anger accomplishes nothing that lastingly satisfies.
Moreover, Job misunderstands the nature of God’s anger. Elihu says, “[God’s] anger does not punish, and he does not take much note of transgression.” Here is a theme that was stated at the start. In 1:12 and 2:6, the Lord gave Satan permission to dismantle Job’s things, his works, and his body; but not his life, not his person or self. The Lord permitted all the foregoing “theater” of deconstruction in the life of his servant in order to save Job’s true self and true interest. According to Elihu, God “does not take much note of transgression” nor is it the intention of God’s anger to “punish.” The intention of God’s anger is to save lost people.
Behind the whole drama of Job’s humiliation is God’s motive: to save a man. This is the gospel: “While we were still sinners,” (but we have to know we are sinners, and Job is not yet there) “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Have you recognized your need for salvation from your sin?
Job 36 – Elihu’s qualifications as an interventionist are never questioned in the book of Job. Elihu’s assertion, speaking of himself, that “one who is perfect in knowledge is with you” is never refuted. It is refuted neither by Job’s three friends nor by Job himself. We are meant to believe what Elihu says.
Elihu makes a timeless point when he observes that God “delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.” It is through Job’s suffering that Job will be delivered, and through no other vehicle. Through the suffering of persons, “[God] opens their ears to instruction.”
In 1518 Martin Luther wrote in the Heidelberg Disputation, “He deserves to be called a theologian, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross.” According to Elihu, God is working in Job’s life by waking Job up, through his defeats, to the twin facts of his arrogance and his lack of knowledge.
Elihu also makes mention of Job’s judgmental spirit. Of what effect is all your anger at other people? Elihu asks Job. You seem to be judging everyone but yourself.
We tend to understand things by means of appearances. And then we make massive judgments concerning what we think we see. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). It seems we need to be “broken” of the “natural” pattern that avoids the defeats and runs toward the apparent victories of our lives.
In the kingdom of God, what seems a bad circumstance is ultimately good. The supreme instance of this is the death of Jesus on Good Friday, through which an apparent catastrophe became the means by which the sin of the world was taken away (John 1:29).
While we are discovering more and more of who we truly are in Jesus, there’s still areas of our lives where we will give in to the “natural” and sin.
When you sin, how does it lead you back the grace of God expressed in Jesus?
Job 37 – Elihu focuses on God’s majesty. He calls on Job to listen (Hear this, O Job) and consider this description in his complaint before God.
Elihu likens the light that comes after a storm has cleared to the God who is clothed with awesome majesty, who cannot simply be found, who is extremely powerful, and who does not violate what is right.
How does creation create in you a reverent respect (fear) for God the Creator?
Psalm 144 – With echoes of Psalm 8:4 (“what is man that you are mindful of him . . . ?”; this Psalm of David reflects on the absolute dependence the king must place on the all-sufficient and gracious enablement of God. The Lord is his rock who trains him for battle, who is his own fortress, shield, refuge, and deliverer. Man, in contrast, is as breath; his days are like a passing shadow. God alone, then, can bring the victory desired. He alone can bow the heavens, touch the mountains, send forth lightning, and rout the enemy. David pledges, then, following the victory God will bring, to sing to Him a “new song”, signaling the new work of deliverance and might that God will bring for this new challenge.
New opposition (from the enemy), new trust (in the ever-faithful God), new victory (brought by God’s grace and power), new song (written new for this most recent victory for which God is rightly glorified)—this is the order David follows. And this order of act and attitude provides God’s people in every generation a God-glorifying pattern for their lives as well.
The Psalm therefore concludes looking forward to generations to come. May they also not only benefit from this present victory of God; may they trust God in their afflictions and distresses as David has. In this way God’s people see afresh the victory of God in their lives—a victory accomplished decisively and finally in Jesus’ death and resurrection, through which God triumphed over the powers of hell.
How does this Psalm encourage you today?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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