UPDATE: I have posted new comments from me to each of you on the Comment Form.
Thanks so much for praying for me! I do have a pretty severe case of bronchitis and pneumonia. Please pray that I recover quickly. I have a "renunion" planned for this weekend in Houston and so hope that I get to see the young women flying in to be with us. Appreciate so much your prayers---I feel so under attack of the enemy, right now.
Job 32 - 42 and
Genesis 11 - 21
The Book of Job stirs and shakes and stammers my tongue and heart. Our glorious God invites Job to ponder seventy or so questions:
Who shuts up the sea behind doors?
Who gives orders to the morning?
Who enters the storehouses of the snow?
Who sends the lightning bolts?
Who counts the clouds?
Who tips over the water jars of heaven?
Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? 42:5
Job's response: I am unworthy. I put my hand over my mouth. 40:4
I spoke of things I did not understand. Too wonderful for me. 42:3.
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 42:5
I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. 42:6
I would love for you to comment what God stirred in your heart as you read through this book of suffering. Would you be willing to post it on your blog and invite us to read more about what God spoke to you, especially the 22 of you who are part of reading this together. I have prayed for you these truths this week and may God open our eyes as He did for Hagar in Gen. 21:19.
In my mind, I thought God would offer Job His wisdom on processing the suffering Job faced. I also thought God would have to address Job’s demanding spirit. Remember Job 23:3-5—if only I knew where to find God, said Job, then I would state my case before Him and I would find what He would answer me. God was not interested in arguing the case with Job. Case closed. God wanted to reveal His character to Job. The incommunicable attributes of a Beautiful God appearing in a whirlwind whose definition is Psalm 50:3, a place where God came for judgment—that’s the storm.
A couple of years ago, we went through a HUGE family crisis and I hit a depression so severe that I never knew even existed. I deteriorated to dysfunction over 3 months. Literally. Couldn’t stop it. Every day I cried out on the inside for my God, but He was silent, way so silent. Nowhere to be found. But at the end of 3 months, one morning He spoke to my heart and asked me one question—Exo. 4:11. My beautiful God so showed up in my life and intervened from that day forward and I’ve never been the same and am alive in ways I’ve never been.
So, when God showed up with seventy questions for Job, I wonder how Job felt? How devastating that we are so curved in on ourselves and what we think, what we want. God asks multiple questions so that Job can come to his own conclusions about God’s character. God could have told Job---but NO----38:4 “where were you Job?” We’ve heard the question before. Where were you? Wonder where we are this moment? What playful passionate royal rhetoric. Transcendent. Unchangeable. Independent. Omnipresent. Eternal. That’s how God answered Job—incommunicable attributes. He’s not like man. We could never do any of that stuff. His ways are much higher than our ways. He is worthy of our complete trust no matter what He asks Satan to consider for each of us, because of Who He is.
God doesn’t need man but He wants us to glorify HIM. So, I need to settle my faith tonight on God’s character and not park my faith on the pavement of getting the answers I think I need and want which is what He can “do” for me or how He can help me process this thing called life and make my life work while we’re at it. I need to repent just like Job! I am created for HIM not for the best life I can find and make happen. Here are seven thoughts I experienced in reading the Book of Job:
1. REND YOUR HEART. In Job’s unbelievable crises, he tore his robes in Job 1:20 and in those days it meant he left his heart unprotected, unguarded. How I do the same. I’ve thought about Joel 2:13 as we read Job—”rend your heart not your garments.” This a.m. I looked up Joel 2:13, the cross ref was Job 1:20. Wonder what it means to rend my heart tonight right in the middle of whatever I am dealing with.
2. NO PLAN THWARTED! Job 42:2 “I know you can do all things. No plan of yours is thwarted.” There’s a larger story going on than just my life and I want to let God lift my story into His story, His purposes, His plans—no plan thwarted 42:2 even though bad things happen to us at the hands of ungodly people.
3. STAY OUT OF THE COURTROOM. Job 41:11 “Who has a claim against me that I must pay?” Out of my mouth, speaks my heart. My actions reveal what I really believe. How I make people in my life pay for the little things they’ve done to me. Job 41:11 says I try to make God pay when I have a claim against Him.
4. MY EYES SEE YOU. Job 42: 5,6 – “ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job was a really great guy to hold fast to God under circumstances that would have fatally flattened most people. In 42:5 Job said “my ears had heard of you” and the Hebrew word for “heard” means listening to reports and rumors like the 3 friends were dishing out. Job borrowed what others said about his God 42:5, just like we do. It so stirs my heart that Job listened to his sovereign God and said: “Now my eyes have seen you, God.” 42:5
5. REPENT. For it’s the kindness of my God leading me to repent Rom 2:4. Therefore I despise myself and repent!” Have mercy on us all, God that we may repent of what we are doing in your Face laying our cause before you. When was the last time I repented?
6. ENTER MY SUFFERING. People position themselves to prevent, circumvent, eliminate, alleviate suffering which happens to us all. Enter the suffering and look for your Love’s Voice, wait for your omniscient compassionate God to show up, maybe in the majesty of a whirlwind. Isaiah 64:4 "God acts in behalf of those who wait for Him." We are waiting on God in suffering, not man. “Do you have an arm like God’s?” Job 40:9. Reminds me of Isaiah 50:2 God’s Arm is not too short to ransom us.
7. MY REDEEMER LIVES TODAY. Job 19:25 “I know that my Redeemer lives and in the end He will stand.” Hey, we don’t have to wait til the end, for He rises today in me and you. My Redeemer lives TODAY. Job 41:10 says that no one rouses God by the way we live but Zech 2:13 He lives among us. Be still all humankind for He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling for you! “Don’t destroy man’s hope Job 14:19 but Job 13:15 - “though He slay me, yet will I hope in HIM.”I cannot wait to get to heaven and meet Job and express to him my gratitude for his courage to keep on going in unfathomable loss and for his surrender when his God showed up. Job’s life so makes me want to see God with my own eyes.
The rest of the chronological reading for this week was in Gen. 11 - 22. One set of verses jumped out at me. I was so touched by verses 21:17-19 where Hagar began to sob for her boy. Somewhere in my mindset, I think that I have to find God and figure out my life and see what I can do to please Him and madly search for Him. Whew! All the while, “God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” This speaks peace to my soul. A normal day. A common day. But a great God SHOWING UP looking down on a little boy who has no water. God makes a huge proclamation. And in verse 19, God opens the eyes of Hagar so she could see what she needed.
May God open all of our eyes that we may see what we really need—what we are crying out for to our good God this blistery afternoon. Reminded me of 16:13 - “I have now seen the One who sees me.” He is looking down on you this moment and what will we do with that?
Anyone is invited to leave a comment about Job or anything goes. But, I am specifically talking to :
Annette, Helen, Jen, JennyHope, Holly, Fran, 'Nise, Patty, Deborah, Jean, Alana, Mary Lou, Linds, Denise, Angie, Sharon, Kim, Shonda, HollyMark, Bob and Chuck...if you had things come up this week to deter you from all the reading, just jump right back in. No confessions needed. (I keep getting e-mail's saying...I missed this reading, missed this one---it's completely okay cause we are all about coming back to the Word every day to see what He is going to say today. You are so sweet about being so serious about it. No boxes to check off in this reading program! Just a beautiful God waiting on you, waiting to speak to you!!!) What I am saying to you all is that I have prayed these truths of the book of Job for you this week.
May we no longer present our case before God but see Him with our eyes right in the middle of our circumstances. Later, this week, I'll write a prayer from the summary verses of this book (at least I think I will). So, summarize your thoughts on the Book of Job and write a post if you will, and invite us to your blog, and do leave a comment or two or a book chapter right here! However, your silence is always welcomed. Your comments for the past two weeks have been so meaningful, weighty, insightful, sustaining. Thank you for being a part of this reading plan and prayer through the Bible.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
UPDATE: I have posted new comments from me to each of you on the Comment Form.