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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Job's Suffering Continues

The saga of suffering endured by Job has resonated with peoples all over the world and throughout history. Job lived from 1,000 - 2,000 years before Christ was born. It is truly amazing when we read that he (Job) knew Jesus.

Job 19:25 - 26 "I know my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; ....." In my humble opinion, this is one of the most incredible passages in Scripture!

Why is that? Job lived so long before Jesus Christ came into history as our Lord and Savior, our Redeemer! Yet, Job had the confidence that he would be redeemed! God makes truth known to whom He wants, any where, and any time in history. This knowledge of the Savior - Redeemer - Messiah, must have kept Job sane. What keeps you sane when everything falls out of place? The Book of Job offers some valuable insights on how we can keep sane in an insane world.

As a writer who toys with poetry now and then, I am truly impressed by the beautiful poetry in this book. The use of metaphors, the tone and rhythm of the words all come together to present Job's story in a timeless fashion that we can relate to, although not too many of us have suffered so deeply.

To understand the depth of Job's pain, let's start in Chapter 3. As you can see, he cursed the day of his birth, he longed for death, rejoiced in 'the grave', had no peace or rest, only turmoil. In Chapters 4 - 5 his friend Eliphaz suggests that instead of being so discouraged at the turn of events in his life, Job should have confidence in his 'piety' (reverence, devotion to the Lord) and hope in his 'blameless' ways. He concedes to Job that "man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward". He then encourages Job to appeal to God and lay out all his troubles. He is not convinced that God will even listen, but he does understand the power of God.

Other friends come to console and advise, all to no avail, in fact they make the situation worse! This goes on in 35 poetic chapters, and then in 38 God speaks. Have you ever felt like your life is a storm that you struggle to survive? Some things can go so haywire that we become paralyzed by grief, fear, confusion.....caught up in a storm! God spoke to Job out of a storm, 38:1. He goes on to ask Job just Who He (God) is. And then precedes to point out a few things. He says Job is without knowledge, and tells him to 'brace yourself like a man'. He asks him questions, many, many questions like .......

"Where were you when I laid the
earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions?
Surely you know!" vs. 4-5

This goes on for 4 chapters! And finally in Chapter 42, Job responds to a sovereign, holy God. He tells Him that he knows He can do all things, no plan can be thwarted, admits he did not understand things "too wonderful for me to know". Job like us, was continually questioning God's ability to handle his life. When he finally saw the truth, he repented 'in dust and ashes'. God restored everything to Job, in fact gave him back more than he ever had.

So what's the lesson here? Do you notice how Job describes his pain and misery, totally focused on himself? He even says in Chapter 7, vs. 11 "I will complain in the bitterness of my soul". He was not taking this lying down. I often share Chapter 14 with the women in jail. Job had a relationship with a LIVING LORD. He knew God determines our days and counts our steps. He knew that there is forgiveness and his sin would be 'sealed up in a bag'. He had a relationship with the God of the universe! So can you. Take your eyes off your problems and focus on the One who will redeem you and present you at the throne, holy, blameless and with great joy....Jude 24!

I'm often asked, "What is different about Christianity?" Christianity isn't a religion, it's not a organization or set of 'do's and don't's'....It's a RELATIONSHIP with God. If you seek that relationship, no matter how hard this life gets, you will be safe, this world can't hurt you.

We can apply Job's experience to our lives. Job never doubted what happened to him was from God's hand.....he didn't like or understand what was happening, but he knew who was in charge! Our trials in life are easier to bare when we know that a God who loves us is firmly in control.

We go through a lot on this earth. Relationships fail, jobs are lost, teens gone wild, dreams shattered, health issues, lack of money, etc. I'm sure you can add a few more. We can, like Job, despise the circumstances, even ourselves, but by faith, trust God. In I John 4 we read that 'God is love'. All that God has done or is doing may not appear loving, but we trust the character of God. Having faith means we may not 'see it', but we believe it anyway!

Thank you Lord for showing us that that nothing is too hard for you and we are safe within your plan and you are totally trustworthy.

Soon to come.....a study on faith. Where does it come from? How do we get it?