One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, September 1, 2013: Job 40:1-42:17
5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. 6 Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6 (NKJV)
What happened between Job chapter 1 and chapter 42? This book starts good and ends good -- but what about the in between? The larger question is "Why do difficulties come into our lives?"
Why is it so hard?
There is a brand of theology that says no difficulty should EVER be a part of our walk with God. By this outlook, Jesus bore all the pain therefore we should enjoy a pain-free life if we are full of faith. The reason Job had trouble was because he let his hedge down.
There is another perspective that says Job is Old Testament. Since we live in the New Testament, we can't learn anything significant from Job. It doesn't apply to us. We are under a different covenant.
Still others use Job as pretext for a "woe is me" existence. I remember individuals as I grew up referring to "the patience of Job" as if it were a negative life sentence. There would be no joy in this life because Job shows us how good people have to suffer. In fact, the better we are, the worse it will get.
The intricate arguments of the middle part of Job are worth our time to dissect. They deal with man's endeavor to figure out God's ways. But, the real message of Job lies in the levels of RELATIONSHIP.
What does God want?
Job is about the deepening of a good man's relationship with God. In the introduction to John Calvin's great Institutes of the Christian Religion, he tells us "True wisdom consists in this: the knowledge of God and the knowledge of self." These go together, and they are progressive. The more we know God, the better we will understand ourselves. And if anyone fails to face his own humanness, he cannot begin to know Almighty God. And this isn't a one-time event. We GROW in it.
After the ordeal, Job knew God at a new depth. The distant voice had become a face-to-face encounter. But, Job also knew something about his own soul. Gone was the self-reliance. In its place was humble dependence.
Where is He taking us?
Job speaks to us in the real experiences of life. God tells us that He is always there. He tells us that He uses ALL THINGS for good -- to show us more of Himself. The end result is blessing.
The last verse of Job says, "So Job died, old and full of days." He had weathered the storms and come out better for it. He is a display to us of how our God loves us and ever draws us forward. Job shouts to us Romans 8:28. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Though difficulties may arise, the end is always good.
Job becomes a pattern for how God wants to pour blessing on our lives!