Meat? I don't live in California anymore. Welcome to Texas! God the Prosecutor JOB 38 Lesson 1 I prefer to think of God as an advocate, not a prosecutor. In Job 38, Job’s words and actions brought out the prosecutor-side of God. God FINALLY speaks to Job after all of his suffering, trials and ultimately, his complaining about the unfairness of God. What Job is doing, in a sense, is calling God to court so that He can justify his actions. NOTE: Do not try this at home. Poking the Tiger Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loin like a man, and I will ask you and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Verses 2-7 This is sarcasm in its highest form. The God of the universe is using extreme sarcasm to humiliate one of his most beloved and faithful servants on earth. Why? It’s completely non-intuitive that God would do such a thing. To us mere mortals, it’s incomprehensible. After all, I prefer to picture a gentle, loving, heavenly father Who scoops me up into His arms with a warm embrace and gently whispers in my ear, ‘I love You.’ Instead, God is instructing and teaching a student who is in the rarest of rare classes of spiritual elite. This is God’s highest level of Navy Seal and special forces training. God doesn’t just do what he did with Job to anyone, (thank God). He has certain lessons that are only given to the extreme rare ones that can endure them and become stronger. Job is such a one. Perhaps you’ve heard of savants or savant syndrome. This is characterized as a condition in which someone with mental disabilities demonstrates certain abilities far in excess of average. Job was a spiritual savant. I don’t know that he had spiritual disabilities, per se, but he was far above average in his dedication to God. There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil, 1.1. Let’s Chat Job was so unique and outstanding in his character and actions, that he was the subject of roundtable chats between God and Satan. In one of their conversations, God offered up Job as an example to Satan. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil. 1.8 The Devil takes the bait. Satan then accuses Job before God and challenges God with the notion that Job is an empty suit; he is a prominent person among men and angels, but Satan accuses him of lacking in substance, fortitude, and depth. Is Job a spiritual empty suit? He looks spiritual, smells spiritual and acts spiritual. But is he really??? I mean, really? Is Job truly spiritual when we cut him open and pierce him as far as the division of his soul and spirit? Penetrating as deep as his joints and marrow? Even down to the depths of the very thoughts and intentions of his heart? The place where we hide the deepest thoughts and secrets of our hearts, down below the conscious into our sub-conscious intentions? Satan wants a piece of Job. Why? The failure of Job would be a major trophy for the Devil. Perhaps it would help with his recruiting efforts. He’d love to say ‘I told you so’ to God. So, God accepts the challenge and Job enters into a period of unprecedented pain and suffering. Job endures like few would endure, but eventually, he questions God. With a touch of arrogance and dash of pride, Job calls God to court. Eventually, Job gets what he asks for. Yikes, this is going to be ACKWARD. Father, We observed a glimpse of You today that we rarely see. You were irritated and You were sarcastic. Lord, on this side of heaven, we sometimes don’t get why You do what You do; and why there is so much pain. Sometimes our pain is the consequences of our sin and sometimes it is for our discipline and sometimes for our growth. In all cases, by faith we believe that You are always perfect in all Your ways. In that truth, we submit to You always as our refuge in time of need. Amen!
Job Enough Already!!! Lesson 2 Suffering. WHY! WHY! WHY! C.S. Lewis once called it ‘the problem of pain.’ It is a perplexing dilemma. Why do Christians suffer? When you are in the midst of suffering, rational thinking and spiritual reflection can be difficult. That is why it is healthy to consider the topic of suffering now, while you are in a mode to learn and understand. Then, when suffering hits, you will have some mental and emotional tools to draw upon. Tools that the Master has given us during times of pain. Why do Christian suffer? We know the general answer; sin. But let’s be more specific. Let’s ask in a personal and particular manner. You see, in the Bible, not all suffering is the same and for the same purpose. Therefore, when you encounter suffering, difficulties and trials, and after you have screamed 'enough already,' prayerfully ask a few questions:
Yesterday I had the joy of preaching at the Star of Hope Gospel Mission to about 200 men. My daughter Brooke was with me and took this picture. The Sources of Suffering Job Lesson 3 This isn’t one of my most inspiring posts, but it is an important expansion of my previous post on the sources of Christian suffering. When suffering and trials strike, the range of emotions can run high. To have a biblical framework of the sources of suffering helps to answer the initial ‘why, why, why’ question. Then you can move through the pain, seeking God’s grace and peace to cope and perhaps even grow and thrive. Why do you sometimes suffer? What is the source of my pain?
Be Reminded Job Lesson 4 There are times when, in the middle of suffering and dire situations in my life, I will spend considerable time in prayer on my knees. However, sometimes, my specific prayers, which are prayers for good (in my eyes), are not answered. I have seen the exact opposite of what I’m praying happen. This is very frustrating. Once again, I fall into the ‘WHY? WHY? WHY?’ ditch. Has this ever happened to you? How are we supposed to process this? Others may try to console us with “God’s ways are not our ways,” or “The Lord has greater plans,” or “Keep trusting God for a miracle.” These are true and certainly well meaning. But when you are really in a pit of despair, they often fall short of making us feel any better. For me, the words of others are all fine and good, but I have found the daily reinforcement of God’s Word in my heart and soul, gives me the strength and grace to maintain my faith in God. There’s no shortcut to spending time in His Word and infusing the truth of God’s grace and mercy into the depth of your heart. This infusion strengthens our souls and affirms the noble and good purposes of God in our lives. So, you had a bad day?