Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2009 – Day 229.Aug 18 – Raising Faith to New Heights

Passage of the Day: Job 2: 11 – 13 … 11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. 12 And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. 13 So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.

My Journal for Today: There is one point which needs to be emphasized before we launch into an exposé of the three friends who came to Job with great intentions and a lot of bad advice. Over the years I’ve come to call these three, “Job’s three stooges.” And it is true that when things go bad in life, concerned friends will often show up with “advice,” much of which may be well intentioned, but may be far from what the damaged party, which may be you, needs to hear.

But before we explore that dimension of Job’s three stooges, let’s look at a principle which could explain why we, as humans, get it wrong at times when it comes to our explanations of how God operates. And Swindoll quotes an unnamed source to explain this. He writes about our need to explain away how God can allow such bad things to happen to a good person, like Job, writing, “It is easier to lower your view of God than to raise your faith to such a height.” And that pretty well nails the advice that Job is about to get from his three stooges.

We just seem to have this natural drive in us to try to explain away how a sovereign God will allow really bad stuff to happen to really good people. We try to rationalize the actions or control God can – and often does – exert in our lives by bringing God down rather than raising our faith up to be able to deal with God’s sovereignty. You know what they say about rationalization (not knowing whom “they” might be). It is said, “When we rationalize, we tell ‘rational lies’ to ourselves.”

So, on the front end – before we hear of the attempts by Job’s three stooges to help him with explanations, we need to cut them a bit of human slack with the understanding that it’s very human for us to feel really bad for someone who’s down and out; and we’ll have the tendency to explain away the circumstances by bringing God down to human ways of explanation rather than helping our friends to raise their faith to God’s way of allowing life to reshape our character and our way of looking at life.

I hope we all can glean from this point in Job’s trials that he may listen to friends like Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar; but it’s only by raising his own faith to new heights that he is going to be able to accept God’s intervention and to be reshaped by it. We’re simply going to have to do what Job will ultimately be seen to do; and that is to go deeper into his relationship with God than ever before and to learn to raise his faith to Godly levels rather than lower his God down to his level. That’s always tough, and really “super” human; but it’s what we must do in life to handle many of the circumstances which come our way.

My Prayer for Today: Raise my faith up, Lord, to see You rather than me lowering my view of You to my level of thinking. Amen

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