Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 12, 2012 … Listening For God

Passage of the Day: Chapter/Verse Reference: Job, Chapters 32-34 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Job 32: … [Elihu, a younger “friend” steps forward]
1 So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. 3 He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him. 4 Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. 5 But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.
Job 33: … [Elihu goes on with his opinions]
12 “But I tell you, in this you are not right, for God is greater than any mortal.
13 Why do you complain to him that he responds to no one’s words?
14 For God does speak—now one way, now another — though no one perceives it.

Job 34: … [Elihu states his final premise]
34 “Men of understanding declare, wise men who hear me say to me,
35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight.’
36 Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man!
37 To his sin he adds rebellion; scornfully he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God.”

My Journal for Today: Well Job has been going around and around with his three “friends” and critics, all of whom feel that Job has some hidden, unresolved sin which he’s unwilling to confess or from which Job has not repented. And now enter a younger critic into the scenario, Elihu, who takes a different approach to the criticism of Job in his down-and-out condition.

Elihu, basically is saying that Job needs to be a better listener to God; and that Job has no right to be questioning God and asking “WHY” God has brought these trials in to Job’s life. As one Commentator has put it about Elihu’s comments: ” He [Elihu] maintained that Job wasn’t suffering because of sin; he was sinning because of suffering. Elihu pointed out that Job’s attitude had become arrogant as he tried to defend his innocence. Elihu also said that suffering is not meant to punish us as much as it is meant to correct and restore us, to keep us on the right path.“ [From Parsons QuickVerse Bible Commentary]

And if we analyze Elihu’s comments in these three chapters of the Book of Job, we see that, like the other three critics, Elihu spouts out elements of truth. It is true, as Elihu contended, that God does engineer or allow trials into the life of men so that they can be tried and proven in the fiery trials of life. And many times those who’re in these tribulations – like Job – can’t see or discern the “WHY” behind God’s ways. But Elihu, possibly because of his lack of life experience being younger than the other critics of Job, was wrong in contending that Job had no right to come to God with his “WHY” questions.

If you’ve read these three chapters from today’s study, you’ll see that Elihu is “right on” with the idea that we need to search hard and listen to God, Who always desires to teach us His ways and His will from the challenges of life. But apparently Elihu didn’t hear or wasn’t listening when Job gave his eloquent word-picture on how we must dig deep into our relationship with God, seeking for God’s wisdom as the miner digs deep into the earth for precious ores and jewels. [See Job, Chapter 28]

Yes, as Elihu contends, we need to be good listeners to God through the trials of life; but no, God doesn’t expect us to just listen to the obvious voices in our life, like those around Job, his friends and family. God does want us to come TO HIM, with our questions and our pain. And our first source in this seeking and listening process is – for the New Covenant believer – God’s word. And in the book of Deuteronomy, written, many scholars say, about the same time as the Book of Job, we can read from the Old Covenant’s word from Deuteronomy 4: 29 – 31, the following …

... 29 But if from there [a place of sin or separation from God] you seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. 31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

That’s what Job was doing in the midst of his trials and feeling of being separated from God; and that’s what we should do when we feel that God is far away or not hearing our prayers of desperation. We need to just keep-on-keeping-on in our search for God’s will and His way; and we need to do our front-line searching from His word. And it’s God’s promise, which Job was ultimately to learn, that God will be there for us when we come to Him in our search for truth and light. That’s the message, of course, from Jesus in the parable of the “Prodigal Father/Son,” isn’t it?

And so, my friend, as the old Carol King song declares through another voice, … well, ... just listen to it by going to this link … And as our LORD always wants to be, … Jesus is our Friend! He was for Job; and He will be for you or me.

My Prayer Today: Lord, I call out Your Name … and You are my friend! Amen

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