DAILY DISCIPLINE #91
By Colleen Donahue
This month we'll finish our study of Job. You'll remember that he was considered a righteous and good man during his time but had suddenly lost everything including his health. On one day he was a prince among men and the next day he was an outcast sitting in the ash heap outside of the city.
It was at this dump area that three of Job's friends had come to call and offer their advise and "comfort". Through three rounds of talks each man had accused Job and insinuated their reasons for his suffering. This had only served to intensify his suffering and agitation. Job became so riled that he lashes out at God rather than his friends.
These friends were wrong in their accusations and judgments and yet we'll see this month how God actually used them to show Job something of his deeper self. Although suffering is not always caused by our sins it can nevertheless be used by God to show us our true nature and the need each one of us has to be "born again" in God. Slowly and painfully Job came to see God's greater purposes behind his situation.
Like Job, there are many of us going through painful times. It may be physical or emotional suffering, but it hurts just the same. If the reasons why do not seem apparent then let us rest our life in God and trust Him while He accomplishes a deeper work.
The Story of Job-Part 3--Job in the Crucible
JOB'S STORY OF HIS PAST
Job reverts to his past experiences determining to hold onto his integrity. He thinks and speaks about...
Day 1- ....His walk with God. - Job grieves over the cloud that has come over his relationship with God.
Day 2 -....His resources in God. - Job remembers the boundless resources he had in his Almighty friend.
Day 3 -.....His reputation. - At times the Lord needs to withdraw such a respected soul from the eyes of others and make it evident that we are nothing except that it be received from God.
Day 4- ....His life of service. - Job describes the joyous service for others which is the spontaneous outcome of life lived in close fellowship with God.
Day 5- ....His equipment for service. - Job was clothed in righteousness, eyes to the blind, feet to the lame and a father.
Day 6- ...His mistaken confidence. - Job's life was so good it was almost idyllic. He thought it would go on and on that way.
Job 29: 18-20
Day 7- ...His gift of utterance and influence. - Job was like a prophet of God in his time and men sought his advise.
Day 8- ....His pedestal. - Job compares himself to a king in the midst of his army.
JOB IN THE CRUCIBLE
Job turns from the blessed past to the painful present. Perhaps the history of Job is not only a pattern of the ways of God with his children but also a foreshadowing of the Christ who was to come? Job now walked the "path of derision" Those that once respected him did so no longer. A crowd had gathered and they mocked and spit at him. Years later a different crowd did the same to Christ.
Day 9- Compare what was happening with Job to what happened with David who was predicting what would happen to Christ.
Job 30:1, 9-10 / Psalm 23:6-7
Job 30:11-13 / Psalm 88:8-
Job 30:15 / Psalm 55:3-5
Job 30:16 / Psalm 22:15
Job 30:17-19/ Psalm 69:2,3,14
Job 30:20 / Psalm 22:1-2
Day 10- Job cannot account for God's silence and cries out....
Day 11- He charges God (whom he believed to be faithful) with turning against him and persecuting him. This is the crucial point of his trial. Up until now, the word battles with his friends only strengthened his faith, but when he gave himself up to the luxury of dwelling upon the past and comparing it to the present, his pain grew more acute.
Job's spirit has at last been touched and he has lost his inner anchor. He is fainting under God's hand. Although he has reproached God he is still loyal in his will to remain under His hand. His resistance has been almost involuntary - the outcry of nature shrinking from intense pain.
JOB'S SELF VINDICATION
Day 12- Job in dwelling upon his unhappiness suddenly gets up and decides to vindicate himself. By a declaration before God and his friends he will clear himself of all the charges his friends have brought against him...
Job's attitude to sin --Job 31:1-4
His attitude to the world --Job 31:5-8
His attitude to his wife-- Job 31:9-12
His attitude to his neighbors-- Job 31:13-23
His attitude to wealth --Job 31:24-25
His attitude to idolatry --Job 31:26-28
His attitude to his enemy-- Job 31:29-31
Day 13- Job's summary and conclusion. In every area of life he had walked uprightly with integrity and singleness of heart. He says..."Here is my signature! let the Almighty answer me!"
His friends are silenced but not convinced. His character appeared to them self-righteous so that he brought dishonor to himself and no glory to God for self-defense is contrary to the spirit of true humility. Job's language of self vindication unveils the subtle life of "self" and pride making him appear self-righteous to others.
Day 14- Elihu was a younger man that had been sitting quietly near the group and listening. But the more he listened, the more indignant and angry he got. He was able to size up the matter quickly.
1) Job was trying to hang onto his reputation and past victories
2) His "three friends" had condemned Job without answers for him.
Contrary to the others when Elihu shared truth he also shared God's grace. Job's "friends" only condemned but Elihu in telling the truth about God prepared the ground for the voice of God to speak to Job's heart (Job 33:1-7) .
Day 15- Elihu sums up Job's position (according to Job). Basically Job says he is innocent and all the wrong is on God's side. But Elihu makes it clear that God is greater than man. It is not for man to question the wisdom and character of God or the means that He uses to achieve his goals.
Day 16- God seems to instruct us in two ways...
A. Through the Holy Spirit in our heart - Job 33:15
B. Through suffering - Job 33:19-22
Day 17- And what is the object of all God's speaking?
Day 18- Elihu then speaks of God's mercies to men in providing a mediator for men to be redeemed and restored to God He gives a beautiful picture of what Jesus Christ would become for each one of us.
At the heart of it all Elihu wants Job to see his real problem is that of accusing God.
Day 19- In Chapter 33 of Job, Elihu shows God's government of man to be sovereign and gracious but in Chapter 34 he shows God's government to be righteous and impartial. As you read Chapter 34 pick out the definite points that Elihu makes about God's character.
Day 20- Elihu wants Job to see his real problem has been in accusing God. This has come because of pride, self-will and doubting God's goodness.
Job 35: 1-16
Day 21- Elihu now attempts to answer Job's accusation that "God's dealings with him were not just". He does this by showing again the character of God. As you read these two chapters look for definite things about God such as .... He is righteous, He can do no wrong, He is the source of all life etc. etc.
Job 36:1-Job 37:24
Job had failed to see that even good men need refining. Elihu had put his finger on the root of Job's trouble. He appealed to Job to take a new attitude towards the afflictions - to be teachable and humble before God. (For God can't commune with anyone who thinks they know better than God.)
Elihu made it plain that Job was not suffering because of his sinning but was sinning because of his suffering.
THE LORD ANSWERS JOB
Day 22- In dealing with Job God didn't speak in deep theological terms or doctrinal truths. He questions Job to see if he knew the truths of God evident in nature. He wants to bring Job to proper thinking and believing. God's purpose is to humble Job, not humiliate him.
Job 38: 1-18
In effect, God is saying "Can you doubt the faithfulness of God who brings His mercies day by day to all His creation?"
Day 23- Then God changes the subject from His supervision of the natural elements to His care over His creatures. If He cares for every creature on earth then surely He has made adequate provision for Job and for you and I.
Job 38:39 - Job 40:1
Day 24- Job sees his smallness. He had totally missed that creation is placed before us as a testimony to God's power, wisdom and goodness. Job - the creature - had stood in judgement of his Creator and accused God of wrong things. Now, he sees his error and decides that it's best to say nothing more and listen to God.
Day 25- This reply was good as far as it went but not good enough. God continues on so as to reveal the hidden pride and selfishness in Job. He wants to bring Job to the place where he recognizes this and confesses it as sin.
Day 26- In God's final appeal He speaks of His authority over creatures that defy human control. They have a type of pride that when combined with immense strength make them uncontrollable. In these passages God describes the Hippo (Behemoth) and the Crocodile (Leviathan).
Job 40:15-Job 41:34
Day 27- The description of these untamed, uncontrollable animals may be a good analogy of what man's old fallen nature is like. No matter how much we try to control it to do good, it seems to do just the opposite.
Like so many of us Job thought he knew God and certainly himself. But the searchlight of God had revealed.....
-words of gloomy despair
-longing for death
-sarcastic contempt for Zophar
-bitter reasoning of Bildad
-continued crying for God to leave him alone
-reproach of God Himself
-pitiful attempts to clear his own character
Day 28- To catch a new vision of God as Job did is to bring us to the place where we hate what we are in ourselves expressed by a humble spirit and gracious attitude.
Day 29- Job left the vindication of himself with God and God did so before his friends. Notice that four times in the next verses God calls Job "my servant" and has him act in the capacity of "priest" for the three that had slandered him.
Day 30- The suffering of the godly always includes a compensation or a reward. It may not come in this life but it will come.
Job 42:10-17 / 2 Timothy 2:12
Day 31- Why do the righteous suffer? The book of Job clearly shows that even "good" men need refining in the crucible. In God's eyes all men need to be put to death and remade. They are beyond "repair". Yet He has provided a remedy for each of us in His Son Jesus.
I Peter 3:18 / I Peter 2:24/ Isaiah 53:5
If you are suffering today stop striving and do as Peter recommends...
I Peter 5:6-7
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