July 29 2018: FOCUSING ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN THE MIDST OF OUR SUFFERING AND PAIN

 [1] And Job again took up his discourse, and said:
    [2] “Oh, that I were as in the months of old,
        as in the days when God watched over me,
     [3] when his lamp shone upon my head,
        and by his light I walked through darkness,
     [4] as I was in my prime,
        when the friendship of God was upon my tent,
     [5] when the Almighty was yet with me,
        when my children were all around me,
     [6] when my steps were washed with butter,
        and the rock poured out for me streams of oil! (Job 29:1–6 ESV)

After a long discussion with his three friends, Job concludes that God is no longer watching over him in the midst of his suffering. He remembers back to his former life when God once watched over him (Job 29:2). As previously discussed, we are seeing that Job is being stripped of not only materialistic things of this world, but his true intentions are becoming apparent through the suffering. It is as if God is weening Job off of this world’s providence and comforts, and making bare his sins buried underneath his surface-level of “sinlessness”. 

There are three things to keep in mind about the book of Job at this point: 

  1. Job was upright and righteous before God because God claimed Job to be righteous, not because Job himself declared himself righteous. 
  2. Satan is in the wrong, as Satan told God that Job would “curse to your face,” (Job 1:11, 2:4) but Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:10). 
  3. Therefore, Job’s sin was not because he did evil or cursed God, but Job’s sin laid in his self-righteousness. 

Starting in chapter 32, a fourth friend, Elihu, enters the discussion. He has not been speaking because he was younger in age, and he becomes dissatisfied and angry about where the discussion between the other four characters have ended. 

By this time, Job declares himself self-righteous, and his friends are no help in understanding the fullness of God’s sovereignty and providence. Elihu starts to paint a different picture of God, and it is worth meditating and listening closely to his response, as he is the only one that does not get rebuked by God at the end. It is worth noting here that Elihu shows that wisdom is not directly correlated to experience and age, but simply meditating on God’s Truth. 

This leads us to ask ourselves: when suffering and challenges happen in our lives, how do we respond? 
    Do we think about the wrong things we’ve done – and try to justify God’s actions as punishing us? 
    Do we think about the right things we’ve done – and either try to blame God for his injustice or, do we try and justify ourselves? 
    Do we try to think about certain aspects of God – but omit other aspects that might be disadvantageous to our situation? 

Elihu’s response shows us the focus must be on God first, and furthermore, we as Christians have this as our comfort – that a suffering Saviour on the cross stands forever as our advocate before a Holy and Righteous God, and in His Righteousness, we have the eternal life beyond our current life now. 

Bible Reading Column by Pastor Charles Baik. 
Mississauga Campus Assistant Pastor 

This Week’s Bible Reading Schedule:

 Monday: Job 28 Thursday: Job 31
 Tuesday: Job 29 Friday: Job 32
 Wednesday: Job 30 Saturday: Job 33