Thursday, March 31, 2005

Leviathan, who dares to arouse him? Job 41

God introduces us to another of His wonderful creatures, Leviathan. Leviathan is an amazing creature, strong, fearful, and menacing. The very sight of him struck fear in the hearts of even the strongest of men. "When he raises himself up, the mighty fear; because of the crashing they are bewildered. The sword that reaches him cannot avail, nor the spear, the dart or the javelin." (Job 41:25-26) Job himself had a run in with Leviathan, and God was quick to remind him of the incident, "Lay your hand on him; remember the battle; you will not do it again! Behold, your expectation is false; will you be laid low even at the sight of him?" (Job 41:8-9) Leviathan was to be feared, yet he himself was fearless.
"Nothing on earth is like him, one made without fear. He looks on everything that is high; he is king over all the sons of pride." (Job 41:33-34)
Job well knew Leviathan, and God asks him this question, "No one is so fierce that he dares to arouse him; who then is he that can stand before Me?" (Job 41:10) It is easy to think of ourselves as being invincible, as being the apex of God's creation. And yet, there are many of God's creatures before whom, when standing face to face, I would certainly fear. There are many creatures that are so mighty and awesome that I wouldn't dare to arouse them or even to approach them. And yet, God is far more mighty and awesome than all His creation. Why then, do we fear His creation and yet treat Him with familiar contempt. We treat God as if He is weak like us, instead of being mighty, awesome, and wonderful. We must never let our familiarity with God displace our fear of Him. King Solomon said that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Proverbs 9:10) We must never become too casual with God. He is our Father, our Brother, our Friend, and our Husband, but He is also the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. He alone is exalted!

David Robison

Monday, March 28, 2005

Dinosaurs in the Bible: Job 40:15-24

When I was in High School, I was properly taught the doctrine of evolution. But having grown up in a Christian home, it caused me to wonder, if evolution was true, then why didn't the Bible talk about dinosaurs? Why was there no mention in the Book of Genesis about the hundreds of millions of years before man, when dinosaurs roamed the earth? I later found out that the problem was not with the Bible, but rather with the so called "science" behind evolution. I have come to believe the Bible, which would mean that man and dinosaurs lived together on the earth. After Noah's flood, the climatic changes could have lead to the dinosaurs demise. But for a time, they and man would have shared the Earth together.

In this passage, God introduces us to one of His wonderful creatures, "Behold now, Behemoth, which I made as well as you." (Job 40:15) It's unclear exactly what "Behemoth" was, but we know he was remarkable. God tells us that he was a herbivore. He had powerful legs and strong belly muscles and he had a tail like a cedar tree. Some have though Behemoth to be a hippopotamus, but God describes him much grander than a hippo, "He is the first of the ways of God." (Job 40:19) Where in the Bible are the dinosaurs? I believe one is right here.

David Robison

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Authority vs Power: Job 40:10-14

"Adorn yourself with eminence and dignity, and clothe yourself with honor and majesty. Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud, and make him low. Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him, and tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them in the dust together; bind them in the hidden place. Then I will also confess to you, that your own right hand can save you." (Job 40:10-14)
When it comes to judgment, there is a difference between authority and power. A friend of mine once explained it to me this way. Authority is when a police officer yells, "STOP", and the suspect stops. Power is when the suspect refuses to stop and the police officer shots him to make him stop. We may think we have authority, wisdom, and understanding, but what matters is our power. Paul, in speaking about certain rebels in the church of Corinth, said, "But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power ." (1 Corinthians 4:19) Job was very generous about handing out judgment. He was quick to find wrong and judge others for their faults. But he lacked the power to execute that judgment. God not only judges, but He has the power to execute that judgment in our lives. He has the power to discipline us and humble us until we acknowledge His lordship and repent of our wicked ways.

While we can reason with others, we do not have the power to move someone to repentance. It is the Holy Spirit that brings conviction (John 16:8) and the Father who grants us repentance (Acts 5:31). I have often wished that I could make others repent for their ways, even at times my own children. But I've come to realize that it is God who grants repentance, not us. We can share the truth. We can pray for them. But their conviction and repentance is between God and them. We must never assume to take the place of the Holy Spirit in the work of conviction, nor the Father in the work of repentance. Let us leave unto God what is God's.

David Robison

Will you condemn Me? Job 40:8

"Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?" (Job 40:8)
This scripture has meant more to me over the years than any other verse in the Book of Job. This verse both convicted me and challenged me to take a deep look at my own life and the motivations behind my actions. It was during a time when I felt particularly wronged by others. I felt that others were judging me incorrectly and unfairly. In an attempt to prove myself justified, I started finding fault with others. My motivation was that, if I could prove them wrong, then they would have to see that I was right. Job fell into the same trap. Even to the point where he was willing to judge God as being wrong in order that others may see him as being right.

After reading this scripture, I began to ask myself, "what is so important about being right?" Why did I feel that I had to prove myself to be right? Why not rather accept being wronged? Paul asked this of the Corinthians, "Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?" (1 Corinthians 6:7) This idea is so foreign to our way of thinking. How can we accept being wronged when we know we are right?

Peter tells us how Jesus was able to accept wrong without responding in judgment, "and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously." (1 Peter 2:23) Jesus knew that it did not matter what other people thought about Him. And it didn't matter how other people treated Him. He knew that He was loved by God and that, in the end, God would make all things right. He trusted that His heavenly Father would watch over Him, protect Him, and maintain His cause. Nothing would be accomplished by Him seeking His own justice. That, He left up to the Father.

David Robison

Friday, March 25, 2005

Job is left speechless: Job 40:2-5

"Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it." (Job 40:2)
God demands a response from Job. Job had allowed his pain to harden his heart, causing him to scoff at the things of God and to be critical of those around him. He had lost sight of mercy and grace. When he looked at others, the first thing he saw was their faults. He became an expert at finding fault with everyone else, even with God, but never with himself. Every one was wrong except himself. Fault finding causes us to see the worst in others. We expect to see faults in others, and we are rarely disappointed. Fault finding comes from a heart of self righteousness, not from a heart of love. Paul said that love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Corinthians 13:7) Love looks for the best in others, believes in the hope of God for others, and protects relationships during difficult times. In all cases, love is better than fault finding.
"Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth. Once I have spoken, and I will not answer; even twice, and I will add nothing more." (Job 40:4-5)
Job finds himself speechless. He has already said too much. Job now knows that there is nothing more to say. What more can he say? What more can he add?

So what has changed Job. Just the other day he was boasting in his self righteousness. His speech was arrogant, boastful, and confident. He was so bold as to even challenge God. He so wanted his day in court with God and, now that it came, he is speechless. What happened to change Job? He encountered God! He had a revelation of God, of His greatness, and of His love and care for mankind, and this revelation changed him instantly and completely. One minute he was a boastful, arrogant, self righteous man, and the next minute he was a humble and speechless man. All because of a revelation of God. There has been times in my life when I knew that my emotions and feelings were not right, but I felt powerless to change them. All my wisdom and will were unable to change how I thought and felt. What I needed was an encounter with God. It is only by seeking the face of God, and finding Him, that we can be changed on the inside. Jesus told us that all who seek, find. If we seek God in our time of need, we will find Him, if we seek Him with our whole hearts. In our lives, there is no substitute for the person and presence of God. May we never cease to seek Him.

David Robison

Thursday, March 24, 2005

God questions Job's wisdom: Job 39

God continues to question Job, showing Job from creation that God is the greater one. In this passage, God questions Job regarding his wisdom.
"Who sent out the wild donkey free? And who loosed the bonds of the swift donkey, to whom I gave the wilderness for a home and the salt land for his dwelling place?" (Job 39:5-6) "Because God has made her [the ostrich] forget wisdom, and has not given her a share of understanding. When she lifts herself on high, she laughs at the horse and his rider." (Job 39:17-18) "Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic snorting is terrible." (Job 39:19-20) "Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars, stretching his wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high?" (Job 39:26-27)
It is God who has created this world and given to each creature its personality, strengths, and abilities. The destiny of each creature is set by the Lord. God alone is wise enough establish creation. God's creation was created in perfect balance according to wisdom of God. Seeing that God is all wise, who are we to question Him regarding how He has made us and the path that He has set before us? We should rather trust in God's wisdom and give thanks.

David Robison

God questions Job's might: Job 38:8-41

God poses questions to Job to show by comparison that His might if far greater than Job's. God is attempting to show Job his own limitations as compared to God.
"Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, And caused the dawn to know its place." (Job 38:12) "Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, and guide the Bear with her satellites?" (Job 38:31-32) "Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that an abundance of water will cover you? Can you send forth lightnings that they may go and say to you, "Here we are'?" (Job 38:34-35) "Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens and lie in wait in their lair?" (Job 38:39-40)
These are things that God does every day. The power to do these things belong to God, not to man. God is all powerful, we are not!

David Robison

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Look who's talking now! Job 38:2-7

Finally, it's God's turn to speak. Up till now, Job has been crying out, challenging God, and asking for an opportunity to present his case before God. Up till now, Job has been so confident that he would be found innocent before God, but in an instant, with a single word from God, all that changes.
"Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?" (Job 38:2)
God does not mince words. He rebukes Job for his arguments. God testifies against Job that he has spoken with out knowledge. Job had tried to defend himself in matters he did not understand. Job thought he understood, but he spoke without knowledge and his foolish talk only served to obscure God's true counsel. "If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him." (1 Corinthians 8:2-3) What Job had "not yet known as he ought" is that wisdom does not come from knowledge, but rather from our relationship with God. As we love Him more, we gain insight and understanding of the world He created.
"Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me!" (Job 38:3)
God is ready to go toe-to-toe with Job and, somehow, I get the feeling that God is going to win. What amazes me about this scripture is the Love that God has for Job. If I were God, I probably would have said about Job, "forget about him, he's not worth it!" But God loved Job enough to confront him and to turn him from his foolish ways. "He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently." (Proverbs 13:24) If God did not love us so much, He would just leave us to our own devices. But He does love and care for us and will do all He can to restore us back to Himself.
"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?" (Job 38:4-7)
God reminds Job that He was the one who created all there is, not Job. Being the creator is at the heart of what it means to be God. God is God because He created everything. And only God is wise enough and strong enough to establish the world and all it contains. God paints a picture of how glorious it was when He first created the heavens and the earth, "the morning stars sang together..." Lucifer was referred to as the "star of the morning" (Isaiah 14:12) God tells us that, at the creation of the universe, the cherubim sang together and the angles shouted for joy. What a glorious event that must have been. I would have very much liked to have been there just to watch, but I wasn't. God is the creator, and I am not...

David Robison

Monday, March 21, 2005

Out shouting the thunder: Job 36-37

Finally, Elihu reminds Job of the awesome power of God as revealed in His creation. God's power is evident all around us, if we just take the time to notice. Paul spoke of the evidence of God's greatness when he said, "since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made" (Romans 1:20) When we stop to consider God's creation, we begin to understand how much greater God is than ourselves. Who has ever held back a storm? Who has caused the winds to change direction? Who has ever commanded the path of lightning? These things are so far beyond us, yet God directs all these things for His own purpose and pleasure, "Whether for correction, or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen." (Job 37:13)

God is might and wonderful. He created this world and He still commands its ways. God's power is unmatched. To think that we might compare ourselves with God is as foolish as trying to out shout the thunder. The power of thunder is so much greater then us, and God is even still greater than the thunder. Elihu's counsel to Job is:
"Remember that you should exalt His work, of which men have sung. All men have seen it; man beholds from afar." (Job 36:24-25)
When we begin to get a little full of ourselves, all we need to do is to stop and consider the world around us. Not only will it remind us that, there is a God and its not us, but it will also remind us of how great God is. In our times of trouble, its good to know that we server an awesome God. A God that is bigger than our troubles. A God that is big enough to help us through our difficult times.
"The Almighty -- we cannot find Him; He is exalted in power and He will not do violence to justice and abundant righteousness. Therefore men fear Him." (Job 37:23-24)
David Robison

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Preferring affliction: Job 36:17-23

While others may judge our lives by what happens to us, God judges us by how we handle what happens to us. What is important is not whether or not we experience times of affliction, but rather how we handle ourselves when affliction comes. Elihu challenges Job in the way he was handling his affliction.

"But you were full of judgment on the wicked; judgment and justice take hold of you." (Job 36:17) Job had become obsessed with proving himself right and others wrong. Job's sense of self righteousness caused him to look upon all others with judgment. He was right and, if someone disagreed with him, they must be wrong. His heart had become critical of everyone else. In his eyes, no one, not even God, was as righteous as himself.

"Beware that wrath does not entice you to scoffing; and do not let the greatness of the ransom turn you aside." (Job 36:18) When we give place to anger, it blinds us to the work that God is doing in our lives and the lives of those around us. Job's anger at being wronged kept him from perceiving that God was at work in his life, and possibly in the life of his three friends as well. Job became a scoffer. He figured that his three friends were wrong and that they were never going to change. Have you ever known someone who, when you think of them, you think more on their errors than their good points. When you hear something about them, do you think, "well that's just the way they are. They will never change." The truth is, however, that no one is beyond the grace of God to be changed. Their ransom is not too great, Jesus already paid it.

"Will your riches keep you from distress, or all the forces of your strength?" (Job 36:19) No one is exempt from difficulty. Whether rich or poor, smart or simple, all people experience difficulties from time to time. We should not be surprised at the difficulties in our life, they are normal. But they are also an opportunity to experience the grace of God in a new way. In difficult times we can experience the salvation of God in ways we can never experience during times of ease.

"Be careful, do not turn to evil, for you have preferred this to affliction." (Job 36:21) People handle affliction in different ways. Job's way was to strike out. To defend himself against his friends. The more Job suffered, the more critical his words became. Even to the point of actually accusing God of wrong and judging himself more righteous that God. Job struggled against his affliction and the result was sin. What Job needed to do was to stop his striving and accept his affliction. His striving and struggling were not going to get him out of his difficult times. His struggling was turning him away from God not towards God. He needed to settle down and come humbly to God, and let God lead him through his difficulties. Given the choice, we too need to prefer affliction over turning to evil.

"Behold, God is exalted in His power; who is a teacher like Him?" (Job 36:22) God is the teacher and we are the student. We must remember that we are not wiser, nor smarter, than our teacher. We must let God teach and set our hearts to learn all we can. Also, we must remember that we are not our brother's teacher. It is not our job to "teach" others a lesson. They are God's student and we must respect their relationship with God their teacher. We are all brothers, we are all students.

David Robison

Thursday, March 17, 2005

God disciplines those He Loves: Job 36:5-16

Elihu reminds Job that, even though God is exulted, He still cares for us and watches over our lives. "Behold, God is mighty but does not despise any; He is mighty in strength of understanding. He does not keep the wicked alive, but gives justice to the afflicted. He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous." (Job 36:5-7) God does not despise anyone. Even the poor and afflicted have hope in God. God cares for them and will help them. Elihu reminds Job that God has not forgotten him and that He will, in His time, move with justice on Job's behalf.

So if God does not despise us, why then does He afflict us? Its because of His love for us. When God afflicts, He afflicts with purpose. "And if they are bound in fetters, and are caught in the cords of affliction, then He declares to them their work and their transgressions, that they have magnified themselves. He opens their ear to instruction, and commands that they return from evil." (Job 36:8-10) God afflicts us so that He may teach us something about ourselves. Sometimes, when it comes to areas of sin in our life, we are the last to see it. Often we are deceived and blinded by our own heart as to the sinful and hurtful ways that are in us. David prayed, "Search me , O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way." (Psalms 139:23-24) David was concerned that there were things in his life that he could not see. Things that were hurtful to God, himself, and those around him. He needed God to search his heart and show him what was inside that he might repent of his wicked ways. God sends affliction to show us ourselves. But God is not content to just show us our sin, be He also "opens our ears" and gives us instruction in how we should walk. That we may choose the way of righteousness over the way of sin. In this way, God uses affliction as a teacher to teach us the ways of God.

All people experience affliction from time to time, both the wicked and the just, none are excused. What separates the wicked from the just, however, is how they react to that affliction. Does it draw us closer to God or drive us away? Does it produce the fruit of righteousness in our lives or just increase our bitterness? "But the godless in heart lay up anger; they do not cry for help when He binds them." (Job 36:13) Affliction is not the time to drift from God, rather it's a time to pursue Him all the more.

Affliction is never fun, but it does have its rewards. If we let affliction be our teacher, we will receive the prize that is set before us. "Then indeed, He enticed you from the mouth of distress, instead of it, a broad place with no constraint; and that which was set on your table was full of fatness." (Job 36:16) Are you afflicted? Then God is enticing you to Himself. Let Him draw you. Pursue Him with all your strength. And He will change your afflictions into joy.

David Robison

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Sometimes we must wait for God: Job 35:14-16

"The case is before Him, and you must wait for Him! And now, because He has not visited in His anger, nor has He acknowledged transgression well, so Job opens his mouth emptily; he multiplies words without knowledge." (Job 35:14-16)
We live in an instant society. We have microwave ovens to quickly warm our food. We have credit cards so we can purchase things with out waiting for the money. And we have cell phones that allow us to keep in instant contact with anyone anywhere. We are used to things happening quickly and we hate to wait. I have found myself even getting frustrated when my computer is slow and I have to wait for a web page to load. I think that most Americans, including myself, have lost the art of waiting.

We need to realize that God's sense of time is different than ours. We pray, and expect it to happen immediately. If our answer is not quick in coming, we get discouraged and loose faith. What Elihu is reminding us is that, when we cry out to God, our case comes before Him. He will answer us, but we may have to wait for it. Conceder the story about Daniel who prayed and fasted for 21 days for an answer from God. Finally the answer came in the form of an angle. The angle encouraged Daniel,
"Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future." (Daniel 10:12-14)
God heard and answered Daniel the moment he prayed, but for reasons that Daniel could not foresee, the answer was delayed in coming. Job's problem was that he allowed his impatience to teach his mouth folly. Someone once said that faith is the ability to wait. Many times in our lives this is all too true. We need to learn to wait on God. To trust that He has heard us and will answer us. Job's answer was on its way. He just needed to wait a little while longer for it.

David Robison

Monday, March 14, 2005

They cry out, but God's not listening: Job 35:9-14

"Because of the multitude of oppressions they cry out; they cry for help because of the arm of the mighty. But no one says, 'Where is God my Maker, Who gives songs in the night, Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?' There they cry out, but He does not answer because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not listen to an empty cry, nor will the Almighty regard it." (Job 35:9-13)
Oppression and affliction are all around. There are many people who are suffering and who are crying out for help. They cry out for help and relief from their suffering, but to many of them, God is not listening. Even in our own suffering, it is possible to cry a cry that goes unnoticed by God. We cry out, "Help me, I'm hurting!" and "Why is this happening to me?" and "I don't deserve this!" yet God just stands by. Why is it that people can cry out and God not answer them? Because, in truth, they're not crying out to Him. All too often, we are more interested in relief than we are in Him. God wants us to come to Him and, often times, will even send suffering to drive us to Him. We can whine, cry, and complain all day long, but what God's waiting for is for us to humble ourselves and come to Him. And when we finally do make our way back to Him, we will find in Him all we have need of. Elihu says that it is our pride that keeps us away from God. Let us elect to lay down our pride, humble ourselves, and seek the Lord. For, as the scripture says, "In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever." (Psalms 16:11)

David Robison

Righteousness is for man: Job 35:6-8

"If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against Him? And if your transgressions are many, what do you do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give to Him, or what does He receive from your hand? Your wickedness is for a man like yourself, and your righteousness is for a son of man." (Job 35:6-8)
I have known people who sin out of anger towards God, thinking they are punishing God by their sins. I have also known people who believe that their righteousness endears them to God. Both groups of people see their righteousness, and/or wickedness, in relationship to God alone. They view righteousness in terms of how it effects God. To be sure, God is grieved when we sin. But God is not lessened by our sins, nor is He increased by our righteousness.

Elihu shows us that righteousness is for man. What he means is that, God's ways of righteousness were meant to benefit man. When someone is righteous, they benefit themselves and others. When someone is wicked, it is themselves and others who are harmed. Righteousness is not arbitrary. God did not wake up one day and decide to come up with a bunch of laws for men to obey. But rather, He embodied in those laws the way He created us to live. In other words, when we live righteously, we are living the way God created us to live. When we sin, we are living contrary to the nature to which God created us. Righteousness is the right way to live because God created us to live that way. That is why there is greater peace and prosperity in our lives when we live righteously. King Solomon said, "the way of transgressors is hard." (Proverbs 13:15) It's hard because we were never meant to live that way. God calls us to righteousness, not because He likes bossing us around, but because He wants the best for us and for those around us.

David Robison

Saturday, March 12, 2005

When is repentance not repentance? Job 34:31-33

"For has anyone said to God, 'I have borne chastisement; I will not offend anymore; teach me what I do not see; if I have done iniquity, I will not do it again'? Shall He recompense on your terms, because you have rejected it?" (Job 34:31-33)
This scripture has always troubled me. Why would God not forgive someone even when they've "repented"? If I realize I have not done right, and decide not to do it again, then why should God not reward me? As I considered this scripture, it occurred to me that sometimes what we call "repentance" is really not repentance. So when is repentance not really repentance?
  1. When it is void of godly sorrow. Its like getting ticketed for speeding. You tell the officer that your sorry and you wont do it again, yet, in your heart, you know you will. There really is no sorrow over the sinfulness of your transgression and no real decision to turn from it. True repentance comes from a realization of the sinfulness of our sins. It involves a whole hearted commitment to change our ways by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  2. When it presumes a righteousness apart from faith. The truth is that, by ourselves, we can never be good enough. Sometimes we think that if we just stop doing this and that, then we will be OK, we will be acceptable to God. This causes us to live our lives under the false assumption that our actions have made us "good enough" for God. But its only through faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross that we have forgiveness and righteousness before God. False repentance will cause us to trust in our own works, while true repentance draws us closer in faith to Jesus.
  3. When it focuses on the reward. Repentance is not about recompense. We do not repent to gain a reward from God. Repentance, at its heart, has a desire for reconciliation with God. It cares little for rewards, it simply desires restoration. Its like the parable of the prodigal son. He returned, not for his father's rewards, but to be reunited with his father.
David Robison

Friday, March 11, 2005

God, the perfect judge: Job 34

One of Job's complaints was that God punishes the righteous and lets the wicked go free. Job, though he was righteous, suffered greatly while many others, who were more wicked than himself, lived lives of ease. Job questioned the fairness of God's judgment. But Elihu rebukes Job for his judgment of God.
"And will you condemn the righteous mighty One, who says to a king, "Worthless one,' to nobles, "Wicked ones'; who shows no partiality to princes nor regards the rich above the poor, for they all are the work of His hands?" (Job 34:17-19)
Elihu questions Job as to why God should stand condemned in regard to His judgments. He reminds Job that God does judge and has judged in the past. God does not let sin go unpunished, but equally judges the rich and the poor, the mighty and the wicked. One has only to look back though history to see that God does in fact judge the wicked. Nation after nation have been overthrown by God. God will only allow a wicked society to exist for so long before He will come and visit it with judgment. God is a righteous God and He judges in righteousness. And His judgment is to this end, "So that godless men would not rule nor be snares of the people." (Job 34:30) Elihu goes on to justify God's judgment.

God judges according to our works: "For He pays a man according to his work, and makes him find it according to his way." (Job 34:11) God's judgment is not based upon personal preference. God does not show favoritism or partiality. But His judgment is upon our works. Any judgment we receive from God, we rightly deserve.

God judges His creation: "Who gave Him authority over the earth? And who has laid on Him the whole world?" (Job 34:13) He is our creator, and as creator, He has the right to judge us. It is not like God came along and found us and decided to play boss over our lives. He created us, He commands us, and He has the right to judge us for our disobedience. "For they all are the work of His hands?" (Job 34:19)

God judges with perfect knowledge: "For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps. There is no darkness or deep shadow where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. For He does not need to consider a man further, that he should go before God in judgment. He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry, and sets others in their place." (Job 34:21-24) God does not need to try a man to know what is in his heart. If we are tried, it is not for God's benefit but ours, so that we might know what's in us. God sees all and knows all. God's judgment goes beyond "reasonable doubt."

God's judgment is absolute: "When He keeps quiet, who then can condemn? And when He hides His face, who then can behold Him." (Job 34:29) God judges with absolute authority and power. God alone is judge. If He chooses not to condemn, then how can we condemn. If He chooses to punish, then how can we deliver one from His hand. We should cease trying to be God, determining who should be judged and who should go free, for there is one Judge and He is in heaven.

God is the perfect judge, and for that, I'm thankful.

David Robison

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Elihu indites Job: Job:34

Job's three friends had accused Job of sins that lead to his affliction. Though they could not identify those sins, they believed that God only punished the wicked, and since Job was obviously going through a calamitous time, it must be because of his wickedness. Elihu, on the other hand, was not concerned with what had gotten Job into his difficulties, but how he was handling himself as he walked through them. Elihu was calling Job to account for his behaiviour during his time of suffering, rather than looking for a reason why he was suffering.

Let's recap. Before all of Job's problems began, God testified that Job was righteous, "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." (Job 1:8) As job first began to speak about his suffering, he did so without sinning with his lips (Job 2:10). But since then, something had changed in Job. Job's faith in God has been replace with accusations against God, "For he adds rebellion to his sin; he claps his hands among us, and multiplies his words against God." (Job 34:37) Elihu's anger burned against Job because of his self righteous claims and his boast against God. Job 32:2 says that Job "justified himself before God." The Hebrew literally says that Job "justified himself above God." In other words, Job made himself out to be more righteous than God. Job's contention was that, "I am innocent, yet God has wronged me."
"For Job has said, "I am righteous, but God has taken away my right; should I lie concerning my right? My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.' " (Job 34:5-6)
How did Job get here? How did he allow his faith to slip into accusation? Elihu shows us the answer: "What man is like Job, who drinks up derision like water," (Job 34:7) What Elihu is saying is that Job feed his soul with derision, scorn, and scoffing. Job got it fixed in his mind that he had been wronged, and he feed himself on that day after day until it poisoned his soul. Job ended up as one of those who scoff at the things of God, "It profits a man nothing when he is pleased with God." (Job 34:9) Elihu understood that Job was going through a very difficult time, yet he also understood that, even in hardships, we have a choice to make regarding how we will conduct ourselves. Will we walk with integrity, faithfulness, and trust in God, or will we walk as wicked men and evildoers? Elihu's inditement of Job is clear, "Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity, and walks with wicked men?" (Job 34:8)

King Solomon had something to say about scoffers. "A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge is easy to one who has understanding." (Proverbs 14:6) We cannot find wisdom while we scoff at the things of God. Job thought he was going from wisdom to wisdom, when in reality, he was going from wisdom to foolishness. His heart attitude actually blinded him to God's wisdom.

What is important to understand from these scriptures is the importance of "self talk". We all talk to ourselves. Sometimes its to convince us that we are able to do the task at hand, and at other times it is to rehearse some offence in our mind. What we must understand is that these thoughts go down deep into our soul and can effect our behavior and attitude. If we allow ourselves to rehearse past hurts and offenses in our mind, over time these thoughts will poison our soul. If however, we chose to feed our mind with the things of God, then our souls will find new life and joy in God. The decision is up to us.
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." (Philippians 4:8)
David Robison

Friday, March 04, 2005

The fruits of repentance: Job 33:26-28

How can you tell if someone (or even yourself) has repented? As a parent, I have often wondered this in regard to my own children. As an elder in a local church, at times I have had to hold people accountable for their sins, to call them to repentance, and then watch over them to see if their repentance is genuine. So how can you tell if someone has repented? John told the Pharisees, when the came to be baptized by him, that they should first, "bear fruits in keeping with repentance." (Luke 3:8) In the following passage, Elihu paints a picture of someone who has repented and found forgiveness with God.
"Then he will pray to God, and He will accept him, that he may see His face with joy, and He may restore His righteousness to man. He will sing to men and say, 'I have sinned and perverted what is right, And it is not proper for me. He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit, and my life shall see the light.' " (Job 33:26-28)
Elihu shows us two fruits of repentance. First, is confession. Confession means to speak the same as. In other words, to confess our sins not only means to reveal them, but also to agree with God about them. Confession means that we agree with God that our actions were sinful, that we have sinned and offended God. We can "confess" our deeds all day long, but if we fail to recognize our sin as sin, then we will never be changed in that area of our lives. The whole purpose of the law was that "sin would become utterly sinful." (Romans 7:14) We must acknowledge our sins and agree with God that they are sinful.

The second fruit of repentance is love for God. This love is expressed in joy and gratitude for the free gift of forgiveness we receive through Jesus Christ. Through this forgiveness we have a renewed appreciation for the work of the cross and the continued work of God in our lives. Jesus, speaking of the woman anointed his feet with perfume from the alabaster box, said, "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." (Luke 7:47) The forgiveness of God that flows through our repentance causes a new love to spring up in our hearts unto God. The more we find forgiveness with God, the more we find that we love him. If there has not been any true repentance, and thus no forgiveness of sins, then our love for God will remain little.

While only God can know and judge the heart of a man (or woman), we are told that we will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16). If we cannot agree with God concerning the sinfulness of our sins, and if there is no burning love for God in our hearts, then perhaps we should examine ourselves to see if we have truly found repentance before God, or if our repentance is merely a counterfeit. "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death." (2 Corinthians 7:10)

David Robison

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Being an angel from God: Job 33:23-28

"If there is an angel as mediator for him, one out of a thousand, to remind a man what is right for him, then let him be gracious to him, and say, 'Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom'..." (Job 33:23-24)
Elihu is explaining how God goes to great lengths to teach and instruct men in the ways of righteousness. In this scripture, he speaks of an "angel" sent to help one understand the right way. This scripture is a bit hard to understand when translated into english, but an alternat translation of this scripture makes it more clear.
"If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his duty; then he will be gracious unto him, and say, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom." (Job 33:23-24 Darby)
Sometimes, God speaks to us soverenly though His Holy Spirit, and other times He speaks to us through another human being. God sends people as His messangers to help us understand and interpret what is going on in our lives. God will use other people in our lives to aid and help us when we don't know what to do. And at times, God may even want to use us to encourage and aid someone else who is having a difficult time. In this scripture, Elihu identifies four ways we can minister to others in need:
  1. As a messanger. We can be a messanger of God's word. To bring God's word of love, hope, and redemption to others. To remind people that God is on their side, that He is for them, and that He is working on their behalf.
  2. As an interperater. We can help people understand and make sense of what they are going through. We can also help them to see how the things written in the scriptures can apply to them and their circumstances, and how they can take hope in the scriptures.
  3. Remind them of whats right. Even though our circumstances may be difficult, we can still walk upright in them. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the right way, of how we should walk, as Paul said, "make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed." (Hebrews 12:13)
  4. To interceed on their behalf. Sometimes there are no words that can be said, all we can do is to pray and to ask God to be gracious to them. To interceed for them before the Father, that He may deliver them from their affliction and trials.
Notice what's not included as part of this ministry: to judge them, to prove to them that they are wrong, and to convict them of sin. When we feel the need to "correct" someone else, we are most often moving in the flesh and not in the Spirit of Christ. Let us therefore leave behind the ministry of the flesh and become ministers of the Spirit.

David Robison