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

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:46 AM

    Good words, from my own experince I can say that is is absolutely true.