The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Month: March, 2014

Lent Devotional: Job 18

Job 18 (click here)
Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous, such is the place of him who knows not God.” (Job 18:21)

Reflection
Bildad is appalled that Job cannot see the “reality” of his situation, namely, that his dire circumstances prove he is being punished for sin somehow. The fact that Job cannot see this leads Bildad to conclude that Job must not even know God.

But, we know better than Bildad. We know that Job is not being punished and that he does know God. We must be very slow to connect external circumstances with unseen spiritual realities. We must be very slow to condemn someone based on their situation as we see it…actually…to condemn is never our place at all.

How often do we find ourselves talking about people and how we know what they should do in their situation? How often do we find ourselves passing along our expert advice to them. If they’d just do what we said, see it our way, act our way…then all would be well.

Yet, there is always more than meets the eye in any given situation. I’m not saying that we can never give advice or speak truth into someone’s life…far from it! What I’m saying is that we must be quick to listen and slow to speak. We must be steadfast in prayer, before we are steadfast in offering counsel…otherwise we may find ourselves telling someone they “don’t know God” when, in fact, they know him infinitely better than we do.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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Lent Devotional: Job 16-17

Job 16-17 (click here)
My face is red with weeping, and on my eyelids is deep darkness, 17 although there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure. 18 O earth, cover not my blood, and let my cry find no resting place. 19 Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high. (Job 16:16-19)

Reflection
Job is no stoic! Often, when we read the opening two chapters and see Job’s response to his immense suffering, we ignore how he tears his robe and shaves his head, we only see his worship and conclude that he must not “feel” things like we do in order to be able to respond like that.

False.

Job weeps. He weeps continuously… until his face is swollen and red from all his tears. His eyes have sunk into dark circles from sleeplessness and sickness. This man has experienced the deepest pain and has not bottled it up. He is broken and it is obvious… and that is ok.

All too often we think we need to “have it all together,” but brokenness, tears, grief… all of these things are right and good expressions of pain. Sure, there is a way to express grief that does not honor God (Job will eventually do that too and need to repent), but that does not mean that grief itself is sinful… far from it!

We are a people who weep and hurt and cry with one another. We are a people who mourn! The difference is that we do not mourn as if there is no hope! Even amidst his weeping and deep darkness Job has hope… hope that there is a witness in heaven who can testify on his behalf… hope that God himself will vindicate him before God. Job doesn’t know how that works (we do… through Christ), but he knows God is good and so he hopes in him.

We weep… but we also hope.


*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Job 15

Job 15 (click here)
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: 2 “Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? 3 Should he argue in unprofitable talk, or in words with which he can do no good? (Job 15:1-3)

Reflection
Eliphaz begins round two of this debate over Job’s condition by throwing caution to the wind and outright questioning Job’s character. It’s almost as if he has not even been listening to Job. As soon as Job claimed to be innocent of any wrongdoing, Eliphaz’s ears closed and his mind kicked into gear formulating a response. This type of “listening” is not rooted in a desire to offer comfort, but in a cockiness that desires to prove its own correctness!

Job’s words are “windy knowledge” and “unprofitable talk” to Eliphaz! And this assessment is not based on actually thinking Job’s words through, but on the simple fact that they are at odd’s with Eliphaz’s own words.

How often do we “listen” to people this way. We come into their situation knowing all the answers to what they should do, how they should react, or the way in which they should go forward…and as a result, we do not listen to anything they have to say unless they are agreeing with what we have already decided is right. Such an approach cannot ultimately bring comfort.

Job needs friends that will listen to him, sit with him, cry with him, and wrestle through difficult questions with him. Many things they have to say are true, but misapplied. Many things they have to say are true, but inappropriate to speak to the bereaved man as he sits in ashes scraping his boils. Job is not in need of solutions right now (which is what they are offering)… he is in need of a safe place to speak and be heard.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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