The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Tag: wisdom

Lent Devotional: Job 32-33

Job 32-33 (click here)
So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God. 3 He burned with anger also at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong. 4 Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he. 5 And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger. (Job 32:1-5)

Finally… Job’s three “friends” give up. However, before we can rejoice that this seemingly endless debate has come to an end, a fourth “friend” enters the picture. Here comes Elihu. He may be the strangest character in the whole book.

Elihu comes out of nowhere. He has not been mentioned up to this point and, after his long speeches end, he will not be mentioned again. No one even acknowledges anything he has to say! No one affirms his words, but no one denies his words. Even when God finally speaks he will ignore this young man. Who is this and why is he even in the story?

I think Elihu is there for us. Don’t get me wrong, I believe he is a real person and is really a part of this story, but I think he is there for all the readers of the story. Like us, he has been sitting back and simply listening. Like us, he has grown weary with all this talk. Like us, he has a few things of his own he would like to say. Like us, he has been willing to listen because, surely, these other men were wiser than he.

Right about the time Elihu can’t stand to be silent anymore is also right about the time we want to start screaming at Job and his “friends.” We want to rebuke everybody and that is exactly what Elihu does… but it does nothing. Elihu’s voice is not the one that Job or his friends need… they need to hear from God. Our voice is not the one that Job or his friends need… they need to hear from God.

God can and does speak through his people, but all too often we want to jump into situations and speak our own wisdom. People don’t need our wisdom… they need a word from God. Elihu is the final person that proves all human wisdom falls short… all our wisdom falls short. The only one left to speak is the only one that Job (and us) needs to hear speak… God.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.


Lent Devotional: Job 28

Job 28 (click here)
Man puts his hand to the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots. 10 He cuts out channels in the rocks, and his eye sees every precious thing. 11 He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle, and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light. 12 But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? (Job 28:9-12)

…Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding. (Job 28:28)

How often do we mistake knowledge for wisdom? Job lists marvelous technological accomplishments which mankind has achieved by the power of intellect…yet despite all these “advances” we are no wiser.

Is this not true amidst our “advanced” culture. We have seen so many advances in technology over the past several decades. Everywhere you turn, there is another celebration of human accomplishment. We have come so far!…but have we really?

Our world is still one covered in brokenness… and more so than ever before. The 20th century saw the greatest technological advances in history and the greatest human atrocities. For all our increased knowledge we are no wiser.

Wisdom cannot be found in us. It must come from outside us. Wisdom comes from God. The good news is that he is a gracious giver of wisdom to those who humble themselves and seek it in him instead of in themselves. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him (James 1:5).”

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Ecclesiastes 10

Ecclesiastes 10 (click here)
The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him. 13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is evil madness. 14 A fool multiplies words, though no man knows what is to be, and who can tell him what will be after him? (Ecclesiastes 10:12-14)

A proverb is a shorty, pithy saying that is meant to express a general truth for life. Of course there are exceptions, but a proverb points you toward wise living. Solomon passed on much of his wisdom through proverbs and there have been a few already stated throughout Ecclesiastes and chapter 10 is full of them.

Among all his wise advice, Solomon warns us about the power and powerlessness of our words. What we say has the power to create and destroy relationships…the power to build up or to tear down…the power to affirm or deny. Our words are powerful.

Yet, for all our wise words we must admit that at the end of the day our knowledge is dashed against the rock of God’s sovereignty. We cannot really predict anything that will “be after us.” The more we try to espouse wisdom about life, the more we are shown to be fools who aren’t really in control. For all our wise words, we ultimately find that they are powerless to control anything. Our words are powerless.

This is why true wisdom…truly wise words…point us to trust the one who is in control. No matter what happens, the one who is truly wise will speak of the trustworthiness of the Lord and trust in his word! His word is never powerless…it is always powerful and permanent.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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