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Daily Reading – Job concluded

“We need to recognize there is a great deal in the book of Job that is inspired. It is all inspired. But that does not necessarily mean it’s true. This is what I mean. The devil was not inspired to tell a lie to Eve. But the record that tells us that he lied when he did it, that record is what is inspired. And some people say just because it is in the Bible, that means it’s true. Let’s find out who says it. In the book of Job we need to be very careful about that.” John Vernon McGee (From his radio show available through The Blue Letter Bible under Job 3.)

This little nugget of information came at the perfect time. Not sure if I wrote ‘Inspired?’ in the margin in the book of Job, but I was definitely having the conversation with God on that subject. Dr. McGee is saying the Bible is inspired, but it also points out the fallacy of man’s thinking. This is true of much but not all of what Job’s friends and the younger man Elihu were saying in attempt to soothe Job. And also in the case of Job who was not wrong in asking God why the situation was occurring, but stumbled when he accused God of treating him unjustly. He went from praising God in his sorrow to accusing God of injustice.

Job 1:20-22 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the Lord be praised. In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Job 2:9-10 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

Job 9:33-34 If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. –a call for a savior.

Job 13:21-24 Withdraw your hand far from me, and stop frightening me with your terrors. Then summon me and I will answer, or let me speak, and you reply. How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin. Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy?

Job 19:6, 8-11 Then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. He tears me down on every side till I am gone; he uproots my hope like a tree. His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies.

It’s a progression of praise of God to accusing God of wrongdoing. In the end, God rebuked Job. Job 40:2 Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!”

Job responded, Job 40:4 I am unworthy – how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer – twice, but I will say no more. (This is kind of cute. Is this Job responding, like a little kid. He says something covers his mouth, realizing he has said something else, he needs to add ‘twice’ in there.)

The Lord continues, Job 40:8 “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?”

Job 42:3b Job – “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

To the questions of Job 22:2 Can a man be of benefit to God? Job 22:3 What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous? — Righteous, I don’t know. But when I think of God’s pleasure in us, I think of Luke 15:20, God running to his returning son who was lost. Does God need us? 2 Samuel 22:31 “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. –The answer has to be no. We would all be in deep trouble if God needed us. God stood in perfect union before time began. But do we benefit God? I’m going to disagree with Dr. McGee on this one and say we can; we can benefit his plan and also hinder it. Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Mat 9:37-38  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” — I’m a bit uncomfortable so some correction necessary. And I am by far the least of these and farthest from those who are actually adding to the Kingdom. Somehow it seems we benefit God’s plan while being totally incapable of stopping it.

I don’t think for a second that I will even come close to understanding any of this in this world. Philippians 2:13  for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. –But, I am still a strong enough believer in the need for freewill for love to exist that I believe God must give us the choice to accept or reject him, draw us to him though he does. For God who stands outside of time, the election is a given. He sees all that will be a part and those who will fall. Still, it’s a mystery.

In the end, Job’s fall affected his relationship with God and his friends, and how he viewed himself. God did not strike Job, but it was the lifting of his protection which left him open to attack. Is then God evil for allowing this to happen? Certainly not. 1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. We can’t possibly know the reasons why God removed his protection from Job. Maybe it was simply to show Job his weakness in his commitment to God. As to Job’s children, maybe God was saving them from a worse fate. Or maybe God put the world into motion providing the Bible, His Son and the Holy Spirit to help us and only providing tweaks as necessary, what we would call miracles. We can chose to walk with him or to walk away.

Romans 8:28   And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Job 22:21-22 Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart.

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