Big God

Re:Verse passage – Job 40:6-9, 15-19; 41:1-7, 10-11; 42:1-6 (day two)                 I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. 42:2

This response says a great deal about Job’s character after the withering litany of questions that the Lord asked him. Job continues the narrative of the bigness of God with the recognition of his sovereign nature. As we walk through trials we may be surprised at the journey, but God never is. We may be frustrated at outcomes that are contrary to our hopes, but God never is. We may be tempted to question God’s purpose, and even wonder about his nearness, but the Lord is never far and will not be moved from his cosmic design for us. Job is humbled, to be sure, but he comes out of this more confident than ever that God is real, big, and to be trusted. Can you say the same?


Re:Verse passage – Job 38:1-7; 40:6-9 (day two) 

When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God shouted for joy? 38:7

Figurative language or literal account of creation? Wherever you land on this question the image created by God when speaking of the earth’s origin are wonderfully descriptive. The first few verses of chapter 38 use terms like  laying foundations, marking dimensions, and measuring. There is a real sense of the Lord rolling up his sleeves and working hard at creation. The verse seven provides for creation’s soundtrack. Stars singing and the heavenly host cheering on the process. This account has fascinated me for years. Mostly because it includes music as an essential element of God’s nature. But there is a beauty in the completeness of this picture. The images of a God who plans, values hard work, and loves art gives a holistic idea of how God operates. There is inherent worth in every aspect of creation, and in our own call. What followed this account and line of questioning was a very humbled Job. When we experience the Lord in his fullness we cannot help but be awed, and may it ever help us to recognize our journey in light of the greatness of God.


Re:Verse passage – Job 32:1-10; 33:2-4, 22-30; 35:9-10; 37:14-24
(day two).                                                                                                                                  
The Almighty—we cannot find Him;
He is exalted in power
And He will not do violence to justice and abundant righteousness. 37:23

Wait for me a little, and I will show you
That there is yet more to be said in God’s behalf. 36:1

Of all the advice given by Job’s friends, I have always considered Elihu to be closest to the mark. Close, but not quite on target. I appreciate that he gives deference to age and wisdom. He waits his turn and listens. I also appreciate that he doesn’t let his youth ultimately keep him from speaking. When he asks Job about the characteristics of God in creation it comes very near to how God ultimately responds.

There are, however, some flaws in Elihu’s logic. He continues to contend that Job is deserving of his suffering. It stands to reason that, following Elihu’s logic, God will not do violence to justice, so Job must be unjust. It must be nice to live in such a binary sort of world, but it doesn’t take too many days on the earth to realize that isn’t how suffering works. Secondly, he says that God is not accessible. Again, according to Elihu, God is exalted and once he set the world in motion he stepped away. Third, God needs an interpreter.

Friends, this isn’t how we approach the Almighty. Our suffering is not unknown to the Lord. He hears our pleas for mercy, and God, his Word, and the Holy Spirit are sufficient. Stop looking for the “fix” and continue to search for Jesus in the storm.


Re:Verse passage – Job 19:20-27 (day two) 

“Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
27 Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes will see and not another.
My heart faints within me!

This is a statement of absolute confidence without any petition on his own behalf. The duality of these words are incredible; he is sure of two things: his body will be wrecked and destroyed, and he will see God. Where does this faith come from? Remember Job is a man from the East. He is not living in a strong faith community, and he is most likely not of the nation of Israel. Yet he has discerned the incredible reality of a living God whose ways were great and indisputable. How does that inform your faith journey? We have the Word, we have the example of Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our journey. Even with those evidences and assurances we sometimes struggle to bear up under the burden of circumstance. May we gain a measure of strength from the example of Job today. May we say with the same confidence that surely our redeemer lives, and we will see him face to face.

The Pit

Re:Verse passage – Job 19:13-19 (day two) 

My relatives have failed,
And my intimate friends have forgotten me. vs. 14

The depths of grief that gripped Job’s heart was almost unendurable. This seeming pit is double-edged in that no one around you can walk your exact journey, and no one, then, is able to truly empathize. This is a hopeless place. If walking with Jesus on his journey to the cross last week has given us any insight into our savior, however, is that he understands the weight of sorry. Truly. It doesn’t help to simply say “Jesus understands”, but it may provide the beginning of a way out of the pit to run to the scriptures and observe the cosmic weight of Christ’s sorrow.

He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:3

Answer the Question

Re:Verse passage – Job 13:15-16; 14:1-2, 14-17 (day two) 

If a man dies, will he live againAll the days of my struggle I will wait until my relief comes. 4:14

Job asks several rhetorical questions throughout his responses to his friends. In Job’s frame of reference the obvious answer to the question of will a man live again is no. This is the perfect week to study this portion of Job’s story as we also consider Jesus’ journey to the cross. We know that because of Jesus we can have new, abundant, and eternal life because of the sacrifice on our behalf. Take time this week to spend time in the Word focusing on how you can confidently answer Job’s question because of the resurrection. How can you share that truth with a friend or family member who has never trusted Jesus? We have new life because of Jesus.


Not Equal

Re:Verse passage – Job 9:32-35 (day two) Then I would speak and not fear Him; But I am not like that in myself. vs. 35

This short passage is better understood in the context of the entire chapter. In verse 1 Job asks “But how can a man be in the right before God?” The verses that follow lay out the clear distinctions between a man and the awesome powerful God. What is interesting to me is Job is not asking for equality with the Lord. He is not trying to level the playing field so that his complaints will carry more weight. He is simply acknowledging the chasm. It is difficult to imagine a more dire situation than Job is currently in, but it is important for us to note his recognition of God’s authority. This doesn’t stop job’s complaint, but it also doesn’t ask God to stop being sovereign. Cry out, make your hurts known to the Lord, but give space to remember his ways are not ours.


The Long Haul

Re:Verse passage – Job 7:1-21 (day two) So am I allotted months of vanity, and nights of trouble are appointed me. vs. 3

It is often not the initial shock of grief or pain that can be the most trying, it is when it lingers weeks, months, years that it becomes almost unendurable. Perhaps you know that persistent feeling of loss. When a diagnosis comes, or after a loss there is often an initial outpouring of love, support, and care. What happens a month later? Six months? There is rarely a predictable timetable for grief. Standing beside those who are in loss is a long game endeavor. It doesn’t need to be meals, or hours of sitting in their living rooms, but it may require a phone call on a consistent basis with no expectations.

Be Quiet

Re:Verse passage – Job 2:11-13, 22:5-6, 9-11 (day two) Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great. 2:13

A great bulk of the book of Job contains a discourse between Job and his friends. Much space is given to their perspectives, their advice, and their prodding Job to admit fault. While each argument made by his friends can be analyzed, it is the first action they take that should instruct us most. They sat beside him, and they were quiet. Very few of us are called to be counselors, and almost no one will ever experience the complete loss that Job felt. Sometimes presence is the most reassuring thing you can do for a friend. Are you a fixer? Do you feel compelled to help people figure things out? This is a wonderful attribute in almost any situation, except grief. Learning to sit is a balm. Learning to be quiet is one of the greatest gifts you can learn to give.

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh!” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”― A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

Exit Strategy

Re:Verse passage – Job 2:1-10; 3:11, 20-26 (day two) Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” 2:9

This is a hard passage. When things cannot get worse for Job, even his spouse calls for him to throw in the towel. There is always an exit strategy to the circumstances you are in, always. More often than not there are more than one options given to you. The most difficult chapters of your life may center around which option to take. There is a way that seems easy, but is it right. Being in a tough place is not always a sign lack of faith. Be careful not to equate situation with sin. Seek after the Lord, not just an escape. Ultimately you must decide which path you will take. Job chose a hard path, but is was right.