Magnificent and Dangerous

Re:Verse passage – Job 40:6-9, 15-19; 41:1-7, 10-11; 42:1-6 (day six).

I wouldn’t mess with a leviathan. Would you? It would probably take my arm clean off if I tried. And not because it is evil, or part of a “broken” world, but simply because it is a wild and magnificent and dangerous animal.

Here’s the kicker, God is super proud of this beast. Nothing on earth is its equal, no other creature so fearless. (41:33) He created it just like he created you and me.

We are always searching for reasons, but God seems to be saying, in part, there isn’t always a personal reason for suffering. Sometimes we run into something and it takes our arm clean off. He seems to be saying, in part, that his good, magnificent, created world wasn’t designed to cushion us when we fall; parts of it has sharp edges that requires wisdom and caution in its navigation. (It’s why we wear seatbelts, wash our hands, or avoid sticking our heads in lion’s mouths.)

While that isn’t all that comforting, it does reinforce one simple principle:

Live wisely. And be in awe of God’s good and magnificent and sometimes dangerous world.

BUT more importantly, be in awe of him.

God Hears

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

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,

I’m with Scott here, Job reminds us of our deepest need and God’s eagerness to meet it-his nearness. I think it is astounding that we have a God that draws near to us, especially after reading about his management of the universe in chapters 38-39. (God doesn’t have too much on his plate to draw near to us.)

One of the best ways the book of Job illustrates the nearness of God is not in God’s response to Job, but that he responded at all. Simply, God heard Job’s cries, his complaints, and accusations. He was not far off and aloof, but near; he heard Job and spoke to him in his nearness.

So, if you ever wander if God hears you; he does…AND he answers us when we call.

No Bad Questions

Re:Verse passage – Job 32:1-10; 33:2-4, 22-30; 35:9-10; 37:14-24 (day six)

There are no bad questions. Some may conclude that one of the purposes of Job is to illustrate the futility of asking hard questions; that we simply aren’t capable of understanding the complexities of God’s management of the universe as it involves human suffering. The latter is true of course, but    it is a big leap to conclude we shouldn’t search for reasons for suffering.

In fact the book of Job points to a different conclusion, I think. We are privy to Job’s emotional journey as he attempts to make sense of his suffering. He argues with friends, questions God, wrestles with his will to press on, but ultimately longs for justice and restored fellowship with God. We can conclude that while we may not receive the answers we want, we may discover the meaning me need.

God is sympathetic to our frailty, and his shoulders are big enough to carry our fears, tough questions, and yes, even our anger. Elihu would advise we not forget who God is in all his wonder in the process.

I would advise something similar, it is okay to ask hard questions about suffering, as long as you don’t lose sight of the kind of person you ought to be in your suffering.

As For Me, Pt. 2

Re:Verse passage – Job 19:20-27 (six)

Pastor Scott is absolutely right! Undergirding Job’s proclamation is a worldview; a set of convictions that help him make sense of God and the world around him. Part of Job’s story is that experience of indiscriminate suffering threw some of what he had previously believed about God out the door, but other things remained.

One of the things that remained in Job’s worldview, we see echoed loudly here too, and that is-God cares. Job is convinced that God has NOT abandoned him, nor is he distant and aloof, unaware and unconcerned about his suffering and his words (Job 19:23).

In Job’s mind, God is more than knowledgeable about situation, he cares about him, his well being, and about justice; so much so, he can leave everything in God’s hands, and not take matters into his own.

Alone, Part 2

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

I’m with Brian, there is a profoundness to Job’s soul-crushing loneliness. We quickly and easily see similarities to Jesus in the last hours of his life when he was totally abandoned. Perhaps loneliness is the full result of humanity’s brokenness, ultimately completed in death (could you be any more alone than in death?). When sin takes its full course it crumbles and destroys all relationships, leaving us totally alone.

Now interestingly enough, neither Job (a particular sin; he was still sinful) nor Jesus committed sin that led to their loneliness, but the sin of others. I think that similarity between Job and Jesus is on purpose. I think God the Holy Spirit wants to draw our attention from Job to Jesus.

What if another way to think about Jesus taking on the sin of the world is Jesus taking on crushing loneliness? What if the only way we could not be alone, is for Jesus to go through the full extent of our brokenness in his loneliness?

What if he became alone, so you never had to be alone?

Suffering and Reason

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

How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble! Job 14:1

Suffering, or any of the hard things in life, have a way of making us really think about meaning and purpose. We can’t help but ask, “What is the meaning of all this?”

So, while suffering is a result of the Fall, if we allow him, God will use it to shape our thinking and understanding of the world and the purpose of life itself. That’s what Job has been doing in his painful musings and complaints, particularly in chapter 14. His reason drives him to an extraordinary and hopeful conclusion…almost (he lands more or less with his hopefulness in tatters).

And we are there with him all along the way.

I think there are two main reasons Job is in the Bible, one it reassures us that it is okay to be driven by suffering to feel deeply about life and to ask wonderful and terrible questions about its meaning and purpose. A faith-filled life is not void of these kind of deep and resonant contemplations, but full of them as we live and breath in the world this side of eternity. Two, we have a guide in Job in reasoning through suffering, leading us down a needed path towards a divine and eternal end-in awe of God and fellowship with him.

Job doesn’t allow us to take life for granted. Ponder it. Rejoice in it. And long for God.


ReVerse passage – Job 9:32-35 (day six)

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. John 3:30

It seems to me that Job’s view of God only increases. Even at his lowest point or his loudest complaint, his perspective of God doesn’t seem to diminish. Often in our suffering, the world seems to shrink around our sorrow and pain; it is hard for us to see beyond our looming fear.

Not so with Job, his increasing view of God leads him to make some insightful conclusions and revelations about God and himself.

It got me wondering, what if it is my diminished view of God that keeps me from fully realizing my identity in Jesus, or bearing the kind of fruit he desires for me? Seems to me, he must increase, and I must decrease.


Re:Verse passage – Job 7:1-21 (day six)

 As the Scriptures say,

“People are like grass;
    their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
25     But the word of the Lord remains forever.” 1 Peter 1:24

One of the most painful parts of Job is the lack of resolution-until the very end of course. Through the suffering, conversations, debate and complaining, we long for just a little bit of resolution along the way, but it is no where to be found. Just silence, or the annoying drip of his friends accusatory words.

In this way Job is intended to remind us of what real life is like. When does everything resolve itself when you want or expect it to? Does everything wrap up nicely at the end of every day? Does every conversation or argument conclude with a story book ending like out of some rom-com?

In an interesting kind of way, Job (the whole story) reminds us that God knows what real life is like, and not only, but he is sympathetic to our weaknesses. And that alone is enough to keep me moving forward, one foot after the other.

You Are My Delight

Re:Verse passage – Job 2:1-10, 3:11, 20-26 (day six)

Reflections on Job 3 and Psalm 37:4 while in Kenya.

Would I take delight in the Lord if I had no fresh water to drink, or a bath to stay clean? Would I take delight in the Lord if I had little food to eat? Would I take delight in the Lord if I slept on a dirt floor, and my little brother didn’t make it past four? And what if I had no father who cared, and a mother who had no time to spare? Would I take delight in him then? What if rather than a little, I had nothing at all, and all life around me seemed to hang on only by a thread? Would I take delight in him rather than dread?

Would I take delight in him?

But what if I saw his promise in the colored banner that arched across the sky, or the sun which gave its merciful light? Would I take delight in the Lord? What if I saw that tooth filled smile, and the purest laughter without pretense or guile? The boy kicking the thread bare ball, and my sister with her stick-thatched doll, what if I saw the simplest joy in it all? Or what if someone touched me, and told me of the SON who could rescue me from this merciless life? Would he be enough to pull me through this indiscriminate strife?

What if I saw him in others when they gave of themselves; knew his love, and peace, even when all else failed? What if hope prevailed?

Would I take delight in the Lord?

Yes, yes, even then, with nothing at all, my joy and hope would rest in him.

The Word Made Flesh

Re:Verse passage – Job 1:1-12 (day six) 

Have you ever considered why God included poetry among the various genres of biblical literature? We can be so enamored with what is being said, parsing out all the details, that we can miss the how.

Poetry and prose capture the human experience in all its subtlety and nuance, bringing real life emotion to the surface in ways that no other genre can. Fear and joy, doubt and faith, anger and celebration all find their home in the poet’s verse.

Poetry is the Word becoming flesh-in a manner of speaking. (Not THE WORD of course.) It is God saying to us, “I am with you. I understand. It is okay.” Biblical poetry is God’s way of letting us know that it is okay to work out our salvation in the midst of a sinful broken world.

Oh, and by the way, it is also intended to read out loud.