Job 35-36 (NLT)
Discover His heart: He uses our challenges to teach us and help us grow
Shortly after surviving the terrible twos when raising our children, we enter the world of why? Why do I have to brush my teeth? Why do I have to eat my broccoli? Why do I have to go to bed? Why do stars shine? Why, why, why? When my grandson, Kai, entered his twos (not terrible in the least bit) his inquisitive mind jump-started right into the world of why. Is it ever okay to say that I just don’t know why? It was a long year, but we loved every minute of it.
This ritual seems to be the way we accumulate knowledge in our early years, and sometimes that nagging why continues to plague us even into adulthood. We just can’t seem to get past why things are happening to us. Most of the great leaders in the Bible asked God why at one time or another, but Job seemed to be stuck there. At some point along the way we all learn that the real question is not why, but what.
When we’re making every effort to live right, resisting things that we would like to do in order to remain pure, yet pain and suffering come our way, we’re tempted to share Job’s dismal outlook. What’s the use of it? If we continue to wallow in this opinion, we give the impression that we are more correct about our circumstance, more righteous than God is in how it should be handled. Not good. Just like Job, we may not have the full picture of our situation, but God most certainly does.
Elihu raised an interesting point, “If you sin, how does that affect God? Even if you sin again and again what effect will it have on Him? If you are good, is this some great gift to Him? What could you possibly give Him?” (6-7) Elihu was right in saying God is neither damaged nor improved by our behavior, but He failed to say that God is blessed by our praise and grieved by our disobedience.
@ Job 36
“God is leading you away from danger, Job, to a place free from distress. He is setting your table with the best food. But you are obsessed with whether the godless will be judged.” (16-17) In his dissertation, Elihu was attempting to stop Job from focusing on why he was suffering and why other, more evil people, were not. Self-pity never serves us well. Elihu wanted Job to learn what God was trying to teach him through his suffering.
When it’s all said and done, I’ve found it’s always better to ask the Lord what rather than why when I am going through a challenging situation because it usually shortens the length of my discomfort. What can I learn from this suffering? What lesson will help me move forward to the other side? Job’s what was right around the corner in Chapter 38.
“Look, God is all-powerful. Who is a teacher like Him? No one can tell Him what to do, or say to Him, ‘You have done wrong.’ Instead, glorify His mighty works, singing songs of praise…Look, God is greater than we can understand.” (22-26) Some good advice from Elihu at this point. When I am in that holding pattern, with few answers and little direction, one thing I can do is glorify His mighty work in my life, thanking Him for all His blessings in days past. I can sing songs of praise to Him, expressing my love for Who He is and for His power to deliver.
Moving Forward: I will praise Him today through my circumstances, opening my heart to what He is longing to share with me.
Tomorrow @ Jeremiah 27-31