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March 6, 2013 – Job 35

Click here to read Job 35 on BibleGateway.com

mywayElihu, the speaker in today’s reading, is one of the great unfortunately-ignored people in the Bible  If you’re not familiar with his story, let’s summarize:  Job loses everything he has; his three friends (Bildad, Eliphaz, and Zophar) come to “comfort” him and eventually get into a theological debate about suffering, good, and evil; Elihu is apparently somewhat younger than the others, so he holds his tongue until the end of the book when they’re all angry and tired before letting loose with an explanation of why they’re all wrong.  Gotta love a guy that waits till everybody exhausts themselves, then jumps on the wreckage.

INTRO TO GOD 101

With the small caveat that God refutes some of what Elihu says here,  he makes some very interesting points in his speech.  In fact, he hits on some of the key problems in our own relationship with God.  In verse 2, Elihu challenges Job on his very premise:  do we as people have the right to challenge God?  This is one of the most prevalent attitudes in our world today.  We want our relationship with God to be like a semester at Hogwarts; we learn some stuff, and then we learn to say/do/study the right words to get God to do what we want.  You will hear it voiced with statements “God wouldn’t do that…Why doesn’t God do something about…I don’t believe in a God like that.”  Elihu argues that we cannot tell God what is appropriate for Him to do, because , duh, he’s God.  Yet don’t we do this all the time? We tell God what He has to do so we’ll obey/believe/serve Him.  We leave parts out of the Bible that we don’t like, because “My God wouldn’t do that, and if He would, I don’t want that kind of God.” Isn’t it somewhat ridiculous for us to tell God He has to meet our standards before we’ll listen?

THE GREAT AND POWERFUL ME COMMANDS THEE!

Secondly, in verse 14, Elihu argues that when people claim they can’t see God, they are fooling themselves.  This is a corollary (look it up in a dictionary, people) to his first statement.  God can do what he wants, including decide how He reveals himself.  We often hear people argue that God needs to make himself known, and then everybody would believe in Him.  Elihu instead points out the foolishness of this line of thought.  God reveals Himself in nature, the Bible, and ultimately in Jesus, but we say ‘that’s fine, but You also need to reveal yourself by answering my prayer, or healing this person,etc”  We somehow think that God owes us the proof that we demand, in the manner that we demand.  For example, if God is real, he’ll take care of all the poor people.  Or make that person nice to me.  Or help me get a good job.   So, apparently, God not only has to justify his existence to us, but also His actions.  Seems reasonable.  In OppositeLand.

The Bible says that no one who stands before God on Judgement Day will be able to say “i didn’t know,” we are all without excuse when it comes to God’s righteousness.  How much more foolish would it be to blame God because He didn’t act the way we wanted?  Do we really think God is going to say “ok, good point. I should have asked you first about how to run the universe.  Come sit here beside me on the throne, oh wise mortal, and let’s straighten this cosmos out.”  The Bible says that anyone that says “there is no God” is a fool; how much more foolish is it to say “yes, there’s a God, but He needs to get my approval before he acts.”

See what I mean about Elihu being da man?

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