Monday, December 3, 2018

Job 26:1-4 (NIV)
Then Job replied:
“How you have helped the powerless!
How you have saved the arm that is feeble!
What advice you have offered to one without wisdom!
And what great insight you have displayed!
Who has helped you utter these words?
And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?

I sense a bit of sarcasm in Job’s words as he begins chapter 26. There is some frustration with his friends. They claim that they came to comfort, but there is no comfort in their words. They have helped no one. They have expounded their own wisdom, expressed their own experiences, and concluded what their own faulty theology led them to believe. In the process of talking about the justice of God, they lost sight of his greatness. In the process of explaining Job’s sin, they lost sight of his suffering. In the process of justifying their own perspective, they lost sight of why they were there. So where does Job turn?

Job 26:11-14 (NIV)
The pillars of the heavens quake,
aghast at his rebuke.
By his power he churned up the sea;
by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.
By his breath the skies became fair;
his hand pierced the gliding serpent.
And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
how faint the whisper we hear of him!
Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

Job turns to the power and greatness of the Almighty. Job’s friends mentioned God’s greatness, but they gave it a different spin. Job’s comforters claimed that because God is almighty, therefore two things must be true: 1. No one can possibly be righteous before him. 2. Job cannot escape his judgment. Job acknowledges the first idea earlier, but firmly rejects the second. His hope is in his redeemer. Job’s take on the greatness of God is that one-day God will set things right. Therefore, Job will never deny him, nor speak deceitfully.

Job 27:2-4 (ESV)
“As God lives, who has taken away my right,
and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter,
as long as my breath is in me,
and the spirit of God is in my nostrils,
my lips will not speak falsehood,
and my tongue will not utter deceit.

Job does not understand what he is experiencing. He wants to argue his case before God. He is confused by what is happening, yet nothing can shake his resolve to trust the God he cannot see. By the end of the book Job will not only know about the greatness of God, he will have seen it. But for now, it is enough that he believes in the greatness of God. He finds hope in that truth.

Too often we let the pain of our experiences, and the voices of our accusers convince us. What we need to do is to take time to look up from our pain and see the glory of God. Job talks about the greatness of God as revealed in the world around him. He then concludes, “And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him!” (Job 26:14). We need to listen for the whispers of his greatness. We need to watch for the “outer fringe of his works.”

When was the last time you stopped to just look around you and see the glory of God? You can see him in a sunrise, or in a flower. You can see him even in the devastation of a storm. The God who can stir up a wind that can snap an oak tree, topple man’s greatest constructions, or wash away an island, is the God who sees you, hears you, and watches over you.

We may not understand the pain. With Job, we might feel confused and bewildered by the chain of events in our lives. We may not be able to see any hope for the future. But we can see glimpses of God’s glory if we look for them. They remind us that the world is bigger than we are and that God is bigger than the world. It’s not really about us at all. Today may our vision be filled with the glory of God, and may that be enough.

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