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Friday, July 20, 2012

Job's Repentance, Version Two

Congratulations to Janie who won a copy of Mary Englund Murphy's Bible study book on Joseph. Thank you to everyone who put your name into the raffle.
 
We started our study of Job with a focus on a resistant or hardened heart. Job has shown us the solution for such a heart: a trust in God's sovereignty. We discovered that a resistant heart is basically saying that God doesn't know what He's doing. Take your pick:
  • we think He lacks facts
  • we think He lacks wisdom
  • we think He lacks power
Which lie do you buy into most often? 
Think of it this way. We pray but our prayer becomes telling God about the facts. We tell Him what's going on. And believe me, I think that's good but...maybe it fosters a doubt asking whether He really knows what's going on. How would it feel to not tell Him any facts? Tense? Could that be because you aren't so sure He's paying attention? Might be an interesting experiment to test whether you really believe He's aware of your concerns.
Secondly, we may believe He has the facts, but do we believe He has the wisdom to work with those facts? Like me, do you find yourself telling God what should be done? Do you find it's easy for requests to become demands? We think God should work in a certain way. We may even acknowledge that our knowledge is limited but since we can't think of anything else to be done, we figure those are the only options.
Thirdly, we may believe He knows the facts and has wisdom, but do we really believe He has the power needed? Hmmm. Maybe if we beg, His power will increase. Don't forget, sisters, I'm preaching to myself.
Job may have cycled through those three challenges continually but in Job 42, he is brought to his knees...again! Back in Chapter 40, he repented and we were surprised when God went on again about His power. Again! God talks for two whole chapters about some animals called the behemoth (some versions say it's the hippopotamus) and the leviathan (some versions say it's the crocodile). God tells more things about these two animals than you would think anyone would know. I guess that's just the point--only God knows all that! 
In Job 41:34, God has His last word with Job and says:
"He [the leviathan]looks all mighty [beasts of prey] in the face [without terror]; he is monarch over all the sons of pride."
The Amplified Bible adds this explanation of God's point:
[And now, Job, who are you who dares not arouse the unmastered crocodile, yet who dares resist Me, the beast’s Creator, to My face? Everything under the heavens is Mine; therefore, who can have a claim against God?]
Girlfriends, that's what we're doing when we doubt God's knowledge, wisdom, or power. We are resisting God and saying He doesn't have control over everything. What's the evidence of that? Our:
grumbling (why is there so much traffic?)
complaining (why can't this lady in line in front of me find her credit card?)
anger (I deserve to be treated better)
bitterness (he/she doesn't deserve forgiveness)
discontent (if only I had a bigger house)
frustration (why does it take so long to get someone to return my calls?)
perfectionism (only I know the right way to do this)
fear of risking (I won't ask; he might say no)
(shall I go on?) is the fruit of resisting God and believing He isn't the master controller of everything. 
Do you want to resist having such a resistant, hardened heart? Have the response Job did:
Then Job said to the Lord,I know that You can do all things, and that no thought or purpose of Yours can be restrained or thwarted.[You said to me] Who is this that darkens and obscures counsel [by words] without knowledge? Therefore [I now see] I have [rashly] uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.[I had virtually said to You what You have said to me:] Hear, I beseech You, and I will speak; I will demand of You, and You declare to me.I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye sees You.Therefore I loathe [my words] and abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42, Amplified Bible)
Although Job had repented before, his repentance now goes even deeper. Here are some points we can glean:

  • As I mentioned in a previous post, don't become discouraged when more layers of repentance are called for. You haven't failed. You're just going deeper.
  • Job declares again his trust in God's sovereignty.
  • Job recognizes his demand that God attend to his pain and circumstances.
  • Job realizes his repentance was shallow. He heard before but now he sees--he experiences. He knew of God before but now He is real to him.
  • Job had put his hand upon his mouth before in a motion of repentance. Now he repents more deeply by casting dust and ashes upon his head.

Repentance and surrender are not fun to think about but they are the solution for a resistant heart. And God rewards Job with abundance and another family. Read the rest of the story--you're going to love it.


Dear friend, we all will experience a resistant or hardened heart at times. Let's commit to trusting God's sovereignty and relaxing in His love for us. We can trust such a wonderful God.





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