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JOB 31 – JOB’S WORDS
35
"If only I had someone who would listen to me and try to see my side!"

JOB 33 – ELIHU’S WORDS
8
"You have said it in my hearing. I have heard your very words.
9
You said, `I am pure; I am innocent; I have not sinned.

It is true that Job was defending himself. It is true that we cannot overtly sin and guard our hearts as much as possible—and yet bad things can happen to us.

Yet, may we not trust in our righteousness to make us pleasing to God. Our obedience is like seeds of righteousness opening the way for God to bless us and have intimate fellowship with us.

It is so easy to judge others and be like Elihu – who judged Job. It is easy to magnify others’ sins and mistakes and ignore our own! If we need to speak to or confront someone, may we approach them in humility and truth!

GALATIANS 6
1
BRETHREN, IF any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.


2 CORINTHIANS 3
3
"Clearly, you are a letter from Christ prepared by us. It is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on stone, but on human hearts."

I like verse 9 in the Amplified:
9
For if the service that condemns [the ministration of doom] had glory, how infinitely more abounding in splendor and glory must be the service that makes righteous [the ministry that produces and fosters righteous living and right standing with God]!

verses 17 and 18 show the way, the challenge, of how to keep the “veil of hardness” off of our hearts, and how to grow to reflect the glory of Jesus:

(Amplified)
17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom).(D)
18
And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.

(NIV)
17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect[a] the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

IN AFFLUENT AMERICA… where the TV was my second parent (being raised only by my father as my mother had left us), this is the call to me – to lay down my mind, thoughts, way, and will for Jesus’ mind, thoughts, way, and will. In particular, this means to watch less TV and spend more time in prayer.

PSALM 43
5
"Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again--my Savior and my God!"

5
Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my [sad] countenance, and my God.

This relates directly to choosing to pray and live out this prayer:
“Lord, I give up my mind for Your mind; my thoughts for Your thoughts; my way for Your way; my will for Your way.”

It also relates to Psalm 103:1-5 (New Living Translation)
1
Praise the LORD, I tell myself;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2
Praise the LORD, I tell myself,
and never forget the good things he does for me.
3
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
4
He ransoms me from death
and surrounds me with love and tender mercies.
5
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle's!

I c an—and therefore I MUST—use my will yielding to the Holy Spirit—to speak to my soul and being to yield to and worship the Lord.

I believe this is a very powerful spiritual weapon—to choose to obey whether or not it is convenient. To choose to obey and to choose to go against our own way—is the essence of the Gospel.

MATTHEW 10 (Amplified)

37
He who loves [and [n]takes more pleasure in] father or mother more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves [and takes more pleasure in] son or daughter more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me;
38
And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [[o]cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me.
39
Whoever finds his [[p]lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].

And when we feel weak and unable to choose this, we can ask for the help of the Spirit within us and the help of Jesus, like this man who needed Jesus to deliver his son:

Mark 9 (Amplified)

22
And it has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him.
But if You can do anything, do have pity on us and help us.
23
And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes!
24
At once the father of the boy gave [an eager, piercing, inarticulate] cry with tears, and he said, Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my weakness of faith!

Vance

Job 31-33:33

The last couple of days as I read through Job I keep thinking about his friends and their responses to Job and I have come to the conclusion, albeit a possibly wrong conclusion, that Job’s three friends were scared. They were afraid that what had happened to him might happen to them. In their need to understand something they found hard to grasp, they distanced the chance for calamity falling upon them, in their own minds, by detaching themselves from Job. The only way they could successfully delineate Job’s condition from their “wealth” was to rationalize in their own minds that Job had sinned and they had not.

Fear, a consequence of our sin nature, causes us to try to elevate ourselves too worthiness by pointing out and magnifying the flaws in others while we sugar coat the glaring sin in our own lives. All we are doing is whistling at the wind and hiding behind leaves we have sown together, trying to hide our nakedness from God. In our sense of inadequacy, we make our own laws then judge others by the laws we made as if we control the universe: In doing so we follow the sin of Satan who desired to be the Most High God. (Ezekiel 28:12-13)

II Corinthians 3:1-18

7 That old system of law etched in stone led to death, yet it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses' face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8Shouldn't we expect far greater glory when the Holy Spirit is giving life?

I have seen people “glow” with what had to be the glow of the Holy Spirit. People who are in the Marine Corp can identify each other when out of uniform because they have something called l’esprit des corps. I believe Christians should be able to identify each other without pins, flags, Christian speak, but by the way we carry ourselves, by the glow that comes from being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers should be able to look at us and know that we have been with Jesus. They may not like it but they would sure have to respect it.

Psalm 43:1-5

Job could have written this Psalm, Job’s speeches could have been encapsulated in these five verses. There is nothing new or unique in the trials we experience and the pain we go through. What we experience, what Job went through is common to men and women living upon an earth beset with sin. What we have to remember and put our hope in is Jesus Christ that is the only way to survive intact the trials and tests that come our way.

Proverbs 22:8-9

8Those who plant seeds of injustice will harvest disaster, and their reign of terror will end.

We desire to get vengeance on our enemies but here it states the crop produced by evil deeds will devastate the one who sowed the seeds. Maybe in our cry of, “Lord, how long?” the plant is growing and the fruit is maturing. Maybe God is allowing the wicked to dig such deep pits in their attempt to entrap others that when they fall into it themselves, they will not be able to get out.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

This is the first time I have posted anything to this blog. I've been a committed follower of Christ for 15 years, and have read the Bible for more years than that, but I can't begin to express how God is spiritually blessing me through this systematic reading of His word. And I can't begin to tell you how much work He still has to do in me as I evaluate myself according to mirror of His truth.

Regarding the book of Job, I am reminded that as Christians we so quickly think we know what God is up to and what the answers are to the tough questions. So many times I have answered the questions of a suffering friend as Job's friends did. Regretfully so. I think the more we grow in Christ, the less we realize we know for sure except that God's love for us is perfect.

My husband, who grew up in a Christian home and followed Christ for many years, is now full of questions simiilar to Job's that I don't know how to answer. My best "answer" is to listen, support, and most importantly LOVE him.

Sometimes, the only answer is God himself. In this world of instant gratification and internet-speed answers to our searches, that's hard to accept but vital to our faith. As Steven Curtis Chapman's song says, "God is God, and I am not." Thank God for that.

One final thought - may our answer be "Yes, Lord" before we even know His question. (See Isaiah 26:8)

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