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Monday, February 1, 2010

Keeping Your Religion

Job 38:1 thru Job 42:17*

Job’s story came to an end this past weekend. Did you notice that Satan was conspicuously absent? He was the reason for this whole situation and I can just imagine he was sickened when Job did not ‘lose his religion’. And the fact that Job got a double portion of what Satan took from him, well, you know that will preach.

The graciousness and mercy from our God overwhelms me. He is so wise that we should never think we can understand His ways; they are far above ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).

The way with which He rebukes and challenges us demonstrates his wisdom.

God questioned Job in 38:12-38 as to whether or not he has the power or intellect to govern the elements of creation he experiences on a daily basis. Of course Job cannot so the Lord reminds him that he also cannot see fully what the Lord is doing with respect to justice and judgment either.

In regards to justice and judgment, at the hands of his three friends, Job now knows what it feels like to have what was hidden about him (his innocence) questioned and judged by those who were drawing wrong conclusions from what was visible in his circumstances.

How many times have we ourselves been guilty of that? We need to always exercise caution when we see a situation and not presume we know the heart of the matter. The Bible clearly warns us not to judge. Actually, it’s Jesus that tells us no to judge…

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. Matthew 7:1-2

Listen to the way the Message says it…

Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults; unless, of course you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.

Pastoring and leading on any level will give people the opportunity to criticize and judge you. I have learned from being on the receiving side of judgment to not be one who gives it. I have not always been great at it because we are human and we think we ‘know’ what we think we ‘know’. Kind of like Job’s friends thought they ‘knew’ Job must have sinned otherwise he would not be in this situation.

It is kind of humorous that they instructed Job to repent when in the end God told the three ‘friends’ they needed to repent and ask Job to pray for them.

If you find yourself under the fire of criticism today, let me give you some advise; don’t waste your time arguing, debating and explaining yourself. Let God be your defender.

Job exerted unnecessary energy trying to convince these three dudes of his innocence. And never did until God convinced them for him.

Here is a quote that may save you some heartache…

Never explain yourself. Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it.

One thing I have found is most people who stand back and judge and criticize are doing just that; standing back. They are the type who pick apart the game but won’t get in it. Did I just write that out loud?

The story of Job ends with him praying for the ones who judged him mistakenly. This conclusion is a picture of God’s mercy and Job’s faithfulness. Job images the character of the Lord and embodies the very mercy he himself has received. By doing so, he also continues the intercessory role he had faithfully performed for his family in chapter 1.

It is very significant to note that it is only at this point that Job’s restoration occurs, when he has been reconciled with God and his friends.

God vindicated and restored Job, and in the end, He will do the same for you.  Whatever you are going through, remember the story of Job, God may just be proving Satan wrong regarding you.

Would you pass the test?






*I pray you enjoyed studying the book of Job. Today (Monday) we moved to Exodus and the story of Moses but after all our reading we really needed to finish up Job before moving on. I will blog on our reading today on Tuesday.

1 comment:

bbmommy2 said...

Love this! Especially cute "these three dudes"! Talk about kick a friend when he's down, Jobs 'friends' really worked him over. I was so glad that God vindicated Job and restored his life with a double blessing.

Would I pass the test?

God knows...:)