Monday, March 1, 2010

Beyond our Understanding

Like I said before, the book of Job is very repetitive. Job complains and justifies himself, and then a friend accuses him of hiding his sin or being angry at God and urges him to repent. And then we repeat the process.

If we look closely at the tirades of these four men, we can find nuggets of truth that give us glimpses of the character of God.

In today's reading, Job 34-36, it's Elihu's turn to berate Job for his sin. (Elihu's ran actually started back in Job 31.) It's interesting to me that not one of Job's three friends can identify the sin; they just know it's there. Why else would God punish him so severely?

Here's a nugget of truth from Elihu (Job 36:22-23,26):

God is exalted in his power.
Who is a teacher like him?
Who has prescribed his ways for him,
or said to him, "You have done wrong?" . . .
How great is God--beyond our understanding!
The number of his years is past finding out.

God is amazing. His ways are complex. His power, his thoughts, his plans are beyond our understanding.

And so often, like Job and his friends, we claim to have figured him out; we claim to understand what he is doing, what his intentions are.

Now, I'm not saying that we shouldn't seek Scripture or understanding. I'm also not saying that God doesn't reveal himself to us and give us glimpses of what is going on.

I'm just saying that sometimes it's hard to separate our thoughts from God's thoughts, our expectations from God's expectations, our plans from his plans. And sometimes the ideas we ascribe to God? They're ours--or part ours and part God's.

Case in point, Job and his friends. They are all so sure they know God, that they speak directly for him, and they have no idea what is going on, what he is up to.

And I'm just saying that a little humility goes a long way. Let's seek God. And let us love one another, the way God loves.


Amanda said...

It's been a very interesting journey so far, the reading of Job. I'm almost embarrassed to say that though I've been a life long Christian (well ok, minus the 7+ years of trying to do things on my own) this is the first time I've read Job. It's been fascinating. I spent so many years being angry with God and not feeling that I was able to express my anger to him, yet I find Job so open and able to do that. It is actually beautiful to me and I really can't wait to get to the chapters where God responds! I totally agree with you Erin that it is so often hard to separate our thoughts from God's voice. I also find it amazing how easily Job blames God for his suffering. We do that, everyday. We tend to blame God for not saving us from suffering and yet, did he ever promise he would? This whole passage (along with other things I'm reading) has reminded me how much we need to thank God for all of the wonderful blessings in our life. So often we blame God for the suffering and then forget to thank him for the blessings. Funny people we are.

Erin Flew said...

We are funny people, Amanda. I know I focus on the here and now and forget that God's perspective extends way beyond the present. I would stress less if I could adopt God's perspective.