I’m so excited about today’s passage in Job. It’s a really neat section that has spoken to me, as I hope it speaks to you, as well.
Today’s reading: Job, chapters 32-34
Job and his three friends finally ran out of words, excuses, and justifications! And, we are introduced to a fourth friend that we didn’t even know had been sitting among them, as he was not mentioned in chapter two with the others. Apparently, this friend, named Elihu, has been in the scene throughout. Maybe it was his youth (at least in relation to the other four men) that prevented him from initially being mentioned, or maybe he wasn’t actually among the “friends,” but rather eavesdropping. Whatever the case, he has a lot to say, and it seems to be much more Spirit-based than man-based, so let us jump right in.
“But it is the Spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right. Therefore I say: Listen to me; I too will tell you what I know.” (32:8-10, NIV)
I also really enjoy the New King James Version translation, particularly of verse nine:
“Great men are not always wise, Nor do the aged always understand justice.”
Can I get an “Amen” from the less-than-”aged” crowd?!?!
Friends, the Spirit of God is in us, leading us an directing us; but we must allow ourselves to be led and we must have quiet understanding of the words that are used through us by the Spirit. I love how this one quote describes the Holy Spirit as the breath of the Almighty.
A few years ago, I read The Shack, by William P. Young. It was a powerful work of fiction (though I think “inspired fiction” would be a better-suited category name), but in today’s references to the Holy Spirit, I am reminded of how perfectly the Spirit is described, even personified, in The Shack.
click to visit theshackbook.com
In the book, the Spirit, though (kind of) personified, is described more as a graceful wind, she (which doesn’t personally hang me up, but it may some to have God, whom so many refer to in the male sense, personified as female–but that’s not relevant to today’s discussion) never seems to touch the ground or go through the usual gait that accompanies walking, per se.
The Spirit is a being, a breath, substance, and energy. I love the moments in my life when I have known without a doubt that my mouth is being used to speak words, but my mind is not directing anything; those times when the Spirit has worked through me have been amazing to me. The Spirit of God can do such awesome things through each of us. My mouth, with my voice, can speak of things I know nothing about with fluency and forthrightness, and because it is Spirit-led, it is also Spirit-received. No one questions me, because I am not the one with the answers. I love the opportunities God has granted me to be His sounding-board, of sorts, and in times like these I get more frustrated with my human nature than usual because these times have been short-lived as my human nature struggles to regain control. Meanwhile, my lips are grinning ear-to-ear for the special time I spent, and being able to truly just be a bystander in my own body.
“For I am full of words, and the Spirit within me compels me;
inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.” (32:18-20, NIV)
I’m relieved to know that I’m not the only person who sometimes feels like if I don’t get this thought or this feeling or this opinion out, I’m just going to explode.
“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (33:4, NIV)
Elihu was so filled with the Holy Spirit, yet so careful not to step on the words of his elders, that by the time Job and his three friends tired of their argument, Elihu felt like he was going to burst for his turn to speak. But, really, isn’t God’s timing here just wonderful? The Spirit in Elihu is just sitting back, watching these four older, “wiser,” men work themselves up into a frenzy, playing blame games and holding themselves up on a higher pedestal than the others. Elihu waited until just the right time, and the Spirit spoke through him words of true wisdom to the four men.
“It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice.
Who appointed him over the earth? Who put him in charge of the whole world?
If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath,
all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust.” (34:12-15, NIV)
“His eyes are on the ways of men; he sees their every step.
There is no dark place, no deep shadow, where evildoers can hide.
God has no need to examine men further, that they should come before him for judgement.” (34: 21-23, NIV)
We don’t have to tell God what we think, know, do, say; He knows! He is there! He is always there watching us. He sees when we slip. He sees when we lose control over our eyes, our mouths, our thoughts, and our bodies. Why would we think we have to make excuses to Him about all the good that we have done and the wrong that we are trying to cover up? He already knows. He was there. And He knew even before whatever it was even crossed our human minds. We can’t surprise God. And the sooner we get that through our very human skulls, the sooner we will be able to grow and mature in Him. And as we mature in our walk with Him, as we truly, truly, TRULY realize that God is greater than man (33:12, NIV),the more open our hearts and minds will be to receiving all of the great gifts He has yet to give us. He always has perfect timing.
“For God does speak–now one way, now another–though man may not perceive it.” (33:14, NIV)
I pray that I can learn to quiet my human mind so that I can take in the lessons God wants me to learn. I often pray that God keep my eyes on the path He has set for my life and that if I get distracted, that He pull my attention right back where it needs to be, no matter what. But my biggest fear; rather, the one part of this that my human nature has the most trouble trusting in is that I will catch the signs and signals and ROAD SIGNS and big flashing neon signs that God puts out for me along the way, saying “Follow Me,” “This Way,” “Turn Right Here,” “Go Talk to that Person About Me,” “No, You Missed Them, GO BACK!!” Lord, please don’t let me miss your signs because my humanness gets in the way.
Our God is a good God, and He shows us grace and mercy at every turn. As I write today’s refection on this scripture reading from Job, I am still milling over a Bible lesson I recently studied on the topic of grace; how we give it, how we receive it, and how we see grace shown to us every moment of our earthly lives by God, the Master of grace.
“Then he comes to men and says, ‘I sinned, and perverted what was right,but I did not get what I deserved.
He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.’
God does all these things to a man–twice, even three times–
to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him.” (33:27-30, NIV)
He does all this, He forgives us so much, THAT THE LIGHT OF LIFE MAY SHINE ON HIM (read: YOU!)
Isn’t that just awesome? Friends, I am so pleased that you are on this incredible journey with me. I don’t care if you’re reading as soon as this posting goes up, or if you read it five years from now. Whenever you come to it, and whenever you take this Chronological Bible study journey, it will be the right time for you, the time in your life when you are most open and ready to receive all that the Lord has planned for you to learn through in-depth reading into His Word. His timing is always perfect! Amen!!!
Tomorrow’s reading: Job, chapters 35-37
Make it a great day,