Wednesday, February 11, 2015

a study in Job: a godly perspective + a big-Godder = a wise counselor (part 6)

Hi gals. Well, up until this point in our Job study, we have watched poor Job receive great abuse from Satan. We've witnessed him lose his possessions, his wealth, his children, and his health while listening to his wife and friends turn against him and accuse him of the worst of sinful crimes against God.

Poor Mr. Job... this man was literally broken down mentally, physically, and now even spiritually as we see the pressure of his trials begin to get the better of him. He now wishes he was never born. His friends (if you wish to call them friends) have lowered him with poor counsel and biblical half-truths while judging, judging, and, oh did I mention, judging! I don't know about you, but I'm thoroughly exhausted for Job!

By the time we reach chapter 32, we are introduced to a new character who, up until this point, has stood silently in the background while listening to Job and his friends debate. Before we look at Elihu, let me first point out that he was indeed standing nearby listening to the dialogue of Job and his friends. Perhaps Elihu was alone or perhaps he was in a crowd of people surrounding Job. But irrespective of such details, the fact that Elihu is there and now suddenly mentioned in this context shows us that the ongoing dronings of Job's friends were done in a more public setting.

When I first read this, it instantly made me think of how quickly someone's name can be defamed publically. Especially in our age of television and Internet broadcasting, public opinions from negative exposure can easily ruin the reputation of someone's life and cause masses of individuals to judge someone without knowing, or caring, about their true story or personal circumstances. Unfortunately, by the time Elihu enters the scene, Job is already torn apart by those who insist he has committed crimes against God. But what does Elihu do? Does he join the bandwagon and beat up poor Job? Does he think, "Better him than me." and throw out more judgments? Not quite. You see, Elihu probably did wonder if Job had committed a crime in God's eyes, and he does recognize that Job's suffering had now provoked a form of "backwards" pride within his heart. However, rather than choose to tear Job down even further, Elihu respectfully stands up and tells the truth to Job while making concessions for the one thing Job's other friends failed to acknowledge - God's mercy and love.

Elihu was a young, courageous man who compassionately spoke up in the interest of God's sovereignty. Though he was unsure of Job's innocence or guilt, he still decided to seek the highest good in Job's situation. He didn't open his mouth with the intent to win an argument. He didn't selfishly wish to appear more knowledgeable than the older men surrounding Job. No, Elihu wisely held his tongue until the Holy Spirit gave him the zeal to speak in love and truth.

When I think about Elihu in contrast to how we, as Christians, are to represent our Savior in both word and deed, I wonder how many of us make it a habit to forgivingly look beyond an individual's situation while remaining sensitive to their current hurts. Or is it more about determining their rightness or wrongness? Oh, I hope not. For judgment is not ours to decide. No, that role belongs to God alone. Elihu knew this. Furthermore, he knew that he could not stand idle and remain silent when truth needed to be said. Elihu's perspective of God was able to put Job's suffering into the proper perspective. One commentary I read on this subject gave the following illustration...

A former student of Robert Dick Wilson, one of the great professors at Princeton Theological Seminary, was invited to preach in Miller chapel, twelve years after he had graduated. Dr. Wilson came in and sat down near the front. At the close of the meeting, the old professor came up to his former student, cocked his head to one side in his characteristic way, extended his hand, and said, "If you come back again, I will not come to hear you preach. I only come once. I am glad that you are a big-Godder. When my boys come back, I come to see if they are big-Godders or little-Godders, and then I know what their ministry will be."

His former student asked him to explain. The old professor replied, "Well, some people have a little God, and they are always in trouble with him. He can't do any miracles. He can't take care of the inspiration and transmission of the Scripture to us, He doesn't intervene on behalf of his people. They have a little God, and I call them little-Godders."

"Then there are those who have a great God. He speaks, and it is done. He commands, and it stands fast. He knows how to show himself strong on behalf of those who fear him. You have a great God, and he will bless your ministry."

He paused a moment, smiled, and said, "God bless you," and turned and walked out.

Elihu was a big-Godder. He was one who had a high, transcendent view of God, a knowledge of God that towered over man. Consequently, when he gave counsel to Job, he spoke from the same divine perspective. While Job's suffering may have been greater than Job was, in Elihu's estimation God was greater than human suffering.

Ladies, are you a big-Godder or a little-Godder? Like Elihu, are you ready and willing to share that God is holy and can be trusted in every circumstance of our lives – in good times or bad. This was truth that Job needed to hear during the darkest moment of his trial. This is a truth that we all need to know and remind ourselves, and others, when we are led to counsel one another in love.

Lord, let us be big-Godder’s so that we might see your perspective in contrast to our own discomforts... so that we might boldly speak on your behalf what is real and true no matter how we may personally feel... so that we might effectively represent your mercy and love as we offer the wisdom of your Word through every hardship and trial!  Your counsel is indeed wise, Jesus.  Let us gravitate toward your promises and give you all glory and honor and praise forevermore!

Let's pick up the rest of this study tomorrow.  Keep focusing your eyes on our BIG God!  Keep fixating your whole heart, soul, mind, strength on Jesus.

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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