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Current study: Spiritual Warfare

04 February 2012

Week 5 In Review

January 29 Job 25-28
January 30 Job 29-32
January 31 Job 33-36
February 1 Job 37:1-40:5; Psalm 19
February 2 Job 40:6-42:17; Psalm 29
February 3 Exodus 1-4

We've finished Job. We've listened to Job's "friends" give him bad advice, tell him that his problems are all his fault, and in general, behave badly. Have you ever had a "friend" like that? More important -- have you ever BEEN that type of friend?

Job remains steadfast in his beliefs that God is in control. He tells his friends that no matter what, he will not agree with their ideas. He will maintain his integrity and know that true wisdom comes from God. Naturally, he wishes that life could return to what it was before, but he is willing to wait on God. How many times do we complain when things don't go our way? Oh, to be more like Job.

Then the youngest, Elihu, speaks and says something profound:

For God speaks time and again, but a person may not notice it. (33:14)

God speaks all the time, but I'm too busy trying to "help" him to notice? God speaks to me, but I'm rushing out the door, late for work -- again? God speaks as I'm walking along the beach, but I'm too focused on all the trash people have left to notice His splendor? Do we need to stop and listen more? What would our lives be like if we noticed God speaking?

And then....

God speaks.

Who are YOU? Were you there when I established the earth? Do you know where I keep the hail? How about those mountain goats? Do you know when they give birth? Are you saying that I AM the guilty party, just to justify yourself?

Of course, Job has to admit that we are nothing. He repents and admits that his actions were in ignorance.

God demands that the "friends" offer sacrifices, and that Job pray for them. How hard was it for Job to ask for forgiveness from those who were tearing him down?

And then comes the final part of the story -- God restores Job's wealth, gives him a new family, and allows him to live to see his family line continued.

Does this mean that God has promised us prosperity through adversity? Of course not...although you may hear that from some TV preachers! I think that we need to focus on the faithfulness of Job, not the rewards he received. He continually told his friends that he would follow and trust God through all the pain he felt. We also need to look at those who came to Job's restoration banquets. Where were they when he needed them? Are we like that even today? We stand away, possibly gossiping ...um... having a prayer meeting... and turning our backs on those who need our help, only to come back when the problem has been solved, saying "I've been praying for you"? Or do we go to our friends with compassion and show them Christ's love during their times of trouble.

While we read Job, the creators of this reading plan chose to interject Psalm 19. It was there at just the right time, focusing on the majesty of God and the way that everything He created declares His glory. I found a few verses to include as we "pray the Bible":

Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 13  Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalms 19:12-14 (ESV)

On Friday we were reintroduced to Joseph's family and the plight of the Israelites. These few chapters gave me some questions. We see that the Israelites were fruitful -- in fulfillment of God's promise back in Genesis 13.

Moses is born to a Levite (priestly) family and through Divine intervention, his life is spared and his mother becomes his nurse. He has his own issues to deal with -- including a murder -- and ends up running from Egypt. God meets him in a burning bush and gives Moses his commission -- go and tell Pharaoh to let my people God. I will perform miracles for you!

Moses is fearful and argues with God. He is permitted to travel with Aaron.

Have you ever had a "burning bush" experience? You haven't? I sure have!

God speaks in a burning bush every time I look at the sky and stand in awe at what He created.
God speaks in a burning bush when I am swept into worship by music or a painting.
And of course, God speaks in a burning bush when I open His Word and meditate on it.

My burning bush isn't literal as it was for Moses. But I've done exactly what Moses did -- "who, me? God, I'm not equipped? Are you SURE you mean me?" God has never asked me to rescue an entire people, but He has asked me to follow His lead. Many times I'm willing, but sometimes, not so much.

My one sentence review of this week's readings:

The next time God speaks to YOU in a burning bush -- don't be too busy to listen.

Keep up the good habit of reading His Word every day. We can do this -- together1

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