FOTS #33 BOOK OF JOB (cont.): THE PATIENCE OF JOB; THE WISDOM OF ELIHU

 

job

 

Job’s undeserved suffering had not been aided by three of his would-be comforters Zophar, Bildad and Eliphaz. Their line was that his suffering must be due to his own sin for God would only permit suffering to those who deserved it. Once Job had convinced them of his integrity they gave up the argument concluding effectively that God must be in the wrong. Elihu on the hand would have none of it. He identifies the fact that God sometime brings suffering to individuals for their own good (33:18), using every means possible to enlighten and show mercy to as many as will receive it (33:29,30). He concludes with a hymn of praise to God – mysterious in His ways yet One whose nature accords with the thoroughly intelligible “divine theology” referred to in my earlier post:
  •   “God is clothed in fearful splendour; El Shaddai is far beyond our reach. Supreme in power, in FAIRNESS, excelling in righteousness, yet never the Oppressor – no wonder that people fear Him: every thoughtful person holds Him in awe” (37:22-24).
  That paved the way for the assessment that really mattered, the Creator’s Himself. He firstly chides Job for effectively impugning His justice. His ways are not man’s ways and Job should bow to His infinitely superior wisdom. There then follows a remarkably  prolonged monologue in which God in reminding Job of His greatness exhibits the greatest delight in His own earthly creation, especially the manifold splendour of the animal kingdom and His  providence towards it (38:36-41:26). Our God who is spirit delights in His majestic but material Earth, and why not indeed? As for Job’s three would-be comforters, there is a satisfying twist in which having called on Job to repent they are rebuked for misrepresenting God’s character as much as Job’s (42:7) and are required to provide a burnt offering for themselves by which they would be forgiven through Job’s prayerful intercession. Elihu however was not so rebuked and his very name (meaning “He is my God”) further suggests that his words were wise and truly inspired, just as he had claimed (32:8,18,19).

 

 

 

FOTS #31 BOOK OF JOB – A HEAVENLY COUNCIL WITH A SURPRISING ATTENDEE

satan

 

We are given a rare glimpse into the courts of eternity in the opening chapter of Job, and an occurrence that I could scarcely get my head round in the past; only recently has it begun to make any sense to me. That is a meeting chaired (so to speak) by God Himself with Satan amongst the attendees. Then there’s the seemingly genial dialogue: you can read it for yourself (1:7) it seems almost flippant to relate it here. Yet it speaks of a mystery that is essential to grasp if one is to comprehend some of the concepts covered in my e-book, namely that an arrangement exists between two cosmic enemies in order that its Facilitator may fulfil His extraordinary purposes for His creation, more especially mankind. Of course it is a one-sided affair for these are no equal opponents: the One is the Creator, the other an immensely powerful but corrupted creature entirely at His mercy. That became evident in the Eden incident where Satan in the form of a serpent was placed under the curse of destruction. Nevertheless in the meantime he fulfils a purpose and is allowed, as it were, to be himself for that very end.

In the case of Job, Satan was given authority to inflict misery upon him but within set boundaries. It was primarily to test Job and prove his faith; centuries later he would be employed to test a far greater Man, again to no avail, but he would be instrumental in bringing about His betrayal and death (cf. Luke22:3). Yet although this spirit of evil has no inherent rights whatsoever over God’s property (I.e. everything), his impact goes beyond merely testing man; he has been granted authority to sift him, own him and destroy the very seed of his humanity under certain circumstances. In the Apostle Peter’s language Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  All (apart from One) may have at some time fallen for his wiles, but it is something else to be devoured, owned  and (effectively) employed by the devil as was Cain, the prototype of those who willingly succumb to his mastery (Gen4:7KJV; Jud1:11). Yet even this is for an entirely good end as St Paul for one well understood (Rom8:20-21; 9:22-23). It is one of the more surprising aspects of what the apostle refers to as “the multi-faceted nature of God’s wisdom”; the other being  what in the same passage (Eph3:9-11 Greek) he  described as “the fellowship of the secret  hidden in God through the ages” which I explain in my e-book pertains to the constitution  of the people of God and their role within broader providence.     

Unravelling the mystery of divine providence and the resolution of Scripture