Job on wisdom. Job believes he is right with God

Day 26 (Jan. 26): Job vows to stay true to God, Job tells of the wicked’s fate, Job talks about wisdom, Job boasts of his past blessed life

Glory Story / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Job 26-29
(Before 2100 BC) Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible.

Questions & Observations

O. (26:1-14): Job is saying how immensely powerful God is.  Bildad speaks of God’s power, but Job says that Bildad cannot possibly begin to understand God’s power and how he uses it because it is limitless.

O. (27:4-5): By saying “my lips will speak no evil,” Job is confident that he has not disrespected God with his complaining.  He says he will not always agree with God, but he will be faithful.  To me, he is admitting he’s human and his mind will tell him that God is not being fair, yet he will not let that line of thinking waver his trust in God.

Q. (27:16-23): Job includes the rich with the wicked.  Can you tell us what the Bible says about being rich?  Can’t wealth be a sign of righteous — if you follow God’s path he will reward you?  To me, if we put the talents God has given us to use for his glory and we happen to prosper, then he is rewarding us.  But, how can you take a reward when there are so many who could use the money and need your help?  Seems like a fine line.  Just know your heart?

A. While I am sure there are individual exceptions, many who are rich get to be so either through dishonest gain or through the exploitation of those that work under them.  William Jennings Bryan famously said, “no one can make a million dollars honestly.”  Shoot, in Genesis we see Jacob become wealthy through dishonest means!

While you can certainly argue that acquired wealth is a blessing from God (and hope that it really was just that — blessing rather than exploitation, something the Bible NEVER approves of), I think that the record of scripture points to riches as a burden, something that must be handled very carefully.  The reason is that those who are rich tend to not see the need for God.  Among many scriptural examples, we might consider Deuteronomy 6:10-12, in which Moses warns the people that they will reach a point of inheriting great wealth from the Promised Land and their ancestors, and that they must fight the urge to forget to whom it is ultimately from: God.  I think the problem of wealth revolves around self-reliance, which is so much easier when a person is wealthy.  Those who are poor are forced to depend on God; those who are rich must choose to.  I think self-reliance is part of what Jesus talks about when he says that it is harder for a camel to enter the eye of a needle then for a rich person to inherit the Kingdom of God (forget what you’ve heard about alternative explanations of this verse, Matthew 19:24 [among others], that verse SHOULD be taken at face value — since Jesus adds that it is not impossible and all things are possible with God).  One other example is from 1 Timothy 6:17-19, in which Paul commands Timothy to teach the wealthy in his congregation that they should put their faith in God and not their own wealth and power, and to be generous with God’s blessings.  That certainly seems like a good summary of the Biblical position on wealth.

Q. (27:19-23): Here, Job is talking about how the unrighteous will be mocked and jeered when they fall into despair.  Who here is doing the mocking and the jeering?  Shouldn’t righteous people always try to help those in despair, even if they brought their plight on themselves?

A. Yes, those who have a relationship with God and walk in His ways should be very careful about gloating or mocking those who lose their wealth (those ‘I told you so’ moments are hard to resist).  I think what Job is talking about here is the reversal of fortune that will ultimately be the endpoint for the unrighteous: they that mocked and jeered others unjustly will themselves be mocked and jeered by others (including other unrighteous people) when they fall.

O. (28:12-19): Beautiful!  My daughter’s Classical Christian School grasped onto a kids’ album — actually I like it just as much as they do — called “Walking with the Wise.”  I really recommend it!  It is awesome!  Some of the titles are: “Nuggets of Gold,” “Make Me Wise,” “W-I-S-D-O-M,” and my favorite, “Lazy Bones.”  This album works off of Solomon’s story — of all the wishes God could grant him, he asks for wisdom.  It is available at www.SovereignGraceMusic.org.

Q.  (28:22):  Is Job referring to Satan as Destruction and Death?  Do God’s chosen people know about Satan?

A. I don’t think Job is speaking of Satan specifically, but rather he is personifying some of the most powerful forces on earth: that of destruction and death (powerful indeed in our world) and having them speak as though they were people.  Even these powerful forces of nature (the reality of life is death and destruction) do not understand the wisdom of God.

Regarding the knowledge of Satan about the chosen, I think that the Bible lays out clearly enough about the reality of Satan and devils (though I admit some of the passages are ambiguous) so that if we believe the record of what the Bible teaches us, we will be aware of the work of Satan in our world as an enemy of God.

Q. (28:25-26): Just a present-day question.  We know that God sacrificed His Son so our sins could be forgiven and we could still enter into Heaven.  However, does this mean that God’s wrath is no longer.  Here it says that He decides how hard the winds should blow and how much rain should fall.  So, what about tsunamis, hurricanes, the Great Depression — is that wrath or do we not know?

A. We must be very careful about applying the reality of God’s wrath to general situations (it got Pat Robertson in trouble all the time).  And while Robertson may not always be wrong (though we can’t know for sure), what we can say for sure is that our proclaiming God’s wrath in the aftermath of natural disasters makes the unbelieving world tune us out: we become static and noise when we proclaim a wrathful God has acted in natural disaster.  It is much better for us to proclaim healing, love, and mercy (and actually DO what we can to help).

Now, having said all of that, the reality the Bible teaches is that, apart from relationship with God, we are all subject to God’s wrath for our sins (Ephesians 2:3).  But what is at the heart of the Gospel message is that God has every right to punish us for our wrongdoing, but that He chooses not to out of love for us (2 Peter 3:9).  Why?  Because He wants us to come to repentance and be restored to right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.  To me, this is as far as we can take a human understanding of God’s wrath, and anything further than that is speculation that does great harm to our message.

Q. (29:1-25): I respected Job in 1-6, but then he seemed conceited in 7-25, like he was receiving glory, glory that belonged to God.  He needs to work on humility?

A. You certainly could make that argument.  I think part of what he’s saying is that he used what God had given him (wealth, the ability to council others, to cheer people up) the right way, not to exploit, but rather to bless.  So, sure, Job could use some humility lessons, but as it comes to earthly wealth, many of us would do well to follow his example.

For further study: Where does wisdom come from and how do you get it? https://www.wisdomhunters.com/three-ways-to-get-wisdom/

Shop: Wisdom comes from above!

Tomorrow’s reading: Job 30-31

Creation is All Around Us

On a recent flight, my mind began to wonder, as it has so many times before riding the skies, just how in the world is this mega steel boat get its huge body off the ground, not by a few feet, but thousands of feet?  And, how amazingly intelligent are all of those experts from the Wright Brothers to today’s flight engineers?  All of that shared information has gotten millions of people around the world millions of times.  My mind went to how many rivets are required for the metal plates so they don’t fly off going 500 mph.  And, how the plane goes up and down and stops.  Look at a diagram of airplane parts to see how many it takes to control the beast.

How far the world has come in the 20th century!  To think that the Wright brothers flew their plane in 1903 and planes were used in war as early as 1911.  Today, we have spacecraft going to who knows how many parts of the universe.  And, satellites relaying so much information.  I wonder what is next!  I think, in my lifetime, that car manufacturing may be nearly obsolete and the Jetson’s scenario of hovercraft will be the norm.  Hopefully, I am not around for teleporting.  

Had to be a mastermind

So there has been some pretty impressive thought processes and trials and errors to figure out air travel.  Now, let’s take a look at things we did not create.  Our planet is so intrinsically made.  Consider gravity, wind direction and speed, air currents.  Aircraft engineers have to address all of these factors.  I took a class where we talked about the design of the earth and how it just didn’t magically happen.  Something intelligent had to be there to start it all.  One cell can’t just decide to tell itself that it will be lung tissue in a mammal or a component of dirt or air, or pollen.  For any kind of order to happen, many scientists are now saying that the universe had to be made by a master creator. 

Think how the air we breathe is a perfect combination of gases.  Air, combined with food and water give us what we need to survive.  Animals are perfectly paired with their surroundings, giving them shelter, drink and food.  I am not a scientist whatsoever, but I do know that there is so much harmony between life that there is no way that all of it could have come into being without the most incredible genius at the helm.  

And, the Bible says that humans are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).  So, if humanity’s scruples are a fragment of God’s creative power, just imagine His intelligence!  Not only did God engineer the world, but also our galaxy and universe and who knows what else.  Nehemiah 9:6b: You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host …

Evidence of God’s existence is all around

He also put knowledge of himself in every person.  The tough part is just recognizing Him, especially if we have not grown up in Christianity or were even discouraged from it.   Romans 1:20 (NLT) says: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”  And, not only can we see a marvelous creation, but God managed to have people across thousands of years and thousands of miles relate stories to us that tell of Him and His plan for redemption.

We spent our Thanksgiving week away from home, staying at a rental property while we visited family.  There was a fish tank in the rental with three large fish in it.  We were to feed them every day.  I named them Goldie, Blue and Horace.  Goldie was the prettiest, Blue, had the most personality and Horace was the least social.  Several days later I noticed Horace had a “lucky” fin, meaning it had been chewed off to about a quarter of the other one.  So, he had a reason for staying out of the way!  These fish have probably been named a hundred times from all of the visitors.  I just thought it amusing that I like to name things and I think many of us do, which is a task that God gave humankind in the Garden of Eden.

His signature is on so many things.  There is evidence all around, but we can go to creation in Genesis 3 to see concrete examples.  In verse 16, women get their curse from the Fall (NIV): I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”  How many times do we want to tell our husbands what to do?  And, how many centuries have men largely ruled over women?  

In verse 17-19, he addresses men: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground.”  Now, most of us reading this article are not farmers or hunter-gatherers, but still, we struggle to make a living to put food on the table.

And, before this when God confronted Adam and Eve for their sin, they were trying to hide from God in verse 10.  Where did we get that innate action when we are caught wronging someone, where we curl up and try to slink away from the person we disappointed?  This is the arrival of shame and guilt into our world.  

That all sounds a little daunting.  But, in His loving kindness, he cared for each one of us by giving us His Word, that if we follow it, we will be fulfilled.  When you contemplate the world and just how incredibly awesome it is, you see the evidence and realize just how much He loves us to create a world for us that is marvelous!  I am smiling as I write this : )