May 30, 2019
Once we come to know the Lord, and begin to learn about who He is, what are we supposed to do? Modern culture has accepted the plain standard of consumption. We take in, but don’t dish out to the same degree. We learn, but seldom share and teach. We witness, but seldom disciple according to that which we have seen. This is rebellious against God’s purposes. The Bible explains that God desires His people to receive His revelation and then use the tools He provides to exalt His name through praise and worship, ultimately expressed through obedience. This is why God created people. The Book of Genesis shows that this was God’s original intent. The Book of Revelation shows that this is the result that God’s work will conclude to. God wants His people to see who He is and value Him and the things that He does in spite of who we are. Though we are weak, corrupt, and flawed, God doesn’t despise us. God is mighty, great, and glorious, yet God takes it upon Himself to do wonderful things for both the wicked and the faithful. God is worth the praise that He desires.
The testimony of Job 36:24-33 explains this basic principle, showing that there have been people throughout history that recognize God’s fundamental purposes for people, and that those purposes don’t change. When Elihu spoke to Job, he reminded Job that we are called to remember and magnify God’s work. This statement was given in direct contrast to the attitude that Job had been displaying for the greater part of his testimony. Job suffered greatly, but allowed that suffering to distort his perspective concerning God. Job felt that his suffering was excessive compared to the manner of service he had previously given to God. Job was faithful and a good servant for the Lord. Job received God’s revelations. Job embraced God’s provision and used it for God’s purposes. Job dished out just as much as he received, and did it to glorify the Lord rather than himself. However, when Job’s circumstances changed, Job felt he was being treated unfairly based on all that he had done in the Lord’s name before. Job felt entitled to certain benefits in this life, and he didn’t agree with God’s treatment of him, complaining that his suffering was keeping him from those benefits. Job felt that he was being treated unfairly, and even though he didn’t directly accuse God, his attitude was an offense to God.
Elihu reminded Job about what we are called to do as people, whether we are enjoying the circumstances of our lives or not. We are to remember and magnify God’s work; not complain about the issues of our lives. We are to consider the greatness of God and the extent of His glory that we can actually see, remembering that there is still an infinite quality of glory from God that we can’t see yet. Our human purpose is not to be hyper-critical of our circumstances. We are not called to examine and critique God’s work in our lives or the lives of others. Everything He does is good because everything God does is right, whether we recognize that or not. We are not called to complain and whine because life isn’t going the way we want. We weren’t created so that we can grumble to God about how He’s making us feel, as if we are entitled to a certain manner of treatment different than the way He’s treating us at a particular time. Though this is common to human nature, it is wrong, and contrary to God’s purpose for us.
In Job 36:24-33, Elihu reminded Job about our basic purpose in life pertaining to our relationship with God. We are called to magnify God by considering the extent of His greatness. Elihu then mentioned just a few basic truths about God to prove God’s worth and greatness. First, Elihu mentioned God’s eternal nature. How old is God? The Bible teaches that God has always existed before all things. He is the cause of all things and by extension, had to come before all things. Human logic struggles to digest this reality. Everything we know has a source and an origin. God is that source and origin, but He does not have a source of origin Himself! He has always been eternally self-existing and self-sustaining. Since no human being has dwelt in the eternal realm, we can’t relate to the fundamental qualities of God like His eternal nature. Still, whether we can relate or not, we are called to receive the testimony of God’s nature, trust that it is true, and rejoice that One so great as this, is not only willing to provide for us, but provide according to His own nature – eternal life!
Elihu then reminded Job about the marvels of nature that provide some insight into the extent of God’s greatness. Elihu pointed to the manner in which life is sustained in this world. People can plainly observe how clouds move, provide rain, and life is sustained through that constant cycle. However, it is trickier to explain where the clouds come from. It is harder to explain why water evaporates into clouds, arming them to distribute water. It is hard to know the details of how clouds travel from one place to another, providing just enough water on the planet’s surface to produce all of the vegetation and water sources required to sustain the abundance of life in this world. Foolish people have tried to explain the processes, dismissing God as the author and sustainer of those processes. Elihu’s point is that these processes don’t happen by accident. They didn’t start by accident, and they don’t continue by accident.
Elihu explained that the clouds, their movement, and functionality are the direct result of God’s wisdom, power, and glory. The lightning and thunder from the clouds is not just a phenomenon that can be explained by science. God is the cause of that “science.” Good and true science is simply that which we can observe of God’s hand. When we consider the clouds, their purpose, and their continued functionality as the result of God’s influence, can we say that God uses His wisdom and power for evil? Elihu brought up the simple process of the water cycle on earth as compelling evidence of God’s greatness. He is the source of all wisdom, proved by the manner in which He stretches His hand through the clouds to sustain life all over the planet. He is the source of all power since the effects of God’s wisdom provide functional life to all things. Clearly God uses His wisdom and power for our benefit, not our demise. God uses His power to nurture the plants that we eat and use for other helpful purposes that improve our living. God uses His power over nature to ensure that the animals of the world are taken care of, providing us with more food, clothing, and work help. Does God use His wisdom and power just to inflict pain and suffering in our lives?
These are the things we are called to remember about God, especially when things get hard. The world has been working the way it does for a long time. God has sustained life in this world for thousands of years according to the timelines of the Bible. In spite of the sin and corruption that we have brought into the world, God has exercised His sovereign control to provide benefits to both the wicked and the faithful. God has clearly proved that His aim is to do good for us. He prefers to use His power to bring life, not death. God doesn’t glory in the suffering or death of His people. He will also use His wisdom and power to judge sin and purge corruption from His presence, but not at the expense of His overall objective to provide eternal life.
It is common to feel like God is picking on us when life seems like it’s too much to handle. However, the Bible makes it clear that we are not to buy into these lies of our flesh. Instead, we are called to remember the greatness of God, and recall that God uses His greatness for good purposes to provide us benefit. When God brings thunder and lightning in a storm, it can seem scary, like God’s power is being used for destructive purposes. However, we all know that water comes with the storm, and that water is essential to life. Thus, when life seems like a storm, we have to remember that God produces water that grows fruit through those storms. God has shown His greatness and proved that He uses it for good purposes. He doesn’t need to validate Himself any more than He has. Thus, we are called to remember these things in our times of difficulty so that we magnify God’s name, trusting in His goodness based on His desire to share eternal life with us who deserve death.