Saturday, 27 July 2013

Job 31-35

Here's how the study works: Read the chapters mentioned in the heading during the week and share any words, thoughts, verses that stood out to you. Having a week for several chapters creates the opportunity to revisit them and make additional comments as you feel inclined as well as make comments on other people's insights.


Susan said...

31:2-3 For what is our lot from God above, our heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong?

This is where Job went wrong in his thinking. He thinks that “our lot” from God is ruin and disaster for those who do wrong. Yet he has already noted that this does not always happen and certainly not in the short term. Job is still clinging to the misbelief that God works by the formula of doing the right thing automatically means blessing.

Susan said...

32:18 For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;

Was it rather his spirit compelling him or his anger (v.5)? It is so easy to think we are being compelled by God’s Spirit when in reality we are pushing our own agenda. God’s Spirit compels but doesn’t push. He convicts but doesn’t insist. He doesn’t violate our free will.

Susan said...

33:3 My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know.

It is easy to deceive ourselves, thinking that our hearts are upright yet Jeremiah 17:9 tells us the heart “is deceitfully wicked above all things.” Our words may be sincere but they may also be sincerely wrong. Elihu assumed too much, assumed he knew what was wrong with Job’s attitude but in the end he knew only partially.

Susan said...

34:9 For he says, ‘There is no profit in trying to please God.’

Interesting to compare this with Job 1:5 where Job is trying to please God by offering sacrifices just in case his children had sinned and “this was Job’s regular custom.”

At this point it seems that Job has realized that performing rituals and traditions are not effective ways to please God. He is yet to realize that God wants a relationship not a performance.

Susan said...

35:8 Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself, and your righteousness only other people.

(From Constable’s Commentary) “There is no place in Elihu’s theology for doing God’s will out of love for him…there is no place for him in the role of a Father who can be hurt or pleased by man.”

Elihu’s concept of God falls short of the Biblical picture of a caring Father who is interested in the lives of those he created. Yet ultimately it suited Elihu to think this way so his theology is not disturbed. He doesn’t need to wrestle with the mystery of a loving Father who allows suffering.

Susan said...

35:12-16 (From Constable’s Commentary) "It is always possible to think of a reason for unanswered prayer. The trite explanation, which we hear all too often, is that 'You didn't have enough faith', or 'You prayed from the wrong motive', or 'You must have some hidden, unconfessed sin'. This diagnosis is always applicable. Everyone who prays is aware of the weakness of his faith; everyone with a scrap of self-knowledge knows that his motives are always mixed; everyone who searches his conscience can find no end of fresh sins to be dealt with. If no prayers could be offered and none answered, until all these conditions were satisfied, none would ever be offered and none answered. The Elihus of this world do not care about the cruelty of their perfectionist advice and its unreality. Their theory is saved; that is what matters."