Daily encouragement

Video by

Stuart Poteet

Discipleship Pastor

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Job 38:1-3

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.

Behind the Scenes

We've peeked into the story of Job several times during this prayer series because Job holds some of the longest recorded conversations between God and man in Scripture. Job's honest questions and firm faith teach us a posture of humility before God when we don't understand his ways. In Isaiah 55:9, the Lord says, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

And man, I can relate to that. My thoughts are not the Lord's thoughts. I often think they are! But then a moment comes when I'm reminded quite clearly that, indeed, his ways are higher than mine. Have you ever found yourself humbled in this way? When you thought you knew something, but then someone else steps up and makes it quite clear that you aren't as full of understanding as you thought you were?

We find Job in a similar spot at the end of this book. He has sought God faithfully, his friends have popped off pretty arrogantly, and now God is like, it's my turn. And for the next FOUR chapters, God proceeds to remind Job and his friends that their thoughts are not his thoughts. His pointed questions strip away pride, remind us of our place in this universe, and even drip with sarcasm at times. Because we all know that sometimes a firm and pointed rebuke is what our human hearts truly need from our Father.

Here are a few of the lines that most pierce the pride in my own heart:

"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! (Job 38:4-5a) Ouch.

"Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it?" (vv. 12-13) Okay, pointed and poetic. Got it.

"What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!" (vv. 19, 21) Oh snap.

"What is the way to the place where the lighting is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?" (v. 24) Okay, I get it.

"Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion's belt? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?" (vv. 31-32) No. No I cannot.

And I'm on the floor, facedown before my Holy, Perfect, Righteous, Sovereign God. Job says it this way: "I am unworthy - how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer - twice, but I will say no more" (Job 40:4-5).

The book of Job shows us this two-fold truth: Absolutely, God welcomes our questions, but he has the authority to also unequivocally silence them. Not that we aren't welcome to ask them, but that when he answers, we listen.

We listen completely because, God is right - where was I when he spoke creation into existence and breathed soul, passion, intelligence into dirt to make mankind? I agree that he is God and I am not, because, he's right - I have not an ounce of control over the stars, the seasons, the seas. Sometimes I question his judgment because it does feel as though I have lived so many years. But when he speaks, I am reminded that I do not point an accusatory finger at God; my place is bowed humbly before the Creator and Sustainer of All.

Make it Real

But I love how this dialogue between Job and God ends. Yes, Job is profoundly humbled, but it's not in a scared, peasant-before-a-tyrant kind of way. Just as a father might show an arrogant and unruly son what's up, the Lord is disciplining Job. And Job knows that fathers only discipline their own, the ones they love. Hebrews 12:5b-6 quotes Proverbs to make this comparison: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son."

Discipline and rebuke need not push us away from God; quite the opposite! Job identifies this response from God not as a "close your mouth and get in line" kind of reply, but as a revelation! He says, "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you" (42:5). The Lord's discipline moves Job's faith from a head knowledge of God to a relational, experiential confidence in their relationship. Do we treat the words of the Lord - in Scripture or in prayer - as the same? Do we allow them to pierce our hearts and, rather than running away in shame, draw us closer to the Father who wants better for us? Do we consider his discipline to be affirmation of his love? His rebuke to be evidence of our relationship, not a reason to reject him?

End in Prayer

God Almighty, Father Above - I praise you that I get to call you both. Thank you for being the loving Father who disciplines me, rebuking my pride and arrogance because you know that dependence on You alone, not my own understanding, is what will lead me to life. And I thank you for being worthy of that submission, God Almighty. Humble my heart today, Lord, drawing me closer to you through my disappointments. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Written by

Kimber Gilbert

ACF Devo Team Leader