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February 6, Day #37 – God Will Have His Say

We continue with Elihu’s discourse in Job chapters 35-37. In chapter 35, Elihu says that he has something to say to Job and his three friends (verse 4). He tells them to “look up at the heavens” (verse 5), which is always an excellent reminder of how great our God is. He asks the question, “if you sin, how does that affect” God (verse 6)? God’s Spirit grieves over our sin (cf., Ephesians 4:30), but God’s holy character remains unaffected by it (cf., Malachi 3:6). Elihu accuses Job of “empty talk” (verse 16), which - given Job’s troubles and afflictions - seems highly critical. Always, the implication of criticism is that the critic can do things better. In chapter 36, Elihu says, “bear with me a little longer” (verse 2), but if we are truly sympathetic to Job, we feel that all of Job’s counselors have already said enough. In chapter 37, Elihu continues with high praise for the God of the universe, but Elihu generally implies that Job doesn’t know what he knows, and that Job must be in league with the wicked because he is suffering. In verse 23, Elihu says, “The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power.” Indeed, as we have seen earlier, God is transcendent – He dwells in unapproachable light, but because He is also immanent, He has revealed Himself in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. God has made Himself known and approachable to those who seek Him. Chapter 37 concludes the speeches of Job’s friends, and perhaps with Job, we feel like it is about time those discourses came to an end. From chapter 38 on, God will have His say.

Coming now to Proverbs 4:1-9, we see the insightful words of a wise father who advises his “sons” (i.e., his children) to “pay attention and gain understanding” (verse 1). This father speaks from his experience: “For I too was a son to my father,” who “taught me to take hold - keep my commands - get wisdom - get understanding - though it cost all you have - and you will live” (verses 3-7). I recall that, years ago, my father shared these same verses with me, and eventually, a specific point in my life came when I intentionally decided and determined to pursue this pathway. Of course, the wisdom in view here is Jesus Christ, Who is the “power and wisdom of God” (cf., 1 Corinthians 1:24). If we “lack wisdom,” we need only to ask for it, and God will give it to us “generously” (cf., James 1:4). If we carefully follow the Proverbs Road to wisdom, God will bless us not only with biblical wisdom, but also with the practical understanding and the intellectual capacity to live our lives skillfully. Notice that such wisdom pays additional dividends (verses 8-9). I pray that all my loved ones, my children, and my grandchildren will commit themselves to choose this same path.

In Matthew 24:1-31, we come to Christ’s Olivet Discourse – sometimes called the Little Apocalypse or the Apocalyptic Discourse. It is so named because Jesus spoke these words from the Mt. of Olives and He used apocalyptic language to communicate His message. I want to emphasize that when Jesus shared this discourse, all the events describe in it were initially future, whereas today, some of the events are now past and others are yet to come to pass. For example, the “temple stones were thrown down” (verse 2) - that is history. It happened in AD 70 - when the Romans sacked Jerusalem. However, “the abomination that causes desolation” is yet future – reserved for the tribulation. Jesus shared that the “distress” of which He spoke would be “unequaled” – “never to be equaled again” (verse 21). That can only apply to end-time judgment. In this discourse, we see examples of the near-fulfillment and the far-fulfillment principle within one prophetic utterance. Jesus is saying that wherever there is sin and spiritual corruption, there is judgment. As we read this section, we see recorded events that correspond to our own day. Today, in increasing numbers, we are witnessing “nation against nation, famines, earthquakes, persecutions, and people turning away from the faith” (verses 7-13). Jesus began this discourse with “Watch out!” (verse 4). We need to recognize that no generation at any time in history was ever this close to God’s final judgment. And with every passing day, we become a day closer.

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