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January 28, (Day # 28) – God Wants to Help Us



Yesterday, we introduced the book of Job with some thoughts about the truth of the universal system that God – in His wisdom and His economy - has determined for the operation of our world, within which we find ourselves. We pointed out that trouble and suffering are products of bad decision making – consequences that God allows but does not ordain. In God’s economy, the cross precedes the celebration of the crown. Before I get too deeply in my thoughts about the book of Job, I want highly to recommend a free volume of Sonnets from Job, written by my sister, Mrs. Renée Oelschlaeger, and available free of charge on her website at the following address:



In chapter 1-3, we saw Satan’s accusation of Job, “a blameless and upright man” (cf., 1:8), and God’s permission to allow Satan to test Job. And test Job, he did. To this point, we might summarize Job’s life with sighing, crying, and dying. He lost everything except his wife, who, after all his losses, was herself ready to throw in the towel (cf., 2:9). Although Job rebuked her, I can say with certainty that he was still fortunate that he didn’t lose her as well. There was a time in my own life (1969) when I lost everything except my wife, and then came a time (2021) when I lost my wife but retained everything else. Personally for me, the former event was preferrable to the latter.


Here, we see that some consequences affect otherwise innocent people. God allowed these things to happen to Job, but through it all, Job gives glory to God. In the end, Job is vindicated, and God still gets the glory. In Job 2-7, we are introduced to Job’s three friends, who came “to comfort him” (2:11). However, it seems that they not only contradict God’s statement about Job being blameless (cf., 1:8; and 4:7-11), but also they condemn Job as a sinner for which reason he must be suffering (cf., 5:27, ff). In this section, we see harshness in the face of trouble (Eliphaz to Job). Although Eliphaz states much that is true, his thoughts are misdirected because they are shared in the wrong context and with the wrong spirit. Instead, God would have desired empathy, comfort, and tenderness. The message of Job 6-7 has affected me more profoundly since I became a widower. In my wife’s absence, I often feel similar dread and the mortal sting of a new-found “hard service on earth” (7:1) with “nights of misery” (7:3) - something I had not experienced before. The words found in 7:7-10 ring truer to me now than ever before, yet I “know that my Redeemer lives … and that I myself will see Him” (Job 19:25-27). Job’s friends do not really grasp the depths of his suffering (which is often the case when we come into the presence of grief), and sadly, Job allows their thoughts to influence his own. Sometimes, quiet, non-verbal presence is the best sympathy.


In Psalm 17:1-5, we encounter David crying out to the LORD. Like David, I often cry out, “Hear my prayer, O Lord!” I desperately do not want to stumble in my Christian walk, and yet, we all falter because, as Jesus said in Matthew 19, our “hearts are hard” (verse 8). We must constantly guard ourselves against this condition, and the only appropriate guard for us to do so is to spend time in the Word of God and in prayer.


In Matthew 19:1-15, again we see the Pharisees coming “to test” Jesus (verse 3), this time, on the issue of divorce. Jesus presents them with a compassionate answer that relates to God’s ideal for marriage on the one hand, and the “hardness” of our hearts on the other. Here, Jesus reveals to us the true human condition – we have hearts that have grown hard. “It was not this way from the beginning” (verse 8). Interestingly, I never knew any young couple - standing initially at the altar to state their wedding vows – with the intention to divorce each other at some point in the future. For whatever reason, men and women are the ones – not God – who have made things difficult for themselves. “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given” (verse 11). Another example of guarding privileged information. With God’s help, we can make anything work.


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Eric, thanks for highlighting my sonnets on Job! Another link on my website provides the free downloadable book (final version). This pdf has additional material including a table of contents with clickable links to each sonnet in the book. Check it out here: https://wiseblooding.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/One-to-Tell-the-Tale-halfpg.pdf



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Thanks for sharing your sister's book.

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You’re so welcome! Hope you enjoy it.


ECS

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