BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday October 6, 2013
AM I ON THE RIGHT PATH?
(Welcoming GOD’s redemptive discipline into your life)
Job 33:13-22 & 36:8-12
GOD is the irresistible power that manifests itself in nature and destiny, therefore, it suits GOD’s purpose that, what may be inexplicable on earth, is not so in heaven. Job, having formerly believed that GOD was good to him, now tries to reconcile GOD’s past and present treatment of himself (chapters 29-31). He can see no benevolence behind his affliction, and therefore, he concludes that, what once seemed like kindness was now but cruel deceit, designed by GOD to make his fall more crushing.
It is a frightening thought to see any believer sink to that level in his, or her mind, however, in Job’s case he really did believe that he was “guiltless”. Gradually, nonetheless, Job’s passionate sincerity will lead him into, a still deeper, “spiritual experience” that would ultimately re-fortify his faith in GOD.
In Job 33, we see a younger observer, Elihu, present his case against the suffering and complaining Job. After letting all of his elders speak and finish their thoughts, Elihu now stands eager to throw his opinion into the mix. However, unlike Job’s friends, the young man does not accuse Job of sin. In fact, here Elihu offers an alternative to the logic which led to his three friend’s insistence that Job’s problems were a direct result of sin.
Elihu, showing more wisdom than the older men, recognizes that GOD often uses suffering as a “tool” to arrive at “redemption”. HE sometimes uses the pain in our lives to awaken us to “spiritual danger” and direct our attention towards HIM, where help can be found. And so, in that sense, oftentimes suffering can be a blessing in disguise.
In chapter 33, verses 8-12, Elihu quotes Job’s own words back to him. However, this is not an attempt to condemn Job, but rather, it represents an effort by the young man to point out the error in Job’s thinking. Here we see no assumption by Elihu that Job’s condition is brought on by his sin, as he simply tells his elder that “You are not right”.
All sin is wrong, but not every wrong is sin. It is possible to do wrong, without malicious intent, even on an important issue. Also, on the other hand, because we sin unconsciously, or unintentionally, doesn’t mean that we are not guilty of the sin (Leviticus 4:22 & 27). For instance, if we find ourselves in an unfamiliar city, and unintentionally, we commit a traffic violation, the fact that we were ignorant to local laws does not mean that we are not guilty of breaking the law, and won’t receive a traffic citation.
In Job 36:8-12, we see young Elihu further demonstrating with words, “GOD’s redemption of man through his suffering”. There he tells Job that if a person has trouble to come upon them, and they are enslaved and afflicted with suffering as a result, GOD takes the time to show them the reason for their suffering. HE shows them their sins, as they have behaved proudly, and HE gets their attention and tells them that they must turn away from evil. If they listen and obey GOD, they, will be blessed, however, if they refuse to abide by HIS word, they will perish, quite literally, from a lack of understanding.
What we see here, in Elihu’s “fourth speech” to Job, is a wonderful defense of GOD’s power and justice, as HE deals with HIS greatest creation, mankind. On the surface it may seem that Elihu shares the opinion of Job’s friends, but a deeper look shows us how he is actually pointing out how GOD gets our attention so that HE can more effectively instruct us on how to get back on, and stay on, “the right path”.
GOD expects us to suffer for the Faith we say we hold, until we can begin to believe ourselves, that we really do hold it. Job was unnecessarily tormented spiritually, by his own doubt, and, by his rigid theology. We humans simply cannot pinpoint GOD’s purpose for what HE allows to happen in our lives. Job’s three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were all completely out of order in their assumptions about Job, and Job, was out of order in his assumptions about himself.
We are what GOD says that we are, and that’s all that we are. If the book of Job teaches us nothing else, it teaches us that we need to avoid the foolish belief that we understand GOD. We look at ourselves and others through sinful, unclean eyes, and therefore, many times, it is not possible for us to see ourselves as we really are. We often overrate ourselves and underrate others, and vise-versa. Job was overrated by himself, and underrated by his friends, but they were all properly assessed by GOD.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website