Crosswalk (our church here in T’ville) are all on the same bible reading schedule and much to my dismay the schedule turned to the book of Job in the first week of April. I was not excited. I had not heard a peep from HS in a month and now we were reading Job?! Of all the possible readings why Job? Well, HS has begun to speak again. He never told me the reason for the silence, but did open my eyes to see the fruit of it. HS eased back into dialog with me, quietly speaking a word or turning my heart, only yesterday did he drop a revelation bombshell on me.
In true Jesus style, the revelation came from the most unlikely source, Job, the book I was dreading re-reading.
As I started Job, taking a chapter a day, I did not see anything new. It all lined up with what I had heard preached on the book countless times. I was aching for something new, something fresh and was certain it would not come from Job. Thankfully, I was wrong.
Nine days into the book in chapter, you guessed it, nine I read the following statement from Job about God [9:32-35]
“He is not a man like me that I might answer Him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of Him, but as it stands with me now, I cannot.”
In chapter 11 Zophar answers Job telling him to repent and later in verse 20 accusing him of being “wicked”.
Thankfully Job replies in 12:3
“I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you.”
It was in these words, “I am not inferior to you” that HS spoke to me. Job was yearning with all his might for the coming Messiah, he had actually unknowingly spoken out prophetically about Jesus. His friend Zophar, instead of joining in with Job’s longing for an arbitrator told him what he must “do”. Thankfully Job recognized Zophar’s prideful heart and responded accordingly. With this ancient situation in mind, HS opened my eyes and I realized I have been like Zophar. There are people around me everyday who are crying out for Jesus, the Messiah, and I am literally blocking their view of Him. I immediately began to repent and it all flooded in, what restrictions and I placing before people who are searching for Jesus? How is my ‘religion’ getting in the way? There were three choices before Job that day
1. To continue to seek God
2. To follow Zophar’s advice
3. To reject God completely
Thankfully Job continues to seek God, although discouraged, he was not deterred. This brings me to Luke 18:10-14
“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers- or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
After giving this parable, Jesus does something incredible; he welcomes little children and proclaims “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Jesus wisely knew that simply giving this teaching wasn’t enough, the hearers then, as I have done now, would think, ‘Yes, but I have never done such a thing, I have never said such an evil prayer.’ So he makes it very clear that in fact we have said that prayer and lived arrogantly, by proclaiming that the kingdom belongs to children.
As I read Job, it is quite easy to say to myself, ‘I would never do that, I wouldn’t insist that my friend is a sinner and will not receive relief until they repent, this book doesn’t apply to me.’ But it is exactly that attitude Jesus is trying to pry out of me. My ‘spirituality’ is my stumbling block and I willfully place it in front of others, especially those who are seeking. In my religious zeal, I box up my Messiah and he is no longer the Lion of Judah, but a stuffed teddy bear. I cuddle and love this teddy and try to convince others how wonderful it is, they are searching for an untamable Lion and all I offer is a stuffed toy.
I am not ok with this. It was the Lion who won my heart, the Saviour who would not fit in any box, the one who promised to take me on out of this world adventures and reveal unfathomable mysteries. He is the one I long to follow, he is the one who lights an irrepressible fire in my soul.
With this knowledge, I take a fresh look at Job and realize there is a lot for me to learn. I pray, “HS show me how to abandon my puffed up spirituality and live the life of uncontainable love Jesus lived.”