Job 33-34 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: Whether instructing or disciplining, He always does what’s best for us

The early earth dwellers believed the world was flat. They made this statement based on their limited knowledge of their surroundings, but then the adventurous Italian, Columbus, proved them wrong when he didn’t turn a corner and fall into oblivion.

Actually the debate in Columbus’ day was more about the size of the world and whether or not he could ever reach his goal.  I have to admit when I’ve looked out the window over the terrain in Central Florida, it looked pretty flat, but I understand that things are not always as they seem.  If only Job’s comforters could have understood this concept. 

@ Job 33
The young Elihu introduced a new reason for Job’s suffering.  Job’s three friends insisted he was being punished for his sins, and no other explanation was acceptable.  Job repeatedly defended himself to them to the point of arrogance as he explained his righteousness.  Elihu contended that God not only uses suffering to punish but he also will use suffering to instruct.  Through suffering, “God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it…He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings.  He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride.  He protects them from the grave…OR God disciplines people with pain on their sickbeds…” (14-18). This left the door open in Elihu’s thinking for Job to be the righteous man he claimed to be but possibly suffering so that God could disciple him, OR, He could be punishing him.  Either way, he was suffering. 

@ Job 34
Elihu continued his speech under the impression that Job was suffering because God wanted to bring instruction.  However, he felt the suffering continued on and on because Job was sinning by arrogantly questioning God, “Job, you deserve the maximum penalty for the wicked way you have talked. For you have added rebellion to your sin; you show no respect and you speak many angry words against God.” (36-37)  Later, when God spoke to Job, we learn there was an element of truth to what Elihu was saying, but like his friends, his conclusion was based on the wrong premise.

Elihu’s conclusion reminds me of the early earth dwellers. Elihu based his conclusion on his limited knowledge of Job’s situation and only on how he viewed it.  The earth is flat.  Again, no one in the scenario was privy to the reason for Job’s suffering other than God, Satan….and us.

I’ve certainly made mistakes in my life by forming conclusions based on limited knowledge.  Fortunately, none have hugely altered my life in a negative way.  I read recently about the reason for Oprah’s acceptance of many gods rather than the true and living God alone.  She heard a minister once say that God was a jealous God.  In her limited thinking, she decided that a jealous God was not for her, and she left church and has never returned.  I question that she knew God in a personal way. She knew of Him, but she didn’t really know Him or understand the scripture quoted in her church.  Her conclusion based on limited knowledge dramatically altered her life, and it is altering many of the lives she influences each day. That said, jumping to a false conclusion may not only affect my own life, but may affect the lives of all those I influence as well.  Noted and taken to heart. 

Moving Forward: God’s plans and purposes are often hidden from my understanding. With this in mind, I’ll not be so quick to form conclusions and risk negative results. 

Tomorrow @ Jeremiah 22-26