REACH OUT, I’LL BE THERE
Gracious God, this day is yours and I am yours. I would not begin this day without being with you.
Read JOB 35
35 Then Elihu said:
2 “Do you think this is just?
You say, ‘I am in the right, not God.’
3 Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me,[a]
and what do I gain by not sinning?’
4 “I would like to reply to you
and to your friends with you.
5 Look up at the heavens and see;
gaze at the clouds so high above you.
6 If you sin, how does that affect him?
If your sins are many, what does that do to him?
7 If you are righteous, what do you give to him,
or what does he receive from your hand?
8 Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself,
and your righteousness only other people.
9 “People cry out under a load of oppression;
they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.
10 But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
who gives songs in the night,
11 who teaches us more than he teaches[b] the beasts of the earth
and makes us wiser than[c] the birds in the sky?’
12 He does not answer when people cry out
because of the arrogance of the wicked.
13 Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea;
the Almighty pays no attention to it.
14 How much less, then, will he listen
when you say that you do not see him,
that your case is before him
and you must wait for him,
15 and further, that his anger never punishes
and he does not take the least notice of wickedness.[d]
16 So Job opens his mouth with empty talk;
without knowledge he multiplies words.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight’ (Proverbs 3:5,6).
Earlier, Job had complained that God was indifferent and distant to his condition (Job 23). Elihu refutes this idea: ‘No one says, “Where is God my Maker?”’ (v 10). Really? Is Job alone in thinking that God is not on their case? Can’t we sometimes feel that God isn’t listening or is absent when we do not sense his presence or intervention in our lives?
Job had protested that he has ‘closely followed his [God’s] steps’ and ‘treasured the words of his mouth’ (23:11,12). Was God ignoring or forgetting about him? Was Job right to complain his case was not being heard? Does Elihu have a point? Do we think that when God is not serving our perceived needs, he is not interested in us? Does an apparent lack of answer to prayer suggest we cannot trust God? Do we (unintentionally) merely reduce God to being our servant?
Jesus said: ‘Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20). Will it not be so? In times of crisis, we can think the worst. It is then we are called to dig deep in faith and pray to God through the Holy Spirit to help us.
The old hymn ‘Trust and Obey’* is a great encouragement to hold on to our faith through trust in the Lord. What other resources might help us?
Dear God, sometimes I try to avoid learning the lessons you are trying to teach me. Forgive me and help me to live well as I await your return.
*John Henry Sammis (1846–1919).
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