Sunday, June 12, 2016

Feel Like Complaining?

“At this also my heart trembles, And leaps from its place.  Hear attentively the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that comes from His mouth.  He sends it forth under the whole heaven, His lightning to the ends of the earth. After it a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, And He does not restrain them when His voice is heard. God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend.  For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength. He seals the hand of every man, That all men may know His work. The beasts go into dens, And remain in their lairs. From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind, And cold from the scattering winds of the north. By the breath of God ice is given, And the broad waters are frozen. Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, That they may do whatever He commands them On the face of the whole earth. He causes it to come, Whether for correction, Or for His land, Or for mercy. “Listen to this, O Job; Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God. Do you know when God dispatches them, And causes the light of His cloud to shine? Do you know how the clouds are balanced, Those wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge? Why are your garments hot, When He quiets the earth by the south wind? With Him, have you spread out the skies, Strong as a cast metal mirror? “Teach us what we should say to Him, For we can prepare nothing because of the darkness. Should He be told that I wish to speak? If a man were to speak, surely he would be swallowed up. Even now men cannot look at the light when it is bright in the skies, When the wind has passed and cleared them. He comes from the north as golden splendor; With God is awesome majesty. As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, In judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress. Therefore men fear Him; He shows no partiality to any who are wise of heart.”   Job 37  NKJV

Along with my normal studies, I decided a while back to finally read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation as part of my daily routine.  Rather than put a time frame on it, I decided to simply read as much as I was comfortable with every day and think about what I was reading and let the Spirit speak.  The past few weeks have found me in the book of Job, and to be truthful, the Spirit has been speaking a lot to me about how I look at the Father and my position in relation to Him.  Most importantly, however, is the conviction about feeling the occasional desire to complain about not only my own circumstances, but the state of the world and the persecution many are feeling at this point in time.

Prior to this point in the book of Job, we find that Job has done a pretty good job of not only lamenting his circumstances, but trying to sell the argument that his persecution is wholly unjustified.  He has argued with three of his friends, who truthfully were not much help at all while blaming Job himself for his situation, and we finally find that there is a fourth individual who decides to speak out and share his thoughts.  Elihu is a young man, and in that culture has rightly kept his silence while letting the older and (wiser?) men speak.  Yet he now speaks to Job and in essence, asks Job to consider exactly who he has been complaining about, and if he really understands his position in relation to God.

Who among us has not complained to God at one time or another about something which has occurred in our lives?  While I understand that God is our Father, and He welcomes our desire to speak with Him and enjoy the relationship as His children, I think that just like Job there are times we need to be reminded exactly who we are speaking to.  When I think about this, I can’t help but remember the reaction of all those in the Word who were allowed to meet with God.  Without exception, they all fell on their faces in His presence and majesty.

In this passage, Elihu reminds Job of not only who God is, but the power He controls as the creator of the universe.  It is surprising to see that many of the things we might take for granted as a normal occurrence of nature is in fact, orchestrated and controlled by God Himself.  It follows then, that Elihu is telling Job, and us, that absolutely nothing occurs unless our Heavenly Father allows it to, and although we might not understand the reasons for it, God is still in control.  This is something I believe we all need to be reminded of on a regular basis, especially in these times of trouble and persecution.

Job is reminded of this, and it is timely considering the fact that in the very next chapter, after Elihu has his say, God decides to speak directly to Job.  While I get the feeling that what God has to say to Job, especially after Elihu’s words, is predictable, it is also Job’s response to God when offered a chance to speak that I find most enlightening.

“Then Job answered the LORD and said: “Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth.”   Job 40:3-4  NKJV

Speaking only for myself, the next time I think about complaining to God about anything, I’m going to remind myself of this reaction by Job and cover my mouth.  God controls everything, and that includes my very conception.  My Father chose to create me so who am I to complain about what will eventually prove to be a temporary inconvenience?

Keep watching.