Saturday, April 11, 2009

Be Still and Know...

Job 40:3-5 Job answered: "I'm speechless, in awe--words fail me. I should never have opened my mouth! I've talked too much, way too much. I'm ready to shut up and listen."

This is an act of total submission on Job's part, for to yield the tongue is to yield everything. "Be still and know that I am God"(Ps 46:10). When we are broken and brought to the end of ourselves, it is not for the purpose of gaining more answers to spout off to others. It's to help us acknowledge that the Lord is God, and His plans and reasons are deeper and higher and broader than we can comprehend, and we are relieved from having to give answers or defend them.
  1. If God's ways are higher than mine, then whatever He allows I bow before Him in submission - True Humility.

  2. If God is in full control, then however He directs my steps, I follow in obedience. What relief that brings! Finally - I can relax, since I'm not in charge!

  3. If God has answers I lack, then whenever He speaks, I listen in silence. In the process of listening, I learn. Learning requires our slowing down, patiently waiting for God to work, staying ready to listen as He instructs us in His ways.
Job 40:7-14 "I have some more questions for you, and I want straight answers. Do you presume to tell me what I'm doing wrong? Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint?Do you have an arm like my arm? Can you shout in thunder the way I can? Go ahead, show your stuff. Let's see what you're made of, what you can do. Unleash your outrage. Target the arrogant and lay them flat. Target the arrogant and bring them to their knees. Stop the wicked in their tracks—make mincemeat of them! Dig a mass grave and dump them in it—faceless corpses in an unmarked grave. I'll gladly step aside and hand things over to you—you can surely save yourself with no help from me!"

There are times that nothing works better with small children than placing both of our hands on their shoulders and speaking firmly as we look them in the eye. In a similar way, I'm suggesting here that the Lord takes Job by the shoulders and gives him a firm talking to. It's as if God says, "Let me make something real clear to you, son. As the father, I'm the one who earns the living in this home. If you're going to be in charge and you earn the living, then you need to go where I go and do the work that I do. You need to face the pressures I face, then make the decisions that I make. You take care of the mortgage. You handle the leadership. You make the plans. You make certain they are carried out correctly. I ask you - are you able to do that? ... Now let me assure you I will love you forever, but you will not rule this home. That's my role."

Just to re-enforce his point, the Lord chose a couple of animals. First, the Behemoth, next, Leviathan. These two animals are at the top of the food chain. Neither is intimidated. They can take care of themselves in the wild. Most every other animal bows to them, and if they don't they pay a terrible price, usually with their life.

The Behemoth represents the hippopotamus, and the Leviathan is an ancient word for the crocodile. Understand - although they are large and intimidating to us, they were still made by God, and they are still subservient to their Creator. They have the natures and instincts HE gave them. They do the things HE created them to do. The message to Job? - "If you're unable to handle these creatures, obviously you're not on MY level. And if you, in fact, are fearful of them, then you would certainly not qualify as their Maker."

Let me share something with you, a few years ago, my mom decided she was ready to pick up and start over by moving to Florida. She found this "55 & over" community that within it had 6 or 7 small lakes that at any given moment were surrounded by turtles, herons, and alligators. You could walk through this community and see these creatures sun-bathing on the shores of these lakes, swimming in the water...and occasionally they actually do wander up closer to the homes.
So when God tells Job in 41:2-3 regarding Leviathan: "Can you lasso him with a rope, or snag him with an anchor? Will he beg you over and over for mercy, or flatter you with flowery speech?" Just imagine my little friend here -

...Do you really think he was looking at me ready to whisper soft little words and loving comments into my ear? "Welcome to Florida, Candy - lovely to have you here!" I don't think so!

The argument runs like this. If even the most courageious man would not be so insane as to stir up Leviathan, how could anyone be so foolish as to stand up against God, as Job had done? We can feel the force of this as a warning against irreverence. But in the dialogue it was always the friends who tried to warn Job off his enterprise with reminders about how much stronger God is than he. Job has never challenged God to a trial of sheer strength, as a man who hunted a crocodile. The argument ot the superior strength of God is made, not to discourage us from trying to have to deal with God, but to enhance God's capability of managing the affairs of the universe so that we will trust Him.

"We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." (Proverbs 16:9) When we make a decision to submit our life's plans to the Lord we need to pray, "Lord, you are perfect LOVE, and you only want the best for me. You are perfect WISDOM, and you know what is best for me. And you are perfect POWER, and you are able to make it happen." He concluded that there is no substitue for submitting one's plans to our all-loving, all-wise and all-powerful God.


Mike Mason, The Gospel According To Job
Charles Swindoll, Job: A Man of Heroic Endurance
Francis Andersen, Job: An Introduction and Commentary

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