Daily Reflections March 8, 2017
Elihu’s argument in chapter 37 bears some strong similarities to God’s response in chapter 38. Elihu comes closer to rightly assessing Job’s circumstances than any of Job’s other friends and in today’s chapter he puts forward a strong argument.
The vivid imagery that is used in these verses leads me to wonder if there was not a thunderstorm raging in the midst of Elihu’s speech. He describes the crashing of the thunder and the irreproachable power of the storm. He goes on to describe the bitter winter that causes even the wild beasts to retreat to their lairs. His examples are brought to a pointed conclusion when he notes:
“They turn around and around by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
Whether for correction or for his land
or for love, he causes it to happen.” (Job 37:12-13 ESV)
Elihu is essentially saying, “God is powerful! He commands the winds, and the storms, and the cold and who are you to question him?” Every storm has a purpose. Perhaps it comes as God’s judgment (see the hail storm that fell on the Egyptians), or as God’s love (see the rain that comes after a long drought). God is working all things according to his purposes and we are not privy to those intentions. Elihu argues that we should not question or accuse our God of wrongdoing.
“The Almighty—we cannot find him;
he is great in power;
justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.
Therefore men fear him;
he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.” (Job 37:23-24 ESV)
God did not rebuke Elihu for his counsel. Perhaps the only error Elihu has made in this chapter is his continued assumption that Job was wrong in his wrestling with his grief. He saw Job’s questions as an affront to God. He understood Job’s lamenting as accusations against God. Yet God’s assessment is that Job did not sin in all that he said.
Elihu was right in asserting that God’s ways are higher than our own. However, as a young man who had likely never experienced such suffering himself, he wrongly assumed that the correct response to suffering was to sit silently and to endure it. But thankfully we are given permission in the book of Job to bring our pains and our questions to God! We should do so with humility, knowing that God is good and just. We should remember, as Job did, that God gives and takes away and He is worthy of praise in both instances. With a contrite heart, we are permitted to bring our longing and our sorrow to God. We may not fully understand the hardship that God allows us to endure in this life, but we will find peace as we come before our Heavenly Father.
“Do no be anxious about anything. But in everything, with prayer and supplication and with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)
Pastor Levi denBok
2 Corinthians 7
The Church is the place where God’s Spirit dwells. Singularly (1 Cor. 6:19) and corporately (1 Cor. 3:16) we are the Temple of the living God! We have great promises of God in salvation through Christ. God dwells among us as a Father, he is our God and we are his people. As such, Paul writes,
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV)
As God’s Temple we take sin seriously. With the help of God’s Spirit, we are to examine our lives, put off sinful defilements and do that which leads to holiness. Paul then picks up the idea of 2 Corinthians 6:13 in 2 Corinthians 7:2,
Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. (2 Corinthians 7:2-3 ESV)
Paul’s relationship to the Corinthian Church was tumultuous. He founded the church, discipled the church and then had to deal very sternly with issues of pride, division, sexual immorality and false teaching. With great pains and at great cost Paul preached the Word of God (2 Corinthians 7:5). However, in this chapter, Paul is overflowing with joy.
Paul had sent Titus with a severe letter to the Corinthian church and they responded very favourably both to Titus as Paul’s messenger and to the directives of the letter itself. Upon Titus’ return Paul learned this strained, if not broken relationship was being healed through God’s grace.
Titus’ safe return to Paul and his report of being honoured by the Corinthian church was a great comfort to Paul. Paul celebrated the sincere and earnest repentance of the Church (see 2 Corinthians 7:11). They were indignant about the sin within. They acted in the fear of God and showed a zeal to repent. They demonstrated a longing to do the right thing. Having heard the evidence of their repentance from Titus, Paul was overjoyed in their finally being in a good position before God.
There are clear and distinct differences between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow: worldly sorrow is a shallow remorse. There is no deep hatred over sin, or turning from it. Any dealing with the sin is superficial and short-lived.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV)
As application, how do we deal with sin?
1. God is holy and sin is serious. He hates it and we must too (see Romans 12:9).
2. Our earnestness in repentance shows that we are truly saved. Believers in Christ love holiness.
3. Things once thought beautiful now seem loathsome; things that used to be despised are now greatly desired. This is the deep change God works in the human heart.
Believer in Christ do you see evidence of a love for holiness and a growing hatred for sin? If Christ be Lord of your life, there should be evidence of new attitudes and actions, new fears and desires. Examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith.
Associate Pastor Jody Cross