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Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

done

In less than two months, the wall Nehemiah had began with the Jews was completed.  Despite at least six attempts to stop the project, Nehemiah’s colleague-enemies found themselves ashamed at their inability to frustrate God’s plans for Nehemiah and his people.  Matthew Henry notes that, “Christian fortitude will be sharpened by opposition.  Every temptation to draw us from duty should quicken us so much the more to duty.”  In other words, true believers do not give up and give in when others plot and scheme against them.  Instead they press in harder, trust God more, and faithfully continue to obey God’s instructions in their lives.  This is the mark of a faithful believer.

Notice how the enemies of Nehemiah’s building project reacted when he completed his mission.  In verse 16, the text says they were afraid, ashamed, and convinced that God was with the Jews.  Just seeing the success of Nehemiah and God’s people was enough to cause these guys to think less of themselves.  Still, instead of making amends and trying to reconcile with those they had been so deceitfully false, they just keep trying to bring Nehemiah down.

When the wall was finished the opposition to building stopped, but these enemies still did not stop trying to intimidate Nehemiah.  Likewise, our enemy will stop at nothing to continually discourage us from living into our calling, even and especially after we experience great success in our obedience to God.  Consider what they do now.

In verse 17, even despite their fear and discouragement at Nehemiah’s success and the fact that they knew it was God’s work that had been completed, the crooked leaders who needlessly despised Nehemiah hatch a new plan.  They begin to correspond with the nobles in Nehemiah’s jurisdiction.  Now Nehemiah has to deal with traitors sharing information with the enemy about him and his work as well as be subject to “overhearing” exaggerated accolades about how wonderful these deceitful men are.

Tobiah was one of the neighboring governors who sought to destroy Nehemiah.  He was related by marriage to these Jewish nobles which provided a perfect pathway for these gossipy, intimidation-intended reports to be circulated throughout Jerusalem.  They doubtless twisted Nehemiah’s true words, truncated his good deeds, mixed lies with some truth to make it believable and then circulated the false letters and reports about him.

Here we see yet another old standby used by Satan.  If he cannot intimidate or discourage God’s chosen vessel from obedience to God, he will do all he can to use the people around that vessel to be false, to make miserable, to slander and discredit, call good evil and evil good, and try to instill fear.

While it must have indeed been irritating and particularly vexing to have people within his own camp speaking so deceitfully and purposefully trying to discourage him, there is no sign that it rattled Nehemiah.  Nehemiah wasn’t into their petty popularity contests and he wasn’t intimidated by them.  Remember, this guy works for the king.  It’s only insecure leaders who lust after power and control that are intimidated by this kind of nonsense.  Nehemiah wasn’t because he already had authority from none other than the king— as do we when we work for the Lord.

Nehemiah simply continues on his mission.  After he completes the wall, the first thing he does is appoint leaders.  A good leader always recognizes the urgency to appoint good leaders and delegate responsibility wisely.  Show me a man who goes out to accomplish work for God and I’ll show you a man who recognizes the urgent necessity of starting out with good leaders.
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Nehemiah understood this necessity and chose men whose good character he knew well.  Chapter 7:2-3 tells us he chose two men and gave them charge over Jerusalem because they were more faithful and God-fearing than others.  That is how a good leader chooses leaders.  It isn’t who runs a better campaign, who is most popular, or who is his bff.  A good leader chooses leaders by how wise, experienced, and godly they are and he does it firstly, not lastly.

Nehemiah not only proves his wisdom in choosing good leaders first, he also proves his lack of false ambition by delegating others to lead.  Nehemiah was continually accused of wanting control and power to oppress, but clearly we see that those claims of his enemies were unwarranted had no merit.  Nehemiah knows he gave his word to return to the king when he was finished with this project so he is setting this city up for the time when he leaves.

He gives a couple instructions to his gatekeepers.  The gates were only to be open in the daytime, and the guards were to secure the gates at all times.  Nehemiah knew the wall wouldn’t protect them if the gates weren’t secure.  Again, he is constantly looking out for the protection and well-being of his people.  That’s just what good leaders do. That’s what Jesus does, and it’s what we must do if we have leadership in any capacity over God’s people.  He who does not care to protect those whom he leads is simply not fit for the job.

 

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hate

In Nehemiah chapter 6, we find the master project of building and restoring Jerusalem’s wall almost completely finished.  It is at this point that those who have opposed Nehemiah’s good work and greatly generous efforts from the start getting desperate to destroy both him and his success.  Let’s consider what they do and how he reacts.

When the three neighboring governors of Nehemiah see that his project is almost complete, they decide to band together to try to bring him down together.  It’s the old, the enemy of my enemy is my friend tactic.  These three guys, Sanballet, Tobiah, and Geshem all despise Nehemiah because all three think the same way.  They’re all jealous and fearful of Nehemiah’s success, his leadership, and his accomplishment because their leadership is sub-par and self-serving while Nehemiah’s is God-driven and selfless.

They realize the danger of having a neighboring governor like Nehemiah.  Instead of friending him, which would make the most sense, they choose to build their own wall of sorts and conspire against him together.  But why?

These guys are doing the same thing the religious men did to Jesus for many of the very same reasons.  They think they will get rid of their “competition.”  Instead of learning from Nehemiah’s strengths and following his good leadership in their own lives, they just want to kill him.  Because they are so insecure and so jealous, they can’t possibly encourage or help their neighbor.  By destroying him they figure they will stay in charge, continue oppressing the people, and have no one holding them accountable.  Even to this day, this is the way men and women who refuse God’s leading lead.  Someone should have told these guys that Nehemiah wasn’t competing with anyone except himself.  Someone should have told them Nehemiah would have been a great friend and asset to their lives if they had just treated him with fairness and respect.  Clearly, it was their loss.

So these guys get together and plot to kill Nehemiah.  They send someone to call for him to come and meet them.

Nehemiah wasn’t stupid.  He knew they were jealous and insecure.  He knew they were plotting harm.  He knew their false call for friendship was a sham.  So Nehemiah refuses to meet them.  He tells them the truth, though, which is, in a nutshell, sorry, guys, I’m busy with God’s work.

Four times they call for him to come and four times Nehemiah says no.  The fifth time Sanballet’s servant brings a letter to Nehemiah which is full of lies about him.  It says he is rebelling against the king and has false ambitions.  Funny thing…those are the very things these men were actually doing yet they accuse Nehemiah of them.

Again, it’s the same story Jesus lived.  It’s the same story you and I will live if we refuse to compromise Jesus as King in the midst of jealous and insecure leaders.  Deceitfully ambitious men will accuse righteous men of being deceitfully ambitious when they are in close proximity.  The reason is their fear of being found out and their absolute refusal to relinquish their ill-gotten, ever-coveted control and position.

Anyone who knew Nehemiah should have known how ridiculous these charges were.  Nehemiah takes not one word of it to heart.  Instead, he simply says, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.” (Nehemiah 6:8)  In other words, you’re lying and I’m not buying.

Nehemiah recognizes that his enemies are desperate to stop his good work.  He knows that if he succeeds they will be shown up and proven for the false men that they truly are.  He knows his city will be intact and safe.  I mean, think about it.  These guys had been here ruling long before Nehemiah showed up.  Yet they failed to concern themselves with the real needs of those around them.

Anyway, Nehemiah recognizes that they are using fear tactics and intimidation to discourage and stop him and his progress.  They chose the wrong guy because Nehemiah isn’t scared of anyone but God.  Therefore, Nehemiah debunks the ridiculous claims of these jerks and keeps right on working as the Lord commanded him.

The enemy will stop at nothing to stop us, though.  These guys still aren’t done trying to dissuade Nehemiah from his work and his success.  After the failed attempt to meet with him and kill him, they use a false prophet and false prophetess to tempt him to run away.  They attempt to entrap him by these false “friends” – who were actually hired by the enemy – into doing wrong so they can point at him and discredit his good reputation among all the people.

They use these two people to encourage Nehemiah to run away and hide in the temple in a place his was not authorized to be.  They tell him his life is being threatened – which, it is by these guys!  But it’s just more fear-mongering by these hateful, jealous people.  Their scheme this time is to get Nehemiah scared enough to do wrong.

Nehemiah does right.  Again, Nehemiah fears God alone.  If he’s going to die, he’s going to die with honor, not running and hiding from petty reputation thieves.  He answers this way when he is told to run and hide, “Should such a man as I run away?  And what man such as I could go into the temple and live?  I will not go in.”  Nehemiah 6:11

Nehemiah is saying, um, another man might run and hide, but not me.  I have responsibilities here given to me by God.  I cannot shuck all my duty for safety.  That is not who I am.  Not only that, but going into the temple unworthily doesn’t make me safe.  Dare I disobey my God for the fear of men?  God forbid!  I will not do such a thing!

Now, it is at this point that the text tells us that Nehemiah “…understood and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.” Nehemiah 6:12  What this implies is that Nehemiah had initially trusted this man and the prophetess as well.  Wisdom and discernment proved these people false to Nehemiah.

Clearly, the enemy will use those we trust to be false to us if they are willing.  There are Judas’s everywhere.  We must be wise and discern who is for us and who is against us by their actions and actual events rather than who we have known or who we have trusted in the past.

After all these attempts to derail and destroy Nehemiah and his work, Nehemiah again does something noble and wise.  He simply asks God to remember the sin of all of his false accusers.  He asks God to hold them accountable and do justice.  Earlier, after he had so generously provided for the people, worked honestly and diligently for them and their betterment, and failed to take his pay and food allowance, he had asked God to remember his good works and selflessness.

With all this remembering Nehemiah is asking God to do, one might wonder if he thinks God is forgetful.  No.  Nehemiah simply trusts God with his rewards and his vengeance.  By asking to remember, he is trusting his faithful Father to do what is right for him in the face of all the sacrifices he has made and the abuse he has endured.  Coincidentally, this is the same thing Christ did.  It is the same thing we must do if we are going to be successful in completing the Lord’s work in this world.  There are always going to be needs among God’s people.  There are always going to be enemies where God’s work is being done.  We are called to be selfless, diligent, noble, and honorable no matter what we are called to accomplish or what the enemy does to discourage us.

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defend

In Exodus 21:12-32, we have more laws concerning slaves, and, more generally, laws given to authorities in regards to those called to submit under them.

In verses 12-14 and 18-28 we find the Lord elaborating on the sixth commandment that he had just given: You shall not murder.  It is not enough that we might not kill others, but the manner in which death or injury occurs – if it is by our hands – is also a matter of great consideration.  We know this is true even in our court system today.  Trials are set to determine how, why, and in what manner injury or death occurred and punishment is then aptly dealt to the offender.

In verses 12-14 and 20-21 we have a distinction made between getting into a fight and causing death vs. premeditated murder.  Because the first action is considered accidental, that offender was to be given a place of refuge – exile, but refuge.  Because the second action is purposeful and premeditated, that offender was to be executed.  If, however, there is a fight and a man injures another without causing his death, the offender is obligated to take care of the man he injured until he is well by paying all his lost wages.  If the injured party is a slave, in the first case the master is not to be avenged because the loss of his slave is financial punishment enough for the master who injured him.  If, in the second case it was a slave, the master shall be avenged for the murder of his slave.

Verses 26-27 instruct that if a slave loses an eye or a tooth, he shall go free.  God cares about those under authority and he makes provision for them in their distress.

Verses 15-17 make clear that anyone who abused or cursed his own parents was to be put to death.  Death!  God is extremely serious about the respectfulness and obedience  – or lack thereof – of children.  We parents ought to spend time considering this portion of the law as it pertains to us and to the fifth commandment.  Our children’s lives depend greatly upon our instruction and discipline to them as children.

In verse 16, God forbids kidnapping or person stealing of any sort.  Both the kidnapper and the one who buys or receives the stolen person was to be put to death.

Verses 22-25 give instruction on the murder and injury of unborn babies.  Even if the death is accidental, the penalty for killing an unborn child was death.  Or, whatever injury that unborn child sustained was to be done to the offender.  God is serious about injury and death caused to unborn babies and he always has been!  This should make us think very carefully about how precious and special unborn lives are in the eyes of God.  He punishes anyone who would injure unborn children – even accidentally – and whatever a person does to that baby ought to be done to the offender.

This is a law we still see practiced in our day.  Have you ever wondered why it is considered murder to kill an unborn child when a pregnant woman is attacked or injured, but it is considered a choice when she injures or kills that baby herself?  God makes no distinction.  Those who injure and murder unborn babies will be held accountable either in this life or the next.

Finally, in verses 28-32 God gave laws concerning attacks by animals over which men had ownership.  As it is today, the owner is responsible for their own animal and if it attacks a person, that owner will be held responsible.  The first time your animal kills, the animal is to be put to death.  If you fail to put your animal to death and it kills a second time, you and the animal are to be put to death or pay a heavy ransom for your life.

In these details of his overarching law, God imparted wisdom to the very real issues men were sure to face.  By these laws, we are able to recognize the character to f our God, both his justice and his mercy.  God is not partial to the master over the slave.  He is not partial to the man over the unborn baby.  He is not partial to the animal over the human.  God is not partial, period.  God is just in every situation where human beings of any social status, age, or condition are injured or killed.  He is always merciful to the one who is injured and calls always their abuses to account and make restitution.  We would all do well to consider these things.  For in so doing, we learn Our God’s heart, his concern, his compassion, and his wrath when human beings are injured – whether purposefully or accidentally.

 

I

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gloves

Preteen + preteen + peacemaker AKA tattletale + one year old = it’s spring but if we dare open our windows someone may call the law.  And I might need them to.

After much begging, pleading, and coercing from tomboy mom, I think my girls have finally chosen a sport they want to practice.  My girls – especially the older two – seem to have adopted a new way of life.  It is hard to describe, but if it had a name it might be called, “Four Girl Fight Club.”

Apparently they have come to believe that the only solution to their ridiculously difficult life is to fight with one another over everything.  Sometimes, the decibels are so high in this compound that it takes a conversation with a hard of hearing mom, a machine washing clothes, a screaming baby, a running lawn mower, a phone alarm ringing to remind me that today’s the last day to pay that bill before I have a 32 thousand dollar late fee, and the noise of a 25 year-old refrigerator to successfully ignore the bouts of unmitigated rage.

Oops.  Did I say ignore?  I mean avoid.  Er.  Um.  No.  I mean, I would never ignore or avoid my own children.  That’s ridiculous.  Clearly I’m busy with all the above mentioned, conveniently noisy tasks.  I would really prefer to be ringside.  Who doesn’t love a good fight, right?  That’s why, even being the free range parent that I am, I always make sure I rush in to see the good parts.  Anytime I am in the middle of 17 other things and I hear someone getting pummelled with pretend accusations, I run right in!

Yesterday was one of those days.

By the time I came to see what was the matter, one fighter was already crying and drawing an emo self-portrait complete with tears and monster sister hovering over her in the sketch, and the other was smugly smarting off about her rightness in the matter.

Now.  I always like to get the facts straight from both sides before I go trying to sub out for the referee, but, with all the commotion I didn’t hear that phone alarm and it just so happened that the ref’s paycheck was the bill I forgot to pay.  So, unfortunately, I had to jump right in quick before someone lost a tooth, or, in my case, their own flippin’ mind.

“What on the earth is going on in here, girls?!”

“Addie made an app and she made rules for the game she created but she isn’t following HER OWN RULES that SHE made!”

“That’s not true!  I made it so I am allowed to make the rules!!”

When I got down to the bottom of it all, it seems that my very technically inclined daughter made up a game and made a rule for her fellow gamers that she was not following herself.  This reality ignited the call to use every justice bone in my other daughter’s body.

“You can’t do that!!!  You can’t just change the rules for yourself!  You can’t just make other people follow them and not follow them yourself!”

“I made it!!!  I am the owner!  I can do whatever I want!”

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” said the referee.

“Ok.  Let’s see here.  You are both right – in a way.  Addie is right that if she created it, as the administrator she is ABLE to do things in whatever fashion she chooses.  If she sets it up with an exception for herself, she can because she owns and created the game.  However, as a matter of good business and fairness, Mia is right.  No one likes leaders who expect others to follow the rules that they made but do not follow the rules themselves.  That’s why everyone gets mad at the government.  They have the authority to make the rules and laws because we have entrusted it to them – given it to them – but they are so unjust that they apply them to everyone but themselves.  They also change the rules whenever it is personally advantageous.  That is called injustice.  We do not want to be unjust to others.

So, I understand why everyone is upset but, while both of you are right, you are also both wrong. Think about your other two sisters, girls.  Maylee is upset.  Sonny is screaming.  You are scaring them.  I understand why you both feel justified, but the truth is that neither of you are.  Look how you’re treating each other.  This is not acceptable.

Next time, listen to each other.  Stop yelling over top of one another to get your ideas heard by the person you clearly disagree with.  Talk about it.  Don’t get upset when someone challenges your decisions.  Instead, answer them.  Know why you’re doing something and be able to explain it clearly when asked.  If you are the one asking, don’t be condescending.  When you have a different perspective, respect for the authority goes a long way – especially if you are older than they are.  Lastly, never forget to consider others who hear your disagreements.  Namely – your sisters.  But the windows are open for goodness sake! Everything we do affects other people.  Remember that.

And in that four girl fight club, I believe the Lord truly showed up with wisdom like unto Solomon’s for me.  My own heart was revealed as fighter number five and my own foolishness was found out.  Like the mechanic always says, they only know what you teach ’em.  God did none other than prove Himself faithful once again.

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bird

I’ve been thinking on Paul’s final imperatives to the Colossian church for several weeks now.  I probably need to think on them for at least several more weeks considering the leanness of my prayers and the largeness of my mouth on most days.  Why does it seem so easy to talk about everything and so hard to pray about everything? Oh, right, I’m a sinner.  I bet the Colossians had the same issue.

As Paul began in chapter 1 thanking God and praying for these particular people, he completes his instructions to them by asking them to do as much for him.  Paul leads by example teaching that we must never ask our leaders to do for us that which we are not also willing to do for them.

Not only are we called to pray diligently, thankfully, and continually, but we must make it a priority to pray especially for those who teach and lead us in the church.

Paul’s main concern in his prayer requests is that of the gospel message.  Paul is not so much concerned with himself and his own needs – which were doubtless very great – as he is that he would be given opportunities to share the truth and share it clearly and effectively.

For a man in prison for nothing more than being faithful to God, we should consider his requests, or perhaps, his lack thereof.

Paul could have asked people to pray for his release, his ease, his health or his freedom and been entirely justified.  But, no.  Paul asks only that Christians would pray for God to use him and give him open doors for the spread of the gospel.

What men pray for often proves what is foremost in their hearts.

Paul concludes his formal instructions with an exhortation to be wise towards those outside the church.  His commands are to use our time wisely and to take care to speak with grace on every occasion.  The former cannot be done apart from the latter.

The truth is that it does not matter how much time we spend defending the truth or how well-versed we are in apologetics if our communication of that truth is unkind or unnecessarily harsh.  With the world accusing before we ever open our mouths, we can rest assured that if our speech is not pristine, any attempt to share the truth will be in vain.  It makes no difference how unkind and unbecoming the world is when it speaks to us.  Those ones do not have Christ.  That type of communication is their way.  We, however, have a different Way.  The Way we follow teaches us to speak to all people in a spirit of grace and truth; love and truth; kindness and truth.  We can speak all the truth in the world, but if it is void of grace, love, and kindness, Paul rightly implies that we will not know how to answer anyone properly and will surely be wasting both our breath and our most precious commodity, time.

 Little wonder why he stresses the importance of wisdom.  Christians never look more foolish than when we misspeak truth in brash, condescending, self-righteous cloak.

Notice that Paul speaks on the importance of prayer first, and the importance of speech, second.  More often than not, we cannot rightly speak to others until we have first spoken to God on their behalf.

I speak to myself when I say, pray.  Pray constantly.  Pray for your pastor.  Pray for the spread of the gospel.  Then get out of the way of the harvest by always being wise, gracious, and kind with its truth in your speech.

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Image 

Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 29 And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” 30 And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before. ~1 Samuel 17:28-30

Little baby brother is showing big tough front-line brother up.  Big tough front-line brother is mad.  He is mad because he is jealous, prideful, and insecure about his own failure to do that which baby brother has the courage to do.

Why did you come here small boy?  Just who do you think you are?  I’ll tell you what I think: you are nothing.  You probably left the one itty-bitty responsibility you had unattended.  I know you.  I know what is in your black heart.  You are bored.  You are lazy.  You are just looking for some action in your miserable, purposeless life.  You have no business here on my turf.  You are worthless; better yet, you are evil.  Go back where you came from, inferior.

Eliab, in his unrighteous anger, used every angle he could find to discredit David.  He sought wholeheartedly to deny him the honor due him for his courage and hunger for righteousness.

Nevertheless, David was obedient.  He was zealous for the Lord.  He was courageous, fearless, and wise even despite the towering foe he knew he was about to face and the pain of his brother’s injurious accusations.

Eliab would not hear of it.  He made sure his false accusations and unfounded charges were loud and clear.  He tells David he is presumptuous as he himself stands presuming upon his innocent brother.

David is not fazed.  David answers softly and turns around.  He continues about his Father’s business.  Consider, though, that there are quite a lot of things David could have said or done to defend himself.

He could have argued.  He could have cried.  He could have owned it.  He could have gone back home.  He could have clocked his brother a good one.  He could have reciprocated his brother’s false accusations.  Doubtless, there are countless ways David could have returned evil for evil.  None of them,however, would result in giving glory to God.

The bottom line is, David had bigger fish to fry and he knew it.  He’s got no time for this kind of infantile tomfoolery.  David was interested in only one thing – the Lord’s will.  He knew it was not his reputation that was ultimately at stake here; it was the Lord’s!  How important it was for him to overlook the insults being hurled at him and turn away from that mess.  Therefore, he was wise.  He was patient.  He was forgiving.  Such things are apparent by the way he held his peace (save a question or two about the validity of the charges) and, in doing so, kept his peace.

Likewise, Matthew Henry writes, “Those that undertake great and public services must not think it strange if they be discountenanced and opposed by those from whom they had reason to expect support and assistance; but must humbly go on with their work, in the face not only of their enemies’ threats, but of their friends’ slights and suspicions.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JYGhQWgqq4

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Image

After Elihu introduces himself and makes known his concern and love for Job, he begins a defense which represents God and his justice.

“Hear my words, you wise men,
    and give ear to me, you who know;…

For Job has said, ‘I am in the right,
    and God has taken away my right;
6 in spite of my right I am counted a liar;
    my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’ ~Job 34:2, 5-6

Elihu again proves respectful.

 Firstly, before he even begins, he counts his listeners – those older men with whom he clearly disagrees on this matter – wise men.  He does not discount their understanding or insult their intelligence.  And it’s not patronizing.  This young guy knows that his elders may indeed be in the wrong here, but he recognizes that they deserve honor and respect for all the experience, know-how, and qualifications they bring to the table.

Secondly, he again quotes Job.  He does not put words in Job’s mouth or assume any unseen motives.  Elihu proves wise by focusing only on the facts as stated by Job himself.

He goes on to make his case, not in an effort to make Job look bad or satisfy himself with how right he is, but to restore Job’s spiritual thinking and reconcile him to the God they both loved.

His method?  Magnify God’s justice.  Assure men of God’s goodness.  Remind Job of the sure judgement of all.  Confront specific sins.  Urge repentance.

Job had spoken foolishly while bearing an exceptionally heavy load of grief.  Elihu knows the danger and temptation Job faces if he continues in self-pity.  He knows what will become of Job if he becomes self-righteous.  

Shall one who hates justice govern? Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty  ~Job 34:17

Is God wrong, Job?  Or are you?

 Elihu shows Job what was wrong with what he’d said.  It’s not that God isn’t just, it’s that humans cannot understand his justice.

Men of understanding will say to me,
    and the wise man who hears me will say:
35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge;
    his words are without insight.’
36 Would that Job were tried to the end,
    because he answers like wicked men.
37 For he adds rebellion to his sin;
    he claps his hands among us
    and multiplies his words against God.” ~Job 34:34-37

Unbelieving people are going to think you are more foolish than they!  By disrespecting God you are disrespecting yourself!  You sound like someone you are not, Job.  Submit to the wisdom of God’s providence and trust him in your time of suffering.  

Elihu shows Job how damaging to his good reputation and witness his wrong words and thoughts were.  

Easy for Elihu to say, right?  I know.  So how did he keep from being taken for a know-it-all-I-have-all-the-answers jerk to a guy who didn’t need to hear it from some young punk who couldn’t begin to understand the difficulty of his listener’s circumstances?

He entered humbly.  He made sure Job knew beyond the shadow of a doubt beforehand that he was a friend; an advocate who was certainly on his side.  He exhibited patience and waited for the proper time and opportunity to speak.  He avoided hearsay and presumption and dealt only with facts directly stated by Job.  He was respectful even though he was righteously angry and in disagreement with Job.  He focuses on the truth of God rather than his own opinions or preferences.  He wasn’t wishy-washy or cowardly with his exhortations.  

If anyone was wise, it was Elihu.  I have much to learn from him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQQMJ2u6fGE

 

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