Tag Archives: Job

You Should Have Been There, It Was Epic

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” Job 38:1-5

From this point God goes on to chastise Job with pictures of creating the universe.    “Where were you when I measured the universe while a chorus of morning stars sang and angels shouted for joy?” “Where were you when I tricked-out the clouds?” “Have you seen the freakish stuff in the ocean depths?” “Have you seen my outrageous snow-machine?” “Have you seen my Van de Graaff generator for making lightning? It should be called the Van de Godd generator.”

For sure this is a rebuke from God in response to Job getting all up in His grill.  God had patiently listened to Job get all uppity about the injustice of his situation, albeit perceived injustice.  In essence God was saying, “Who are you to question me?”  It can sound like a rather caustic and abusive rebuke. “Man-up because I’m about to throw-down.”

But attributing such vindictiveness doesn’t reconcile completely with God’s character. It doesn’t align with God’s loving character in general or the character of God specifically toward Job revealed in the opening chapter of the book, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Sure, God may have finally had His fill of Job’s whining and accusations, but that doesn’t jive with God’s character, either.  God is infinite.  To think that man could test the limit of God’s patience is to think that man could also test the limit of God’s love.  That’s a non sequitur with The Infinite, The Beginning and The End.  I think that there’s another way to hear God’s words to Job.  I think that they can be heard with awe and wonder; one friend regaling another with tales of exploits past, a chum recounting adventures to the delight of his besty…

“Man-up, ’cause you’re not going to believe how it really went down!”

“Dude, you should have been there.  It was epic!”

“It was tricked out!”

“Absolute pownage!”

“I was en fuego; call me The Busdriver ’cause I took everyone to school!”

“The angels rocked out and even the morning stars threw down!”

“The whole time I kept thinking, ‘I wish Job was here. He would so dig this.'”

OK, it’s a paraphrase…maybe more than a paraphrase. But really, don’t you think God wants us to see amazing things?  Doesn’t He want us to experience the grandeur of His creation?  Don’t we rejoice when we experience the wonder of God?

And God didn’t stop His wonders after creating the universe.  He’s still driving the bus…He’s still en fuego…you know that He’s still buttah ’cause He’s still on a roll.  God is still all about The Epic!  And He wants you to be there for it.  What is He going to do today that He wants you to witness?  And then who does He want you to tell about it?  Who does God want you to regale with wondrous tales of yore and exploits to come?

As for my paraphrase, it’s not quite as far-fetched as we might think.  Jump ahead to the epilogue…

“After the Lord had said these things to Job, He said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has…my servant Job will pray for you and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly.'” (Job 42:7-8) It seems that the one who got it right was Job who was willing to reveal himself to God so that God could in turn reveal Himself to Job.  The ones who truly suffered were the pious “friends” with the religious platitudes.  Job got to witness the wonders of God because He sought the wonders of God.

It must have been epic.

That’s why worship.

Bruised Reeds, Smoldering Wicks and Meat Tenderizers

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord…” Isaiah 6:1

I suspect that this will be the first in a new series of posts. When looking through scripture one notices the trend of God bringing prophets, saints, kings, etc. to a place of apparent defeat before His victory can be manifested in their lives and the lives of those around them. A few weeks ago I wrote about Job and his relationship with God in the midst of Job’s tribulation (You should have been there, it was epic). I doubt that Job would have been as “pliable” in communicating about God’s mercy to us today if he hadn’t been tenderized.

Isaiah also comes to mind. In Isaiah 6, a quintessential chapter of worship, the prophet opens with, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord seated on a throne…”  Very little of Isaiah’s relationship with King Uzziah is known, aside from the fact that Jerusalem had become prosperous under Uzziah’s reign.  Scripture refers to Uzziah as a good and successful king in spite of his overstepping his spiritual authority which brought God’s judgement of leprosy on him.  The nation of Judah responded to Uzziah’s death in much the same way the United States responded to the death of President Kennedy, himself a successful and beloved, yet flawed, leader.  The casual observer would find it curious that Isaiah would be divinely inspired to start a passage of worship with reference to hardship.  Yet, I suppose that Isaiah would not have been as tuned into the voice of God had his heart not be tenderized.

Which brings me to the point.  Any “Foody” will tell you that to tenderize meat without adding to or taking away its inherent flavor requires a bit of whacking.  There are chemical processes that can be used, however they alter the intrinsic taste of the food.  To tenderize, yet preserve subtle flavor, one must employ a little hardship.  There are kitchen utensils and gadget designed for the purpose.  In a pinch a cast iron pan will work or the broadside of a hammer or, my choice of weapon, a twelve inch length of two by four.  Regardless of the implement used, a tough piece of meat is much more palatable after it has been “roughed up” a bit.  In Isaiah’s case, his heart was much more palatable toward receiving a call from God because he had been tenderized (feel free to read more on my thoughts regarding Isaiah’s calling at Listen for the Call).

Ravi Zacharias is fond of a poem that speaks well of this dynamic…

When God wants to drill a man

When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;

When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!

How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him

Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!

How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,
And which every purpose fuses him;
By every act induces him
To try His splendor out-
God knows what He’s about.

Anonymous

Scripture is replete with stories of people that needed to be softened up without changing the essence of who God created them to be; Moses, Naomi, Ezekiel, Hosea, Peter, Paul…I could go on and on.  In fact, I probably will start a short series on “God’s Meat Tenderizer.”

Life is hard, but we’re promised, “A bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Isaiah 42:3)  Are you feeling a bit bruised?  Is your once bright light just smoldering a thin wisp of smoke?  There are two ways to respond when whacked with the two by four of life; beg for cheese and crackers with our whine or let ourselves become more palatable to God and to a world that his hungry for Him.  Who specifically is God preparing us to be palatable to?  What path of sorrow are we walking now in order to be tender toward the next soul that feels like giving up?