I spent part of the day yesterday continuing (and continuing and continuing and continuing) editing of my book. The other part of the day I spent playing with my new art app -- Art Rage. I spent an hour on one picture, then the iPad crashed and I lost all that work. After slamming a few cabinets, vacumming, and doing two loads of wash, I was ready to try again. This time I took care to save my work periodically. The picture above popped out of my imagination.
Meanwhile, my study of Job is continuing slowly. I have finished the sections where Job's three friends basically tell him he is suffering because he is an unconfessing jerk and that if he would just own up to all his secret sin, God would heal him. Job's wife adds her own cheery suggestion: "Curse God and die."
The section I am on now is the young man Elihu's speech. Elihu had sat nearby while Job's "friends" lambasted him as he lay covered with boils, his children all killed, and his livestock all destroyed. Finally, Elihu can stand it no more and says though he is young, he has some wisdom to impart. So he begins to explain to Job where the friends and Job himself have erred. I am only reading a little at a time because I think the lesson on how to deal kindly and in a Godly way with those who are suffering is incredibly difficult, and important. Having read Job many times, I know that in the end, God will not be pleased with the three friends, but seems to be fine with what Elihu had to say. I intend to figure out why Elihu's perspective is different.
I only got a little ways when I hit this gem by Elihu:
“Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God’s behalf." (Job 36:2 NIV)
Job's friends had presented God as a terrifying Master, crushing rebellion and sin with a mighty hand. They refuse to accept Job's insistence that he has always loved and followed God. They see suffering as evidence of Job's deceit and dishonor before God. By the Bible verse above, Elihu is subtly shifting, I think. He is not focusing on Job, and what Job may have or may not have done wrong, but on God.
I don't know about you, but when I am suffering, the last thing I need to hear is that God is giving me what I deserve. I am not saying it is not good to know that disobedience can unleash the wrath of God. But there is only so much despair any one can handle. If God had been Job's comfort all his life, he needed to hear why he could continue to trust and find peace in God even when life had become so bitter. Job's friends were like my computer crashing and eating all my precious art work. Elihu, in contrast, is painting Job a new picture of God to cling to. To see God anew every moment is a blessing, and a nice thought to dwell upon this New Year's Eve.
But, stay tuned. There is more to be said in God's behalf....
Job 37:14 NIV
 “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders.
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