"my feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside".
Wow. Imagine saying this in your SMALL GROUP when asked about your week.
In most "christian" circles today, those words would be met with scorn. Rebuke would follow, some being appalled at the pride and boasting, and perhaps even Bible verses would be thrown to refute the reality of anyone standing firm with such a testimony!
Discussion and questions dispute our ability to follow closely in His steps, lecturing often on how our weakness causes our feet to turn aside from His Way!
Afterall, they say, "we're only human"!
These constant opinions often puzzle me for they are argued by those who have been promised the Presence of the Comforting Guide, constant and continual, and One who is "able to keep them from stumbling".
To many, "Stand firm in their faith" becomes wishful thinking, and it is obvious there is not the applied belief in their God who IS "able to keep them from stumbling" (Jude 24).
Yet we read this shocking testimony from an Old Testament character, from an account which happened long before the Law was given, ages before the Cross claimed victory, or even the Covenant of promise. He stood without the Guide and Power who is given to believers today. In his testimony, Job saw through eyes of faith God's declaration, cry of Victory, and he stood firm in his faith, knowing for sure he saw reality.
Just as many times we find ourselves in a circle of more worldly wisdom, Job was surrounded by more human experience and educated knowledge. He faced the same accusations thrown around today when someone stands firm in faith.
I found it imperative for me to read the full account of Job in one sitting, recording repetition of advice, and folly. As I read his story, I also found an:
in spite of a circle of friends who scolded, rebuked, reproved, and basically corrected Job.
They fired every shot of humanism with arrows of pragmatism, relevance, comfort, experience, happiness, moderation, obligation and even personal responsibility.
This ancient man stood firm in his Faith. In his saddest moments when companionship would have been refreshing, he was verbally rejected by "friends". When comfort could have been extended, he was corrected and rebuked by elites and youth alike. Yet, Job held firm to faith.
God boasted of him!
The Scriptures tell us that "powers and authorities in heavenly places" present themselves before the LORD where God boasts to his enemy about his servant!!
That is so awesome. I wonder how often this scene plays out in heaven today! Here is now the scene I believe described in the New Testament:
Ephesians 3:10 "...so that through the Church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
This was according to the eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus our LORD."
From Job, I learn the dangers of opinions, and determine to build my faith in Christ alone through the Word of God given to me. I've learned to say "Give me Bible." because:
|Misleading Lesson Prep for Small Group|
1. God is hard task master, unable to please, full of wrath, ready to punish.
2. God is only known through life's experiences and physical explanations, therefore, rely on perceptions.
3. God will exact less than what we deserve because he knows we're human, so just try to do your best, realizing perfection is unreasonable.
Each "friend" of Job's ends his piece of advice seasoned with "hear, and know it is for your own good"... 5:27, 8:21, 11:15-19
Although each argument sounded plausible, Job refused to turn aside and doubt God.
|Testimony printed to carry everywhere with me|
Very weary of their comforting advice,
Job stood firm and testified...
He had a Redeemer.
He had a witness before God, testifying for him.
He knew he would see God for himself.
He knew he was upright and that his hands were clean, making his strength stronger.
He knew his God watched the way he chose... and
He knew when his God's purpose was fulfilled, he would be shining as gold.
Job stated firmly the substance his FAITH held, in unseen evidence.
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1