Israel has a very unique mission to go and establish a heavenly kingdom on this earth. They have a unique calling to dominate a land, setup a place for God to dwell, and worship our God in the midst of the Canaanite land. One would think that Israel has this calling because they are a great people with a wonderful history. Does the Lord pick them because there is something special about them as a people? Or does the Lord pick them to make clear that there is something special about God?
Job has tried to reason with the men who have come to encourage him. However, in Job’s mind he is not gaining any traction. The counselors are still convinced that Job has unconfessed sin or a specific sin that warrants God’s punishment. The irony is that Job and the counselors are not in complete disagreement, but Job has been trying to tell the counselors that there is something wrong with the world as they know it. What is Job going to say to the Lord? What is the basis of Job’s trial?
We can learn a lot from tradition and from many who have gone before us. We can learn because they are people who have had struggles, setbacks, and experienced success like we have. We can learn how to cope in each of these situations from the generations before us. However, Job does not seem that persuaded by the generations who have gone before him. In fact, Job pretty much rebukes the counselors for listening to wisdom that is traditional for them. What is Job’s problem? Why does Job seem to doubt the credibility of wisdom and those who have gone before him?
The rebellious generation has been purged and Moses is about to die. So, Moses addresses the people of Israel exhorting them to remember their God and to remember their mission in the land. What is their mission in the land? What is their unique calling as a nation? What is their purpose as they enter this unique land at a unique time in their history?
There are times when it is easy for us as New Testament saints to see ourselves in a different place from the Old Testament saints. In other words their struggle was their struggle and we have a completely different sort of struggle. Is this a mindset that is consistent with Scripture? How are we exhorted in Hebrews as a people called to honor the Lord? What are we to learn from the Old Testament saints?
Men have scheduled their time to meet with Job and encourage him. We have heard two of the counselors and now we have the opportunity to hear from a third counselor. The counselors have not successfully encouraged Job in the Gospel. Job is one who has claimed his own self-righteousness before the Lord claiming that he can hold God accountable. Is this new counselor going to be the voice of reason who lays out the gospel? Is there going to be someone who understands that Job is not fighting against God? Will this speech help Job understand that God is not His enemy, but the very strength of his life?
We can imagine the frustration that Job feels in the midst of this trial. His counselors accuse him of sinning, he has been told to repent, and Job has no idea what sinful thing he has done to deserve this trial. None of the counselors consider that maybe Job’s problem is not directly his sin, but his righteousness. Job is brought to a breaking point to make explicit that he is really righteous and he wants to appeal to God. So, when can our righteousness become a problem? Or is our righteousness never a problem?
What is so rebellious about Moses striking the rock two times? We might think that this is a question that is out of line, but Moses is commanded to strike the rock in Exodus 17. Why is it okay for him to strike the rock in Exodus 17, but not okay for him to strike the rock in Numbers 20? What does Moses do that is so bad? Is God just a moody being who judges people in a very vindictive and unpredictable way? What did God intend the people to see through Moses?
One would think that after experiencing the passover, the exodus, and the crossing of the Red Sea that the end of the story for Israel would be, “and they lived happily ever after.” This is not the way that the story ends. In fact, the story is still going on even today. How come the people of God did not find their full rest in the promised land? How come they did not find their full joy and contentment in the Lord? Does the Lord deprive His people of something or is the problem even deeper? Is there something that applies to us today?
Job’s friends came together with the purpose to rally around him and encourage him. Eliphaz has not done a great job of helping Job as Eliphaz implied that Job deserved this suffering. Now, it is time for the second counselor to try. Will Bildad encourage Job? Is there something we can glean from Bildad as he tries to encourage Job?