Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So that's Job's problem...I 'see'

This week's Bible lesson on Reality brings out the importance of how we 'see' or understand what is really going on. We must 'see' through God's eyes. Understand His creation as He made it, including ourselves.

Once, Job was the subject of my year-long study. I was always puzzled by just what it was that he had been doing wrong. It seemed so unfair for him to suffer all those losses and be in such discomfort. It didn't match up with my concept of God as divine Love if Job could have such afflictions just to win a bet with the devil. So, I decided to dig into the Responsive Reading part of our lesson, where first Elihu and then Job are speaking. It has helped me 'see' this story a bit better, reminding me of what I learned in the study years ago.

Elihu, one of Job's friends that has come to commiserate with him in all his distress, has charged Job with saying that there is no advantage to being righteous. Sometimes when we find ourselves in pretty dire straits and can't figure out why this is happening to us, we might be tempted to take that same line of reasoning. "I've been pretty good, I go to church often, I read the lesson during the week, I don't break any of the Commandments. I've even prayed about this situation and yet, nothing changes and here I am in this mess. Why should I be good all the time if I'm going to end up struggling this much?" Elihu responds to that in this speech, maintaining the wisdom of God's rule. God's purpose, according to Elihu, is to improve man and teach him, to purify him. Later in the lesson we will have the Beatitude about the pure in heart 'seeing' God.

Elihu has reminded Job to look up, to raise his thought, and 'see' the wonder of God in all His glory. 'See' His wisdom and strength. That is what we are to behold, not the so-called wisdom and power of evil or error. Right in the midst of our troubles we need to stand still and turn our thought to Him, away from the problem. God is real, the problem is not. He never created it, we did.

What I came to 'see' about Job was that his faults were pride of intellect and pride of his innocence. He studied the Word diligently, but did not express the spirit of it. He believed himself pure and innocent, but he spent his days sacrificing at the temple for the sins he saw in his children. He believcd in God but did not trust in His goodness. We can identify with that. We 'hear' about God, but do we really 'see' what God is, do we get the allness of Good and the nothingness of anything unlike good. If God didn't create it, then it can't be real, it can't have power, it is not the boss of us. God is. And He loves us unconditionally, every moment of every day. He does not turn away from us, we turn away from Him. This lesson is a call to turn back, look up, and 'see'.

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