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Bible Insights

God Speaks to Job and to Us

When God Speaks, We Must be Ready to Listen

Job’s friends come to comfort him. At least that’s how it appears, but in actuality they’re not much help. Their words assault Job and his character. In exasperation Job goes on a sarcastic rant against his so-called friends and then becomes poetic as he contemplates God’s power.

He ends this part of his discourse by saying, “Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” (Job 26:14).

Job uses thunder to imply God. That’s a powerful metaphor.

Today, we have a scientific explanation for thunder. And even though we comprehend thunder in an intellectual way, it still produces an all-inspiring sound that gets our attention.

Imagine how the ancient world viewed thunder: loud, even booming, terrifying, powerful, unseen. It might be as close as they can come to comprehending God. Yet even this falls short, far short.

Like thunder, God is both powerful and unseen. Who can understand that? Also, like thunder, God can have a booming loudness. And he can be terrifying, too.

Yet in contrast, God can also be a still small voice, a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12). Which is it?

Both.

God Speaks to Job

Job is in the midst of unimaginable turmoil, of unbearable pain. Everything has been taken from him, except for his breath and his faith—and both of those are tenuous.

He seeks God for answers. He desires to hear God talk and explain what has been happening. He likely wants to hear the booming voice of God to assure him who’s in control and that there’s a purpose in all he has gone through.

In addition, if God spoke in a loud booming voice, not only would Job hear, but so would his unhelpful friends. God would put them in their place, or so Job hopes.

And, later, when God does speak to Job, it’s out of the storm (Job 38:1). And what accompanies a storm? Thunder, loud, booming, terrifying—both God and the storm.

When God speaks, are we listening? Click To Tweet

God Speaks to Elijah

When Elijah has his moment of doubt, he also waits for God to speak. First there’s a wind. Then an earthquake. And finally a fire. But God isn’t in those things. God isn’t loud, booming, or terrifying. Instead he is a gentle whisper. And when God’s whisper comes, Elijah is ready to listen (1 Kings 19:11-13).

God Speaks to Us

God can speak to us in many ways. Sometimes it’s loud and other times it’s soft. Maybe God speaks to us through nature, or friends, or circumstances. Through it all, God speaks to us.

The question is, are we listening?

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Job 25-28, and today’s post is on Job 26:14.]

Discover more in Peter’s new book Dear Theophilus Job: 40 Insights About Moving from Despair to Deliverance. In it, we compare the text of Job to a modern screenplay.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Raised from the Dead: More Biblical Mentions of Resurrection

Raised from the Dead: More Biblical Mentions of Resurrection

Discover What the Scripture Says About Overcoming Death

Last week we talked about the ten times the Bible records people raised from the dead. Now we’ll expand that thought and explore more Biblical references about people rising from the dead.

Valley of Bones

Ezekiel records a vision in which he sees the bones of a human army reassembling themselves and coming back to life. Although we could interpret this as a literal resurrection, it’s better seen as an allusion to what God plans to do in a spiritual sense.

Attached to this evocative vision is a prophetic word to the people of Israel telling them that God will bring them back to life and return them home to the promised land. It’s also a pledge of restoration into a spiritual afterlife (Ezekiel 37:1-14).

Two Witnesses

In similar fashion, John’s epic vision of the end times talks about two witnesses raised from the dead after three and a half days. Their resurrection terrifies all who see them. Then God calls them to join him in heaven.

Though we could interpret this vision in a literal sense that two people will come back to life at the end of time, we may be better off understanding the whole vision as allegory with us being raised from the dead and joining God in heaven (Revelation 11:1-14).

All Who Are God’s Children

As followers of Jesus, we carry a hope of being raised from the dead, too, and spending eternity in heaven with our creator and our Savior. Paul confirms this in his letter to the church in Ephesus when he reminds them that we’ll be raised from the dead through Jesus to join him in heaven (Ephesians 2:6).

Paul again addresses this in his letter to the church in Thessalonica. When Jesus comes again we’ll rise from the dead, be caught up in the clouds, and live with him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

Women Who Received Back Their Dead

In the book of Hebrews, we have one short sentence that states a fact without explanation. In the chapter about faith, the writer references women who received back their dead, people raised to life again. (Hebrews 11:35).

We don’t know who these people are or how many. It could refer to the son of a widow in Zarephath and the Shunammite woman’s boy, raised from the dead by Elijah and Elisha, respectively. Or could refer to other instances we aren’t aware of.

Regardless God raised people from the dead in the Old Testament.

Enoch

We must mention the Enoch, even though God didn’t raise him from the dead. This is because Enoch didn’t die. He skipped that step. He faithfully walked with God, and God took him away, presumably to join him in heaven (Genesis 5:24).

Elijah

Similar to Enoch, Elijah didn’t die either but went up to heaven in a whirlwind when his time here on earth was over (Elijah 2:11).

Isaac

We have the Old Testament story of God telling Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Though Abraham is willing, God provides an alternative to stave off Isaac’s death (Genesis 22:1-19).

The New Testament adds clarity to this passage. It says that Abraham was willing to carry out God’s command confident that God could resurrect Isaac, in effect raising him from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19).

When Jesus comes again, we’ll rise from the dead and live with him forever. Click To Tweet

Jesus Raised from the Dead

God provided Abraham with a ram, an alternate sacrifice instead of Isaac. For us today, Jesus is our alternate sacrifice.

When Jesus rose from the dead, he proved he was more powerful than death. Don’t miss this truth. And through him we, too, can move from this life to death to life again—eternal life.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Women in the Bible: The Widow of Zarephath

During a long drought and famine, God sends Elijah away from Israel to the city of Zarephath in Sidon where God directs a widow, a foreigner, to give Elijah food. When Elijah reaches the town gates, he see a widow and asks her for water and bread.

Though she is willing to fetch him water, she has no bread to share. In fact, she plans to use her last remaining provisions to make a final meal for her and her son, before they die of starvation.

Elijah tells her not to worry, to go home and prepare this meal for her and her son—but to first make a small loaf of bread for him. Through God, Elijah promises that her flour and oil will last until it rains again.

She does as Elijah instructs. As pledged, her supplies last, providing food for the three of them every day.

After a while, her son dies. The woman blames Elijah. He takes the dead boy to his room, imploring God to restore life to the lad. God does as Elijah asks.

When Elijah presents the boy to the widow, she finally acknowledges Elijah as a man of God.

Centuries later Jesus recounts this story, reminding the people that God didn’t send Elijah to any of the needy widows in Israel but to a foreigner. This infuriates them, and they try to kill him, but Jesus walks through the mob and leaves (Luke 4:24-26).

Sometimes God asks us to do things that don’t make sense. The Widow of Zarephath did what was illogical and lived.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 1 Kings 17-19, and today’s post is on 1 Kings 17:7-24.]

Get your copy of Women of the Bible, available in e-book, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Elisha Goes All in to Follow Elijah

Elisha’s Total Commitment to Follow Elijah Leaves No Option to Go Back

After Elijah has a meltdown of sorts, God reassures him that he is not alone and gives him several things to do. One of those tasks is to anoint his successor, Elisha.

Elijah finds Elisha plowing in a field. It’s a group effort, with twelve teams of oxen each pulling a plow. As the twelfth team, Elisha takes up the rear. This suggests he and his team are the least capable. Perhaps Elisha lacks experience, or his oxen aren’t that strong.

If he had other teams behind him and he went slow, that would slow them down too. That’s why he’s last.

Just as King David was the youngest of his brothers (1 Samuel 16:10-13), Elisha is the least of the teams plowing. Yet in both cases God picks the least.

Can I Say Goodbye First?

When Elijah taps Elisha, Elisha expresses interest, but he asks permission to say “Goodbye” first. Although Jesus will later criticize this type of response (Luke 9:61-62), Elijah does not.

But Elisha does more than just say goodbye. He throws himself a celebration party of sorts. How does he do this?

Elisha kills his team of oxen. Then he breaks up their yoke and his plowing equipment to build a fire. He roasts the meat and feeds the people. Once everyone has eaten, Elisha leaves to follow Elijah.

No Turning Back

When Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James, and John, they leave their boats and follow him. But they don’t destroy their boats. In fact, they still use their boats after becoming Jesus’s disciples. And after Jesus dies, these disciples return for a time to fishing.

Since their boats are still available, they have a backup plan. But Elisha doesn’t have a fallback option. When he decides to follow Elijah, he kills his oxen and destroys his equipment.

He has no work to return to if things don’t work out with Elijah and the call to become a prophet. He has no opportunity to go back. He’s committed. He’s all in.

Jesus wants us committed to him, to go all in, and with no option to return to what we left behind. Click To Tweet

And isn’t that what God wants of us? He wants us committed to him, to go all in, and with no option to return to what we left behind.

With Jesus, there should be no turning back.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is 1 Kings 17-19 and today’s post is on 1 Kings 19:19-21.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.