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Bible Insights

Job Affirms God

Consider What Job Believes in the Midst of His Suffering

After Bildad’s attack, Job stares into the distance. He sits in silence as if this time he will not respond. Still, his anger bubbles within him, slowly at first and then building until it boils. He scans the three men and closes his eyes. He draws in a deep breath, filling his lungs as if for a final salvo.

“How long will you three persist in tormenting me? Why do you insist on continuing to pile your heavy words on my back? If I am in error, then it is my issue and none of your business.

“I cry out to God for help, but I receive no justice. For some reason he opposes me and stays distant. He’s taken away my honor. In his anger he treats me like an enemy, sending his army to surround me and place me under siege.

“What little family I have left, God has estranged them from me. Everyone I know has deserted me. Even my servant ignores me when I beg for his help. My wife won’t even come near me. All I have left is this broken body.

“Why won’t you take pity on me? God has struck me. Why do you too? Must you also add to my pain?

“Yes, I know that God exists. He’ll vindicate me in the end. Soon I will die, and then I’ll see him with my own eyes. Oh, how my soul longs for that to happen.

“But as for you three, don’t worry about me. Worry about yourself and the judgment you will each face.”

Reflect on Job’s Situation

Job’s friends attack him with their words. And Job believes that God opposes him for a reason he can’t understand. The three men condemn Job out of their ignorance, and God seems to deny Job the justice he seeks.

Despite all this, Job continues to trust God with his eternal destiny.

Though Job roils in physical anguish and emotional turmoil now, he still expects that God will redeem him.

Job looks beyond the pain of his life to expect that when he dies, he will see God at last. Job believes.

And he can’t wait for that encounter to take place.

Questions

When has our faith wavered?

How can we keep our allegiance to God despite the circumstances of our life, whether deserved or undeserved?

Discover more about keeping our focus on God in Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 6:31–33, Matthew 22:37, and Colossians 3:2.]

This post is an excerpt from the Bible study devotional, I Hope in Him.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Job 19 and today’s post is on Job 19:25.]

Discover more about Job in Peter’s book I Hope in Him: 40 Insights about Moving from Despair to Deliverance through the Life of Job. 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

What Happened to Integrity?

May Our Life Honor God and Be an Example to Others

Integrity is largely missing in our world today. It looms as an out-of-date concept. Many even mock it as restrictive, limiting our desire to act however we want.

Integrity is an unwavering adherence to moral principles and ethical behavior. It’s being honest. It’s sound moral character.

Given this definition, don’t we want to deal with people of integrity? Certainly we expect the companies we do business with to act with integrity. But many do not.

Don’t we want our friends—especially our closest ones—to be people of integrity? And we desire that our family and loved ones will live lives of integrity.

Yet we must wonder if we act with the same integrity that we expect from others.

Integrity is also biblical.

Consider Job

In the Bible we see Job as a man of integrity. Even Satan, Job’s accuser, views him as a man of integrity (Job 2:3). So does Job’s wife (Job 2:9). And even Job himself (Job 27:5). In the end, God rewards him for it.

Other People in the Bible

The Old Testament says that David leads the people with integrity (Psalm 78:72). And Hananiah is a trustworthy man of integrity (Nehemiah 7:2).

Paul self identifies as a man of integrity (2 Corinthians 1:12). And he encourages Titus to do the same (Titus 2:7-8).

Lessons from Proverbs

The book of proverbs also covers this topic.

If we walk in integrity, we will walk securely (Proverbs 10:9).

Our integrity will guide us (Proverbs 11:3) and guard us (Proverbs 13:6).

Last, the bloodthirsty—implicitly evil people—will hate those with integrity (Proverbs 29:10).

Leadership

In Paul’s instructions to Timothy, he teaches his protegee to appoint leaders in the area. They must be people of integrity (1 Timothy 3:8), just as we expect from all our church leaders and spiritual mentors.

The Integrity of Jesus

Most importantly, we see throughout the four biographies of Jesus that he is a man of integrity.

Even Jesus’s detractors confirm this (Matthew 22:16 and Mark 12:14). Though their words may be disingenuous, complimenting him to catch him off guard, we realize they acknowledge an underlying truth that even they’re aware of.

Jesus’s life serves as an example for us to emulate, the best model we could follow. As we seek to be like Jesus, we will be people of integrity.

And as people of integrity, we will honor him, be an example to others, and serve as a witness to the world. And our actions will speak more powerfully than our words.

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

The Movie Secretariat

The movie Secretariat evokes this fitting quote:

Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?

Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting?

It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray.

It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword.

The quiver rattles against its side, along with the flashing spear and lance.

In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.

Although this is a most appropriate description of the mighty steed Secretariat, it was not written for him or the movie, but was penned several millennia before. It is from the book of Job in the Bible. The movie quotes directly from the NIV version (Job 39:19-24).

Secretariat is an inspiring, feel-good flick about a magnificent racehorse, his will to win, and his big, strong heart. It is also a movie about the determination and drive of his owner to make it happen, fulfilling the vision of her late father.

Secretariat is not only a movie most worthy of our time to watch, but as a bonus, it is also family friendly. From a production standpoint, it is top-notch, especially with believable recreations of the races themselves.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Job 37-39, and today’s post is on Job 39:19-24.]

Discover more about Job in Peter’s book I Hope in Him: 40 Insights about Moving from Despair to Deliverance through the Life of Job. 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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Bible Insights

Job Can’t See the Big Picture

God Perspective Matters More

As readers of the book of Job, we are privy to the whole story: Satan torments Job in an effort to prove that Job’s Godly devotion is conditional, that it is dependent on circumstances.

Job, however, does not have the luxury of this grand view. All he knows is that his once amazing life is now in shambles. He is in pain, and with seemingly nothing left to live for, he wants to die and end his misery.

With a limited view of God and not knowing the back-story, Job’s only conclusion is that this is God’s doing. His perspective is to blame God.

Job lacks an understanding of God’s overarching purpose at work. Job is unaware that once he proves himself faithful and that the enemy, Satan, is proved wrong, all that Job lost will be restored—two-fold (Job 42:10).

In many ways we are like Job. We lack a comprehension of God’s overarching plan and end up blaming God for our pains, our disappointments, and our anger.

If we could just see a glimpse of God’s big picture, then we would know that he in not the source of our frustration, that it lies elsewhere; we would see the reward that awaits us if we but stay on course.

Job did just that, even though he didn’t see God’s big picture.

Discover more about Job in Peter’s book I Hope in Him: 40 Insights about Moving from Despair to Deliverance through the Life of Job. 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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Bible Insights

Pray When it Doesn’t Make Sense

After Job’s so-called friends fail so miserably to comfort him in his time of need, after they criticize and malign him, God steps in. God puts them in their place for what they said and affirms that Job has spoken truth.

Then God tells the friends to prepare a sacrifice and to ask Job to pray for them.

Picture the situation. Job’s life is in shambles. He is destitute and in pain, despising life itself. The only people who will even talk to him, attack him and his character, pulling him down even further. Then they have the audacity to ask him to pray for them!

If you were Job, how would you respond?

Praying for them would be a hard thing to do; it would be far easier to give them the payback they deserve, but not Job. In the midst of his torment, he prays for his misguided friends even though they seem to be in a much better state than he is.

God accepts Job’s prayers—and then restores his fortunes twofold.

What if Job had refused to pray for his friends, might God’s response have been different?

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Job 40-42, and today’s post is on Job 42:7-10.]

Discover more about Job in Peter’s book I Hope in Him: 40 Insights about Moving from Despair to Deliverance through the Life of Job. 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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Bible Insights

Does God Accept Your Prayers?

Job Prays for His Misguided Friends Who Criticize Him, and God Accepts His Prayers

The book of Job is dialogue sandwiched between the story’s prelude and epilogue. The prelude, or premise, is that Job will remain devout to God regardless of how Satan might afflict him (Job 1-2).

In the epilogue, or conclusion, God repudiates the assertions of Job’s friends, affirms Job, and blesses him twofold (Job 42:7-16).

The intervening verses present chapter-long discourses from Job’s friends and Job’s equally long rebuttals. Then God speaks (Job 40:6-41:34). The story could end there, with God having the final word.

Instead God deals with our story’s main characters, too. He’s mad at three of Job’s friends, his primary detractors. (The fourth friend escapes mention, receiving neither criticism nor affirmation.) God instructs the trio to offer a sacrifice in Job’s presence.

Then Job will pray for them. When he does, God will accept Job’s intercession for these men and not punish them, as they deserve (Job 42:7-9).

Notice that God does not command Job to pray. What if Job decides he won’t intercede for his friends? After how they’ve failed to support him, he would be justified in snubbing them and letting God deal with them as they deserve.

Yet God knows Job. He knows Job’s heart. He knows Job will pray for these men even though they let him down.

And God says he will accept Job’s prayer.

Before Job even utters the words, God decides to honor what his follower will pray. What an affirmation of Job’s godly character and God’s esteem for him.

Imagine God saying that about you or me. Knowing our overall character, he acknowledges he will answer our prayers before we say one word.

May our relationship with God be like Job’s, with hearts so attuned to God that he will say “yes” before we even say “please.”

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Job 40-42, and today’s post is on Job 42:7-9.]

Discover more about Job in Peter’s book I Hope in Him: 40 Insights about Moving from Despair to Deliverance through the Life of Job. 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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Bible Insights

Sometimes It’s Best to Say Nothing

When Job’s Friends Try to Comfort Him, Their Words Only Deepen His Distress

The Bible tells the story of Job, how Satan took everything from him: his possessions, his children, and his health. Left in deep pain with an unsupportive wife, four of Job’s friends come to offer comfort, but they fail. They should say nothing.

Most of the book of Job records the back and forth dialogue between Job and his friends.

They give pompous speeches as Job struggles with his tenuous grasp of his faith in God. His friends do not help him feel better (Job 16:2-3). A reoccurring theme throughout the book of Job is that his friends’ words are unhelpful and received as torment (Job 9:3, 11:2, 16:2, 19:2, 21:3, 26:2).

Job grows exasperated with their failed attempts to offer support. He wishes his friends would just keep quiet (Job 13:13). He says that by speaking no words, they would actually better display their wisdom (Job 13:5).

Though this might be a bit of hyperbole on Job’s part, he offers us some wise advice.

Often words are inadequate, and sometimes words hurt more than they help. Job didn’t need his friends to try to explain his situation, offer a theological response, or interject their own personal experiences. They could have helped him more by simply being present and saying nothing.

Offering others our presence may be exactly what they need, but we can mess that up when we attempt to offer them our words too. Anyone can go and just be with a friend in need.

The best friends know when to talk and when to be quiet. And the best gift is often the gift of silence, to say nothing.

Just ask Job.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Job 13-16, and today’s post focuses on Job 13:5.]

Discover more about Job in Peter’s book I Hope in Him: 40 Insights about Moving from Despair to Deliverance through the Life of Job. 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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Bible Insights

Four Lessons from Job about Devotion to God

Job Professes His Spiritual Practices

The words of Job’s friend Eliphaz fail to comfort him. Instead they stir up anger. With a friend who speaks like Eliphaz I’d be angry too. In Job’s reply to his so-called friend, he professes what he has done to align himself with God. He claims his practices prove his devotion to his Lord.

Job Follows God

Job says that he follows closely behind God. It’s as if he walks in God’s shadow, placing each step in the footprint of his Lord. With intention he trails after God, focusing on staying right behind him.

Job Resists Distractions

Job follows God with unswerving dedication. He keeps his eyes fixed on God, walking in his path. Job does not look to his left or to his right. He tunes out worldly distractions so he can remain steadfast in keeping aligned with God, going everywhere that God goes.

Job Obeys God’s Commands

Next Job says that he keeps the commands of God. He listens to what God says and follows his words with unswerving commitment. It’s as if Job pauses in expectation for God to speak. Then he immediately obeys him, doing everything he says to do.

Job Treasures God’s Words

Job ends his testimony saying that he values God’s words more than food. Though we might think this refers to the written Word of God, the Bible, it does not. Job likely lives in a time before the Scriptures existed. This means Job treasures the spoken words of God.

Job would rather feed his soul by listening to God then feed his body by eating food. For Job to hear God speak, Job must remain in close relationship with him.

The Outcome of Job’s Devotion

Job is a man who carefully follows God with singular focus, obeying him and valuing everything he says. It’s an example of godly devotion we will do well to follow.

You’d think that for Job’s dedication, God would bless him and keep him from discomfort. Yet for this time in Job’s life, he is in much distress and God’s blessings are absent in his life. Though a positive and pleasant outcome await Job, it’s far removed from his present life.

This is a hard reality to accept and to comprehend. Yet there are two things we must remember. First, God is Sovereign and can do whatever he wants.

We must accept this truth even if we don’t like it.

Second, there is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. He loves us regardless of what we do or don’t do. In the end, we, like Job, will see God’s blessing and reward. Until then we should follow Job’s example of devotion to our Lord.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Job 21-24, and today’s post is on Job 23:11-12.]

Discover more about Job in Peter’s book I Hope in Him: 40 Insights about Moving from Despair to Deliverance through the Life of Job. 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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Bible Insights

Are Our Beliefs Flawless or Flawed?

If We Claim to Know the Truth, That Implies Every Other Perspective Is Wrong

The book of Job is mostly dialogue between Job and his four “friends,” with God having the final word—as he should. The words of Job’s four friends aren’t much help.

At one point in Zophar’s monologue he claims that Job said his beliefs are flawless and he is pure before God. No one stands pure before God, just as no one is flawless in what they believe.

However, today many people carry this same assumption about themselves: that their beliefs are flawless. Yes, we must seek truth in our pursuit of God, but we must hold it loosely. After all, we might be wrong.

Unfortunately, not many people see it this way. They see their viewpoints as unassailable and without fault. This implies that all other perspectives are in error. These other people are, therefore, wrong in what they believe.

When it comes to matters of faith, it seems no one stands in complete agreement with anyone else. Though some may hold views closely aligned with what others say, 100 percent harmony doesn’t happen.

Or if it does, it doesn’t last long. Inevitably differences of opinion will occur.

That’s a huge factor as to why we have 42,000 denominations in our world today. When people disagree, they draw lines. They push away those with different beliefs, even those with slightly different views.

Our Beliefs are Flawed

Yet no one’s beliefs are flawless, and that includes our own.

Instead of arrogantly assuming our beliefs are faultless, we should instead adopt the humble viewpoint that our beliefs are flawed: mine, yours, everyone’s. It’s as if we’re seeing through a mirror dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12).

What we know now, what we think we know now, we see in part. And for now, that needs to be enough. Later, we’ll see in full, but that won’t occur while we’re on this planet. It will happen later.

For now we must humbly accept the reality that our theology is incomplete, that no matter how sincere, our beliefs are flawed.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Job 9-12, and today’s post is on Job 11:4.]

Discover more about Job in Peter’s book I Hope in Him: 40 Insights about Moving from Despair to Deliverance through the Life of Job. 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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Bible Insights

Is it Okay to Contend with God?

Job and His Friends Contend with God

Job’s life has crumbled. His wife turned on him. And his friends don’t help. After listening to their back-and-forth dialogue that accomplishes nothing, God interjects. At last he speaks.

At one point God says, “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?” (Job 40:2). In this rhetorical question, two thoughts stand out. The first is the idea of contending with God, and the second is correcting him.

Contend with God

Though we could view God’s question as implying that he doesn’t want us to contend with him, I don’t think this is what he means.

One understanding of the word contend is to debate. Another is struggle. When it comes to God, these are strong words. It seems foolish for us to debate God, to struggle with him. God is sovereign. And we are far less than sovereign. Who are we to question him?

Yet I can’t think of any place in the Bible where God punishes his people for contending with him when they do so with respect. I can’t find a single verse that commands us not to question God or debate his ways.

In fact, I think God enjoys it when we ask questions—serious, soul-wrenching questions, just like Job.

For in asking questions, we seek him. And that’s what he wants.

Correct God

However, there’s a right way to contend with God and a wrong way. The wrong way is when we think we know better than him, when we try to correct him and tell him he made a mistake.

When we do this, we forget God is sovereign, and we try to elevate ourselves over him. This is foolish. And it separates us from God. This isn’t what he wants from us.

The Bible says, be angry and sin not (Ephesians 4:26). In parallel fashion, we can also say, contend with God and don’t correct him. That gives us the balance we need. God enjoys our sincere questions, but we must never forget he is our sovereign Creator and we are the created.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Job 40-42, and today’s post is on Job 40:2.]

Discover more about Job in Peter’s book I Hope in Him: 40 Insights about Moving from Despair to Deliverance through the Life of Job. 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.