READ: Job 36-39
THINK: A little knowledge of God can be a dangerous thing. If misinterpreted, misused or misapplied it can easily mislead, causing people to misjudge God and others. Though Elihu gives a fairly accurate and articulate description of God's wonders, his argument contains misconceptions about sin, suffering, obedience and prosperity. Had Job's faith not been firmly grounded, he might have been convinced to repent of a sin he didn't commit, just to reclaim prosperity he'd lost, confirming Satan's claim that Job served God for personal benefit. A relationship with God isn't based on intellectual understanding of how He works, nor is it a matter of getting all He has to offer. What matters is the reality of His presence and the assurance that things are right between you and God. This humble confidence, which comes from loving, trusting and obeying God, provides strength to endure any difficulties you might face.
RESPOND: Though we must be prepared to graciously defend our faith, why must we be cautious of speaking for God or trying to defend Him (36:2-4)? Why did God himself interrupt the debate? (See 38:1 note.) How had everyone in the conversation to this point spoken without knowledge (38:2)? How was God's response an answer to Job's prayer? (See 38:1 note, subpoints 1 & 2.) Did God ever reveal why Job suffered? Why or why not? (See 38:3 note, subpoint 1.) Why didn't God hold Job's extreme words against him? (See 38:3 note, subpoint 2.) What was the main focus of God's speech? (See 38:4 first note.) How did God correct Job's view of justice, and why didn't God condemn him for a lack of understanding? (See 38:4 second note.) Why did God continue to ask questions Job couldn't answer? (See 39:1 note.) Though Job couldn't refute God, how did God's reply reassure Job? (See 39:1 and 39:2 notes.)
PRAY: Ask God for strength to stand for your faith in Him, for wisdom regarding what to say and when, and for humility in how you come across to others. Give thanks for God's Word, His power and His ability to defend himself.
ACT: Think of an issue in your life that you've persistently questioned or complained to God about. Has your attitude reflected disrespect or lack of trust in God? If so, repent for the attitude and thank God for not holding your lack of understanding against you. Turn your attention to what you can learn, how you can grow closer to God and how you can honor Jesus through the situation. Then rely on God, respond faithfully, and leave the outcome to Him.
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