Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Better Reason for Suffering - Learning from Elihu Job 32-33

From Job 32-33, we can learn 3 things from the young Elihu. They are how to present your idea, our loving God and the better reason for our suffering, and thirdly, the hope of salvation - wishing for the mediator between God and man.
Job's three friends insisted that Job must have sinned to incur the punishment from God but they could not point out the particular sin that Job had committed. Their reasoning and insistence only increased Job's suffering. A young man, Elihu, presented a different view on suffering and point towards the hope of having a mediator, an intercessor between God and man.

Here is the mind-map:
The 3 things that we can learn from Elihu:

1. On Debate:  How to Present Your Case

  • 1 Respect Others - let them say first 32v7
  • 2 Listen carefully first. 32v11-
  • 3 Say what the other say. 33v9-11
  • 4 Let the other confirm
  • 5 Say why you want to say 32v12,v17,18
  • 6 Say without prejudices and bias; not to praise nor condemn.
  • 7 Speak truthfully and sincerely 33v3
  • 8 Give other the opportunity to ask 33v5
  • 9 Speak on equal standing, not higher or lower 32v9, 21-22; 33v6
  • 10 not threatening and pressuring 33v7
  • 11 Encourage people to listen, accept v31
  • 12 Giving other the opportunity to challenge, expressing one's willingness to listen v32
  • "Seek first to understand and then be understood." ----Stephen Covey's 5th Habit for Effective People
2.  Our Loving God Saving Man from their fatal sin
  • God speaks twice, but men listen not 33v14
    • God speaks thru dreams and visions 33v15
    • through their ears and heart 33v16
  • God 's purpose: 
    • prevent man from following their evil plan out of pride 33v17
    • to keep them from falling into the pits, or killed. 33v18
  • But Man hears not 
    • God speaks thru their sickness - in bed, pains in bones 33v19, no apetite v20 weigt loss v21, nearness to death v22.
    • C.S. Lewis — 'Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains.
3 The Hope of Salvation Coming of Mediator 
  • God sends an messenger from His presence to teach man the way v23
  • With the intercessor, God will save man v24.
    • foretell of Jesus Christ
  • the restoration of body and life v25
    • The Result of Salvation - A New Life & New Body
  • the return to God's acceptance, presence, and righteousness v26
    • Reconciliation of God and Man
  • Sharing of Salvation and enligthenment v27-28
    • The Command to Spread the Gospels
  • God saving man 2-3 times v29-30
    • God tries many ways to save man.
Lim Liat (c) 11-1-15

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Job 2 The Deeper Test & Lessons Learned

Many people are upset when they read Job. They think God is toying with man and betting man's life to play game with Satan. The truth is far from such misunderstanding. Read on to find the truth.
Here is the mind-map that summarizes the lessons learned from the study of Job chapter 2:

  1. God is in charge of all, no matter what one may think.
    • Satan has to report to God and seek permission for what he wanted to harm
    • We should be comforted with this thought. The righteous and the good will win out. Please seek the purpose, put the trust in God and walk with Jesus through this valley of shadow of seemingly death.
  2. God is not betting with Satan. Neither is God playing with man as a chess piece.
  3. There are many ways to understand this suffering of Job
    1. It is about worship of God as the chief goal of man.
      • In chapter 1, Satan accused Job of worshipping God for personal gains - wealth, protection, family etc. and health in this chapter. Man just uses God as a means to gain wealth and health.
    2. God understands Job's true heart of worship.
    3. But there is no proof to show, especially the accuser Satan (whose job was to find faults) will demand the proofs.
      • Even Job was unsure, see Job 3:25 For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.
      • Job stayed away from evil.
        • He followed God commands.
        • He sacrificed for his children, just in case
        • He worship God first at his loss of children & possessions. This show Job's 1st thought is always on God.
      • Job put God above family, wealth and now even his own health. This is seen in 2v10 Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?"
    4. See suffering not as punishment but as training for maturity.
      • All champions go through intense training - to outsiders, they are torturing themselves!
      • Suffering and pains develop our character.
    5. God knows 100% that Job will pass the test.
      Only Satan does not know. It is not a bet but a sure win for Job and of God.
    6. As explained in the previous chapter notes, Job is God's ground to punish Satan's rebellion as Satan was created with greater ability than man. If the lower man can worship God how come the wiser and greater Satan can't?
  4. Just Curse God and Die for a Relief.- It is just a temporary but bad solution
    • Job's wife, being so close to Job and seeing his righteous life and the sufferings could not take it and suggested to Job to curse God to get relief from his frustrations and then die, as the punishment from cursing God, yet gaining relief.  If Job took his wife advice, it will just prove that Satan was right i.e. Job worships God for health and blessings.
  5. Job made God's Day
    • Job was able to stay calm and rebuked his wife. One should be able to take anything, good and bad, from God. God has His purpose. However, in the next chapter, Job wished either he was born or be dead.
  6. Job's Sickness is Great -It is no simple matter
    • Job's sickness was very great, a deformation and great pains, that his friends could not recognize him and they stayed with him quietly for seven days and nights.
  7. Presence is Great Comforting
    • Comforting our suffering friends need not be in words but just in presence will be good. In fact, his friends' words later, did not comfort but angered Job instead.
  8. Understanding the Purpose of Suffering will be Helpful
    • Job did not understand the purpose of his suffering. This made his suffering extremely tough that he cried to God for justice and understanding. Paul and other martyrs for God at least understood their purpose as suffering for Christ, as testimonies for Christ. 
by Lim Liat (c) 6 Jan 2014