After All – Job 42. RBT Notes, 31st January

If Leviathan can look down on God’s creation in his effortless power (41.34), how much more the Lord Himself? He looks, He sees, He remembers. And yet He does all of it, not in superior haughtiness, but in the deepest love and compassion. This is our God. And this is the message of Go. Job is always in control. He never needs to explain Himself to His creation, but He is working out good and wise plans for it, and at the heart of them is the good of His people.

Job now opens his mouth. He has to speak. But what can he say? The God whose justice he’s clung onto in desperate hope, he now meets, in all of His overwhelming grandeur. What would you say? Surely even the best of our worship, and our strongest moments of faith, are the flimsiest responses to a God whose glory we have seen in Christ, but have barely begun to understand? The God we know, after all, inhabits ways which are “too wonderful for us to know” (v.3).

One day we will open our mouths to God. Will we argue, complain, rage, or question? No. We will confess that He is the Lord, and we will bow down in worship. Our eyes will see Him (v.5). We will be satisfied, and delighted, as we lay ourselves before Him, and hear His voice.

Heaven is the home of all of our lasting happiness. Job received his reward for his faith in this life. Almost fairytale-like, he receives his prosperity again, lands, livestock, wife and children, old age and grandchildren (vv.10-16). And there’s a thought here: remember those friends, with their angle-grinding theology of sin and judgement which they attacked Job with, and for which God blames them (vv.7-9)? Well, after God Himself showed them that they were wrong, He gives them a ringside seat to His own sort of retribution.This is not the punishment of Job’s so-called sin, but the overflowing generosity of His reward for Job’s faithfulness in all of his trials. Satan is conquered, bad theology is slaughtered, Job is vindicated, God reigns, and declares His rule of love to the world. One day all of creation will see the rule of love in Christ, and all will sing Hallelujah.

 

A Prayer to Pray 

Lord God Almighty, Your ways of grace are too wonderful for me. And yet, they are all mine in Your Son. Teach me to treasure and hold all that You have given me in Him. Teach me also to let go of those things which are gifts for a season, however precious. And keep my heart strong, that I might look ahead with increasing excitement to the gift above all else, Your waiting Son. Amen.

 

The Weight of Glory – 2 Corinthians 4 – RBT Notes, 4th November

If the Gospel changes people like nothing else can, then its servants have no reason to lose heart in ministering it. No reason at all (v.1). Nor do we have any reason to resort to shady dealings in Gospel service (v.2).

But if the Gospel is so powerful, why does it look so powerless, as our hearers often reject it, and as we go through so much trouble in proclaiming it? Well, says Paul, Satan is hard at work, blinding people to it (vv.3-4). It’s not a clearer sermon people need, ultimately, or a more compelling witness: it’s the work of the Spirit, doing the very work God did in creation, shining light into darkness, this time the darkness of sin-blighted and Satan-blinded hearts, to show them Jesus in His glory (vv.5-6). And He loves to do just that.

So, Satan is at work, but God is stronger. What about us? Every Gospel servant discovers, sooner or later, just how weak she or he is. The Gospel is the treasure, not us. We are like the clay jar – cheap, fragile, and feeling distinctly disposable, knocked about, and pretty worthless (vv.7-9). We’re called to suffer as we serve, just as Jesus did. As we live out His life (and only as we do so), we find the power of the Spirit working in and through us; not crushed, not despairing, not abandoned, not destroyed. God is holding onto us. And we are bruised so that others find life in Jesus. Gospel service is “we die, you live” (v.12).

So, do not lose heart. Eternal glory will come, and will far outweigh our troubles. Dare we believe that our problems, real as they are, are actually “light and momentary” (v.17)? It depends if we’re feeling the pressing weight of heaven. We should, and we must. One day heaven will be here.

 

A Prayer to Pray

Lord, my trials knock me down. Lift me back up. Lord, I lose perspective, and so I lose hope. Please drive the truths of this precious chapter into my heart. Feed me with its truths. Teach me that the reward is almost in sight, and help me to press on in Gospel sacrifice until the Day comes. Amen.