Title: God’s Counsel As Light
Date: June 7, 2022
It’s so easy these days to feel troubled, frustrated and afraid. Without listing the problems our nation and world face, it’s hard not to ask why and wonder, “Lord when are you going to come in and save the day? When will you snuff out the wicked? When will you part our Red Sea?”
These questions in themselves are not the problem, but the distrust that can go along with them is! This morning I found myself parked in Job for a while and even though it’s not uplifting like the Psalms or full of adages like Proverbs, I found it very comforting and also extremely wise. It is filled with valuable lessons and we will be looking at one of those nuggets today.
As I was reading the title of today’s chapter, “The Lord Speaks,” I actually wondered how many times God was recorded to audibly speak to a human in the Old Testament. I found out the number was over 2000 times. It is estimated that the chronology of the Old Testament from beginning to end covers more than 1500 years. So basically the Lord chose to speak directly to humans on an average of a little more than once a year. Whether or not it happened annually or all in one year, I do not know. But the point is that in the grand scheme of things, hearing God’s audible voice is rare. How seriously we should take those times into account!
One of those critical and teachable moments where God spoke audibly is found in the book of Job. You probably know the story of Job’s hardships. It was beyond what anyone could ever imagine. Job was a godly man who had come to the end of his rope. One of Job’s friends was trying to console him by reminding Job of God’s infinite knowledge and power. He was trying to get Job to understand that God’s ways are higher than ours. But God knew that Job’s friend Elihu was not making any headway…. So God spoke!
Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this who darkens counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place? When I said, ‘This far you may come and no further, here is where your proud waves halt!’ Have you ever given orders to the morning or showed the dawn its place that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it? The earth takes shape like clay under a seal, its features stand out like those of a garment. The wicked are denied their light, and the upraised arm is broken. Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me if you know all this.”
This goes on for the remainder of chapter 38 and for a couple more. I highly suggest you read them. The Lord had a lot to say to Job. And what I find so sweet about this is that the Lord did not leave one stone unturned. It was not to boast of who He is, but to comfort His hurting and broken child in a time of need, to remind him of the all-powerful God who redeems hardships and turns them into beauty. If you read the end of the book of Job you will find a happy ending: a renewed life!
What really stopped me cold though as I was reading chapter 38 was the first sentence God spoke: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” Now if those words alone do not cause us to rethink when we question God, then we need to begin right there! When we wonder why we are anxious or frustrated, here we can find our answer. How do we expect to find peace when we are “darkening God’s counsel?” Perhaps this is why the Lord took so much time in addressing Job’s hurt and questioning heart. We can all learn from this!
One commentary I read described it this way: “Those that go about to call God to an account MUST EXPECT to be chastised and called to an account themselves, that they may be made sensible of their ignorance and arrogance!” Yikes, those are some tough truths! I think I may need to read that chapter daily, to remind myself every time the storm gets a little darker or when it seems like the world and all its madness continues to march on unabated.
I love Job’s response to God at the end of his lesson in chapter 42:2-3:
“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”
When we are in that season of questioning, this would be a great memory verse. Perhaps we could save ourselves much unnecessary grief if we could learn to speak out these verses from Job, long before we go down the rabbit hole of doubt!
Lord, we ask and pray today that you forgive us for not trusting Your perfect and flawless plan, and please lead us to that place that is much higher than ourselves. May we never darken your counsel but rather lighten it. And may we sincerely boast that “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
1 Chronicles 29:11
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours; yours, O Lord, is the kingdom, you are exalted as head over all.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts then your thoughts.
Two of my daughters live in Texas. We are currently speaking with an architect about building a home there in order to spend more time with them and our grandchildren when my husband retires. There is much planning and talk about the “foundation” of the home. This got me thinking…. How is it we still blindly trust the capability of human hands? Enough that all of us in our own man-made homes trust going to sleep each and every night, never questioning whether or not the walls will hold or whether or not the roof will fall in?
If we don’t lose sleep over that, why then do we lose sleep over anything this life throws at us? When the Master Architect literally laid the “foundations” of the earth and carefully orchestrated and planned out each of our days? How much more should we trust Him over imperfect human hands! Let us once and for all lighten His counsel, trusting He will carefully bring us to the finish line, beautifully completing His work. And on that glorious day it will all finally make perfect and unquestionable sense. All fears and doubt will be erased. Halleluiah!
Delighting in safe pasture,