The Fear of the Lord; September 23, 2020


Job 33:29-30 “God does all these things to a man– twice, even three times– to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him.”

Elihu is a very interesting character in Job, because he is not one of Job’s three friends whom God said were sadly mistaken, but appears to be a younger man who had overheard the discussion. (Job 32:1-5) That leaves it open to the interpretation that everything he says is entirely correct, and indeed, I have heard it expressed that he is actually a Christ-figure. In this section he is talking about how God uses illness to draw people into a right relationship with Him. These days we hesitate to attribute anything even remotely unpleasant to God, but that is hardly the Biblical standpoint. God isn’t mean, certainly, but He understands that there are lots of things more important than our immediate comfort. I am reminded of the excellent point I have heard made about parenting, that the parent’s goal should not be to have the child love them, but to have them respect them. If that is there, then the love will follow and be much deeper than it could be otherwise. That’s why the Bible talks about “the fear of the Lord” more than it does loving God. Respecting God as Creator and Lord is absolutely essential to what Jesus gave as the two greatest commandments. (Matthew 22:36-39) If we fail to have that foundation of respect, we will never grow to be the mature children of God that we were created to be. Until we recognize God’s absolute power, authority, and holiness, we will never realize the magnificence, the depth and height and breadth, of His gracious love for us. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

I am having a minor reminder of this, going into the hospital this morning to have a skin graft to patch the hole where a plug was taken out of my scalp because of a basal cell carcinoma. I anticipate some pain, both in the injection of local anesthesia at both surgical sites and in the recovery process, but I don’t consider that such a big deal. Of far more impact to me personally is the disruption in my schedule. Being in the hospital for about a week means a nursing school class has been rescheduled, but it’s the matter of not being here to prepare for Sunday’s service that weighs on me. I am being made sharply aware of how much I allow this church to depend on me, and what a weakness that is. Everything from preparing the Powerpoint for the songs to the sermon title for the street-level sign is going undone this week, and I have no control over the recording and live-stream of the service. That is remarkably hard to let go of emotionally! I need to praise God and thank Him for this lesson, being reminded on an ever-deeper level that this is His church and not mine, and allowing others to grow in their service to Him as well.

Father, thank You for this lesson. At the point I noticed that the reading for today was from Job I had a suspicion You would say something pointed to me! Thank You. Help me indeed receive every lesson You have for me with gratitude and joy, no matter how unpleasant it might be at the moment, so that I may be and do exactly what You desire, for the sake of the Body of Christ and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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