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A Temporary Human Experience

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Today’s Bible Reading: Job 37-39:30; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:10; Psalm 44:9-26; Proverbs 22:13

Old Testament

After Elihu is finished speaking (finally!) God speaks to Job in Job 38. God has been watching and listening to all that was going on over the previous 36 chapters. Now He is going to set somethings straight.

Job had asked God to explain why he was suffering. But God does not answer that question. Instead He asks Job a bunch of questions of His own – none of which Job can answer. Only God can answer them. These questions were not meant to make Job feel foolish or to chastise Job for his thoughts. God is not like that. His goal is not to belittle us but to build us up.

God asked Job all these rhetorical questions to remind Job of how awesome and powerful He is. By speaking to Job God revealed His presence to Job. So Job could now feel a sense of comfort in knowing that 1) God had not abandoned him as he had thought and 2) God was so powerful that He could overcome any of Job’s troubles.

I think Job was relieved to hear from God. His callous friends made him feel like he was alone. But after hearing from God Job knew that was not the case. He knew God was with him and had been throughout the whole ordeal.

Not only did Job not know the answers to how the earth and the things on it worked, he did not have mastery over any of it either (job 39:10). God is trying to point out that although we humans think we are wise and have the answers to some of life’s problems we really don’t know much at all. But God does.

This simple fact should humble us. But instead we claim knowledge without adequate evidence (e.g. evolution) or dismiss such questions as irrelevant. While these questions may not affect our daily lives, they are not irrelevant. Pondering them puts us in our rightful place and God in His rightful place. Only then can we have an honest relationship with God. We can’t have a relationship with Him if we think less of Him than we should or think more of us than we should.


New Testament

The ultimate goal of anyone’s ministry should be to glorify God (2 Corinthians 4:15) as was Paul’s. Our glory is not the goal. The goal is God’s glory. Bringing glory to ourselves cannot save anyone. Only by bringing glory to God can other people be saved.

And that is exactly why Paul went through much suffering to deliver the Gospel to others (2 Corinthians 4:16). The trials he went through as well as the results that he saw (people being saved) renewed his spirit. Paul realized that the troubles we go through on this earth are nothing compared to what is to come. The troubles will pass – if nothing else when we die – but eternal life lasts forever (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

Our current bodies are tents – temporary dwelling places – just like the tents the Israelites lived in in the desert or the tent of the Tabernacle. Just as these were eventually replaced, someday we will have a permanent home – new bodies that last forever (2 Corinthians 5:1). These bodies won’t break down and will never die. I am looking forward to that!

Notice that we are spirits (2 Corinthians 5:1-2). We are not human beings in search of a spiritual experience. We are spirit beings enduring a temporary human experience.

As we go through these difficult lives it can be hard to take comfort in an eternity that seems so far away. That is why God gives each believer the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a guarantee that God will complete His promise (2 Corinthians 5:5). Notice that God is preparing us for eternity through these trials and hardships. Nothing that happens to us on this earth is wasted, unless we don’t learn from it.

The basis of the Christian life is living for something we know is true but cannot see (2 Corinthians 5:7). The world laughs at this notion calling it blind faith. But everyone does this all the time. We look forward to special events in our lives and doing so helps us make it through the mundane and difficulties we face everyday. A simple example: we trudge through the work week looking forward to the weekend. Everyone executes this “blind faith” 52 times a year.

Christians will not face judgement as to whether we will go to heaven or hell. That has already been decided for us when we accepted Jesus’ payment for our sins. But we will have to answer for how we lived after accepting Jesus (2 Corinthians 15:10). God will judge our deeds and our motives. Paul already discussed this in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. How we lived after being adopted into God’s family will determine the eternal rewards we will receive.


Proverbs

I found Proverbs 22:13 very interesting. Sometimes what might seem like a legitimate justification for not doing something is actually laziness. This verse has made me determined to evaluate my reasons in the future for passing on opportunities. Maybe I’m actually just being lazy.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post

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