The Squeaky Wheel
Amazingly, Job really believes that if he calls on God, God will appear and answer him. This is astounding. He seems obstinately determined to talk to God face-to-face and to hear answers from God’s own lips, and he will not settle for anything less. Indeed the very essence of Job’s faith is this insistence on having a personal encounter—more than that, a personal relationship—with the Lord God Almighty (which is something I wish all of us could have). It is as if he knew and took absolutely literally the promise of Jesus, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9)
It is significant to understand that this verse in Luke comes after the parable of a man who needed bread in the middle of the night so he went pounding on the door of his sleeping friend. “I tell you,” Jesus concludes the story, “though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s persistence and boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.” Is it wrong to be stubbornly determined to have a speaking-terms relationship with God? No! On the contrary it is wrong not to be determined enough. “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door,” Jesus warned, “because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from’“ (Luke 13:24-25). Friends, the time to stand at the door of Heaven and knock and plead for entry is not later, but now
There is a similar moral behind the parable Jesus told about the persistent widow in Luke 18. She kept going back to the judge with the same plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary!” The judge kept refusing her, and then finally the judge said to himself, “Since this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her constant pleas.” That my friend, is what Job is doing. He is asking for justice and does it in the stubborn hope that somehow, in the final analysis, justice will prevail. It is amazing! This very stubbornness Yehoveh accepts as faith.
Here is another example, the prophet Habakkuk’s book begins, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (Habakkuk 1:2). The fact that God seems to be ignoring this prayer does not deter the prophet from continuing to call. Some of you consider this proof of the silliness of faith in God to begin with. Not Habakkuk, he is resolved to “stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts. I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint!” (Habakkuk 2:1)
How long the prophet had to wait for his answer we are not told. Apparently, the wait was well worth his while, because the next verse in the book declares, “Then the Lord replied.” Two verses later appear the famous words, “The righteous will live by his faith”—a statement so much admired by the New Testament apostles that they quote it no less than three times! (see Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:1; Hebrews 10:38).
All of us have questions for God. But hardly anyone is willing to hold out and wait (let alone to wheedle and pester the Lord) for an answer. Most people will not wait on God even for one minute. Why not? Frankly, I believe it is because we truly do not expect an answer. In our minds, praying and seeking the Lord is foolishness and a complete waste of time.
Sure Job’s friends were scandalized (as many religious people would be today). The are shocked by the very thought of bringing God directly and personally involved in their lives. “Just imagine!” they probably said exasperatedly. They must have thought; “What kind of a kook does this Job think he is, calling on God as though He were a person like you or I . . . and on top of that, actually expecting an answer?” “Hey, this is a serious theological discussion we are having, don’t go dragging any of this charismatic nonsense into it!”
But the message of Job, Habakkuk, Jesus’ parables on prayer and the lives of all serious believers over the centuries is the same: the word of the Lord comes without fail to those whose faith takes a peculiar form—the form of despair honestly and passionately expressed, combined with stubborn persistence in holding out for an answer.
If just a few people in a dead church would get down on their knees and rattle the gates of Heaven, refusing to be comforted until the Lord brought revival, then, I believe with my whole being, God would respond and “rend the heavens and come down” (Isaiah 64:1)! In the economy of the Holy Spirit, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.
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