In the midst of a crisis or trial, we need to understand He often leads us out of our distress softly and gently. We are almost unaware of all that He is doing. He “delivers the afflicted by affliction,” and in the adversity our ears are being opened to understand the faintest whisper of the Lord. You don’t realize that you’re being wooed. You are silently being drawn out of the jaws of distress—into a spacious place free from restriction or narrowness of vision. There will be no smallness of heart or lack of spiritual food. Your table will be “laden with choice food” or, as one translation says, “abundantly satisfied with the fatness of His house, and He will spread a table before him in the very presence of their enemies” (Psalm 23).
Elihu points out to Job that he has been talking too much about the judgment of the wicked. He also tells Job that he had better watch out for himself, so he’s not lured away from his position with God. How could that happen? It happened by leaning on his own sufficiency and being drawn aside from dealing with his own sin, because of the “greatness of the Ransom.” All of his riches, whether material or spiritual, all of his strength, wouldn’t sustain him during his times of distress. Only the Lord can bring us into the “spacious place that is free from restriction.”
The greatest danger to each one of us is our “self-sufficiency.” Once we have dealt with that and have learned to draw on the sufficiency of God, it is possible to be drawn aside, from our dependence on Him, by the very sufficiency He has given us!
Does that make sense, to you? Sometimes it seems like we can only grab hold of one aspect at a time of the stupendous sacrifice of Christ and the awful holiness of God. We are often either walking in a measure of bondage, judging our fellowship with God by our obedience. Or else we’re living in the grace of God, and the value of the shed blood of His Son are realized to such an extent we fail to deal severely with our sin and disobedience in our daily walk.
The Believer’s Choice
Job had been very arrogant when he was trying to vindicate himself and Elihu calls a spade a spade and iniquity, iniquity!
“Job, you better beware of neglecting to deal with your iniquity,” Elihu says. “You seem to prefer that to affliction; you choose to defend yourself rather than be silent and endure; you chose to take things into your own hands rather than trusting the Lord to be your vindicator.”
Every step you take in your walk with the Lord you have to make a choice, you can choose either the “wide road” . . .” or the “narrow road . . .” the easy way or the way of affliction and struggles. The best thing to do is choose, without hesitation, the right course and not even to glance at any other path, even if it seems like the right thing to do. You probably think that is the most obvious thing you have ever heard, but if you are placed in the kind of a trial as Job—what then?
“Who is a teacher like God?” exclaims Elihu, as he begins to unfold the patient dealings of God with His children, and the depth of His love toward us. How tenderly He shows us our work, opening our hearts to understand His instruction, delivering us from our bonds of fiery trials and gently luring us out into the “spacious place where there are no restrictions.”
“God is exalted in His power,” no one can really teach Him or “prescribe” His ways, no one can charge Him with unrighteousness. All we should do is “remember to extol His work” and remember that men can only look at it from afar. He is so great and awesome we can’t fully understand Him, as He is, and was, in the far back ages of eternity.
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