A few crumbs …

Feb-14-final (high quality)Are the consolations of God too small for you? (Job 15:11)

If there were only one Bible book that I could take into a period of solitary confinement, Job would be on the short-list. All of the theology about God’s character and sovereignty is juxtaposed against the complaints of one so vulnerable and human in his self-pity and pain.

Eliphaz was one of Job’s comforters. He and his friends were chastised, not so much for their theological error, but for the ham-handed and callous manner in which they applied it. The Word is sharper than any two edged sword, and it needs to be handled with care and precision. The scalpel that cuts away disease and sickness, in careless hands also damages healthy flesh.

However, Eliphaz poses this remarkable question, “Are the consolations of God too small for you?” In the midst of all that Job had lost (and he had lost everything), Eliphaz still argued there was something more consoling and comforting that the convenience and security of what he had owned. Emmanuel, “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14) was still his comfort and provider. The Word that could promise, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4) had not changed.

The important and challenging lesson, which all Christ followers need to learn, is that the Father is provision enough. That is the end of the matter! As Job recited, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21) The consolations of God are big and compassionate enough to embrace the most dejected lives. It is our indictment when we allow petty offenses and hurt feelings to take on more importance and preeminence than the agony of Calvary and the enormity of an empty tomb. When we look past the Cross and still demand release from our discomforts and rage against the Father because life is trying and inconvenient, we have reduced Him to a butler in our home. We have lost sight of the fact that we are destined to be guests in His many-roomed mansion.

When His consolations are “too small”, it serves as a timely reminder that we have lost perspective of God and His provisions, not that He is inadequate. Impatience, demands for comfort, and expectation of immediate answers, disqualify us from enjoying the fullness of His consolations. Joseph was in prison for an extra two years after he anticipated release. In the great mercy and comfort of God, the two extra years were necessary for Joseph to mature into the person of destiny that God’s story required of him. Blind Samson ground out the corn like an ox in the Philistine jail. He was there long enough for his hair to grow, and probably for the Lord to adjust his heart. His new disposition shifted from the temporary to the eternal, from the self-centered to the God-purposed, from living for self to dying for the Father. In Joseph and Samson’s distresses they found the consolations of God big enough to comfort, and bigger still to change and mold them into more than they imagined possible.

The empty tomb and “He is not here, He is risen”, are a loud proclamation that the consolations of God are more than sufficient for our insufficiencies. Today is again an opportunity for us to renew that trust and faith in One who has never proved faithless!

A few crumbs …

Steve