Last week we left of with Job sitting, suffering, and calling out to God. He had said some strong words about God. However, the point in the book of Job is to set circumstances that let us know Job is actually right! The suffering that Job is enduring does not have just cause. When Job cries out, "Violence!" in verse seven of chapter 19, what he's saying, the word there is the idea of my property, my possessions have been wrongfully usurped and seized through violent means.
We left off last week in Job 1 where Job had just lost everything. Then at the end of chapter 1 we're told that even in all of this, even in all of these horrible circumstances, Job did not sin by charging God with any wrong doing.
Last time we ended with discussing that so much of what we know comes from our experience, and God is aware of this. God addresses this in scripture. God is fully aware of the fact that it is very normal and natural for us to look around at all the junk in the world and extrapolate from that junk that God must not be as good as we think he is. Maybe he just doesn't care as much as we wish he would. Maybe he has bigger concerns, right. "Oh, I'm too small and insignificant for God to really care. He has bigger things going on, bigger fish to fry, whatever it is." In its extreme, we extrapolate from our circumstances that God must not even exist. God knows this is a thing and understands how to walk us through that.
I really am genuinely skeptical of anyone who claims they don't have doubts. I'm not necessarily proud of the fact, but runs through my mind is: "We'll, you haven't lived much life." Because, if you have lived much of life, I think there are plenty of reasons out there to doubt God, doubt his goodness, doubt his sovereignty, or doubt whatever. I think as believers sometimes we're well-meaning but somehow, we get it in our heads that if we're really good Christians then we don't have doubt about anything really.
When I was in seminary it was is was popular to say, “Orthodoxy leads to orthopraxy," which is a nerd way of saying, "Thinking rightly about something leads to acting rightly about something." What every counselor on the planet knows is the opposite is just as true. Right doing leads to right thinking. So, Paul is summing up his final exhortation to the Philippians by combining thinking and doing. Phil 4:4-9
The last blog I ended with a tough statement: It’s so much easier to think about and to dwell about, to dwell on whatever is messed up, or wrong, or crazy, or you know whatever. It’s easier to dwell on the things that create anxiety than it is to pray, talk the stuff through, allow God’s peace, and to fix our minds on things that are noble, and true, and trustworthy. I want to dig into that a bit more.
So another thing that has struck me in in the book of Philippians chapter 3. I would say that you might want to be careful what you ask for, and here’s what I mean:
"Here’s my prayer for you, that your love would abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best, and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God."
Another thing in this prayer that really stuck out to me is this bit, "That your love would abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight." It's interesting to me that in Christiany circles these days we have a tendency to make a big distinction between the heart and the mind. I’ve heard phrases like, 'Oh that person’s eighteen inches from heaven,' which is a way of saying they know all the facts but it hasn’t impacted their heart. Or someone will talk about heart knowledge vs. head knowledge, and these kinds of things.
Philippians is a little bit like that heavily worn movie that you have back from VHS days, or the warm fuzzy blanket that has comforted you over the years. It started for me when I was in high school. We took a month to go through Philippians in youth group and our youth pastor challenged us to try and read Philippians through every day for that month. I don’t remember, I’m sure I didn’t do every day, but that was where my familiarity with Philippians started.
We abhor the scandal of grace because grace says you can’t do it, why are you trying? Grace says I did it for you, relax. Grace says I did something for you that you can never pay back, and that just rubs us the wrong way.
Paul’s response though, (Phil 3)