Do you ever feel like there are too many voices speaking at you? You’ve got close family and friends, coworkers, bosses, pastors, the media, teachings and dogmas, cultural norms, the little voice in your head, God’s whisper, and more. Is there a voice that is louder than the others? Is it positive or negative? How do you filter out all of the erroneous noise and focus on the most important? Do you have a process to help you separate what’s right and wrong when making a decision?
Job is being bombarded with useless chatter. His wife has betrayed him, society mocks him, and his friends clamor on with counterproductive platitudes. Job’s responses give us a glimpse as to how to decipher what is true through the noise and keep a firm foundation in the Lord.
S – Scripture: Job 17-20
- 17:3 – “You must defend my innocence, O God, since no one else will stand up for me.”
- 17:11-13 “My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken. These men say that night is day; they claim that the darkness is light. What if I go to the grave and make my bed in darkness?”
- 17:16 – “No, my hope will go down with me to the grave. We will rest together in the dust!”
- 19:6-8 – “But it is God who has wronged me, capturing me in his net. I cry out, ‘Help!’ but no one answers me. I protest, but there is no justice. God has blocked my way so I cannot move. He has plunged my path into darkness.”
- 19:10 – “He has demolished me on every side, and I am finished. He has uprooted my hope like a fallen tree.”
- 19:25-27 – “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!”
O – Observation:
- Job cries out for God to stand up for him. Still, in all his anguish, he trusts in God and his hope is in him alone.
- Bildad and Zophar go on about how it’s because Job is wicked that he is in these circumstances.
- Job responds that the issue is between him and God. God has wronged him, yet still claims him as his Redeemer.
- Redeemer, according to Blue Letter Bible, means “one charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs.”
- God is constant, a firm foundation, and victorious over sin and death.
- When we build our foundation on God, it will stand.
- We can be so wrong about things, especially pertaining to God: his character and ways.
A – Application:
The last couple of verses in Chapter 19 are so beautiful and such a good revelation of faith. You see a blameless man stripped of all that he has by the hand of God and still he knows that the only way to restitution is through him. His destroyer is also his redeemer. The only thing that Job has left to hold on to is that God will stand up from his Judge’s seat and save him. Whether in this life or in death, he will be with God. His soul will rest in the presence of the Lord. He is crushed and feels uprooted but has a firm foundation of faith.
But Job had to clear out all of the other noise in order to remember how great and redeeming God is. He had to shut up his friends and focus on what his foundation of faith was saying to him.
How often do I turn immediately to a friend or comfort or distraction instead of facing God with my problem? Sometimes going to God is a last option after I’ve tried everything else. Maybe it’s because I want control or that I think it’s too small (or too big) of an issue for even God to handle. Then I get anxious and panicky at what the future might hold. I spiral down till I think the world is going to end before I realize that I should just go to God first.
So how do you clear the noise and condition yourself to go to God first? It’s still something I’m putting into practice, but here are a few things that I have learned.
- I had to start ridding the excess noise from my daily life, not just in trying situations. For me, I want to keep the dialogue between me and God open throughout the day. So, I try to keep the TV off, news off, distracting or discouraging media out, my cell phone on silent and the notifications for all of my social media off, and set designated times for those things instead.
- I start filling my day with opportunities to get to know God’s voice. In order to do this, I go right to the source, the Bible. It is God’s spoken word. (You know how moms can pick out their kid’s voice and cry? There is an attachment to their child that tunes in immediately the sound of their words or exclamations. I want that with God.) I want to know instantly when he is speaking to me and be sensitive to his promptings at all times. So I had to carve out time to learn what his voice sounds like.
- I keep reminders out in front of me of words he has spoken to me through his word or during prayer so I can always see them. Depending on what I need to hear in that season, I write down the verses that keep me close to God and remind me of his promises. (I’ve even gone as far as getting tattoos that remind me of his promises, but you don’t need to go that far. A simple notecard at your desk or on your mirror will do.)
Here are some of my favorites:
“I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night– but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.” Psalms 139:7-12
“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Often, I need the reminder that God loves me so much that I cannot escape his presence, no matter how far gone I feel. I need to remember that I can go to him with anything and he will guard my heart and give me peace. The steps that I can take before a trial comes, building a firm foundation and knowing the sound of God’s voice, can literally save me.
It’s hard to clear out the noise, but it saves so much time spent in worry and anxiety. It sets your feet on solid ground during those rough patches of life. I urge you to take a small step today to remove some of the distracting noise and open the opportunity for God to speak directly to you. Hint: it’s usually a whisper.
P – Prayer:
Thank you Lord for loving me enough to speak to me. Forgive me for the times that I have allowed other voices to fill my head and heart before yours. It’s always so much better when I come to you first. Will you show me the things in my life that need the volume turned down? I want to hear your voice and be open to what you have to say to me at all times. I want to be able to say, when trials come, “But as for me, my redeemer lives.” I want to stand firm on your foundation, sure that you will save me. Help me to know your voice.
God, would you speak to me today? Some days, like today, I just need to know that you are there. You are so good, and you do good things. Amen