Do you sometimes recognize in yourself a resistant heart to the Lord? Or maybe it’s even as strong as a hard heart? I know that I’ve been convicted of that and I’m grieved by it. At the time, it’s seems impossible to change my heart. At times, I don’t even want my heart changed. I want to sit in my disgruntledness, or my unlovingness, or my…whatever. It feels like I’ll sacrifice myself and my happiness if I surrender.
When I recently struggled with this kind of disobedience, the Holy Spirit seemed to nudge me, saying, “Read God’s response to Job.”
Yikes. I knew I was in trouble. I know what God said to Job and it’s not very pretty. Yet, I really wanted to surrender my resistance. I just didn’t know how to do it myself. I knew it had to be the Word of God touching my heart. So I began reading and studying Job 38.
First of all, if you haven’t read the book of Job, it’s quite a story. It tells how everything Job has and values (including his children) is destroyed. Even though he’s a godly man! Satan is given permission from God Himself to tempt Job to the maximum. Job stands strong in his faith and trust in God. Even when some so-called friends come to “comfort” Job (but do a bad job of it), he keeps his integrity. Yet at the same time, he also demands an audience with God and some answers! Just a typical human trying to cope with life’s trials and mysteries. We’ve all been there. And for 37 chapters of the 42 chapters in the book of Job, God is silent! Everyone has been spouting out their ideas and God lets them. Then in chapter 38 God Almighty speaks:
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,“Who is this that darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
“Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! (vs. 1-3).
On my blog at times, I’ve written about the questions God asks in the Bible. Here God Almighty asks Job a question that sounds a little sarcastic.
Commentator Matthew Henry wrote, “The Lord, in this discourse, humbles Job, and brings him to repent of his passionate expressions concerning God’s providential dealings with him; and this he does, by calling upon Job to compare God’s being from everlasting to everlasting, with his own time; God’s knowledge of all things, with his own ignorance; and God’s almighty power, with his own weakness. Our darkening the counsels of God’s wisdom with our folly, is a great provocation to God. Humble faith and sincere obedience see farthest and best into the will of the Lord.”
Let’s highlight these three points:
- God’s everlasting being compared to Job’s temporary time
- God’s all-knowing knowledge compared to Job’s ignorance
- God’s almighty power compared to Job’s weakness.
Hmmm, what does a resistant or hardened heart say?
“God, I know better the timing of things.”
“God, I know better. Period.”
“God, I’m more powerful than You.”
What does a resistant or hardened heart prevent? Humility, repentance, surrender, empowerment, joy, kindness, and all things good.
What does it foster? Perfectionism, co-dependency, rescuing, being the Holy Spirit in someone else’s life, pride (without or without ignorance), unteachable heart, being a know-it-all, narcissism, and all things ….well….resistant.
A resistant or a hard heart are primarily saying God isn’t sovereign. Because in His reply to Job, God is overall saying, “I’m sovereign,” besides, wise, smart, and strong.
God’s sovereignty is my favorite quality of God. I truly believe an awareness and appreciation of God’s sovereignty has most built whatever level of trust in God I do have. Pastor and author Charles Swindoll says that sovereignty is “our all-wise, all-knowing God reigning in realms beyond our comprehension to bring about a plan beyond our ability to alter, hinder, or stop.”
Job is doubting in and questioning that definition. That’s why God replies to Job. He’s saying something like, “So you know what you’re talking about? You are sovereign? Prove it.”
As I’ve faced my own resistant and hardened heart, I hear God say the same thing to me, and I am humbled. Is there some area of resistance or hardness in your heart today? What are you saying, in effect, about God’s sovereignty? If He said to you, “Prove that you’re right!” what would you say?