“But the godless in heart store up anger [at the divine discipline];
They do not cry [to Him] for help when He binds them [with cords of affliction].
“They die in youth,
And their life ends among the [b]cult prostitutes.
“He rescues the afflicted in their affliction,
And opens their ears [so that they pay attention to His voice] in times of oppression. Job 36:13-15
God’s teaching is always adapted to the occasion (Psalms 32:8); and to the capacities of His scholars (Isaiah 28:9-10); and so likewise was Christ’s. The Holy Spirit also proceeds in the same gradual fashion in the work of illuminating darkened minds.
The spiritual arena is where we need God’s protection the most. After all, we usually cannot see our enemy, while God most certainly can.
Job faced a distinct challenge that demands a profound level of faith. The issues that confronted him: faith in the word of God amid prevailing scientific skepticism, faith in God in spite of acute suffering; faith in God displayed in a situation of sophisticated pluralism, choosing to accept death and not dishonour God.
When we look at the life of Job, we see that he experienced great suffering and persecution, which should make us want to understand it a lot better, especially when we consider how different the outcome of his life might have been if he had not dealt with his suffering exactly as he did.
Blessed are those who mourn…. The spiritual intensity of this transition is graphically depicted in Job’s final lament, expressing his grief using the word, ’ēbel (30:31). When we insist on remaining self-sufficient, our vexation only becomes entrenched and clouds the hope of any lasting meaning in life. Authentic mourning effectively resolves such vexation when it leads to brokenness—the acknowledgment of failure of self that releases our heart to accept our portion from God.
Seven times in the gospels (Mt. 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mk. 4:9, 23; 7:16; Lk. 8:8; 14:35) and once in Rev. 13:9 Jesus exhorts, “If anyone has an ear, let him hear.” Eight times in the Book of Revelation Jesus exhorts, “If anyone has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.”
Those who respond with real hearing receive added revelation. For those who respond with superficial hearing, even what they have heard is of no effect. The relation between God’s work and human response is ambiguous, for the Spirit is the one who enables hearing. Divine enabling and human responsibility for hearing are kept together always. As M. Boucher points out, God assists people in the choices they make. Be careful how you hear.