Job 35: A Prayer Appreciated by God

by Joseph Franks

There are no atheists in foxholes. There are no ungodly friends eulogized at funerals. There are no irreligious people when natural disasters hit home. When people find it necessary, they are quite good at pulling God out of their closet. It is almost as if God is viewed as an emergency ration. He is not to be disturbed until disturbing times come. And when troubles come, people do call upon the name of the Lord.

I believe this is what Elihu had in mind when he communicated the following to Job:

Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out; they call for help because of the arm of the mighty. But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’ There they cry out, but he does not answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God does not hear an empty cry, nor does the Almighty regard it.     (Job 35:9-13)

Elihu’s neighbors cried out to God in the day of disaster and oppression, but they rarely uttered a word on the average good day. They called out for God’s supernatural wonders when they were in misery, but they rarely cried out for God’s supernatural wisdom when all was bright and rosy. And because of this, God viewed them as proud and arrogant. Because of this, God was quite distant when they did get around for calling for his divine assistance.

Men should take to heart the pleasure of God at the request of Solomon. He could have requested wealth, wine or women, but instead he requested wisdom. Such was the passion of Solomon during his better days; he longed to know the will of God on every matter. (1 Kings 3)

Then consider the encouragement given by James.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.     (James 1:5-8)

Notice the all-inclusive language. To all who sincerely lack, desire and request wisdom, God gives it generously.

Therefore friends, why did you go to church yesterday? What have you done with the sermon you heard? For what have you prayed today? Most will not pray at all today. Many will pray for temporal benefits. Few will pray for wisdom. And here is the promise of God. Those few who pray for wisdom, they will be regarded, and they will be improved, for they will be pleasing to God.

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