Job 34:32: teach me what I do not see; if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more’? (ESV)
This is a prayer recommended by Elihu, the man who managed to say the right words to Job after he successfully defended himself against the accusations of his friends.
As far as they were concerned, he had done something wrong, so he was being punished. They thought linearly, in terms of cause and effect. But the things of God are not that cut and dry, and that is what Elihu wanted to impress on Job; that he will not be quick to justify himself and cast aspersion at God, that there are things beyond his ability to analyse situations.
So he proposed a prayer point for Job, which goes thus: “teach me what I do not see. God, allow me to gain your perspective into this situation. Help me come to the right conclusion.”
Coming to the wrong conclusion is the source of all the problems of the world. Many people have not come to salvation in Jesus because they have come to the wrong conclusion about him, about the bible, about righteousness and eternal judgement (Acts 24:25).
Eve came to the wrong conclusion about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and together with Adam she led the world down a slippery slope to destruction (Genesis 3). The seed sown then will be reaped in the destruction of the world system.
The temptation of the devil against Jesus while he was fasting for three days and three nights, was to get him to come to the wrong conclusion (Luke 4:1-13) about what to make food, who to worship and how to behave.
When Peter told Jesus to forget about making the trip to the cross, Jesus called him Satan, saying he reasoned like men, coming to conclusions contrary to God’s instruction (Matthew 16:21-23).
John wrote that no one has seen the father at any time but he is the only begotten of the father who was in the bosom of the father and has revealed him (John 1:18). The point is, Jesus has/is the right view of the father, not just by what he says but by who he is. So if we want to come to the right conclusion about God, it has to be through Jesus, or it would not happen.
Jesus told Philip that he was wrong to ask to see the father, that whoever sees him has seen the father, whoever experiences him is experiencing the father (John 14:8-11).
Humanity wants to see God; that is the inner longing of our heart; that is our inner design, who we are made to be.
And Jesus is called Emmanuel God, which means God with us (Matthew 1:23), but now there is even something better, that is the Holy Spirit in us, changing us inside out. Through him, not only do see God, but others get to see Him in us. Jesus seeks to empower us with the presence of God, which we lost in the Garden of Eden. Eve saw the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the satanic light and bam! she was a goner.
We need to be taught what we do not see. And that will entail more cooperation with God. Habakkuk said that he will set time apart, he will see what God will say to him. He wanted to be taught what he did not see.
Afterwards he was shown the plan of God on a more extensive scale. God said to Jeremiah ask of me and I will show you great and mighty thing you did not know (Jeremiah 33:3).
God told Habakkuk: I will do a work in your days that you will not believe if you were told. The bible says that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above what we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
One of the mind-blowing things that God did was to come down to the earth as man. God spoke to through Isaiah to a king in Israel: to ask for a sign. But when he was not forthcoming, God said that he will volunteer a sign: a virgin will give birth to a child and that found fulfilment in Jesus (Matthew 1:21-23, Isaiah 7:10-14). That was something hardly possible for man to imagine, something we cannot see on our own; that we may not believe if we were told.
Paul wrote about certain things hidden of the wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:3-6), which are being revealed by his holy apostles and prophets. Things not seen in God before the death and resurrection of Jesus occurred.
Jesus also spoke about another sign. When the Pharisees asked him for a sign so that they will believe in him, he said: an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign but none shall be given to her expect the sign of Prophet Jonah (Matthew 12:38-40).
And what is that?
Jesus continued, saying that just as Jonah was three days and three night in the belly of the fish, according to the book by that name in the Old Testament, so will he be three days and three nights in the belly of the earth.
No one then could have imagined what that has to do with anything. Peter could not get the point the Jesus’s death was going to achieve and he was not ready to be taught what he does not know. He therefore fought Jesus’ attempt to go to the cross.
But afterwards, Paul became the theologian who helped us to see the implication of the death of Jesus. Jesus did not say much about it, expect that it was necessary and that he would rise up from the death, in a prototype of what happened to Jonah when he was in the belly of the fish and was vomited to the land after three days.
Jesus said there are many things he would have told the disciples but they cannot bear it, things they have no capacity to know (John 16:12-14).
When he was near the crucifixion on the cross, he said if the disciples really understood they will rejoice that he was going, if they saw beyond the tip of their noses in a spiritual sense. But they could not. They needed help. The Holy Spirit is the helper (John 14:26, 15:26), to teach us what we do not see. Paul wrote that we have been given the Holy Spirit for us to know what God knows, see what he sees (1Corinthians 2).
- Long To Look (biblicalnotes.com)
- Journey Through The Bible: Joel and Malachi – The Day of the Lord (slideshare.net)