And Jehovah answered me, and said, Write the vision,

and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it.
(Habakkuk 2:2 - ASV)


Last Updated

  24 Nov
2021

MARKSWATSON.COM

Watson's Web
Biblical and Prophetic Perspective For Our Times


For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he cometh in his own glory,
and the glory of the Father,
and of the holy angels.
(Luke 9:26 - ASV)


I have set Jehovah always before me:
Because he is at my right hand, I
 shall not be moved.
(Psalms 16:8 - ASV)





Mark can be reached here.  

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

Contents On This Page

- Job Part 63
- Malak Elohim (Angel Of the Lord)
- Job Part 62
- Job Part 61
- Job Part 60
- Job Part 59
- Prayer Request
- Job Part 58
- Job Part 57
- The Fearlessness Of Faith
- Summer-21 Notes
- Lawfare And Spiritual Warfare
- A Curse



24 Nov

Job Part LXIII

I also will answer my part,
I also will show mine opinion. For I am full of words;
The spirit within me constraineth me. Behold,
my breast is as wine which hath no vent;
Like new wine-skins it is ready to burst.
(Job 32:17-19 - ASV)

Elihu here is merely saying he has his own opinion, his own view on the discourse of these older men. The words were boiling within him and he simply could not sit silent any longer.


I will speak, that I may be refreshed;
I will open my lips and answer. Let me not,
 I pray you, respect any man's person;
Neither will I give flattering titles unto any man.
For I know not to give flattering titles;
Else would my Maker soon take me away.

(Job 32:20-22 - ASV)


Elihu is basically saying that the 'steam' that was building up within him had to have a vent, a release and this was the reason for his boldness. But he is careful before he continues to let them all know that he is not going to be a flatterer or take sides between the two camps. He knows that God does not like empty flattery and would hold him to account.

Howbeit, Job, I pray thee,
hear my speech, And hearken to all my words.
Behold now, I have opened my mouth;
My tongue hath spoken in my mouth.
My words shall utter the uprightness of my heart;
And that which my lips know
they shall speak sincerely. The Spirit of God
hath made me, And the breath of the Almighty
giveth me life.
(Job 33:1-4 - ASV)


Elihu starts off by directing his words at Job himself, now that he has ventured to speak. The words utter the uprightness of my heart is probably less a declaration of self-righteousness than it is a continuation of the theme in verse 22, he is going to speak sincerely and honestly without respect of persons.

Verse four follows along the same lines as Job 32:8 whereby man has a natural ability to determine right from wrong by virtue of him being made by God and in his image. What Elihu may also be alluding to is that he too is a man like Job, not unwise in the ways of God or the world and thus begs that Job is attentive to what he has to say.

If thou canst, answer thou me;
Set thy words in order before me, stand forth.
Behold, I am toward God even as thou art:
I also am formed out of the clay.
Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid,
Neither shall my pressure
be heavy upon thee.
(Job 33:5-7 - ASV)


In short what Elihu is doing is 'calling him out' not to a fight, but to a battle of wisdom. His words denote a kind of challenge to Job, he tells him to stand up.

Elihu gets bolder and bolder with these, his elders. He too was made in God's image and has God given wisdom (common sense). Here he seems to allude to Job's desire to bring his case directly to God.

Verse seven shows that Elihu will not be afraid (his boldness shows this) and neither should Job be afraid of Elihu's words. He was not like God and could not confound Job with his majesty and power, rather he appears to entreat Job and essentially he would not add to his burdens and make matter for him worse as frankly, his friends had done with their constant insinuations.

Elihu continues...

Surely thou hast spoken in my hearing,
And I have heard the voice of thy words,
saying, I am clean, without transgression;
I am innocent, neither is there iniquity in me:
 Behold, he findeth occasions against me,
He counteth me for his enemy:
He putteth my feet in the stocks,
He marketh all my paths.
Behold, I will answer thee,
in this thou art not just;
For God is greater than man.

(Job 33:8-12 - ASV)


Now despite what he just said in verse 7 about not adding to Job's burden, he lays into Job with a new accusation. "I heard you say you were without sin..." is the gist of his charge. "Don't deny it! I heard you clearly..." is how I think some would say it today.

Then he reminds Job of some of the things he said that were not correct, but were spoken in the depth of the bitterness and sorrow of his soul, that God counts him as an enemy (13:24) and puts his feet in the stocks (13:27). Job here probably deserves some rebuke for these words for they simply were not correct and did not reflect properly on a God who in realty held Job in the highest of esteem and whose works are always righteous and true despite what we mortals may think of what he does or how he does it. God is sovereign.

Elihu here wants to correct Job on a point of doctrine, but I think fails to take into consideration Job's physical and emotional state. But Job at times does let is emotional depression get the better of him and says somethings he probably should not have. Job felt confused and confounded by the way he was treated by the God he loved and served so faithfully. Now this young man starts to go after Job by throwing these unwise words back at Job like a boomerang. Yes, the young man is essentially correct - but let some of the evils that befell Job happen to him (or Job's Friends) and I wonder what their words and reaction would be? Hopefully not like that of Job's wife who said - '...renounce God, and die!' (Job 2:9b).

It's easy to judge another man, but most unwise until you have walked a few miles in his shoes.

We will continue our look at Job next week, God willing!

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16 Nov

Malak Elohim (Angel Of The Lord)

These words in Hebrew mean Angel or Messenger (H4397 in Strong's Hebrew Dictionary) of the Lord. Other times in scripture the phrase Angel of Jehovah is used. These are beings created by God who serve him in the spiritual and temporal realm. Their job for the most part is to execute the will of God. They are 'deputized' by the Lord to carry out specific tasks for which they are both commanded and empowered.

These beings can bring comfort to the despised (as Hagar was when Sarai pushed her out of the house), they can bring in powerful messages to God's servants (as with Joseph in the NT - Matthew 1:20) or they can bring interpretive messages to prophecies as with Daniel, Zechariah and John the Revelator. They can also prepare a lowly person to become a great warrior or servant of the Lord, as with Gideon. If there is an important task for one of God's people to do, you can be pretty sure there is an angel around to help that person carry out that task.

Brothers, I honestly don't think I would be alive today were it not for the angel's that God sent to protect me. If we serve the Lord and fear him, he will indeed send his angels to look out for us.

The angel of Jehovah encampeth
round about them that fear him,

And delivereth them.
(Psalms 34:7 - ASV)

If you serve God, you have powerful protection. Protection that has probably protected you many times in the past in ways you were never aware of. These angels can be powerful spirits. God has in the past shown me (in the spirit) both the demons that were arrayed against me and the angel that was sent to protect me.

God I think wanted me to understand what was happening from another perspective; the real battle lines that were not seen by the naked eye or natural mind. Sometimes we have to see things in this other way in order to get a resolution to our own particular woes and know how to pray and approach a problem.

These angels can warn us of impending danger. (Matthew 2:13) They can also bring words of encouragement (Zechariah 1:13).

These angels that protect us and those who obey the commandments of the Lord, some of them are very, very powerful. Remember when Hezekiah was afraid when he heard the King of Assyria was coming against him? The Lord had other plans.

For I will defend this city to save it,
for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
And the angel of Jehovah went forth, and smote
in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred
and fourscore and five thousand; and when men
arose early in the morning, behold,
these were all dead bodies.
So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed,
and went and returned,
and dwelt at Nineveh.
(Isaiah 37:35-37 - ASV)

While Hezekiah may have been afraid, in reality there was nothing to worry about. God had his angel at the ready to deal with Sennacherib, whose army was no match for one single, solitary angel of the Lord.

I write this brief piece for each of you today so that no matter what you are facing, God knows about it. If you belong to him, God can set his angel about you and if it is necessary, God can send that angel reinforcements.

Brothers, I know many of you are worried about what is happening in our world. Some of you are worried about your jobs, your livelihoods, your kids, the price of necessities and your future.

Just know that what you are facing is something that God knew about long ago. Do you serve the Lord? Chances are excellent that your angel knows of your situation and is either busy at work on your behalf or standing by awaiting orders from the Most High God.

You are not alone.

And when the servant of the man of God
was risen early, and gone forth, behold,
a host with horses and chariots was
round about the city. And his servant said unto him,
Alas, my master! how shall we do?
 And he answered, Fear not; for they that are
with us are more than they that are with them.
And Elisha prayed, and said, Jehovah,
I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.
And Jehovah opened the eyes of the young man;
and he saw: and, behold, the mountain
was full of horses and chariots of fire
round about Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:15-17 - ASV)

Whatever your situation, I just wanted to remind each of you the powerful angelic protection that you have as a 'fringe benefit' of serving God and placing your faith in his Messiah, Jesus Christ.

You are not alone in what you are facing, today or in the future.

Keep faith with God. I have found that he can always be depended on, not necessarily to do what we want, but to bring a situation to a resolution that is best. We may think we know what is best, but in reality it is God that knows what is best for us, those around us and his Church.

So if it seems as though God is about to throw you into the fiery furnace like the three young men in the book of Daniel, just remember there was another person in that flame that protected them who had the appearance of one of the son of the gods (Daniel 3:25). Despite any fears those three had, there was never any real reason to be afraid. God had their backs!

...for he that toucheth you
toucheth the apple of his eye.
Zechariah 2:8b - ASV)


In closing know this - God has not gone to sleep. He knows about you and your situations. I believe it best to fret not yourself, but trust in God in all things, obey his voice, even when it sometimes does not seem to make sense to your natural mind. What? Do you think it made sense for Naaman to go and wash in Jordan to be cured (see 2Kings 5:10ff)? It didn't. He could have missed his blessing if he had chosen to listen to his natural reasoning rather than the words of the Lord and his prophet.

So brothers, be encouraged, have faith and stand strong!!


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5 Nov

Job Part LXII

But there is a spirit in man,
And the breath of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
It is not the great that are wise,
Nor the aged that understand justice.
(Job 32:8-9 - ASV)


After Elihu explains his reticence to speak before now as being out of respect for the older generation. He continues on with his monologue.

Elihu here is basically saying that wisdom can be found in all men, both young and the old and that simply because a man is older does not necessarily make him wiser. He has shown these men deference until now, but it is now time for his youth to speak. I think what Elihu is saying in verse eight is that rational thought can be found in men of all ages and not necessarily only in the old. Common sense (reason), if you will, is the kind of wisdom that he may be referring to, as opposed to deeper spiritual truths.

When he speaks of the inspiration of the Almighty we probably should look at the word 'inspiration' to get a better idea. It is the word H5397 in Strong's Hebrew dictionary.

The idea seems to be is that when God breathed life into man, some measure of that wisdom and intelligence was also put into man.

Then he takes a swipe at the older men, he insinuates that what he has heard was not particularly enlightening. No, he does not say this specifically but his statement does imply it. Job's comforters had all manner of sayings and idea's that explained to themselves on how God should behave, but it did not signify with Elihu. Reciting wise sayings and trying to put God into some theological box is not wisdom. Additionally, from time immemorial we have seen that old men can often be most unwise and sometimes, downright foolish. No, wisdom is not always with the aged.


Therefore I said, Hearken to me;
I also will show mine opinion. Behold, I waited for your words,
I listened for your reasonings, Whilst ye searched out what to say.
Yea, I attended unto you, And, behold, there was none that convinced Job,
Or that answered his words, among you.
(Job 32:10-12 - ASV)


Elihu now asks for the same respect that he has shown the older generation. He wants to be heard. He waited and sat silent while they spoke, now he wants his turn to speak. While they were trying to come up with new arguments to convince Job of some secret sin in his life, he waited patiently. Their lack of success in getting Job to confess seems to have emboldened Elihu.


Beware lest ye say, We have found wisdom;
God may vanquish him, not man:
For he hath not directed his words against me;
Neither will I answer him with your speeches.
They are amazed, they answer no more:
They have not a word to say. And shall I wait,
because they speak not, Because they stand still,
 and answer no more?
(Job 32:13-16 - ASV)


Elihu seems to be implying that they were not allowed to refute Job's argument or even his lifestyle and one reason was because if they had, they would be puffed up with pride. Nothing makes a wise man foolish faster than the sin of pride. Elihu then implies that any refutation of Job's words, any judgment of his character here needs to come from God, not them. Men cannot and should not judge other men. This is a divine prerogative. Elihu's argument here seems to be setting up the scene in anticipation of God's speeches at the end of the book, who will indeed set at nought the arguments of Job's comforters.

Elihu then goes on to remark that he is an impartial observer, he has not taken part in the debate, nor has any of their stinging accusations at Job touched him. Nor has Elihu spoken ill of Job. The emotional heat of the debate that is clearly evident on both sides precludes them from being impartial. Elihu proposes to take a different tact in addressing this problem and won't use the old arguments that were used by Job's friends ('Neither will I answer him with your speeches') and thinks that his impartiality will help them solve the argument.

The problem with verse 15 is one of voice. Is Elihu speaking or is the writer? The key may lie in the fact that sometimes in Hebrew poetry, the third person is often used. The possibilities are that Elihu is speaking perhaps to others who were nearby and listening. Or is Elihu addressing Job's comforters and Job directly or was this passage perhaps put in by the author of the book (as verse 32:1 appears to be)? It really is not that important, but for thoroughness sake I thought it bore mentioning.

But the words themselves are quite amazing. Basically what the passage seems to mean is that they were utterly amazed at this young man and his boldness that they could not speak and were reduced to silence. It was perhaps the silence of verse one, that emboldened him to speak. And bold he was, let us remember verse 32:2, that it was his anger that caused him to speak.

We will continue our look at Job next week soon, God willing!!


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15 Nov



29 Oct

Job Part LXI



So these three men ceased to answer Job,
because he was righteous in his own eyes.
Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu
the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram:
against Job was his wrath kindled, because
he justified himself rather than God.
Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled,
because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
 Now Elihu had waited to speak unto Job,
because they were elder than he.
(Job 32:1-4 - ASV)


The next speeches are by a person who is not listed in the first chapters of Job when Job's three friends show up. This is another person who has not even been referred to as being present in the preceding speeches. His name is Elihu and this name means God is he or he is my God. The name is an interesting one.

He was related to Abraham (correction - not to Job as stated before) by virtue of his being a Buzite, this makes him fairly close kin to Job (see Genesis 22:20-21)
.
Who this man is is of interest because some scholars have surmised that it may have been he who actually wrote the book of Job, though the evidence for this is slight. The best answer is that Elihu was a relative of Job who came to comfort him in his distress and arrived sometime after the first three came, sat quietly and listened patiently to the debate and was respectful of his elders who were castigating debating Job and this is why he has had no previous speeches.

His words are of a different tone than the others of Job's 'comforters'. He has a little more insight and seems to give Job more credit than his harshly judgemental friends give him. They all indirectly accused Job of being a secretly wicked man who was being justly punished for his unseen crimes. Elihu and his words seem to be in anticipation of the words of God who will be the next major speaker.
Verse one is a rather interesting one in that when one reads it they get the impression that Job really was righteous in his own eyes, but in reality this was the view of his friends and why the discussion has ceased. It seems to suggest that they think Job to be a self-righteous hypocrite who was too arrogant to change his ways. Job did not admit to being self-righteous and had in the past admitted to certain sins. Not only that, but Job throughout this whole most difficult trial did not mock, rail against or blaspheme God, but rather held him in the highest regard and maintained his faith in God in the face of this life threatening trial.

Job did right, though his detractors did not see it. Still, it is hard not to see their point. Job at times does come off a bit self-righteous but only a bit and this I fully attribute to his physical and mental state in the midst of all of this suffering for which he was utterly confounded as to the reason.

The argument was done. Job wasn't going to argue with his friends any longer. Elihu then finds his opportunity to chime in. He too was upset with Job because rather than justifying God, he justified himself. But his anger did not stop there. Having heard both sides he was not at all pleased with the other three 'wise men' who were there who were condemning Job without any evidence. Elihu waited as verse four states because they were elder. This was out of respect and out of tradition. He let wisdom speak first and now it was youth's turn to speak. Youth however may just be a relative term as we don't know how old these men were nor the difference in their ages, the only thing we can reasonably surmise was that Eliphaz was the oldest because he spoke first.


And when Elihu saw that there was
 no answer in the mouth of these three men,
his wrath was kindled. And Elihu
the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said,
I am young, and ye are very old;
Wherefore I held back,
and durst not show you mine opinion.
I said, Days should speak,
And multitude of years should teach wisdom.
(Job 32:5-7 - ASV)

Elihu was clearly a very respectful young man and did not open his mouth when it was not his turn to speak.

You know, I have noticed these days in this country that interrupting people in the mist of talking or in response to a question is common. But it is rude and it shows a deep contempt for others and their views. I find that ignorant people tend to talk... a lot, whereas a wise one tend to make his words few (Ecclesiastes 5:2). A person who is seeking wisdom respects those who have it, a foolish one shuts down the wise man before he finishes the first sentence.

Wisdom is like gold or pearls, difficult to find and most precious. Today, I see very little of this kind of gold. Elihu demonstrates both his good manners and his respect for wisdom by his patient silence before his elders.

You know I have to leave you with this aside. While I certainly don't consider myself wise by any stretch of the imagination, when someone asks me a question that I know the answer to or can perhaps help them to see the question in a different light that they clearly had not considered, I will often (though not always) do my best to answer it. But if I am interrupted, I usually cease to answer, let them talk and usually they will go on with another question (it never fails) and I simply tell them that when they learn to show enough respect for me to allow me to be polite enough to answer their first question, I will then consider answering their second... some other time, but not today. This usually sends them into a tizzy, but I just let them know, If you want me to answer your question, then let me answer your question! If nothing else, they may learn a little bit of politeness and wait for me to finish my answer the next time they ask a question.

This little passage here in Job is a good lesson for many of us who spend more time talking than listening, want to share our opinion but refuse to listen to others who are older, wiser or may have a background that gives them a deeper and more informed perspective into the questions at hand.

Elihu waits for days (age) to speak (vs 7) and defers because of this relative youth (vs 6). He holds back his opinion and demonstrated considerable wisdom in so doing.

There is wisdom in silence and one of the rules of wisdom - true wisdom - begins with respect for wisdom and those who have it.

Again, I think Elihu's silence until now is explained fully in verse seven - he figured that those who had lived a long time should teach wisdom and by extension, since he was young, he should sit quietly and listen attentively to their words.

We will continue the speech of this young man in the next update, God willing!!


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22 Oct

Job Part LX

Because I feared the great multitude,
And the contempt of families terrified me,
So that I kept silence, and went not out of the door--
(Job 31:34 - ASV)

We continue with the last section of Job's summation. The final argument he makes to his friends turned detractors. Job, if we remember was recollecting all the sins that he did not commit and the righteous deeds he had done. Like a good lawyer he puts forward his argument to the jury - he is innocent of the kinds of crimes and wickedness his friends had accused him of.

Here Job acquits himself of one key sin that is prevalent in our times. It is called crowd pleasing or men pleasing. People who get up and do something, not according to what is right or wrong, or in the case of Christians, what the Lord has commanded, but in order to be popular with the crowd or in many cases to not be hated and reviled by them.

They arrange their message and life to please the mob. This is one of the deeper problems of our times. We see this particularly in the political arena today in the US, but it is not uncommon in religion and religious leaders. Crowd pleasing or cowering before them and then changing ones stance or views in order to satisfy the whims of a mass of people, in my view shows a lack of both courage and conviction. Certainly we can shift the tone of our message, but not its ultimate meaning.

Job was not guilty of that. I pray God none of us falls victim to this sin as well. Job was not going to keep silent either, just because prominent people did not like what he said, did or how he lived. Job was a righteous man, but a righteous man does not mean a doormat, or coward. A person like that will never make the kind of Christian that will have to stand in the times ahead.

Job here seems also to be taking a stand about both any secret sin that he may have had and his inward character. Secret sin would not be tolerated by Job and he was not afraid to confess it if he had had it. Job was unafraid of the disapproval of the crowd. His fear was of the Lord.

Oh that I had one to hear me!
(Lo, here is my signature,
let the Almighty answer me)
And that I had the indictment
which mine adversary hath written!
Surely I would carry it upon my shoulder;
I would bind it unto me as a crown:
I would declare unto him the number of my steps;
As a prince would I go near unto him.
If my land crieth out against me,
 And the furrows thereof weep together;
(Job 31:35-38 - ASV)

Job here utters a final prayer to God about his situation. He really wants God to answer him. He wants to read the charges against him and know what he had done wrong. The passage regarding carrying it upon my shoulder is rather obscure and I don't know what it means, commentators save one seem to have no adequate explanation to me, but it may just be that the indictment against him he would not hide from others.

But Adam Clarke in his commentary on this passage makes a most interesting observation. It is rather long, but it may enlighten us as to what Job is referring to and moreover get a basic sense about how justice was carried out long ago in the Patriarchal age. What he has to say is probably the best way to understand the passage. A kind of punishment that has long ago faded into the history books.

Verse 37 seems to be Job saying he would be happy to recount his whole life before the authority, he would have no problem with that, but that God was silent was a sore trouble to Job's soul.

If I have eaten the fruits thereof
without money, Or have caused the owners
thereof to lose their life:
Let thistles grow instead of wheat,
And cockle instead of barley.
The words of Job are ended.
(Job 31:39-40 - ASV)


Job's final words are Job saying he is not a thief. He did not take that which was not his. Nor did he extort land from others by way of violence or murder. John Gill in his commentary relays the incident of Jezebel, who caused Naboth to lose his life so that Ahab could have the land (1Ki 21:7ff) as an example of this kind of crooked dealing.

The allusion may also be to hiring laborers to work in the field and then not paying them for their work when it was done, something that certainly was not unheard of then or now. Job pleads not guilty to all of the above charges.

Job's words are ended save for a small pronouncement at the very end of the book. Job acquits himself from any of these great wrongs.

But one thing that appears to be missing from his summation is any hint of spiritual humility. I say this not as a criticism, but by way of observation. But we must understand that Job is deeply hurt, in considerable physical pain and angry. He feels betrayed by his friends and most importantly by the God whom he served so diligently. So we should look at his words here as much like a legal defense than as a contrite supplication to the Most High.

Next week, God willing - we will begin our look at the speech of Elihu

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15 Oct

Job Part LIX


  Doth not he see my ways,
And number all my steps?  
If I have walked with falsehood,
And my foot hath hasted to deceit
   (Let me be weighed in an even balance,
That God may know mine integrity);
   If my step hath turned out of the way,
And my heart walked after mine eyes,
And if any spot hath cleaved to my hands:
   Then let me sow, and let another eat;
Yea, let the produce of my field be rooted out.
(Job 31:4-8 - ASV)


Job continues his complaint and final summation of his argument. He notes that God knows all of this ways and his steps and that if he had been deceitful or wicked, God would know about it. He requests that God weigh him out, and see his worth. Job is unaware of any crime or great sin and he wants to know about it, if such exists. If he has done such a thing, then Job asks that he become a slave (let me sow, and let another reap). Job here is making it plain he is no great sinner, there are no major evils in his life, despite what has happened to him and what his accusers say.

 
If my heart hath been enticed unto a woman,
And I have laid wait at my neighbor’s door;
   Then let my wife grind unto another,
And let others bow down upon her.
(Job 31:9-10 - ASV)

Job here goes on to describe the kinds of sexual sin that catches many men, particularly those of wealth and power. Job was not going to be fooled by a woman, particularly not another man's wife. If he had, he asks that God let his own wife do wifely chores for another man and become their source of sexual pleasure.

  For that were a heinous crime;
Yea, it were an iniquity to be punished by the judges:
   For it is a fire that consumeth unto Destruction,
And would root out all mine increase.
(Job 31:11-12 - ASV)


Job knows this is one horrible evil and one that will be avenged and one for which excuses before a tribunal will avail a man nothing. Some commentators note that this has always been a crime and in some societies back then, it was punishable by death.

  If I have despised the cause
of my man-servant or of my maid-servant,
When they contended with me;
   What then shall I do when God riseth up?
And when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?
(Job 31:13-14 - ASV)

Being the head of household to a large house, he has to judge in matters that effected his servants and this is what is meant here. When they cried to him about something, Job was obligated to hear their cry justly. Job knew that there was a greater avenger of such wrongs if he behaved badly towards his underlings.

  Did not he that made me in the womb make him?
And did not one fashion us in the womb?
If I have withheld the poor from their desire,
Or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
   Or have eaten my morsel alone,
And the fatherless hath not eaten thereof
   (Nay, from my youth he grew up with me as with a father,
And her have I guided from my mother’s womb);
   If I have seen any perish for want of clothing,
Or that the needy had no covering;
   If his loins have not blessed me,
And if he hath not been warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
   If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless,
Because I saw my help in the gate:
   Then let my shoulder fall from the shoulder-blade,
And mine arm be broken from the bone.
   For calamity from God is a terror to me,
And by reason of his majesty I can do nothing. 
(Job 31:15-23 - ASV)

Job here speaks of how he treated the less fortunate. He knew that God watches how those who 'have' treat those who 'have not' and Job walked accordingly. Job is laying out any case against him for some great sin in his life, the accusations of his so-called friends. Their words are not true, Job helped the widow, the orphan and the poor. Job deeply revered and feared the Lord, he was not about to do those things he knew the Lord hated.

  If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
And because my hand had gotten much;
   If I have beheld the sun when it shined,
Or the moon walking in brightness,
   And my heart hath been secretly enticed,
And my mouth hath kissed my hand:
   This also were an iniquity
to be punished by the judges;
For I should have denied
the God that is above.
(Job 31:25-28 - ASV)


Job here absolves himself of being guilty of the crime of greed and avarice. Nor was the sin of idolatry, which was common in those times, part of his makeup. This is the probable meaning of the passage in verse 26 in reference to the sun and the moon. Ancients often worshiped these objects and venerated them as gods. The phrase my mouth hath kissed my hand, may be a reference to some act of veneration for these gods. Job is making in plain he was not guilty of this sin.


  If I have rejoiced at the destruction
of him that hated me,

Or lifted up myself when evil found him
   (Yea, I have not suffered by mouth to sin
By asking his life with a curse);
   If the men of my tent have not said,
Who can find one that hath not been filled with his meat?
   (The sojourner hath not lodged in the street;
But I have opened my doors to the traveller);
   If like Adam I have covered my transgressions,
By hiding mine iniquity in my bosom,
(Job 31:29-33 - ASV)

Job here continues to defend himself from charges of great iniquity. He was not vengeful, not to his enemies. He did not leap for joy when his foes hit the skids. That was not part of his makeup. Job was a righteous man and those who are righteous do not so rejoice. Job then goes on to show his deeds were consistent with a man who feared the Lord by taking in strangers and by not hiding his sins.

Job here, like a lawyer before the jury makes his great summation. He lets his detractors know that he is innocent of any of these great evils.

We will continue with the last few passages of this speech next week, God willing.

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12 Oct

Prayer Request

Let us not forget to pray for Afghanistan's Christians. Imagine living in a country and being one of Christ's own with the Taliban running things. We have all heard the stories on various news sites and blogs, so I won't recount them here. So may I ask you all pray for Christians in Afghanistan, that God protects and looks out for them and for those whom God is leading to leave that country, that they can find a way to get out and a place to go to live in peace. Also keep in mind that now that most westerners are no longer in the country, we are not likely to hear much about how things are really faring for Afghanistan's Christian community.

Let us not forget the many troubles being felt on the Eurasian continent as well, as many legal and administrative restriction are being imposed these days. The site Forum18, usually has some well written and informative stories on their site dealing with this part of the world.

So yes, please pray!


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1 Oct

Job Part LVIII

I cry unto thee, and thou dost not answer me:
I stand up, and thou gazest at me.
Thou art turned to be cruel to me;
With the might of thy hand thou persecutest me.
Thou liftest me up to the wind,
thou causest me to ride upon it;
And thou dissolvest me in the storm.
(Job 30:20-22 - ASV)

Job here continues his compliant to God. Job feels badly mistreated. He has been praying, yet no answer comes. Today, we usually take the posture of kneeling, or falling on our faces when praying. In Patriarchal age, people stood up to pray. Yet in so standing and lifting up his voice to God, he is not heard - or more accurately - has not received any answer as of yet from God.

Job accuses God of being cruel to him. The word for cruel is this H393 in Strong's. It can also mean violent or even deadly.
Lest we forget - Job's kids are dead and died violently and his property was violently seized. It was with great power that all of these things came upon Job. Yet Job is wrong. Yes, from his perspective this is certainly a rational and reasonable conclusion, that the Lord did it. But we know that it was Satan that was the cause of his woe's, not God. Job continues to use poetical language to demonstrate how he was treated. The wind here is probably the hot east wind or a sand storm that Job feels he has been exposed to that reduces a man to a skeleton.

For I know that thou wilt bring me to death,
And to the house appointed for all living.
Howbeit doth not one stretch out the hand in his fall?
 Or in his calamity therefore cry for help? 
Did not I weep for him that was in trouble?
Was not my soul grieved for the needy?
(Job 30:23-25 - ASV)

Job had lost all hope. He figured he was going to die from this trial and that there was no hope that God would hear him and move with compassion on him.

When I looked for good, then evil came;
And when I waited for light, there came darkness.
My heart is troubled, and resteth not;
Days of affliction are come upon me.
I go mourning without the sun:
I stand up in the assembly, and cry for help.
I am a brother to jackals, And a companion to ostriches.
My skin is black, and falleth from me,
And my bones are burned with heat.
Therefore is my harp turned to mourning,
And my pipe into the voice of them that weep.
(Job 30:26-31 - ASV)

Job was a positive person and his expectations were positive. This is 180 degrees opposite of what some claim when they comment on Job. Some say that Job expected and feared all these things and that is why they came upon him. Yet the answer as to why is as clear as day in the first two chapters of the book. Yet even though his expectations were positive, bad things came his way. The rest of the poem merely describes his many trails and afflictions. The last verse I think is so poetic. The songs he now sings are sad ones.
I made a covenant with mine eyes;
How then should I look upon a virgin?
For what is the portion from God above,
And the heritage from the Almighty on high?
Is it not calamity to the unrighteous,
And disaster to the workers of iniquity?
Doth not he see my ways,
And number all my steps?
(Job 31:1-4 - ASV)


Job here goes on to describe the kind of life he led. He did not lust after young women, this shows his chastity and his constancy to his wife. The idea of a covenant appears to demonstrate how much this was deeply part of his character. This is a powerful trait in a man who was as rich and prominent as Job. Many men in such a position take advantage of such things and try and find sexual gratification with a series of young women. This is indeed a grave sin of which many men today are probably guilty. Just looking too long at a good looking woman is sin (Matthew 5:28).

Job goes on to say that those who commit such sins can expect nothing from God, if he were such a man. Yet Job affirms he is not such a man. How many men can today... really say that? Those who work iniquity can expect God's sure punishment. Then Job goes on to say that he knows all these things and God knows them too. Job is not some old lecher out to bed all the town beauties, but an upright man who trusted his God and now feels betrayed by him.

We will continue our look at Job and his 'final appeal' next week, God willing!

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24 Sept

Job Part LVII


They pluck salt-wort by the bushes;
 And the roots of the broom are their food.
They are driven forth from the midst of men;
They cry after them as after a thief;
So that they dwell in frightful valleys,
In holes of the earth and of the rocks.
Among the bushes they bray;
Under the nettles they are gathered together.
(Job 30:4-7 - ASV)

This continues to describe the base criminal element that now holds Job in derision. Some commentators think this refers to some of the criminal bands of raiders who existed in those times. These were men who were viewed as worthless and lazy. We see by the description in verse five that they were treated like thieves and because of that were driven into the wilderness.

They are children of fools,
yea, children of base men;
They were scouraged out of the land.
And now I am become their song,
Yea, I am a byword unto them.
They abhor me, they stand aloof from me,
And spare not to spit in my face.
For he hath loosed his cord, and afflicted me;
And they have cast off the bridle before me.
(Job 30:8-11 - ASV)


Job here continues to contrast his new social status during this sore test. Contemptible people were now laughing at him, men who weren't worth the dirt that clung to the bottom of their feet; they were signing songs about him now. He was a subject of lampooning and derision. One can only imagine the kinds of songs they sung. He is now the town joke, not just to the noblemen, but also to the city scum. Even they now run from him. All this because of the great affliction that God allowed to come into his life. As I stated last week, I think Job learned a lesson not stated in the book, that worldly fame, status and even friends and associates are as fleeting as ones bank account balance and physical appearance. Job's fair weather friends had forsaken him and now even the riff-raff were mocking him.

Upon my right hand rise the rabble;
They thrust aside my feet,
And they cast up against me
their ways of destruction.
They mar my path,
They set forward my calamity,
Even men that have no helper.
As through a wide breach they come:
In the midst of the ruin
 they roll themselves upon me.
(Job 30:12-14 - ASV)

Verse 13 - the idea of marring Job's path is not completely clear. It may mean these hooligans prevented him from his religious observances; messed up his plans, destroyed landmarks in the deserts so people get lost. Commentators are not in agreement as to the exact nature of these hindrances. Whoever or whatever they were, they were a hindrance to Job.

Then Job goes on to describe how they came at him like a tidal wave and like such a wave, when a breach was made, the water flowed in. The idea is not dissimilar to that of a besieged city. This is how Job felt. I suspect that Job may have been accosted by these youths when he went into town, may have had his small bag of coins stolen while they mocked and harangued him as he walked down the street, stood in his way and tried to trip him up.

I think it important here to note that Job almost certainly before his affliction, had a job as a local judge or magistrate and he was a terror to wrongdoers. They probably greatly feared when their case came before Job. But now these same people are making sport of him.


Terrors are turned upon me;
They chase mine honor as the wind;
And my welfare is passed away as a cloud.
And now my soul is poured out within me;
Days of affliction have taken hold upon me.
In the night season my bones are pierced in me,
And the pains that gnaw me take no rest.
 By God's great force is my garment disfigured;
It bindeth me about as the collar of my coat.
He hath cast me into the mire,
And I am become like dust and ashes.
(Job 30:15-19 - ASV)


Job here reports on his present state. Terrors, affliction loss of wealth are all upon him. Even his health is failing. Job now reflects that God has cast him into the mud and has become as the dust and ashes he has been force to sit in.

We will continue Job next week, God willing, as he cries out to the Lord.

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12 July

Fearlessness of Faith

Grace and peace to each of you and may God bless and keep you all in these troubling, confusing and disconcerting ties.

Today's update is not about current events. Its about how we all must deal with the troubles that come our way and the strangeness of our times.

As you all know, I read a lot of things from a wide variety of sources. Left, Right, Christian, secular, US and foreign. I often get information overload reading so much. But one thing I have noted in the past year and a half since the 2020 election and Covid's spread across the globe. It is the incredible amount of fear-mongering and half-truths being spread not just by the 'unofficial', the dissenters and others, but by officialdom and semi-officialdom as well. The fear, misdirections, half-truths and disinformation are real. They are not a figment of yours or my imagination. A lot of money is being spent to influence opinion and the government has hardly been innocent in this battleground, duly spreading fear and contributing significantly to the deep and troubling divisions in the country.

Fear is a powerful emotion. Fear and hate are two powerful tools an adept propagandist and liar uses when he wants to spread his poison into your mind. The tentacles of this kind of propaganda, when it is run by governments and their secretive agencies can be very significant. These forces have 'influence' in many of top line establishment news and even in many alternative news sites. With some of these sites and sources, I see them as kind of a 'fake opposition', designed specifically to control forces; racial, social or political groups who they know will have problems with some policies at some time in the future. These state run or state connected forces operate on all sides of the political spectrum. They deal in social, racial and gender based news sources and blogs. In the US they use these tools often ostensibly to counter foreign propaganda. I want to stress the word ostensibly because today, it appears that there is little real control over these forces and their efforts to ride roughshod over the basic rights of ordinary, hard working, law abiding Americans who have more than a few inconvenient questions about some of the things going down in the country today. 

My point here today is to school you in the university of faith. When the demons of fear and hate start to preach their horror and brimstone driven sermons, we must not take the bait. Many Christians and their sites are just dripping with fear based stories. Horror, dread and scary stuff just oozes from the computer screen once the proper URL is entered in. Let us be careful of such sites, forces and people. They may or may not be operating from the best of intentions but the key to remember is that fear is not faith. We must not allow ourselves to be inundated with all of the stuff on the net, the scary, the wacky, the hateful or the deceitful.

Some of you are worried about Covid. Some of you were worried about Biden becoming President, the left is worried that Trump might return to the White House. My question is - where is the faith of God's people and of those who constantly spread fear and dread into cyberspace?

You see, I think many of these so called Christians have lost sight of some important truths. That the devil is running this planet for he is the prince of this world. Why should we be shocked when he shows his true colors? Authoritarianism? Yes, this is what the devil is working towards and his servants in this world are helping - some knowingly, most not. One of the first things the devil wants to do is to destroy truth tellers so that the big lie can be told unchallenged. This is why we have seen so much censorship in this world. The official lie must never be challenged. This is the first rule in any authoritarian, non-free, political system. I think we can all smell the stench of such a system in the west, however faintly.

This is why we must always be on our guard for the devil will certainly throw his darts at us in the form of various falsehoods and in these times, we can all see just how dangerous such lies can be. Ask the Jews of Nazi Germany how the lies spread about them by the party about their very membership in the human race put millions in the gas chambers. The devil knows how to lie and he knows how to get people to believe them. If you don't think you can be fooled, you have been already.

But we who know the truth need not fear such lies. We must remember our place. Then we must remember the place of those who have rejected God's truth. Brothers, this is just going to be hard for a lot of you. You are just going to have to toughen up and realize that many of them are just going to go walking blithely into a multitude of traps that you and I can see, but they cannot and in most cases, simply refuse to.

We cannot save the world. We must not try. We can only preach the gospel, live our lives in love and hope and let the world do what the world does best - rebel against God; sometimes in lesser ways, other times in greater. When God wants to warn the world of what it is doing, he will raise up a or many prophets.

With many Christians particularly a lot of blogs and news sites, I think they get frustrated because they are trying to do the impossible. They are trying to 'teach the dead to sing'. No matter how hard you try, with the best of intentions you will only get silence out of a corpse. So it is with the world. This world is lost. It will always be lost. Those who are part of this world are and will be lost. You cannot teach it to be a Christian because it knows not Christ. The corpse must cease to be a one if it is ever to learn to sing. When we are born again, we come out of this world and are alive to Christ, we have the potential to 'sing', though with many this never develops into anything but a failed potentiality. We are no longer of this world, but have been given the power to become sons of God.

I realize that many are deeply concerned about the trends in the nation and world. Don't be. These things must needs be. Cease to do the 'freak out' thing and worrying yourself and others half to death. We as Christians must walk in this world; we must traverse the land of Sodom, the valley of Gomorrah, the high places of idolatry and false religion and the minefields of lies. We cannot get distracted by the sins of others nor be enticed by the temptations the devil will put in our path to divert us from our steady course. Nor can we live in fear and dread for what may or may not happen. If you serve God, I mean truly serve him, you are in his hands. If not, you are going to be cannon fodder for the devil, who hates mankind only a little less than he hates God.

Are you walking with God? Is your pathway directed by him? Have you dedicated the rest of your life here on this earth to his service? Then these words should encourage you.

After these things
the word of Jehovah came unto Abram in a vision,
saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield,
and thy exceeding great reward.
(Genesis 15:1 - ASV)


What were the first two words the Lord spoke to Abram here? Fear not! This vision took place right after a major battle where the King of Sodom was involved and Abram would not take so much as a shoe lace from him. He did not want it said that the King of Sodom made him rich. Abram knew that some gifts have too high a price. There are some things that are better not taken. In today's world there are some jobs we just should not do. They may be perfectly legal and even somewhat respected by the world, but that does not mean we should take them.

For Christians - ever thought about taking a job as a check out clerk at the local grocery store at $20k a year rather than a job at some big corporation that censors Christians, finds ways to harass believers, pushes things on society that they know God hates for a salary of $100k a year? It is not an easy decision, but one that may in the long run, spiritually speaking, turn out to be by far the best. All that glitters isn't gold and even if it is, what lies underneath all that flash may be dangerous or even lethal, spiritually speaking. This is one of those things you must truly seek the Lord about in prayer before making such decisions.

Remember Lot? When there was strife between Lot's herdsmen and Abram's the two separated. Lot chose what looked good on the surface (Gen 13:10) to move to. But this was where Sodom was before it was destroyed. While it may have looked good on the surface, let us never forget that Lot only eventually escaped that place with his life, and even then only after Abraham interceded for him. His wife didn't make it. Lot saw something that glittered but later, it turned into brimstone when the Lord got finished with it.

Then God tells Abram that he is his shield, that being his protection. God will protect you if you are his and serve him honestly and honorably. God had a mission for Abraham. In order for him to get that protection, he like we do, have to stay the course on what God wanted him to do. He was on his way to the promised land - a land that God would show him. We too are on our way to the promised land. If we stay the course, God will help keep us on course and protect us. God protected Abraham and he will protect you and me as well.

So to those of you who serve God, I write this brief piece today so that you cease to worry and wonder about the lost world. There are some things you can fix and there are things you cannot. A wise man knows the difference and concentrates on what he can change rather than getting worry lines in his forehead about things he cannot.

Our jobs are simple - to live the gospel. Most people are not going to believe or accept it and in time, we will be badly persecuted here in the west for our faith. But some will come to the cross, but only some of those will do what the scriptures command - endure to the end.

Brothers hear me out on this - most souls will not make it. They are just going to be lost. Many of your families, friends and loved ones... they are going to be lost. They chose it and remember this - no one deserves heaven. God has granted us this great salvation by his grace and love. As a race, mankind is lost, reprobate and vile. We don't see ourselves that way... while we commit unspeakable crimes one upon another. We wallow in our moral filth and claim to be righteous; our hands stained with the blood of our brother, lips dripping hate and lies and pockets holding dishonest gain.

No brothers, every soul that is lost will be lost because of his own choosing. Every soul that is saved is there because of God's grace.

I have always looked at this salvation thing like this. There is the divine harvester. He is looking only for the choicest parts of the harvest. Only the very best gets into his barn. He gets rid of the rest. It simply is not good enough to meet his standards. He sells off the refuse and the devil is more than willing to take it.

So it is with salvation. We are special to God, very special and he has taken a lot of time and effort to build us up into what he wants us to be.

Let us remember that and that we have no part in this world, its ways or its fate. He who remembers this on a daily basis will find he is less likely to make key mistakes in these troubling times.

and I will bless them that bless thee,
and him that curseth thee will I curse:
and in thee shall all the families
of the earth be blessed.
(Genesis 12:3 - ASV)

May the blessing of Abram (Abraham) be upon each of you who truly and faithfully serve the Lord and have kept the faith in good times and in bad and not denied the name of the Lord Jesus Christ nor are ashamed of the Gospel.

Amen.

Note: This piece is not any kind of professional financial or career advice and should not be construed as or acted upon as such. This is merely personal commentary and a 'food for thought' piece for Christians as we navigate these troubling and difficult times. This site's full disclaimer policy can be found at the bottom of this page.


21 July

Summer-21 Notes

Blessings to all who genuinely serve the Lord.

Over these past few months many of you wonder why there are no posts on so many of the key issues of the day. There are many such posts, but as you all know they have been reserved for insiders and key prayer warriors. Material here has been seriously abused by some seriously 'bad' people in the past. I will work very hard to make sure that does not happen again.

But posts do continue on all the key issues of our times; Russia, hacking, China, Covid-19, Afghanistan, Haiti, Persecution, the drought, the economy, other plagues and diseases and many more issues of our times. Many of these issues are placed into a biblical and or prophetic perspective. I am still watching on the wall, but only for a select few and with a specific purpose in mind. To equip a few for the times coming and get them ready for when God calls some of them to some kind of ministry.

I have all kinds of readers who are insiders and most I know do appreciate what I do, though they don't fully understand why I don't put more material up on the public page. I was and have been given specific instructions from the Lord on this. When those instructions change, I will be the first to change them. Until then, things have to remain as they are.

But as time has passed I realized one thing. There is just not that much really good, rock solid biblical teaching out there. A lot of ranting and raving; religions politicization of events but very little real teaching and even less anointed prophetic writings. Lots of wannabe prophets and watchmen, but very few I see as being truly anointed by God to carry that rare and precious prophetic message that comes from the Holy Spirit and God's holy throne room.

So to those of you who may think I have fallen down on my job, I have not. I am under divine orders. When God has a word for me to put up here, be assured, I will not be slack nor will I hesitate.

I know the penalty for disobedience.

To those of you who seek to be a watchmen or prophet, let me give you a tip - it may not be wise to seek such a job out. It's a very rough job and most will wither and fade when the going gets tough and tough it will get if you are truly speaking for the Lord. God himself will call you out if you are to be a prophet or watchman - a true one in these times. You will hardly be able to resist the call if it comes and most, when they figure out what is expected will not want the job... at all. What can you expect?

To be lambasted, hated, mocked, censored, stalked, physically attacked, hacked, have your home broken into, attempts to set you up for prison on charges designed to destroy your credibility, have family pull away from you, friends disown you, your employer look for ways to get rid of you...

Still want the job?

Being a prophet or watchman? You had better know what you are asking for before you ask for it because you just might get the job and find that you can't quit and God help you if you try. Ask Jonah!

No brothers and sisters, God usually calls his own prophets and often, they are most reluctant. But they are men and sometimes women who are specially cut out for the job. People with thick skin, hardened faith, a close walk with God and a no-nonsense personality. Men with a rare combination of both love and hardness that cares for those whom he speaks to, but is not afraid of them nor what they can do. A prophet is a man with that rare combination of both grit and love in his soul.

But most importantly he has to know when to speak, when to listen and when to keep his mouth shut. To speak only those things that God wants said, when speaking as a prophet.

Too many so called watchmen and prophets are speaking a word of their own making and imagination. Often with the best of intentions, but still their words are not truly anointed and prophetic. Such true words are rare in these times, but there are a precious few folks out there who do have such an anointing.

So to those of you who are upset with me because I have not spent a lot of time here on the public site on vaccines, Biden, the 'social war', the economy, the election and a host of other issues facing the nation, for the time being these issues are given their proper place and perspective only for a select few until such time as God changes things and this too is fully within the realm of possibility.

Yes, God has and continues to give me some 'words' and no, he would not allow me to post most of them. They were for my benefit and edification to let me know what was coming, why and to not panic myself or others when they do happen, as happen they did and will. One time he just nudged me and said that these things must 'play out' and left it at that.

If God seems silent in these troubled times it is for a reason. What could that reason be? He wants men to come to him of their own volition. Prophets and watchmen have their place, but for a nation and world veering so far off track as it is today, the real prophetic word has already been given. Turn from your sins, seek the Lord while he may be found, and call out to him while he is still listening. For there will come a time when he will simply stop listening and won't hear you when your sins find you out and the punishment for your crimes is at hand. Your prayers will bounce off the ceiling and your tears will go unnoticed by a God whom you chose time and time again to ignore, mock and rebel against. He will ignore you in your day of deep distress and utter perplexity.

So if there is a prophetic word for all who are reading this now, be he a trash collector, a banker, a janitor or a taxi-driver; a Senator or federal prisoner; a gangster or housewife - it is this - get right with God, reject sins and abominations, and seek the Lord and do your utmost to please him with deeds of righteousness, holiness; words of truth and deeds that bespeak of love and peace rather than hate, lies, violence and your own petty selfishness. To seek purity - morally, spiritually and sexually, for this God demands of those who serve him.

Let those who seek to be prophets seek not their own glory nor their own 'big name' but to humbly and genuinely serve God knowing that the prophet's mantle often doubles as a burial shroud if they are a true prophet of the Lord - ask John the Baptist and a whole host of those who prophesied in the name of the Lord.

Christ came to save men, not damn them. He is calling out to the sons of men so that they may be saved. He is calling out to those inside and outside of the Church.

As many as I love, I reprove and chasten:
 be zealous therefore, and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock:
if any man hear my voice and open the door,
I will come in to him,
and will sup with him, and he with me.

He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down
with me in my throne, as I also overcame,
and sat down with my Father in his throne.
He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit
saith to the churches.
(Revelation 3:19-22 - ASV)


Finally, don't belittle my little study on Job.

Dear readers in times of seeming relative prosperity, it may not seem relevant now, but keep the lesson of Job in mind for the times I think could be coming. Considering his travails and how God ultimately dealt with him will be a source of encouragement to many a godly soul who may wonder what everyone wonders when calamity strikes them....

Why me?

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2 June

Lawfare And Spiritual Warfare


Navigating the future in the west I don't think is going to be easy. When Churches are not allowed by law to congregate while others are is a problem. One that needs to be explored.

During this pandemic, Churches have done right I think so far by obeying authorities during the pandemic but also by using the courts to deal with authorities edicts restricting worship. But what about when perhaps some future edict goes directly against our great commission or the commands of scripture? What then? This is no little matter, because such days may not be so very far away, given the political landscape and some of the other things being slowly moved legally and administratively against Christians in the west. 

Are there any examples in scripture about this? Are there examples of 'lawfare' in our Bibles? Men who used the law subtly to entrap God's servants? Yes. I will just use one today, because I think it most apt.

Daniel was a man greatly beloved of God and who served the Emperor Darius. He was very good at his job and no one could find any occasion against him. He was wise, most efficient and the emperor had a lot of respect for him. So much so that he was to be the number two man in the Kingdom, above all the other administrators.

Then this Daniel was distinguished
above the presidents and the satraps,
because an excellent spirit was in him;
and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
Then the presidents and the satraps
sought to find occasion against Daniel
as touching the kingdom;
but they could find no occasion nor fault,
forasmuch as he was faithful,
neither was there any
 error or fault found in him.
(Daniel 6:3-4 - ASV)



Daniels' enemies were looking for something... anything they could use against him. But could not find anything. Man, do I personally know what that is like! Well, if they can't find anything - create something against them. Here is what went down with God's servant, Daniel

Then said these men,
We shall not find any
occasion against this Daniel,

except we find it against him
concerning the law of his God.
(Daniel 6:5 - ASV)


This is lawfare in the age of the Medes and the Persians. Lawfare based on religion. And not unlike today, the deeper ramifications are spiritual in nature. Perhaps it would help to look at this like the spiritual stronghold of Babylon was coming against a man of God. What was the 'hook' this stronghold used to entice these men to come against God's man? Jealousy. In order for the devil to get people to act he has to have some kind of 'hook' to pull them in the direction he wants them to go. So these princes of Babylon were hatching a plot against Daniel. They realized it had to be against his religion and his God after having looked everywhere else.

Then these presidents and satraps
assembled together to the king,
and said thus unto him, King Darius,
live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom,
the deputies and the satraps,
the counsellors and the governors,
have consulted together to establish
a royal statute, and to make a strong interdict,
that whosoever shall ask a petition
of any god or man for thirty days, save of thee,
O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
Now, O king, establish the interdict,
and sign the writing, that it be not changed,
according to the law of the Medes and Persians,
which altereth not.
(Daniel 6:6-8 - ASV)

Like most good administrators, they were clever. They created this law, which only had temporary effect (30 days) and during this time, no one could could come to any God and pray... except of course to the emperor himself. Here they show that they understood a few things. First that such a law if for an extended period could cause social unrest; second, it was OK to come to the King. Here they appealed to the Kings vanity, who now would be the exclusive 'god' to whom the people could come to in order to make any petition. This was a firm law and one that could not be revoked. The penalty for breaking it was death by lions den.

Now this is one crazy law, but one cannot think for a second that men in power in any age are not capable of putting such laws into action. Here the motive was for one reason alone, to kill Daniel. They shifted the whole religious and legal landscape of the empire to kill one godly man. Make no mistake, a truly Godly man who yields himself to God is someone that the devil will take the greatest pains to try and destroy.

Wherefore king Darius
signed the writing and the interdict.
(Daniel 6:9 - ASV)

This is rather sad. Why in the world did Darius sign this?  He had to realize this would effect Daniel, his most trusted servant? We don't know. But it is not impossible that Daniel was 'out of the office' that day, perhaps out tallying the grain supply or inspecting the royal armory. These administrators probably waited until an ideal time to spring this on the king. Perhaps after the emperor had a few glasses of the special Persian vintage of wine and some Persian dancing beauty did her little performance for the court (this is not unheard of in scripture - see Mark 6:22ff). However they did it, they were able to get the king to sign this stupid law.

And when Daniel knew
that the writing was signed,
he went into his house (now his windows
were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem);
and he kneeled upon his knees
three times a day, and prayed,
and gave thanks before his God,
as he did aforetime.
(Daniel 6:10 - ASV)

Here is the thing, once he knew it was signed Daniel did not change a thing. Knowing the danger and certainly knowing his enemies had arranged this trap, he continued to serve the Lord and prayed like he did before - even though it had become a crime, punishable by death.

Daniel had to navigate this legal and administrative jungle with all of these administrative and legal snakes, crocodiles and piranha out to devour him. How did he do it? In this instance, it was a head-on approach. he was not going to be frightened out of serving God. He was not going to be scared out of praying to the Lord. He went in his room turned towards Jerusalem, got on his knee's and prayed. In short, Daniel, with his actions was saying 'pass all the laws you want, I am going to serve the Lord'. This was faith for Daniel knew that he moment he got on his knees he was according to the law, a dead man.

These days, many Christians are relying on political parties, non-profit legal organizations and others to protect their rights from bad laws that attack Christians. Certainly these organization are for the most part, doing excellent work and have done much to protect us. But we must never forget that this is ultimately, not a political or legal battle, but a spiritual one. This was the secret that Daniel knew and his enemies did not.

Then these men assembled
together unto the king,
and said unto the king, Know, O king,
that it is a law of the Medes and Persians,
that no interdict nor statute
which the king establisheth
may be changed.
(Daniel 6:15 - ASV)



On the surface, it looked like Daniel's enemies had won a major victory. They run to the king like a group of tattle-tale school children, probably unable to contain their joy in their news that Daniel was now committing a capital offense.

But the king realized that he made a major error in signing that decree and did what he could to fix things. But his administrators were adamant, they wanted Daniel, or what was left of him after the lions were finished, under six feet of dirt... no if's, no and's and no but's. They had the King as well as Daniel in a trap.

The King did not appreciate this as we see and administrators and lawyers often do make big mistakes. This was a major political mistake they made - tricking and entrapping the king. They probably thought they were indispensable.

We know the rest of the story. God sent an angel to protect Daniel from this unwise and unrighteous edict and the wicked men behind it. Daniel came out of the den unharmed.

This is not what happened to Daniel's enemies.

And the king commanded,
a
nd they brought those men that
had accused Daniel, and they cast them
into the den of lions, them, their children,
and their wives; and the lions had
the mastery of them, and brake
all their bones in pieces,
before they came to the
bottom of the den.
(Daniel 6:24 - ASV)


Despite all that his enemies had planned against God's man, Daniel prospered (Dan 6:28).

I have gone over this passage for a reason. As we watch the generational shift in the country as well as attacks on religious liberty, we must understand that we are indeed in a kind of jungle. We have enemies who are lying in wait for us as we traverse the dangerous landscape. They want to do us harm, even kill us. But we who know our God can depend on him to look out for us. To protect us from the wickedness of those who would do us harm. Sometimes God has to let our enemies get so far, so he can beat them back. Let them do their wickedness so they have no excuse when they are thrown into the lions den, as they would do to God's people.

This is the boomerang effect and at times, I have seen it at work. What people try and throw at God's people can sometimes comes right back around at them. The key is to never take vengeance yourself, keep faith with God and keep your eyes and ears open to what is going on and more importantly to what God wants you to do.

Also remember that Daniel was willing to pour out his life for his God and such a call may be made upon us one day.


And they overcame him
because of the blood of the Lamb,
and because of the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their life
even unto death.
(Revelation 12:11 - ASV)


For one day, all hell will break loose and that great dragon, Satan will be given enormous authority here on earth. He will make war on we who follow Christ Jesus.

And the dragon waxed wroth with the woman,
and went away to make war
with the rest of her seed
,

that keep the commandments of God,
and hold the testimony of Jesus:
(Revelation 12:17 - ASV)


I beheld, and the same horn
made war with the saints,
and prevailed against them;
(Daniel 7:21 - ASV)

And it was given unto him
to make war with the saints,
and to overcome them:
and there was given to him authority
over every tribe and people
and tongue and nation.
(Revelation 13:7 - ASV)

The war will certainly start off with legal aspects to it. You can't worship, you can't congregate, you can't witness, you must bow down before the emperor, etc. The devil will make sure that in such a war, laws are passed to do just that - attack Christians for that is his primary purpose, to make war against the saints. This is clearly what happens with the Mark of the Beast. A law is passed making taking the mark compulsory along with the worship of an image. The penalty will be death. It will be lawfare but with a specific spiritual or rather, demonic purpose in mind. But God as well will be working his own purpose in this - he is going to allow it. It will test the whole world as well as his saints. Those saints who are here will have to go through it but God will spare others of this great trial which will come upon the whole world (Revelation 3:10).

There will be different ways for different people on how to navigate the coming jungle. Paul when being questioned used his wisdom to confound his interrogators by asserting a resurrection when the council was divided about that issue (Acts 23:6ff). God will show us what to do if we put our trust in him fully. He has done that with me and at times he is very specific about what I am to do. He will do this with you if you are truly walking with him and have chosen to be in his service. But for many, if not most of us who are alive when the mark is instituted, we must steel ourselves for death. The spirit distinctly says that this spirit of anti-Christ will have power to overcome us (in the body). But we ultimately do overcome by the blood of Christ and the word of our testimony.

In conclusion, I see lawfare as intensifying as anti-God forces move more and more into the corridors of power all over the world. False religion, anti-religion and others will work on behalf of the devil and in nine cases out of ten, won't know who their ultimate employer is. We must prepare our hearts for it. The devil is deadly serious about his attacks on we who are of Christ. It is only when he is given authority that he can come after us in full.

Today as we can see, persecution is more a regional phenomenon. We in the west are harassed, but rarely feel the brunt of the kinds of persecution that is felt in many parts of the world. That one day is going to change. When and how I cannot say, but you can be certain that if God warned us about persecution, we must be prepared for it and not try and kid ourselves that persecution only means for someone else.

So as we move through the jungle of our times let us recognize that there are many predators out there who will seek our harm and even our lives and when possible and practicable, let us avoid the traps the devil and his imps will lay for us in the days ahead.


God bless and keep you all in Christ!

Amen!!

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20 Apr

A Curse

Now Jehovah said unto Abram,
Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred,
and from thy father's house, unto the land
that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation,
and I will bless thee, and make thy name great;
and be thou a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee,
and him that curseth thee will I curse:
and in thee shall all the families
of the earth be blessed.
(Genesis 12:1-3 - ASV)

This is one of those subjects that are often best avoided in polite 'Christian' society. But the idea of a curse is a very serious affair and frankly, I am not so sure many 'generic' Christians really believe in and or understand just how serious it is.

In the above passage, God had called out Abraham for a very specific purpose. He was going to use Abraham's obedience and faith as a key instrument to bring salvation to mankind. Obedience because Abraham (at that time Abram) had to do something, he had to get out of his native land and away from his family and go to a place that God did not specify exactly but would reveal at the proper time.

Then he gives him a powerful promise. Anyone who blesses Abraham will be blessed and anyone who curses him will be cursed. As we noted in the last part of Samuel, we see how God does indeed protect his people when they are on a divinely appointed mission. God was going to protect his servant and that he did many times in his long journey.

A curse brothers is a horrible thing. It can entail all manner of evils, illnesses, pain, or poverty. It's something that is a sign of great divine displeasure. The reality of a curse is clearly maintained all through the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses) and there are many blessings and cursing within those pages. A curse is almost always based on a person's behavior.

And it shall come to pass,
when all these things are come upon thee,
the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee,
and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations,
whither Jehovah thy God hath driven thee,
and shalt return unto Jehovah thy God,
and shalt obey his voice according
to all that I command thee this day,
thou and thy children, with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul; that then Jehovah
thy God will turn thy captivity,
and have compassion upon thee,
and will return and gather
thee from all the peoples,

whither Jehovah thy God
hath scattered thee.
(Deuteronomy 30:1-3 - ASV)


I think of the long history of the people of Israel. I think of their first exile to Babylon, but also what I consider the far more important exile which took place after the Romans came in 70 AD. Israel was scattered all through the world. For centuries they wandered and lived as foreigners and 'outsiders' in just about every place they went. Some European nations had periods of time where they expelled the Jews, hated them and treated them with deep contempt. This went on for nearly two millennia. How did Moses prophecy what would happen to the Jews if they did not do as God had commanded them, the God who did all manner of miracles for them and freed them from their slave chains in Egypt?

And thou shalt become an astonishment,
a proverb, and a byword,
among all the peoples
whither Jehovah
shall lead thee away.

(Deuteronomy 28:37 - ASV)


The whole chapter of Deuteronomy chapter 28 describes the blessings and curses that will befall Israel, wholly dependent in on their obedience to or rebellion against God's commandments. When Israel entered into the covenant with the Lord, I just am not so certain they took the Lord at his word and that God has a long memory... the longest in the universe. It is not a mistake that we Christians should repeat. Let Israel's travails be a clear example to us. God will keep his word and deal quite harshly with those who reject him, his word and his ways. Particularly those who entered into covenant with him. Once we have been born into the Kingdom of God by the work of the Holy Spirit, we have entered into a new covenant; a new 'contract' signed, if you will, in the blood of Christ.

We must also remember that God will do his part in the work of salvation, or in any divinely appointed task he has assigned us, but that we must do ours as well. One thing we must do is to keep our faith - mental belief coupled with actual obedience.

It's not talked about much but the NT does have a curse mentioned for those who turn away from God.

For as touching those
who were once enlightened
and tasted of the heavenly gift,
and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
and tasted the good word of God,
and the powers of the age to come,
and then fell away, it is impossible
to renew them again unto repentance;
 seeing they crucify to themselves
the Son of God afresh, and put him
to an open shame. For the land which
hath drunk the rain that cometh oft upon it,
and bringeth forth herbs meet for them
for whose sake it is also tilled,
receiveth blessing from God:
 but if it beareth thorns and thistles,
it is rejected and nigh unto a curse;
whose end is to be burned.
(Hebrews 6:4-8 - ASV)

The principle is not at all dissimilar to what we saw in Deuteronomy 28; there is the blessings that comes from God and then there is the clear prospect of a curse. All depending on the 'fruit' that the 'ground' bears.

By their fruits ye shall know them.
Do men gather grapes of thorns,
or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree
bringeth forth good fruit;
but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,
neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit
is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Therefore by their fruits
ye shall know them.
(Matthew 7:16-20 - ASV)


We must lay these things to heart and not ignore them or think them of little account - the divine 'accountant' is coming and he is a most exacting fellow, he expects a spiritual profit; a basket of good fruit for all the investment he has made and brothers, he had better get it! See the parable of the fig tree in a vineyard (Luke 13:6ff).

How is it that the prophet Malachi talked about the Priests in his time? God was sore upset with his religious representatives. The men who were supposed be guiding Israel. You will see below what God thought about them.

And now, O ye priests,
this commandment is for you.
If ye will not hear,
and if ye will not lay it to heart,

to give glory unto my name,
saith Jehovah of hosts,

then will I send the curse upon you,
and I will curse your blessings; yea,
I have cursed them already,
because ye do not lay it to heart. Behold,
I will rebuke your seed,
and will spread dung upon your faces,
even the dung of your feasts;
and ye shall be taken away with it.
And ye shall know that I have sent
this commandment unto you,
that my covenant may be with Levi,
saith Jehovah of hosts.
(Malachi 2:1-4 - ASV)


Some of you may say that is only meant for the priests under the old law. You would be mostly correct. This is not a generalized threat to all of Israel, only to the priests, the House of Levi.

However...

But ye are an elect race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for God's own possession,
that ye may show forth the
excellencies of him who called you
out of darkness into his marvellous light:
who in time past were no people,
but now are the people of God:
who had not obtained mercy,
but now have obtained mercy.
(1Peter 2:9-10 - ASV)

Yes, we true Christians are a priesthood as well. Again, representatives of God. So let us take such words as we find in Malachi with seriousness. The old Levitical priesthood was one that was not eternal, it was passed on from generation to generation. We are part of something much more permanent and yes, important. Therefore, our responsibility is also that much greater. We must not spurn God's word or hold his words and commandments in light regard. That is the way to very great error. We must not pollute the gospel message any more than the priests were not to pollute the offerings to the Lord (see Galatians 1:8-9).

We who serve God, let us keep faith with him in all things so that we may obtain the blessing and not anger the Lord and incur his displeasure. Or worse, his curse.

***

These times? Brothers I see a nation and world heading into a curse. Right now I think God is trying to get our attention but that phase is not going to last forever. I look at our nation and the things going on and I am shocked at the trends in it.

America is changing and its spiritual moorings with God are being slowly unhinged as the nation continues its spiritual drift. Sex-sin is in, God is out; drugs are in, Church is out; false narratives and fake news are in and God's truth is out. I suspect we are a nation that if it does not change its ways, will receive from the hand of the Lord one thing in particular... a curse. I hope and pray that does not occur. Americans have certainly received a great many blessings from God's hand and have been in a great many ways, the envy of the world. But how has the country repaid him?

I hate to write on such a negative subject, but this morning I kind of got a most troubling word from the Lord that I am not going to share, but it did have to do with the whole idea of the curse.

[Note: This piece should not under ANY circumstances be construed (or deliberately misconstrued) to be against Israel or the Jewish people. Too many men in Church history have abused the scriptures and twisted them to incite hatred of the Jewish people. This site is absolutely against any form of hate, including and especially anti-Semitism. Jesus Christ was a Jew and I am and will continue to be one of his followers and maintain a love for the Jewish people as I am commanded to love all men.]

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