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

  9 June 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.   


Contents On This Page


- Job Part 46
- Lawfare And Spiritual Warfare
- Job Part 45
- Samuel 49
- Job Part 44
- Job Part 43
- Job Part 42
- A Curse
- Job Part 41
- Encouragement


9 June

Job Part XLVI

Therefore am I terrified at his presence;
When I consider, I am afraid of him.
For God hath made my heart faint,
And the Almighty hath terrified me;
Because I was not cut off before the darkness,
Neither did he cover the thick
darkness from my face.
(Job 23:15-17 - ASV)

Job (from the last section) was recounting how he had done his best to walk with God and yet now that he is in such trouble, he cannot find him. He had stated his confidence that when this trial was over he would come forth as gold.

Job in the above passage continues the thought from verse 14 that God was omnipotent and could do whatsoever he wanted. But these facts made Job quite afraid. The very thought of such a being was frightening to Job. This is the effect on any man who meditates on God and who he is and his power. How did Solomon put it?
"The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. "- Proverbs 9:10.

Job here showed his wisdom, he truly feared God. A man who truly feared him as Job did could not be guilty of so heinous a pattern of sins and crime as his friends accused him of. Job's heart, he continues, was made faint by the very thought of God (H7401 in Strong's). Anyone who comes to God has to know what a horrible sinner he or she is and that they are totally unworthy of God or of having their petition heard, let alone granted. It is only by God's mercy and love for us that he hears us, not because of any righteousness we think we possess.

The last passage above is just a bit hard to understand. But the idea seems to be that Job is lamenting that he did not die in the midst of all of his wealth and prosperity. It also seems to be Job's response to Eliphaz's words in Chapter 22:11. The issue here appears to be that he lost all and was made to look like the worst kind of wicked man - accursed of God. This is what troubles him. Job is saying he would have rather died than experience the things he has had to endure. What hurts Job the most is that it was God (in Job's mind), the one whom he looked upon as friend and guide who had inflicted all this woe upon him.

Why are times not laid up by the Almighty?
And why do not they that know him see his days?
There are that remove the landmarks;
They violently take away flocks,
and feed them. They drive away
the ass of the fatherless;
They take the widow's ox for a pledge.
They turn the needy out of the way:
The poor of the earth all hide themselves.
(Job 24:1-4 - ASV)

We should always keep in mind that chapter breaks in our Bibles are often arbitrary - they did not appear in the original texts. Chapter 24 continues Job's speech. He goes on to mark that God see's all things. The idea in this passage seems to be that God does indeed see all things, but that those who don't know God can't see this, neither do they understand it.

Job then goes on in verses two to four to lay out the crimes of those who do not mark God, who don't know him. They commit all manner of crimes. They target the weak in their crime sprees (the fatherless and widow). They engage in theft, cruelty etc.

Job's continues his remarks.

Behold, as wild asses in the desert
They go forth to their work,
seeking diligently for food;
The wilderness yieldeth them
 bread for their children.
They cut their provender in the field;
And they glean the vintage of the wicked.
They lie all night naked without clothing,
And have no covering in the cold.
They are wet with the showers of the mountains,
And embrace the rock for want of a shelter.
There are that pluck the fatherless from the breast,
And take a pledge of the poor;
So that they go about naked without clothing,
And being hungry they carry the sheaves.
They make oil within the walls of these men;
They tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst.
(Job 24:5-11 - ASV)


Job's poetry aptly describes a kind of Patriarchal age 'crime family'. They get up very early (vs 5 - 'diligently' is the word H7836 in Strong's). They steal the very clothes off the impoverished and kidnap children and put the poor in such debt they cannot even afford clothes and enslave these unfortunates. These passages seem to be describing some kind of roving bands of marauders that were not unheard of in the desert in those days. The passage may be describing their own miserable destitution (vs 5-8) as well as the suffering their actions cause their victims (vs 9-11).

But things are not so different today. We have seen major reports coming from governments and NGO's today on many of the same kinds of things, people being kidnapped or deceived to serve as slave labor, debt slavery, etc. Such wicked men have always existed, they know not God.

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

Brother Mark



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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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27 May

Job Part XLV

We left off last time with the end of Eliphaz's speech. It had no new theology in it, just 'yesterdays soup' served cold. But after his speech I wanted to talk a bit about an aspect to Job's sufferings that had not been discussed by Job or his friends. That issue is one of service. It was probably not an aspect that either party was fully cognizant of back in patriarchal times. The whole idea of suffering for God on his permission/commandment, seemed completely alien to all sides in this debate. But the idea began to become more prevalent in the theology of Israel, particularly in the prophets in particular in the prophecies of the suffering Messiah (ie, Isaiah 53:3ff). That God could willfully bring tribulation upon one who loved and honored him was something that was unthinkable in the theology of Job's friends.

This clearly is why the author of the book of Job gives us that behind the scenes look in the first part of the book with the deep controversy that the Lord had in his court with Satan (the adversary), standing to accuse Job before the Lord's assembled court. This event was not known to Job, nor his friends. Eliphaz misses this idea of service as to why men of God may suffer in his speech as do the others. I reiterate it here because we who are born again and know Christ are all servants of Christ and as such, must stand with him through thick and thin, even as Job did, though he did not have the benefit of the knowledge that God, though his son Jesus Christ has given to his Church on suffering.

So now, let's get back to the text.

Then Job answered and said,
Even to-day is my complaint rebellious:
My stroke is heavier than my groaning.
Oh that I knew where I might find him!
That I might come even to his seat!
I would set my cause in order before him,
And fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know the words which
he would answer me, And understand
what he would say unto me.
Would he contend with me
in the greatness of his power?
Nay; but he would give heed unto me.
(Job 23:1-6 - ASV)

Job speaks and does not address nor respond to Eliphaz' words. Instead he begins to complain to God about his condition. His yearning is for God, even in the midst of all this woe - trouble that Satan thought would get Job to curse God. Yet Job yearns for God and to bring his case before him. Job's words and pain hardly begin to describe the deep suffering he is enduring (vs 2). The word rendered 'rebellious' above in verse two is probably better rendered 'bitter' - (Strong's H4805). Job wants to bring his case directly before the Most High God. He wants to argue his case and then listen carefully to how the Lord would reply. What Job seems to be yearning for is as much God's justice as God's fellowship, which he seems to have lost.

He does not think God would answer him sharply or crush him in a show of his power, but would rather give him strength in his affliction.

There the upright might reason with him;
So should I be delivered for ever
from my judge. Behold, I go forward,
but he is not there; And backward,
but I cannot perceive him; On the left hand,
when he doth work, but I cannot behold him;
He hideth himself on the right hand,
that I cannot see him. But he knoweth
the way that I take; When he hath tried me,
 I shall come forth as gold.
(Job 23:7-10 - ASV)

Job continues his words noting that a righteous man can reason with God, The word reason in verse seven has a more complex meaning - see Strong's H3198.

Job's case, he believes put before a just God, will mean an acquittal. Job felt confident that his life and upright behavior would guarantee such a verdict in God's holy court. So Job seeks to get this before court and stand before God and make his case. What does he find?

He cannot find God. When he goes forward or backward, to the left or to the right, Job cannot find the divine judge to hear his case. But Job, even in his vain attempt to find God and this court, still utters his complete confidence (faith) in God saying that God knows Job's ways and that at the end of this trial, he will come forth as gold. That is a powerful faith Job possessed, even in the light of all his suffering and the condemnation and jibes by his so-called friends, he maintains his faith in his God (see 1Peter 1:7).

My foot hath held fast to his steps;
His way have I kept, and turned not aside.
I have not gone back from the
commandment of his lips; I have treasured
 up the words of his mouth more
than my necessary food. But he is in one mind,
and who can turn him? And what his soul
desireth, even that he doeth.
For he performeth that
 which is appointed for me:
And many such things are with him.
(Job 23:11-14 - ASV)

Job here goes on to basically expound how his life has been steadfast in God's ways. He has marked what God wants of him and has done all in his power to accomplish those things. He has not backslid nor apostatized but held God's commandments in the highest of esteem, even more than the food that he eats.

Job then goes on to mark that God is unchangeable, his purpose is eternal and nothing Job or man can say can divert God nor his purposes. God does as he pleases.

Job makes no claim to understand why this is happening to him, unlike Job's detractors who are convinced they know and cite some terrible sin Job has committed. He wisely claims complete ignorance and still maintains his full confidence in God. He trusts God to vindicate him and entrusts his soul to a wise and good creator and judge
We will continue our commentary on Job next week God willing!!

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20 May

Samuel LXIX


Note: I am going through the book of Samuel right now for insiders. This is an update done a couple of weeks ago that I thought some of you may find of interest. - MSW

But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying,
Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines
have made a raid upon the land.
So Saul returned from pursuing after David,
and went against the Philistines:
therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth.
And David went up from thence,
and dwelt in the strongholds of En-gedi.
(1Samuel 23:27-29 - ASV)

We left off last time and Saul was just about to capture David, by splitting up his forces on the mountain where David was hiding; one batch going in one direction and the other batch, in the other. Nabbing him looked like it was just a matter of time.

But suddenly Saul gets a message that the Philistines are conducting a raid. Saul calls off the search/trap and goes off to deal with the Philistines. Just in the nick of time! The name that was given to the place means rock of divisions (see Strong's H5555 - H5553, H4256), probably meaning the place where Saul divided his forces. Once Saul left, David came to a place called Engedi - known as the fountain of the goats (kid). This is a town located on the western shore of the Dead Sea. It can be seen clearly in the Smith Bible Atlas (see Palestine in the time of Saul) midway down the Sea of the Arabah (now the Dead Sea) on the left hand side. There was apparently some kind of natural fortification there for him to use.

As I said before, David is learning to lean on God rather than his own power. A natural turn of events should have had David in Saul's power, but God would not have it. He had a way to draw off the enemies of his servant. When God gives a person a job, God will look out for that person. God did not and would not forsake his servant, David.

Then Saul took three thousand
 chosen men out of all Israel,

and went to seek David and his men
upon the rocks of the wild goats.
And he came to the sheepcotes by the way,
where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet.
Now David and his men were abiding
in the innermost parts of the cave.
And the men of David said unto him,
Behold, the day of which Jehovah said unto thee,
Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thy hand,
and thou shalt do to him as it shall seem good unto thee.
Then David arose, and cut off the skirt
of Saul's robe privily.
(1Samuel 24:2-4 - ASV)


Saul gets new intelligence as to where David is. Clearly he has some pretty reliable spies. When one is willing to pay for it, decent information can usually be obtained. A shepherd, a farmer, a merchant traveling about - these may have been the kind of people Saul relied upon to spy the whereabouts of David. The passage is self explanatory. Saul wanders into the very same cave David and his men were in. David did not kill Saul, but rather sent him a 'message' - one that said something like - 'I could have killed you and left you staring vacantly at the stalactites on this cave's ceiling, but didn't '. His men encouraged him to deal with the King however David wanted; the implication seems to be, 'go head, knock him off and you can be king'. Instead David sends his message instead and cuts off part of Saul's clothing. The promise of God delivering Saul into David's hands is not specifically mentioned in scripture and may merely have been an assumption David's men had. But it is also possible that many other words were given to David that were never recorded for posterity. I suspect that David did not get such a word, otherwise he probably would have behaved differently in this incident. In any event, while Saul was out chasing David, Saul instead had fallen into David's hands and David showed mercy and did not and would not kill him.

And it came to pass afterward,
that David's heart smote him,
 because he had cut off Saul's skirt.
And he said unto his men,
Jehovah forbid that I should do this thing
unto my lord, Jehovah's anointed,
to put forth my hand against him,
seeing he is Jehovah's anointed.
(1Samuel 24:5-6 - ASV)

David had second thoughts not just about killing Saul but about doing what little he did do, just cutting his clothes. David realized that Saul was still God's anointed and that he had to respect that, despite Saul's actions and instability. Yet there may have been a degree of self-interest involved here as well. David realized that if he killed the King, it would be an invitation for others to kill him when he became King and the cycle of kill-a-king, become-a-king would begin with an endless bloodletting of royalty enticed by the fleeting pleasure of being a king for a few months, only to find yourself lying in a pool of your own blood and your best friend snatching the crown from off of your head. As you all probably know, there were often times of great instability in the Roman empire; western and eastern where things got nearly that bad. No, David here was behaving wisely both to God and to his future reign. Don't murder a king - it sets a very bad precedent... particularly if you are destined to be king yourself.

So David checked his men with these words,
and suffered them not to rise against Saul.
And Saul rose up out of the cave,
and went on his way.
(1Samuel 24:7 - ASV)

Clearly, David had to put a bridle on his men who were enthusiastic about dealing with Saul while they had a good chance. David rather than listening to his men was going to take the high road on his way to the throne and avoid any moral, spiritual or ethical 'gutters'. This 'high road' way of thinking is made clear in the following passages.

David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave,
and cried after Saul, saying,
My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him,
David bowed with his face to the earth, and did obeisance.
And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearkenest thou
to men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?
Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how
that Jehovah had delivered thee to-day
into my hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee;
but mine eye spared thee; and I said,
I will not put forth my hand against my lord;
for he is Jehovah's anointed. Moreover,
my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand;
for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not,
know thou and see that there is neither evil
nor transgression in my hand,
and I have not sinned against thee,
though thou huntest after my life to take it.
Jehovah judge between me and thee,
and Jehovah avenge me of thee;
but my hand shall not be upon thee.
As saith the proverb of the ancients,
Out of the wicked cometh forth wickedness;
 but my hand shall not be upon thee.
(1Samuel 24:8-13 - ASV)

David lays it all out to Saul after showing him the respect due a King. And telling him that he could have killed him, but did not and proving it by showing him the cloth. He was not going to kill God's anointed. He then asks Saul why he is listening to people telling him that David wants to take his life? David maintains his innocence to Saul and chides the King in this dark work of trying to kill David. Then he calls upon God to judge between the two as he clearly implies that Saul's works are wrought in evil. Even so, David wasn't going to strike or kill King Saul.

Now this is the way a man of God behaves. He put is faith in God and his recent travails I think put him in the proper mindset - do right by God, keep faith with him and he will guide and protect you... and stay out of the 'gutters'.

This is a powerful lesson I think for all of us. We must learn this lesson - to do right and to not try and use evil ways to 'expedite' something that God has promised us. Remember Abraham, when looking for a son went into the handmaiden of his wife, Hagar and bore a son? Abraham and his wife were trying to expedite things. What God proposed was clearly impossible in the eyes of man. It seemed so impossible that Abraham got a chuckle when he heard God's promise.

Then Abraham fell upon his face,
and laughed, and said in his heart,
Shall a child be born unto him
that is a hundred years old?
and shall Sarah, that is
ninety years old, bear?
(Genesis 17:17 - ASV)

So when you are at and end of the things you can do, that is often the time that God can and will act. Are you concerned you are going to lose your job because you don't fully trust the new vaccines? God knows about it. Having a hard time paying rent and are worried about the new court ruling that negates the moratoriums put in place by the CDC? God knows about it. Always take the high road - don't lie, cheat, commit acts of violence or do other untoward things to 'fulfill' what you think God should be doing. Get before God in prayer and don't let stress and bad decisions make a mess of God's plan for you. This I think is a key lesson David learned. After his panic attack earlier and going to Philistia, he had to learn to obey the Lord, wait on him and trust in him.

Say not thou,
I
will recompense evil:
Wait for Jehovah,
and he will save thee.
(Proverbs 20:22 - ASV)

Wait for Jehovah:
Be strong,
and let thy heart take courage;

Yea, wait thou for Jehovah.
(Psalms 27:14 - ASV)


That passage from Psalms was written by David about evil doers who were seeking his life.

Be strong brothers in the face of the things going on in the world today... be strong..


And he said, O man greatly beloved,
fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong,
yea, be strong. And when he spake unto me,
I was strengthened, and said,
Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.
(Daniel 10:19 - ASV)


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Job Part XLIV

Wilt thou keep the old way
Which wicked men have trodden?
Who were snatched away before their time,
Whose foundation was poured out as a stream,
Who said unto God, Depart from us;
And, What can the Almighty do for us?
(Job 22:15-17 - ASV)

Eliphaz continues here his psychological evaluation of Job and his motivations for the 'great wickedness' he is accusing him of. He asks Job if he has kept to the ways of wicked men before him.

The word 'keep' in verse 15 appears to have more of the connotation as to observe or even to follow. So Eliphaz is accusing Job of learning from the ways of wicked men. The clear implication in the next verse is that he had better be ready for their recompense, which in Eliphaz' theology is to be cut down and whose fate is not at all unlike those of the great flood (Genesis 7:11) all having died before their their time. Verse 17 appears to be a sarcastic and disrespectful retort to Job's assertion in chapter 21:14-15. These wicked men want nothing to do with God, they want him to be gone thinking that God can do nothing for them. They felt they did not need God or his help. Neither did they feel even slightly dependent upon him. Eliphaz incorrectly ascribes Job with being sympathetic to their godless views and apparently is using this form of sarcastic mockery to display his view.

Yet he filled their houses with good things:
 But the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
The righteous see it, and are glad;
And the innocent laugh them to scorn,
Saying, Surely they that did rise up
against us are cut off,
And the remnant of them
the fire hath consumed.
(Job 22:18-20 - ASV)


Eliphaz continues his sarcasm, tossing Job's words back in his mouth (from 21:16). Eliphaz seems to be implying that Job was defending them, by saying that God did not always punish the wicked. The fact that Job stated that their homes were filled with good things is used as a 'evidence' that Job was sympathetic to their way of thinking and that Job's arguments prove that he was a secret admirer of the wicked.

Verse 19 and 20 are Eliphaz giving his own theological take on the reaction of the righteous when the wicked man falls. Here Eliphaz appears to be merely justifying himself at Job's expense with this long diatribe of false accusations and dubious theology.

Verse 20 looks like another not so subtle accusation - that the righteous substance is not cut down, but the wicked man's is... 'take a look at yourself, Job and the mess you are in' seems to be the implication here. The idea of fire here some have surmised is a reference to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as what happened to Job's sheep and servants (Job 1:16).



Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace:
 Thereby good shall come unto thee.
Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth,
And lay up his words in thy heart.
If thou return to the Almighty,
thou shalt be built up,
If thou put away unrighteousness far from thy tents.
And lay thou thy treasure in the dust,
And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks;
(Job 22:21-24 - ASV)


Here Eliphaz exhorts Job to repent of all of his (imaginary) evils and come back to God. Here his tone changes 180 degrees. His exhortations are these.

  • Acquaint himself with (know) God
  • Receive God's law
  • Lay up (treasure) God's words in his heart
  • Put away evil

Then he moves on to give promises to Job that if he does these things God will be with him he will be built up, if he puts away sin. Once he does that, his riches will return to him (vs 24 - implying he would have so much of it, it would be of little account), according to Eliphaz theology. His theology is beautiful, but simplistic. It is well trodden theological territory, but does not really deal with the harsher realities of suffering that Job has expounded in his discourses.

And the Almighty will be thy treasure,
And precious silver unto thee.
For then shalt thou delight thyself in the Almighty,
And shalt lift up thy face unto God.
Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him,
and he will hear thee; And thou shalt pay thy vows.
Thou shalt also decree a thing,
and it shall be established unto thee;
And light shall shine upon thy ways.
When they cast thee down, thou shalt say,
There is lifting up;
And the humble person
he will save.
He will deliver even him that is not innocent:
Yea, he shall be delivered
through the cleanness of thy hands.
(Job 22:25-30 - ASV)


Eliphaz goes on to delineate the well known wisdom of his time. His exhortations, unlike his accusations show a love for God and righteousness that seem most genuine. But again, his words evade the real point of the whole discussion. Yes, God will turn his face towards those who honor him and yes, he will bless those who love him. Eliphaz words are nothing new, we see the same themes in all the wisdom literature in the Old Testament.

Yet here I think it is a good idea to mention this in closing of today's section on Job - that one of the factors that I think both Job and Eliphaz miss, I think this is the factor of service. It is one thing to say one serves the Lord. Some seem to think that when one does serve God then all these wonderful blessings will befall you, a golden road appears, angels appear overhead protecting you, and nothing bad ever happens again. This is the theology of Job's friends in a nutshell.

But what about the idea of service? What does it mean to serve the Lord? I mean really? In the midst of a battle and warfare, the idea of service means a great deal. Service does not just mean protection, but also obligation, often of the most profound kind. For a soldier it could be you get shot up in battle, crippled or even killed. It means following orders and doing what you are told while possessing a profound sense of loyalty to the country you serve. For a butler it means being available at the Lord of the manor's beckon and call, 24-7 and keeping your mouth shut about what you see going on in his house. We Christians are obliged to God in many ways. Even our lives are pledged to God in his service.

How do we Christians serve God, particularly in these last days? In the same way we overcome the works of the devil.

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)


This is the kind of service that will win you a place in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:6).

Job here as well is described as a servant of the Lord.

And Jehovah said unto Satan,
Hast thou considered my servant Job?
for there is none like him in the earth,
a perfect and an upright man,
one that feareth God,
and turneth away from evil.
(Job 1:8 - ASV)

Yes, a man who serves is one who is dedicated to his master. This I think is one of the most important, if unstated issues within the book of Job and the issue of suffering.

Service - do you serve the Lord, or just offer lip-service to him? He who serves God can indeed count on his protection and love, but also must bear the burdens of service to his master. But those burdens are usually not too heavy or onerous. Yes, he does yoke us to him, but makes it clear...

Come unto me,
all ye that labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you,
and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
(Matthew 11:28-30 - ASV)

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


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5 Mar

Job XLIII

Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,
Can a man be profitable unto God?
Surely he that is wise is profitable unto himself.
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty,
that thou art righteous?
Or is it gain to him,
that thou makest thy ways perfect?
(Job 22:1-3 - ASV)


Eliphaz it is surmised, is the oldest and wisest of Job's friends. As a result, his words carry a little more weight and if we remember, he was the first to speak when they first arrived and saw Job's sufferings. This is the third speech of his.

He rather than first berating Job, asks him a question. Can a man be profitable to God? Can he? Mankind often thinks much more highly of himself that his own rotten deeds, ignorance and sinfulness deserve. Clearly man in his present state is of no real use to God, if we look at it from Eliphaz' view point. When God was about to rid the world of mankind in Genesis chapter six, he made it plain that man was a mistake and one he was very sorry he made.

But God made a promise. Yes he did and that promise God was going to keep. If not, mankind would have been a mistake that God would probably have broken the mold to, right after the flood! Let none of us think more highly of us as individuals or even as a species than we ought. Humility is always the best policy.

Eliphaz wisely surmises that man is really of no value to God. He asks of God can possibly take any pleasure on what mankind is or does. He then argues that even if Job is a righteous man, what good is that to God and how is it important that God even marks how good we are? Eliphaz appears to be noting that God is far, far above anything we do down here. His ways are inscrutable. He also seems to be reproving Job over his self inflated importance in God's plan as though God has to answer him. God is not under any such obligation to any of us. Eliphaz seems to be implying that even if all of Job's complaints were true and he was as innocent as he claims, what is that to God? This seems to be the gist of his argument.

Is it for thy fear of him that he reproveth thee,
That he entereth with thee into judgment?
Is not thy wickedness great?
Neither is there any end to thine iniquities.
For thou hast taken pledges of thy brother for nought,
And stripped the naked of their clothing.
Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink,
 And thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.
(Job 22:4-7 - ASV)

Verse for is a little hard to place exactly and the curious can head on over to some Bible sites with commentaries that will give differing views on it. 

Then Eliphaz goes on the direct attack. In verse five he directly accuses Job of great wickedness and infinite iniquity. Eliphaz here moves into dangerous ground for clearly whatever Job's sins were, they were not observed by God, who had a very high opinion of Job and went so far as to say that he rejected evil (Job 1:8). Yet here Eliphaz is accusing him of all manner of wickedness to the degree that his sins were without human comprehension. Then he begins to outline this supposed wickedness of Job.

According to Eliphaz's reasoning, he took a pledge (an IOU) for nothing or something trifling and then impoverished his brother based upon a falsified note or a questionable pledge. He would not refresh the weary and would not feed the hungry.

What does he base these accusations? Nothing more than Job's present troubled state and his own imagination.


But as for the mighty man, he had the earth;
And the honorable man, he dwelt in it.
Thou hast sent widows away empty,
And the arms of the fatherless have been broken.
Therefore snares are round about thee,
And sudden fear troubleth thee,
Or darkness, so that thou canst not see,
And abundance of waters cover thee.
(Job 22:8-11 - ASV)


Verse eight continues Eliphaz's diatribe against Job's imagined evils. It is not clear exactly what Eliphaz is accusing Job of in verse eight, Barnes thinks Eliphaz is likening Job to just such a person who was powerful and could do what he wanted and no one could hinder him.

The idea here seems to be that the reason Job did not go after others was that they were too powerful. Job (in Eliphaz's imagination) only preyed upon the weak and defenseless, like the widows and orphans in verse nine. This, according to the theology of Eliphaz was the reason why Job was now having such problems. He was a wicked man whom God was judging.

Is not God in the height of heaven?
And behold the height of the stars,
how high they are! And thou sayest,
What doth God know?
Can he judge through the thick darkness?
Thick clouds are a covering to him,
so that he seeth not;
And he walketh on the vault of heaven.
(Job 22:12-14 - ASV)


Eliphaz then attempts to psychologically analyze Job's reasoning as to why he was so wicked. Job knows that God is way up in heaven and far above man and the earth. So Job figures that God must be so busy that he won't mark wickedness and that God cannot see past the clouds. Since God dwells in heaven and has his affairs up there to deal with, how can he see or even be bothered with what we do? So goes the theoretical reasoning of Job according to Eliphaz's imaginings.

Brothers, we must be careful about falsely accusing others. We cannot see everything. God does - he see's and understands. Eliphaz judged only on the surface and was terribly wrong.

Did not our Lord say, Judge Not?

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


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28 Mar

Job XLII

For what careth he for his house after him,
When the number of his months is cut off?
Shall any teach God knowledge,
Seeing he judgeth those that are high?
One dieth in his full strength,
Being wholly at ease and quiet:
His pails are full of milk,
And the marrow of his bones is moistened.
And another dieth in bitterness of soul,
And never tasteth of good.
They lie down alike in the dust,
And the worm covereth them.
(Job 21:21-26 - ASV)

Job here continues to correct the false assumptions of his friends. Job's views and theology are both full of faith but also are 'evidenced based' views. His friends keep asserting that somehow God's justice can be easily surmised by simple observance of the world - the rich prosper, the wicked are punished, etc. But Job continues to stubbornly persist that these things are not so, at least not based upon observable phenomenon. Verse 21 would better have been commented upon last week, as it completes the previous thought on how God does often indeed deal with the wicked man and if you remember, Job anticipated the retort by his friends that God often visits the fathers iniquity upon his descendants.

Verse 22 continues on with a new line of reasoning, that God's justice and ways are far beyond that of mere men. God has to judge both the poor and the rich; slaves and kings; men and spirits. Who are we that we should be so misguided and arrogant as to think we can teach God anything? The same idea is expressed in the Prophets (i.e., Isaiah 40:13). Now it is unclear if Job has any idea of Angels, perhaps not. But that does not mean he was not vaguely aware of a spiritual world with beings that God was both Lord of and whom he had to judge.

Job continues to remark on the different ways the wicked die. He makes it plain that it is not true that they all die a horrible, painful death. Such an idea is fanciful and devoid of reality.

Behold, I know your thoughts,
And the devices wherewith
ye would wrong me. For ye say,
Where is the house of the prince?
And where is the tent wherein the wicked dwelt?
Have ye not asked wayfaring men?
And do ye not know their evidences,
That the evil man is reserved to the day of calamity?
That they are led forth to the day of wrath?
(Job 21:27-30 - ASV)

Job here tells them he knows what they are thinking and he see's his friends as persecutors now and see's them imagining all manner of wickedness against him. The next passage is a little difficult to understand, but it appears that Job is calling them out for evidence of their views. Then Job refers to those who travel far and wide and asks if they did not think about asking them of these things for any proof of their assertions ('evidences'). Job asserts that if they had, they would have found out that their theological assertions are simply not true.

Who shall declare his way to his face?
And who shall repay him what he hath done?
Yet shall he be borne to the grave,
And men shall keep watch over the tomb.
The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him,
And all men shall draw after him,
As there were innumerable before him.
How then comfort ye me in vain,
Seeing in your answers there
remaineth only falsehood?
(Job 21:31-34 - ASV)

Job then goes on to remark that who is going to charge God with error? Who is going to say, 'God, you messed up'? Who is going to repay him for his alleged errors? God is accountable to no man. He and he alone is sovereign and man's judgment of God based upon his woefully incomplete knowledge is most unwise. However, there are other views on this passage. Some think Job is not referring to God but is an oblique reference to the godless, whom the humble dare not oppose while they are powerful.

The next passage is not clear to me if he is referring to the man who brings such charge to God or if he is continuing on with the idea of the fate of both the wicked and the righteous. The poetry is rather dark as he says that the dirt clods that cover him will seem sweet and that this is the fate of those before and those who will come after him. Job then chides them for the sorry way they are comforting him and trying to do it with lies. Job is clearly pretty ticked off at his friends.

The argument continues and each side has pretty much hardened their stance. But Job's friends can be chided both for their false theology as well as their cruelty to Job, who needed comfort rather than their sanctimoniousness.

Yet Job was confident in his God, despite all the evil that befell him, the false accusations of these 'friends', the departure of his family and friends, Job maintained his faith in God. This marks Job out as one very remarkable man of God.

We will continue with the words of Eliphaz next week, God willing.

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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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13 Apr

Job Part XLI


Then Job answered and said,
Hear diligently my speech;
And let this be your consolations.
Suffer me, and I also will speak;
And after that I have spoken,
mock on.
(Job 21:1-3 - ASV)

Job begins his retort to Zophar's speech with both an entreaty that Zophar and has friends listen to his words and follows with a bit of dry humor and says they can continue to mock him when he is done, until then, suffer that he may speak.

As for me, is my complaint to man?
And why should I not be impatient?
Mark me, and be astonished,
And lay your hand upon your mouth.
Even when I remember I am troubled,
And horror taketh hold on my flesh.
(Job 21:4-6 - ASV)


Job here I think tries to correct a misconception in the minds of his comforters. He is not nearly as concerned with their opinion of him as they seem to think, his argument and complaint is not with them, but with God. He needed comfort and support from his friends and instead he got sermonized by men who clearly did not really know or understand God. They have engaged in this debate that to Job was irrelevant, because his controversy was not with these so called friends, whose comfort they offered Job was like laying on a bed of nails.

Job is upset and why should he not be troubled by all that has befallen him. We should keep in mind that Job has on other occasions appealed directly to God to argue his case before him. This appears to be another occasion (vs 4).

Job then goes on to say (paraphrasing), look at me? are you not astonished!? How could we modernize and make it more colorful and down to earth for today? 'Come on man, look at my face... I look like something out of horror flick and could scare away all the neighborhood kids just by walking down the street!' (see Job 30:8-11).

His friends should have put their hands over their mouth in silent astonishment rather than their constant needling of him.

Job says that even as he remembers these things he is afraid when he thinks of all the evil that has befallen him. It still scares him; his kids dead, his wealth gone, he now sitting in the city dump scraping his skin with shards of a broken pot.

Wherefore do the wicked live,
Become old, yea, wax mighty in power?
Their seed is established with them in their sight,
And their offspring before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
Neither is the rod of God upon them.
(Job 21:7-9 - ASV)

Job here returns to his old argument and rebuts the fanciful theology of Zophar, stating clearly that what happens to the wicked is clearly not what Zophar and his friends say it is. He has seen the wicked do pretty well, their household and bloodlines established - they are secure and God does not punish nor chastise them; completely contrary to Zophar's 'make up your own facts' theology. What Zophar and his friends have said simply did not line up with reality.


Their bull gendereth, and faileth not;
  Their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.
They send forth their little ones like a flock,
And their children dance.
They sing to the timbrel and harp,
 And rejoice at the sound of the pipe.
They spend their days in prosperity,
And in a moment they go down to Sheol.
And they say unto God, Depart from us;
For we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.
(Job 21:10-14 - ASV)


Job here recounts in poetical language just how good the wicked live. This idea of them wasting away is simply not reflected in any reality except in the 'creative theology' that resides in the minds of Job's friends. But Job hits an important point in verse 14 and it's one we should talk about just a bit.

The point he makes is that all the good times, prosperity and partying, they make the soul of the wicked man hardened and contemptuous of God. In that passage they tell God to depart, 'get lost' - they say to the Almighty, we don't want to know anything about you! Such is the wicked boast of many a rich and powerful man who made their bank account and belly swell as a result of the evil dealings.

Christ dealt with this issue in his ministry and a relevant passage on this can be found below.

And he said unto them,
Take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness:
for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance
of the things which he possesseth.
And he spake a parable unto them, saying,
The ground of a certain rich man brought
forth plentifully: and he reasoned within himself, saying,
What shall I do, because I have not where to bestow my fruits?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns,
and build greater; and there will I bestow
all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul,
Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years;
take thine ease, eat, drink, be merry. But God said unto him,
Thou foolish one, this night is thy soul required of thee;
and the things which thou hast prepared,
whose shall they be? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself,
and is not rich toward God.
(Luke 12:15-21 - ASV)


What this man did was complete folly. The Greek word for 'foolish' (vs 20) is G878 in Strong's Greek.
This is where Christ enlightens us, that the man's soul now is required of him and he may have had a lot of money in the Roman bank account of his day, but he was not rich towards God.

So the man in Job 21:14 is expressing this same folly that Christ spoke of in Luke. Job was close to the truth of the matter that his friends were either too blind or too puffed up with spiritual arrogance to see.

Yet Peter also speaks about such people in his second letter. He sums it up with this verse.


the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly
out of temptation, and to keep
the unrighteous under punishment
 unto the day of judgment;
(2Peter 2:9 - ASV)


In short, the Lord is giving the wicked man the rope he will need to hang himself, the wood needed to build the scaffold, and the shovel required to dig his own spiritual grave.

What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
And what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?
Lo, their prosperity is not in their hand:
The counsel of the wicked is far from me.
How oft is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out?
That their calamity cometh upon them?
 That God distributeth sorrows in his anger?
That they are as stubble before the wind,
And as chaff that the storm carrieth away?
Ye say, God layeth up his iniquity for his children.
Let him recompense it unto himself, that he may know it:
Let his own eyes see his destruction,
And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
(Job 21:15-20 - ASV)



In verse 15, the wicked man continues his mockery of God and demonstrates their contempt for him.
In verse 16, the phrase 'prosperity is not in their hand' probably means that while they have good things, often all the good things this life has to offer, it is not theirs really, it's God's to give and take at his discretion. Job separates himself from such men and their ways; their counsel are things he wants nothing to do with.

Job follows by appearing to answer Bildad's question on the light of the wicked being put out (Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, And the spark of his fire shall not shine  - Job 18:5). He asks how often their candle is put out and their destruction come? How often does this really happen?. This is the real question Job is asking here.

The rest of the passage is not as clear as it might seem, but it appears that what Job is doing is anticipating an argument from his friends and answering a previous contention that God will visit the sins of the evil man upon his posterity. They may argue that maybe what Job puts forward is true, if so then they would argue that the sins of the fathers will visit the children (Exodus 20:5). This doctrine is also being debated by Job, but let us remember that this book was almost certainly written long before the Book of Exodus and the Mosaic Law.

We shall continue our look a Job next week, God willing!!!

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7 Apr

Encouragement

Grace and peace to each of you. In these difficult times I always want to make sure that I do my best to encourage each of you who comes by the site. I know how hard life can be and this walk of faith can at times be difficult and the last thing I want to be is one of those sites that harp on the negative, the disasters and casting a dark light on everything, as is the habit of some. 

We can often become discouraged and confused when things don't turn out the way we wanted or hoped. In such times we need to remember the proverb.


Trust in Jehovah with all thy heart,
And lean not upon thine own understanding:
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
And he will direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes;
Fear Jehovah, and depart from evil:
It will be health to thy navel,
And marrow to thy bones.
(Proverbs 3:5-8 - ASV)


In times when we don't understand why something is happening to us, this is what we need to do. Trust in the Lord - with all of our hearts. It's what David  had to do before he rose to the throne and it's what Job had to do. Both had to have at sometime, felt almost betrayed and abandoned by the God in whom they trusted. But each hung in there - through thick and thin and kept faith with God. Job was restored and doubly blessed and David did ascend to the throne, according to God's promise. But they had to wade through a proverbial swamp full of crocodiles and walk through the valley of the shadow of death first. But they kept moving forward did not look back and kept faith with God, despite the dangers.

What? You think its has been easy doing this blog? It's not has hard as it used to be, but there are times it has been exceptionally difficult. But I had my orders from the Lord and I carried them out. I say this to each of you so that you won't get discouraged when the harsh realities of life come crashing in your front door. A major illness in the family, a death, the loss of a job, a major expense you simply cannot pay for, you get very sick or maybe you have to do time for a crime you never even thought about committing - these things happen, they can happen to anyone.

But your job is to not give into despair and bitterness. We must never rail against God and put the blame on him for the troubles in our life. Chances are there is something here God wants to teach you and you won't realize what the lesson is until it's over. It's often that way with me. I had to learn some things the hard way and as the last big trial was ending the Lord just spoke to me and let me know that if I had learned one key lesson, the trial would come to an end. It did. There is no chance I will forget that lesson as I think I will have to go through a 'remedial' course in the school of hard knocks if I ever do.

Such a lesson does not appeal to me!


The key for each of us who serves the Lord is this - we all have to go through trials. There is no way around it. So if it happens to you, don't be shocked or dismayed. It goes with God's plan.

fear thou not, for I am with thee;
be not dismayed, for I am thy God;
I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea,
I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Behold, all they that are incensed
against thee shall be put to shame and confounded:
they that strive with thee shall be as nothing,
and shall perish. Thou shalt seek them,
and shalt not find them, even them that contend with thee:
they that war against thee shall be as nothing,
and as a thing of nought. For I, Jehovah thy God,
will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee,
Fear not; I will help thee.
(Isaiah 41:10-13 - ASV)


Things gone awry? Feel like a hundred boulders just landed right on top of you? Brothers we have a God who loves us and will take care of us if we fully put our trust in him. You got enemies? The passage above makes it plain that they won't be around long. Just hang tough, God see's what they are doing. He has not forgotten about you or their deeds. Let them finish digging their own graves - they may be only 5-and-a half feet down - let them get that extra 6 inches of digging completed. Save the manual laborers the sweat needed to do it. Your God is indeed looking out for you. But you must - absolutely MUST put your trust in him and do what he tells you.

So no matter what you are going through, keep faith with God. Don't get discouraged and don't, whatever you do throw in the towel on your faith. That is exactly what the devil wants you to do. Invariably, he is targeting your faith - the key ingredient in our salvation.

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