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

  29
July, 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 50
- Summer-21 Notes
- Job Part 49
- Job Part 48
- Job Part 47
- Job Part 46
- Lawfare And Spiritual Warfare
- Job Part 45
- Samuel 49
- Job Part 44
- A Curse


29 July

Job Part L

As we left off last time, Job was praising God's power and majesty. Chapter 27 merely continues on with Job's thoughts.

And Job again took up his parable, and said,
As God liveth, who hath taken away my right,
And the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul:
 (For my life is yet whole in me,
And the spirit of God is in my nostrils);
Surely my lips shall not speak uprighteousness,
Neither shall my tongue utter deceit.
Far be it from me that I should justify you:
Till I die I will not put away
mine integrity from me.
(Job 27:1-5 - ASV)


Job here begins to blame God for his troubles, He says that God has taken away his rights. The Hebrew word for right is H4941 from Strong's and it has many connotations - justice, rights, privilege, verdict and judgment to name a few. This whole passage is refereed to as a proverb/parable (verse 1).  

What makes Job's words so strong was the oath he said, 'As the Lord Liveth'. Job is accusing God of being unjust and denying him a proper verdict. It is God whom he concludes who has vexed his soul and brought all these troubles upon him. But we who read the first two chapters of the book know differently. 

But Job goes on to say (vs 3) that as long as he draws breath, he is not going to speak evil or lie. This Job is determined to do right, come what may. Job is clearly angry with his friends turned accusers and he sees that if he gives place to their view and justifies the things they are saying, he would be a guilty as they are. His relatives will be burying him before he does that ('till I die')! Let us remember they have basically said Job might be hiding secret wickedness.

My righteousness I hold fast,
and will not let it go:
My heart shall not reproach me
so long as I live.
Let mine enemy be as the wicked,
And let him that riseth up against me
be as the unrighteous.
(Job 27:6-7 - ASV)

This is not a statement of self-righteousness. Rather Job is just saying that despite all that has happened to him and the way he is being treated, he is not going to stop being righteous, doing what is right and speaking things that are right. His troubles are not going to send him down the path of darkness. He may have lost all (wealth, family and health), but this is one thing he is never going to lose - his integrity.

This is a key part of the test that Job had to face. Remember Satan's accusations? That Job would forsake God and 'curse him to his face'? Job never gave up his hope and faith in God and never departed from the path of light and righteousness. Job understood that temporal things were of far less importance than a man's spiritual state and that even though he lost all, his integrity was something that no one could take away from him.

Job is going to continue on with a clear conscience and placing his trust in God, come what may.

Long ago, I decided that no matter what I was going to serve the Lord. Regardless of what people said of me or what they did, I was going to live a life that honored God and was as harmless to others as possible. You know, one actor whom I liked but most of you probably never heard of said he wanted to be remembered after his passing that he did do much harm in his life. To me, this is one of the first major steps towards being godly. To make a point of doing no harm to others, particularly not in revenge. There is enough pain and suffering in the world and we should never add to it. This too is a key - a clean conscience. Do good, not harm and mean it.

In verse seven, Job solemnly disavows the wicked. Clearly stating that he wishes his enemies be as the wicked  - that is get the deserts of the wicked. Job here probably feels this way because his friends have falsely accused him and turned on him.


For what is the hope of the godless,
though he get him gain,
When God taketh away his soul?
Will God hear his cry,
When trouble cometh upon him?
Will he delight himself in the Almighty,
And call upon God at all times?
(Job 27:8-10 - ASV)


Here Job expounds on what he means by the fate of the wicked. The key here is that he has no hope. None. This theme today is one that I don't think resonates with people as it should. But a person who forsakes God and is thus forsaken by him literally has no hope. A person who has been eternally condemned not by mankind, but by God, the maker of all things and whose words and justice are eternal, truly has no hope. Utter and total despair are the lot of such a person. Pain and suffering in Hell yes? But this has to be the worst part of it. The utter and eternal hopelessness those who cursed God with the way they lived their lives will have to experience.
Such a person may lift up a prayer, but it is not heard. Verse eight talks about what happens when such a man dies. He's gone and to a place where there is no hope. But even here when trouble comes, will God hear him? Does he find pleasure in God? The answer is rhetorical. No and this is the fate of that wicked person Job refers to in the earlier passages.

We will continue out look at Job next week, God willing.


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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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12 July

Updates will return next week, God willing!

I am taking a summer hiatus and should be back the third week of July!

God bless and keep all who serve the Lord!



1 July


Job Part XLIX

Then Job answered and said,
How hast thou helped him that is without power!
How hast thou saved the arm that hath no strength!
How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom,
And plentifully declared sound knowledge!
To whom hast thou uttered words?
And whose spirit came forth from thee?
(Job 26:1-4 - ASV)

Job replies to Bildad's (non)-answer with a bit of sarcasm. Bildad in chapter 25 did not directly answer any of Job's questions, not really. So Job here rebukes his friend and asks how his words were to comfort him, who was in his present state without power and strength. Job's friends had come to him as friends and comforters but then took upon the role of schoolmaster and judge. But since they took it upon themselves to appoint themselves in these roles, Job asks how their words have helped? Verse two is a bit tricky with the translation. Albert Barnes and Adam Clarke have some interesting renditions in their commentaries.

Bildad's words did not help Job when he was down, his words had no power and did not address the problem. Job's words are biting and the implication seems to be that Bildad was not helping him and wonders if has he ever helped anyone else.

Verse four seems to be a simple question asking what spirit he was speaking from. What spirit inspires your vain words, appears to be the meaning here. There was no divine inspiration and little ordinary wisdom. He appeared to be making things up as he went along.

They that are deceased
tremble Beneath the waters
and the inhabitants thereof.
Sheol is naked before God,
And Abaddon hath no covering.
(Job 26:5-6 - ASV)

Job then begins this rather obscure dissertation on the abode of the dead, hell (Sheol in the OT). I say obscure because the word for the deceased is 'Rapha; Rephaim'. Commentators are not in agreement on what this passage means. Some have gone so far as to believe that this passage actually refers to a race of giants that were upon the earth but now are in hell (Sheol). The Jewish Virtual Library has an interesting look at the word Rephaim. But the word is probably best looked upon as those who are departed and dwell in the 'shades'. Yet some older versions render the word as giants. But the word can be used to refer to dead men (Psalms 88:10) and no angelic/superhuman connotation need be inferred.

These passages appear merely to be that Job fully acknowledges God's greatness and power and that nothing is hidden from him or beyond his power as opposed to some new theological argument. Job is saying that God's power even reaches down to the abode of the dead.
He stretcheth out the north over empty space,
And hangeth the earth upon nothing.
He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds;
And the cloud is not rent under them.
He incloseth the face of his throne,
And spreadeth his cloud upon it.
He hath described a boundary
upon the face of the waters,
Unto the confines of light and darkness.
(Job 26:7-10 - ASV)

Job then continues to extol God's power and majesty. The phrase 'empty space' is an interesting one as it was used when God formed the earth was refereed to as being without form (Gen 1:2 - Tohu - H8414). What I find of interest is that Job see's the earth standing upon nothing, as we now know it does, not on the back of some giant turtle or some other belief that was common in days of such antiquity. His reference to the North, may not, however be the northern part of the earth, but the heavens, which stretch out and whose wonders can be seen at night. Job then comments on God's power over the waters (and rain) and continues to use his Hebrew verse to describe God's greatness with these expressions of the creation.

The pillars of heaven tremble
And are astonished at his rebuke.
He stirreth up the sea with his power,
And by his understanding he smiteth through Rahab.
By his Spirit the heavens are garnished;
His hand hath pierced the swift serpent.
Lo, these are but the outskirts of his ways:
 And how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?
(Job 26:11-14 - ASV)

This passage merely continues Job's poetical praise and wonder at God's power. What is Job doing here? It is hard to say, but it looks to me like both he and Bildad have now embarked on a 'praise contest'. Bildad issued his rather weak words of praise of God and Job has outdone Bildad in such praise. Perhaps Job is saying, if praise of God is your only argument, I will go you one better - I don't need you to remind me of God's power!

In short, Job was wholly unimpressed by Bildad's utterances and his tone runs just short of mockery. But Job more than acquainted with God's power. His question was why had God allowed all this to befall him, to which he got the same old tired responses from his friends.

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

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24 June

Job Part XLVIII


Then answered Bildad the Shuhite,
and said, Dominion and fear are with him;
He maketh peace in his high places.
Is there any number of his armies?
And upon whom doth not his light arise?
(Job 25:1-3 - ASV)


We left off last time and Job was letting his friends have it. He made it plain that the things they were saying, just did not line up with reality. No, the wicked are not always punished in this life, despite their consistent protestations. Job challenges them and asks them to prove their point and make him out a liar. Bildad now continues his response to Job. It is brief and decidedly not on point.

He praises God and acknowledges God's light and power. He praises God's ability to make peace. Bildad appears to be making a slightly different point here. That God is powerful and righteous and we have no right to question him or his ways, as Job appears to be trying to do. His response seem to be avoiding the basic controversy - he is delicately changing the subject to one of God's majesty and power, something he is sure about. He avoids Job's question. Why? We don't know, but it may be that Bildad has considered Job's words and wonders if perhaps he has a point. The difference between the two viewpoints are not as great as it may seem. Job contends that the wicked do indeed get theirs the end, but that in this life it is not always so. The others say that God punishes the wicked in this life. Yet this key point is the one of contention as this is how Job's current situation looks - like he is being judged by God.

How then can man be just with God?
Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?
Behold, even the moon hath no brightness,
 And the stars are not pure in his sight:
How much less man, that is a worm!
And the son of man, that is a worm!
(Job 25:4-6 - ASV)


Bildad then, I think gently rebukes job, for he at times appears to be trying to justify himself before God. Bildad correctly rebukes Job, Who can do this? Who can be justified and righteous in the eyes of God? No one can. God see's the impurity of all things, even in the heavens. No one can claim the right to be justified in God's eyes.

Bildad then compares mankind to a worm -  something that comes up out of the earth (dirt) and lives on it and then dies and becomes part of it again. We are nothing compared to the heavenly bodies that while wondrous, God does not see even them as being pure. Any self justification on Job's part is sheer folly. The word for worm is actually maggot (Strong's H8438).

Bildad shows considerable wisdom here, he avoids the key issue and focuses in on a troubling trend he see's in Job's reasoning. That somehow he can stand before his maker and justify himself.

This is the folly of self-righteousness. It is a serious problem in the life of any Godly person. We must never fall for it. Certainly, I am not accusing Job of being Pharisaical, but at the same time, when any of us tries to justify ourselves and our own 'righteousness' we are on a slippery slope to a bad spiritual end. Christ had no use for the Pharisee's, who were righteous and holy... but only in their own eyes (Matthew 23:27-28).

We must always remind ourselves from whence we are fallen and that any righteousness that we have that is recognized by God comes from our faith and obedience to the one whom he has sent for our salvation, Jesus Christ. When we do some good, do something that is sacrificial, we tend to get puffed up. We must never do that. But remember that we are all just miserable servants of our Lord.


Even so ye also,
when ye shall have done all the things
that are commanded you,
say, We are unprofitable servants;
we have done that which
it was our duty to do.
(Luke 17:10 - ASV)


We will look at Job's response next week, God willing.
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17 June

Job Part XLVII

From out of the populous city men groan,
And the soul of the wounded crieth out:
Yet God regardeth not the folly.
These are of them that rebel against the light;
They know not the ways thereof,
Nor abide in the paths thereof.
The murderer riseth with the light;
He killeth the poor and needy;
And in the night he is as a thief.
The eye also of the adulterer
waiteth for the twilight,
Saying, No eye shall see me:
And he disguiseth his face.
In the dark they dig through houses:
They shut themselves up in the day-time;
They know not the light.
(Job 24:12-16 - ASV)

In the last section, Job was recounting the acts of wicked men who know not God, outlining in his Hebraic poetic fashion just how the wicked behave, without rebuke from the almighty. The first passage above marks this clearly, the work of these evil men cause the men from within the city to groan. The cause is the wickedness and oppression of these Patriarchal age 'crime families'. The emphasis here on the cities may be a parallelism to contrast with the work that was done in the rural areas mentioned in the previous versus or the wicked deeds wrought in the desert and other desolate places. This appears to be a new level of crime he is describing, rather than the old fashioned highway men and roaming marauders, the effects of this wickedness comes from the city. yet God does not act with regards to it. This has been the central point of Job's argument from the beginning.

Job goes on to describe these men as being rebels against the light and who don't know its ways because they don't go into those paths. What other path is available to those with no light? The paths of darkness. Job continues on by laying out the kinds of men he is talking about. The murderer rises early in the morning in order to kill the poor man and then at night he is a thief. Day or night, his abominable activities continue. He goes out and commits adultery and hides his face from those who would recognize his midnight rendezvous. Verse 16 appears to be a way they stole from people by digging into their homes. Homes from that time were often made of clay and could be easily burrowed through.

This whole section is nothing more than a litany of outrages and crimes these kinds of people commit, without God's immediate rebuke.

For the morning is to all of them as thick darkness;
For they know the terrors of the thick darkness.
 Swiftly they pass away upon
the face of the waters;
Their portion is cursed in the earth:
They turn not into the way of the vineyards.
Drought and heat consume the snow waters:
 So doth Sheol those that have sinned.
(Job 24:17-19 - ASV)

To these men, they hate the light (morning) and they are very afraid if it. The idea here seems to be referring both to the literal sunlight as well as the light of God and righteousness. When light comes, they are in terror. The passage does not say why, but we must remember that light exposes the works of darkness and this may be part of what terrifies them.

In verse 18, he mentions the waters. The 'they' here appears again to be the wicked man, whom this time is probably a Pirate or a privateer, who works his evil upon the seas, this is Matthew Henry's (in his commentary - 1662 - 1714) view, though other interpretation of this passage may apply. Yet the swiftest ships were always sought by these kinds of seamen. This kind of criminal is not interested in the booty from land (vineyards), he can steal what he needs from the sea. The last passage that speaks of the snow melting (consume - H1497 in Strong's) appears to be a similitude not with any particular crime, but with the grave for those who have sinned in such a manner. The word for grave is Sheol. The exact meaning of the similitude is not 100% clear. But I think that Job is saying that as the Snow melts so do the bones of these wicked men decompose. The idea may mean that these men still die a relatively peaceful death.
The womb shall forget him;
The worm shall feed sweetly on him;
He shall be no more remembered;
And unrighteousness shall be broken
as a tree. He devoureth the barren
that beareth not, And doeth not good
 to the widow. Yet God preserveth
the mighty by his power:
He riseth up that hath
no assurance of life.
(Job 24:20-22 - ASV)


Here Job goes on to recount the end of the wicked man. His mother will forget him and this sort of man will no more be remembered even by those who should have the most love and care for them.

This man when he was around, mocked the barren woman and acted contemptuously towards the widow. But his evil did not stop at mocking and humiliating defenseless women, but also moves against the mighty. Yes, he also goes after other men of substance and power, in his rampages. The word 'preserveth' in verse 22 makes the passage a little difficult. It can mean to remove or scatter - see Strong's H4900.

The idea I think is that the mighty man defends himself from these men using the tools he has at hand (his power). Hence no man is sure of his life when these wicked men are about.

God giveth them to be in security,
 and they rest thereon;
And his eyes are upon their ways.
They are exalted; yet a little while,
and they are gone; Yea, they are brought low,
they are taken out of the
way as all others, And are cut off
as the tops of the ears of grain.
And if it be not so now,
who will prove me a liar,
And make my speech nothing worth?
(Job 24:23-25 - ASV)


Job goes on to show how the wicked man continues on in safety and even rests in his sins. But God is not blind, he see's this wicked man and his acts. They may rise high for a moment, but will one day be humbled, They will be like others and go the way of all the earth.

Job has steadfastly maintained his view that the wicked are not always punished in this life and directly contradicts the assertions of his comforters. Job in the last verse challenges them to call him a liar. Job here is I think being theologically honest, whereas his friends wanted to sound holy and tell themselves things they all knew deep down inside were not true. They were wiling to 'lie for God', if you will. This is the idea he express in chapter 13 when he asks his comforters

Will ye speak unrighteously for God,
And talk deceitfully for him?
Will ye show partiality to him?
Will ye contend for God?
(Job 13:7-8 - ASV)


What Job's comforters said may have sounded good, but it did not bear up under Job's razor sharp and brutally honest scrutiny.

This is the crux of the argument.

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

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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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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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