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])







Eight Souls
In the age when men lived to be nearly a thousand years old, wickedness became so great that God only saved eight people.

Powe Of Prayer
A look at prayer and and its great importance to a genuine Christian.

Prayer: Standing In The Gap







Last Updated

24 Feb 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.


24 Feb

The Incredible Collapsing Economy

(Note: This was written back in early January before Biden was inaugurated with a few minor updates.)

Jobs? It's a jungle out there. I was listening to my local radio station and their 'blues hour' and the blues singers have got their own lyrics telling how hard it is for some. No jobs, no prospect of one, the rent due, like most blues songs the songs were realistic and often spiked with humor and irony at personal travails. There are a lot of people in trouble out there.

Young people who had to move back in with Mom and Dad? Lots of those, these days. MyBudget360.com has a story on that.

There are several pieces on the web about the downturn in jobs. This is going to be a real challenge for Americans; how can the nation get its economy back on track? I have heard the Democrats are getting ready to bring forward major spending proposals and perhaps those 2000 dollar checks for folks (ed. now $1400). Sounds good - free money. But for a nation already steeped in debt with growing fiscal issues, it's like another shot of heroin to an addict. Pretty soon he may wind up taking a lethal dose in an attempt to get the same 'high'.

After recent events in DC and Biden's election, pundits are talking about things like America's reputation and a change in leadership and how Biden will be tougher on perceived US enemies and bring 'leadership' to the White House. I don't know about you, but that sounds like more intervention, war and or conflict to me. How is that going to be paid for? I have no idea, but it looks to me like the failed economic policies of the past are on its way, with lots of free money and government contracts handed out to political donors. Look, I don't want to be too hard on leaders who need to deal with pressing problems out there on Main Street. Stimulus checks and unemployment benefits have indeed kept the 'wolf at bay' for millions of Americans. I am not saying that a new stimulus bill is not needed. The problems however, are not that simple. What do I mean?

The economy is going to be a big challenge for the Biden administration, because if they can't get the economy off the ground, look for the possibility of a shift in the House and the GOP retaking the Senate and a possible return of Trump in 2024. I just don't think they can do it. Sure, spending more government money will probably provide quite a few temporary jobs if they can get a major infrastructure bill passed. But 'Team Democrat' seem to really want to pour on the spending, at least from the anecdotal reports I have heard and read. I heard President-Elect Biden the other day talking about getting vaccines out to the people faster. Then there are the climate proposals. Again, all of this sounds good and may not necessarily be bad in and of themselves. But all of these things cost money.

Free money and continued spending sounds good until it doesn't anymore. Doug Noland has an interesting comment on his site, The Credit Bubble Bulletin.
But I worry about these deepening scars. I lament the further corrosive damage inflicted upon our fragile society from Trillions of monetary inflation. “When Money Dies…” History informs us that societies become increasingly susceptible to degeneration, instability and unpredictability. I am confident we will meet the major challenge posed by the coronavirus. I have less faith in our capacity to recover from epic monetary inflation and resulting financial and economic debasement. History informs us that inflationism proves extremely difficult to remedy. I have faith in the American people, but reckless borrowing and “money printing” is placing our future in great jeopardy.  - Doug Noland - at the Credit Bubble Bulletin (Weekly Commentary: 2020 Year in Review)
I echo his sentiments exactly.

Me? I think America is becoming a 'free money junkie'.


Poverty? Look, these are not stats those who hold office want to talk too much about, particularly when they are in decision making positions, but an interesting report just came out that talks about those poverty rates. You can find related papers and a dashboard on this link. They reckon millions of Americans have slipped into poverty. That is a lot of people. Hard times for America. I suspect that they may get even harder, particularly with the kinds of proposals that are being floated about. They will probably help in the short run, but only to make things more difficult in the medium and long run.

One issue I think is important that no one really seems to be addressing, except perhaps by the now 'hated' GOP, is the problem with the lack of new business creation. The CBO has a report on this done recently


Source: CBO

The report offers some solutions to this, including better access to credit and a more level playing field so that new companies have a chance to compete against entrenched ones.
The federal government could make regulatory policies less burdensome for new firms in particular. Policymakers could also increase the scrutiny of incumbent firms’ potentially anticompetitive actions directed toward rival start-ups. Finally, concerns about the impact of diminished competition on the formation and growth of new firms could be addressed by restricting the use of noncompete contracts. The effects of such policy changes on entrepreneurship would depend largely on the details of the policies. - CBO
Another solution they propose is to allow more immigrants into the US to start businesses. The pdf report has more details and is worthy of at least a 'scan' if you have the time.

My view? This is a problem and I think that better access to credit is important, but I also think that a better look at those regulatory problems that make profitability harder should also be looked at - carefully. As much as I like Unemployment Benefits and Health Care plans, these are costs - they cost businesses money a lot of money. This and other out of pocket expenses are too often downplayed by politicians in favor of policies that cater to political constituencies that tend to vote in a particular fashion at election time. But those costs can prevent new hiring, they can drag on new investment and they can drive a business out of business. When you drive people out of business, not only the owner is effected, but also every single employee as well as any other entities that did business with the proprietor. Vendors, those who hold the lease on the property, those who are owed money. The larger the business the bigger the effect. Raising the minimum wage? Now think about how that is going to help a Mom and Pop business, stay in business when you start raising their labor costs? In this economic environment? A lot of business right now are on economic 'life support' as it is. That is a subject I touched on for insiders last week.

Leaders seem to think that things are going to get back to normal in a couple of years, economically speaking. I don't see that happening. Those people who went out of business? How are they going to start a new one with a business failure in the past and perhaps some credit problems because of the last failure? Starting a business entails risk, a lot of it and money to invest and time to build it up, probably with the first few years operating at a loss to get it off the ground. No, it's going to take some time before we are near 'normal' again... and some changes in the nation's business environment to make it happen. The last thing businesses need right now are new regulations, new taxes, new mandates and new expenses.

Look... my view is that they have made the regulatory and legal bar too high for a great many who would like to start a new business and it shows. Who wants to invest a million dollars just so they can declare bankruptcy 3 years later because of unemployment costs, health care costs, legal costs, insurance costs? It just costs too much money and the environment is less and less friendly to entrepreneurs. With every new regulation, every new 'rights' focused law that forgets the employers problems and every new mandate, you just are telling business people, why should I work my rear-end off everyday so I can just break even... or start losing money with a new batch of regulatory madness I have to comply with next year on its way?

I don't want to slam legislators too hard, I think they often really do mean well. But with some, they seem to have no grasp of basic economics. That is true of a lot of Americans as well. They honestly don't understand that printing money is not creating wealth, it's creating money and money can lose its value... in proportion to the ratio of good and services available that money is supposed to be able to be exchanged for. If printing money could create wealth, no one would have to work. The Fed could just print it up and everyone would be 'rich'. But who is going to go and work at a fast food chain, the gas station, the car factory, the grocery store or the barber shop if they have a garage full of cash? No one. Who is going to create the wealth that money is supposed to buy? Again, no one. I can remember a conversation I had and the other person honestly did not understand these basic economic facts. They really believed that all 'they' had to to was print money and everything would be great.

My view is that no one up there in DC is about to do anything that is going to really fix the problem, they might wind up producing more political pork and slap a 'Jobs Enhancement Bill' tag onto it. But I don't see the current leadership really taking the time and effort needed to sound out the small and medium sized business owners and find out what they need to stay in business and expand so they can help in the herculean task of hiring the millions of unemployed Americans.

***

The world? Globalization is not dead. It is still here. The pandemic crisis has if nothing else, shown that no nation can exist in a bubble, no matter how hard one tries. The effects of everything from job shedding, to inflation, trade and even crime are crossing borders faster than COVID-19. As much as some want to halt globalization, it is here to stay until our Lord comes and even then, it will just take an utterly different and more righteous and holy form.

Before Jehovah;
for he cometh to judge the earth:

He will judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with equity.
(Psa 98:9 ASV)

Oh let the nations be glad and sing for joy;
For thou wilt judge the peoples with equity,
And govern the nations upon earth.
Selah.
(Psa 67:4 ASV)

Banking? This is one key area that I will hope to hit on later this year and deal with some of the changes that have taken place, both as a result of the pandemic but also as a result of technology - Cryptocurrency in particular. FYI, the US Treasury has authorized banks to allow them to make payments using so called 'stablecoins'. You can read the announcement and letter here.

I see this as the new trend. I think Central bankers are going to take a cautious, but forward looking approach to these kinds of currencies. Cautious because Stablecoins are not quite like other Crypto. They are pegged to some kind of 'thing' and are designed to avoid the wild swings in price noted with other cryptocurrencies. Some are pegged to a regular currency, some to a commodity, but they are supposed to reduce the normal kinds of risk that other cryptocurrencies entail. You can do your own search on this as there are many good papers and articles on it.

My own view? This is a shift. A pretty big one in my view but one that will probably be managed by the Central Banks. Me? I see the dollar as one day being the Do-Do Bird of Global economics. I don't think there really is a way to save it. Sure, I could be wrong, but you tell me how we can continue on, on our current borrow and spend trajectory and not make a mess of the US Dollar?

Yet I suspect some within the global banking establishment know this, acknowledge it, or at least the possibility, and are making 'arrangements' for its eventual devaluation and perhaps abandonment. This, I don't think for a moment is going to happen overnight, though a spending spree in DC will probably accelerate it. Still - such coins if widely adopted, may not necessarily be centrally controlled,. Would this be a major step ahead in the globalization of the world economy and dethrone 'king dollar' and the US as the world's major financial powerhouse? I don't know. But I don't think it would be a good thing for Americans. Inevitable? Probably; Good? Probably not. Not with the kinds of authoritarian systems that are now chomping at the bit to get control of the global system.


The only other thing along the lines of banking that I did want to mention today is the way banks have (or at least were) tightening lending standards. Even the BIS talks about this in their latest quarterly report (graph 2). Many news articles talked about how difficult it was at the height of the pandemic to get a new credit card, so this effects a lot of folks. The Fed has something here (updated link) on this. But things do seem to be getting better (most recent).

How long is this going to continue? I don't know, but I suspect that as long as the banks are unsure of the job market and if a borrower is able to make payments, their watchword will continue to be 'caution'. I think if I had to put it in layman's terms, they don't want folks who may not be working or may soon stop working living off their credit cards, they might get stuck with a large swath of noncollectable debt.

The economy has got some big, big issues and stimulus checks and government spending are not going to be the key to fixing the problems. Helping those in need during a transition period? Yes, those things will help. But in order to get back to that normal, it will take getting people back to work in jobs that can pay a livable wage.

You don't do that by regulating, taxing and 'mandating' businesses out of business.

Some of you may find this piece too secular. But I don't want to see more poverty. I don't want to see more homelessness or hopelessness. I don't want to see more suffering. Getting people back to work in decent jobs is important to me and those who run businesses are key to making that happen.

But I maintain that America's real problems are spiritual in nature. Americans these days have a real knack for ignoring reality and finding ways from escaping it. From drugs to movies to these new 'virtual reality' contraptions, as well as to these economic policies. Americans seem to be determined to create their own 'alternative reality'. The problem is that reality has a way of crashing in on you when you least expect it or prepared for it.

Delusions? Yes, God can send them to those who won't hear what he has to say.

I also will choose their delusions,
and will bring their fears upon them;
because when I called, none did answer;
when I spake, they did not hear:
but they did that which was evil in mine eyes,
and chose that wherein I delighted not.
(Isa 66:4 ASV)


America, as a nation can do better than we have been, both by God and by our own selves. But we have consistently chosen on too many occasions, not to. I think the nation has gotten God's attention, but not in a positive way.

Work? Brothers and sisters in Christ, work is a good thing. God does not like idleness. This was a key sin of Sodom (Ezek 16:49). He wants us to find work, work hard at whatever we have been given to do and to do it to the best of our ability. Weather it's fixing cars, receiving goods at a warehouse, serving in a restaurant, reviewing loan applications or plowing snow - we should always do our best and give thanks to God that we have a job because right now, there are millions who don't have one.



May God be with and keep each and everyone of you.

In Christ Jesus,

Brother Mark

Disclaimer: This piece is purely commentary and personal opinion and should not in anyway be construed as or acted upon as financial or investment advice. This site is not qualified to offer any such advice. Please refer to a professional advisor before making any important financial decision or investment. Do not rely on the commentary or opinions on this site to make any important decisions. 

18 Feb

Job Part XXXV


My spirit is consumed, my days are extinct,
The grave is ready for me. Surely there are mockers with me,
 And mine eye dwelleth upon their provocation. Give now a pledge,
be surety for me with thyself; Who is there
that will strike hands with me?
(Job 17:1-3 ASV)

Job continues his complaint. The phrase my spirit is consumed can also be rendered 'my spirit is spent' (Barnes). He was weakened from his woe's and illness and is about ready to die and is ready for the grave. It is not clear why he uses the plural form for grave (in the Hebrew) but it may just be a reference to the collective graves of this ancestors (Gill).

In the next verse ,Job's use of the word provocation appears to be referring to his miserable comforters whom he see's as mocking him.

Verse three is not clear and some commentators have said it is rather obscure.  Job wants God to institute a divine investigation into his plight. The idea of a surety is like a bond or a pledge, perhaps not totally unlike bail. We don't know all the nuances of trials and judicial proceedings in such an ancient age, but verse three seems to be a reference to a sign of an agreement like shaking hands today. But with sureties, it was apparently customary to strike hands in such an agreement. We see this in Solomon's time (see Prov 6:1ff). In short, to me this passage is a rather obscure way (in our times) of Job asking for his day in court.

For thou hast hid their heart from understanding:
Therefore shalt thou not exalt them.
He that denounceth his friends for a prey,
Even the eyes of his children shall fail.
But he hath made me a byword of the people;
And they spit in my face.
(Job 17:4-6 ASV)

Job here appears to be remarking about his accusers and miserable comforters. They thought they were wise, but were not. Job saw thorough their so called wisdom and saw men who knew little but rather were victims of their own, as we would see it today, a kind of condescending sanctimoniousness.

Job's view of his companions is hardly a complimentary one. Basically he see's them as ganging up on him to deliver him up to spoil. But Job see's punishment ahead for such men.

Verse six is Job's observation that he was a byword an object of mockery; a joke and derision. The word translated as spit in my face is this one in the Strong's Hebrew. concordance.

H8611
to'-feth
From the base of H8608; a smiting, that is, (figuratively) contempt: -- tabret.
see HEBREW for 08608

What Job is saying is that these days, he is treated like something loathsome or kind of like a 'punching bag' as we would say today. He was treated with contempt. But the Hebrew word used here is a very interesting one. Some commentators say it is based on a name that was used as the place where children were offered to Molech. John Gill's commentary has a very interesting take on this. We find this word used quite a bit in the KJV, but not in the ASV. 

The word is not so obscure and was meant to signify some deep and dark abomination and a curse that goes with it. The place is known as a place of fire.

Having said all of that, I simply lack any knowledge of Hebrew to determine how closely these three words (Strong's H8611, H8612 and H8613) are related linguistically.

But I do think we get the sense of the derision and contempt people had for Job, who was unbeknownst to his detractors and accusers, was still most beloved of God.

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


12 Feb


Job XXXIV

I was at ease, and he brake me asunder;
Yea, he hath taken me by the neck,
and dashed me to pieces:
He hath also set me up for his mark.
His archers compass me round about;
He cleaveth my reins asunder,
and doth not spare;
He poureth out my gall upon the ground.
He breaketh me with breach upon breach;
 He runneth upon me like a giant.
(Job 16:12-14 ASV)

We left off last time with Job complaining that God had delivered him up to his foes, the passage above continues his poetic complaint along the same lines. Job was at ease, he was doing just fine, life was good and then suddenly, disaster struck. The metaphors he is using are those of war. It was as though God had suddenly become his enemy for no reason he could comprehend. He was kicking back one minute and the next, men in battle array had surrounded him and his and had destroyed all.

I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin,
And have laid my horn in the dust.
 My face is red with weeping,
And on my eyelids is the shadow of death;
Although there is no violence in my hands,
And my prayer is pure.
(Job 16:15-17 ASV)

The reference to sackcloth is well known to most of us as it was a tradition in those days to wear it when one was in mourning or had some major tragedy in their life. Once these disasters hit, Job did those things that were common by the ancients when such things occurred, he rent his mantle and fell down on the ground (Job 1:20). Some commentators suggest that this sackcloth may have been actually sown upon his skin. If so, it may have been meant as a permanent sign and memorial of this deep distress.

The phrase defiled my horn in the dust is a bit obscure but we can gather its meaning along these lines. To lift up ones horn was meant a sign of triumph, victory or greatness (Psa 75:4-5; Psa 89:17; Psa 89:24; Psa 92:10). To cast it into the dust would symbolize the opposite - defeat and humiliation. Barnes, on the other hand, seems to think the idea is that Job put his horn into the dust in order to sprinkle ashes on his head as a sign of mourning. 

Job description of his face is telling. The word for 'red' is this one in the Hebrew Strong's H2560.

His face was in this state because of his weeping. This may also have been the result of his leprosy of which uncontrollable and involuntary weeping can be a symptom. Then Job once again protests his innocence of any great sin that could have caused all of this misery and remarks that his prayer is pure.

O earth, cover not thou my blood,
And let my cry have no resting-place.
Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven,
And he that voucheth for me is on high.
My friends scoff at me:
But mine eye poureth out tears unto God,
That he would maintain the right of a man with God,
And of a son of man with his neighbor!
For when a few years are come,
I shall go the way whence I shall not return.
(Job 16:18-22 ASV)


Job here finishes up with a prayer and a call for witness. He does not want his passing to go unnoticed for he feels deeply abused and wronged. His friends as well have turned on him and even his prayers to his God have not met with a favorable reply. He wants to plead with God about his situation.  His prayer and desire is that he can argue his case or perhaps have a son of man intercede for him before God and do it before he dies (vs. 22).

Job is indeed in deep distress and still maintains his innocence before God.

We will continue on with the words of Job in chapter 17 next week, God willing!!

10 Feb

Back From The Dead

This weekend, the Lord drew me to the story of Lazarus and how our Lord loved him and raised him from the dead.

This was a powerful miracle. A very powerful one and was designed to demonstrate that Christ was given the power of life and death - a power that only belongs to God.

I won't repost the whole episode here for you found in the Gospel of John, Chapter eleven. I am sure you all know it. Christ had heard that Lazaraus was ill and later reveals to his disciples that Lazarus was dead. The disciples told Christ not to worry about the fact that he was 'asleep' and that he would wake up in due course.
These things spake he:
and after this he saith unto them,
Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep;
but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
The disciples therefore said unto him,
Lord, if he is fallen asleep, he will recover.
Now Jesus had spoken of his death:
but they thought that he spake
of taking rest in sleep.
Then Jesus therefore
said unto them plainly,
 Lazarus is dead.
(Joh 11:11-14 ASV)

Christ had to explain things to them in plain, simple Hebrew (or Aramaic), he was not talking about sleep, but death. Christ was on his way to waking Lazarus from this usually permanent form of slumber.

Christ then goes on to explain to him that the ultimate good in this was, that it would help them believe and have faith in who he really was. There were still some doubters among them. This miracle was meant to be a kind of an aid to their faith. Not least of whom was 'doubting' Thomas. In fact, it is this very same Thomas who speaks next asking that they should go and die with him. His statement on 'die with him' is probably meant to describe the danger that Christ was already in and that it would increase if he went back to Judea (vs. 7), they have sought his life (
8:40; 8:59) before and Thomas here probably is signifying that they should not desert Christ but go and suffer the same fate with Christ.

We all know the miracle, he goes to the tomb and raises Lazarus up with the spoken word.

Christ has to continually remind his friends and disciples of who he is. It is in this whole episode that Christ says...

Jesus said unto her,
I am the resurrection,

and the life: he that believeth on me,
though he die, yet shall he live;
and whosoever liveth and believeth
on me shall never die.
Believest thou this?
(Joh 11:25-26 ASV)

God here allows this tragedy to occur for his own purposes, to increase the faith of his disciples. They were saying the right things, but did they really believe him? I think this is the gist of the last part of the above passage.

Everyone was quite sad here and Christ here wept (vs. 35) at the loss of this friend.

But there was a mission to fulfill here and God allowed this to happen for a reason. Let us get to Christ's prayer a the Tomb.


Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee,
that, if thou believedst, thou shouldest
see the glory of God? So they took away the stone.
And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father,
I thank thee that thou heardest me.
And I knew that thou hearest me always:
but because of the multitude that
standeth around I said it, that they may believe
that thou didst send me.
(Joh 11:40-42 ASV)

Christ wanted to ensure that all who were nearby knew that God was going to perform this miracle so that they might believe on him whom he sent.

In this miracle, he manifest the power of God and as stated in the previous passage, that they may know that in him was life and the resurrection.

Christ cries out that Lazarus should come forth and I think he had to mention Lazarus by name, lest the whole tomb come alive with those long dead.

This miracle convinced many who were wavering as to who Christ was and his authority.

But it was this miracle that got those in the priesthood to get together and find a way to destroy him
(11:53).

When God works, the devil will always try to come in and destroy those works. They also put out the word for 'informers' or 'rats', as is said in today's mafia parlance, to get busy. I use this parlance because well... what do you call someone who plots a murder with others? They gave a commandment that those who knew where he was were to come and 'rat' Jesus out. What the penalty for not reporting what one knew is not made known here, but it was probably pretty severe, so Christ spent his time in the wilderness.

I write this today for a reason. I believe as we move into the very last days, the last couple of years just before great tribulation there will be some kind of outpouring on God's people. I am not certain this will be done in the Church or what is called the Church these days. But I think God will call out those whom he loves and who love him to go and...


And as ye go, preach, saying,
The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers,
cast out demons: freely ye received, freely give.
(Mat 10:7-8 ASV)


There may be at time of small bands of 'miracle workers' are roaming around cities and towns; villages and hamlets who are doing all manner of miracles for ordinary working people, the homeless and forgotten as well as those who have 'been beaten' down by the Global system that even now seems to be arising. I think far from being a time of happiness and peace, there will be considerable despair and hopelessness while the rich and powerful feed people lies while they amalgamate more power and wealth for themselves.

But such a time of miracles done by God's people who are completely out of their control would would strike fear into leaders who have given themselves over to Satan and who will eventually demand that all men worship an image in a system of open blasphemy (Rev 13:6).

This could be what the final outpouring could be like in the very last hour. God using his people in very powerful and unusual ways, but just like Christ, once they start doing these things, the state and religious leaders will come against them and yes, try and kill them. Murder is often the answer the devil as well as those who serve him use to solve their problems - in the mafia, government, big business, and yes, religion.

Now for 'them' exchange the word 'you and me' and I think you will see where I am coming from.

I don't think such men and women who will be used by God in those days will be big name evangelists or pastors with the big mega-Churches. No, they will probably be farmers, cab drivers, retiree's, retail clerks, housewives and whole host of seemingly ordinary, humble souls who have dedicated their lives fully to Christ. There may be a time when we are driven out of cities, our homes and are forced to gather together 'in the wilderness' and in such times God will move mightily upon his people pour out his spirit and say. 'go and preach the kingdom...'

This article is no prophecy of any kind, just the kind of future that we should consider as a possibility as this new system slowly rises up before our eyes.

God has a plan and his main goal is to get people saved. He is willing to perform miracles towards that end and he will have to use his people to do them.

God be with each of you as you serve Jesus Christ

Brother Mark


5 Feb

Job Part XXXIII

 Then Job answered and said,
I have heard many such things:
Miserable comforters are ye all.
Shall vain words have an end?
Or what provoketh thee
that thou answerest?
(Job 16:1-3 ASV)

Job answers Eliphaz's words and implied accusations by calling his observations vain. The word here for vain is one that is like air, breath or a tempest (Strongs H7307). A guy who is full of hot air would probably be the best modern phrase we would use. Eliphaz' speech did not bring any enlightenment to Job, he knew these things. He probably learned them as a child. Job remarks on something here I have said before, anticipating this verse, that these are miserable comforters. The word for miserable can also be translated painful. They thought they were giving Job divine counsel and advice, but their words slyly accused Job of some horrible undiscovered crime or some secret sin of which he was innocent... in the eyes of God.

To these ancient comforters, the very fact that Job was in such a horrible way was irrefutable 'proof' that he sinned against God. Their words, far from being a comfort, were salt in his wounds. He then asks Eliphaz what moved him to be so bold with his answers. Job needed the sympathy and comfort of his friends, not their heretical wisdom and subtle slander.

I also could speak as ye do;
If your soul were in my soul's stead,
I could join words together against you,
 And shake my head at you.
But I would strengthen you
with my mouth, And the solace
of my lips would assuage your grief.
Though I speak, my grief is not assuaged;
And though I forbear, what am I eased?
 But now he hath made me weary:
Thou hast made desolate all my company.
And thou hast laid fast hold on me,
which is a witness against me:
And my leanness riseth up against me,
It testifieth to my face.
(Job 16:4-8 ASV)

Job then contrasts how he would behave if the tables were reversed. Sure, he could sit on 'the judges bench' and level accusations at them and charge them with some crime, but Job would not do that, he would strengthen and encourage his friends who were in need.

This is one thing I have to tell you about friends. A real one will stand with you in thick and thin and even if you made a mistake, they would be there to comfort you and stand with you in your trials and turmoil. But Job's friends... they didn't do that. They pontificated, moralized and subtly accused Job.

When you are in trouble, you will soon find out who your friends are and who they aren't. You will discover the Judas' in your midst and those who take pleasure in making things worse for you.

The best balm or one of the best is to get with a close association of godly friends and fellow believers who can be trusted, talk about your problems and trials and get support and prayer. But there is one thing, one pitfall with this I have noted. People who call and want to 'pray with you' about this or that. They have their own prayer networks often by phone and today, by internet. But here is the problem I and other saints have noted. Often these groups turn into gossip networks; tattle-tale groups that peddle petty scandal and the personal tragedies of others in networks of people with questionable spiritual motives. Your highly personal problems and tragedies are now the topic of 'christian gossip' circles. My point here is not that we should not bear one another burdens, we should (Gal 6:2), nor that we should not pray with and for one another (James 5:16), we most definitely should. My point is one that I think Job here is making and it's about these miserable comforters... that seeking comfort from the wrong people can often make matters worse, considerably worse - particularly if your comforters are sent by or can be used by the enemy.

Let the wise reader here take heed so that when trials come again, we are wise about whom we confide in and pray with. A false friend with a rattling tongue can indeed make matters worse.

Job here outlines the fact that their words did not heal his grief, rather it filled him with wrinkles as some translators render it (vs 8 - 'laid fast hold on me' in the ASV, Strongs H7059). The passage's meaning is obscure and its not clear to scholars what is meant, but may be a reference to his probable disease (leprosy). Commentators offered no explanation that satisfied me as being correct. Perhaps Job is just saying that his leprosy is made worse by their inane banter.

The last passage probably is meant to signify that it's not as though Job did not have a witness to his problems, they were in his body and they could not be ignored.

He hath torn me in his wrath,
and persecuted me; He hath gnashed upon me
with his teeth: Mine adversary sharpeneth
his eyes upon me. They have gaped upon me
with their mouth; They have smitten me
upon the cheek reproachfully:
They gather themselves together against me.
God delivereth me to the ungodly,
And casteth me into the hands of the wicked.
(Job 16:9-11 ASV)

This passage is interesting in that some are not certain who the 'he' is that Job is referring to Eliphaz? I don't think so. God? An understandable assumption, but unlikely because of verse 11.  An unknown person/entity that Job is beginning to suspect? A possibility.
 
Adam Clarke thinks that God may has shown Job a vision of his real foe, Satan.

Granted it is pure conjecture on Mr. Clarke's part, but it does I think, best fit the passage. God can and often does reveal things to his people who are in distress in ways to help them better understand and pray. God has done this with me on a few occasions, even revealing demonic forces allied against me.

Job's observation here in verse 11 is most telling, here he recognizes that God has for some reason, handed him over to Job's enemies and this was the source of his tribulation.

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

2 Feb

Job Part XXXII

We left off last section with Eliphaz's words basically accusing Job of casting off his fear of God. Eliphaz continues his discourse.

I will show thee, hear thou me;
And that which I have seen I will declare
(Which wise men have told
From their fathers, and have not hid it;
Unto whom alone the land was given,
And no stranger passed among them):
The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days,
Even the number of years
that are laid up for the oppressor.
A sound of terrors is in his ears;
In prosperity the destroyer
shall come upon him.
(Job 15:17-21 ASV)

Eliphaz goes on to ask Job to hear what he has to say and claims that his wisdom has been handed down from the ancients, wise men who understood the ways of God.

Verse 19 is an interesting one. It seems to be a romantic look at some distant age where strange ideas and doctrines had not polluted the 'sound thinking' that Eliphaz was now about to expound to Job. The idea of strangers coming seems to demonstrate some kind of cultural superiority, 'We understood wisdom before foreigners came and polluted it', seems to be the meaning here. Strangers here being foreigners. The word is this one H2114 in Strong's.

This seems to be something that all people's of all ages want and desire, a return to the 'good old days'. When things were simpler and better. While it is true that in some respects they were, in others they were not. Romantic notions like those of Eliphaz are just that, Romantic, rather than wise. This verse also may suggest that Eliphaz may be insinuating that Job has had his mind turned by foreign dogma (K&D).

But Eliphaz's wisdom is nothing new. He see's the wicked man as always getting his deserts in this life and being punished with sorrows and oppression. Something Job has disputed in his words. The passage regarding the terrible sound in his ears is not clear, but probably is the sound of an a alarm or fear as the enemies of the wicked man descend upon him, recompensing him for his evil deeds.


He believeth not
that he shall return out of darkness,
And he is waited for of the sword.
He wandereth abroad for bread,
saying, Where is it? He knoweth that
the day of darkness is ready at his hand.
Distress and anguish make him afraid;
They prevail against him,
as a king ready to the battle.
(Job 15:22-24 ASV)


Eliphaz goes on to describe the horrors that await and are experienced by the wicked, in his theology.

Because he hath stretched out his hand against God,
And behaveth himself proudly against the Almighty;
He runneth upon him with a stiff neck,
With the thick bosses of his bucklers;
Because he hath covered his face with his fatness,
And gathered fat upon his loins;
And he hath dwelt in desolate cities,
In houses which no man inhabited,
Which were ready to become heaps;
He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue,
Neither shall their possessions be extended on the earth.
He shall not depart out of darkness;
The flame shall dry up his branches,
And by the breath of God's mouth s
hall he go away.
(Job 15:25-30 ASV)

Here Eliphaz shows the arrogant impiety of the wicked man as he fights against God, but also his fate. Verse 26 appears to refer to God and his recompense upon such a person who shows such wicked arrogance. Whereas verse 27 goes back to describe the the wicked man, who is fat with years of luxurious living. His fate is to dwell in places that are no longer inhabited. Like a warrior or conquerer who has lost a series of battles, he is forced to live in places he once defeated and razed. This appears to be the meaning of verse 28. He started out living large and now must hide himself in ruins, this is the fate of the wicked. This appears to be the meaning and Eliphaz's theological understanding. 

Verse 30 continues the theme as a tree was once green and tall, it's now logs, ready to be burned. The idea seems to be the same the Psalmist had in Psalm 37.


A Psalm of David.
Fret not thyself because of evil-doers,
Neither be thou envious
against them that work unrighteousness.
 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
 And wither as the green herb.
(Psa 37:1-2 ASV)


The idea is not exact, but it is similar.

Let him not trust in vanity, deceiving himself;
For vanity shall be his recompense.
It shall be accomplished before his time,
And his branch shall not be green.
He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine,
And shall cast off his flower as the olive-tree.
For the company of the godless shall be barren,
And fire shall consume the tents of bribery.
They conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity,
And their heart prepareth deceit.

(Job 15:31-35 ASV)

Eliphaz here finally speaks some wise and unassailable words. That men should not trust in vanity. Vanity here has a broader meaning that is meant to day. Here is the Hebrew word H7723 in Strong's and it can mean evil, idolatry or deceit.

Verses 32 and 33 just show using poetic language how the wicked are cut off before their time as well as his offspring. Clearly this was a slap in Job's face who had lost all, including his children. It's hard not to see how Eliphaz is likening Job's fate to that of the wicked in his own theological understanding. It's looks like an accusation by implication.

Verses 34 and 35 are far more interesting versus, but again, Eliphaz appears to be poking at Job and his fate. The 'company of the godless' shall be barren (desolate - KJV) and fires consume the 'tents of bribery'. Eliphaz at times while he is off on some things, really brings it home on others.

I think of many of our Churches today when I read that passage this morning. I think of the  scandals in parts of Christendom and cannot help but wonder what kind of witness parts of the Church is giving the world in our troubled times.

Eliphaz may be wrong on a lot of things, but he was right on this one. God does not like hypocrites, bribery and money changers in his temple or congregations and if you don't believe me, ask Jesus Christ... he'll tell you.

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites!
because ye shut the kingdom of heaven agai
nst men:
for ye enter not in yourselves,
neither suffer ye them that are entering in to enter.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites!
for ye devour widows' houses,
even while for a pretence ye make long prayers:
therefore ye shall receive greater condemnation.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land
to make one proselyte; and when he is become so,
ye make him twofold more a son of hell than yourselves.
Woe unto you, ye blind guides, that say,
Whosoever shall swear by the temple,
it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear
by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor.
(Mat 23:13-16 ASV)

Let's not forget that the Scribes and Pharisee's were the leaders of the congregations back in Christ's time. Let none of us repeat their horrible mistakes.

But in Eliphaz' word's... it's hard again not to see him comparing his fate with Job's. Let's remember that Job's children were consumed by fire from heaven (
Job 1:16 compare with Job 15:34).

Well, we will continue our look at Job's response to Eliphaz's words next week, the good Lord willing.



29 Jan

Fear


I, even I, am he that comforteth you:
who art thou, that thou art afraid of man that shall die,
and of the son of man that shall be made as grass;
and hast forgotten Jehovah thy Maker,
that stretched forth the heavens,
and laid the foundations of the earth;
and fearest continually all the day
because of the fury of the oppressor,
when he maketh ready to destroy?
and where is the fury of the oppressor?
(Isa 51:12-13 ASV)

One of the things that has bothered me quite a bit in this COVID-19 age is the constant barrage of fear, dread and draconian actions by leaders and some medical professionals. It has been a constant drone in our news outlets, social media; government pronouncements and dictates.

No brothers, let us not fear nor live in it. The devil loves fear. Fear makes men do things they would not ordinarily do if they weren't afraid. We as Christians must recognize that this kind of fear is not of God. We cannot and should not live in it. Nor should we pay too much attention to those who spread it, even if they are in a position of authority. Fear can paralyze us. It can cause us to make hasty and irrational decisions. Mind you, we are honor bound to obey those authorities, but we are not so bound to live in fear.

I know that with most of you, you know these things. But I say these things by way of reminder. Fear about vaccines, fear about one's job, fear about not being able to fly and see a sick relative because one does not have some new 'vaccine passport', fear that one's 90 year old mother may die from COVID-19 in her assisted living facility. In all things let us remember God and not let fear rule our hearts.

Having come under attack many times in the past, I have learned not to fear man or what man may do to me. Yes, it can be disconcerting and sometimes we have to take action to protect ourselves, but we should never surrender to fear. I have learned that two things can really throw you off mentally, spiritually and psychological in a time of crisis. Those two things are fear and hate. Living in fear is the opposite of faith for believers. Hating one's enemy negatively effects a persons judgment. It's also forbidden for us Christians.

So it is in the spiritual, job related and other battles we must engage in. We need to dispense with both hate and fear. These are times when we all have to do some kinds of battle, even if it is just to keep ourselves positive and encouraged in these rather difficult times.

The passages above demonstrate that our God is in total control. He made all things and knows exactly what is going on down here on 'planet confusion'. God gently rebukes his people over their state of constant fear. This whole section of Isaiah is directed at the remnant of Israel. Those 'ransomed' by God
(51:11). But we born again Christians have been grafted into Israel so these promises belong to us as well.

God comforts us. He is our comfort and our protection. The thing is you see, God really loves us. It is not some theoretical love or something that he feels forced to do. There is something about man that God really loves and has pity on. Paul sums this whole idea up in the book of Romans.


What then shall we say to these things?
If God is for us, who is against us?
He that spared not his own Son,
but delivered him up for us all,
how shall he not also with him
freely give us all things?
Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?
It is God that justifieth;
who is he that condemneth?
 It is Christ Jesus that died,
yea rather, that was raised from the dead,
who is at the right hand of God,
who also maketh intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution,
or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Even as it is written, For thy sake
we are killed all the day long;
We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him that loved us. For I am persuaded,
that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor things present,
nor things to come, nor powers, nor height,
nor depth, nor any other creature,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Rom 8:31-39 ASV)


Yes, God has give up his own son for us. We who have received him, been born of the spirit of God and walked in humble obedience to him, be assured - he loves us and has his protecting hand over us.

So let none of us walk in fear or dread. Let us all keep faith with God in these times and make sure we do the things he asks of us.

We must keep our faith brothers. The facts are these - that the devil is moving into the Churches to infect it with a new version of an old virus. We will call it 'Comprimise-19'. Like the medical counterpart, it is getting everywhere and sound doctrine is being tossed out for a new gospel that does not and cannot save souls, but it does make people feel good - no wonderful, on their way to damnation.

Give the devil his due in this if nothing else... he knows how to deceive. He is very, very good at it and the first thing he is going to ask you to do is to throw out your Bibles or large sections of it. It's like throwing away a road-map and removing your GPS app that you need to get to a place you have never been before and are on your way to.

Once you throw it out, you'll be lost for sure. The devil can then put up all kinds of fake roadsigns that say - heaven this way and lead you to where you don't want to go.

Who does he deceive in the last days? The whole world (Rev 12:9)

Let us all take heed as to what time it is brothers and neither fall asleep nor allow ourselves to be fooled by the devil and his wiles. As I said, he is very, very accomplished at deceiving the sons of men.

God keep you all in Christ.


27 Jan

Job Part XXXI


Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite,
and said, Should a wise man make answer
with vain knowledge, And fill himself with the east wind?
Should he reason with unprofitable talk,
Or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?
(Job 15:1-3 ASV)
Eliphaz, who was probably the oldest and most influential of Job's comforters, begins now to attack Job.  Job who was in the deepest of physical and spiritual torment has vented his soul and now Eliphaz seizes the opportunity to rub yet more salt into Job's wounds. The sense of the above passage is that a man of Job's stature and having been noted for his wisdom is now being accused of being nothing more than a bag of hot air, according to Eliphaz's reasoning. The 'East Wind', Albert Barnes notes was not just hot, it could be tempestuous and destructive as well.

Yea, thou doest away with fear,
And hinderest devotion before God.
For thine iniquity teacheth thy mouth,
And thou choosest the tongue of the crafty.
Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I;
Yea, thine own lips testify against thee.
(Job 15:4-6 ASV)

Job had vented his soul if we remember in the last chapter of Job, and he said he was not going to take his flesh in his teeth (probably meaning bite his tongue). He opened up his soul to God before these miserable comforters who now use Job's open prayer to God as rhetorical 'ammunition' against him. Job was not being as careful with his words as Eliphaz thought he should be and thus accuses him of a lack of fear of God. (vs. 4).

Let's keep in mind Job's argument. Job felt that his trial was unjust and he had appealed to his comforters to hear his side of the story and not just take the Lord's (Job 13: 6ff). Eliphaz takes Job's stance to be arrogance and folly. His words were crafty and subtle and in Eliphaz's view, they were wicked and evidence of Job's guilt. The arguments may go a bit deeper here as remember Job maintained in his argument unlike the others, that good does not always fall to the just nor calamity to the evil. This was apparently contrary to the wisdom of the days.

This may be part of Eliphaz's issue with Job's words. What he was saying was not in agreement with the 'wisdom' of everyone else.

Art thou the first man that was born?
Or wast thou brought forth before the hills?
Hast thou heard the secret counsel of God?
And dost thou limit wisdom to thyself?
What knowest thou, that we know not?
What understandest thou, which is not in us?
With us are both the grayheaded
and the very aged men,
Much elder than thy father.
Are the consolations of God too small for thee,
Even the word that is gentle toward thee?
(Job 15:7-11 ASV)

Eliphaz goes on to taunt Job asking why he thinks he is so smart to go against what every wise man already 'knows'? Was he older than they were? Had God communicated some secret to him that he had not to others? Eliphaz mentions that old wise men were on his side of the argument and implies that Job was wrong. The sense seems to be, "All the ancients agree with what wisdom is and what you have uttered, ain't it"!  The mention of the hills here seems to indicate age and timelessness. "Old as the Hills" is our expression of recent memory.
Why doth thy heart carry thee away?
And why do thine eyes flash,
That against God thou turnest thy spirit,
And lettest words go out of thy mouth?
What is man, that he should be clean?
And he that is born of a woman,
that he should be righteous?
Behold, he putteth no trust in his holy ones;
Yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight:
How much less one that is abominable and corrupt,
A man that drinketh iniquity like water!
(Job 15:12-16 ASV)

Here the argument is self evident - He is accusing Job of being self righteous noting that all of us are sinful. Eliphaz for once utters something wise and worth repeating. That mankind is not clean, not even the creation is considered clean in God's sight. How can a man be pure when mankind is so evil (drinketh iniquity like water).

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


21 Jan

Job Part XXX


Man, that is born of a woman,
Is of few days, and full of trouble.
 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down:
He fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
And dost thou open thine eyes upon such a one,
 And bringest me into judgment with thee?
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
not one. Seeing his days are determined,
The number of his months is with thee,
And thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;
Look away from him, that he may rest,
Till he shall accomplish,
as a hireling, his day.
(Job 14:1-6 ASV)

Verse one? Never a truer word spoken about life!! But let's understand a little point here that commentators point out. It is seems like a little thing, but in reality it isn't. Note that Job says man that is born of woman not man (Adam - Strong's H120) has these tribulations. The trouble here is clearly differentiated from Adam who was made from dust and born into a blessed garden and not born of women. If Adam had trouble later, it was because of his own failure to comply with the Law of the Lord and restrict his dietary intake to the divinely approved tree's. One act of disobedience, seemingly insignificant, causes all of us more trouble that we often contemplate when we commit them.

Job then goes on to describe the pitiful fate of the sons of Adam. How vain it all is, sure he grows and flowers, but only to be cut down (die) later. He continues (vs. 3) to ask why God bothers with such creatures, who are here today and gone tomorrow. The sense here is that Job is bewildered that God would even mark such beings, let alone bring him into judgment, as Job believes (wrongly) God is doing to him. In verse four, Job appears to be saying that all men are sinful and it is not possible for men to be clear of sin. Who can undo the damage a sinful nature has wrecked on the character of us all? The answer is rhetorical, no one.

Job continues on marking that mankind's days are determined. God knows how long we each have and has given to each of us. He then begs God to turn from bothering mankind, the sense here seems to be 'he'll be gone before you know it, let him be for his short time allotted. Job likens life like that of a hired worker, who works the day until his shift is over.

For there is hope of a tree,
If it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
And that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
Though the root thereof wax old in the earth,
And the stock thereof die in the ground;
Yet through the scent of water it will bud,
And put forth boughs like a plant.
But man dieth, and is laid low:
Yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?
As the waters fail from the sea,
And the river wasteth and drieth up;
So man lieth down and riseth not:
Till the heavens be no more,
they shall not awake,
Nor be roused out of their sleep.
(Job 14:7-12 ASV)


The above passage is self explanatory. Job is looking at the fate of man and comparing it with that of trees. Job, in his depressed state says that even if a tree is cut down, there is hope for it again. Job here is probably feeling the pain of the loss of all of his children and how now his own life will be without progeny as much as making a general observation of the shortness and vanity of the life of men. With trees sometimes that are cut down they can still put forth new shoots.

Job goes on to describe (vs. 10-12) how these things are not so with men, once he goes down to the grave, that's it - end of story. This appears to be the gist of Job's meaning.

Oh that thou wouldest hide me in Sheol,
That thou wouldest keep me secret,
until thy wrath be past, That thou wouldest appoint me a set time,
and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again?
All the days of my warfare would I wait,
Till my release should come. Thou wouldest call,
and I would answer thee:
Thou wouldest have a desire to the work of thy hands.
But now thou numberest my steps:
Dost thou not watch over my sin?
(Job 14:13-16 ASV)


Job here is asking for death. He wants God to hide him in the grave until all the troubles and pain in his life are gone. Job then asks that God would set him an appointed time. Some commentators see this as a reference to Job's hope of a Resurrection and that after he goes down to the grave, God would visit him again. But Gill I think gets the right sense particularly in light of vs 14, that being that Job is just asking God to schedule is day of departure from this life. The world Sheol is the one used for grave. Perhaps before we get to the end of Job we will talk just a bit about this place and how it is used and described in the OT.

Job again recalls how God has watched him (numbered his steps - Strong's H5608) and took heed over his sin. The word 'watch' here (vs. 16) means to mark, observe, to take heed (H8104). This passage as well as others show that Job was clearly conscious of his own sinfulness and shortcomings and accusations of self righteousness were unfounded.

My transgression is sealed up in a bag,
And thou fastenest up mine iniquity.
 But the mountain falling cometh to nought;
And the rock is removed out of its place;
The waters wear the stones; The overflowings thereof wash away
the dust of the earth: So thou destroyest the hope of man.
Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth;
Thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.
His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not;
And they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.
But his flesh upon him hath pain,
And his soul within him mourneth.

(Job 14:17-22 ASV)

Job's transgressions which he acknowledges are seen by Job to have been sealed up in a bag. This is an interesting phrase. There are a few varying interpretation of it. One is that it is sealed up and hidden a bag as though being concealed. This does not appear to be the meaning, rather it is more likely the meaning is that God has marked out his sins, and put them in a bag to be counted later, like a bag of money.

I see this almost like we see at a crime scene on TV cop shows, where the crime scene team comes in and takes crucial evidence and seals it in a plastic bag to be used against the person accused of the crime in court.

Versus 18-22 continue Job's lament at the shortness and vanity of man's time on earth. In the earlier verses, he compared man's brief and terminal existence with the trees who have hope of sprouting again. In this passage he compares it to mountains and rocks. The passage is as much a lament at man's shortness of life as it is of God's great power and that no man can resist his will. Even if a man has sons, the man is unaware of their fate if they are successful or not, man is ignorant of this while in the grave. The last verse, 22 is a little more difficult to render and commentators differ on how it is to be rendered. Clarke, The Biblical Illustrator and Barnes have notes on it that may be of value to those interested.

We will continue our look at Job and the response of Eliphaz the Temanite next week, God willing!!


19 Jan


Looking Ahead

2021 may very well continue the difficulties of 2020, perhaps more so.

Then there are the social divides in the nation. They are deep and real as this election has demonstrated. The country has got a host of troubles with no one who has any real solutions to our collective malaise, just more partisanship that will only further split the nation up along partisan and 'identity politics' lines. I see no healing in this country coming, just more of the same old divisions, racial issues, gender issues, debt, money driven politics and blame that are driving the nation into the economic and social doldrums. Violence, hate, perversions, drug abuse, corruption... Our nation has got some serious issues that seem be getting worse, not better. Look at what has happened to the murder rates in the US. There are numerous MSM news stories on it.

I wish I could be more uplifting. I really do. But I don't see how anyone but God can fix what is broken in this once great land. Sure today we still can eat, put gas in our cars, entertain ourselves even if it is with TV, but how much longer? How much longer can the nation continue to borrow from the future to pay for today? To destroy significant parts of its businesses and employment on the altar of this pandemic?

Well, the answer lies with God and I think he is going to remain silent until we as a nation begin to start listening to him. We humans always seem to think communication with God is a one way street. We pray and God is supposed to answer. Well, that is only one side of it. The other side is that God speaks and we are supposed to listen, carefully and obey. Much of the world only has one side of the equation right. When we continually ignore God, he can ignore us and just stop listening. Or even worse, stop protecting us and 'running interference' against our enemies and the troubles that head our way that we are never aware of.

I think this is where this country is now. We have long ignored him and his ways and invited all manner of evils into the mainstream of our society. We have taken such things and flouted them in his face and some have had the temerity to mock God when praising such things. God see's this. He often does not move right away in the hopes that people can and will change their ways. But as the saying goes, 'he who laughs last, laughs best'. God can and will send great trouble upon those who are determined to move contrary to God and his ways. Oh, yes God has been calling out to this country and to our troubled world. God is indeed trying to get America and mankind in general to change course.
Turn you at my reproof:
Behold, I will pour out my spirit upon you;
I will make known my words unto you.
Because I have called, and ye have refused;
I have stretched out my hand,
and no man hath regarded; But ye have set
at nought all my counsel,
And would none of my reproof:
I also will laugh in the day of your calamity;
I will mock when your fear cometh;
When your fear cometh as a storm,
And your calamity cometh on as a whirlwind;
When distress and anguish come upon you.
Then will they call upon me,
but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently,
 but they shall not find me:
For that they hated knowledge,
And did not choose the fear of Jehovah:
They would none of my counsel;
They despised all my reproof.
Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way,
And be filled with their own devices.
(Pro 1:23-31 ASV)

No, the Lord will get the last laugh. He knows how to bring trouble upon those who hate him and his ways... trouble for which there is no remedy for, no answer to, no healing of and no recourse. He does not want to do that, but at the same time he will  - if we compel him to act along these lines. The deeds of much of America and our world are indeed beginning to force his hand.

It's late and no one marks how late the hour is and just how far from God the world is heading. America cannot continue on her current course and not expect the Lord to hit us where it hurts the most. But with America? God won't have to hit us too hard for the whole rotten, incompetence laden, corruption eaten, debt burdened structure to come crashing down on us. We have long been in the process of destroying ourselves and won't need but a little push to finish the job.

No brothers I think this - no repentance - no let up of trouble for America and I don't think any kind of national repentance is likely under the leadership in DC. So I suspect we will see more trouble with a capitol 'T' in 2021 and beyond. Where will it come from? A new pandemic? A series of natural disasters? Economic turmoil or even a financial crisis? A war where the US gets beaten? Some new weapon system launched on us by a foreign nation that our leaders have not told us about? Fires, floods or famine? Major insider attacks on key US facilities and infrastructure?

What is to come? I don't know but I would be surprised if at least some of those things don't happen in the years ahead if the nation continues on its dark spiritual journey.

Americans individually must make the first move. It's not going to come from Washington and probably not the Church. There must be a sea change in the way Americans behave and Americans just have to begin to have some real respect for God. Not lip-service, not the 'honor of hypocrites', but a genuine honor for him and his desires and ways. Otherwise, he may turn and have no respect for us - our nation or our ways and deal with us accordingly; with contempt rather than respect.

To put this all on a practical level - it's better to repent before the 'divine beating' than after.

It's far less painful.


God earnestly desires that people repent, do right and know him. He holds his hand of fellowship out every day to all the sons and daughters of men of all ages, colors and backgrounds. He is no respecter of persons.


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.
(Mat 11:28-30 ASV)
And the Spirit and the bride say,
Come. And he that heareth, let him say,
Come. And he that is athirst, let him come:
he that will, let him take the water of life freely.
(Rev 22:17 ASV)

Brothers, let us put away the hate and learn to love and respect one another... but God first.

***
I write this piece under no special spiritual or prophetic anointing. These are just my own views based on the scriptures and how God has often dealt with nations, people's and with me.
***



15 Jan

Job Part XXIX

Your memorable sayings are proverbs of ashes,
Your defences are defences of clay.
Hold your peace, let me alone,
that I may speak;
 And let come on me what will.
Wherefore should I take my flesh in my teeth,
And put my life in my hand?
(Job 13:12-14 ASV)

Verse 13 is has presented translation and interpretation problem for a long time. I won't get into the debate. Barnes I think gives a good look at the debate.

Job was just telling them that what they had to say; words that they thought were such wisdom were of little real value and were like Job's situation, who was treated with contempt for having to sit among the ashes, so were their sayings.

He was tired of hearing the simplistic utterances of his so-called comforters and asks to be left alone. This probably does not denote a physical removal from Job, but rather he just wants them to be silent and to stop bothering him with their 'nursery rhyme' wisdom.


Job then continues on saying that he is going to have his say, come what will (vs 13b). Given the passages that follows, one gets the impression he is kind of like giving his 'final words' just before he is executed, not unlike we have seen in so many movies. He is going to say what he has to say before the sentence is read even if it makes things worse for him. In verse 14 we have the phrase take my flesh in my teeth and this is not an easy expression to understand. The major commentaries I use spend a lot of time with obscure arguments to try and explain it. It probably means just to bite ones lip.

The last part of verse 14 'and put my life in my hand' is also rather obscure, but one gets the sense that Job has to speak for his continued silence would kill him.
Behold, he will slay me;
I have no hope:
Nevertheless I will maintain
my ways before him.
This also shall be my salvation,
That a godless man shall
not come before him.
(Job 13:15-16 ASV)

Job 13:15 should be the verse that any suffering saint should remember during any trial. The KJV uses the word though, instead of behold in verse 15. Weather it be in jail for preaching, on a sickbed, standing in a divorce court with a broken heart as you husband runs off with some homewrecker, being falsely accused by evil men or whatever. The attitude of Job here is one that is remarkable in that despite all that has happened to him and how the devil was doing his utmost to provoke Job to sin against God, Job did not do it, even if God kills him, Job was going to keep his faith in God. This was exactly the test that God allowed to come onto Job from Satan and Job was passing it with flying colors.

How many of you have that kind of faith? I mean really?

When trials come your way, I advise you all to keep Job in mind and realize that God has a purpose for what he is doing. It may not always be clear, but he does have a purpose. How did Peter put it?


Wherein ye greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while,
 if need be, ye have been put to grief
in manifold trials, that the proof of your faith,
 being more precious than gold
that perisheth though it is proved by fire,
may be found unto praise
and glory and honor at the revelation
of Jesus Christ:
(1Pe 1:6-7 ASV)

Job had shown he was passing his trial of faith which is also a trial of trust. Yes, trust, we must entrust our souls to God and his word and this is one reason for many of our trials. That we place our trust fully in God and God alone. Brothers if you are willing to do that no matter what and I do mean that -  no matter what, you will pass any test the Lord sends your way, painful and sorrowful those trials may be. Keep faith with God and he will keep faith with you.

The following verse reiterates the idea that God is Job's salvation. But he also makes it plain that godless man or hypocrite has no standing with God.
Hear diligently my speech,
And let my declaration be in your ears.
Behold now, I have set my cause in order;
I know that I am righteous.
Who is he that will contend with me?
 For then would I hold my peace
and give up the ghost.
Only do not two things unto me;
 Then will I not hide myself from thy face:
Withdraw thy hand far from me;
And let not thy terror make me afraid.
Then call thou, and I will answer;
Or let me speak, and answer thou me.
How many are mine iniquities and sins?
 Make me to know my transgression and my sin.
(Job 13:17-23 ASV)

Job here begins a prayer to God and seeks an audience with the Lord. Job has prepared his case (ordered my cause) and he is confident of an acquittal. Job then asks his accusers to step forward (who shall plead with me). The 'give up the ghost' part of the passage has caused some confusion with translators, with varying interpretations of its meaning. I think the Pulpit Commentary sums it up the best. Job is adamant about his personal integrity.

The entire section in the Pulpit Commentary is worthy of a read by all (Homiletics Section on link). He lines this up with instances in the NT where men of God stood before magistrates for preaching the gospel and then reminds us of the words of Paul who said.


Who shall lay anything
 to the charge of God's elect?
It is God that justifieth;
 who is he that condemneth?
It is Christ Jesus that died,
yea rather, that was raised from the dead,
who is at the right hand of God,
who also maketh intercession for us.
(Rom 8:33-34 ASV)

In the New Testament, we who have come to Christ are already innocent until proven innocent in God's court because Christ has already paid the price for our sins!! Amen. The devil may accuse and try us, but we will always stand acquitted as long as we remain in Christ.

Only do not two things unto me;
Then will I not hide myself from thy face:
Withdraw thy hand far from me;
And let not thy terror make me afraid.
Then call thou, and I will answer;
Or let me speak, and answer thou me.
How many are mine iniquities and sins?
Make me to know my transgression and my sin.
 Wherefore hidest thou thy face,
And holdest me for thine enemy?
Wilt thou harass a driven leaf?
And wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?
For thou writest bitter things against me,
And makest me to inherit the iniquities of my youth:
Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks,
And markest all my paths;
Thou settest a bound to the soles of my feet:
Though I am like a rotten thing that consumeth,
Like a garment that is moth-eaten.
(Job 13:20-28 ASV)


Job here continues his prayer and complaint before the Lord. He asks the Lord to withdraw his hand from him and cease terrifying him. These were Job's requests. These seem to be made so that he could better prepare his case before God and do so without the distraction of his deep sufferings. Once that happens Job will be happy to answer or speak to God about these matters.

Job then directly asks, 'how have I sinned, when, where show me the evidence'. The rest of the passage is all pretty self explanatory. Job here does not claim sinless perfection, he admits that he committed sins in his youth for which he incorrectly assumes God is now punishing him for. He asks why God is pursuing him, as we would put it today, like the Cops chase a serial killer, 'what have I done?', is his question.
What Job has done here is to take his case to God and put his full and unreserved faith in the Almighty. God knows what is best even if we can't see it and what was best for Job was to silence the devil's accusations against him and also, if I may extrapolate, ensure that the all the host of heaven knew that Job's love for God was not just because he was previously blessed exceedingly, but because he truly trusted in his God. This was never explained to Job, but this trial worked in his interest and that of God.
We don't know why we suffer, not always. I can say this, there is a reason for it. God has put me through 'the ringer' before. I have been through a few trials in my life and some of the things I have learned are these.
Don't get too attached to anything here on earth. Not your job, possessions, family, friends or career. Keep a careful emotional detachment from them as though you may have to walk away from them one day at a moments notice. When the fires of persecution - real persecution arrive, you may have to.

Yet never cease to give thanks to God for what he has given you. Bless God for blessing you and keep a thankful, humble and faithful (loyal) spirit towards the God that we serve.

Never kick a man when he is down, not even your enemies. Don't take cheap shots at them, the Lord may see it and become sore displeased with you and you may have just put your name at the top of the 'trial request' list; people who just can't wait to have the Lord deal with them as he allowed Job to be dealt with.

Take your walk even in days of trial, one day at a time. Don't get ahead of God and don't anticipate what tomorrow may bring. We don't know, only God does. God forbid, but some of you may be hit by a natural disaster and lose all, or may find a rich Uncle left you a small fortune, or you may find a great Job in South America or lose the one you have now. Brothers we just don't know, but whatever happens we should take whatever God allows into our lives as being for the best, even if it does not seem so to our finite understanding.

Most importantly, when going through a trial, don't charge God foolishly, don't get mad at God. Examine your own life and make any corrections that need to be made, but don't blame God, he is on your side.

And we know
that to them that love God
all things work together for good,
even to them that are called
according to his purpose.
(Rom 8:28 ASV)

We will continue out look at Job soon, God willing.



__________

_________



***
This is now a Private Site!!

Most commentary these days is for a small select group of people.
 Those who want access can email me (below) read it carefully
and if I am accepting new insiders, you may request it.






This site categorically rejects partisan politics, racism, hate and ignorance.

Be Stupid And Evil Somewhere Else

Note: The Bible version usually quoted from on this site is now the American Standard Version, which according to Wikipedia, the Sword Project and various other Bible sites, was published in 1901 and is now in the Public Domain.