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

  17 Sept
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 56
- Job Part 55
- Job Part 54
- Job Part 53
- Job Part 52
- The Fearlessness Of Faith
- Job Part 51
- Job Part 50
- Summer-21 Notes
- Job Part 49
- Job Part 48
- Job Part 47
- Job Part 46
- Lawfare And Spiritual Warfare
- A Curse


17 Sept

Job Part LVI

Then I said, I shall die in my nest,
And I shall multiply my days as the sand:
My root is spread out to the waters,
And the dew lieth all night upon my branch;
My glory is fresh in me,
And my bow is renewed in my hand.
(Job 29:18-20 - ASV)


Last week we had a brief interlude to look at the doctrine of suffering. But here we continue on with the text of Job. Job if we remember, was reminiscing on what things were like before his troubles began, before God had allowed the devil to begin to test Job's faith and love. Job was highly regarded and respected. Here Job was considering how he had looked upon the rest of his days and his legacy. Job here complains that he thought he would die in his own bed after a long, long life. The word nest is a figurative word for chamber or room (Strong's H7064).

Yet the passage here 'my days as the sand' is an interesting one and one that ancient commentators and Rabbi's have commented upon. Some commentators think that what is meant here is an obscure reference to the Phoenix.

The idea of longevity is still in play here. The traditional idea of the sand implies countless days. Let us all remember that the book of Job was probably written during the times of or perhaps before Abraham; before Moses, the giving of law and any revelation of the God of Israel.

Job then goes on to recount his prosperity. That like a tree or vegetation, the water it needs is abundant and the tree can grow and flourish with its presence. Job was prosperous and an important man and he had the power to do as he wished and was a benefit to the community.  This is what the word 'bow' in verse 20 represents. It is an important symbol of strength. The word is H7198 in Strong's.

Unto me men gave ear, and waited,
 And kept silence for my counsel.
After my words they spake not again;
And my speech distilled upon them.
And they waited for me as for the rain;
And they opened their mouth
wide as for the latter rain.
(Job 29:21-23 - ASV)


Job continues here to recall how men once listened to him and waited for his counsel.

I smiled on them, when they had no confidence;
And the light of my countenance they cast not down.
I chose out their way, and sat as chief,
And dwelt as a king in the army,
As one that comforteth the mourners.
(Job 29:24-25 - ASV)



The way verse 24 is interpreted has many different views. Some think that even when joking, Job was thought to be serious and they did not believe what he was saying was a jest. Others think that when Job laughed at them, they became afraid. This is a hard passage, but the word for smiled on is H7832 in Strong's.

Job here is showing just how important an influential he was that even his laughter and his jokes carried considerable weight. Verse 25 again recounts his position in society. He was like a general in a time of war or a ruler.

Job's journey down memory lane may not have been particularly healthy for his mental state, but it is instructive to us today as to just how important Job was in his tribe/community. He was blessed exceedingly and very highly regarded. But now God's light on him has been dimmed and things are much darker now for him. The things Job recalls are no longer so in Job's life.

Yet here is the irony of this all and the fleeting and changeable nature of fame and fortune in this life. God's opinion of Job never wavered. He was just as highly esteemed, perhaps more so after this test transpired. Yet men, even Job's wife and the neighborhood kids now reviled and ran from him (Job 19:17ff).

I think one key lesson Job probably learned in all of this is that people?.... well they only like you when you are riding high, have money and are prosperous. Take away all that front and wealth and people run from you like the plague. Job, I suspect after his trial was very careful about his friends and far less moved by the so called 'respect' that people showed him when things were good.

It is a lesson Christ had to deal with as well. One day he was being praised as he entered into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:9ff) and then later, they were shouting 'crucify him' (Mark 15:13). Such is the value of the praise of men - the same people who praise you today will often be the same ones who are trying to slit your throat tomorrow. This is a hard lesson for some folks and I think it was for Job.

But now they that are younger than I
have me in derision, Whose fathers I disdained
to set with the dogs of my flock.
Yea, the strength of their hands,
whereto should it profit me?
Men in whom ripe age is perished.
They are gaunt with want and famine;
They gnaw the dry ground,
in the gloom of wasteness and desolation.
(Job 30:1-3 - ASV)


Job here contrasts his former glory with the way he is now being treated. Whereas before young people respected him, now they mock him. These were clearly men of low estate; so low he would not even let them hang out with his dogs. This is harsh, but probably a prevailing view of men of low moral value. Let us keep in mind that Job helped the poor and needy, so this is not about arrogance or pride. Job (as we shall see) is talking about men who were outcasts - they and their sons now mocked Job. Job's dogs were held in higher esteem than these men and their offspring. At least dogs are loyal, useful and care about their masters. In short Job seems to be saying that even that nomenclature is too good for them.

Job goes on to describe these men who now mocked Job as being basically the dregs of society, social outcasts. Even they now mocked Job.

We will continue Job's look at his new found detractors in the next update next week... God willing!!

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10 Sept

Job Part LV

Intermission Of Reflection
So far in the book of Job we have seen how Job and his friends have attempted to explain Job's condition and in so doing, look upon the whole panorama of God's interaction with man as they try and ascertain how God moves for or against a person; whom he blesses and whom he chastises. Both sides have powerful arguments but only as they saw things in the natural realm, which is what these patriarchal figures were confined to.

They had only their limited experiences in the secular world from which to draw their conclusions, though Job at times reaches out in faith to an understanding that for just a moment or two here and there transcends these limitations. We who read the book millennia later understand just how wrong they all are as to why Job was suffering. As today with many of the theological, political and social debates in our times, we see both in the world and in the Church, the masses almost always get it wrong and begin arguing, not from knowledge, wisdom or experience, but often from their own self interest, ignorance, or just to hear themselves talk. We see this to some degree in the book of Job as each man tries to justify himself in the eyes of others and display his wisdom to his peers.

But in the New Testament age, we have a much better understanding of the subject. In Job's case, his trial had nothing to do with his behavior except that he was so righteous and pleasing to God that he became a key the enemy of Satan, who was determined to 'take him down'. Once he got the Lord's OK, the devil raised up his servants in the patriarchal ages 'criminal underworld' (the Sabeans, Chaldeans, etc) to harass Job to the near point of, but not quite to the point of death.

This was a trial of Job's faith, to determine why he served God. Did he do it as Satan accused him, because God made him rich or because he loved the Lord. The subtle accusation was that God was 'buying' his servants and that they really did not love or honor him, but did it just for money and earthly blessings.

So Job was tested to silence the accuser who stands up even now and accuses the brethren -  that would be you and me, dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. But one day those accusations will end. This will be around the day of our Salvation.

And the great dragon was cast down,
the old serpent, he that is called the Devil
and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world;
 he was cast down to the earth, and his angels
were cast down with him. And I heard a great
voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the salvation,
and the power, and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ:
for the accuser of our brethren is cast down,
who accuseth them before our God day and night.
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 12:9-11 - ASV)


This is one reason for many of our trials, the devil is up there rattling off a charge sheet before God that is as long as his arm trying to get us into trouble with the Lord. Almost all of them are false charges, rumor, innuendo, etc. But he is desperate to get us into a situation where our faith is tested in the hopes we fail that test.

This is the ultimate lesson we find in the book of Job. But these trials have a tendency to strengthen and mature our faith... if we pass them. Our faith is the target of the devil and it has to be tried, even as it was tried in the fires of affliction as was that of Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego who had to face their fiery trial.


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:
whom not having seen ye love; on whom,
 though now ye see him not, yet believing,
ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable
and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith,
even the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:7-9 - ASV)


The reward of our faith is life eternal and a place in heaven with a God who loves us, very much. So this is about our faith, the key ingredient that we must have in our own hearts if we are to get into the Kingdom. Job expresses such a faith many times in his trial, though he probably had little or no real cognizance of the importance of faith in God in the overall scheme of things at least not theologically, though he expresses it so clearly in certain passages.

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)



Here Job sums up the kind of faith that saves souls, that come what may, whatever anyone may throw at us, no matter how dark things look, even if it should appear that God himself is ready to kill us, we must maintain our trust in God. This is a hard thing for many to comprehend, particularly with today's prosperity gospel and other questionable teachings being spread about modern Christendom. The first bit of serious adversity and too many Christians go into a tailspin, run to the medicine cabinet for an anti-depressant or to a shrink for therapy. The real issue is in many cases, such Christians have been fed a pack of half-truths on the gospel by a pastor who may be more interested in the person's checkbook than their spiritual health; the impression and 'look' a person brings to the congregation's image, rather than the bringing of that soul into real union with Jesus Christ.

Throughout the book of Job, his detractors are constantly looking at a man's deeds and works (what can be seen by man) as the way to tell how a man will fare in this life - be blessed or cursed. But the whole spiritual side of the problem is not explored to any significant degree except in the opening chapters. Yet it was Job's sincere search for truth and his willingness to deal in the harsher realities that his own observations showed him, that makes his case so interesting.

Job was not trying to sound spiritual or make the standard politically correct arguments on suffering - that the wicked always suffer and the righteous are always rewarded and the argument of his friends that if you are suffering Job, you need to confess and repent of your wickedness, which must be very great... look at you! Such a view may sound good, but it did not reflect any reality that Job was familiar with.

Yet we as servants of Jesus Christ have a much better understanding of the doctrine of suffering. It is not just to try our faith. Sometimes we suffer because we are being persecuted. To stand with Christ we have to be deal with the slings and arrows of God's enemies. We are his and precious to him and because of that, the devil and his servants will attack us. This is another reason for suffering. Those who bear a message that God wants delivered as well must suffer. Look at what happened to Jeremiah.

Then took they Jeremiah,
and cast him into the dungeon of Malchijah
the king's son, that was in the court of the guard:
and they let down Jeremiah with cords.
And in the dungeon there was no water,
but mire; and Jeremiah sank in the mire.
(Jeremiah 38:6 - ASV)


What was Jeremiah's 'crime'? He did as the Lord commanded him and prophesied to the children of Israel. This was why he was persecuted and suffered. It was not because he was sinful, but because he was obedient and this is the sticking point that many of today's Christians don't get. Even though the Lord warns them time and again about suffering, taking up the cross, denying oneself, etc, too many think that only applies to the pastor or the evangelist, the famous person or one in authority. They don't often internalize that it is meant for them as well. That if they are going to get into the Kingdom, they are going to have to take up their cross daily and follow wherever the Lord leads them. This too is evidence of our sonship.

For as many as are led
by the Spirit of God,
these are sons of God.
(Romans 8:14 - ASV)


God may lead us to places that we in our flesh may not like. What... do you think Christ wanted to go to the cross? How long he wrestled in the Garden over his coming trial. Many of us have to go through such trials. Many saints fail these tests and some fall back into their old patters of living, never to return to the fold. Trials are just that -  they are tests - some pass, others fail. Those who pass move on in Christ, those who fail may have to take a re-test, or they quit or are flunked out which is often manifested by or the direct result of rebellion.

But we are of much better stock than to be chronic failures in our walk. We who are older and wiser, know the value of our faith, the power of our God and the need for God to mold us into the kinds of men and women who are of use to God as his servants. This means many things, trials, new responsibilities, hard work, study of the word, relocation, redirection and that one thing that many of us just don't want in our lives - suffering.


Take, brethren, for an example
of suffering and of patience, the prophets
who spake in the name of the Lord.
Behold, we call them blessed that endured:
ye have heard of the patience of Job,
and have seen the end of the Lord,
how that the Lord is full of pity, and merciful.
(James 5:10-11 - ASV)


But there is one other reason for suffering that needs to be discussed. That is when we do something we should not. When we sin, break laws, do something we should not. Often that means suffering. Did you sleep around on your spouse, they found out and now they are suing you for divorce and taking the kids? Yes, that is suffering, particularly when you hardly see your kids anymore and your paycheck (after alimony, child support and legal fees) can barely afford a bag of breadcrumbs. But who's fault is that? Who is to blame? Don't lash out at your ex, your kids, the judge, your lover or your lawyer. If you are in a world of hurt now, you can go look in the mirror and discover with crystal clarity the exact cause of your problem.

As often as not, we suffer because we have done something wrong or sinned

In short, we have made our bed and just don't want to lie in it.

So, I take this little intermission from the text of Job to just get a short look at the doctrine of suffering from a New Testament perspective.

This much I know. There are many trials and tribulations that await the Church in the days ahead. Some of these are corrective in nature - a loving God doing his best to bring the Church in line with his will. And much of it will be in the nature of a spiritual attack by the forces of darkness, who will make every satanic attempt to extinguish the light of the Gospel of Christ, bring division, suffering, discredit and find any way he can to discourage God's people and bring shame on the gospel.

So let us all prepare our hearts accordingly when things start to get rough for us here in the west.

Let us be prepared to serve our God in whatever state we are in and do so humbly, joyfully, faithfully and with a determined resolution.

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3 Sept

Job Part LIV

And Job again took up his parable,
and said, Oh that I were as in the months of old,
As in the days when God watched over me;
When his lamp shined upon my head,
And by his light I walked through darkness;
(Job 29:1-3 - ASV)


We left off last time and Job was describing the extreme difficulty of finding wisdom, that it could not be dug out of the ground like gold and in fact, could not even be found in the land of the living. Job's parable and poem on wisdom were noteworthy and have been long remembered. 

In this chapter, Job summarizes his defense. He starts by reminiscing over the past, when things were going well for him and when God was looking out for him. The word for preserved above is an interesting one in that it tracks back to the trial the Job has endured from Satan. It's Strong's word H8104 and it has the connotation of a hedge.
While a different Hebrew word is used, in Job 1:10 Satan complains to God that Job has strong protection (a hedge) about him and this is the real reason Job feared God and that as soon as God removed it, Job would curse God to his face (Job 1:11). The word in that passage in Strong's is H7753.
Job here is decrying the removal of that divine protection and knows that its removal was the reason for his current tragic circumstance. He longs for the day when God was protecting him. He could count on God to guide him even in the dark, the light of his path being lit by God. We should remember that in patriarchal times, the law was not given, nor the Psalms nor the books of Moses. We all need God's divine guiding hand in dark times, like our own! Job misses that protection and that light, all of which have been withdrawn from him for reasons he cannot fathom.
 
As I was in the ripeness of my days,
When the friendship of God was upon my tent;
When the Almighty was yet with me,
And my children were about me;
When my steps were washed with butter,
And the rock poured me out streams of oil!
When I went forth to the gate unto the city,
When I prepared my seat in the street,
The young men saw me and hid themselves,
And the aged rose up and stood;
The princes refrained from talking,
And laid their hand on their mouth;
The voice of the nobels was hushed,
And their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.
For when the ear heard me, then it blessed me;

And when the eye saw me,
it gave witness unto me:
(Job 29:4-11 - ASV)

Here Job continues his journey into nostalgia and recalls how people once treated him.

Job in this passage is merely recalling the exceptional respect others showed for him when he walked down the street and the deference that was shown him.

In verse six, Job recounts his former prosperity. The phrase that says his steps were washed with butter appears to mean when his ways or his life was filled with this luxury, a symbol of prosperity and ease. The symbol of the rock and oil again are of that abundance that seems to spring from unlikely places.

He also remembers when his kids would be around him - a time that is no more as they are all dead, struck down in this hour of trial.

Job then continues to recount how he was treated in the past. The respect that was shown him by the elders and others when he walked down the street. Job was blessed by others and respected. Then he recounts why this was...

Because I delivered the poor that cried,
The fatherless also, that had none to help him.
The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me;
And I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me:
My justice was as a robe and a diadem.
I was eyes to the blind, And feet was I to the lame.
I was a father to the needy: And the cause
of him that I knew not I searched out.
And I brake the jaws of the unrighteous,
And plucked the prey out of his teeth.
(Job 29:12-17 - ASV)


Job here tells us why he was so highly respected. It was not because he was rich, but because he was a man who looked out for the poor, the orphan, the oppressed and others who had no recourse. Such people could turn to Job and he would take up their cause. He was a fierce warrior for righteousness and helped the helpless.

This is a light into the character not just of Job, but of any man or woman who will be highly esteemed by God, as Job was. If you want to be a friend of God, you have to take up the cause of God and in Job's time that was helping the helpless and the poor; aiding those who needed it and fighting those people who were the enemies of justice and righteousness.

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


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27 July

Job Part LIII

No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal:
 Yea, the price of wisdom is above rubies.
The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it,
Neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
(Job 28:18-19 - ASV)

We left off last time as Job was asking about where wisdom could be found. He was comparing the search for wisdom to that of the search for gold and fine minerals. Job in the above passage, goes on to compare it with other valuable things; pearls and rubies, topaz and again, gold. None of these highly valued commodities comes near in value to wisdom.


Whence then cometh wisdom?
And where is the place of understanding?
(Job 28:20 - ASV)

Job here repeats the same question found in verse 12. Where can it be found?

This is the question we all should seek after and those of us who know Christ have found it, or at least the way to obtain it. But even so, there is a seeking and a searching even a groping for it. This is the task that Solomon undertook when he was King.

I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
And I applied my heart to seek
and to search out by wisdom concerning
all that is done under heaven:
it is a sore travail that God
hath given to the sons of men
 to be exercised therewith.
(Ecclesiastes 1:12-13 - ASV)

Solomon took considerable time and effort to find wisdom and lays out his exhaustive search in the book of Ecclesiastes (Qoheleth). He observed nature and the behavior of men in his search for it. The preacher's search is very much along the same vein as Job's poetic dissertation here. He speaks wisely about the value of wisdom as being far above anything man views as valuable down here.

Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living,
 And kept close from the birds of the heavens.
Destruction and Death say,
We have heard a rumor
thereof with our ears.
(Job 28:21-22 - ASV)


Wisdom cannot be found in the land of the living. This is something that Solomon had to discover in all his searching when it finally came to the conclusion of the matter.

This is the end of the matter;
all hath been heard: Fear God,
and keep his commandments;
for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
with every hidden thing,
whether it be good,
or whether it be evil.
(Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 - ASV)

All of his searching and years of observing nature and man and this is what he left for us. Fear God and obey him this is the whole of the matter because all of us will have to stand and give account one day and receive our wages; or payment for what we have wrought while in the body.; whether those deeds be good, or evil. 


For the wages of sin is death;
but the free gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 - ASV)

Job then continues his rhetorical search for wisdom and seeks it at the places of destruction and death. The words for destruction is Abaddon (Strong's H11) and can also mean hades. The word for death is mawveth (Strong's H4194) and can also mean the place of the dead.

Destruction and death have also heard of the fame of wisdom, they know of its value. They know of it but it cannot be found with them... 'sorry Job, it ain't here'.

What Job is describing is the utmost difficulty of finding and yes, the extreme secrecy of wisdom. It is hard to get, hard to obtain, you can dig down into the grave and not find it, climb the highest mountain and it will elude you. It simply cannot be found in the land of the living or the dead. It is well hidden from all. Where in the world can it be found? Job answers this question with the next passage.

God understandeth the way thereof,
And he knoweth the place thereof.
For he looketh to the ends of the earth,
And seeth under the whole heaven;
To make a weight for the wind:
Yea, he meteth out the waters by measure.
When he made a decree for the rain,
And a way for the lightning of the thunder;
(Job 28:23-26 - ASV)


It is found in God. That is where wisdom dwells. We have found this in Christ Jesus who said he is the way, the truth and the life. Job then goes on to describe how God used wisdom to create the things on earth, the wind and waters, the rain and thunder. These were done by God's wisdom. Solomon also expounds on this.

Jehovah by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding he established the heavens.
By his knowledge the depths were broken up,
And the skies drop down the dew.
(Proverbs 3:19-20 - ASV)

The ideas are the same. God uses his wisdom to create the phenomenon we see in nature.

Then did he see it, and declare it;
He established it, yea, and searched it out.
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord,
 that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.
(Job 28:27-28 - ASV)


Then God declares what wisdom is, as far as man is concerned. It's to fear the Lord and to depart from evil.

Qoheleth parallels this in his conclusion of wisdom (Ecclesiastes 12:13 - see above).

Some Commentators (Adam Clarke) seem to think that by man (vs. 28) he meant specifically Adam as the word Adam (Strong's H120) is used and this was God's charge to Adam in the garden after they sought wisdom the wrong way,

We will continue our look at Job next week God willing and hear more of Job's parable.

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19 July

Job Part LII

Surely there is a mine for silver,
And a place for gold which they refine.
Iron is taken out of the earth,
And copper is molten out of the stone.
Man setteth an end to darkness,
And searcheth out, to the furthest bound,
The stones of obscurity and of thick darkness.
(Job 28:1-3 - ASV)

Job in this chapter shifts gears from his views in chapter 27 that appears to admit that his friends had a point in many cases. Here he begins a poetic monologue on the search for wisdom. Where is it to be found? This poetry and the meaning behind it is rather interesting in that it shows that in such great antiquity, men mined for and fashioned gold and silver. In Job's time these things were 'high science' and wisdom. Albert Barnes in his commentary, has some most interesting comments on this section for those of you interested. 
These interesting asides (such as mining precious metals) in this book can often help us get a sense as to when the events in Job took place, something that scholars are still not sure of. But more to the point, Job lays out how these precious minerals are taken out of the earth and the skill and difficulty in the process. In verse three, it appears to be a reference again to the skill of mining, where men dig deep into the earth where it is dark, foreboding and just a bit frightening, this the idea of the 'thick darkness' has the connotation of the grave in the Hebrew - Strong's H6757. The idea here is that men go to great lengths to find these things and as we shall see, Job (later) compares all of this to the seeking of wisdom. So it should be with mankind and his search for wisdom. As Solomon put it...

If thou seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hid treasures:
Then shalt thou understand the fear of Jehovah,
And find the knowledge of God.
(Proverbs 2:4-5 - ASV)


Men should do more spiritual mining!


He breaketh open a shaft away
from where men sojourn;
They are forgotten of the foot;
They hang afar from men,
they swing to and fro.
As for the earth, out of it cometh bread;
 And underneath it is turned up
as it were by fire.
(Job 28:4-5 - ASV)

Verse four has presented many problem for translators. I confess I have no idea what is meant here unless it is a vague reference to some kind of mining disaster that involves water.

Probably the best way to look at the passage is some kind of ancient way they used to mine for minerals. I confess, I am at a loss at its meaning.

But The Pulpit Commentary may have the best overall take in my view for those interested.

Verse five is Job's continuing remarks about man's wisdom. He knows how to till the soil for food. But if he digs deeper he finds these precious stones that shine and sparkle as though they were on fire. But it may also be possible this is a reference to the fire of some combustible stone, perhaps coal that was found.

The stones thereof are the place of sapphires,
And it hath dust of gold.
That path no bird of prey knoweth,
Neither hath the falcon's eye seen it:
The proud beasts have not trodden it,
 Nor hath the fierce lion passed thereby.
(Job 28:6-8 - ASV)


Job continues his mining poem, demonstrating the valuables found in the earth and the obscure places it is found, using animal imagery to describe the hidden nature of the location of these hidden treasures.

He putteth forth his hand upon the flinty rock;
He overturneth the mountains by the roots.
He cutteth out channels among the rocks;
 And his eye seeth every precious thing.
He bindeth the streams that they trickle not;
And the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light.
(Job 28:9-11 - ASV)



Job merely continues on with describing mining operations. Verse nine shows that the miners dig into the very hardest (flinty) rock (Strongs's - H2496). He moves the foundations of hills in his search. He channels water, creates rivers and when he is done he finds the precious stones.

This whole preceding section, describing the extreme measures and difficulty in finding precious stones is merely a prelude to what follows.

But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Man knoweth not the price thereof;
Neither is it found in the land of the living.
The deep saith, It is not in me;
And the sea saith, It is not with me.
(Job 28:12-14 - ASV)

Job now shifts to the point he is going to make. Men can dig for precious stones because they know how valuable they are. They know where they are, deep in the caverns of the earth. But where can we find wisdom? Under what mountain, on what high peak, under which part of the sea can man find it? Indeed, Job says that it cannot be found in the land of the living. Search for it all you might, you will not find it. Job begins a fictional exchange where the depths of the earth as well as the sea reply that they don't have it with them.

It cannot be gotten for gold,
Neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir,
With the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
Gold and glass cannot equal it,
Neither shall it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
(Job 28:15-17 - ASV)


Here Job begins to compare the price of wisdom to those things that are considered of great value to men. Gold, Onyx Sapphire, not even the Gold of Ophir can buy it. As far as the place of Ophir, we do not know where it is, not for sure but there are many theories.

Job's point is that no matter how much of these things one has to pay for it, wisdom cannot be had for such things.

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

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12 July

Fearlessness of Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.

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


6 July

Job Part LI

I will teach you concerning the hand of God;
That which is with the Almighty will I not conceal.
Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it;
Why then are ye become altogether vain?
(Job 27:11-12 - ASV)


Job continues his poetic parable (marshal H4912 - Job 27:1) and now wants to teach his detractors regarding the hand of God. Job here is not going to hide these things about God. He will instruct them on the greatness, power and wisdom of God. Job then asks (vs 12) how they can have seen such things and witnessed them and still keep to their current argument?

How can they offer such 'lame' reasoning when they should know better.

This is the portion of a wicked man with God,
And the heritage of oppressors, which they receive
from the Almighty: If his children be multiplied,
it is for the sword; And his offspring
shall not be satisfied with bread.
Those that remain of him shall be buried in death,
And his widows shall make no lamentation.
Though he heap up silver as the dust,
And prepare raiment as the clay;
He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on,
And the innocent shall divide the silver.
He buildeth his house as the moth,
And as a booth which the keeper maketh.
He lieth down rich, but he shall
not be gathered to his fathers;
He openeth his eyes, and he is not.
Terrors overtake him like waters;
A tempest stealeth him away in the night.
The east wind carrieth him away,
and he departeth; And it sweepeth him
out of his place. For God shall hurl at him,
and not spare: He would fain flee out of his hand.
Men shall clap their hands at him,
And shall hiss him out of his place.
(Job 27:13-23 - ASV)

These passages have various views on them and I am not going to bore you with them other than to say that Job's words here seem by some to confirm the argument of his detractors rather than offering his usual and often fiery countervailing view.

In fact, because Zophar's expected speech is missing, some have surmised that perhaps what is said here are actually Zophar's words and the introduction to it stating this fact, went missing in the text. Albert Barnes (Notes on the Bible) as well as The Biblical Illustrator both have a little background on this debate. Decent online Bible sites have these comments on their respective sites (see comments to Job 27:13).

This is an interesting view and does make at least some sense. Bildad and Eliphaz both spoke three times, but Zophar only twice. Where is his speech?

Well, this is the problem in the text and why commenting on this passage is rather difficult.

My view is that these are probably the words of Job, and Job's words I think are consistent with his view. That the wicked are often punished is not in dispute. He has seen it and so have others. Job's overall contention is not that the wicked are not punished in this life, but rather there are many exceptions to this rule - they are not always punished in this life.

As a result, I will make little comment on this section both for the reasons stated above and because frankly, there is nothing new in it.

Job (or Zophar, depending on one's view) here merely outlines the fate of the wicked, his children and his wife when he passes on. He then talks about what happens after his death. His significant and assumed ill-gotten wealth is divided up by the innocent (vs 17).

The fate of the wicked man is consistent with what Job's friends and Job himself see's.
We will look at the rest of Job's speech, Chapter 28, next week God willing!

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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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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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