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

  12 May 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 44
- Job Part 43
- Job Part 42
- A Curse
- Job Part 41
- Encouragement
- Job Part 40

- Job Part 39
- Visitation
- Job Part 38


12 May

Job Part XLIV

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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5 Mar

Job XLIII

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

Did not our Lord say, Judge Not?

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


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28 Mar

Job XLII

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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20 Apr

A Curse

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

(Deu 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.
(Heb 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.
(Mat 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.
(Mal 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.
(1Pe 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 Gal 1:8-9).

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

***

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

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

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

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

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13 Apr

Job Part XLI


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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



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

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

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

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

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7 Apr

Encouragement

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

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


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


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

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

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

Such a lesson does not appeal to me!


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

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


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

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

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1 Apr

Job Part XL

We continue here with the last two verses of Job's response to Bildad.

If ye say, How we will persecute him!
And that the root of the matter is found in me;
Be ye afraid of the sword: For wrath bringeth
the punishments of the sword,
That ye may know there is a judgment.
(Job 19:28-29 ASV)


This passage's linguistic complexity is a bit much for me. It is not easy to translate nor to understand fully, as some commentators make plain. There are many different translations of it. Those of you who have parallel Bibles may want to look at the comparisons.
I gather from this passage as a whole that Job is in a round about way, warning his detractors not only of his innocence, but that God would not be so kind to those who so persecuted the innocent, particularly while they were in such terrible suffering and guiltless of any serious sin. God does not look kindly on anyone who brings harm to those he calls his friends.


Then answered Zophar the Naamathite,
and said, Therefore do my thoughts
give answer to me, Even by reason
of my haste that is in me. I have heard
the reproof which putteth me to shame;
 And the spirit of my understanding answereth me.
(Job 20:1-3 ASV)


Zophar could not wait to answer Job (my haste) as what Job said obviously struck Zophar very hard and he clearly did not like it. Zophar claims his spirit is one of understanding. However, the word that Zophar uses for 'thoughts' (vs 2) is one that cannot be ignored. It could men opinion, but here seems to me to have the connotation of perhaps uncertainty, doubt - H5587.

Job, I think hit the root of the matter and it kind of put his friends on the defensive. Zophar then continues his speech with poetic style. Zophar, however was not convinced of Job's statement of faith and innocence.

Knowest thou not this of old time,
Since man was placed upon earth,
That the triumphing of the wicked is short,
 And the joy of the godless but for a moment?
Though his height mount up to the heavens,
 And his head reach unto the clouds;
Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung:
They that have seen him shall say,
 Where is he?
(Job 20:4-7 ASV)


Zophar, while using interesting and most descriptive poetic language, falls back into the same old theology, arguments and patriarchal age 'pop wisdom' that simply did not fit Job's situation. His basic argument that the wicked man's prosperity and victories in this life don't last long and it has always been so since Adam (Man in vs. 4 - H120) has been on earth.

He shall fly away as a dream,
and shall not be found:
Yea, he shall be chased away
as a vision of the night.
The eye which saw him
shall see him no more;
Neither shall his place any more behold him.
His children shall seek the favor of the poor,
And his hands shall give back his wealth.
His bones are full of his youth,
But it shall lie down with him in the dust.
Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth,
Though he hide it under his tongue,
Though he spare it, and will not let it go,
But keep it still within his mouth;
Yet his food in his bowels is turned,
It is the gall of asps within him.
(Job 20:8-14 ASV)


Zophar here talks about the fate of the wicked and how he one day will cease to exist all together. Job has talked of judgment and made passing reference to a resurrection (Job 19:26), this Zophar appears to refute in his 'understanding'. Then he goes on to discuss the fate of the wicked man's progeny and that they will be slaves in an impoverished house. In other words, they would be like the slaves of slaves, the lowest form of poverty.

Zophar then goes on to talk about the wicked man as well as his words and the very food that the wicked man eats shall be poison in his belly.

He hath swallowed down riches,
and he shall vomit them up again;
God will cast them out of his belly.
He shall suck the poison of asps:
The viper's tongue shall slay him.
He shall not look upon the rivers,
The flowing streams of honey and butter.
That which he labored for shall he restore,
and shall not swallow it down;
According to the substance
that he hath gotten,
he shall not rejoice.
(Job 20:15-18 ASV)


Zophar continues his poetic diatribe against the wicked. These words require no further comment.

For he hath oppressed and forsaken the poor;
He hath violently taken away a house,
and he shall not build it up.
Because he knew no quietness within him,
He shall not save aught of that wherein he delighteth.
There was nothing left that he devoured not;
Therefore his prosperity shall not endure.
In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits:
The hand of every one that is in misery shall come upon him.
When he is about to fill his belly, God will cast
the fierceness of his wrath upon him,
And will rain it upon him while he is eating.
(Job 20:19-23 ASV)

In Zophar's theology, the things he describes always overtake the wicked and one key reason is that they forsook and oppressed the poor.

Zophar's words seem to spend a lot of time on the belly (H990; vs 15, 20, 23) and food. It is not clear why this is, but perhaps Job was once rather corpulent and this fact Zophar wanted to point out in his veiled accusation.

He shall flee from the iron weapon,
And the bow of brass shall strike him through.
He draweth it forth, and it cometh out of his body;
Yea, the glittering point cometh out of his gall:
Terrors are upon him. All darkness is laid up for his treasures:
A fire not blown by man shall devour him;
It shall consume that which is left in his tent.
The heavens shall reveal his iniquity,
And the earth shall rise up against him.
The increase of his house shall depart;
His goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath.
This is the portion of a wicked man from God,
And the heritage appointed unto him by God.
(Job 20:24-29 ASV)


Zophar's words aren't anything we have not heard in various poetic language so far in the book of Job. His view of God is almost that of a cold, exacting and almost mechanical being whose ways must always bow to the narrow theology of the speaker.

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26 Mar

Job Part XXXIX


They that dwell in my house, and my maids,
count me for a stranger; I am an alien in their sight.
I call unto my servant, and he giveth me no answer,
Though I entreat him with my mouth.
My breath is strange to my wife, And my supplication
to the children of mine own mother.
Even young children despise me;
If I arise, they speak against me.
All my familiar friends abhor me,
And they whom I loved
are turned against me.
(Job 19:15-19 ASV)
This had to be one of the more painful experiences for Job. All those who professed to be his friends and family turned on him. His servants, his wife even children spoke against him. His closest buddies were revolted by him. The word for abhor (vs 19) is H8581 in the Hebrew in Strong's.

In short, they hated to see him coming as he was something to be despised in their eyes, though in God's eyes, there was not a more righteous man living (Job 1:8; 2:3). His so called friends did not know that it was nothing that Job did that caused his woes. It was the devil's work, plain and simple.

I want to digress here for just a moment because I think for many of us as we move into times that may be considerably more difficult in the future, is this. The devil can use your friends and family against you. This can often be done in an unwitting fashion on their part, but they still are doing the devil's work. If you remember, that this whole trial and whole situation was brought on by Satan and it was him (not God) that moved against Job.
    And Jehovah said unto Satan,
    Hast thou considered my servant Job?
    for there is none like him in the earth,
    a perfect and an upright man,
    one that feareth God, and turneth away from evil:
    and he still holdeth fast his integrity,
    although thou movedst me against him,
    to destroy him without cause.
    (Job 2:3 ASV)

And Jehovah said unto Satan,
Behold, he is in thy hand;
only spare his life.
(Job 2:6 ASV)
So those individuals who moved against Job, they did not know it, but their behavior fell perfectly in line with the attack that God allowed.

One key way he does that is what we see in the above passage - devil can hit you at home, with your family and friends. He hits you hard and remember this, the evil one does not play games - he has a goal, a (spiritual) military objective in mind and your job is to make sure he never reaches it. As in a battle, you do not give up key ground to the enemy. Rather, you make sure you stand and wage your spiritual fight. But remember that like a battle, one has to deal with spies, traitors and cowards who are often at your back supposedly backing you up. There are abundant examples of all of these ignoble traits in our Bibles and centuries of military history. These things apply equally as well to spiritual warfare. Ask Caesar, one of the world's great military geniuses - how did they do him in? A knife in the back.

The key I want to impress on you is that when you talk about Spiritual Warfare, you had better know what you are talking about. Spiritual warfare is not exposing some re-hashed conspiracy theory often put out there by the devil himself to misdirect your energies. No, we must know and understand that warfare means just that - warfare; it's a struggle. Job's travails show us just how vicious, cruel, mean and desperate the devil can be. If you draw breath and serve the Lord, sooner or later you will find out just what 'Spiritual Warfare' means or become a casualty on the battlefield, never knowing what hit you.

My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh,
And I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.
Have pity upon me, have pity upon me,
O ye my friends; For the hand of God hath touched me.
Why do ye persecute me as God,
And are not satisfied with my flesh?
(Job 19:20-22 ASV)

Job again uses his poetical phraseology to describe his horrible physical condition and then asks his friends to have pity on him. So far they have been rather cruel and unmerciful; harsh and judgemental. Job did not call them for their criticism, he needed their support. Instead, he finds his friends in their theological 'battle array' ready to stick arrows, pins and needles into their fallen and suffering friend. We have no right to make matter worse for those who are suffering, even those who are doing so under the Lord's chastisement. Even those who are our enemies, when they fall or are afflicted. We are enjoined not to rejoice over it.

Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth,
And let not thy heart be glad
when he is overthrown; Lest Jehovah see it,
and it displease him, And he turn
away his wrath from him.
(Pro 24:17-18 ASV)
Job was their friend and while there did not appear to be any rejoicing over Job's condition, there did not seem to be much mercy or pity for Job either. Job appeals to them on this front. One can almost feel Job's heart break over the way those who said they once cared about him have treated him, family, friends even servants.
Oh that my words were now written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
That with an iron pen and lead
They were graven in the rock for ever!
But as for me I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And at last he will stand up upon the earth:
And after my skin, even this body, is destroyed,
Then without my flesh shall I see God;
Whom I, even I, shall see, on my side,
And mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger.
My heart is consumed within me.
(Job 19:23-27 ASV)

In verse we find that Job uttered a prayer, a request as it were. It was a request that he probably never thought would really be answered and yet, here we are about 3000 years after the events of Job's life, we find that his words were indeed written down in a book and the witness of his suffering have helped many generations deal with the problem of trails, tribulations and human suffering.

His words were indeed set down. Albert Barnes notes that the idea of printing was almost certainly foreign to someone who lived in Job's times and probably should not have been used by the translators of the KJV; the ASV uses the word inscribed. The Hebrew word is H2710 in Strong's.

The idea I think helps to correctly put the idea of an iron pen in verse 24. Job is asking that his words be set down on a stone tablet with an iron pen, so the years will not wash them away. He wants the world and posterity to know about his sufferings.

He also clearly wants heaven and earth to bear witness that he puts his hope in God. Verse 25 are words that even today are used in our hymnals and Gospel songs. Job's prayer was heard by God and we can bear witness to that fact by you reading these passages today and singing some of the songs that use Job's words.

But Job's hope is totally uncharacteristic of the known theology of his day. He goes on to prophesy that one day, his redeemer would come in the latter day and stand upon the earth and goes even further, in a clear hope of a resurrection, saying that even after his body has decomposed, yet and still in his flesh (body  - H1320) he will see God (vs 26). Moreover, he makes it plain that this is not a figurative hope or one of a future generation will see, but one that he himself will see with his own eyes.

What is amazing to me is that Job somehow knew that a resurrection was going to happen, long before the Torah and Moses, long before the Jewish law and the arrival of the Messiah. He somehow knew in the depths of his soul that God had a plan to bring back those who loved him to look him in the face.

We will continue our look at Job soon.

Blessings to you all in Christ!!

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23 Mar

Visitation


There are some themes I particularly like writing about. And there are those I don't. This is one I don't like to very much. But none of us who knows God should ever ignore this one. Today, we are going to talk about the time of visitation. When God visits a nation or a people who have been wayward. I have quoted this passage before, but I think it meet it is used again.

Then he cried in mine ears with a loud voice,
saying, Cause ye them that have charge
over the city to draw near,
every man with his destroying weapon in his hand.
And behold, six men came from the way
of the upper gate, which lieth toward the north,
every man with his slaughter weapon in his hand;
and one man in the midst of them clothed in linen,
with a writer's inkhorn by his side. And they went in,
and stood beside the brazen altar.
And the glory of the God of Israel
was gone up from the cherub, whereupon it was,
to the threshold of the house:
and he called to the man clothed in linen,
who had the writer's inkhorn by his side.
And Jehovah said unto him,
Go through the midst of the city,
through the midst of Jerusalem,
and set a mark upon the foreheads
of the men that sigh and that cry over
all the abominations that are done
in the midst thereof. And to the others
he said in my hearing, Go ye through
the city after him, and smite:
let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity;
slay utterly the old man, the young man and the virgin,
and little children and women;
but come not near any man upon whom is the mark:
and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began
at the old men that were before the house.
 And he said unto them, Defile the house,
and fill the courts with the slain:
go ye forth. And they went forth,
and smote in the city. And it came to pass,
while they were smiting, and I was left,
that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said,
Ah Lord Jehovah! wilt thou destroy
all the residue of Israel in thy
pouring out of thy wrath upon Jerusalem? Then said he unto me,
The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great,
and the land is full of blood, and the city
full of wresting of judgment: for they say,
Jehovah hath forsaken the land,
and Jehovah seeth not. And as for me also,
mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity,
but I will bring their way upon their head.
And behold, the man clothed in linen,
 who had the inkhorn by his side,
 reported the matter, saying,
I have done as thou
hast commanded me.

(Eze 9:1-11 ASV)

This is the whole chapter and I think we all have read this passage in the past and it gave us all some pause; something to step back and very seriously consider. The basic theme is Israel had sinned and done so grievously. God was having no more of it and was exceedingly angry. He was going to put a stop to it and this was it. We don't know who these men were who carried out the commandment of the Lord. They may have been angels - that is what I think, though some commentators think they may have been some of Nebuchadnezzar's generals; those mentioned in Jer 39:3.

What follows is the inevitable result of sin and rebellion. God finally brings in judgment. Not chastisement, not rebuke but judgment. Judgment usually has some aspect of finality about it.

God did not show mercy in the above passage. Those days were over. Those who were appointed to carry out this punishment were forbidden to show any of it (9:5). God can visit his people and he can visit nations and peoples and this kind of visitation can destroy a kingdom or even empire. Think about Belshazzar and what happened when God judged that empire. God did not wait around to accomplish his aim. The hand wrote on the wall and hours later it was fulfilled (Dan 5:30).

Israel was rebuked by Christ Jesus for not knowing the hour of her visitation.

For the days shall come upon thee,
when thine enemies shall cast up
a bank about thee, and compass thee round,
and keep thee in on every side,
and shall dash thee to the ground,
and thy children within thee;
and they shall not leave in thee
one stone upon another;

because thou knewest
not the time of thy visitation.

(Luk 19:43-44 ASV)

Christ was right there among them, the Messiah they had waited for and yet they despised him, hated him and eventually murdered him. They also had John the Baptist who proclaimed the coming of the Lord, beheaded. Let us keep in mind that what Christ was saying about Jerusalem, deeply moved him, he was not happy about this at all as he wept over the city and its spiritual state (Luke 19:41), The hour of visitation is nothing that we should yearn for or be happy about. But we should be aware in woeful anticipation that one day, if there is no repentance and the sins continue, it will arrive.

When? That is always the question people ask. It will happen when God commands it, not when we think it should happen. Our job as saints is to make sure that we are accounted like those above whom the Lord spared and marked out for protection in that day. How did Peter put it?

Beloved, I beseech you
as sojourners and pilgrims,
to abstain from fleshly lusts,
which war against the soul;
 having your behavior seemly among the Gentiles;
that, wherein they speak against you as evil-doers,
they may by your good works,
which they behold, glorify God
in the day of visitation.

(1Pe 2:11-12 ASV)

Now we don't know for sure what visitation Peter is referring to, but I think it has a general meaning. Any kind of divine visitation where God checks up on and 'weighs' the actions of the sons of men, individuals, the Church, nations or the world in general.

We as Christians should always be ready for any kind of divine visitation, personal, collective or national.

But when is the visitation for America coming? I do not know. The Lord has not shared that information with me, but I do think he is still very much in the 'get them to repent' mode of dealing with the nation and world. God is not done yet with America. The problem as I see it is that America, much of it is done with God. By that I mean truly honoring and obeying him and doing those things that please him. In some quarters there seems to be an open defiance of him and his ways.

Yet God is not blind to much of the good that is still here in the Nation. Despite all of our sins and evils, Americans are still some of the most charitable people on earth. God see's both the good and the bad in every one of us.

Many of you can't wait to get this over and move into the Kingdom of heaven. Some of you are a bit impatient for God to deal with the world and its sins. I say this to each of you who feel this way - wait, chill out and don't get ahead of God. All things will happen at their appointed time. God's time, not ours. He has an overall plan for the last days and America's fate and day of destiny will be determined by God, not our impatience. God has his own plan and his own reasons for doing things the way he does them. It's not my way and it's not your way. It's his way and we must never forget that God is sovereign.

Yea, since the day was I am he;
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand:
I will work, and who can hinder it?
(Isa 43:13 ASV)


This is God's affair and this is God's justice, not yours or mine. We too must each stand before him and give account, as all the sons of men must do. We must learn to fully submit to God's eternal wisdom and love of righteousness and justice. God has a plan of which we humans only play a part in. Remember there is another aspect to this whole end-time drama. There are the angels; those who remained loyal and those who turned on the Lord that also must be factored in. There are probably other aspects to this that we simply have no way of being privy to. Don't think God has explained everything to us. I can assure you he has not. We only, as Paul phrased it, see through a mirror darkly and only to the degree God allows.

But for the world? Those who know not God? Those who defied and mocked him and those whom he sent?

And what will ye do in the day of visitation,
and in the desolation which shall come from far?
to whom will ye flee for help?
and where will ye leave your glory?
They shall only bow down under the prisoners,
and shall fall under the slain.
For all this his anger
is not turned away,
but his hand
is stretched out still.
(Isa 10:3-4 ASV)


The day of visitation is a day of horror and anguish. So let us be aware of the lateness of the hour and not be caught unawares as many probably will be.

Moreover, let us not sit on pins and needles waiting for the end time drama to play itself out to the end. We should keep busy with whatever God has for us to do. As I said the other day, God does not like idleness. We have all heard the saying about the devil finding work for idle hands.

So let us do as we are commanded 'occupy' till the Lord comes, live our lives in quiet humility, living a life righteous and holy; full of honor and truth. The day of visitation will come and when it does, most of us will wish we had not been around to witness it, so many troubles that day will bring.

And Jehovah, the God of their fathers,
sent to them by his messengers,
rising up early and sending,
because he had compassion on his people,
and on his dwelling-place: but they mocked
the messengers of God, and despised his words,
and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of Jehovah
arose against his people,
till there was no remedy.
(2Ch 36:15-16 ASV)


But let we who serve our God always remember this aspect of God's character. God is a no non-sense God and he has a no non-sense attitude about unrepentant sin and evil - individually or collectively.

Loving though he is, he simply will not abide evil.


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18 Mar


Job Part XXXVIII

 Then Job answered and said, How long will ye vex my soul,
And break me in pieces with words?
These ten times have ye reproached me:
Ye are not ashamed that ye deal hardly with me.
And be it indeed that I have erred,
Mine error remaineth with myself.
(Job 19:1-4 ASV)

Picture this scene and put yourself in Job's situation. You are sitting on a pile of ashes, scrapping your skin with a potsherd, sick about to die, in terrible pain and look like something out of a horror flick and your so-called friends are not helping you, but are rubbing salt into your wounds. Every word of false accusation had to sting him terribly, hence the use of the phrase 'break me in pieces' with their words. What they said was very hurtful to Job and as we will find out at the end, made the Lord quite upset as well.

Job remarks that this whole time they reproached him for bad behavior they neither witnessed nor had any real evidence for. Job had opened up his soul in deep distress and for the most part, he got back thinly veiled contempt and spiritual arrogance from his so-called friends. Verse four shows us that Job's attitude is hardly as self-righteous as his accusers make it out, he acknowledges that he may have erred and made mistakes. Who has not? All men of God err and make mistakes. Not a single one is perfect, save Christ. We are all miserable sinners and while these miserable comforters are busy hurling their veiled accusations at Job, what kind of sins are they hiding? Job here makes it clear that he will keep his own sins to himself. Clearly Job had lost a lot of respect for these 'comforters'.

If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me,
And plead against me my reproach;
Know now that God hath subverted me in my cause,
 And hath compassed me with his net.
(Job 19:5-6 ASV)

With their words, they were setting themselves up as judges and raising themselves above their station with their haughty accusations. 

This is why we must be careful not to judge others. This is what Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz were doing, it was wrong and most hurtful. When we look at others and their sins, trials and tribulations we must remember this - that God see's all and we see only partially and only on the surface. It's easy to pass judgment on others when we don't have all the facts and Job's comforters were woefully devoid of the facts - the real reason Job was undergoing a trial.

In their ignorance they displayed a coldness and arrogance that would soon require Job's direct intercession in order to keep them from being sternly rebuked in hot anger by the Lord. Lesson - don't judge others, no matter how much you may think you can see the whole picture, appearances can often be most deceiving. DON'T JUDGE OTHERS!! It's easy to do, but it is forbidden... unless you want to be judged by the same unwise standards and misinformation you judge others with (Matt 7:1ff).

In verse six Job recognizes that God is in his affliction, though he incorrectly blames God for it. Yes, God allowed it, but Job's real enemy was not revealed to him, at least not so as we can tell with any certainty in this book. What is clear is that Job understood God's sovereignty, understood that he was for the most part innocent of any great crime that deserved his fate, but he did not understand the spiritual battle that was being waged over him. He says that God has subverted his cause.

 Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard:
I cry for help, but there is no justice.
He hath walled up my way that I cannot pass,
And hath set darkness in my paths.
He hath stripped me of my glory,
And taken the crown from my head.
He hath broken me down on every side,
and I am gone; And my hope hath he plucked up like a tree.
He hath also kindled his wrath against me,
And he counteth me unto him as one of his adversaries.
His troops come on together,
And cast up their way against me,
And encamp round about my tent.
He hath put my brethren far from me,
And mine acquaintance are
wholly estranged from me.
My kinsfolk have failed,
And my familiar friends
have forgotten me.
(Job 19:7-14 ASV)

Here Job describes in vivid and poetical detail the kinds of sorrow that God (in his mind) had burdened him with. He was once rich and well respected (glory) and now he has been humbled. In every imaginable way, he has been troubled and attacked. This is exactly how the devil was going to try Job and within the latitude of the trial that God allowed. The only thing the devil could not take, was Job's life. So Satan took everything he was allowed to.

Job goes on to note that his hope is also gone. Job's use of the phrase 'I am gone' probably means he is close to death and on his way out of this world. The metaphor of the tree is probably meant to signify what happens when one is cut down by the roots.

Job attributes this to God's wrath (vs 11) and how he thinks God now looks upon him, as a foe. He see's God directing an army against him to destroy him (vs 12).

Job then considers how his family and friends have forsaken him. This probably was one of the more painful things he had to face. But this is one thing a serious trial will do, it will show you who your friends are and where the false ones are. People who you thought would stand by you and treat you right you find out have turned on you like a rattlesnake turns and strikes an unsuspecting traveler... for no good reason.

So the next time you go through a serious trial - a series of serious setbacks or other problems in your life, remember this - mark who stands by you and who does not. Mark it carefully, not in vengeance or bitterness, but for future reference and when you need a friend you can count on and trust.

You may want to take a few moments and do a search on some quotations on fake friends. Some of the quotations I found are very good. Take a few moments and see how others, the wise, the interesting as well as the rich and famous view false friends.


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