October 15, 2020 · 7:48 pm
Job 3-7, looking at this title i am sure that many will want to skip over the post. But when we look at Job’s thoughts in chapter three, one cannot but feel the lament and anguish he is feeling. To be so down trodden that one would curse the day they were born is hard to imagine. Yet we find that many today for various reasons have taken their own lives. Now i have never had to endure what Job did in such a few short days; to lose everything earthly that he had cherished. I have heard people tell me “I wish I had never been born!” This almost sounds like George Bailey in the Christmas movie called “it’s a wonderful life.” Life got so overwhelming that George believed that he was better off dead than alive. If a person is without HOPE, the sentiments are very real. The problem with taking ones own life is that it is a lie. The world has a deceiver and liar roaming to and fro to see who he might devour. In our reading, Job is reeling from the pain, but also throwing a pity party. I know that sounds terrible of me, but the very God that he previously praised, is the God that will deliver him. Our faith does get tested, we go through horrendous trials, but we are not alone. God has not forsaken us! Job is in some serious dumps, and along comes his “friend” Eliphaz to talk with him. Now up until now the three friends just sat and looked at Job. No aid was offered, no drink or food; they just looked at Job in his emaciated state.
Eliphaz begins to indict Job by saying that only the guilty or eveil are punished. But there is a air of condescending towards Job – “you offered words of council to others,” to make the point – you acted so high and mighty towards people in your council, but look who is having to eat those words now! I am sure Eliphaz was jealous towards Job, yet i would have thought as a friend Eliphaz would have tried to comfort his friend instead of kick him while he was down?
I guess we do find out who are true friends are when we are down or in trouble. The indictment Job receives is a typical conclusion for Old Testament people. The belief that if you lived right, you would be blessed; but if you had trials and tribulations, they were a result of sin in the person’s life and that God was punishing the person. Today we have adopted the philosophy that “good things happen to bad people and that bad things happen to good people.” While that is true to some degree; it is anything but a concise explanation.
AT this point no one really knows why Job is going through the severe testing except God and Satan. I think the unknowing answer to the “WHY” question probably causes the greatest stress and struggle, for we cannot reason within ourselves the answer. Because of our lack of understanding the WHY, Satan is able to tell us lies and the worse lie is that “you will be better off if you were dead.” Humanity believes the lie, for the goal is to quit hurting [emotionally, physically and mentally].
Job endured the ridicule from his friend, even midst the missing answer of why he was going through the trials. There have been times for all of us that a season of turmoil that seems too much to bear; only to have someone come along and give us their advice or answer to why. Too many voices rattling around in our head prevents us from hearing the one true voice.
God loves us, our hope is in knowing Him and the peace that only He can give through His Son Jesus Christ. Becoming a believer in Christ does not make us immune to trouble and trials. But is does enable us not to have to go through those times alone. Hope is a great need for all of us, especially in our ever-changing culture. Proverbs 3:5-7 – trust in the Lord and lean not to your own understanding.
December 17, 2018 · 3:53 pm
Ezra 5-7 presents the Spiritual battle with Kingdom of God work. The adversaries brought allegations and rumors about the motives for rebuilding the Temple. In the work of God, there will be many insiders and outsiders that will question the motivation of pastors, ministers and laymen. No one is exempt from the scrutiny that “Man” brings against the work of God. At this point anyone in ministry must remember that there is politics in Church. To not recognize this is fact goes beyond naivety into just sticking our heads in the sand. The people who had lived and occupied the city and surrounding area resisted any changes to their world. Anyone in ministry understands the problems of trying to change/improve a Church congregation. People all people acquiesce to a place of comfort. Once there they don’t want to be moved – even if the changes are for the better. We live in a difficult time of ministry to the Body of Christ. Too many Churches are dying. It has become epidemic across denominations and America. Estimates project that America could close 100,000 church within the next five years. [Quote from Thom Rainer]. As a revitalizationist, I have found that some Churches would rather die than do what is necessary to live. The resistance that Ezra and the Jews experienced from the local people is not that dissimilar to what we find in our own neighborhoods. In Ezra there were letters written filled with accusations against the work. I know pastors receive letters, many times unsigned from people who are disgruntled. I had some good advice as a young pastor – if people haven’t signed them – shred them. Back to our passage – King Darius instigates a search through the historical records to find out if the accusations are true or false. In the search, Darius finds King Cyrus’ decree allowing the Jews to rebuild. The records substantiated the work and the Temple restoration began again. There is another application here – especially for the Believer: Satan will contest any and all movements to live a holy life. He will bring accusations against the brethren. Satan is a liar, and the father of lies. So many people have tried to restore their lives through the work of God, only to have their failures and motives brought into question. All of us are guilty of sin and rebellion. Satan would rather that we wallow in our failure rather than bask in the glory of Jesus Christ’s redemptive forgiveness!
In chapter 6, we have the Temple restored and the celebration of worship through the Passover. The Temple, which believers are has to be restored when life and sin have devastated and destroyed the place of worship to our King Jesus. It takes work, hard work to stay the course to restoration. I have met so many people who felt because they had fallen back into sin, or lapsed into some rebellious behavior, that they lost their salvation and were no longer fit for God use. Our God is longsuffering and merciful – our salvation has never been based on our behaviors, but the Saviors blood and righteousness. The foundation of our salvation is the Finished work of the Cross by Jesus. So don’t let Satan or any of hos emissaries try to destroy your faith. While we will always have adversaries we MUST remember that we have a Great High Priest and Advocate that is defending us before the Father in Heaven. Jesus our Savior and Advocate is our defense against the wiles of Satan. We are not strong enough to defeat Satan – but he has already been defeated – do not let his lies imprison us again. Romans 8:1 – no condemnation!
The scriptures tell us that righteous, godly living by us that the Father will make even our enemies to be at peace with us. King Artaxerxes reacts favorable towards Ezra when he visits in Chapter 7. Throughout chapter seven, we hear of the graciousness of King Artaxerxes towards the Jews and specifically the work of Ezra, the priest, the scribe and the man of God.
If America is to be a righteous nation, it must deal with its failures and sin. There is great devastation in the Land. Many evil spirits are at work to destroy anything that can be used to proclaim the Glory of God. There are churches and individuals that must correct their “lives” and rid themselves of unholy behavior. There are thousands of churches that need to “get to work” instead of resisting the movement of God. Also there are Pastors who need to remember who called them to the ministry and not succumb to the wiles of the evil present in churches and the world!