Answer if You Know

There have been plenty of sorrows, pains and trials in my life; and in the lives of people I know and love.  I am sure most people reading this and all who are not would admit to having their share of trouble, pains, and sorrows in this life.  No one goes through life without them.  Even Jesus had His.

Today I want us to hear what God says to Job, and it comes to us as well…

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, and brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?” Job 38:1-11 (KJV)

Job had lost all that he had except for his life.  He was still breathing, his heart was beating, but he was suffering. When his three friends came along and sat with him quietly, I am fairly certain that he was somewhat comforted; then, they had to open their foolish mouths and start talking.

Something the Christian must remember is that the words and thoughts of men, friend or otherwise, without knowing God, His word, His wisdom, and His Son are many times; as with Job’s friends; without much merit.

Job got what He asked for from God; and when God showed up Job got quiet.  How do you answer the above questions which God asked?  All I could answer is “I was not there. I do not know.”  Job’s silence is pretty much the same answer.

Next time I want to question God about “Why?” something happens I think I will endeavor to remember these words from God to Job.  They are for me too.

Christmas Day 4 (3, 2, Christmas Day)

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to renew friendships with people I have considered friends, and endeavor to be the friend to them that I have not been; and I want to be a friend to any who are friendless, or feel that way.

I read the first two chapters of Job this morning, and saw how Job’s friends had responded to his tragedies.  They came and sat with him for 7 days and nights.  I only pray that I never stay too long as they did.

“So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” Job 2:13 (KJV)

Now My Eyes See

“Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that Thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from Thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto Me. I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6 (KJV)

Job is not told why he has been through the trials, pain, sickness, loss, despair, which he has endured. We simply see in these verses that he has his chance to speak with God.

God, the LORD, has spoken in chapters 38 – 41, and He has asked Job the question stated above; “Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?” Job confesses, “I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.”

We can learn from this that when we have truly seen God through faith, His Word, and His Son, then all our questions cease.

There has been many a time that I have questioned God; fallen before Him in prayer with fear and trembling; and arose without an answer, but I did not need one any longer. I had seen God; heard Him and that was sufficient.

When I say “I had seen God”; I mean that I had seen Him through eyes of faith, through His Word. One day I will look into the eyes of my Lord and Saviour, and I so long for that day.

Like Job, when we see God, we will see ourselves as we truly are. In need of repentance and forgiveness which only God gives through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.

Excellent in Power and in Judgment

“Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out: He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: He will not afflict. Men do therefore fear Him: He respecteth not any that are wise of heart.” Job 37:23-24 (KJV)

The three friends of Job have spoken. Job has finished his speaking. Now a fourth man; who is the younger of the other four; now speaks. Job 32-37 covers the speeches of Elihu.

We know nothing much of him except he was a Buzite, of the kindred of Ram. Does not tell us much. We can tell that he is ignorant of the events of heaven in chapters one and two. We know this because he is still accusing Job of unrighteousness which God has not.

One thing I like about Elihu is that most of what he says seems to exalt the Almighty, as in these final words of his speeches.

Reminds me of some of the apostle Paul’s words that God is not a respecter of persons (Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25), and that of the apostle Peter (1 Peter 1:17).

Elihu, though young, and verbose reminds us that this story in Job’s name, and these events are not really about Job; but about the Almighty God.

The events, challenges, trials, friends, enemies, good times, bad times are not about me; they are about the work of God in me. He is working to make me more into His image and likeness (Romans 8:29). The likeness of His Son Jesus Christ who bled and died on the cross for our sins.

Will the Almighty Hear Me?

“Oh that one would hear me! Behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine Adversary had written a book. Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me. I would declare unto Him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto Him. If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain; if I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life: let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.” Job 31:35-40

The last friend to answer Job was Bildad the Shuhite (chapter 25). All three of the friends had condemning comments, rather than words of comfort or encouragement. When you are down you do not need someone to drive you down further.

For Job, God has been silent. He is asking for a chance to appear before the Great Judge, and Prosecutor to clear his name. To Job at this time the Almighty is the Judge and Prosecutor (Adversary) rather than the Advocate. Remember, Job does not know the scene, or the events in heaven before all his pain began.

As you read the above text for today you can see some confidence in Job. There is confidence that if he could just see the charges against him he would be vindicated through this case. “Let the Adversary write a book” bring the charges against me he says, and I will be wearing them on my head as a testimony of my faithfulness.

There is a bit of arrogance in his statement. The Almighty does address this matter later in His words to Job.

We can have confidence that the Almighty hears us. We can be confident that we will be cleared of all charges of guilt against us. Not because we are guiltless, but because of the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross. With Christ there is no room for arrogance, pride, or a self-righteous attitude. We appear before the Almighty by His grace.

Better Than Gold

“Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: on the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him: but He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held His steps, His way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:8-12 (KJV)

There is an attitude in the minds of many people; and it affects us all at times; that we are “it”. We are what God is about. He has an obligation to love us, care for us; and to bring it down personal; He has an obligation to love me, care for me. Is that about how we are? I see it in me. I see it in others.

Something we need to realize is that God is about His own glory. He has no obligation to love us, or to care for us. He is about getting His people into His glory; and He will do it His way, not my way; and He will do it in His time.

Look at Job. He was a wealthy, healthy, family man who was loved by his family, the servants of his household, and his neighbors. Then, he lost everything; even his self-respect. He did not lose his faith in God.

Job did not understand his dilemma; yet he trusted, though he would have liked to appear before the Court of God, and present his arguments on his own behalf.

Job states in the text above that he had not witnessed the presence of God, could not feel the presence of God, nor seen His work. Yet, we hear this testimony, “When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold”. Though he had no understanding of the events that happened in the court of heaven Job knew, believed, trusted that the trials he was going through was as the refiners fire, and that God was perfecting him, fitting him for the glory of God.

How can this be? How can it be that even though we may have no understanding of the troubling events of our life, of life, that we can still trust that God is working in us to make us “come forth as gold” tried in a furnace of fire? Note Job’s words, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food“.

That reminds me of Jesus’s own words, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).

Remember this dear believer. We are not called to understand; we are called to be faithful.

The Redeemer Who Lives

“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job 19:25-27 (KJV)

Job had been falsely charged by his friends. He also felt neglected, despised even by God; but Job still trusted the love, grace and mercy of God.

Are you beaten, battered, bruised, sick or diseased? Do you feel you have been forsaken by God, your family, your friends? Do you believe that no one cares? God does care. God does love you.

Even the righteous (those declared so by God Himself) suffer. Job is a great example of that; yet, Job’s faith went on trusting and believing in God.

Job believed that he was probably going to perish; was going to die; that his body would decay, and be eaten by the “skin worms”. Yet, he believed that his Redeemer lived, and that he would see Him stand upon the earth.

That Redeemer is none other than the One who died for the sins of mankind upon a cruel, old rugged cross, was buried, and arose bodily from the grave. He (Jesus Christ) will one day return to rule and reign as King of the earth from Jerusalem.

My Redeemer Lives….

Plead For Your Neighbor

“O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!” Job 16:21 (KJV)

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar had come to Job with good intentions. Their silence for those first seven days was more comforting, caring, and supportive than any of the words they spoke thereafter. Job even states in verse 2; “Miserable comforters are ye all.”

Job’s words in the text is as a man, or a woman could stand before God; like in a court; and plead for their friend or neighbor. Job’s thoughts were pleading for a reprieve from suffering, judgment, pain. If the shoe was on the other food, that is what Job would have done; if it were possible.

Can we make a plea to God in behalf of our friends, neighbors; even our enemies? If we can should we? The answer is yes on both counts.

Because of the wondrous grace of God through the cross of Jesus Christ we have access to the very throne and presence of God. Those who have come to God through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the priests of God; therefore we can come before Him with our pleading, supplications, prayers, and petitions.

We come before the court of our LORD, and plea for our neighbor’s salvation; their health which may be failing; their wealth; their family; and any other thing or need they may have. It should be a privilege, honor, and duty of love to do so. Even if your neighbor is an “Enemy” we still must pray, and plead for them.

Will You Live Again?

“If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.” Job 14:14-15 (KJV)

As I was reading Job 11 – 14 I found myself laughing. Laughing at the way Job uses sarcasm to rebuke his friends (12:2-3), and tells them that he would have been better off if they would have kept their mouths shut (13:4, 5, and 13).

Then I was brought to tears. Mostly tears of joy due to Job’s faith, as he states, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him”, and again in the above verses of our text.

It can be seen that he looks at the created order of things, and realizes that a tree can be cut down, and it sprouts again to life. Is it not amazing how God has built into the creation the hope of resurrection; living again. Job, may have very well been thinking that the tree had more hope than he did; but then, he states the above.

“All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” What change? The change of the resurrection of the body.

The whole created order of things is a testimony of God, and His promises to fulfill all His word.

The greatest hope ever given was when Jesus became our sin on the cross; was judged for our sin, put to death; and then bodily arose from the grave to show that the cross was the place of defeat for sin, death, hell, the grave, and the devil. The Courts of heaven, by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ rules today. By His resurrection there is a resurrection to life in His presence for all eternity.

Be Just With God

“I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? If he will contend with Him, he cannot answer Him one of a thousand. He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against Him, and hath prospered?” Job 9:2-4 (KJV)

Remember Job’s three friends who came to comfort and encourage him are now speaking after seven days of silence.

Bildad the Shuhite has spoken, and just as Eliphaz has done; so does Bildad; accusing Job of unrighteous deeds, because of his loss, sickness, and disease. Has anyone noticed that is still a problem in our world? Even among Christians? Maybe especially among Christians? May God forgive us.

Job raises a very good question, “How should a man (anyone) be just with God?” We are told in the Psalms, and the apostle Paul writes it in Romans; “There is none righteous; no not one” (Psalm 14:1-3; Romans 3:10-11). “Just” means righteous, or blameless.

In the first two chapters of Job we see events take place in heaven where God declares Job as righteous, blameless, just –“a perfect and upright man…” (1:8; 2:3). The only way for anyone to be “Just” with God is by God’s own declaration.

Because God Himself is holy, and righteous He cannot just overlook our sin. There must be a sacrifice for sin; and God Himself provides the sacrifice. That ultimate sacrifice was/is His own only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus was our payment for our sin upon the cross where all our sin was laid on Him; the Just for the unjust. He took our sins upon Himself, that He might place on us His own Righteousness; declaring us righteous when we trust in Him.

How should you be just with God? Through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Chastisement, Correction or Testing?

“Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: for He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He woundeth, and His hands make whole.” Job 5:17-18 (KJV)

These words are from the first speech of Eliphaz the Temanite; one of Job’s three friends who had heard of Job’s plight, and came to comfort and encourage him. They had sat with him for seven days in silence, never saying a word. Maybe they should have remained silent; but that was not to be.

The words of the verses above are true. It is a blessed, a happy thing to know that God chastens those He loves (Hebrews 12:7-8). However, Job was not being chastised for any evil, any wrong he had done.

Job, nor his friends knew to the scene that had taken place in heaven. God was placing trust in Job, and his faith.

Remember when you are disciplined by the Lord that He loves you. That is a great encouragement. Let us also remember when it comes to the trials of another that silence is sometimes the best encouragement and comfort that we can give.

We are too prone to the fallacy of thinking that goodness never suffers; and evil always suffers.

We can be encouraged by the fact of knowing that when we err in sin, as one of His children, He chastens us; but all trials, and suffering are not the result of sin.

The answer is that in blessing and in pain rejoice in the LORD, and be a blessing to His name. Praise Him

Receiving From God

“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” Job 2:8-9 (KJV)

Job was a blessed man with a large family, loving wife, much land, cattle, camels, sheep, oxen, donkeys, and many servants who were loyal to him. He was one of the wealthiest men who ever lived.

The book of Job is believed to be the oldest of the Old Testament books. He is believed to have lived around the time of Abraham, and possibly sometime before. The book was written sometime before Moses wrote Genesis and the rest of the Law. Job believed in God, and he believed God.

Satan, the devil, that old serpent sought to cause Job harm by seeking God’s permission to cause Job suffering, loss, trial, and pain. Just a thought here to the child of God: Satan can never touch you unless he gets God’s permission first; and if God gives him permission to touch you it is because God knows you can handle it.

Notice this about Satan. He is always going from the presence of the LORD (1:12; 2:7).

I said Job had a loving wife above. She did not enjoy the pain and suffering that had come to them. She was suffering too with the loss of their children, all their wealth; and then the skin diseases with boils, and such. It was, she thought, more than she could bear; so she said to Job, “Curse God and die”.

Job understood her pain. He also had a heart for God, and believed that the blessings he had lived with were from God, and that the suffering was allowed by God.

Are you suffering today? Think about Job. Think about God’s goodness, grace and love. When you love God there is nothing that can cause you to curse God; but thank Him, praise Him, love Him; because there is no other who can hold you and keep you.

God loves you. He has proven that love by the cross of His Son Jesus who suffered, beatings, mocking, rejection, and loss. He was put on display to show the wondrous love of God.

Words for Christian Living – A Strong Heart

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”  2 Corinthians 4:1-2 (KJV)

There are many people walking around in this world who have been told by their physicians that they have weak or failing hearts.  Some of us have had different types of surgery for their heart from stentz placed in arteries of their heart to what is called “Open heart” surgery.  The “Strong heart” of which I title this does not refer to the physical heart, but to the inner individual.

“…We faint not”  has much to do with having “A Strong Heart”.  The man or woman of God; every Christian; must be committed to being faithful to God and His Word.  That is what Paul the apostle is speaking of.  From the time we become a follower of Jesus Christ we “Renounce the hidden things of dishonesty”; these are the sins of our past.  We have repented, and our lives are changed.

It is a mark of the Christian, too, that we not use tricks, or deceit when it comes to the word of God.  One of the things that angers me is the way I see many a Christian leader using emotion to entice “worship”; then people walk away thinking they have been in the presence of God; they go out the doors of the Church or the stadium, and their lives are left unchanged.  Nothing wrong with emotion if it is not manipulated by deceit and the mishandling of God’s Word.  Be careful Christian that you do not let wrong handling of the word of God lead you astray.

The truth will be all the commendation one needs.  Know the truth.  Keep your heart for God strong.

Words for Christian Living – Resurrection

“For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?  As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.”  Job 14:7-15 (KJV)

Suffering Job was expectant of a resurrection.  He saw it in trees which might be cut down, and they sprouting back to life.  He saw in the oceans never drying up; nor the major rivers of the Middle Eastern areas.  The above is where the question is asked; yet he already knows the answer – “If a man die, shall he live again?”  and his answer is “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”

And all those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ says, “AMEN!”  Amen!  (See 1 Corinthians 15).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words for Christian Living – Know When to Go

“Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, ‘How long wilt thou speak these things, and the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? Doth God pervert judgment? Or doth the Almighty pervert justice? If thy children have sinned against Him, and He have cast them away for their transgression; if thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; if thou wert pure and upright; surely now He would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.”  Job 8:1-7 (KJV)

Job had three friends.  Friends are an important part of living and life.  Job had, and was suffering from loss of children to death, destruction, and loss of all his possessions.  Even his wife had failed to stand with him in faith.  His friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar came thinking they would encourage their friend.  They sat with him for seven days (2:13) without saying a word.  That was good for Job.  Their presence meant more than any words they could speak.

Job spoke, and was just speaking from his pain and grief; and words of faith.  Even though there is a questioning of God’s motives for this from Job’s lips you can still see his faith, believing God.  Why is it that well intentioned people do not know when to be silent.

Bildad, above is basically calling Job a “Windbag”.  “How long wilt thou speak these things, and the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?”  All I mean to say here is listen when someone is suffering.  Know when to go.  After seven days of silence.  That was enough.  This was so for all three of them.

Know when to go.

Tim A. Blankenship

Day 35 – Job Rebuked by GOD

I would probably call it “sarcasm”.  The voice of the LORD answers Job, “Out of the whirlwind”; and asks Job a lot of questions which seem to have a lot of sarcasm in them.  “Sarcasm” is defined in the Mirriam/Webster Dictionary as “1 a cutting, contemptuous remark: 2 Ironical criticism or reproach”.  The latter one being the better understanding of God’s rebuke of Job.

My reading today was from Job 38 – Psalms 9.  We will comment on Job alone.

Chapter 37 ended all the comments by the friends of Job.  Job’s comments have ended as well.  God has been silent up until chapter 38, then He speaks with sarcastic rebuke.  I say it is sarcasm because of the way God questions Job.  For instance,

“Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” 38:2

The LORD is clearly speaking to Job.  It is not even clear if his friends; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are still around; or their friend Elihu.  Another question God asks Job,

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding.” v. 4

Of course God knows the answers to these questions and Job’s final response is found,

“Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,  ‘Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.’  Then Job answered the LORD, and said,  ‘Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.  Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.”  Job 40:1-5 (KJV)

Job had spent hours defending himself before his friends; what he would do if he were given a chance to stand before the LORD, and argue his case with Him.  Now God is speaking to him, and he clamps his hand over his mouth to silence himself.  There are many questions we all have stated that we would like to ask the LORD when we see Him face to face.  My thought on that is; especially after looking at Job’s response; is that ours will be very similar.  Just His sight and His presence will answer it all for us.

There have been, and some just recently; tornadoes and storms which have wreaked out devastation throughout the U. S. of A.  Lives have been lost.  One whole family of five lost their lives in one city.  Questions abound.  One of which in these cases is, “Where was God when all these tragedies took place?” or “Why doesn’t God put an end to all this chaos, even of evil?”  If you will notice; From where did God speak to Job? “Out of the whirlwind”.  At least twice this is said in 38:1 and 40:6.

Where was God in all these tragedies?  He speaks from out of them.  We need to listen.  Why doesn’t God put an end to all this chaos and evil?  I used to ask that question a lot, then one day in a still small voice I heard the Lord say in my heart, “If I ridded the world of evil, I would rid the world of you.”  I have not asked the question since, except of course to tell about it.  I thank Him for His wonderful grace.  His grace and mercy has allowed that more have not died, than could have.

God reminds Job of two creatures He has made.  The “behemoth”, and the “leviathan”.  Now some interpreters interpret these creatures as being a hippopotamus and a crocodile.  The description it gives is too immense to be either.  There are some scholars who put the book of Job as written earlier than the books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy).  There are some; of whom I am one; who believe these creatures are of the time of, what we call, the dinosaurs.  The behemoth could be that one large one with the long neck reaching to the tops of trees, with the large tail dragging on the ground some of the time.  The other sounds like some sort of creature which breaths fire.  These are both extinct now, as far as we know.

Some of you may laugh, but God’s word is true.  And, if God gives us evidence that men were on earth with the dinosaurs, then we better take heed to it.

In the end Job is back, right with God and with his friends.  His friends are told by God to take a sacrifice for themselves, Job would pray for them, and God would forgive them too.  We are also told that God gave Job twice what he had before.  He even had seven more sons and three more daughters.

A point is made in verse 15 of chapter 42,

“And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.”

Even Job was able to see the plan of God to make all one in Christ Jesus,

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  Galations 3:28-29 (KJV)

Job was soundly rebuked by God, and shown the ridiculousness of his questions and charges.  Trust God, believe Him.  He sees a larger picture than you or I do.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 34 – The Confidence of Job

Confidence is a good thing to have.  Confidence is defined in The Mirriam/Webster Dictionary as, “Trust, reliance”; 2. SELF ASSURANCE, BOLDNESS; 3. a state of trust or intimacy”.  Job had confidence that he was in the right with God, and no one was going to change his mind.  Not his three friends. Not the young man who comes on the scene later [Elihu]; and it would almost sound as though, even God would have a hard time convincing Job of any wrong doing on his part.

Today’s reading consisted of Job 24 – 37.  There are only three characters who speak in these 14 chapters.  Job’s speech following Eliphaz’s final address continues in chapter 24.  In chapter 25 Bildad gives us a final speech of short duration.  The friends have run out of steam it seems.  The remaining chapters are taken by Job (26-31), and we see some words of wisdom and knowledge from his words; such as involving science;

“He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” 26:7 (KJV)

I include this to show that his faith in God has not wavered, and that it was known at that time that the earth was not suspended by some guy holding the earth on his shoulders, standing on a turtle, swimming in some cosmic sea.  Job even goes into some details about the clouds and rain in chapter 26; and the oceans of the world, and their boundaries.  He attributes these things all to the hands of God. “But the thunder of His power who can understand?” (26:14b).

Job knows from whence all things come.  He even attributes wisdom and knowledge as coming from God, the LORD.  That wisdom is greater than “rubies” (28:18).  He assures the reader that the fear of the Lord is wisdom,

“And unto man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.'” 28:28

Chapters 32 – 37 are given to a young man who has evidently been standing by listening to  the words of all four of these elder men; keeping silent himself, and waiting for an opportunity to speak.  His name is Elihu; and he does seem wise for his younger years, yet he is probably ignorant of Job’s life and works.

Elihu seems a bit arrogant in some of his talk.  Of course you can see an arrogance in the four elder men and their responses as well.  It is amazing how when men get together, myself included, that talk keeps on getting louder, bolder, and more braggadocios.  Often when stories are being shared and told, the next one has to be even better.  It can be that way with the spiritual matters as well; if we are not cautious.

Were Elihu’s words helpful?  In his words he does magnify the LORD.  He shows us the difficulty of knowing God, especially in our own ways in 37:23,

“Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out: He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: He will not afflict.” 37:23

By the word of God we are told that no man can see God and live.  If we were to turn our opened eyes toward the glowing, glaring noon day sun we would be blinded by its rays.  How can we see God?

Job was confident that he would one day see God, through a mediator, and dear reader our Mediator is Christ Jesus.

Job had confidence in God.  His faith was in God.  There is yet one character in this story of Job to speak; His name is the name that is above every name. He is GOD.  The Lord willing we will hear those words next time.

Be careful to listen as He speaks to you today; hear Him and do His will.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 33 – Weary of Life

Does life ever seem like a weary process to you?  Do you ever feel like you are all alone and that no one cares?  Not even God?  There are many Biblical characters who experienced these thoughts, and the one we will look at today is probably the most known.  His name is Job.

My reading today was Job 10 – 23, but let me do a little recap of chapters 1 – 9; particularly the first chapter or two.

It is said of Job that he was “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed (avoided) evil”.  He was a man who had a large family of seven sons and three daughters, and he was a wealthy man (1:1-3).  We are told by Scripture that the “sons of God” which probably is referring to angels came before the LORD, and Satan came too.  Then we learn that the devil is challenging God’s treatment of Job.  God has protected Job and blessed him.  “No wonder”, the devil says, “he will not turn away from you the way you have blessed him.  However, if you would take all that away he would curse you.”

Job loses all his children, his wealth, and finally he loses his health as well; and he begins to feel as though God will not hear him.  He has three wonderful friends; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar; who show up to give him comfort.  We should all be so blessed to have friends who are willing to come, sit with you and listen to your heart, aches and all.  For seven days (2:11-13) they sat with him, weeping and mourning with him, not saying a word; but then, they should have gone home.  I had a friend who is now in Heaven with the LORD who had the philosophy of time on the phone should be no longer than three minutes; and if you spent any longer than that you started saying much more than was necessary.

It is great to mourn and weep with those who mourn and weep; however, it is probably best to let them do the talking, and you be silent, and just listen.  Understand, they are hurting, they are expressing their anguish and pain.  It is not the time for big theological discussion.

Be assured Job was encouraged by the visit of the three friends, but when they started talking, accusing him that this was all due to the sins of his children and his own sins; then, they became a source of further pain and grief.

There is much evidence in Job’s testimony that he was feeling like God was not listening to him.  You will never hear him deny God’s existence, or see a lack of faith in God, in any of Job’s words.

“My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” Job 10:1 (KJV)

It seems sometimes like all I get done is go to the doctor.  I have blood pressure problems, heart problems, with five stents put in veins of my heart last April.  I am not telling you this to feel sorry for me, please do not.  My wife had heart surgery on September 21, 2010, and she sees the doctor quite a bit, and we are still a young couple; we feel that way.  There are times, however, I feel a lot like Job felt.  Job was a far more righteous man than I am.  He was a man of much faith; mine seems weak much of the time.  My soul gets weary of this life, my life at times.  Life, however, is in God’s hands.  That is where I will leave it.

I know there are many others who are suffering much more than my wife and I are.  So many have cancers eating away at their bodies, weakening them physically, and gradually taking their lives.  Some overcome the cancer; and we struggle with God, and our faith.

There are many faith statements which Job makes in these 14 chapters read today.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.” 13:15

With this statement Job is saying that he will continue to trust the LORD even if He does not grant him a session with Him.  He will trust God and believe His word no matter what.  If you never heard from God again, never sensed His presence again; would you still trust and believe Him?

Another statement of faith from Job;

“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” 14:14

Though put in the form of a question you will notice that Job is waiting for that day when he rises from the grave, and “My change comes”.

The final one I leave you with today –

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” 19:25-27

To me that statement is probably the strongest statement of faith that Job has made thus far.  “I know that my redeemer liveth…”  Even though we may question God in our pain and grief, those questions are a statement that we believe God and are trusting Him.  If we did not would we be calling out to Him.  I think not.

That redeemer that lives is Jesus the Christ, Son of the living God.  He is the One on whom Job believed, trusted and confided in.  No Jesus the babe in a manger had not yet been born, but here is another manifestation of the presence and glory of Christ even in the Old Testament.  He is LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Blessing In The Storms

As I sit and write this morning rain is coming down in our area.  Rain is a much needed item here in Southwest Missouri for hay, crops which are grown here, and for all our gardens.  Rain, in short, is a wonderful blessing.  However, there are times it may seem a bit like a curse upon us when we get what we may deem ” a little too much”.

We can see the rain as a blessing when the ground gets too dry, and especially after drought conditions have prevailed for several months.  I think we are in a drought condition spiritually.  I need some rain, and maybe even some storms to come into my life.  We all do; or we just dry up.

I think we need to hear what Job said to his wife when she told him, “Curse God, and die”.

“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.  But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”  Job 2:9-10 (KJV)

How would we know comforts if we did not know discomfort? How would we know pleasure, if we knew no pain? How would we know good, if we knew no evil?

God is working for the good of those who love Him; and for His own honor and glory.  Let’s rejoice in the storms and evil which comes our way.

-Tim A. Blankenship