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Passage: Job 14-16

On Wednesday, September 4, 2013, Fernando wrote,

Job 15

Have you listened in the council of God?
    And do you limit wisdom to yourself?
What do you know that we do not know?
    What do you understand that is not clear to us?

I can imagine a table of Presbyterians, Charismatics, Catholics and Baptists sitting at table, each at turn saying this line, using the bible to correct each other. So how is this done in right? Unfortunately, Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and later Elihu do not have a point of reference. They had philosophical and traditional arguments. It is evident that what ‘is inscribed in their hearts,’ (cf romans 2:15) was the major source of knowledge of God.

I love seeing good debates between difference denominations. The bad ones though are insightful for understanding what the human factor isolated from Christ can do. The good ones give little conjecture but build their arguments ‘precept on precept, line by line.’ The bad ones build their arguments ‘precept on precept, line by line’ and extrapolate unnecessarily going beyond what is written. Often the bad ones take authority upon them and will claim special revelation or simply claim a superior algorithm to connect the theological dots.

This sensational experience often goes beyond what is written, directly contrary to Paul’s admonition.

Acts 20

26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.  

Ultimately, the bad ones will point to differences and cause separation (“and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things to draw away the disciples after them”). The good ones will simply be a test from the Lord – a test from the lord is refining and happens only among the faithful. Without faith, the same situation will be a curse and their Life-nature or Death-nature will be made evident – “Therefore be alert!”

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Job 15:5

For your iniquity teaches your mouth,
    and you choose the tongue of the crafty

It’s a wonder how there is little truth in his friends’ speech. What is rebuked here is found similarly to what we read in James that says the tongue is a flame of fire, and we should not be a mixture of sweet and bitter water, that it is not correct to praise God and to speak evil against each other. And elsewhere, that what is unclean is not what we put in our body what comes out of our body and that which comes out points to our nature being your cause for Destruction (for you are children of Wrath like the rest of mankind).

James 4

11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water

If we are alive in Christ then, the river of life should flow through you and your fruit should be of one kind. The water that is drawn from you should be of one kind. Control your tongue by simply saying less. Do not let the wisdom in your own eyes fill in what either God has not said or you have forgotten.

Similarly, we can see Paul applied this to himself and his ministry (1 Corinthians 2):

4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

Whether God’s power here refers to manifestations of miracles or simply the Spirit’s power to incline a heart is irrelevant. Paul decidedly did not focus on a crafty way, but rather simply and plainly worshipped before his audience in Spirit and Truth.


Passage: Job 14-16

On Friday, June 14, 2013, Yujin wrote,

O earth, do not cover my blood,
And let there be no resting place for my cry.
Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven,
And my advocate is on high (Job 16:18-19).

Job expresses his agony, yet he embraces hope in the Lord. This reminds me of the backstory of a famous poem written by a man named H.G. Spafford, who lived int he city of Chicago in the nineteenth century. Spafford was a successful and wealthy attorney. Moreover, he was a fine Christian man with a a wife and four daughters. One year it was decided that Mrs. Spafford and the girls should visit Europe, to be joined later by Mr. Spafford, who was not able to leave with them. He took them to Bostom and saw them board the ship. There he stood, and he said goodbye to them. He stood on the platform watching the ship going out to sea until at last it disappeared over the horizon, and he went home.

Later he received a cable with the news that the ship bearing Mrs. Spafford and the girls had collided with another ship in the mid-Atlantic, and in just a few moments she had sunk. The four girls were drowned. Mrs. Spafford, almost by a miracle, was saved, put on another ship, and eventually landed in Cardiff, Wales. When she arrived, she sent her husband this cable: "Saved alone. What shall I do?"

Poor Mr. Spafford. Here is a Christian man, and he gets this tragic cable. Two years before that shipwreck, something else had happened to him. All his wealth was in real estate, but in 1871 there was a great fire in Chicago, the Great Chicago Fire, which destroyed much of the city. In one afternoon Mr. Spafford became a poor man. He lost everything in that fire -- his money, home, his positions -- and was reduced to poverty. And now he receives a cable telling him that he has lost his four darling daughters. How did he react? Did he say, "Well, I mustn't give in. I mustn't cry. I mustn't whimper. I must be courageous. I must brace myself. I must take it. I'm going to put up with it. I'll use all my powers to play the man in spite of everything"? Was that it? No. This is what that Christian man did. He sat down and he wrote these words:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Notice this. "When peace, like a river, attendeth my way." This is all right. We can all be happy on vacation. We can all say wonderful things when the sun is shining. But wait a minute. "When sorrows like sea billows roll" and rob me of my four darling daughters and everything. "Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul." Stoicism? No, no, a thousand times no! This is exultation. This is victory. He is more than a conqueror over everything that faces him.

Job expressed just the beginning of such exultation, expressing hope in the midst of agony. Paul completes the thought when he writes for us: 

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

You cannot appreciate these words without reading the whole context. Paul has just given this long list of troubles: "troubled on every side... perplexed... persecuted... cast down... bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus" (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). And then, having given this terrible list, he looks at it and says, "our light affliction." "Light affliction"? It is enough to crush a man. It is an awful weight. It is unbearable. Surely, he is joking.

But wait. Watch what he says. The apostle does not say these things are light in and of themselves. That is not what he says at all. What he says is that they become light when contrasted with something else. Listen to him: "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 

The affliction may seem heavy on a scale by itself - perhaps a pound, six pounds, or even a ton, until "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" is placed on the other side. Then, that ton becomes a feather. 

Friends, this is our Christian's testimony. And this is the secret of our exultation in any and every circumstance. This is why Paul can write, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). Once you have had a glimpse of this glory, nothing else can depress you, nothing else can alarm you, nothing else can get you down. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us" -- those afflictions make you look at "the things which are not seen." So they work for you. They drive you to this glory. They force you to consider it afresh. Far from getting me down, says Paul, they make me more sure of the glory of which I have had a glimpse -- "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 

Dear friends, the question for us today is this: Do we know something about this glory? Do we set our affections upon it? Do we live in the light of it? Do we seek to know more about it? That is the secret of the Christian. It was in the first century, it has been in every century since, and it always will be until we finally arrive in the glory itself, changed perfectly ino the image of our blessed Lord and Savior. "We shall see him as he is," and "we shall be like him" (1 John 3:2).

May God produce in this evil age a body of men and women who can look at this life, which they share with everybody else at the present time, and, when everything goes against them to drive them to despair, can say, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," and even with Job say, "Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my Advocate is on high."


Passage: Job 14-16

On Thursday, June 14, 2012 (Last Updated on 6/14/2013), Yujin wrote,

But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief. (Job 16:5 NLT)

Job does not here make a distinction between righteous suffering and well-deserved suffering. When friends find their friends suffering, whatever the reason, comfort is in order and not rebuke. In fact, even when enemies are suffering the judgment of God, the Bible teaches against gloating over them:

Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall; don’t be happy when they stumble. For the LORD will be displeased with you and will turn his anger away from them. (Proverbs 24:17, 18 NLT)

There is a time for rebuke and a time for comfort. Notice that even the prophets change their tune from words of rebuke and condemnation to words of comfort and hope when speaking to the exilic and post-exilic community. 

The Edomites (descendants of Esau) were severely condemned because they gloated over the judgment of their brother Israelites (descendeants of Jacob):

“Because of the violence you did to your close relatives in Israel,you will be filled with shame and destroyed forever. When they were invaded,you stood aloof, refusing to help them. Foreign invaders carried off their wealth and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem,but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies. “You should not have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands. You should not have rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune. You should not have spoken arrogantly in that terrible time of trouble. You should not have plundered the land of Israel when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have gloated over their destruction when they were suffering such calamity.You should not have seized their wealth when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads, killing those who tried to escape.You should not have captured the survivors and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble. (Obadiah 1:10-14 NLT)

Why is it right not to rebuke, condemn, or gloat over the misfortunes of others, even those that are being judged for their sins?

It is because in many respects we are deserving of the same misfortune except for the grace of God. This is what Jesus taught:

About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.” (Luke 13:1-5 NLT)

Jesus tells the people who are living that they should not be surprised at those who died, that they should not try to discern the sins that caused the misfortune, but that they should repent so that the same does not happen to them. In other words, He's saying, "Don't be surprised that they died. Be surprised that you are still living." 

Those that gloat over the misfortunes of others do not have a right view of themselves, and they have not understood that they are still alive and not judged because of the grace of God. 

There is a time to rebuke, correct and admonish, but that time is not in the midst of suffering and loss. In such times, compassionate comfort and patient kindness are in order. This is especially true for our friends, but even for enemies we should take this view of things. Remember the words of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount:

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 NLT)

What is remarkable here is that when we extend such lovingkindness to those we think do not deserve it, we are emulating our heavenly Father, for He too loves people who are undeserving. While He judges, He also extends grace. When we extend this kind of grace to others, especially in the midst of their suffering and misfortune, we are becoming "perfect" as God the Father "is perfect." This teaches us that part of God's moral perfection is captured in the giving of grace. Therefore, let us too be slow to condemn and quick to extend grace to others. 


Passage: Job 14-16

On Tuesday, June 14, 2011, Unmi wrote,
 
In Job 9:33-35, Job longs for a mediator between him and God:
If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, 
someone to remove God’s rod from me, 
so that his terror would frighten me no more. 
Then I would speak up without fear of him, 
but as it now stands with me, I cannot.
In this statement, Job seems to be longing for something that he doesn't have.
 
Now in Job 16:18-21, his tone is different:  
“Earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest! 
Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high
My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; 
on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend. 
This is no longer a longing for something that doesn't exit, this is a statement of belief that he indeed has an advocate! Job states that this advocate is in heaven and intercedes for him as a friend.

John wrote:
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous OneHe is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)

In Romans 8, Paul describes the priesthood of Jesus. Referring to the Aaronic priesthood, Paul says Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office;  but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:23-25)

 Although Job may not have known the name of Jesus, it seems he believed that he had a mediator, advocate, intercessor, redeemer who lived in heaven and was pleading his case before God. 


Passage: Job 14-16

On Monday, June 14, 2010, John and Marsha wrote,

   Today's reading reminds me of how many times when helping a friend in crisis,  the person in need merely needs someone to comfort and listen to them -- not answer all of life's deepest questions and tell them why this is happening. Sometimes i feel the need to try and "fix" everything and try and "explain" everything when something goes wrong for a friend, when really i just need to shut my mouth and comfort or mourn with the person at hand. Job says,

"1 Then Job replied:

 2 "I have heard many things like these;
       miserable comforters are you all!

 3 Will your long-winded speeches never end?
       What ails you that you keep on arguing?

 4 I also could speak like you,
       if you were in my place;
       I could make fine speeches against you
       and shake my head at you.

 5 But my mouth would encourage you;
       comfort from my lips would bring you relief.

 6 "Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved;
       and if I refrain, it does not go away.

 

-- John