Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Job 36:24-33 comments: the storm

24 ¶  Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold. 25  Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off. 26  Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. 27  For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: 28  Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly. 29  Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle? 30  Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea. 31  For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance. 32  With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt. 33  The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

Job should magnify and glorify God in his suffering. God’s glory is visible to all men and evident throughout the universe. As David wrote;

Psalm 19:1 ¶  The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Psalm 8:3 ¶  When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

Psalm 33:6  By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

Ultimately, apart from His revelation of Himself and the stirrings of a need to believe in Him placed in man’s heart by the Holy Spirit, God is unknowable to us. He is far beyond even the possibility of our understanding and eternal, having always existed and always existing. The modern day atheist has substituted an eternal, inanimate object, called a Singularity, for God, as, to the atheist, this Singularity was at the beginning and all matter and energy was in it. He knows not how it began or where it came from and as far as he is concerned it is eternal. Time and space did not exist inside the Singularity and it would be unknowable to us except as a prediction of what must have been, of course, what must have been if your hard heart cannot accept or wrap your mind around the concept of an intelligent Creator. As David said;

Psalm 145:3  Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

And Moses;

Psalm 90:2  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

Water evaporates and becomes vapor. We understand how air is pushed up and water vapor condenses into droplets and rain that falls from clouds. Here, in verses 27 and 28 we have a clear statement of that process. A more general statement about the hydrologic cycle is made by Solomon.

Ecclesiastes 1:6  The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. 7  All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

The Greeks finally reached this understanding around 500BC, perhaps due to the influence of Hebrew slaves captured by the numerous Greek mercenaries that worked their trade in the ancient Near East. (36)

Joel 3:6  The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.

Joel may have been written closer to 800BC. While Job was written in the early second millennium before Christ, in all likelihood and Solomon was written around 1,000BC, the first written exposition of the water cycle in Greek literature is in the 500’s and in Chinese writings a couple of hundred years later.

Regarding verses 29 and 30; modern man has made a great study of cloud formation and atmospheric noise, which comes primarily, on a worldwide scale, from 40 lightning flashes per second or 3.5 million per day. There is white noise that comes from distant thunderstorms and impulse noise that comes from nearby storms and the most prominent radio noise is from cloud to ground flashes rather than cloud to cloud. What man hears are, of course, only one end of the spectrum of the sound of atmospheric noise. The flashes of light from nearby lightning cover the entire sky like the bottom of the sea is covered with water. We refer to things as, “bathed in light,” in our comparison of light to water. This can also be a reference to flooding that covers land like the bottom of the sea caused by extreme weather.

Elihu states that God uses extreme weather to judge people, a concept we find hard to understand because we have been brainwashed in the modern world to view weather events as purely random, with no purpose. In fact, we’ve been brainwashed, for the sake of some kind of nebulous concept of “modernity,” to view most events over which man has no control as purely random occurrences, a type of extreme humanism where apart from man all nature is simply an accident waiting to happen.

Elihu insists that it is by God’s command that clouds darken the land, blotting out the light. The same rain created by vapor that punishes also provides herds and flocks with life-sustaining water. These are tough passages because the translation is as close to the parent manuscripts as possible, even using syntax or word-order, and the exact wording. This also presents the problems fundamentalists face by taking verses out of context as if they were standalone doctrine. Verses such as this are confusing if not viewed in the context of the entire passage.

What is even harder for us is that this is part of a greater explanation of God’s sovereignty and a denial of Deism, where God is not an active force in moment-by-moment natural events but merely the entity who wound it all up and walked away, or watches from afar, waiting to intervene on some “wannabe” Moses’ behalf. God’s “hand” is in the storm. He is not in the storm. The storm is not God, but He is the cause of it, either by permission or by direct will, which is what I mean by His “hand” being in it. See 1Kings 19:11,12.

Elihu will finish his own argument in the next chapter. Then, God will Himself speak to Job and his friends.

(36) Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier, "Archaic Greeks in the Orient: Textual and Archaeological Evidence," Bulletin Of The American Schools Of Oriental Research no. 322 (May 2001): 11, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed December 30, 2014).

Monday, December 29, 2014

Job 36:15-23 comments: from affliction to iniquity

15 ¶  He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression. 16  Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness. 17  But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee. 18  Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee. 19  Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength. 20  Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place. 21  Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction. 22  Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him? 23  Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?

Here, Elihu tells Job that if Job had been humble in his affliction and called out to God in his humility that God would have restored him. This lesson is for us to understand that when tribulation comes to us, and this came as God’s permissive will and the direct action of Satan himself, we should humble ourselves in our affliction and seek mercy and grace from God.

(Strait is a confining place as in straitjacket or a strait in the sea. It is defined by contrast in verse16 as the opposite of a broad place. In the following verses it is a synonym of narrow and in contrast against broad and wide.

Matthew 7:13  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.)

This is a difficult thing for a modern person to understand and is a reflection of God’s sovereignty over every aspect of our lives. God allowed something bitter to happen to Job, giving Satan permission to harm him within specified limits, and it was incumbent upon righteous Job to humble himself before God, not to trumpet his own righteousness or the injustice done to him but to seek God’s mercy.

You say, “why was my child born like this? What did I do to deserve this? I’ve been a good person.” You say, “why was my spouse taken from me like this? We loved God and prayed and let the Bible speak to us and attended church regularly.” Many other bitter conditions you may find yourself in. Why did your husband leave you? Why is your son or daughter a drunk? Why did you lose your job? What do you have cancer? You don’t deserve any of it. What did you do, you ask, you plead, you cry out, to deserve such treatment at God’s hands?

The question is not well-thought out. Your response to the suffering that God permits in your life is to humbly seek His mercy and to trust Him even unto death itself, as the Bible teaches. Your protesting does not reflect spiritual maturity. God allowed Satan to harm Job within certain limits without a cause. It doesn’t seem fair, just, or right at all, does it? In the following verse, in giving instructions to the church Peter says;

1Peter 5:5 ¶  Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

There is our response to our own emotional suffering. Here is to be our response to the emotional suffering of others.

2Corinthians 1:3 ¶  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Romans 12:15  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

God’s people need suffering because without trouble and affliction we tend not to depend on God, not to act as even if He is a factor in our lives, and to think of ourselves as a kind of god, self-sufficient, in need of nothing but our own will to make us happy. Humans are more likely to be on their knees imploring God’s mercy when things are going bad for them, not when they are riding high. Even in tribulation, as Job has done, we can exalt ourselves as a suffering servant, a martyr, kicked about by the world and by our Creator. Woe is me.

Elihu accuses Job of playing the part of the wicked man in his attitude, while not accusing him of suffering because of presumed wickedness, like his friends did. Job is pursuing the path of self-justification that wicked men pursue and will bring down the wrath of God upon his head just as wicked men do. Job better be careful because God can take him away from this earth in judgment and neither wealth nor armed men of war will save him. There will be no safety in the darkness of night, where men are cut off from the living in one stroke.

Beware, Job, you are choosing sinful iniquity over your suffering. God is far more powerful than you and no one can teach like God and no one can teach God. No one can accuse God of sin. God is the standard by which all things are measured and Job, with his words and his attitude is treading on very thin ice.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Job, chapter 36:1-14 comments: Elihu teaches a moral lesson

1 ¶  Elihu also proceeded, and said, 2  Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf. 3  I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker. 4  For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.

Suffer can mean to permit or to allow in context. See, for example;

Exodus 12:23  For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

Elihu says he has hardly gotten started speaking on God’s behalf. He’s going to reach for the best knowledge, for the deepest thought, for the greatest wisdom in seeking his knowledge from afar. He’s digging deep now, he says. He’s going to show his Maker, God, as being righteous. His words will be 100% true. Elihu is saying to Job that someone who knows what he’s talking about is speaking to him now and is asking for a fair hearing.

    5 ¶  Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom. 6  He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor. 7  He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted. 8  And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction; 9  Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded. 10  He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity. 11  If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. 12  But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge. 13  But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them. 14  They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.

God is all-powerful and yet doesn’t think it beneath Himself to consider even the lowest, most common person, as He is mighty in both strength and in wisdom. Notice how what comes after the colon qualifies what comes before. In opposition to Job’s statement in 21:7 Elihu denies that the wicked live long out of anything but the, “common providence,” as Matthew Henry puts it, and no effort is made by God to permit them a long life and success in spite of their wickedness. God, in a phrase that qualifies His lack of special protection for the wicked, is ready to argue the injustices done by the wicked against the poor, to take up their grievances. So, God doesn’t preserve the life of the wicked man by special means as is assumed in Job’s statement but is always ready to defend the poor man against him.

God never takes His eyes off of His people. God has kept a portion of men for Himself in every place, including in places of absolute authority in government. Think of how Joseph will be made second-in-command to Pharaoh. God gives repentance to His people who commit error and sin and turns their hearts back when they are bound and suffering either physically or by their own sin. If that person turns from their sin and obeys Him, Elihu asserts that God will prosper them. If they do not listen to instruction then they will lose everything, including their lives.

Elihu declares that the faker, the hypocrite, does not cry out for mercy or acknowledge his sin and is doomed. In this age of God’s grace and mercy obtained through faith in Christ we, even at our worst behavior, cannot lose our salvation, but most certainly the old Christian principle of conviction, chastisement, and a coffin in the ground holds true. God will put you under conviction that a sin you are engaged in is indeed a sin against Him. If that doesn’t work, then look for chastisement. If your heart is so hard you will not hear than God can take your life, presumably to keep you from bringing more shame on the cause of Christ.

Let’s say you are committing a grave sin and violating a promise you made before God to do right. You know what you are doing is wrong but you want to do it anyway. Maybe you are so arrogant and your conscience is so seared you feel you deserve your fun or you are entitled to satisfy needs you claim aren’t being met. If conviction doesn’t work perhaps God will allow you to lose your employment, your health, or the loss of one of someone you love dearly. But, you will not hear or regard His warnings. After all, the world would say that life is rough and you’ve had a string of bad luck. Perhaps, sadly, the grave waits to devour your body and to remove you from this earth. What sins do we harbor in our hearts that encourage us to stick out our chin and defy the living God? What awaits us when we refuse to heed conviction or chastisement?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Job 35:9-16 comments: trust and humility versus "ma rahts."

9 ¶  By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty. 10  But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night; 11  Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? 12  There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men. 13  Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.

Elihu, in seeming to answer Job in 24:12 says that the oppressed cry because of the many oppressions placed on them by powerful men. They want justice and mercy. But, they will not get it because they do not seek God’s assistance in it. They do not honor God or beg His help. This is the God who comforts us and as many Bible-believing Christians know, gives us songs of praise and thanksgiving in the early hours of the morning as we lay half-asleep, if our minds are focused on Him at other times.

Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

The beasts of the earth don’t have the wisdom and understanding of human beings. He has given us more awareness. Each person has the capacity to know God through the, “express image of his person,” (Hebrews 1:3) who is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the beasts of the earth cannot see in their minds what is going on. Their attentions are simple and basic. Only man, as far as we know, considers eternity, and is held accountable for the result of that consideration.

Evolutionary scientists, who do not believe either in God, or in Jesus Christ as being God, have studied the psychology of belief in God. There are several interesting books on the subject, such as Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief and How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist by Dr. Andrew Newberg and his associates. Newberg, a researcher at the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, has studied how religious faith and belief are healthful and positive influences in the mind no matter what you believe or what religion. He seems to say that mankind has the capacity and built-in need to believe in the spiritual, but lacks the ability to determine what is true or not. I would say that we have the capacity to receive what God wants us to have but usually choose not to accept it. We will prefer to follow a man in a cult-type setting and to be spoonfed our chosen “truth,” a doctrine that suits our personality and feeds our fears and bigotry, and that justifies our complacency and intellectual sloth.

Most Christians, as most Muslims, most Hindus, or any other faith you can imagine don’t really know why they believe what they believe or have any practical application of faith in their lives. They’ve been told what to think by a preacher of some kind and are not willing to search it out. Christians, in particular, resist being taught by the Holy Ghost through the Scriptures. It is not usual to find a Christian who has read the Bible through even once in their lifetime, and if you pressured them about why they believe a certain doctrine, for instance, why they should dress modestly, they would not be able to give you a Bible reason in context without help. In fact, many good and faithful Christians sitting in the pews of fundamentalist churches today would make good and faithful Muslims and Hindus if they lived in Saudi Arabia or India, as long as their faith isn’t challenged, as Job’s has been.

Newberg bases his findings on the evolutionary success of religious belief which I find, is preposterous. If evolution were true not only would man not need or want a brain that consumed 60% of his body’s available energy but he would be successful only by just being the strongest animal, the most clever hunter, etc. and therefore, shouldn’t even exist in the numbers and varied environments that he does. Population bottlenecks where humanity was reduced to a small number by disaster or disease should have killed him long ago, rendered him extinct. Wouldn’t what actually happened be survival of the luckiest rather than the fittest? There is no accounting for human history without God.

We have more wisdom than the beasts of the earth and therefore, more responsibility. The oppressed who cry out but not to God, who do not exchange their natural human wickedness for Christ’s righteousness, hear nothing and get nothing from God as help in their oppression unless it is part of His greater will in which they are unknowing participants.

While our culture tends to glorify the oppressed and the poor by virtue of their state of being oppressed or poor God still does not regard their cry if they are none of His, if they reject Him and do not consider him. If you are oppressed by virtue of your social status, your race or ethnicity, or for any other cause the very first thing you must do is to place yourself under God’s protection and providence, receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and look to Him as your defense. Then, you can take action based on Biblical principles to have the injustice alleviated. There is nothing more desperately pathetic than a person who is oppressed, beset upon, and poor who is also wicked and evil.

God Almighty will not hear vanity, empty words, and cries of frustration based on worship of the god, Self, nor will He regard it.

    14 ¶  Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him. 15  But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity: 16  Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.

Job has said that he can’t see God nor does he understand what God is doing to him or why. See chapter 23:8, 9. Not being able to see God, who will reveal Himself only at His will and discretion, and who has revealed Himself by the Lord Jesus Christ and through His words in the Bible, is no hindrance from believing in Him. Even atheists believe in many things they cannot see with the naked eye. No one has ever seen an atom, an electron, a proton, or any one of the other subatomic particles including a wave or particle of light. No one has ever seen something that happened without a witness eons ago. So, no atheist can ever see their “Big Bang” happening, their Abiogenesis or life occurring from inanimate matter, or any other of the things they guess and postulate about a Godless eternity extending limitless ages behind us.

But, they believe in these things anyway because they are the best way to explain reality without God and this justifies their world view. They believe them experientially based on effects produced by something which they cannot see. They are able to make theories and put those theories into practical application so that the theories seem to be justified. This happens until they hit a roadblock and then another theory arises. The fundamental point of the theories is that they cannot include God. In order to justify himself and to keep from thinking about a just God judging mankind he is compelled to assert a theory that will exclude the possibility of God.

These people are so religiously zealous, like the medieval Roman church, that they will figuratively burn heretics at the stake by insisting they be fired from colleges and universities, for even suggesting that life was created by an intelligent force, perhaps even an alien civilization. They will permit those who entertain ideas like Panspermia, where the seeds of life travel to earth from a stellar cloud, because that doesn’t imply a reason for it, a purpose to it, or any intelligent design behind it. Yet, there is no explanation that more suits the evidence of biological life and its beginnings and existence as a rare thing, for all we know, than Almighty God.

So, not being able to see something does not inhibit belief in it if the effect it causes can be explained by it. Any Bible-believer who has experienced the power of God on their lives in changing and molding their opinions and viewpoints and behavior as well as the circumstances of their lives knows that God is real. He has the confirmation of the oldest primary source in history, the Bible, God’s testimony of Himself, and he has the faith given to him by God once he believed and was saved. He also has tremendous evidence from answered prayer; answers of yes, no, and wait which he can measure by the Scripture’s clear words and promises and the example set in Biblical times.

God is real and the Bible-believer knows it and has many infallible reasons, proofs, to believe. As the scientist, Newberg, showed, believing in God even affects your brain chemistry and changes you in positive ways, just by virtue of that belief. I am not doubting that atoms or other sub-atomic particles exist. I am just pointing out that rational, intelligent belief is not based on sight alone.

Elihu points out that judgment is with God and to trust in Him. The three Hebrews that were subjects of the Babylonian king insisted that they would trust God whether or not He delivered them from certain death in the fiery furnace, acknowledging that trust goes beyond just getting what you prayed for as the focus is on the one trusted for eternity, not on the person engaged in belief. You must acknowledge God’s authority and power over your life and over the universe to trust in Him. You also have to believe in eternity with Him as Daniel even spoke of a resurrection. Read Daniel, chapter 3, and also see Daniel 12:2.

Rather than trust God and humble himself before God, Job has devoted himself to proclaiming his own righteousness and the injustice done to him. We would do well, in the extremity of any affliction or terrible circumstance, not to stand back, head up, screaming about how we have been wronged by God, but to humble ourselves before Him and seek His mercy. Elihu has not accused Job of hypocrisy as Job’s friends did, claiming he must have been guilty of some horrible sins to have done what was done to him, but Elihu has pointed out the foolishness and sin of Job’s proclamations of self-righteousness and the wrong attitude toward suffering.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Job 35:1-8 comments: Christian humanism

1 ¶  Elihu spake moreover, and said, 2  Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s? 3  For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin? 4  I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee. 5  Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou. 6  If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? 7  If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? 8  Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.

Elihu has accused Job of declaring himself more righteous than God. This is a common sentiment of many political and theological liberals today. An atheist or a liberal-minded person looks at suffering, war, disease, and death and accuses God, whether he or she believes there is a real God in the heavens or whether they believe God is a fictional construct of the human mind, of indecency, negligence, brutality, and even senility or just being plain evil.

That person calls the war the Jews waged on the incestuous, child-sacrificing, idol-worshipping Canaanites as genocide. That person views God’s proscription of homosexual relations, adultery, sex outside of an intention to lifelong commitment, and self-abuse and neglect as being oppressive, unfair, and unreasonable. The conservative will simply ignore God’s proscription of the love of violence in a Christian and will mock the principle that is clearly apparent and understood by the early church that even the love and passion for violent entertainments is against God’s standard. The conservative will reject the notion taught by early church leaders that if it is forbidden for you to do something it is also forbidden for you to watch it as entertainment. The liberal then has his tolerance for and even promotion of immoral behavior as much as the conservative has his passion for war movies and blood sports.

Both are more righteous, they think, than God. Neither sees any need to conform to God’s will except, perhaps, in matters of a weak interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount on the left and a zeal for outward displays of religious conformity on the far right.

What is the point, Job said, of not sinning? What does it profit me?

Job 9:22 ¶  This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.

Job 10:15  If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;

Elihu says that Job does not understand God’s sovereignty over him. God, who is greater and higher than all things, is not affected adversely by Job’s sin nor is He benefited by Job’s assumed perfection. Now, we love to say that God loves mankind. We love to interpret God’s rules and His judgments as revolving around us, teaching, and molding us. Many times people will speak of the Law given to Moses as full of dietary rules that were principally designed for health reasons. These attitudes completely fail to understand that God’s purposes and will are for His glory, that He sought to carve out a unique people for Himself different from those nations around them, and that God loved, past tense, mankind at the Cross of Calvary and that He is furious with those who reject His free gift of grace and eternal life now.

John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

We do not have the capacity to hurt an infinitely powerful, eternal individual such as God. Nor does our behavior benefit Him in any way. Christians have developed a purely humanistic view of God and the Bible by focusing on themselves and their “rights” to a relatively painless life rather than God’s absolute rights over us. Christians think they’ve made a deal with God, as a sort of cosmic benefactor.

God’s care for us and His kindness to us come through our relationship with Himself in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word, the Logos, whose Spirit dwells inside each believer, by whom all things were created and by whom all things are held together, and function. It is Jesus who is our friend and our brother, our compassionate attorney for the defense, and our righteous judge. We can come boldly before the throne of grace because of His righteousness, the righteousness of God, and not by any thing we have done. God is not lucky to have you on His team. You are blessed to have been called and chosen by God.

This is difficult for the Jobs in the churches to understand. Humble yourself before a mighty God.

1Peter 5:5 ¶  Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Satan is not some opposing god who goes around undoing God’s benevolent intentions toward mankind while God desperately tries to stop what Satan is doing. God is not standing at the window with the back of His hand over His forehead worried about how He is going to come to our rescue and get us out of the Devil’s clutches, like some B-movie plot.

All of creation, every one of the countless variations of life on this earth, and you, plus all of history’s events and struggles are about God’s glory, not your immediate happiness, success, entertainment, or temporary health.

Belief and trust in Christ is destroyed by people insisting on a humanistic approach to the Bible and the events of history making man the measure of all things like Protagoras. It is harmed because of taking verses completely out of their context such as Jeremiah 29:11 about returning the Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem and applying it to you not escaping a car wreck caused by you fumbling with your CD player and not paying attention to your driving.

History is His-story and the blessings you receive in eternity are because of His righteousness and mercy and not your own and the sooner you understand God’s sovereign authority over every moment of your life, every cell division, and every beat of your heart the sooner you’ll stop asking the absurd question that the book of Job answered nearly four thousand years ago, “why do bad things happen to good people?”

You are not the center of the universe. God is.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Job 34:16-37 comments: Job has wrongly accused God

16 ¶  If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words. 17  Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just? 18  Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly? 19  How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands. 20  In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand. 21  For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. 22  There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. 23  For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God. 24  He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead. 25  Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed. 26  He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others; 27  Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways: 28  So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted. 29  When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only: 30  That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.

So, Elihu says, if you have understanding hear what I have to say. Does Job think that it is right to condemn a just God? Is it right for a person to accuse a king or rulers of wickedness and ungodliness? God has specific requirements for a human king and any ruler of men, the fact that 99.9% of them have failed in that regard notwithstanding.

2Samuel 23:3  The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

If it was thought wrong to speak evil of leadership then how much more wrong is it to speak evil of the one who doesn’t regard princes as being more important than the common man or who doesn’t regard the rich as being more important than the poor? That would be God who holds all men mighty and weak, rich and poor, to the same standard. All are the work of His hands. In the church body there was to be no human centered hierarchy of individuals of varying degrees of worth. Before God no ethnic or racial, social distinctions, or gender differences matter when it comes to the value of a person.

Galatians 3:28  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.

A separate priesthood or class of people who considered themselves to be more enlightened, more spiritual, more Godly simply by virtue of their office, called by the Greek term Nicolaitanism, victory over the laity or people, was also forbidden. (Some would say that this was a sect that came after the events of the Bible that preached that faith alone saves you and are called antinomian, or against the Law, but there is no evidence in the text for such a definition. Peter warns of the dangers of this attitude as mentioned above in 1Peter 5:1-4 and declares the priesthood of all believers in 2:9)

Revelation 2:6  But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate…15  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.



No matter how great you think you are because of your money, your education, or any other presumed worth you will die in a second and cease to have any influence on this world. There is nothing you can do about it.

Ecclesiastes 8:8  There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

The powerful wicked have no place to hide themselves. God can easily replace them with other men. He knows their works and He can end all of their plans and devices. Their destruction is plain and laid open for all to see because they ignored God’s commandments and His instruction. Verse 23 is important in that God will never do injustice to man, to give man an argument against His judgment. It is a rule of existence, a law if you will, that whatever God commands or allows is just and right, whether you see it as such or not. To argue or complain about it like Job, no matter how painful it is, is to deny God’s sovereign rights over your life, over your very soul.

God’s primary reason for punishing the mighty, the rich, and the powerful, as manifested by verse 28 is the mistreatment of the poor and suffering by the powerful. This is backed up in many individual verses in the Bible because you didn’t do it on your own. You aren’t so great.

1Samuel 2:7  The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.

If God chooses to withdraw His hand of blessing from a nation there is no remedy and nations and kingdoms are punished by God throughout history. Spain murdered millions in its conquest of the Americas and persecuted the Jews, and is nothing important today. Great Britain murdered millions as well, particularly in India, with its policies in a time called the Late Victorian Holocaust, changed the law favoring the Authorized Version of the Bible, the King James Version, on the mission field in 1904, tried to renege on its promise of Palestine as a homeland for the Jews, and lost its empire within a generation. Germany had two centuries of its scholars attacking the truth of the Bible, began two World Wars, and suffered a horrible price for its hubris as a nation. The list goes on and on. The Mongols had an empire that was larger in size than any other. How powerful are the Mongols now on the world scene?

Isaiah 14:5  The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.

What or who is man that he should defy the God who created and manages all reality? If God chooses to have mercy on a people He will not let wicked rulers have sway over them for long before their house of cards crashes down. There was to be no thousand year Reich, regardless of Hitler’s dreams.

So, here we have, if it is wrong to cast aspersions against your rulers as wicked how much more wrong is it to speak evil of God who rules over all things and disposes of them including wicked rulers?

    31 ¶  Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: 32  That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more. 33  Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest. 34  Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me. 35  Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom. 36  My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men. 37  For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.

Elihu makes the clear point here that it is meet (worthy or valuable to; compare Matthew 3:8 and Acts 26:20 with Luke 3:8 for use of word substitution to define words in contrasting verses) to admit to God one has sinned and to repent of it, to promise not to do it anymore. The essence of repentance is to change your mind about something, to turn from one thing and to another. Here is the list of the six primary principles of the doctrine of Christ listed in Hebrews, chapter six.

  1 ¶  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

In the Hebrews 6:1 you have repentance from dead works, for instance; the Pharisaic extra-Biblical traditions, and to something; faith, which is trust and belief in God, as the first principles. It is wise that a person heed God’s admonitions and His warnings and repent of the sins he is committing, turn from them, change his mind and his attitude about them, and obey God. Samuel said that rebellion against God and stubbornness in your disobedience is the same as the idolatry of witchcraft in his speech against King Saul.

1Samuel 15:23  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

God will recompense obedience and disobedience, you choose. Job has spoken wrongly against God.

Clapping hands carries with it both a negative and a positive connotation in the Bible.

Psalm 47:1  « To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah. » O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.


Job 27:23  Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Job, chapter 34, verses 1-15 comments: Life continues to exist because of God's active hand

1 ¶  Furthermore Elihu answered and said, 2  Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge. 3  For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat. 4  Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good. 5  For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment. 6  Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression. 7  What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water? 8  Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men. 9  For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.

Elihu, in verse 3, repeats Job’s statement from 12:11, reminding all of those involved in the arguments to listen carefully to what he is saying. He admonishes them to judge rightly and discern what is good. Job insisted that he was righteous and has been stricken unfairly so there is no value or point in love toward or worship of God. In verse 7, Elihu alludes to Eliphaz’s statement in 15:16. He is referring now to the accusation that Job is a companion of wicked men and acts as they act.

So, we start with Job’s self-righteousness and his lamentation that God has stricken him unfairly so what’s the point in taking delight in God. After all, as said in 9:22, God destroys the good and the bad alike. One might say, why do I bother praying, reading the Bible, attending worship services, or trying to do right? What’s the point? I’m going to suffer and die horribly anyway just like someone who doesn’t do all of these things. What is the benefit to me that I waste my time in such things?

    10 ¶  Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. 11  For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. 12  Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. 13  Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world? 14  If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; 15  All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.

Elihu argues that God does not sin. God ultimately delivers to every man the just reward for what he has done. In the Age of Grace we can say that God ultimately delivers to every man the just reward for what Christ has done, if that man will receive it. But God is just in His judgment on us.

An immediate and vital point is made in this passage. Life isn’t something that God set up and walked away from, with its processes working automatically. If we were to examine life closely, at all levels, and look at our understanding of the underlying mechanisms that keep life going in an otherwise barren universe, devoid, for all we know, of biological life like our own on earth, we would see a strange thing. Were God to withdraw His hand, His active hand in life’s processes every moment, all living things would die.

God is not a watchmaker who wound it all up and walked away to admire his work. Every intimate detail of cell function and every movement of a living organism, including our very breath and life from second to second, is a direct function of God’s providence at that moment. Medieval man understood this in a way that modern man has been brainwashed into not understanding it. We exist and move and have our being because of God’s active involvement and are not merely the byproduct of something He did long ago.

In the same regard our Bible is the result of God’s active inspiration of copyists and translators and not merely the result of a one-time involvement of God in the mind of a long-ago writer as traditional fundamentalism claims.

As Paul said when he was presenting his gospel to the Athenians and quoted the pagan philosopher and poet, Epimenides, in the first part Acts 17:28, who is referencing Zeus as immortal in his poem, Cretica, and the cause of our continual existence.

Acts 17:28  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Job, chapter 33:19-33 comments: listen to the Spirit of God

19 ¶  He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain: 20  So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat. 21  His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out. 22  Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. 23  If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: 24  Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. 25  His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: 26  He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. 27  He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; 28  He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.

Another way that God molds people and tries to divert them from the error of their ways, other than dreams and visions or, as in our case, the Bible speaking to our hearts, is personal distress. God sometimes, Elihu says, places sickness upon His man to convert him, to turn him from the path on which he or she is heading, to cause him to repent, to change his mind.

This person is blessed if someone can express God’s wisdom in this painful time to him.

James 5:13  Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 14  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. 19  Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Beyond the repentance and restoration of an individual to whom God is speaking, there is a prophecy of Christ here. Blessed is the man or woman who has a messenger (same word translated as angel in other places), someone who can relate God’s word to them, an interpreter of it, who will teach that person about salvation. He will have found his ransom from spiritual death.

Exodus 30:12  When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.

Mt 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

1Timothy 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

From verse 25-28 we see the experience of the resurrection with a redeemed body, transformed by the power of the eternal God.

25  His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: 26  He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. 27  He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; 28  He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.

Romans 8:23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Isaiah 26:19  Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

It can happen in two ways, either the resurrection of the dead as mentioned in the previous verses or think of the change that comes with the translation of the church when it is removed from the earth, popularly called The Rapture.

1 Corinthians 15:51 ¶  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Thessalonians 4:13 ¶  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

That person who has turned to God will see the light face to face.

1John 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Literally, in this passage, we have God speaking to a man in visions and dreams, then by virtue of sickness and a near death experience, to wake him up, to make him see the light, and be restored to health, brought back from the brink of death itself. In none of this does he condemn Job or imply that Job is wicked as Job’s friends did.

Whether God speaks to you by His word or by the things He permits to happen in your life, are you listening?

    29 ¶  Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, 30  To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living. 31  Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak. 32  If thou hast any thing to say, answer me:  speak, for I desire to justify thee. 33  If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.

God has many ways to deliver man from death and to return and restore him. Elihu lets Job know that there is something to be learned by our troubles, when we haven’t learned by God’s speaking to us through dreams and visions or, I would say, in our day, by His words in His Bible, although I would not dismiss the importance of a dream you can connect to the Bible or an experience that turns you from the direction you are heading.

I guess a question that should be asked is how sensitive are you to the leadings of the Spirit of God in your daily life? Are you process driven, like so many businesses are who are not able to meet the needs or demands of their customers or stay competitive in an ever-changing world? Do you find that your plans and your will speak so loudly that you cannot hear the urgings of the Spirit of God?

Could it be that we are warned and we are told of many things by the God who created us, things of which we choose to remain oblivious to as He speaks to our spiritual hearts. I’m not saying that, in the church age, God speaks in an audible voice or carries on an audible conversation with you. But, how can you know the difference between God’s leading and your own will and carnal desire?

We must always avoid justifying our sin or our twisting of Bible verses out of context for the purpose of justifying our own human desires, our control issues, and our vain imagination, calling what we want something that God has laid on our hearts. On the other hand, we must always be sensitive to the pleadings of the Spirit of God by comparing it to the clear passages, in context, from the Bible (you know, the complete sentences and doctrines, not just random verses yanked out to justify our own convictions and impose them on others as a standard of righteousness).

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Job, chapter 33, 14-18 comments: Elihu instructs Job

14 ¶  For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. 15  In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; 16  Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, 17  That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. 18  He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.

Here, Elihu notes that God speaks to man regularly but man is often unaware of it, doesn’t understand what he hears, unless God opens man’s understanding. Perhaps here there is an implication that there is another meaning of our dreams than what we have considered. Dreams can be direct and blunt;

Genesis 20:3  But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife…6  And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.

…or they can be cryptic and require the Spirit of God to interpret and their meaning is not readily apparent to the dreamer. Compare…

Genesis 28:12  And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.



John 1:51  And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

The Bible is filled with these dreams and visions which require the Spirit of God to interpret or future events, unknown to the dreamer, to explain. We should, perhaps, pay more attention to the dreams we remember and how they relate to clear Biblical statements, doctrine, and principles, not our inflated view of our own self-importance. But we have something the men of Job’s time did not.

2Peter 1:19 ¶  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

God speaks to you, Christian, through the Bible. When you read it, expecting something from God from it, He will open your ears and eyes and reveal Himself to you in special ways. I personally have been delivered from alcohol and horror movies and a love of violence including violent sporting events and entertainment through God speaking to my spiritual heart by His Bible. If you don’t feel compelled to read or hear the Bible read daily, to hear God speak to your heart through its pages, maybe you need to consider what Bible you are using and whether or not it is God’s Bible. Or, maybe you just have a seared conscience and are cold to the things of God.

God speaks to you, Christian, through preaching from the Bible that is not agenda-driven, doctrinally foolish, or politically motivated wrenching verses out of context and insisting that words mean something the speaker wants them to mean but they don’t. If you hear a doctrinally sound sermon, that is deep and rich in its understanding of God’s word, confirming what God has told us through the ages from His word, then God will speak to your heart by it.

God speaks to you, Christian, by the events of your life, confirming His sovereignty over you and His right to dispose of your day-to-day life as He sees fit, expecting you to trust His judgment and lean completely on Him for wisdom and light, understanding that He loves you and wishes to make you more like Christ each day. God shows you things every day but you perceive it not.

He speaks to you to turn you from the evil purposes you have conceived, to deliver you from a particular sin, to urge you on to serve His will, and to mold you into a person useful to Him. He keeps people from the consequences of their pride, keeps people from Hell, and from violent death, often, through what He tells them. He sanctifies you with His word.

John 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Job 33:8-13 comments: God doesn't answer to us

8 ¶  Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, 9  I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me. 10  Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy, 11  He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths. 12  Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. 13  Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.

Elihu heard everything that Job had said. Job declared himself to be free from sin, with no iniquity in him. But, God treated him as an enemy and put him, in a manner of speaking, in a kind of imprisonment. This is clearly true from the vast bulk of Job’s arguments.

Elihu states that Job is not righteous in his speech (just and righteous are synonyms; see Psalm 7:9 and Ecclesiasties 8:14). His response to Job is, first, that God is greater than all of us. Why does Job argue against God, God who doesn’t answer to anyone, who has no need to justify his judgments? It is important to understand that God is the ultimate decider of what is right and wrong, what is just and unjust, not we ourselves. To say that man is the measure of all things, as Protagoras, the Greek traveling Sophist preacher said, according to Plato, is humanism. (34) The essence of true faith is acknowledging that all power, all standards, and all determinations of not only what is right but what is, period, is in God’s hands.

Humanism takes many forms, certainly more than simply an atheist complaining about the destruction of the Canaanites in the book of Joshua and calling it genocide. In the landmark book edited by Jerry Falwell, entitled The Fundamentalist Phenomenon, published in 1981, several key weaknesses of fundamentalism were acknowledged. One of these weaknesses was listed as, “The temptation to add to the Gospel.”(35) I would add that the temptation to add to the Bible, to twist its meaning by wrenching verses and even words out of context to make them mean what the speaker desires them to mean at the moment, and to add man’s will to God’s will or to replace His will with the speakers’ own on the pretext that they are men or women of God and He has laid something on their hearts is fundamentalism’s greatest weakness and most profound heresy. Do you use God’s word or does it use you?

God is the measure of all things. To say otherwise is to place your mind out of the realm of understanding anything about life clearly. You will never understand why you or others suffer either joy or pain until you grasp that concept. No church council nor the heart-felt statements of any preacher, no matter how well-loved, can substitute for God’s clear statements of fact without descending into humanistic and very dangerous, manipulative, and even abusive absurdity.

(34) Plato, “Theaetetus”, Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 12 translated by Harold N. Fowler (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921).

(accessed 12.13.2014). 

(35) Jerry Falwell, Ed Dobson, & Ed Hindson, eds., The Fundamentalist Phenomenon: The Resurgence of Conservative Christianity (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1981), 181.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Job 33 1-7 comments: Elihu addresses Job

1 ¶  Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words. 2  Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth. 3  My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly. 4  The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. 5  If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up. 6  Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay. 7  Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.

To pray is to request emphatically and, even humbly.

Genesis 12:13  Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

2Chronicles 6:24  And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house;

Hear and hearken are synonymous words that imply effort on the part of the recipient, sometimes to obey but in this case to understand, as in others.

Isaiah 42:23  Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come?

Mark 7:14  And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:

Elihu promises Job that his words will come from his best intentions and that he will speak clearly so Job can understand. In verse 4 Elihu acknowledges that the Spirit of God, capital S, made him. We know that the Spirit of God is the vehicle by which God, as the Holy Ghost, operates within creation.

Genesis 1:2  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Luke 4:1  And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

1Corinthians 12:3  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost is one of the three parts of God, “He,” while the Spirit is an “it”.

Matthew 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

2Corinthians 13:14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

1John 5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Romans 8:16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:…26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

There is a Spirit of God and a Spirit of Christ, as well as the Holy Ghost.

Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

All three dwell in the Christian through the Spirit so God is never divided into millions of people. He indwells us by His Spirit.

John 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

1Corinthians 6:19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

The name, Holy Spirit, with both words capitalized, is only used once as such in the Bible in Luke 11:13 while Holy Ghost figures into 89 verses.

Verse 4 also teaches that the Spirit of God and the breath of the Almighty are synonymous terms.

Genesis 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The first man lived because God breathed His Spirit into him. Adam was made in His image and after His likeness or appearance (Genesis 1:26). All of Adam’s descendants, because of his sin, were made in his degenerate, genetically deteriorating with each cell division image (Genesis 5:3). We are born again because God does a second work of birth inside each believer with His Spirit (John 3:5) granting us eternal life. We ignore the Bible usage and use Holy Spirit because of the Roman Catholic usage of Spiritus, the Latin word for Spirit. Also, modernists will say that Ghost and Spirit are translated from the same word but in the Bible usage and context determine meaning. Ghost and Spirit, being different words in English with similar meaning, underscore that fact of Bible interpretation.

The Spirit gives life, the breath of the Almighty does it. This, Elihu understood. He offers to stand-in for God and assures Job that because he also is human, made of clay, that Job can question him in God’s stead and have no fear of what Elihu can do to him.