Thursday, July 17, 2014

Job 1:4-5 Bible study: cursing God in your heart

4 ¶  And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 5  And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

There are few Christian parents of grown children who have not known Job’s concern for his children. Those of us who pray daily for their children know his worry. These festivities, whether they were separate birthday feasts throughout the year or one long feast with different sons being appointed different days, were family celebrations as their sisters were included and Job gave them his blessing. They were joyous celebrations, not pagan orgies as portrayed in the following verses.

Exodus 32:6  And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play…25  And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)

1Corinthians 10:7  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

Job lives in a time before the Law was given to Moses and gives sacrifices to God as Noah did.

Genesis 8:20 ¶  And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

Job, who was approved for eschewing, or refraining his tongue from evil, against God (see verse 1), in his fear and dread of God’s wrath, was worried that his sons might have done that very thing, hence his motivation for offering burnt offerings on their behalf, a continual thing with Job.

Jonathan Edwards, a great preacher of the period in American history known as the Great Awakening, said in his sermon entitled, “The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners,” that;

There is a great deal of difference between a willingness not to be damned, and a being willing to receive Christ for your Savior. You have the former; there is no doubt of that: nobody supposes that you love misery so as to choose an eternity of it; and so doubtless you are willing to be saved from eternal misery. But that is a very different thing from being willing to come to Christ: persons very commonly mistake the one for the other, but they are quite two things. You may love the deliverance, but hate the deliverer. (3)

Job knew that it is entirely possible to claim the mercies and blessings of God and, yet, hold Him in contempt by your thoughts. Moses and the Lord Jesus Christ both taught us that;

Deuteronomy 6:5  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Matthew 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38  This is the first and great commandment.

How many Christians actually love God? Even those who claim they do will ascribe base motives to Him, making him the author of sin as some Hyper-Calvinists do in saying that God ordained Adam to sin and others suggesting that, even though He died on the Cross for them, that because life is taking a hard turn, He must hate them.

It is possible to obey every surface dictate of leadership and still hold that leadership in utter contempt. The Catholic can follow every ritual, partake of every sacrament, and still hold God in absolute disregard by not concerning himself with how his sin affects God. The Independent Baptist can attend all of the services his church offers, go to every revival meeting and hymn sing, and knock on doors and still show contempt for the one who purchased him with His own blood by ignoring the Lord’s words written in His Book.

In his sermon entitled, “The Almost Christian,” the famous preacher and founder of the Methodist church, John Wesley, admitted of himself because he lacked a love for God, a love for his neighbor, and faith;

I did for many years, as many of this place can testify; using diligence to eschew all evil, and to have a conscience void of offence; redeeming the time; buying up every opportunity of doing all good to all men; constantly and carefully using all the public and private means of grace; endeavoring, after a steady seriousness of behavior, at all times, and in all places: and God is my record, before whom I stand, doing all this in sincerity; having a real design to serve God; a hearty desire to do His will in all things; to please Him who had called me to “fight the good fight,” and to “lay hold on eternal life.” Yet my own conscience bears me witness, in the Holy Ghost, that all this time I was but almost a Christian. (4)

One way of understanding verse 5 is that to willfully sin is to curse God in your heart while another way views willfully sinning and cursing God in your heart two separate actions. One thing that has been suggested by John Gill, who preached in Spurgeon’s church a hundred years before him, was that the young men, in Job’s mind, could have been foolishly giving themselves credit for their wealth rather than attributing their bounty to God’s hand. Of this, he was concerned. (5)

Deuteronomy 32:15 ¶  But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

Proverbs 30:8  Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD?...

When a man or a woman is successful in life in some way and does not give credit to the Lord that is due or receives some bounty from their employer or government and does not acknowledge that it came from the Lord he or she has cursed God by holding Him in contempt and denying Him the credit for what He has done.

One question we might ask in reading Job is; was Job himself guilty of this when he reviewed his habits of life with his friends? When we hear someone talk about their work ethic, how they raised their children, how they handle their money, play their sport, or serve God in their church, home, work, or community do we not hear someone trumpeting their own righteousness without acknowledging that none of that would be true without God’s providential hand in their lives?

How many “good” Christians curse God in their hearts and sin by taking credit themselves for the good works they claim they do?

(3) Jonathan Edwards, “The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners,”, (accessed 7.16.2014).

(4) John Wesley, “The Almost Christian,” (accessed 7.17.2014).

No comments: