Monday, September 29, 2014

Thoughts on being a Bible-believer versus a Fundamentalist

A Bible-believer must read the Bible, maintaining a dialogue with the author of it, hearing Him speak through it and the believer speaking to Him in prayer. He will change the believer's heart about sin, taking things out of him or her that God wants gone from their life so that they won’t even be interested in them anymore and adding things that He wants from the believer. The primary fallacy of fundamentalism is the humanistic belief that you have to, "get right with God," ...or come to church and, "do business with God." The Bible-believer knows that he or she is helpless to effect the kind of change by their own self-will that God can cause. I believe that this is why so many people pray a prayer, have an emotional moment, and then go away never to darken the door of a church again. You cannot by your own good intentions, your determination to do right, or your Christian guilt accomplish anything worthwhile for Christ. Fundamentalists spend so much time telling God how worthless they are that they don't hear what He is telling them through His Spirit and theirs.

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

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

Psalm 119:11  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Job 15:1-16 comments: Eliphaz's second verbal thrashing of Job


1 ¶  Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said, 2  Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? 3  Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good? 4  Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God. 5  For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty. 6  Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee. 7  Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills? 8  Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself? 9  What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us? 10  With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father. 11  Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee? 12  Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at, 13  That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth? 14  What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? 15  Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. 16  How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

As Eliphaz returns to attack Job a second time he restates the principles of what he has stated previously. Basically, he start out by saying Job is full of wind and vain. Job’s talk is useless. Eliphaz condemns Job’s manner of speaking and efforts to justify himself. He points out that Job’s own words condemn him. What does Job know that his three friends don’t? He doesn’t have any more wisdom or understanding than they do. Eliphaz claims they are older than even Job’s father, an assumption that wisdom comes with age automatically.

The gray head is a crown of glory if that person pursues righteousness.

Proverbs 16:31  The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

Elderly Christians are called to a certain state of mind.

Titus 2:2  That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

There is an arrogance here with Eliphaz, assigning wisdom to a person by virtue of their age rather than their actions and speech. An elderly person who has rejected Christ’s free offer of eternal life is just as much or more of a fool than a young one.

Eliphaz is dismayed that Job has not taken their effort to show him the error of his thinking more seriously. He has not taken the “consolations of God” very seriously. However, they gave advice, spoke some true things, even some very profound things, but misapplied them to Job without knowing the whole story. Why does Job, Eliphaz says, think he is privy to some secret knowledge that the others don’t have?

Paul also dealt with pious men who misapplied God’s truths.

Galatians 2:1 ¶  Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 2  And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. 3  But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4  And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 5  To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6  But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:


An alternative, possibly more likely, interpretation of verse 10 is found in the comments on chapter 30, that there are other venerable and aged witnesses to this entire encounter with Job and his three friends besides the writer, Elihu.
He asks Job why he is so scornful, why his heart and his words are turned from God. Come on, Job, we’re all born sinners, no man is righteous. God doesn’t put any trust in His people, even the Heavens aren’t pure in His sight, Eliphaz says. This is true. We are all sinners and the universe bears the decay and taint of sin.

However, Eliphaz knows nothing of imputed righteousness. Speaking of Abraham, Paul said;

Romans 4:20  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

    23 ¶  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24  But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25  Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

The righteousness of Christ, who is God in the flesh, the visible image of the invisible God, is imputed to you who believe and when God sees you He sees Christ’s righteousness in regard to salvation. You are justified by belief in Christ’s resurrection, by believing what He has said about Himself, and trusting in Him for eternal life.

Verse 16 is great. We do drink iniquity like water, in our flesh. We lust after sin, in our flesh. The more educated and refined you are, the more refined your taste for slurping up wickedness.

Jeremiah 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Our heart is so eager to do sin, it is desperate. We are like people trapped in a fire in a building who are so desperate to get out we will drag those who attempt to rescue us, in our panic, to their death. The natural human condition, without Christ, is to consume sin until we burn out from it and die in it. Whether it be the garden variety of wickedness like drunkenness and adultery or more subtle things like pride and self-righteousness sin is sin and it is always against God.

But, we are legally justified before God by our faith in Christ. We have also been freed from the power of sin over us. We have no excuse if we have been born again and should be even more thankful that God has forgiven us and is still forgiving us for all practical purposes as He molds us, sanctifies us, into what He wants us to be if we are submitting to Him.

A point can be made here again that to consider that someone else’s or even your own suffering or misfortune is caused by something you did without any certain cause and effect knowledge is foolishness. Fundamentalists are notorious for seeing tragedies like a child being hit by a car and ascribing the event to some disrespectful thing he must have said to his parents. This kind of magical thinking, pretending to have a knowledge of God’s intentions that one doesn’t possess is warned against repeatedly in the very first book of the Bible that was put to ink and paper. Do you wonder why God is stressing this point over and over again? Why do you think God wants you to understand that you can take the truth of God and misapply it assuming knowledge you do not have?

The people referenced in the following passage spoken by Jesus actually think they are doing right. Have you ever considered something in your head that was sincere and heartfelt but assumed knowledge you didn’t possibly have and misrepresented God in the process?

John 16:2  They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Job 14:16-22 comments: God prevails over us all


16 ¶  For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin? 17  My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity. 18  And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place. 19  The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man. 20  Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away. 21  His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them. 22  But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.

See the question in verse 16 that contains a colon making everything in that sentence after the colon fold back on the first part of the question? Apparently, with every step Job says that he must have sinned and God carefully regarded every step and every sin. The indictment, the list of charges, against him is hidden from him. What has he done?

God causes earthquakes, a sudden catastrophe. He is the cause of the natural process of erosion, understood here long before formal science considered it. It can be assumed that part of Solomon’s great understanding and wisdom included a knowledge of natural forces and events.

1Kings 4:29 ¶  And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 30  And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31  For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. 32  And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. 33  And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. 34  And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.

Job ponders that with all of the natural forces and events that God causes and shapes, happening quickly or taking a long time, He also brings man to his earthly ruin. God prevails over man and man grows old and dies. His children come to honor or dishonor and he doesn’t know about it because he is gone from the land of the living. And dying is often a painful and harsh business so much so that a villain in a movie once commented, “everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die.” Job has pointed out that growing old and dying is a sorrowful business. Solomon gave a poetic account of what it is like to grow old referencing poor eyesight, loss of hearing, loss of sexual desire, of rising up early because you can’t sleep, fear of even short heights, grayheadedness, physical weakness, death, a funeral, and the grave.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 ¶  Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 2  While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 3  In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, 4  And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; 5  Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: 6  Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7  Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

These things Job talks about are the natural issues of life. I don’t think you should feel guilty for acknowledging the suffering you experience in old age. This doesn’t mean you don’t have faith or trust in God. Your mourning for dead loved ones, even for their passing at an advanced age, does not mean you are a weak Christian. It means you are human. God has made us this way and we are bound by the limits of our flesh. I hope that you don’t have Job’s dismal outlook but then I also hope that you do not suffer the loss of all your children, the substance that supports you, and your health as Job has, either.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Job chapter 14:7-15 comments: The Resurrection of the Dead


7 ¶  For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. 8  Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; 9  Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. 10  But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? 11  As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: 12  So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 13  O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14  If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15  Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.

Job restates what he has said before, that death is final and that the dead return no more to this existence. See chapter 7:9,10. Job asks the question rhetorically in two places, one in verse 10 and one in verse 14, what happens to man when he dies? In verse 14 he asks the question, here in the first book of the Bible that was ever written, is there a resurrection? He pleads with God to hide him in the grave until God’s wrath is over and then that God remember him. Here, by mention of waiting for God’s wrath to pass, and a set time for being in the grave, is a reminder of not only resurrection but of the translation, or rapture in popular parlance, of the church.

Here, John the Baptist warns the Jews assembled to hear him preach.

Luke 3:7  Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

What is the expression of this wrath? It is the wrath poured out on the world at the end of history, called the Great Tribulation. This is not about Hell but about events that take place on the earth.

Matthew 24:21  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

Revelation 6:17  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Revelation 11:18  And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

Revelation 16:19  And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

But, the church, as early church leaders like Shepherd, Victorinus, Cyprian, and Ephraim the Syrian wrote, will not face this wrath and will be removed before it begins.

1Thessalonians 1:10  And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

Churches are a primary subject of the first three chapters of the Book of the Revelation  but after John, the beloved apostle and a type of the church, is translated to Heaven in chapter 4, there is no more mention of the church named as such in that book. Before the horrible events of Revelation come on the world of men this happens;

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.

Job asks the question in chapter 14, will man live again? He will wait until he is changed. God will call and he will answer. One of the doctrines of the Bible is the Adoption, the redemption of the body.

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.

1Corinthians 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.

Although when we die our soul is united with God until our body is changed. This is the only time that our body, soul, and spirit function as separate and independent entities, death. God’s body, soul, and spirit can always act independently of each other although being one in purpose and will. When ours separate we physically die.

2Corinthians 5:1 ¶  For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3  If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5  Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Isaiah speaks of a resurrection.

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.

Daniel speaks of a resurrection.

Daniel 12:2  And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Hosea speaks of a resurrection.

Hosea 13:14  I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

And Jesus makes it clear that the God’s dead have not ceased to exist and the following passage makes it plain that the Jews knew of the resurrection, although some did not believe, as it is today.

Matthew 22:23 ¶  The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, 24  Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25  Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: 26  Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. 27  And last of all the woman died also. 28  Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. 29  Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30  For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31  But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32  I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 33  And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

Job will speak more clearly about his resurrection in a later chapter which we will see so I have not referenced it here. In fact, belief in Christ’s resurrection, not repenting of his or her sins, their Bible reading, their prayer life, their church attendance, or how many doors they knock on, is fundamental to a Christian’s salvation.

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Mohammed is dead. Buddha is dead. Joseph Smith is dead. Christianity is the only religion that would fall completely apart if its founder did not get up from the dead. Without the resurrection there is no Christianity.

1Corinthians 15:12 ¶  Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13  But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

    20 ¶  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

And the same power that lifted Christ from death resides continually in every believer in Christ.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Job 14:1-6 comments: a clean thing out of an unclean


1 ¶  Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. 2  He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. 3  And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee? 4  Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. 5  Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; 6  Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.

Some other verses in Job are brought to mind by verse one.

Job 5:7  Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Job 15:14  What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?

Job 25:4  How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?

And a doctrine spelled out very clearly in the Bible that man is born a sinner.

Romans 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 8:8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

We are born and it is but a short time in the scope of years that our strength or beauty fades and we are weak and die. It is hard to understand when you have your whole life in front of you how fast it will pass by. We are frail and have no power to retain our life by our own will when it is over. It is so important to do the right thing every minute and not play with sin as it will consume you and either end your life early or cause you to be a bitter old person, full of sorrow and regret.

Again, verse 3 brings to mind other verses in this book.

Job 7:17 ¶  What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? 18  And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?

Job 13:25  Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?

It brings to mind other verses in the rest of the Bible, as well.

Psalm 143:2  And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

Romans 3:19 ¶  Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

No one can stand before God’s judgment. Verse 4 presents the fundamental problem of a sinful human race. Who can make you spiritually clean? What can you do that will remove the taint of rebellion against your creator that is your genetic and spiritual inheritance? Again, one is reminded of what we must repent of, to change your mind about, in order to be saved, that which we were counting on to cleanse us and make us right before God, turning to faith in His righteousness, not our own.

Hebrews 6:1 ¶  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,

The Bible teaches that you cannot justify yourself. You being a good person or doing good things does not justify you before God. It is only by faith in Christ’s righteousness and not your own that you can be saved. You first must believe that God exists and that He is not some impersonal force but a person and that He will respond to you.

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Ps 14:1   The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

You then realize that you are born a sinner, in rebellion against God, from your birth.

Ro 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 7:5  For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

Romans 8:8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

1Corinthians 15:50  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

1John 3:4  Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

James 2:10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

The only way you can be saved from the consequences of what you are is by faith in the visible image of the invisible God, the Lord Jesus Christ, in His sacrifice on the Cross for your sins and in His resurrection from the dead, rejecting all those things, those dead works, that you trusted in before to say, “Hey, I’m okay.”

Hebrews 1:3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.


Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
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.

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Every person is born of the flesh or born of water as the Bible says and must be born again spiritually. Without the second birth you are lost as a goose in a horse race. Notice the parallel phrasing that unites being born from your mother’s womb, of flesh, and being born of water.

John 3:3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

If you are not born again spiritually you will die carrying the taint of sin with you.

John 8:24  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Then, rather than being judged by Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection and His perfection, you will be judged by your own perfection or lack thereof and have no hope.

Revelation 20:11 ¶  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Only God can bring a clean thing out of an unclean, and this is the way He has done it.

Verse 5 seems to reinforce that our time on earth is limited by God, not by chance. It is a restatement of this idea.

Job 7:1 ¶  Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?

If I understand this correctly and your time is appointed on the earth then there is little you can do to prolong it. However, lest we take this doctrine too far let us remember that, because of free will, everything that God ordains does not happen. This doesn’t mean that God is somehow less than all-powerful but only that He obviously permits or suffers our choices to a certain extent.

1Timothy 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

So, take that, Calvin. But, essentially you were born with a date-stamp somewhere on you (of course, I say that figuratively not literally) but, because of your choices, the date for your demise is not absolute. Although it is impossible to thwart God’s will or what He chooses to do because of His will and His foreknowledge we are able to shorten or lengthen our lifespan by things as far apart as lifestyle choices or, perhaps in the future, genetic manipulation.

The point here in this verse in Job is that your time in the biological phase of your life, walking around in frail flesh, is limited and no amount of scientific mumbo-jumbo by the witch-doctors of theoretical science will ever permit you to live forever in the flesh you inherited by sinful Adam.

In verse 6, Job once again wants God to leave him alone. Give me a break, he says, let me rest. This is a common theme with Job, along with demanding an audience with God.

Job 7:1 ¶  Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling? 2  As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work…16  I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity…19  How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?

Job 10:20  Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,

As David cried in one of his Psalms;

Psalm 39:13  O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.

Job speaks of death and resurrection next.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Job 13:13-28 comments: we are not promised a painless life


    13 ¶  Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will. 14  Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand? 15  Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. 16  He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him. 17  Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears. 18  Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified. 19  Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost. 20  Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee. 21  Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid. 22  Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me.

Again, Job tells his friends to hold their peace. He wants to speak without interruption and he’ll be responsible for the consequences of what he says. Why, the meaning of wherefore, does Job risk his life with what he is saying? Even if God kills him, Job will trust in God, which is a very important statement and similar to the passage in Daniel.

Daniel 3:14  Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15  Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? 16  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

But, Job finishes that statement with the insistence that even though he will trust in God even unto death he’s going to go to his grave insisting upon his own righteousness. Remember King Hezekiah’s statement;

2Kings 20:3  I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.

In this dispensation of the church age the early Baptists of the seventeenth century, when the first churches that called themselves Baptist came into being, it was understood that there were fundamentals to the Christian life. These were found in Hebrews, chapter 6. (23) One of the prominent fundamentals for the early Baptist was repentance, but not repentance as most Independent Baptists of today believe. It was not, “repent of your sins,” but repenting of what you were depending upon to justify yourself before God, your works.

Hebrews 6:1 ¶  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.

Job’s insistence upon justifying himself and saying that he will trust God unto death all the while insisting upon his own righteousness would not save him today from Hell, nor will it save you. We must turn from what we are trusting in within ourselves to save us and turn to God, doing the work that He has set forth for us.

John 6:28 ¶  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Just as the Jews were called by John the Baptist to turn from their vast assemblage of extra-scriptural rules and regulations to justify themselves and turn to God so must we. Read the passages in the gospels where John the Baptist is preaching at the Jordan and consider these verses in Hebrews. Repent from your dead works you insist are for God and turn to God.

Job continues to demand a hearing of God. He continues in his error of wanting to argue his case before God.

(23) H. Leon Macbeth, The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1987), Kindle edition, ch. 2.

    23 ¶  How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin. 24  Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy? 25  Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? 26  For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth. 27  Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet. 28  And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.

Job is challenging God to tell him how many sins he is guilty of and to explain exactly what Job had done wrong to deserve this treatment. If Job’s friends are so certain that his suffering is because of a wicked life then Job wants to know from God, not them, what the sins are for which he has specifically been devastated.

The contrast Job makes between himself and something so weak and meaningless as a leaf or dry stubble shows his feeling of being picked on by someone so much more mighty than himself. God has restrained him and Job has no more value than a rotten, moth-eaten piece of clothing.

Proverbs 18:14 ¶  The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

Psalm 130:1 ¶  « A Song of degrees. » Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. 2  Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. 3  If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? 4  But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

Man can certainly receive God’s judgment for his sinful nature and the Christian who turns his or her back on God may have a painful awakening as David cried.

Psalm 38:1 ¶  « A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance. » O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. 2  For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. 3  There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. 4  For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 5  My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. 6  I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. 7  For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8  I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. 9  Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. 10  My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. 11  My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.

As Ezra told the Jews.

Ezra 9:13  And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this;

But, always remember when you are reading Job that he is not being punished for his sin but used as an example of faithfulness in time of testing. The Hebrews were told through Moses;

Deuteronomy 4:30  When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; 31  (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

But God told us through the wisdom He gave Paul;

Romans 5:1 ¶  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4  And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

The Jews were promised a prosperous happy life on earth if they believed and obeyed God. If they sinned they were to expect punishment. If they turned back to God they were to expect mercy. The Christian is not promised a life of ease without suffering whether he is obedient or not. In fact, he is told that tribulation can come. In this, we do not have Job’s ignorance. We are told in advance, given advance warning and notice. When pain comes to the Christian, specific pain for no particular reason he can understand, he or she should not even be questioning, “why me?” The purpose is already stated, laid out to us in God’s declarations through the wisdom given to the Bible’s writers.

So, let’s review. This isn’t about you getting lung cancer because you are a smoker or having a child run wild because their soul was wounded by your marriage breaking up when they were young. This isn’t about getting arrested for drunk driving or losing your job because you willfully disobeyed your employer. This isn’t even about you being persecuted for your faith. Job was not troubled because of anything he did wrong.  We can suffer without seeing a correlation to our specific sins. God comforts us through His word and we are to comfort others. Tribulation cannot separate us from God’s love. And tribulation educates us and draws us closer to God.

Will you glory in the tribulation that God allows to come upon you or will you be like Job? Don’t think too badly of Job. At least you have been warned.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Job 13:1-12 comments: Pious frauds


1 ¶  Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it. 2  What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you. 3  Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God. 4  But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value. 5  O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom. 6  Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips. 7  Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him? 8  Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God? 9  Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him? 10  He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons. 11  Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you? 12  Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.

Now, more angrily, Job declares that he is at least as wise and understanding as his friends and that he knows just as much as they do about the situation. He does not need to be taught by them. He wishes to speak directly to God face to face. He wishes to reason with God. As God said to the backsliding Jews;

Isaiah 1:18  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

As I have noted before, I have heard people say they had questions for God and when they faced Him they would ask those questions. I doubt they will be able to do that as they will be overwhelmed by His presence and their own unworthiness.

Job doesn’t realize what he is asking. He will learn when God speaks to him later.

Job calls his friends liars and quack doctors, like the old American phrase for people offering phony cures, snake oil salesmen. He wishes them to hold their peace, a phrase that has come down to us as meaning to be quiet. It is said that it is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. He tells them to listen to him, that they have spoken wickedly of God and misrepresented Him. God doesn’t need our self-righteous blather to justify Himself. Our speech has a limited value and it is not to offer excuses for God or to condemn others who are suffering.

Colossians 4:6  Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Ephesians 4:29  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Those of you who picture yourself as Moses played by Charleton Heston, carrying the tablets containing the Ten Commandments in your arms, standing over the wicked children of Israel, condemning and railing against them, when you talk about lost people, the government, or any other of, “those people,” would do well to consider these passages. Do you misrepresent God in your “righteous conclusions” about what is going on in the world?

Oh, how angry you get! Oh, how certain you are of God’s righteous judgments. Did God permit the World Trade Centers, a potent symbol of financial power and greed, to be brought down because America tolerated homosexuality and abortion, as Jerry Falwell said? Did God let those 3,000 or so people lose their lives for that exact reason? How do you know? Did He tell you? Who do you think you are to claim to know the mind of God as if He had drawn near to you, put His hand on your shoulder and whispered in your ear, “watch this.”

Like Job’s friends you make a mockery of Christ. You say, “I am certain,” and Job’s friends would say the same and be just as full of the Devil. Job accuses his friends of mocking God.

Matthew Henry explained, “…a good intention will not justify, much less will it sanctify, a bad word or action…Pious frauds (as they call them) are impious cheats; and devout persecutions are horrid profanations of the name of God.” (21)

As Job’s friends we can have a good intention of serving God when we attack our brothers and sisters in Christ and attempt to impose the bondage of our own convictions upon them that we accomplish the opposite effect of our desire. Rather than draw people closer to Christ we drive them from our fellowship with them and perhaps to bitterness.

As an example, and I have to set this up with some historical context so bear with me a moment, to the first century Christians the day of worship was also a work day as Sunday was no day off from work for 300 years after Christianity’s beginning. Pliny the Younger, the governor of Pontus and Bithynia, wrote to the Emperor Trajan about early Christian worship in the early second century, between 111 and 113 AD.

They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food--but ordinary and innocent food. Even this, they affirmed, they had ceased to do after my edict by which, in accordance with your instructions, I had forbidden political associations. Accordingly, I judged it all the more necessary to find out what the truth was by torturing two female slaves who were called deaconesses. But I discovered nothing else but depraved, excessive superstition. (22)

Now, I bring this up to point out that Sunday was a work day until the third century so these Christians, often and usually very poor and slaves, would then go to their work for the day after worship. They would have come to worship wearing their work clothes. We have adopted the custom of wearing our, “Sunday finest,” or our, “Sunday go-to-meeting,” clothes as phrases from the past have said. If someone comes into the assembly dressed in less of a fashion than our convictions dictate it is not unusual for us to act or think indignant at their lack of sobriety and respect, as we perceive it. The more bold of us might even approach that person and drive them from the assembly with our self-righteous attempt to tell them, “the way it is.” Such things are wicked. The only rule of dress is modesty, not drawing attention to ourselves on purpose with our clothing, and wearing something, say, a mini-skirt or a muscle shirt, that might detract from worship or inspire a temptation. To impose your conviction of hair up in some kind of a bun as hair hanging down was once considered scandalous and improper, your conviction of the propriety of a long dress, or your conviction for closed toed shoes for women, as it was once considered indecent to show the “naked” foot, as a condition for coming to worship with the church or to impose your conviction for men to wear a business suit are all absurd and even a great evil if done as a proof of your piousness which you wish to share, in loooovvvvve, with the less spiritual.

Think back on Henry’s statement about pious frauds and impious persecutions.

Verse 9 asks the valid question as to whether or not you would really want God to search out your convictions that you express so confidently in trying to control, manipulate, or accuse others.

Psalm 139:23  Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Does the pious person with their nose up in the air really think that their standards could stand a close examination by God? Job asks rhetorically if his friends would not be better off to take God more seriously and not to presume to speak for Him out of ignorance.

I hear these sorts of things all the time from conservative and from liberal Christians. Some verses to consider;

Romans 2:1 ¶  Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Matthew 7:1 ¶  Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

2Corinthians 13:5  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Do the standards you set for yourself match the standards you set for others? Do you presume to speak for God when God is silent? Do you invent standards that are not Biblical because they make you feel more spiritual, and then apply them to others but not yourself?

Job’s friends have committed the sin virtually every Christian who takes their faith seriously is in danger of committing. They have applied God’s truth falsely. In finite bodies of clay they have assumed knowledge available only to God. Here, in the book of the Bible written before all others in time, we have this alert, this warning from God. Will you listen?

 

(21) Henry, Commentary.

(22) Pliny, “Pliny the Younger to Trajan on Christians”, Early Christian Writings, http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/pliny.html, (accessed 9.18.2014.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Job 12:12-25 comments: God's sovereignty


12 ¶  With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. 13  With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding. 14  Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening. 15  Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth. 16  With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his. 17  He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools. 18  He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle. 19  He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty. 20  He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. 21  He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty. 22  He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death. 23  He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again. 24  He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way. 25  They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.

Job declares in verse 12 that mankind, by age and experience, gain wisdom and understanding. Here again, wisdom and understanding are shown to be synonymous. But, with verse 13, in Job’s argument, God’s sovereignty is declared. With ancient men is wisdom and understanding but with the, “Ancient of Days,” (see Daniel, chapter 7) wisdom is also synonymous with strength.

Proverbs 8:14  Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.

Strength is power.

2Samuel 22:33  God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.

Counsel, being linked with wisdom, is understanding, as well.

Deuternomy 32:28  For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.

Counsel is advice.

Judges 20:7  Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel.

God is the ultimate source of wisdom, understanding, counsel, and understanding.

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

When God destroys there is no deliverance. Whether it be the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:9), the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24), Jericho’s walls (Joshua 6:20), or Damascus, Syria in the future (Isaiah 17:1) there is no remedy when God visits with judgment.

Without implying any spiritual understanding on the part of the Mongols they understood, perhaps only in justification of their conquests, that they could not have done so without God’s permission. The Mongolian Khan Guyug sent, in response to a letter from Pope Innocent IV in 1245, “how could anybody seize or kill by his own power contrary to the command of God?...From the rising of the sun to its setting, all the lands have been made subject to me. Who could do this contrary to the command of God?” (20)

And yet, when the Mongols were poised to destroy Christian Europe God stopped them with the death of an emperor and did the same when they were set to annihilate Islamic Egypt. God raises up and God throws down and there is nothing to prevent Him from causing or permitting what He does, often for reasons we cannot fathom. The Mongol conquests are said to have resulted in the death of 20% of the earth’s estimated population at that time. Why did God allow that to happen?

At the height of the Reformation in Germany a civil war began called the Thirty Year’s War that resulted in the death of 1/6th of Germany’s population of both Catholics and Protestants, including Lutherans and Calvinist denominations. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty over the affairs of man teaches us that nothing can happen that He does not either cause to happen or permit to happen. Why did God permit this to happen if He didn’t ordain it? You can only guess or make theoretical suppositions. In the end, you don’t know and neither does Job or his friends, at this point.

“The deceived and the deceiver are his.” He foils the plans of the deceiver and blinds the eyes of the deceived.

2Samuel 17:14  And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.

2Thessalonians 2:11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

Ezekiel 14:9  And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

Isaiah 19:14  The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit.

Read the rest of this passage carefully and then reflect on human history, the rise of empires and the fall of kingdoms. See the power of God in the history of nations, particularly your own. We see all sorts of things in powerful events that make no sense and our thoughts lean to conspiracies and secret cabals orchestrating events because nothing seems to make sense and things are drawn together that do not seem as if they should be so. But, the greatest conspirator is Satan working behind events, in his wickedness in hatred of mankind, but only unleashed by God for a specific purpose and reason and he can go no further than God will allow. It is not hard to understand the reason why the Book of Job is here for us, the oldest written book of the Bible. We must understand God’s sovereignty over us and all of creation before we can even begin to try to understand His love and His mercy and His grace at the Cross of Calvary and the empty tomb.

The fear of God is first and foremost in a human being’s mind if he has any sense at all. A man who fears God seeks to know Him and understand Him. As Solomon said here fear, the beginning of wisdom and understanding, is knowledge of the holy God;

Proverbs 9:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Godly fear is reverence, as Paul said.

Hebrews 12:28  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

It is awe, as David sang.

Psalm 33:8  Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

So, when you look at current events and are mystified and astonished at what is going on and how complex it seems and impossible to understand without resorting to belief in some smoke-filled room full of people running the world remember that, if there is such a room, they are but pawns, deceived fools because of their wicked hearts, in the issue of history.

We hear preaching often on the sufferings of Christ, who is God, on the Cross, which we should preach and understand, with the resulting tears and guilty feelings for our sins that we say in our simplicity, “put Him there,” but far too little time is spent on God’s sovereignty which we must grasp, or attain unto as the Bible says, if we are to even to begin to understand the Cross and the empty tomb. And always remember, lest you be tempted to throw up your hands and say, what’s the point of my efforts, remember what God really wants;

1Timothy 2:1 ¶  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

And remember what is God’s definition of the appropriate expression of your faith, or religion, the outward expression of inward faith. This is God’s will, which should be of primary importance in a Christian’s life.

James 1:27  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

And the proof, the fruit, of your faith.

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

It all comes back to the first verse of the Bible.

Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

 

(20) Baabar, Twentieth Century Mongolia (Cambridge, UK: The White Horse Press, 1999), 3.