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Friday, November 25, 2005

Job 4&5: Eliphaz/Ignaorance/Joseph Smith/Mohammed

"What think ye?" What kind of question is that? It is a bold and self-promoting question. What think ye? Is that important?

Eliphaz flows with so much thought, speculation, and proverb that in one paragraph his flow of reason may turn upon itself (ie: 5:1-7). I cannot answer every point he make, and I'm not sure it would be the thing to do unless any particular point becomes a stumbling block to someone.

A couple of things stand out to me. Maybe someone who is wiser than I can continue this discussion to everyone's benefit.

Where is your hope?
Eliphaz answers Job's lament of suffering. (Job 4:2-6) As John Bunyan's Ignorance hoped that his good thoughts and ways saved him, Eliphaz points out Job's good works. He states boldly that Job's hope ought to be in his good works. "Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope?" (v.6) After pointing out Job's righteousness and urging Job to cling to it for hope, he then points out that the innocent never perish; this in the face of what Job has suffered. I'm just not sure where he is going with this, and it might be that he had not (in the seven days of silence) thought it out thoroughly.

Test the spirits.

Job 5:12-21 kind of makes me think of Joseph Smith and Mohammed. Who was it that visited Joseph Smith? Who visited Mohammed? I do not think that they were lying. I think they saw someone, but who (this is my theory...not to be confused with knowledge)? Was Eliphaz also visited by a spirit? It was not a spirit of truth. Was he just saying that he was visited by a spirit to give his words more weight?

Clouds without rain

In Job 4:17-21 Eliphaz goes on with his intellectual theology. This is very palatable stuff. but it seems to be irrelevant to the situation at best.

Rather than expose my ignorance, I will stop for now. I will, as time permits look into commentaries and I hope someone will also add comments to help me to understand better.

Please keep in mind that I have never dug into Job 3 - 37 and I am commenting based on my knowledge that God answered in later chapters.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Job 3: The Slough of Despond

I know that God is sovereign, and that He is just and holy and merciful. I KNOW who He is and that what He has revealed to us in His word is true.... And yet, sometimes, I don't feel like it and, following my feelings, rather than my faith therefore, I don't act like it or talk like it. This is a failing on my part, not God's. Sometimes my faith is weak, and sometimes, my focus/purpose is in the wrong place.

Job had, in faith, made statements and rebukes that were right on target in Job 1 & 2. How then can he, in Chapter 3 go to such depths of despair?

Deep, desparate despair: "May those who curse days, curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan." (3:8)

Deep, dark despair: "May its morning stars become dark; may it wait for daylight in vain and not see the first rays of dawn." (3:9)

Previous-Joy/Comfort-consuming despair: "Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed?" (3:12)

Hope-eclipsing despair: "There (in the ground/grave) the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest." (3:17)

In this depth of despair, this godly man queried: "Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure, who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave? Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?"

In this query, our society lives. This is why I am afraid of this book. This is precisely why I have avoided it. I hear in the words of Scripture what I hear on the streets of my world.

I know, though that God has included Job's despair in the canon of Scripture for our good; for I know that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (I Timothy 3:16&17)

So, if it rubbs me the wrong way, I must be wrong, and rather than shy away, I should dig deeper and ask God to help me understand, or change my heart.

Matthew Henry writes: "The afflicted and tempted Christian knows something of this heaviness; when he has been looking too much at the things that are seen, some chastisement of his heavenly Father will give him a taste of this digust of life, and a glance at these dark regions of despair. Nor is there any help until God shall restore to him the joys of his salvation. Blessed be God, the earth is full of his goodness, though full of man's wickedness. This life may be made tolerable if we attend to our duty. We look for eternal mercy, if willing to receive Christ as our Saviour." (

Thanks be to God for His unfathomable and everlasting goodness to us.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Job 1&2

How much greater are the thoughts and ways of God, they are beyond finding out! How He condescended to reveal Himself to man! How He condescended to become man and to die for man!

How could an ant understand a man? He cannot. We, of course did not make ants, and have no fluency in their language, but if we did, could the ant understand our motives and powers? I don't think so...Better analogy, could the stone understand us?

In Job, chapters one and two, God reveals something of heavenly activity that so much reveals my own motives and limitations, which I project upon God wrongly. When I look at these chapters, I see Satan baiting God, and God falling for it. I see the bully taunting and the weakling falling for the trap and doing what the bully wanted all along. I am looking through my own eyes.

Forgive me, Father, for I am but a worm, and do not understand you fully. Thank you for revealing more than this of you so that, although we will not know You fully until we are in Your presense, we can understand enough to trust in your goodness, your strength and your all-sufficiency even when we don't quite understand what you're on about. I know that while Satan meant it for evil, you meant it for good. I know that you ordained this test for your servant, Job, and that it was you who sustained him through it. I know that You allowed and received Satan in your throne room and indeed even invited -no, you must have summoned him- knowing what he would ask.

You made the vessel, Job. You created him for your purpose and glory. He was what you made him and was sustained by the faith that you created in him. It was hard for him, like going through a fire.

I, and others, sometimes think of the children and the servants who were killed for the pleasure of Satan and the proving of Job. We worms struggle with this, seeing only the life lived on this soil. Some of us think that it is a sign of your weakness, or just a cruel streak.

Forgive me, Father, for I am but a worm, and do not understand you fully. Thank you for revealing more than this of you so that, we can understand enough to trust in your goodness, your strength and your perfect will. I can understand from what You have revealed, if my feeble mind can remember, that while you made the vessel Job, you also made his children and servants. They were none of them without sin, and Job even made atonement for them, realizing that they probably did sin in their revelry. These vessels cannot say to the Potter, why have you made me thus, and why has my usefulness ended, for surely I was soon to become great; you didn't give me a chance to become the lovely vase I was meaning to be? You have revealed that you know the number of our days, even before one of them has come to be. For a vessel such as Job, that would be more than comforting (is there an English word for this?), but for other vessels made for more common purposes, this would be alarming and such a vessel would fill up with resentment.

Job 1:21
I have always heard the saying, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away."

I think that what Job recognized was that it is the Lord's to give, and the Lord's to retrieve or receive.

Job 2:9-10
This is the response to suffering that our culture holds for itself and for those it sees in the throws of suffering. "Curse God and die." It would be better to end it all than to go on in this state. Many think thus for the benefit of others that they see or know. Some think it for themselves and take their own lives. This, in some cases is thought by observers as the gallant exit.

We have forgotten, let us not forget, what Job, through walking so close to God, knowing Him and, therefore trusting Him, knew so well. In his pain and helplessness, he recognized his life partner as a foolish woman. God has revealed that a fool says in his heart there is no God. Mrs. Job did not say it aloud, but her counsel to her husband in his suffering revealed what she believed in her heart. Job turned to his wife, his helpmate in sickness and in health, and asked, "Shall we accept good from God, and not evil?"

In our time and circumstances, we think we need to say things like, "Sweetheart, what did God have to do with this, we live in a fallen world!"

Sword Drill!
Who said that even if the crops fail and (yada yada yada) yet will I praise Him!(?)

We do not need to answer a fool according to his folly. We know the one who is the beginning of wisdom, and would do well to fear Him, and not man, who can only shun us and call us fools, for He makes foolish the wisdom of the wise, and in our weakness His strength is revealed.

For what we are about to receive from your gracious and loving hand, make our hearts forever grateful. Make our feet to stand.
For Your sake and in the name of Jesus, your Son

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Sower?

There was a land-owner who owned the land as far as the eye can see, no matter where you went. He gave his servant a large, abundantly full sack of seed, and told him to go out and sow it.

The servant took the large, abundantly full sack of seed and went out-into the back yard. Although the master owned the land as far as the eye can see, the servant had come to think of the back yard as his own.

He set the large, abundantly full sack of seed down and dug up a plot of ground. He made it square, about 10 by 10, just right. He dug up the soil and removed the sod. He tilled and added mulch and manure until the organic content was just right. He worked the soil until it was a pleasure to turn. Then he smoothed it all out, just right. Finally, he made rows, straight and even. Each row was 12 inches from the last one, so he would have room to go between and pull weeds as the plants grew. He stepped back and surveyed his work with satisfaction.

At last he turned around and opened the large, abundantly full sack of seed. He reached in with his left hand and pulled out a handfull of seed and went to the first row. He planted 2-3 seeds per inch all along the row, covering the seed with the rich soil and tamping it down as he went. When he finished with the first row, he went on to the next and planted in the same way. He worked diligently in this manner, row after row, returning to the large, abundantly full sack of seed when his hand became empty.

When all ten rows were properly sown, he closed the large, still abundantly full sack of seed, and stepped back. He surveyed his work with great satisfaction.

He noticed that the sky was clear so he watered the plot. As the days and weeks went by he watered the plot, aerated the soil, weeded the rows, and surveyed his work with great satisfaction.

He put up a scarecrow to keep the birds away from the seed. He built a fence around to keep rabbits from eating the young plants. He even cut down a nearby tree because he noticed that it shaded his plot from the sun in the early afternoon.

As the weeks went by some of the seed rotted because of mildew or fungus in the soil. Some were left exposed by the rain or watering hose and were eaten by birds who were not fooled by the scarecrow. Some grew, but maybe their roots found the rocks that the servant had missed, or they were crowded by a weed that sprang up as quickly as they did; and they remained small and weak, and were scorched by the sun in the early afternoons. Some of the seed grew, strong and straight. These plants produced much fruit --40, 60, 100 times the little that was sown.

"This is what was written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:46&47)

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

The Apostles respond in obedience, even when persecuted:

"The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy of suffering digrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ." (Acts 5:41-42)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Walkin' in the Sunshine Singa Little Sunshine Song (dududoo dududutodoo)

For some reason, I have a tendency to go through life seeing only what is in front of my face. Some might call it tunnel vision; some would call it self-centeredness. I suppose that is an accurate label, but it is too kind.

I have a tendency to learn slowly, and I am not much of a multi-tasker. Thursday mornings at Planned Parenthood have been a learning experience for me. God has taught me a plither of things, some of which I have already commented on. In His light, we see light. I have been walking in the sunshine of His light on Thursdays. I have treasured my time with Him. The iniquity of the world in which we live can drive us further under His wings, even as He sends us out as light to shine His light on it.

I cannot attempt to comment on what has happened yet. I will just tell about it. There are ramifications of my actions. Have I set myself on fire? Do I have singleness of heart?

When I got to Planned Parenthood this morning, Ms. Starbucks wasn't there, so I didn't have to decide whether to offer a cup of hot coffee in Jesus' name. I parked way down the street and a short slim man, dressed in a double breasted suit walked toward my van smoking a cigarette and blowing smoke up in the air in a strange gesture. He caught my attention because of the way he was dressed. I thought he might be a flashy lawyer; definitely dressed to impress. The way he blew his smoke straight up, tilting his head to do so also struck me as odd. For a paranoid moment, I thought he might give me a hard time for parking there. He walked past, but immediately behind my van, I saw him waiting for a break in traffic to cross the street. After crossing the street, he proceeded back the way he came, and passed Planned Parenthood on the opposite side of the street.

Thinking I was now safe, I put him out of my mind and walked up the side walk to PP. I probably would have forgotten all about him, but Carole told me that she thought we had a pimp bring a girl in. (So now I have had two surprises at PP: There are Catholics in Bedford, and there are pimps in Bloomington!)

It seemed like a day for visiting. Carole said that 13 women had gone in for abortions. The Catholics took forever to get to the rosery. There were no friars. Carole and I talked for some time and when she was helping someone put up a sign or something, I turned and found Glen walking my way. I was glad to see him. I had not prayed or read Scripture. I felt like this was a social gathering. Glen and Carole and I talked for a while and then a fellow faithful protester came along and we talked some more.

In a surreal moment, I found myself looking into Ms. Starbuck's eyes as she hung out of a pickup's driver's side window and threw a mess of hangers on the ground at our feet. I couldn't make out what she said exactly as she sped away, but I knew what she meant. I have heard another woman talk about pregnant girls in the old days using hangers.

In a moment, she redirected our conversation and thoughts. I felt ashamed that I was there for one purpose and was caught lacking. This was a vivid reminder of why we were here. It is however another Sanballatian tactic (Nehemiah 2:19 & 6:1-7). The man who was talking to us immediately discredited the implied claim by recalling how he heard someone (who's name I forget) state that the statistics of women dying in illegal abortion clinics were simply made up (just as Nehemiah did in 6:8).

Carole brought this incident to the attention of the security guard, who said that he could do nothing about it. We picked up the hangers, and Carole was going to see if Backstreet Mission could use them. Then Glen and I joined together to read Psalm 10 from the curb and to pray before I had to get back to work.

You will see on my sidebar that Glen is my hero. This was his second time at Planned Parenthood. Last week he asked me to pray for him that God would give him strength to go regularly. He works second shift and gets home anywhere between 1 and 4 am. He was very tired last night. He slept hardly at all Tuesday night. I set his alarm with the understanding that he might need to reset it. So you see my heart was warmed when I saw my hero coming up the sidewalk to join me there.

It took me a couple of months to tell anyone that I was going to Planned Parenthood on Thursdays. I am a coward! A chicken. Glen is my hero! He told me today what his older daughters think of us for going to protest at Planned Parenthood. I (the fool) asked him how they knew! He told them! He tells people all kinds of things! He is pretty transparent. I think that is the way to be.

I want to be like that.