Archive for May, 2003

“Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” – With these world God proceeds to show all of Job’s accusers of there supreme lack of understanding of the ways of God. Line after line is God showing Job’s friends and us that it is simply not possible for us to have a complete understanding of who he is and why he chooses to do what he does. Very quickly we learn that God is truly sovereign, just, merciful and the arbiter of what it means to be sovereign, just and merciful. When we come to understand that God created everything including the words we use, the concepts we have and the world we live in it becomes easy to see we can never fully understand God. When we try to completely understand God we are trying to define God. How can we ever hope to define a God who is the one who defined us into the finite creatures we are? Our understanding of God will always be limited by our limited ability to comprehend our creator. I believe with all of my heart one of the most significant theological understanding and statements we can ever make is “I DON’T KNOW.” When we can accept that sometime the only answer is I don’t know we have actually taken one step closer to understanding God because we have accepted the fact that he is not completely knowable and understandable to us.

Psalm 111:10 states, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” – When we fear God we are closer to understanding him, but a large part of this fear is the awe and respect that we show when we know that there is so much we do not and cannot know.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for being so far above our finite human understanding. Thank you for not being constrained by the limits or our human knowledge, potential and words. Thank you for loving us enough to protect us from knowledge and understanding that would destroy us. Thank you for your mercy and grace which allows us to make mistakes based upon false assumptions and false knowledge, but loves us anyway. Thank you for loving me despite all of my faults and limitations. Amen.

Elihu speaks as a young man who believes he has wisdom given from God despite his age. Instead it becomes easy to see he has the bravado of youth and knowledge that has not been seasoned with wisdom. Each of the three elder speaker and Elihu miss one very important point when they discuss God’s judgment. Each of them believes that God chooses to punish the wicked and reward the righteous while they are on earth. This is simply not true. As humans we cannot always understand the ways of God. Often times we will see the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer (Job is an excellent example). Elihu speaks well of God, but does not understand God. We must come to understand God has given this world over the Satan (read the very first chapters of Job). Satan can and does choose to strike the good and the wicked. Satan can and does choose to give wealth to the good and the wicked. This world is a time of testing. The real test for Job was how he responds to this test, not if he has possessions.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for giving us an opportunity to serve you. Thank you for not judging us by our possessions as good or bad. Thank you for loving us unconditionally. Help me to serve you in the place and situation of your choosing. Most importantly, thank you for your love and mercy. Amen.

The Least of These – Job 25-31

It is interesting to note that Job in the middle of the most difficult circumstances one could every image takes time to reminisce about the God honoring deeds he has done. This could be looked at as an attempt at self justification and laying blame on God for his calamity, but I do not believe this is the case. He goes on to talk about how he loved doing these things because he loved people. I believe he would do the same thing even in the midst of his own personal life tragedy.

Job becomes an amazing Biblical example of Matthew 25:31-46:

31″When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Even though Matthew was written hundreds of years after the time of Job, Job lived it our anyway. Job knew that it was his job as person of means to help those less fortunate than he. Job understood he was to love all people regardless if they were well connected or unknown, rich or poor, young or old. It is even more amazing that Job believed he made the right choices even after he had lost everything. It would have been easy for him to have a “screw the world” attitude. Instead, Job had an “I still love the world” attitude. Job knew he had done the righteous thing and wanted to continue to be righteous regardless of his own life situation. Job refused to abandon God or man.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for putting people such as Job into this world. It is amazing to think there are people who can truly be selfless and caring even in the face of extreme tragedy and pain. Lord, please help me to be one of these people. Help me live out Matthew 31-46 regardless of my own particular life situation. Help me see every person as someone you view as valuable. Thank you for viewing me as valuable. I love you. Amen.

The Least of These – Job 25-31

It is interesting to note that Job in the middle of the most difficult circumstances one could every image takes time to reminisce about the God honoring deeds he has done. This could be looked at as an attempt at self justification and laying blame on God for his calamity, but I do not believe this is the case. He goes on to talk about how he loved doing these things because he loved people. I believe he would do the same thing even in the midst of his own personal life tragedy.

Job becomes an amazing Biblical example of Matthew 25:31-46:

31″When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Even though Matthew was written hundreds of years after the time of Job, Job lived it our anyway. Job knew that it was his job as person of means to help those less fortunate than he. Job understood he was to love all people regardless if they were well connected or unknown, rich or poor, young or old. It is even more amazing that Job believed he made the right choices even after he had lost everything. It would have been easy for him to have a “screw the world” attitude. Instead, Job had an “I still love the world” attitude. Job knew he had done the righteous thing and wanted to continue to be righteous regardless of his own life situation. Job refused to abandon God or man.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for putting people such as Job into this world. It is amazing to think there are people who can truly be selfless and caring even in the face of extreme tragedy and pain. Lord, please help me to be one of these people. Help me live out Matthew 31-46 regardless of my own particular life situation. Help me see every person as someone you view as valuable. Thank you for viewing me as valuable. I love you. Amen.

Finding God – Job 22-24

“If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling!” — “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.” Job 3 and 8-9.

Job is looking for God in all the wrong places. He feels abandoned because of the trials and tribulations that have come his way, but in fact he should understand that God is not to be found in the east, west, north or south. He needs to understand there is no dwelling place for him to go to because God is right there with him throughout the trials. This is not the easiest thing to learn or accept during times like this, but it is our source of strength and hope during tough times. I believe the Footprint poem says it best:

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he
was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints
in the sand; one belonging to him, and the other
to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before
him, he looked back at the footprint in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his
life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned that LORD
about it. “LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed
that during the most troublesome times in my life, there
is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why
when I needed you most you would leave me.”

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love
you and I would never leave you. During you times
of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of
footprints, it was then I carried you.”

I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was carrying Job throughout this time of tribulation. God never leaves us nor forsakes us. Who has ever made us such a promise as that in our whole lives. Other people cannot do it, nor can any of the other “gods” people choose to follow.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you so much for promising to carry us when we cannot walk. Thank you for your promise to be with us through every situation in our lives. Thank you for planning good for us and being there when the bad does come. Forgive me for the times I looked to the north, south, east or west when you were right there with me. Thank you for being there, so I had no need to go to your dwelling place. Help me to love you with my whole body and soul. Help me to serve you with every fiber of my being. You are such a wonderful, loving father. Amen.

Finding God – Job 22-24

“If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling!” — “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.” Job 3 and 8-9.

Job is looking for God in all the wrong places. He feels abandoned because of the trials and tribulations that have come his way, but in fact he should understand that God is not to be found in the east, west, north or south. He needs to understand there is no dwelling place for him to go to because God is right there with him throughout the trials. This is not the easiest thing to learn or accept during times like this, but it is our source of strength and hope during tough times. I believe the Footprint poem says it best:

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he
was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints
in the sand; one belonging to him, and the other
to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before
him, he looked back at the footprint in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his
life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned that LORD
about it. “LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed
that during the most troublesome times in my life, there
is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why
when I needed you most you would leave me.”

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love
you and I would never leave you. During you times
of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of
footprints, it was then I carried you.”

I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was carrying Job throughout this time of tribulation. God never leaves us nor forsakes us. Who has ever made us such a promise as that in our whole lives. Other people cannot do it, nor can any of the other “gods” people choose to follow.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you so much for promising to carry us when we cannot walk. Thank you for your promise to be with us through every situation in our lives. Thank you for planning good for us and being there when the bad does come. Forgive me for the times I looked to the north, south, east or west when you were right there with me. Thank you for being there, so I had no need to go to your dwelling place. Help me to love you with my whole body and soul. Help me to serve you with every fiber of my being. You are such a wonderful, loving father. Amen.

We are all equal – Job 18-21

“One man dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease, his body well nourished, his bones rich with marrow. Another man dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good. Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both.” – Job 21:23-26 is some of the wisest words Job has said to this point. I am not even sure if he is aware of how profound his statement is. All of Job’s friends have been talking about God blessing the righteous and cursing the wicked. In these statements they are trying to get Job to admit he must be a wicked man because his is not blessed. However, Job brings it right to the truth when he points out that all of us will die whether we are good or bad. There is one fate at the end of this earthly life. The fact is true reward or punishment does not come in this life, but the life following. Job seems to understand this at least at an elementary sense. It would be good for every other Christian to come to understand this. God does not promise us a life of ease and riches. He does not promise us a life of unlimited success. What he does promise us is to supply our needs day by day if we will rely on him. This is the greatest thing we could ask for and much more than we deserve.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for not putting our reward or punishment on this earth. This earth could never be an adequate reward nor and adequate punishment. Thank you for loving us enough to go and prepare a place for our reward that is greater than we could ever imagine. Thank you also for the ability to bring as many with us into this reward as would chose to come. Help me to be a man who seeks after you and your kingdom and not the glories of this world. I love you. Amen.

We are all equal – Job 18-21

“One man dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease, his body well nourished, his bones rich with marrow. Another man dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good. Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both.” – Job 21:23-26 is some of the wisest words Job has said to this point. I am not even sure if he is aware of how profound his statement is. All of Job’s friends have been talking about God blessing the righteous and cursing the wicked. In these statements they are trying to get Job to admit he must be a wicked man because his is not blessed. However, Job brings it right to the truth when he points out that all of us will die whether we are good or bad. There is one fate at the end of this earthly life. The fact is true reward or punishment does not come in this life, but the life following. Job seems to understand this at least at an elementary sense. It would be good for every other Christian to come to understand this. God does not promise us a life of ease and riches. He does not promise us a life of unlimited success. What he does promise us is to supply our needs day by day if we will rely on him. This is the greatest thing we could ask for and much more than we deserve.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for not putting our reward or punishment on this earth. This earth could never be an adequate reward nor and adequate punishment. Thank you for loving us enough to go and prepare a place for our reward that is greater than we could ever imagine. Thank you also for the ability to bring as many with us into this reward as would chose to come. Help me to be a man who seeks after you and your kingdom and not the glories of this world. I love you. Amen.

Where is my hope? – Job 15-17

“Where then is my hope, who can see any hope for me?” If Job made any one mistake in his trial it was his reliance on man in his search for answers and hope. It becomes easy to see as he becomes more and more despondent that he finds it more difficult to keep his eyes on God. At the same time he realizes his “friends” have nothing to offer but ungodly, worldly wisdom that is nothing by empty words. His friends keep on telling him that he cannot know the ways of God nor can he know what sins he has committed against God. While it is true no human can completely fathom the ways of God, we can definitely know if we are righteous before God (What do you think God created the conscience for). Job knows he is a righteous man, but he does not understand that he must rely on God even more in this time. He is exactly right when he says, “…my plans are shattered” (Job 17:11). He must give up his plans are rely on God’s plans. This is the greatest lesson for anyone who calls themselves a Christ-follower. It is not about our dreams and ambitions. It is about us following God’s dream for this world and working with him to find out where he would like us to fit in that plan. Along the way there may be trials and tribulations (we can only hope not as bad as Jobs, but we also know God will use any trail for good), but in the end if we honor God and follow his ways our path with be straight.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for creating a plan from the beginning of time that is perfect for my personality, skills and gifts. Help me to keep my eyes on you and your course of action. I know I am prone to planning my future even though it is not possible for me to see everything you have already set before me. You love and grace is amazing. Your desire for my life is exhilarating and wonderfully planned. Help me to wait on you. Amen.

Where is my hope? – Job 15-17

“Where then is my hope, who can see any hope for me?” If Job made any one mistake in his trial it was his reliance on man in his search for answers and hope. It becomes easy to see as he becomes more and more despondent that he finds it more difficult to keep his eyes on God. At the same time he realizes his “friends” have nothing to offer but ungodly, worldly wisdom that is nothing by empty words. His friends keep on telling him that he cannot know the ways of God nor can he know what sins he has committed against God. While it is true no human can completely fathom the ways of God, we can definitely know if we are righteous before God (What do you think God created the conscience for). Job knows he is a righteous man, but he does not understand that he must rely on God even more in this time. He is exactly right when he says, “…my plans are shattered” (Job 17:11). He must give up his plans are rely on God’s plans. This is the greatest lesson for anyone who calls themselves a Christ-follower. It is not about our dreams and ambitions. It is about us following God’s dream for this world and working with him to find out where he would like us to fit in that plan. Along the way there may be trials and tribulations (we can only hope not as bad as Jobs, but we also know God will use any trail for good), but in the end if we honor God and follow his ways our path with be straight.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for creating a plan from the beginning of time that is perfect for my personality, skills and gifts. Help me to keep my eyes on you and your course of action. I know I am prone to planning my future even though it is not possible for me to see everything you have already set before me. You love and grace is amazing. Your desire for my life is exhilarating and wonderfully planned. Help me to wait on you. Amen.