Be a man and answer God

Job experienced an extended time of suffering. He asked God why he was in such misery. His friends said he was guilty of sin. He protested and maintained the fact that he was innocent. Job desired an audience with God so he could speak to Him about struggles. Job stood defiantly before God and sought an audience to plead his case. He demanded a judicial hearing but got far more than he expected. “Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.” (Job 31:35) He said, “Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.” (Job 13:3) We may ask for something that we do not really want when we get it. Job was given an opportunity to face God but it was not at all what he expected. Speaking from a whirlwind God said to Job, “Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?” (Job 40:6-9) Job was overwhelmed and humbled. He admitted his own unworthiness and inability to answer.

We might likewise be very humbled if God questioned us. What might God ask us in our hearing before Him?

God might ask us, “Who are you who teach everything but the truth?” God asked Job, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2) God doth not charge Job, as his three friends had done, with hypocrisy and living a sinful life. He charged Job concerning his words. He spoke words without knowledge. His words proceeded from ignorance. God could easily say the same thing about all the false teaching of our day. Peter wrote, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2:1) There are many false teachers in this Christian age. They subvert both truth and holiness and bringing upon themselves swift destruction. The sad thing about false teachers is that, “Many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (2 Peter 2:2) God might ask us, “Who are you who teach everything but the truth?” Continue reading

#charles-box, #conviction, #evangelism, #job, #self-examination

Letter to the Editor — A Purpose to Our Suffering

[draft; your input is always welcome; will submit to the paper Monday]

Paul Williams wrote in Dr. Weinberg’s most recent column: “If God sometimes seems indifferent and uncaring, it might be He has chosen not to know. Maybe, when he created all that is now, he also chose to remain unknowing until this grand play comes to its final act.”

Williams was careful to use “might” and “maybe” as he speculated on the nature of God. Such is a wise course when one’s position is conjecture. Of course, if Williams is right then it is certain that the Bible is wrong since the Scriptures affirm that God “knows all things” (I John 3:20). If the Bible is true, then God does indeed know all things and is not ignorant of anything. If the Bible is false, however, then perhaps Williams is correct. I affirm, without hesitation, that the Bible is true. It would be my pleasure to sit down and study with anyone on this matter and provide a logical rationale for why I believe the Bible is true and why it should be the guide for our lives.

The “problem of evil,” as it is often called, has been around since before the birth of Christ: If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, full of love and kindness, then why doesn’t He put an end to all the evil that exists in our world? Atheists would suggest that God must not exist since there is so much suffering. Williams doesn’t seem to doubt God’s existence but does suggest that maybe God is purposefully remaining in the dark about the misery of this realm. I think there is another solution to the alleged problem.

The book of Job (located in the Old Testament) is a masterpiece all should study to better understand human suffering and our proper response to it. In that inspired work, it is implied that God knows all humans thoroughly since He told Satan there was none like Job on all the Earth (1:8). Job was blameless and upright. Yet, despite these facts, God permitted Satan to strike Job with a tsunami of suffering. In one day the man who was rich in possessions, influence, and offspring lost them all. But he did not curse God or doubt His existence. He mourned and worshiped God. Next, Satan was allowed to destroy Job’s health and make him suffer like few other humans ever have. Most of the book deals with dialogue between Job and his friends, who are convinced he must have committed some heinous sins to have fallen like this. Job gets a bit sassy at times, but stays true to God and generally speaks what is right (42:7). In the end Job is held up as a model of perseverance (Jam. 5:11).

Why bring all this up, Stephen? Because it shows that God can have full knowledge of human suffering and even permit it to happen because there is a greater purpose to be served. Job grew through his suffering and turned out better for it in the end. As James 1:2,3 puts it – “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Sometimes we suffer because of poor choices, and sometimes we suffer for no reason we can discern. But, merely because we cannot discern such doesn’t mean that no reason exists! Job didn’t understand at the time, but came to learn what we all must: namely, that God’s ways and thoughts are beyond ours (Isa. 55:8,9). Let us all trust God and believe in the final analysis that He will work all things out for good–for those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). For more info on this important theme, please visit: Evil.AudioEvangelism.com.
-Stephen R. Bradd, Clinton Church of Christ

#job, #omniscience, #problem-of-evil, #suffering

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star…”

Who gives orders to the sun, and it does not give its light; and who keeps the stars from shining. By whose hand the heavens were stretched out, and who is walking on the waves of the sea: Who made the Bear [the Big Dipper] and Orion, and the Pleiades, and the store-houses of the south: Who does great things not to be searched out; yes, wonders without number.” (Job 9:7-10, BBE)

Tonight, if you have the pleasure of seeing the stars, find the “Big Dipper” and realize that you are viewing the same seven lights that Job set his eyes upon thousands of years ago. Realize that soon you will set your eyes upon the same God of the stars that Job saw when he closed his in death. Doesn’t that make you smile???

#job, #stars

If I knew then…

How many times have you ever said, “If I knew then, what I know now, I’d certainly do things differently?”

Job is saying this in the last chapter of his book. Surely, Job regrets many of the things he said about God and is ready to repent and do those works “meet for repentance,” (Acts 26:20).

Some of the things Job learned from his trial included:

  1. Job’s wisdom was not enough to show the patriarch what he needed to see. He needed God’s word for that, and so do we!
  2. Job understands that God never abandoned him. God has promised to always be with us (Hebrews 13:5). We should remember this whenever we’re tempted to think God doesn’t care.
  3. Job understands that God had heard him. The truly remarkable thing is that when Job was allowing his sorrow to find release through his mouth, God withheld his hand. God is giving us all the same chance.
  4. Job realized his need for repentance and confession. Job no longer made demands in this last chapter. He is ready to change and wants to be restored spiritually. Nowhere in the scripture is he demanding God restore his wealth. His most important restoration was the relationship he had with God.

One of the significant things I learned in this study of Job was something Don Shackleford wrote in his “Truth for Today” commentary. He said Job’s office as intercessor brackets the book. God made mention of it in Job 1:5 and it is in this final chapter as Job was instructed to make sacrifices for his three friends.

We have an intercessor, Christ the righteous, “who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” (Titus 2:14).

Have we taken the time today to thank God for our Lord and Savior Jesus, who gave himself for us? If not, then why not take time right now?

#jesus-is-lord, #job, #learn

Job’s response

There are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, according to the model developed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler.. These are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with loss.

After the first four losses Job experienced, calamities that came from heaven and earth and all four points of the compass, his reaction was somewhat different.

The Bible said, “Then Job got up and tore his robe. He shaved his head, and then he threw himself down with his face to the ground,” (Job 1:20-21a NET).

The first thing he did was rise. He did not sit, which is what some do when they’re faced with loss.

Job tore his robe and shaved his head in mourning. These were things people did when they were convicted of sin. People of Job’s day were convinced suffering resulted from sin. Often it does, but it is possible for one to live righteously and suffer.

Instead of blaming God, Job worshipped. This showed Satan was wrong when he said, “Is it for nothing that Job fears God?” (Job 1:9 NET).

The Bible teaches that which human reasoning does not: loss can be an opportunity to develop a deeper, closer relationship with God.

It is also an opportunity for people to see Christ in us, for it is in pain people see what we truly are and that Christ really lives in us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

#jesus-christ, #job, #loss

God Compliments

While preparing for the first lesson in our study of the book of Job, I was struck by the compliment God paid Job.

God said,  “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (Job 1:8 ESV). Note the four component compliments God gives here.

He says, “there is none like him on the earth.” That’s quite a commendation. Of course the reason why there was none like him is because he was someone who avoided sin and stayed away from evil. Those are the things important to God. Job’s wealth didn’t induce this from God, neither was it Job’s position, but his faithfulness to and love of God.

Job, God said, is a “blameless and upright man.” The Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicon defines “blameless” as “complete, morally innocent, having integrity.” I love the integumentary system of the body — the skin. It separates us from the environment and protects us from all the little bugs out there that would like to infect us. Job’s integrity separated him from all the evil in the world. He maintained his separation from it, just as our skin separates us from the world.

God said Job fears him. Such is high praise for a man. Job was not sinless, but he loved God enough to keep himself from getting entangled in the lusts of this world. How many others can say they’ve never been overcome by the allure of the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes or the pride of life (1  John 2:15f)?

Job, according to God, was a man who turned away from evil. What a wonderful idea, and how seldom is it practiced in this world? If more people would just use their feet to take them away from the temptations of this life, more would be able to prevent sin.

Probably the highest praise God gave Job was the compliment of allowing him to suffer. This is a tough idea for some to comprehend, but when God tests our faith, he does so with suffering. In so doing is he not announcing his trust in our ability to pass the test? And, if we don’t, God is still there to pick us up and help us learn, isn’t he?

 

#god, #job, #praise, #suffering

On a scale of 1-10, I’m a motivated ext…

On a scale of 1-10, I’m a motivated extrovert 7 – not a natural born extrovert. When I was growing up, I was an introvert, but had to motivate myself to be an extrovert because of the demands of my job as manager of our school district’s mail room.

#demand, #extrovert, #introvert, #job, #manager, #motivate, #scale

Picking cotton for pay

When I was 15 years old I wanted an Elba Tiger jacket like some of my friends at school. We were poor, but mother figured out a way I could earn the $8.00 needed to buy my jacket.  Our neighbor had a small cotton field that he needed help picking the cotton.  Mother took me down there one afternoon and approached our neighbor about letting us help pick his cotton. He was glad to have us. 

The thick, long sack hung over my shoulder and the opening rested on my right side. It must have been at least 8 feet long. I drug that sack down the row and with ungloved hands picked cotton every afternoon after school. Each day they weighed my bag and cotton. Little by little I continued to make money until I got the amount needed for my jacket.

That was my first paying job.  Today cotton fields are so pretty to me.  Enjoy the picture I have made of a cotton field near Elba, Alabama.

#goals, #job, #work

Job

My first paid job was a short stint working for my father. He managed a jewelry store and I helped them get ready for inventory. That was a lot of fun and a precursor to a decade in retail. Later, my first real long-term job was working at a furniture store doing physical labor. I worked there when it wasn’t basketball season.  I learned something about hard work and being respectful. It is also makes me nostalgic, since I couldn’t really do that job physically anymore. Times change.

#job

First paying job?

Technically, my first paying job was feeding the neighbors cats, followed by baby sitting. Neither did I do frequently or regularly, so one could hardly think of that as earning any kind of living. The first real, steady job I had was working at a local greenhouse and floral shop. I worked there beginning with when I could drive and continued through much of college. I started out sweeping floors and potting plants. As I proved my ability to handle responsibility, I was given more important tasks. When all was said and done, I had done just about every job there except for cutting checks to pay the bills and the employees. That included working with the wealthy customers to decorate their home for elaborate parties and directing weddings. The job paid minimum wage, regardless of what I did or how hard I worked, but it was good experience and a nice steady paycheck. Still, it was good incentive to do well in college so I could get a higher paying job!

#hard-work, #job, #pay, #work

My First Paying Job?

My first paying job was, like the ladies in the picture, pulling cotton for 25 cents per day. I was 5 years old at the time. The cotton sack I had was especially made for my size. Unlike the picture of the ladies picking cotton, I quickly learned that the wearing of gloves is a must, otherwise your hands will have scratches and cuts all over them – not a pleasant experience.

My first paying job where I contributed to Social Security, was working at a cucumber shed, loading 40-60 pound sacks of cucumbers into a truck bed, 16 hours per day. I made a whole $300 one summer to pay for my books and tuition at college.

#college, #cotton, #cucumber, #glove, #hand, #job, #paying, #sack, #scratch, #truck

Job: Now I know that I don’t know much

My favorite prayer? I don’t have a favorite, per se, but I’ve been studying Job a lot lately & some of Job’s words to God from chapter 42 come to mind –
“I know that You can do everything and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You…I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know…I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

#job, #prayer

Without a doubt, preaching the gospel is…

Without a doubt, preaching the gospel isthe best job I ever had. Even though there are no tax advantages, even though some of the brethren can be very difficult (if not impossible) to work with, my worst day preaching is better than my best day doing anything else. I also believe there are eternal benefits involved that far outweigh the unavailability of health and life insurance.

#job, #preaching

Favorite Passage on Obedience

Passages of obedience always start with self. In apply Scripture to myself, I think not of only one. “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Cor 16.13, ESV). Another one that quickly comes to mind: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Cor. 13.5. ESV).

Reflecting on Job (once again), I am sure to apply these sentiments to myself. Where do I stand in relation to the Lord? After I answer that, then, perhaps, I can help one who is struggling in their own spirituality. The friends of Job were sure that Job’s experience was the result of a hidden wickedness within; consequently, in their “knowledge” they knew nothing at all.

Randal’s remark about how some brethren look at obedience as legalism is very true. It appears they fail to see the difference between commitment to the Lord and self-interest. The former does not struggle with “legalism,” while the latter, on occasion, does.

#job, #legalism, #obedience

What a man accomplishes in a day depends…

What a man accomplishes in a day depends upon the way in which he approaches his tasks. When we accept tough jobs as a challenge…and wade into them with joy and enthusiasm, miracles can happen. When we do our work with a dynamic conquering spirit, we get things done.

Arland Gilbert

#accomplish, #challenge, #dynamic, #enthusiasm, #job, #joy, #task