Sunday, July 25, 2021

Consider the Work of His Hands

Psalms 8:1-9
The Glory of the LORD in Creation
To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David.

1 O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?

5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,

7 All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

David extolled the LORD God and his Lord in this beautiful song of praise and exaltation for His creation.  He began with lifting up God’s name above all others, and praising His glory above the heavens covering the Creation of His word and hands, the glory which He Himself placed upon Himself there.  He silences His enemies with the weak and meek, as the example of little children and infants amplifies.  It is His strength, not ours (2 Corinthians 12:10, 13:4), which defeats the adversary and honors God as it demonstrates that the power is of Him and never our own (2 Corinthians 4:7).  He looked up towards the heavens in awe of the vast space with far off innumerable stars and the moon nearby, and considered the work of the LORD in creating all these with a word (Psalm 33:6, Hebrews 11:3, 2 Peter 3:5) as by the fingers of His figurative hand.  The vastness of it all made him wonder what significance a few small men were in comparison.  He made man, Adam and Eve, to put at the crown of His creation, to top off the universe as the best of His hand!  He is mindful of us, we who are less than the angels, and crowned us with His image of glory and honor as reflecting Himself in us.  Then He put us in charge to govern creation, plants and animals, acting as caretakers and rulers over these things, including the animals and aquatic creatures named here and more.  The summation of this song therefore is to cry out just how excellent the Name of the LORD really is in light of His creation, especially of us!  May we consider the works of His hand by each figurative finger, not only in creating us, but also in redeeming us by reconciliation in Christ by His word.  Selah.  Then we can worship in spirit and truth. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

A Prayer and Praise for Deliverance

Psalms 7:1-17
A Meditation of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning the words of Cush, a Benjamite.

1 O LORD my God, in You I put my trust;
Save me from all those who persecute me;
And deliver me,
2 Lest they tear me like a lion,
Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.

3 O LORD my God, if I have done this:
If there is iniquity in my hands,
4 If I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me,
Or have plundered my enemy without cause,
5 Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me;
Yes, let him trample my life to the earth,
And lay my honor in the dust.


6 Arise, O LORD, in Your anger;
Lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies;
Rise up for me to the judgment You have commanded!
7 So the congregation of the peoples shall surround You;
For their sakes, therefore, return on high.

8 The LORD shall judge the peoples;
Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness,
And according to my integrity within me.

9 Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end,
But establish the just;
For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.

10 My defense is of God,
Who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a just judge,
And God is angry with the wicked every day.

12 If he does not turn back,
He will sharpen His sword;
He bends His bow and makes it ready.
13 He also prepares for Himself instruments of death;
He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.

14 Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity;
Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood.
15 He made a pit and dug it out,
And has fallen into the ditch which he made.
16 His trouble shall return upon his own head,
And his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown.

17 I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. 

This is a song of praise and a prayer for deliverance from enemies.  It begins with and is founded on trust in God; without solid faith in God’s righteousness, character, and working on behalf of those who are His, prayer and praise are ineffective, if even possible.  David prayed for God to be saved from his persecutors who continually attacked him in various ways.  There was no man to deliver him, to save him, only the Almighty.  He then confessed any hidden or unrepentant sin to God or against another (1 John 1:9, James 5:16) in verses 3 and 4 while confessing that he deserved punishment at the hands of his enemies if he so failed to fulfill the first and second commandments (Luke 10:27).  Stop to consider that.  Then God’s servant asked Him to enact vengeance and due judgment on his enemies who pursued him who was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) in pursuing following Him as best he could.  He acknowledged that judgment comes to us all as commanded by the LORD, and asked for righteous judgment for all His people with spiritual integrity of the heart, not just for himself.  He also prayed for establishing the just in Him and the end of those opposing God in evil works, knowing that this is based on God’s assessment of the hearts and minds which He tests for faithfulness to Himself (2 Chronicles 16:9, 1 Chronicles 29:17, 1 Samuel 16:7).  His defense is the direction of his life and heart, knowing the goodness and severity of God (Romans 11:22).  This does not imply that David trusted in his own righteousness, but that accounted to Him by the righteous One as seen in other Psalms.  He knew the inevitability of judgment on the wicked and also his deliverance from that judgment, and so he ends the Psalm with praise according to God’s righteousness, lifting up His name and not his own.  This entire psalm is an example and pattern for our own prayers and the direction of our hearts in following Christ.  We pray for our enemies, exalt our Savior, and trust His working of providence in sovereign grace as His people in the righteousness of Christ.  

Friday, July 23, 2021

Supplication Of Suffering (SOS)

 Psalms 6:1-10

A Prayer of Faith in Time of Distress
To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. On an eight-stringed harp. A Psalm of David.

1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure.

2 Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
3 My soul also is greatly troubled;
But You, O LORD—how long?

4 Return, O LORD, deliver me!
Oh, save me for Your mercies' sake!
5 For in death there is no remembrance of You;
In the grave who will give You thanks?

6 I am weary with my groaning;
All night I make my bed swim;
I drench my couch with my tears.
7 My eye wastes away because of grief;
It grows old because of all my enemies.

8 Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity;
For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my supplication;
The LORD will receive my prayer.

10 Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled;
Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.

David prayed an SOS for his distress, a Supplication of Suffering.  The very description before verse one calls this a prayer of faith in time of distress, and the rest of the song bears this out.  He trusted God, exercised faith to believe and act on God’s word because of His proven character in action on David’s behalf in the past.  We can also walk by faith, by trusting God in Christ as God’s word who is faithful in word and deed in dealing with us who are in Him by that same living and active faith.  He prayed for mercy over deserved harsh discipline because of God’s wrath on his sin.  He admitted his own weakness and his troubled soul in the midst of the adversary’s attacks amidst his distressing circumstances, and asked how long until he would be delivered from all these things (as all His saints call out in Revelation 6:10).  David asked for salvation, for deliverance based on God’s mercy, not on what he felt entitled to, however.  He really wanted grace over what he deserved.  He did not want to be forgotten in death, but to continue to go on living so that he might continue to thank and praise his LORD.  Ah, but the overwhelming sorrow and grief from the continuous attacks overtook David, and he cried out in prayer for help with an SOS, a Supplication Of Suffering, as it was.  Then he prayed against his enemies who only sought sin against him and against God, knowing that God heard his prayers and received them in order to answer.  Therefore he warned his enemies out loud to be ashamed and feel the trouble they intended for him, and then retreat suddenly in that shame for antagonizing the LORD’s servant and His anointed.  We see a similarity in this with the enemies of God’s Anointed One turning back in shame after humiliating Him on the cross and every day since then, and how they will be ashamed at His coming.  We also see the pattern of prayer in our own suffering by trusting God to vindicate us in the end of not sooner, and to turn the shame of our enemies for us against them because they shame Jesus Christ when they attack us for His sake (1 Peter 3:14-17, 4:1, 5).  We pray for mercy, coming for help in our times of need.  We pray for relief from our enemies.  We pray knowing we are not entitled to anything but justice, yet receive grace in mercy instead because of the goodness of God in Christ to us.  Our prayers of SOS turn our suffering into supplication with trust in God’s working for good (Romans 8:28).  Amen and amen.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

A Prayer of Faith for Direction

Psalms 5:1-12 

To the Chief Musician. With flutes. A Psalm of David.

1 Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my meditation.

2 Give heed to the voice of my cry,
My King and my God,
For to You I will pray.

3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.

4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil dwell with You.

5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.

6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

7 But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.

8 Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.

9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
Their inward part is destruction;
Their throat is an open tomb;
They flatter with their tongue.

10 Pronounce them guilty, O God!
Let them fall by their own counsels;
Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,
For they have rebelled against You.

11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.

12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

This song of David is a prayer for direction and faith.  It begins with asking God to hear what he is asking for and to consider it because the king is considering what he is doing and where he is headed in living daily for God as his King of kings.  He prays only to the LORD, promising to speak with the Almighty first thing in the morning, in a servile and submissive attitude of the heart by looking up.  He acknowledges that God hates sin and evil, that those who boast in themselves are proud and cannot endure before Him.  God hates those living for the evil of sin, not just the sin of the evil as many say today.  He can and will remove those continuing in evil actions of lying and violence.  But the king on earth anointed by the King in the heavens reminds us here by example that he approaches God for mercy, not by earning grace through his own food works, worshiping in fear and awe.  David’s own works are the lifestyle he pursues to please God, based on His grace in mercy, not earned but still accountable.  Therefore, he asks in prayer for direction, to be led by God in the straight and narrow path for the sake of His righteousness and in His righteousness (Psalm 1:2, 6, 27:11, Romans 8:14).  In his prayer, David mentions the unrighteousness of his enemies who are opposed to God as His enemies, and speaks of their lack of faith with hearts set on destruction (Romans 9:22).  They flatter with words not from the heart, purposely deceiving others, bit of course unable to deceive God.  David cries for justice in judgment for these that they may be taken down by their own evil advice and words in their unrepentant rebellious sin.  Then God’s anointed servant reminds all of us who trust in Him to find joy expressed with words of praise, knowing that God is for us (Romans 8:31) to defend us against the evil ones.  We should be joyful because we are in Him, named as His by His name!  He blesses those who follow and surrounds us in His good grace to protect us from the evil (Ephesians 6:13, 16, Matthew 5:6, Romans 4:7, Luke 13:27, 2 Timothy 2:19).  Let us then follow Christ in faith and live according to His word as called out of sin by grace in mercy, praying for the direction of our lives to please our Savior with grateful and loyal hearts (2 Chronicles 16:9, Psalm 25:5, 31:3).  Amen! 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Mercy Brings Fearless Gladness

Psalms 4:1-8 

1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

2 How long, O you sons of men,
Will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness
And seek falsehood?


3 But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The LORD will hear when I call to Him.

4 Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.


5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the LORD.

6 There are many who say,
"Who will show us any good?"
LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.

7 You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.

8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

David prayed for relief in distressing adversity from the adversary, knowing it was answered out of God’s righteousness and not his own.  The king cried out for mercy, to not get what he deserved in his own unrighteousness, nor what the enemy was assaulting him with in adverse situations.  He prayed for relief from suffering and the barrage of attacks in the mercy of God’s grace.  He also asked how long people would shame him and seek lies to slander him with as they only seemed to live for worthless and meaningless things.  He most likely desired them to be like him in seeking the things of God instead in bringing this up.  Then he paused to let that sink in.  David knew God sets apart those who live according to His word and will from the heart, and since he was doing that, God would definitely hear his prayer in that distress.  He had faith in God’s faithfulness.  He told himself to trust God by not reacting to all the adversity with unresolved anger, but to deal with that anger by thinking it through according to His word as he lay in bed before falling asleep at the end of the day.  This is great advice by example for all of us.  We need to be still and meditate on the day, our anger at those who assault or offend us, and then talk to God to resolve our hearts towards forgiveness in the mercy He shows us daily (Lamentations 3:22-24, Ephesians 4:26).  Stop and meditate on that.  Our sacrifices according to these God-inspired words of David are righteous living according to His word with faith that trusts and acts as James describes throughout his epistle for us and which 1 John elaborates on (James 2:18, 1 John 2:3-6).  Our faith should be in God’s work and move us to participate in kind.  Instead of growing bitter because others do not do these good things to us as shown for us as to do as described in this Psalm, we should pray for God to help.  Verses 6 and 7 make it clear that God’s character and grace showered on us give us the joy in spite of unreciprocated grace we show others.  He gives gladness in spite of the adversarial attacks and unthankful and unkind actions given in return for our goodness shown to those opposing us.  This turning the other cheek comforts us and allows us to sleep well at night, knowing God watches over us as His people and children.  Only He can give such rest and keep us eternally safe.  His mercy gives us fearless gladness in following Him according to His word.  This is grace to shower on others, even our enemies (Romans 12:20-21). 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

There is Help in Times of Need

Psalms 3:1-8

1 LORD, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.

2 Many are they who say of me,
"There is no help for him in God."


3 But You, O LORD, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.

4 I cried to the LORD with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.


5 I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.

6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.

7 Arise, O LORD;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.

8 Salvation belongs to the LORD.
Your blessing is upon Your people.


This song of David speaks of God’s help in adversity.  He is there when our enemies come against us and trouble our hearts and minds and wills with threats, mocking our trust in God as if we will find no help in the Almighty.  This was David’s experience, and it often remains the case for us who are in Christ as well.  The song pauses with a selah to let that sink in before verses 3 and 4.  Then we find that the trust must be in the absolute truth of the LORD as our defender, a shield against the fiery darts of the wicked one cast at us (Ephesians 6:16) to weaken our trust in God’s providence and sustaining grace.  God gives us confidence to bring hope that lifts our downtrodden head as we are dismayed and tired in the war against us; when we cry for help in prayer, He is listening and hears in order to act on our behalf and for His glory.  He is not merely a God on an untouchable temple on a holy hill, but one who has walked among us and now has taken up residence within us, an immense difference from King David and those who have gone before us by faith in the promise to come (Ezekiel 36:26, John 14:17, 2 Corinthians 3:3, Colossians 1:27).  Let that sink in before looking again at verses 5 through 8 to see what comes next.  Like David, we can rest in faith and sleep peacefully through the night, knowing God keeps us.  We are in His good hands no matter how many adversaries come against us from all angles in life.  We are not all hunted like that king to face murder, but the attacks come in many unrelenting ways at times for us as well.  We should not fear either.  The answer to fear is to call on God to protect and to deliver us from all evil (Matthew 6:13).  He is our victory (1 Corinthians 15:57), and we are in Him!  Yes, deliverance from sin and death are found in our LORD, our Lord Jesus Christ; He blesses us because we have been called out to Himself.  We are the universal and unseen church who are His children and His people whom He has delivered and will continue to deliver (Colossians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 1:10).  He is our help in times of need.  Rest with a long ‘selah’ in that wondrous truth when you face suffering or adversity. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Triumphant Kingdom of the Messiah

Psalms 2:1-12 

1 Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,

3 "Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us."

4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.

5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:

6 "Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion."

7 "I will declare the decree:

The LORD has said to Me,
You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.

8 Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

9 You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'"

10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

This song exalts the Messiah, the Christ anointed by God the Father.  Those who know and trust in Him, receiving through believing (John 1:12), are truly blessed and joyful in Him.  This song of triumph and the coming Kingdom of God is quoted in Acts 4:25–27 to demonstrate that killing Jesus the Christ did not stop His kingdom and was in fact the ultimate triumph, not a defeat with His death on the cross.  The nations rage against the Christ and His dominion in the church, yet it is a vain attempt to thwart God’s planned work on the cross, through the suffering, death, resurrection, and future return of the Messiah.  He will set up His eternal kingdom on earth at that time in the New Jerusalem, where we shall behold Him face to face even more clearly than Moses did (Exodus 33:11, 1 Corinthians 13:12, Revelation 22:4-5).  The opposition to Christ was futile then and will always come to futility; no matter what laws nations enact or how they persecute God’s people, there is always triumph in the air!  If the very gates of hell cannot prevail against the church (not an earthly organization or particular denomination, but the entirety of the redeemed of God in Christ), then what government has a chance?  God laughs at these grand but feeble attempts to attack the gospel and His people whom He calls out to Himself.  They will be put to shame, especially when they all bow to His majesty and sovereign rule (Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11-12, Philippians 2:10-11) in the end.  God’s wrath will be poured out on those rejecting His grace and mercy, unless they kiss the Son, embracing Him and His work of deliverance from our just due (Romans 6:23).  God called His Son to inherit all nations throughout time to defeat and to deliver according to His word and will as verses 8 and 9 declare here.  Wisdom reads these words and moves the sinner to be instructed, to learn God’s plan and intent, and to turn from sin to Him to serve with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) before His great anger for our rebellion is poured out on us (Revelation 14:10) as deserved.  Kiss the Son!  Embrace Him!  Believe and receive the gospel of Jesus Christ!  Those who trust in Him will not be ashamed at His coming, but will be blessed in this life and into eternity.  Why rage against Him when life is offered?  The triumphant kingdom of the Messiah-Christ is within His people who answer this call to believe and receive, embracing His salvation.  Trust Him and hold fast to Him.  This is the Triumphant Kingdom of the Messiah which has come and is coming forever.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Righteous Counsel and Ungodly Accountability

Psalms 1:1-6 

1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The counsel of the righteous is what Job needed, but failed to receive from his three friends, though some seemed godly but was misapplied and misleading.  This ungodly advice and example only breeds sin and scorn for the things of God.  The man blessed by God instead does not follow after such wicked counsel, does not walk the path of sinful men giving that advice, and does not mock or scorn the things from God’s word or those using it as counsel.  Those then who are blessed and esteemed by the LORD find all their joy and pleasure in Him and His word, taking time throughout the day to mull it over as they read and consider the examples, commands, warnings, and principles there.  His word should always be the guiding light for day and night.  This leads to spiritual prosperity, not necessarily material, bringing the fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 5:9) in and out from our lives as King David alluded to here.  Jeremiah 17:8 reminds us that being planted by life giving waters not only allows this fruit, but allays fear and anxiety.  His word brings peace as we consider it and how to live according to it.  That is true prosperity in God’s sight.  However, those who leave God out are as useless chaff from the threshing floor, driven away from godly prosperity and meeting a horrible end (Luke 3:17).  This is what it means to be unable to stand in the judgment, to be in the lake of unending fire at the final reckoning with God on the last day.  These will not stand with those in the Lamb’s book of life with Him in eternity with the congregation of His people called out to Himself who are made clean and righteous in Christ.  Sinners not regenerated cannot stand with God’s people in the judgment.  The LORD knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2:19), the righteous (Romans 5:19, John 3:18-19, 20-21), but the ungodly will certainly answer for their disobedience and disbelief of unrighteousness, which is sin.  This first Psalm sets the stage for the rest, demonstrating the difference between those following God by trusting, by faith that works, and the end of those opposed to Him and His word.  May we then who are His give extra emphasis on filling our minds, hearts, hands, and feet with His word lived out as we listen to godly counsel and sound teaching.  This is the difference between righteous counsel to life (John 6:29) and accountability of the ungodly which we preach in the gospel of Jesus Christ! 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Repentance and Restoration

Job 42:1-17 

1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:

2 "I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.

3 You asked, Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?'
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

4 Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, I will question you, and you shall answer Me.'

5 "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
6 Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes."

    7 And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. 8 Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has."

    9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD commanded them; for the LORD had accepted Job. 10 And the LORD restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the LORD had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold.

    12 Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. 15 In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.

    16 After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. 17 So Job died, old and full of days.

After Job heard from the LORD and from Elihu who prepared Job as directed by God, he realized his sin and repented.  Job admitted God alone is omnipotent and that He is sovereignly providential in all He plans and does.  Nothing happens outside of God’s preordained will, and no man or other created being can thwart His working and decrees.  God had questioned His servant about his speaking without understanding God’s hidden will, and then Job confessed that he had been talking as if he understood the ways and thoughts of the Almighty, but did not really know at all what God was doing.  He got it all wrong in his own human reasoning and skewed assumptions.  These things he freely confessed as his sin before God in the end.  He further asked God to hear his confession as we can likewise confess to our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14, 16, 1 John 1:9), humbling himself when he realized God’s holiness and majesty and power.  He saw who God is and repented as He abhorred his own sinfulness in light of God’s holiness.  He despised his spiritual condition in an act of repentance, just as we do when Christ opens the eyes of our hearts and ears to see who He is and our falling short of His glory and holiness.  We who now know Christ have had that moment of regeneration as we heard the gospel of hope and reconciliation of restoration with opened ears, then we admitted and confessed our sin in light of our sinful state, throwing ourselves on His mercy in Christ for deliverance from sin’s death grip on us all.  As the LORD then told Job’s friends, we spoke what was right in doing the work of God with trust in God’s work in Christ (John 6:29, Ephesians 1:13).  Job had his possessions added back and family rebuilt, and led a full life after the adversity and restoration.  We who are in Christ have heavenly treasures given which we never had before, with brothers and sisters in abundance far beyond what we ever had before our deliverance and rebirth.  The story of Job is a reminder of God’s working in us leading to salvation, but also of the transformative power of the gospel to those who confess Him as Lord in spirit and truth by means of God’s providential grace in our words and in our hearts when we see Him for who He is (high and lifted up as in Isaiah 6:1) and who we are (Romans 3:20, 6:23), hopelessly lost in sin apart from Him (Acts 2:39, Romans 3:25, Ephesians 2:13, Colossians 1:20).  We have been rescued and restored to the fellowship with God in Christ as intended in the beginning in Eden’s Garden, through repentance and restoration, and we will die but once and then live forever, full of days in His presence! 

Friday, July 16, 2021

King Over Children of Pride

Job 41:1-34 

1 "Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook,
Or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?

2 Can you put a reed through his nose,
Or pierce his jaw with a hook?

3 Will he make many supplications to you?
Will he speak softly to you?

4 Will he make a covenant with you?
Will you take him as a servant forever?

5 Will you play with him as with a bird,
Or will you leash him for your maidens?

6 Will your companions make a banquet of him?
Will they apportion him among the merchants?

7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons,
Or his head with fishing spears?

8 Lay your hand on him;
Remember the battle—
Never do it again!

9 Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false;
Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him?

10 No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up.
Who then is able to stand against Me?

11 Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him?
Everything under heaven is Mine.

12 "I will not conceal his limbs,
His mighty power, or his graceful proportions.

13 Who can remove his outer coat?
Who can approach him with a double bridle?

14 Who can open the doors of his face,
With his terrible teeth all around?

15 His rows of scales are his pride,
Shut up tightly as with a seal;
16 One is so near another
That no air can come between them;
17 They are joined one to another,
They stick together and cannot be parted.

18 His sneezings flash forth light,
And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.

19 Out of his mouth go burning lights;
Sparks of fire shoot out.

20 Smoke goes out of his nostrils,
As from a boiling pot and burning rushes.

21 His breath kindles coals,
And a flame goes out of his mouth.

22 Strength dwells in his neck,
And sorrow dances before him.

23 The folds of his flesh are joined together;
They are firm on him and cannot be moved.

24 His heart is as hard as stone,
Even as hard as the lower millstone.

25 When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid;
Because of his crashings they are beside themselves.

26 Though the sword reaches him, it cannot avail;
Nor does spear, dart, or javelin.

27 He regards iron as straw,
And bronze as rotten wood.

28 The arrow cannot make him flee;
Slingstones become like stubble to him.

29 Darts are regarded as straw;
He laughs at the threat of javelins.

30 His undersides are like sharp potsherds;
He spreads pointed marks in the mire.

31 He makes the deep boil like a pot;
He makes the sea like a pot of ointment.

32 He leaves a shining wake behind him;
One would think the deep had white hair.

33 On earth there is nothing like him,
Which is made without fear.

34 He beholds every high thing;
He is king over all the children of pride."

Various theories about what the Leviathan was here include a fire-breathing dragon or dinosaur of some sort with the armor skin and fire or smoke.  We may never know for certain in this life, and it is not the aim of God’s speech to Job here.  What does matter is that God used this formidable and untamable Leviathan as an example of pride having an unconquerable foe.  Those in pride against God face His power through creation which will ultimately defeat them.  It is a losing battle to hold such pride against the knowledge and power of the Almighty!  It is as trying to slay a dragon or take down a dinosaur bigger than a hippopotamus.  It is futile.  Everything under heaven is God’s and those He gives it to; Job is an example for us to not make a similar mistake by thinking we can have God answer to us, as if we know better.  When we suffer adversity, the cause is not always known, but God’s providence and sovereign grace are certain.  These we can and should rely on.  God used this example to show that He ultimately is the King over children of pride, not a powerful creature that He created.  Who are we to question Him or not trust His working when it is unpleasant for us?  We need to realize that all things He allows or gives is for our good and His glory as Romans 8:28 so succinctly says (Ecclesiastes 8:4-8, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18).  Just as the Leviathan was an example of a king over the children of pride by God’s power, our humility and living by trust in Christ is king over our own pride.  We can therefore be content while suffering, knowing divine providence is at work. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

God's Challenge to Answer

Job 40:1-24 

1 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said:

2 "Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?
He who rebukes God, let him answer it."

3 Then Job answered the LORD and said:
4 "Behold, I am vile;
What shall I answer You?
I lay my hand over my mouth.
5 Once I have spoken, but I will not answer;
Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further."

6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
7 "Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me:

8 "Would you indeed annul My judgment?
Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?

9 Have you an arm like God?
Or can you thunder with a voice like His?
10 Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor,
And array yourself with glory and beauty.

11 Disperse the rage of your wrath;
Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him.
12 Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low;
Tread down the wicked in their place.
13 Hide them in the dust together,
Bind their faces in hidden darkness.

14 Then I will also confess to you
That your own right hand can save you.

15 "Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you;
He eats grass like an ox.
16 See now, his strength is in his hips,
And his power is in his stomach muscles.
17 He moves his tail like a cedar;
The sinews of his thighs are tightly knit.
18 His bones are like beams of bronze,
His ribs like bars of iron.

19 He is the first of the ways of God;
Only He who made him can bring near His sword.

20 Surely the mountains yield food for him,
And all the beasts of the field play there.
21 He lies under the lotus trees,
In a covert of reeds and marsh.
22 The lotus trees cover him with their shade;
The willows by the brook surround him.

23 Indeed the river may rage,
Yet he is not disturbed;
He is confident, though the Jordan gushes into his mouth,
24 Though he takes it in his eyes,
Or one pierces his nose with a snare.

The LORD counsels Job further, beginning with challenging him to give a response for trying to correct God as he questioned His workings in Job’s adversity.  He must answer for this.  Job responded by admitting his insignificance before the Almighty.  He put his hand over his mouth and refused to speak further as he had been doing, for he knew his error as God pointed out to him.  Out of the storm, God continued to speak with the challenge of rebuke and correction, telling Job to be a man and answer when God questioned him more.  He began by asking how in the world could His servant make His judgment as nothing in order to justify himself.  He asked if Job had God’s power or voice or majestic splendor.  He then told Job to humble others if he was really like God in these ways, pointing out of course that he could not because he was not; for if he could do these things, Job would have the power to be able to save himself from the suffering.  God pointed out the behemoth as an example of God being the only one who could bring such an uncontrollable beast under control.  Only God could care for such a powerful and massive animal; no man, including Job, had the power to subdue it.  This was the LORD’s way of using imagery to reveal Job’s prideful thinking of self-reliance and self-righteous pride, as if he were that immense and immovable behemoth.  We should consider our prideful ways as well, humbling ourselves to take every thought captive to His and His word (Romans 12:3, 2 Corinthians 10:5) as we confess and repent from such inflated opinions of ourselves.  Let us learn from Job’s example as we submit under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6-7).  God’s challenge to us comes daily from His word.  Do we submit humbly under His mighty hand of grace, or fight in our own supposed power and wisdom as if to save or deliver ourselves?

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Pride of Life

Job 39:1-30 

1 "Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young?
Or can you mark when the deer gives birth?
2 Can you number the months that they fulfill?
Or do you know the time when they bear young?
3 They bow down,
They bring forth their young,
They deliver their offspring.
4 Their young ones are healthy,
They grow strong with grain;
They depart and do not return to them.

5 "Who set the wild donkey free?
Who loosed the bonds of the onager,
6 Whose home I have made the wilderness,
And the barren land his dwelling?
7 He scorns the tumult of the city;
He does not heed the shouts of the driver.
8 The range of the mountains is his pasture,
And he searches after every green thing.

9 "Will the wild ox be willing to serve you?
Will he bed by your manger?
10 Can you bind the wild ox in the furrow with ropes?
Or will he plow the valleys behind you?
11 Will you trust him because his strength is great?
Or will you leave your labor to him?
12 Will you trust him to bring home your grain,
And gather it to your threshing floor?

13 "The wings of the ostrich wave proudly,
But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork's?
14 For she leaves her eggs on the ground,
And warms them in the dust;
15 She forgets that a foot may crush them,
Or that a wild beast may break them.
16 She treats her young harshly, as though they were not hers;
Her labor is in vain, without concern,
17 Because God deprived her of wisdom,
And did not endow her with understanding.
18 When she lifts herself on high,
She scorns the horse and its rider.

19 "Have you given the horse strength?
Have you clothed his neck with thunder?
20 Can you frighten him like a locust?
His majestic snorting strikes terror.
21 He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength;
He gallops into the clash of arms.
22 He mocks at fear, and is not frightened;
Nor does he turn back from the sword.
23 The quiver rattles against him,
The glittering spear and javelin.
24 He devours the distance with fierceness and rage;
Nor does he come to a halt because the trumpet has sounded.
25 At the blast of the trumpet he says, 'Aha!'
He smells the battle from afar,
The thunder of captains and shouting.

26 "Does the hawk fly by your wisdom,
And spread its wings toward the south?
27 Does the eagle mount up at your command,
And make its nest on high?
28 On the rock it dwells and resides,
On the crag of the rock and the stronghold.
29 From there it spies out the prey;
Its eyes observe from afar.
30 Its young ones suck up blood;
And where the slain are, there it is."

The LORD God continued to confront Job’s wisdom as flawed, demonstrating His power over creation and comparing it to man’s lack of understanding and wisdom.  He mentioned goats and deer give birth at times not known to Job, how wild donkeys are free because God set them free, and how a wild ox will not just willingly serve mankind.  These things are in God’s providence and power, not ours, and so should humble our pride in thinking we know so much (Proverbs 3:19).  He compared the ostrich to people, not taking care of her young because God deprived it of wisdom and did not provide understanding to the proud bird which outraces horsemen.  As to horses, the LORD asked if Job gave them their strength or brings fear to them.  In their majesty, the horses refuse to fear and charge into battle.  Even the hawks and other majestic birds of prey do not fly by the wisdom of Job or any other man.  They soar on high as God made them, spying out their prey from up above.  All these examples were given to challenge Job’s supposed wisdom as veiled in very limited understanding.  God’s wisdom and understanding rule His creation, and that includes mankind in our pride.  The uprightness of Job was not his self-righteousness or own wisdom; those things originate in God alone, and He was using these things to humble Job that he might wait on God for comprehension of his suffering in unwarranted adversity.  This teaches us by example to trust and wait on God when we suffer, and not to put words in His mouth to make sense of adverse situations we find ourselves in.  We are to avoid the pride of life by doing God’s will instead according to His word (1 John 2:16-17), humbling ourselves in the sight of the Lord to see His mercy and grace. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Who Gives Wisdom and Understanding?

Job 38:22-41

22 "Have you entered the treasury of snow,
Or have you seen the treasury of hail,
23 Which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
For the day of battle and war?

24 By what way is light diffused,
Or the east wind scattered over the earth?

25 "Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water,
Or a path for the thunderbolt,
26 To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one,
A wilderness in which there is no man;
27 To satisfy the desolate waste,
And cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass?

28 Has the rain a father?
Or who has begotten the drops of dew?

29 From whose womb comes the ice?
And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?
30 The waters harden like stone,
And the surface of the deep is frozen.

31 "Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades,
Or loose the belt of Orion?
32 Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season?
Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you set their dominion over the earth?

34 "Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
That an abundance of water may cover you?
35 Can you send out lightnings, that they may go,
And say to you, 'Here we are!'?

36 Who has put wisdom in the mind?
Or who has given understanding to the heart?

37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven,
38 When the dust hardens in clumps,
And the clods cling together?

39 "Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40 When they crouch in their dens,
Or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait?

41 Who provides food for the raven,
When its young ones cry to God,
And wander about for lack of food?

The LORD continued to question Job and his prideful words.  Who put wisdom in his mind or given understanding to his heart?  These answers come from God alone, as He spelled out His work in creation.  God asked if Job knew where snow and hail originate, and how He uses them for sovereign purposes of providence in His workings.  He asked if Job grasped how light is divided and diffused or how wind is likewise scattered as it blows from the East.  He used examples of lightning taking its course (which we even now understand partially with scientific observation), and rain falling on uninhabited land to water the plants for growth while unseen by man but known to God.  He was letting Job know that God knows everything because He is in absolute control, and He is directing everything in the world we see.  God further asked if Job knew where ice and frost originate and how the stars form constellations as they run their courses in the heavens above according to His design and outworking by His hand.  He asked if His servant could speak to the clouds and bring rain as the LORD does, and send lightning.  The key is in verse 36 where God questions who gives wisdom and understanding to man.  Of course, the answer is the LORD Himself; that is God’s point to Job here.  It is not man’s wisdom or work to understand, but God’s gift to man because it all originates in and with Him alone.  We cannot count the ever changing clouds or bring rain at will, nor can we hunt for the animals or provide food for the birds of the air as they need it, yet He provides for us more than the birds (Matthew 6:26).  They cry for food and He brings it; why do we not rely on Him in trusting faith to provide our needs (Matthew 6:31-33)?  Job should have not given up in waiting on the LORD for deliverance from His suffering.  Neither should we as we look in His word by His Spirit to understand and gain wisdom in all circumstances, no matter how painful. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

The LORD’s Omnipotence and our Pride

Job 38:1-21

1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:

2 "Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
3 Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.

4 "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?

6 To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
7 When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

8 "Or who shut in the sea with doors,
When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
9 When I made the clouds its garment,
And thick darkness its swaddling band;
10 When I fixed My limit for it,
And set bars and doors;
11 When I said,
'This far you may come, but no farther,
And here your proud waves must stop!'

12 "Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
And caused the dawn to know its place,
13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,
And the wicked be shaken out of it?

14 It takes on form like clay under a seal,
And stands out like a garment.
15 From the wicked their light is withheld,
And the upraised arm is broken.

16 "Have you entered the springs of the sea?
Or have you walked in search of the depths?

17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you?
Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?

18 Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know all this.

19 "Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
And darkness, where is its place,
20 That you may take it to its territory,
That you may know the paths to its home?
21 Do you know it, because you were born then,
Or because the number of your days is great?

After first letting Job know that empty words only hide good counsel, the LORD God questions Job and expects his answers in return.  He sets the foundation with His work and power of creation as in Genesis 1:1–10, and His omnipotence.  God asks where His servant was when He created the universe and the world beneath Job’s feet, asking him to measure the earth and tell its creator exactly how big it is.  Only the designer knows it’s foundations and anchor points of gravity and centrifugal force as it hurls around the sun.  God created and anchored it in place as the angels sang joyful praises to honor His work.  Job was not there; what could he then know of any of God’s ways or judgments?  God created clouds and rain, setting limits to form sea borders, telling the waves at the shores to go that far and no further, limiting their prideful attempts to overrun the land.  This is as an analogy of the limits we all have to set boundaries on our pride as well.  God alone spoke and the sunrise and sunset times were established.  He asked if Job did that.  Of course he could only humbly answer that he did not and could not.  God shakes out the wicked day by day in His time according to His will.  He holds back the light from the evildoers to demonstrate their end is darkness.  God asked if Job found out the measurements of the depth of the sea, or the place of death’s entrance, or the size of the earth.  These things the creator alone knows until He reveals it to us by enabling us to find out His blueprints of creation.  Job certainly could not do it then.  God asked if Job knew the physics of light and darkness, things which are largely theoretical to this day in the precise nature of photons and their makeup.  We still try to understand the creation as if to outthink God.  Job was not present at the instantiation of light and darkness as in Genesis 1:3-4, because he was not that old as God pointed out, but also because it was made before mankind.  In other words, God knows best and Job should have humbled himself instead of thinking he knew what God was doing with his suffering.  Job had been ascribing the reasoning and purpose of God’s working without knowing what was really happening.  We have this same sinful trait, judging His judgment and claiming we know His timetable for the end times, the reasons we suffer, and our blaming Him when things go unpleasantly for us.  We need to hear God speaking of His omnipotence and understand that we know only what is revealed; we are to act on what we know and not speculate further (Deuteronomy 29:29), letting our pride settle with the understanding He gives day by day as we walk by faith (Philippians 3:15-16, 1 Corinthians 4:5).  And we can learn of God’s mercy and compassion for us as Job did (James 5:11) as we patiently endure our own suffering. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

May Our Hearts Leap within Us

Job 37:1-24 

1 "At this also my heart trembles,
And leaps from its place.

2 Hear attentively the thunder of His voice,
And the rumbling that comes from His mouth.
3 He sends it forth under the whole heaven,
His lightning to the ends of the earth.

4 After it a voice roars;
He thunders with His majestic voice,
And He does not restrain them when His voice is heard.
5 God thunders marvelously with His voice;
He does great things which we cannot comprehend.

6 For He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth';
Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.

7 He seals the hand of every man,
That all men may know His work.

8 The beasts go into dens,
And remain in their lairs.

9 From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind,
And cold from the scattering winds of the north.

10 By the breath of God ice is given,
And the broad waters are frozen.
11 Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds;
He scatters His bright clouds.

12 And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance,
That they may do whatever He commands them
On the face of the whole earth.

13 He causes it to come,
Whether for correction,
Or for His land,
Or for mercy.

14 "Listen to this, O Job;
Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.

15 Do you know when God dispatches them,
And causes the light of His cloud to shine?
16 Do you know how the clouds are balanced,
Those wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge?

17 Why are your garments hot,
When He quiets the earth by the south wind?

18 With Him, have you spread out the skies,
Strong as a cast metal mirror?

19 "Teach us what we should say to Him,
For we can prepare nothing because of the darkness.
20 Should He be told that I wish to speak?
If a man were to speak, surely he would be swallowed up.

21 Even now men cannot look at the light when it is bright in the skies,
When the wind has passed and cleared them.

22 He comes from the north as golden splendor;
With God is awesome majesty.

23 As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him;
He is excellent in power,
In judgment and abundant justice;
He does not oppress.

24 Therefore men fear Him;
He shows no partiality to any who are wise of heart."

We see Elihu continuing to extol God and His wondrous works.  When he and we hear His word and observe His mighty works, our heart leaps within us as the two journeying to Emmaus in Luke 24:32 heard the Master’s voice.  Elihu had this heart exaltation as he exalted the LORD and spoke of all His wondrous deeds in creation and towards men.  These things he was using to rekindle Job’s heart in the midst of his suffering.  They can encourage and move us as well.  He used the example of thunder and lightning, mighty displays of God’s power as if He speaks through them, thundering marvelously!  He used this to tell Job and us that God’s works are great and beyond understanding most of the time, of course unless He chooses to reveal some to us.  Snow and rainfall, hibernating animals, and even limits to man’s works are illustrated to demonstrate God’s wonderful working.  Winds, storms, ice, and clouds all move at His command, at His will and word.  He gives three reasons for these things: first, for correction of us, second for watering His land we are tending (Genesis 2:15), and third to show His mercy.  He sends storms to correct us that we may rely on Him alone.  He waters the land to help us maintain and tend it that we may have food.  He shows mercy in all His loving care by His power and control of the elements for our good and His glory.  This Elihu told Job to consider these wondrous works of God starting in verse 14, and he pointed to the perfect knowledge of God in bringing all things about for a purpose, His providence.  Job should consider this in his adversity and trust God’s working as unpleasant things are allowed with the good ones (Romans 8:28).  We need to be taught what to speak to Him, just as Elihu and Job.  The brightness of His glory and awesome majesty display God’s power and fair judgment, and we therefore fear Him to whom there is no partiality (Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9), as an example for us.  The lessons for Job apply in many ways to us as well, especially when we reach the end of the book and understand the insight Job learned from these discourses.  May our heart also leap within us as we consider these things from His word!

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Who Teaches Like God?

Job 36:16-33

16 "Indeed He would have brought you out of dire distress,
Into a broad place where there is no restraint;
And what is set on your table would be full of richness.

17 But you are filled with the judgment due the wicked;
Judgment and justice take hold of you.

18 Because there is wrath, beware lest He take you away with one blow;
For a large ransom would not help you avoid it.

19 Will your riches,
Or all the mighty forces,
Keep you from distress?

20 Do not desire the night,
When people are cut off in their place.

21 Take heed, do not turn to iniquity,
For you have chosen this rather than affliction.

22 "Behold, God is exalted by His power;
Who teaches like Him?

23 Who has assigned Him His way,
Or who has said, 'You have done wrong'?

24 "Remember to magnify His work,
Of which men have sung.
25 Everyone has seen it;
Man looks on it from afar.

26 "Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him;
Nor can the number of His years be discovered.

27 For He draws up drops of water,
Which distill as rain from the mist,
28 Which the clouds drop down
And pour abundantly on man.

29 Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds,
The thunder from His canopy?
30 Look, He scatters His light upon it,
And covers the depths of the sea.

31 For by these He judges the peoples;
He gives food in abundance.

32 He covers His hands with lightning,
And commands it to strike.
33 His thunder declares it,
The cattle also, concerning the rising storm.

Elihu continues to extol God’s majesty and asks the question, ‘Who teaches like Him?”  He tells Job (and by example and principle, all who read this) that justice by judgment for presumptuous sin has kept him from deliverance so far in Job’s distress.  Fear of God was lacking according to His word in verse 18 here.  Neither great riches or a powerful army can deliver from adversity, nor hiding in the darkness of nighttime.  Don’t choose sin when affliction comes, and remember that God teaches us in His way, a way unlike any other could or would do.  There is none like Him, and His ways are past finding out (Job 9:10, Romans 11:33).  Nobody can tell Him how to run the universe or themselves, and nobody can correct Him for doing wrong according to their own standards (Psalm 115:3), so we should listen and learn from Him as He works in His ways and we follow in obedience.  We should magnify His name and understand His eternality.  He has created this world, this universe, to be sustainable by His design.  We only can understand the edges of His ways in how everything works, and in how He rules to judge righteously and with absolute justice, no matter how things appear in our limited perspective.  The lesson here is for us to hear what Job did, and to take it to heart as well.  This implies that we learn from God in our own adversity and distressing circumstances.  He is sovereign and good, and we should trust and follow in willing obedience to His word, knowing His love and care for His children, which we are (1 John 3:1-3).  Who teaches like God?

Friday, July 9, 2021

The Goodness of God

Job 36:1-15

1 Elihu also proceeded and said:

2 "Bear with me a little, and I will show you
That there are yet words to speak on God's behalf.

3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar;
I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
4 For truly my words are not false;
One who is perfect in knowledge is with you.

5 "Behold, God is mighty, but despises no one;
He is mighty in strength of understanding.

6 He does not preserve the life of the wicked,
But gives justice to the oppressed.

7 He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous;
But they are on the throne with kings,
For He has seated them forever,
And they are exalted.

8 And if they are bound in fetters,
Held in the cords of affliction,
9 Then He tells them their work and their transgressions—
That they have acted defiantly.

10 He also opens their ear to instruction,
And commands that they turn from iniquity.

11 If they obey and serve Him,
They shall spend their days in prosperity,
And their years in pleasures.

12 But if they do not obey,
They shall perish by the sword,
And they shall die without knowledge.

13 "But the hypocrites in heart store up wrath;
They do not cry for help when He binds them.
14 They die in youth,
And their life ends among the perverted persons.

15 He delivers the poor in their affliction,
And opens their ears in oppression.

Elihu now extols the goodness and severity of God (Romans 11:22).  Speaking for God with Job, he reminds the hearers that he gets his knowledge from above, and confesses all righteousness comes from Him alone.  It is not Elihu’s righteous standing or wisdom advising and exhorting his friend, but he is a spokesperson or messenger.  God is perfect in knowledge and understanding from the heart; He is omnipotent and yet restrained in goodness to his people without rejecting them.  God looks out for those who are oppressed with divine justice, but He does not keep the lives of the wicked from ending.  Those who live uprightly He keeps as the apple of His eye, put in places where He has ordained, such as rulers.  Those who suffer affliction for their crimes He reveals their sin that they might repent for their rebellion.  He opens deaf ears that they may turn from sin to Him.  If the then follow in obedience to His word to serve, then He prospers them in varying ways and with joy in Him.  We see how hypocrites ignore God and do not pray in their distress, and many die young along with the sexually immoral.  But those poor in spirit are delivered from affliction and when distressed or oppressed, they hear His words of goodness and merciful grace as He opens their ears to hear.  This advice to Job was meant to see God’s righteousness and man’s falling short of that perfection; we are all sinners, and God must reveal His word and will and character to each of us.  It is our responsibility to respond in joyful and willingly obedience by following Him and turning away from sin.  The goodness of God (Exodus 34:6, Psalm 51:1-2, 2 Thessalonians 1:11) opens our eyes and ears and leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).  May we listen to wisdom as Elihu did to exhort and encourage each other.