Monday, August 21, 2017

August 21: Job 1 – 3; Psalm 37:12-29; Proverbs 21:25-26; 1 Corinthians 14:1-17


            Job: Job was a righteous man who feared God. He lived in Uz and was very rich. When his children had a party, he would make burnt offerings for them the next morning in case they had cursed God in their hearts.
            One day when all the sons of God came before the Lord, Satan came also. The Lord pointed out Job and asked if Satan had seen this blameless man. Satan said Job feared God only because of God’s protection and provision. The Lord gave Satan permission to take away his possessions.
            Satan wiped out his provisions and killed his children using raiders, fire, and a mighty wind. Job’s response was to worship God realizing that all he had came from the Lord and he could take it away when he wanted.
            Again, Satan came before God and God asked him about Job who was still blameless and feared God in spite of what Satan did to him. Satan then says that he will curse God if his health is afflicted. God allows Satan to take Job’s health but is not allowed to kill him.
            When Job’s health is taken, his wife urges him to stop holding on to his integrity, curse God and die. Job calls her foolish and says that we should accept both good and evil from God. Job did not sin.
            Job had three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They came to comfort him but when they saw him from a distance they didn’t recognize him. They tore their robes and mourned. They sat with him for seven days without saying anything.
            Job then spoke and wished he had never been born. He cursed he day he was born and asked that other do so also. He feels it would have been better to die at birth than live. He would have immediately joined princes and kings who were already dead. Even in the grave, wicked people stop causing problems and there is rest. Everyone ends up in the grave, great or small.
            He asks why life is given only to have bitterness and misery in it. He longs for death but it doesn’t come. What he fears comes upon him, he is not at ease, has no rest, but only troubles.
            Psalm: There is a contrast drawn between the righteous and the wicked. The wicked plot against and seek to harm the righteous, but the Lord laughs at their attempts. He thwarts their plans and they ultimately perish. On the other hand, the Lord takes care of the righteous, even when they have little. They will inherit the earth. The ways of the righteous and wicked are also contrasted. The advice is to turn from evil and do good because the Lord loves justice.
            Proverbs: A lazy person kills himself by not doing any work. He just wants things for himself but a righteous person gives to other freely.
            1 Corinthians: While pursuing love, we can desire spiritual gifts especially prophecy A prophet builds up the church. It is better than tongues because a person with tongues only helps himself unless there is an interpreter available to let the church know what is being said. Even if Paul came speaking only in tongues, no one would understand. Even musical instruments give distinct notes but unintelligible tongues mean nothing to others. If you want a manifestation of the Spirit then excel in what builds up the church. So, anyone who speaks in tongues should pray to interpret.
            Praying in tongues is unfruitful because your mind still doesn’t understand. If you pray in your spirit you should also pray with your mind. The same goes for singing, praising, and giving thanks. Otherwise people can’t say “amen” to what you are saying. They aren’t being built up.

What Stood Out

            Job: “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.’ So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord” (Job 1:12).        
            Psalm: “The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; they are not put to shame in evil times” (Ps 37:18-19).
            Proverbs: “All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back” (Prov 21:26).
            1 Corinthians: “So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church” (1 Cor 14:12).


            Job: Twice, God commended Job as an upright person who was blameless and turns away from evil. This is something to remember as we go through the book of Job. It establishes the fact that none of his trials were caused by his sins. The opening two chapters serve to establish this and let us know that behind the scenes of life on earth the spiritual realm overlaps and affects what happens.
            The first thing to note is that Satan has access to God even though he is a fallen angel. He has access to the earth and has some amount of control over people and nature. He instigated the Sabeans and Chaldeans to raid and kill. He caused fire to come down from heaven and a strong wind to destroy Job’s oldest son’s house. All this was done with God’s permission. God didn’t tell Satan what to do or how to do it but he did limit what Satan could do. Satan also caused disease to come upon Job. I point this out so that we know that these particular evils came from Satan. However, we need to look at the rest of the Bible to make sure we don’t attribute all disasters to Satan. If we only had the book of Job, we would probably think that.
            Satan still has access to God. He hasn’t been cast out completely as yet. Evil spirits had access to appear before the Lord as indicated in Judges9:23; 1 Samuel 16:15; and 1 Kings 22:22-23. Jesus said he saw Satan fall (Luke 10:18) but this was before the cross and resurrection so it was Jesus’ foresight, not Satan’s restriction to the earth. We won’t see Satan limited to the earth until Revelation 12:9, which is sometime in the future. Satan still accuses the saints just like he accused Job and will do so until he is cast down (Rev 12:10).
            We don’t want to become smug concerning Satan. Jesus has defeated him but he is still fighting (Eph 6:10-18; 1 Peter 5:8) but we don’t want to forget that God is sovereign. We never want to give up and follow the advice of Job’s wife, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). We have advantages that Job didn’t have. We have Christ’s righteousness and not our own. We have the Bible that reveals why things happened to him. If Job maintained his worship and trust in God during his trials, we should do so all the more.
            Psalm: Psalm 37:18-19 is very appropriate when starting the study of Job. As I said, God called Job blameless twice in the first two chapters. We see the disaster assail him by wicked people. In this Psalm, even more wicked desires are described against blameless people. We must remember that just as the Lord promises evil people will disappear, Satan will also have his final defeat. The Lord knows how to take care of us (Ps 37:23-24) whether the assaults come from sinful man or the author of sin, Satan. We will never be put to shame because of Jesus (Rom 10:11).
            Proverbs: Biblical Counseling 101 teaches us that our craving, lust, wants, or whatever you want to call it is our problem. When we focus on our wants instead of the needs of other, we do everything we can to fulfill those wants. We put ourselves first and that displaces God. We worship ourselves instead of the Lord who created us. The righteous person is doing the opposite. He is developing a servant attitude as Jesus wanted us to have. He is looking out for the needs of others. He is doing this because he is righteous, not to become righteous. God has changed his heart and he is no longer listening to all those wants and cravings.
            1 Corinthians: Paul continues to tell the Corinthians that speaking in tongues is not a big deal. In fact, it is of little use in the church unless someone who interpret is around. In one way, this demonstrates the selfishness of the Corinthians. They were pushing everyone to speak in tongues and Paul tells them that it only helps the person speaking or praying in tongues. A selfish person is one who wants to take care of himself before others. He isn’t looking out for the betterment of others by desiring gifts that build up the church. In essence, he is a baby Christian and in need of some solid teaching.
            Unfortunately, there are still churches that do the same. They have elevated the personal prayer language above teaching or edifying the church. Fortunately, many who have encountered this learn that building up the church is more important. They then pursue the way of love and move on to building others up instead of focusing on themselves.


             Regardless of what is happening, I need to trust God and his sovereign plan. If that is in illness or health, prosperity or austerity, I will still praise him and worship him as did Job. I will do that with my mind so that I and others will be able to say amen to it.

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