Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August 22: Job 4 – 7; Psalm 37:30-40; Proverbs 21:27; 1 Corinthians 14:18-40


            Job: Eliphaz responds to Job. He acknowledges that Job has instructed many but now that he is suffering he has become impatient. He reminds Job that his fear of God and integrity has been his hope. He says that innocent people are not punished by God.
            Eliphaz had a spiritual encounter in which a spirit came near him. He was terrorized. He couldn’t discern its shape. It asked him if a mortal man could be right before God. It said God doesn’t trust his angels and even less mortal men. It said men die without wisdom.
            He asks Job which of the angels will answer him and help him. Thinking this way is foolishness. Fools look like they start to prosper then suddenly they and their families are destitute. This doesn’t come from nowhere but man is born for trouble.
            Eliphaz says that if it were him, he would seek God who provides rain, takes care of the lowly but frustrates the crafty and haughty in their own eyes. So, the poor have hope but not those others. He says not to despise God’s discipline. The disciplined man is blessed. God may send trouble, but he also restores. He will deliver from destruction and you will not fear. You won’t have any troubles and will live a long time. Eliphaz has observed all this and know it is true. He tells Job he should apply it to his life.
            Job replies that because his vexation is so severe has spoken rashly. God’s terror is against him. It is natural to complain like animals without food. He can’t eat because of his illness.
            He asks that God would kill him and it would be done. He takes comfort in that he hasn’t denied God’s words but still he has no strength to endure to the end.
            He complains that his friends have withheld kindness and it shows they have stopped fearing God. They are treacherous like swollen streams from melted snow that vanish in the summer. They have seen Job’s torment and are afraid. Why? Job hasn’t asked anything from them or to intervene with God for him.
            Job asks them to tell him how he has gone wrong and he will listen. But their philosophy isn’t helping at all.
            He knows that man’s life is hard. He describes his condition of sleeplessness at night and misery during the day. He has no hope of change. So, he tells his friends that he will speak now because when he is dead they won’t see him anymore. He will tell them of his anguish of his spirit and bitterness of his soul.
            He asks God how scaring him with dreams will help. He asks to be left alone but God visits every morning for testing. How long will this keep up and why has God done this? Has he become a burden to God? Why won’t he take away his sin and forgive him?
            Psalm: The continuation of Psalm 37 keeps the same theme of the Lord watching over the righteous but destroying the wicked. We are again advised to wait for the Lord. He will bring about good for us but the end of the wicked will be cut off. Salvation belongs to the righteous because the Lord delivers them from evil men.
            Proverbs: When a wicked person brings a sacrifice, it is an abomination to the Lord. It is even worse when he does it trying to gain some evil outcome.
            1 Corinthians: Paul says he speaks in tongues more than any of the Corinthians. However, in church he would rather speak with his mind. He tells them to grow up in their thinking and look at the Old Testament and understand that tongues are a sign for unbelievers and prophecy is for believers. However, if unbelievers see everyone speaking in tongues they will think everyone is crazy. But, if someone prophecies they can understand what he says and will be convicted of sin and will submit to God knowing God is in the church.
            In worship, things should be done in order, whether it involves singing, teaching, revelation, or tongues. Only two or three should speak in tongues and not at the same time. If there is no one there who can interpret they should not speak at all. Two or Three prophet should be the most to speak letting each other go first and then evaluate what each other said. The spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophet so they can control when to speak. God is a God of order so there should be peace and not confusion.
            Women are supposed to be silent in church because they are in submission to their husband. They should ask him when they get home.
            If anyone is a prophet or spiritual, they need to acknowledge that Paul is writing a command from the Lord. If they don’t then no one should listen to him. Everyone should want to the gift of prophecy and no one should stop others from speaking in tongues. Everything should be done in order.

What Stood Out

            Job: “Call now; is there anyone who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn?” (Job 5:1).    
            Psalm: “Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on when the wicked are cut off” (Ps 37:34).
            Proverbs: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent” (Prov 21:27).
            1 Corinthians: “If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues” (1 Cor 14:38-39).


            Job: Warning! Be very careful when you quote or ascribe to Job’s friend’s accuracy about God’s character. The Lord rebuked them saying to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has” (Job 42:7). Job’s three friends are people from the ancient Near East. All they have to say about God is based on their observations of nature, mankind, and apparently some spirit that scared Eliphaz. This is how people of that time gained their knowledge of the spiritual world. It is faulty at best and led most of them into idol worship. Job is an exception as is Abraham.
            When Job talked about having an advocate and a redeemer, Eliphaz ridicules that statement (Job 5:1). He claims that there is no one in heaven that he can call upon to listen to him. He spouts his philosophy that God will prosper the ones that trust in him when calamites strike. Fortunately, Job sees through his philosophy and that it is empty. Eliphaz is only offering words and not even words that bring comfort. Job didn’t ask for them to do anything but they just compound his grief.
            We see the same kind of preachers today. They get in the pulpit and we’re lucky if they even open a Bible. They speak from worldly experience and not the truth of God. The even reject Jesus as their advocate before the Father. Jesus is only a good teacher to them. We can’t be too hard on Job’s friends as the don’t have the Bible. Modern preachers and counselors have no excuse when they offer bad advice and steer people way from our Savior instead of to him.
            Psalm: I need to repeat what I said before when going through this Psalm in February. What I said then is probably more important because much of what Job and his friends say are the same as what is reflected in the latter part of this Psalm.
            The Psalms are often couched in terms of temporal salvation for the righteous and defeat and destruction for the wicked. Indeed, the whole Old Testament covenant was related to the people of Israel in terms of blessings and curses (Deut 28). When I read this Psalm, it reminds me that we are now looking at eternity and not just our own lifetime. When David says he can’t find the wicked man anymore, he has not just passed away from this life. He has passed away from all life. When we die and are with the Lord, we won’t see him. His place will be eternal torment and gnashing of teeth (Matt 13:42).
            Proverbs: When people come to the Lord knowing their sinfulness and looking for mercy and grace, the Lord welcomes them. In the Old Testament, they had to do that with a sacrifice. There were also other reasons for sacrifices such as freewill and thanks. When a person comes without any intent of repenting, he is coming with evil intent. He is only looking to escape punishment. It would be even worse if he came hoping God would help him in his evil deeds. Think – Catholic Mafia. They do all this evil stuff yet maintain they are good Catholics.
            We all can be like that. We ask God to forgive us but have no intent on changing our sinful habits. Anyone who is like that is nearsighted and blind and has forgotten that God has cleansed him from his past sins (2 Peter 1:9) or worse. That person may not even be saved in the first place (1 John 3:4-6). We need to really think about our relationship with the Lord when we read a proverb like this one.
            1 Corinthians: Paul puts the finishing touches on the subject of spiritual gifts. It is obvious from his writing that the Corinthians were a lot like some Pentecostal groups who announce that everyone should now pray in tongues. The whole assembly breaks out in strange utterances that sound like a foreign language. I’ve attended these and there is never a person who interprets these languages, and how could they, there are hundreds of people speaking at the same time.
            Paul cites Isaiah 28:11 to explain to them that tongues is a sign for unbelievers, but those unbelievers in Isaiah was the nation of Israel, not people outside the congregation. So, unbelievers in the church, and there are many, can hear tongues and realize it is meant to show them that God is with them, when done in order. However, when a person outside of the church comes in and hears tongues, especially when they are all doing it at the same time, they will think Christians are crazy.
            Based on this it is easy to see why we shouldn’t allow tongues to be exhibited haphazardly in the church. However, as Paul also explains, we shouldn’t go around demonizing people who speak in tongues. There is plenty of that going around as well. Those who do that and those who allow disorder in Christian assemblies are both outside of Scripture and Paul says we should ignore them (1 Cor 14:38).


             Whether it is prosperity gospel or speaking in tongues, I want to make sure my theology and practice is based on good exegesis, not on my observance of nature or human frailties.

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