Saturday, December 26, 2009

Job's Accountability Questions Part 4

o    A Spiritual Assessment.
What habits, good deeds, and attitudes do you value in your spiritual walk?
How did Job measure his righteousness?

o   Big Picture—Creation, Abraham, Moses, David, Return
I. Prologue (narrative) ch. 1-2
B. HIS ADVERSITY (1:6-2:13) 
II. Dialogue (poetry)  ch. 3-42
A. Three rounds of “debate”
Eliphaz,  Bildad, &  Zophar 
1st Round (4-14)
1. Eliphaz (4-5) Job's reply (6-7)
2. Bildad (8)_Job's reply (9-10)
3. Zophar (11)_Job's reply (12-14)
2nd Round (15-21) 
1. Eliphaz (15)_Job's reply (16-17)
2. Bildad (18)_Job's reply (19)
3. Zophar (20)_Job's reply (21)
3rd Round (22-37) 
1. Eliphaz (22)_Job's reply (23-24) 
2. Bildad (25)_Job's reply (26-31)
3. No Zophar
B. Elihu’s speech
1. Contradicting Job's friends (32)
2. Contradicting Job himself (33) 
3. Proclaiming God's justice, goodness, and majesty (34-37) 
C. God’s responses
GOD HUMBLES JOB (38:1-42:6)
1. Through questions too great to answer (38:1-41:34)
2. Job acknowledges his inability to understand (42:1-6) 
III. Epilogue (narrative) ch. 42
GOD HONORS JOB (42:7-17)
 1. God rebukes his critics (42:7-10)
 2. God restores his wealth (42:11-17) 
o    —————————————————
Context  of Job 31
 29: Job remembers his happy past
30: Job describes his present humiliation
31: Job defends his innocence &  looks ahead to God's vindication.
32–37: Elihu rebukes Job and friends and affirms God's justice.
o    —————————————————
This chapter is addressed to Job’s three friends, especially to Zophar, who had just addressed Job.
These are ...
...not just historical of cultural curiosities.
...not irrelevant to the New Testament believer.
Some of the particulars may have changed in their application, but the core values still stand.
o    —————————————————
1. Lust/looking (1-4) 
 1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes;
      Why then should I look upon a young woman?

God is omniscient and just.
 “The fear of the Lord is the awareness that God is
 watching, weighing, and rewarding 
all that I do, say, or think.”

o    —————————————————

2. Integrity/honesty (4-8) 
 5 “If I have walked with falsehood,
 7 If my step has turned from the way,
      Or my heart walked after my eyes, 

God is holy and true.
---Think about and focus on what lasts.   
And the world is passing away, 
and the lust of it; 
but he who does the will of God abides forever.    
John 2:17

o    —————————————————

3. Seduction/adultery (9-12)
 9 “If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
      Or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door,
God is faithful and pure.   ---Don’t be a fool!
Drink water from your own cistern, 
And running water from your own well.
Proverbs 5:15  

o    —————————————————
&  4. Respect/fairness (13-15)
 13 “If I have despised the cause of my male or female servant…
15 Did not He who made me in the womb make them?
God is our judge and creator
My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Lord of glory,  with partiality.  James 2.1
o    —————————————————
5. Charity/generosity (16-24)
The Lord is very compassionate and merciful.   We should be, too.
... let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.    Ephesians 4:28
What is your motivation to be rich? Is it to have or to give?

o    —————————————————
6. Covetousness/Idolatry (25-28)
 24 “If I have made gold my hope,
      Or said to fine gold, ‘You are my confidence’;
 25 If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
      And because my hand had gained much;
 26 If I have observed the sun when it shines,
      Or the moon moving in brightness,
 27 So that my heart has been secretly enticed,
      And my mouth has kissed my hand;
 28 This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment,
      For I would have denied God who is above. 

A. Trusting in riches  (24)
 24 “If I have made gold my hope,
      Or said to fine gold, ‘You are my confidence’;
hope  כסל    Strong's H3689 - kecel  keh'·sel  1) loins, flank  
2) stupidity, folly  3) confidence, hope
YLT, NASB—confidence; KJV, NKJV—hope; ESV, NIV, NLT—trust

confidence מבטח  Strong's H4009 - mibtach mib·täkh'    object of confidence 
YLT, NASB—trust; KJV, NKJV, ESV—confidence; NIV, NLT—security

Some put their trust in a "nest egg." or money set aside.
Others almost worship the monthly or weekly paycheck and hope in (worship) the company or clients it comes from.

B. Rejoicing in wealth (25)
 25 If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
      And because my hand had gained much;
Proverbs 13:7
7 There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; 
And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches. 
This is illustrated by a parable of Jesus.
& Luke 12.16 ff
13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." 
14 But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?" 15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." 
16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 
17 And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' 18 So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry." ' 
20 But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' 
Why was he a fool?  . . . 
21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." 

The question was asked of the rich man, "How much did he leave?"
The answer, "All of it."

Don't pill it up down here.  Send it on ahead.

TE: There is a close connection between covetousness and idolatry.
Colossians 3.5
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 
There is a close relationship spiritually between the love of money and worshipping idols.  Most of us are much too sophisticated to bow down to a statue or leave food before an idol, but we have the same heart problem when we are covetous.

C. Slipping into idolatry.  (26-27)
 26 If I have observed the sun1 when it shines,
      Or the moon moving in brightness,
 27 So that my heart has been secretly enticed,
      And my mouth has kissed my hand;
28 This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment,
      For I would have denied God who is above. 

1 Hebrew lit. "light" refers to the sun.  The parallelism helps to make that evident.

enticed  פתה  Strong's H6601 - pathah pä·thä'      (Qal)  1) to be open-minded, be simple, be naïve  2) to be enticed, be deceived  SAME AS vs. 9 “If my heart has been enticed by a woman, Or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door,”

kissed my hand
YLT—my hand doth kiss my mouth
KJV, NKJV, ESV—my mouth has (hath) kissed my hand
NIV—my hand offered them a kiss of homage kiss the hand in the direction of the object of veneration, or also to turn the kissed hand and at the same time the kiss which fastens on it (as compensation for the direct kiss, 1 Kings xix.18, Hos. xiii.2), is the proper gesture of the proxkunhsis and adoraio mentioned...    —DELITZSCH IN COMMENTARY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

NASB—my hand threw a kiss from my mouth
NLT—to throw kisses at them in worship
Apparently Job is referring to the gesture in which one kissed his hand and threw a kiss to the heavenly bodies.  He has never shown other gods affection even in secret.  —JOHN HARTLEY IN  NICOT

 28 This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment,
      For I would have denied God who is above. 

1) We should remember how easy, how common it is to deny God.  

2) We can deny God when we become self-sufficient and forget that we need Him.  It is often easier to trust God in the bad times.
& Proverbs 30
7 Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): 8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches-- Feed me with the food allotted to me; 9 Lest I be full and deny You, And say, "Who is the Lord?" Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God. 

3) Denying God is not always some overt act of wickedness.  It can be living without thought of God.  Joshua was concerned that the Israelites not forget their commitment to the Lord  (and with good cause).
Joshua 24
25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.  26 Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. 27 And Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God." 

Among the Hebrews idolatry was an offence punishable by death by stoning; Deut. xvii. 2-7.  It is possible, also, that this might have been elsewhere in the patriarchal times a crime punishable in this manner.  ——Albert Barnes in Notes on the Old Testament
o    —————————————————
God is my Provider. -- Conduct your life in light of eternity
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 
For we brought nothing into this world, 
and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 
1 Timothy 6:6-7

& 1st Timothy 6.1-10

PAU:  One of the good things that the "destruction of the planet" movement has done, is remind us that this world is temporary.  The riches of this world are temporary.  To cling to them is to turn from God.
Turn to the eternal God.
o    —————————————————
7. Malice/"ill will" (29-32)
 29 “If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me,
      Or lifted myself up when evil found him
 30 (Indeed I have not allowed my mouth to sin
      By asking for a curse on his soul);
 31 If the men of my tent have not said,
      ‘Who is there that has not been satisfied with his meat?’
 32 (But no sojourner had to lodge in the street,
      For I have opened my doors to the traveler);

A. Not rejoicing at other’s misfortune - Kindness to his enemies (29)
29 “If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me,
      Or lifted myself up when evil found him

Rejoice   שָׂמַח  sä·makh'  (Qal) 2) to rejoice (arrogantly), exult (at)  3) to rejoice (religiously)  to excite one’s self, a description of emotion, whether it be pleasure, or as ch. Xvii.8, displeasure, as a not merely passive but moral incident  ----K&DCOT
Destruction    פִּיד   pēd  1) ruin, disaster, destruction
YLT, ESV—ruin;  KJV, NKJV—destruction; NASB—extinction;  NIV--misfortune; NLT--disaster
lifted myself up עוּר   `uwr   ür 1) to rouse oneself, awake, awaken, incite  d) (Hithpolel) to be excited, be triumphant
YLT—stirred up myself; JKV, NKJV—lifted up myself; NASB, ESV—exulted;  
NIV—gloated; NLT-- become excited
evil  רע  Strong's H7451 - ra`  rah  1) bad, evil   a) bad, disagreeable, malignant   b) bad, unpleasant, evil (giving pain, unhappiness, misery)
YLT, KJV, NASB, ESV—adversary; NIV, NLT—accuser  NKJV—prosecutor

Proverbs 24:16-19 
16 For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity.
17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath from him.
19 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the wicked; 

Proverbs 17.5
5 He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; 
He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished. 

Everybody loves their friends (well most do :o), but Christ call on us to love everybody.
Luke 6.25-26
35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 

B. Not wishing bad toward enemies  (30)
30 (Indeed I have not allowed my mouth to sin
By asking for a curse on his soul);

mouth   חֵךְ  Strong's H2441 – chek  1) mouth, palate, taste, gums Probably from חָנַךְ (H2596) in the sense of tasting

curse   אָלָה  Strong's H423 - 'alah  1. an oath, 2. a covenant confirmed by an oath, 3. imprecation, curse         
YLT—oath; NLT--revenge
Cultural background for the “curse” and modern equivalent

1 Samuel 26  --when David had an opportunity to kill Saul who was chasing him
9 And David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless?" 10 David said furthermore, "As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. 11 The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord's anointed. But please, take now the spear and the jug of water that are by his head, and let us go." 

“In contrast these are the words from the life of Booker T. Washington. From General Armstrong, 
I learned the lesson that great men cultivate love and only little men cherish a spirit of hatred.  I permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.”  
---- This statement was quoted in CHARM AND COURTESY IN CONVERSATION (1904) by Frances Bennett Callaway, p. 153 

C. Known for a generous spirit  (31-32)
 31 If the men of my tent have not said,
      ‘Who is there that has not been satisfied with his meat?’
 32 (But no sojourner had to lodge in the street,
      For I have opened my doors to the traveler);

men of my tent 
The “people of the tent” are all who belong to it, like the Arab. Ahl (tent, mytonym. Dwellers in the tent), here pre-eminently the servants, but without the expression in itself excluding wife, children, and relations.   ----K&DCOT
His object is to show that those who dwelt with him, and who had every opportunity of knowing all about him, could never say that the stranger was not hospitably entertained.   Barn’s Notes on the Old Testament.

Job provided a substantial meal for his guests, as the term meat indicates, for meat was usually reserved for festive occasions.  --NICOT

Some understand verse 31 in the sense of his servants wanting revenge.  "O that we had of his flesh!" Our master is satisfied to forgive him, but we cannot be so satisfied."  —--MATTHEW HENRY UNABRIDGED.

Both his refusal to take joy when those who hated him suffered and general generous spirit point to the “New Testament” ethic described by Jesus in 

o    —————————————————
&  Matthew 5
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
God is Good.  --  We should share that same benevolent, giving spirit.
 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?   Matthew 5: 46
o    —————————————————
8. Secret sins/hypocrisy (33-34)
 33 If I have covered my transgressions as Adam,
      By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
 34 Because I feared the great multitude,
      And dreaded the contempt of families, 
      So that I kept silence 
      And did not go out of the door—
 35 Oh, that I had one to hear me!
      Here is my mark. 
      Oh, that the Almighty would answer me, 
      That my Prosecutor had written a book!
 36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder,
      And bind it on me like a crown;
 37 I would declare to Him the number of my steps;
      Like a prince I would approach Him.

A. No hypocrisy  (33)
 33 If I have covered my transgressions as Adam,
      By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,

Covered  Strong's H3680 – kacah  
c) (Piel)
1) to cover, clothe
2) to cover, conceal
3) to cover (for protection)
4) to cover over, spread over
5) to cover, overwhelm
ylt, kjv, nasb, nkjv—covered
ESV, NIV—concealed; NLT—hide

Transgressions  פשע  Strong's H6588 - pesha` -- transgression, rebellion 
Adam  אדם  Strong's H121 - 'Adam -- Adam = "red" or man
ESV—others; NIV—men; NLT—people

hiding   טָמַן   Strong's H2934 - taman   1) to hide, conceal, bury
a) (Qal)
1) to hide
2) hiding, concealing, secretly laying (participle)
3) darkness (participle)
b) (Niphal) to hide oneself
c) (Hiphil) to hide

iniquity  עָוֹן  Strong's H5771 - `avon  -- perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity
YLT, KJV, NASB, NKJV, ESV—iniquity 
NIV,  NLT—guilt

The meaning may either be, as men are accustomed to do when they commit a crime—referring to the common practice of the guilty to cloak their offences, or to the attempt of Adam to hide his sin from his Maker after the fall; Gen iii.7-8.  ----BARNS’ NOTES ON THE OT
Whether this is understood as men in general or Adam, the Genesis account is instructive for us.
 &   Genesis 3
9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 
10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 
11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” 
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

Here is a most evident allusion to the fall. Adam transgressed the commandment of his Maker, and he endeavoured to conceal it; 
first by hiding himself among the trees of the garden: “I heard thy voice, and went and HID myself;” and 
secondly, by laying the blame on his wife: “The woman gave me and I did eat;” and 
thirdly by charging the whole directly on God Himself; “The woman who THOU GAVEST ME to be with me, SHE gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”
When I have departed at any time from the path of rectitude, I have been ready to acknowledge my error, and have not sought excuses or palliatives for my sin.

How totally different from Adam, who was obliged to be drawn out of his hiding-place, and tremblingly, because of guilt, underwent the examination of the omniscient God.  ----K&DCOT

B. No fear of men.  (34)
 34 Because I feared the great multitude,
And dreaded the contempt of families, 
So that I kept silence 
And did not go out of the door—

Job felt no need to hide his life from the multitude.

Another interpretation, however, has been proposed, and is adopted by Schultens, Noyes, Good, Umbreit, Dathe, and Schott, which is, that this is to be regarded as an imprecation, or that this is the punishment which he invoked and expected if he had been guilty of the crime which is specified in the previous verses.  ----BARNS’ NOTES ON THE OT

C. No fear of God's judgment.  (35-37)
 35 Oh, that I had one to hear me!
      Here is my mark. 
      Oh, that the Almighty would answer me, 
      That my Prosecutor had written a book!
 36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder,
      And bind it on me like a crown;
 37 I would declare to Him the number of my steps;
      Like a prince I would approach Him.

my mark    Strong's H8420 – tav   desire, mark 
1. writing, 
2. a writing (like a bill of sale, a charge or accusation, bill of divorce) 
3. a book                ---Gensenius’s Lexicon
YLT, NKJV—mark; KJV—desire; NASB, ESV—signature; NIV—I sign; YLT—I will sing my name

Prosecutor    Strong's H376 - 'iysh              
YLT, KJV, NASB, ESV—adversary; NIV, NLT—accuser  NKJV—prosecutor

a book    Strong's H5612 - cepher --   Broad word for writing that includes the meaning of a book or legal document    
YLT—a bill; KJV, NKJV—book; NASB, ESV, NIV—indictment; NLT—write out the charges

He seems to be confident that God would not find any wrong with him and he would wear the declaration as a “badge of pride.”
Job would be very happy to see the libel, to have a copy of his indictment.
John 3.21
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God
Since God has not responded, Job, as defendant, has sworn an oath in order to compel God, the plaintiff, to file his complaint and then substantiate it.   ---NICOT
This is the demand that Job would later repent of in Job 42:5-6.  Job would come to find that he had no right to demand an answer from God, and indeed had to be content when God seemed to refuse an answer.    ----DAVID GUZIK  IN VERSE BY VERSE COMMENTARY / THE ENDURING WORD COMMENTARY SERIES

Job 40
 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.”

Job 42
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.”
1 Corinthians 4   Paul acknowledged that the thing that matter was what God thought.
1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

Luke 11:39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

o    —————————————————
God is omniscient.  --  God knows and detects. 
Woe unto them that seek deep
 to hide their counsel from the LORD, 
and their works are in the dark, 
and they say, Who seeth us?
 and who knoweth us? 
Isaiah 29:15
o    —————————————————
9. Injustice/oppression (38-40)
 38 “If my land cries out against me,
      And its furrows weep together;
 39 If I have eaten its fruit without money,
      Or caused its owners to lose their lives;
 40 Then let thistles grow instead of wheat,
      And weeds instead of barley.”
   The words of Job are ended.
A. The cry of the land  (38)
That the land personified as a witness cries out and weeps of the horrible deeds done there (v.38) lends support that murder as well as avarice is in mind.    –ELMER SMICK IN EBC

Genesis 4    God to Cain after he killed his brother
10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”

James 5    to the rich about the miseries that are coming on them
1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.  5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as  in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you. 

Habakkuk 2    Habakkuk about those who get “evil gain:
    9 “ Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house, 
      That he may set his nest on high, 
      That he may be delivered from the power of disaster! 
       10 You give shameful counsel to your house, 
      Cutting off many peoples, 
      And sin against your soul. 
       11 For the stone will cry out from the wall, 
      And the beam from the timbers will answer it.

He never ate the fruits of his enterprises without paying …  his workers, tenets, etc…
Job did not take what was not rightfully his by force.   Like Ahab and Jezebel with Naboth’s vineyard in 1 Kings 21.
Might does not make right.  
Legal is not always moral.  

B. The curse of injustice.  (39-40)

He basically asked that any ill gotten gains come to nothing.
The picture is the same as in Genesis 3.
Genesis 3
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: 
      “ Cursed is the ground for your sake; 
      In toil you shall eat of it 
      All the days of your life.
 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
      And you shall eat the herb of the field.
 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
      Till you return to the ground, 
      For out of it you were taken; 
      For dust you are,
      And to dust you shall return.” 

"Though the mills of God grind slowly, 
yet they grind exceeding small; 
Though with patience he stands waiting, 
with exactness grinds he all."
[1870 Longfellow Poems (1960) 331] 
o    —————————————————
God is Just.  —  God's justice may be slow but
Proverbs 22. 
8 He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, 
And the rod of his anger will fail. 
9 He who has a generous eye will be blessed, 
For he gives of his bread to the poor.

vrs. 8 —The connecting, however, of the two clauses of the Proverb may intimate, that the iron rod of the rich ruling over the poor, following the dictates of selfishness, will ensure disappointment.  Their abused power will shortly fail, and they will reap only the harvest of justice.  —CHARLES BRIDGES IN PROVERBS: A GENEVA SERIES COMMENTARY

vrs. 9 Nehemiah, instead of using his ample power at his own table, giving his bread to the poor. (Heb. v.16-18) His great work required a large heart.
We are only stewards of this bounty.  Of our property, be it little or much, we must be ready to feel that, as of ourselves—It is 'not our own.'  —CHARLES BRIDGES IN PROVERBS: A GENEVA SERIES COMMENTARY

We should handle it in the same spirit of its true owner, our good and generous Heavenly Father.

"I Want a Principle Within"  
by Charles Wesley
I want a principle within
    of watchful, godly fear,
A sensibility of sin,

    a pain to feel it near.
I want the first approach to feel

    of pride or wrong desire,
To catch the wandering of my will,

    and quench the kindling fire.

From Thee that I no more may stray,
    no more Thy goodness grieve,
Grant me the filial* awe,  
    I pray, the tender conscience give.
Quick as the apple of an eye,

    O God, my conscience make;
Awake my soul when sin is nigh,

    and keep it still awake.
*Having or assuming the relationship of child or offspring to parent.

Almighty God of truth and love,
    to me Thy power impart;
The mountain from my soul remove,

    the hardness from my heart.
O may the least omission pain

    my reawakened soul,
And drive me to that blood again,

    which makes the wounded whole.

May the Father's rich and generous Spirit
move your hearts.
May you enjoy the peace of a clean conscience
and relish the return our  blessed God and Savoir, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

obey the gospel 1Pt 1.17 Q

I read this today in 1Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
     Interesting last phrase. What do you think if means when Peter says, "obey the gospel of God"? I've always thought of the gospel as just hearing and believing, not necessarily as an obedience. Thoughts?


     Scripture uses a number of words to refer to the conversion experience. Some of them are believe, repent, turn, regeneration, confess, call, and obey, etc. I have noticed that in the New Testament the call to "be saved" is usually in the terms of an imperative and not an offer. In Acts 17, Paul concludes his message to the Athenians with the words (in the ESV) "but now He commands all people everywhere to repent." When we believe or repent, etc. we are obeying that command.
     There is also a secondary sense in which the Gospel is more that just a conversion message. When we think about the Gospel as a "conversion, sanctification, and glorification experience", it takes on a life encompassing truth that is to be followed to the end. We find this sense in Titus 2.11-14 where is says that the grace of God has appeared and teaches us a whole lifestyle.
     One of the problems we encounter in doctrine in general is when we become formulaic and hang a whole doctrine on the way one verse expresses. It tends to make us unbalanced and exaggerate certain aspects of a truth at the expense of others. There is a sense in which heresy can be truth taken to an unbiblical extreme.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mon 091221 pm Job 27-30

27.6  My heart shall not reproach me...  I was thinking about the "curses" Job calls onto himself if he has done this or that bad thing in chapter 31.  This seems to fit in with that.  Job was confident of his rightness.  I would probably be more cautious.  
27.8 hope of the hypocrite...  Is it to look good?  but for how long?
27.12b  This just struck me as funny. It would be a good t-shirt or coffee mug idea.
28.15-19  Job's wife must have gotten some amazing anniversary presents.  :o)
28.25  I wonder what "a weight for the wind" meant to the patriarchs.  It seems that they might not have had how much a cubic liter of air weighs in mind.
28.28 The paralleling of fear of the Lord and departing from evil is instructive.
29. 2  when God watched over me...
29.3  His lamp shone upon my head...
          by His light I walked through the darkness...
29.4  the friendly counsel of God was over my tent...
29.5  the Almighty was yet with me...
These are all rich metaphors for God's blessing presence.  It sounds like the basis of a benediction.
     May God watch over you.
     May His lamp shine on your head,
        and may you walk in darkness by His light.
     May His friendly counsel be over your dwelling,
        and may He gather your children around you in His presence.
29.12 And what was the cause of the great honor expressed in the preceding verses? Because I delivered the poor who cried out, etc..
29.13  The satisfaction of true gratitude expressed.
30.7  What nests under the nettles?
30.9 byword: The object of a contemptuous saying. (Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913 + 1828)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sun 091220 pm Jer 13-14

Jeremiah 13
131.1-8  One of my favorites in Jeremiah, the object lesson of the rotten sash.  I am not sure why the ESV translates it a loincloth.
13.11  but they would not listen...  So they became useless like a rotten belt.
Jeremiah 14
14.14  the deceit of their own minds...  A caution against prophets (or pastors) relying on their own ideas instead of God's Word.