Psalm 3

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Psalm 3One of the many benefits to reading through the Psalms is that most of them were written during events which took place back in the historical Israel.  This means that we can trace them back to things we have already read through – providing us with a glance into the emotional perspective of the individual (beyond simply the facts of what happened).

Psalm 3 is a great example.  It is a song of distress – written by King David as he dealt with his son, Absalom, attempting to take the kingdom out of his hands.  This account was recorded in 2 Samuel – and as it is read, one can only imagine what David must have been going through.  Hearing rumors that his own son had rebelled against him; yet instead of taking up arms against Absalom, David chose to rely on the Lord and trust Him to protect him and be his defense.  As opposed to the historical account, Psalm 3 provides us with what David was actually feeling during this time.  What was it like as a father?  How did he manage to be patient?  How did he trust God through that?

This song of distress begins with David lamenting the fact that those who have risen up against him have increased in number.  This correlates with 2 Sam 15:13 And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.”  David obviously felt very alone during this time – confronted by so many who claimed his God would not help him.

(Ever been there?)

David would flee his capital – pursued by Absalom all the way to the city of Manahaim; where David would take up refuge and rest.   Vs 3-6 speak of him concluding that God would protect him and he will rest in that truth.  “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about.Psalm 3:6 AMP.

What David says in vs 7 is amazing.   David says that God has already accomplished the victory – defeated his enemies – and established his salvation (rescue).  The fact that David was singing this song before any victory had taken place by God is a great statement of faith.  Here David is – holed up in Manahaim – his son is leading a rebellion against him in which a large part of his kingdom have taken part – they have him surrounded – and yet David trust’s God so completely that he already knows that God will rescue him.

This is what set David apart from others of his day.  His stance of faith in the face of a difficult situation is what helped establish him as one of the greatest kings Israel ever had – and the direct lineage to the future coming Messiah.  Jesus would later teach us “Have faith in God [constantly].   Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.  For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].” – Mark 11:22-24 AMP

Reading through this song of David, we can understand the turmoil he was going through… yet also be encouraged by his faithful trust in the Lord to rescue him out of this situation.  Perhaps that is why God would call him a “man after His own heart” (1 Sam 13:14)?

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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Psalm 1

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Psalm 1With the conclusion of Job – we also come to the end of the section of the Bible called the History Books.  Next we enter into the longest book of the Bible – the Psalms.  The title comes to us from the Greek word “Psalmoi” which means “songs” – and that is what they are… songs from various musicians throughout the nation of Israel who loved the Lord and worshiped Him through music.  Most of these songs are written by David – the warrior king who possessed the heart of a worshiper.  We have already read how David established the Temple worship – overseeing the building of over 4000 instruments to be used in making music to the LORD (1 Chr 23:5).  Along with David, many of these psalms (songs) are written by Asaph – as well as Moses, Solomon, and others.

The Hebrew title for this book is “Sepher Tehillim” and that means “The Book of Praises”.  In its original writing, the Book of Praises is divided into 5 sections (possibly to correlate with the 5 book of the Torah).  Section #1 is called the Genesis Book and it contains the first 41 psalms.  Its general theme focuses on man and his relationship with God.  As in Genesis – it begins with Blessings (Ps 1)… followed by the Fall (Ps 2-15)… and ends with Hope through the redemption in Jesus (Ps 16-41).

Right out of the gate Psalm 1 provides us a clear distinction between an individual who operates under the Blessing and one who operates under the Curse.  As in Gen 1 – the story begins with Blessing… from God unto Man.  Every man is afforded the opportunity to live under the Blessing of the LORD – yet that doesn’t come by default.  The individual who remains under the Blessing of the LORD is the one who “delights in the Lord; and meditates on His Word day and night” (Ps 1:2).  This does not mean that they sit reading the Bible all day/night long… but it means that their mind is filled with the thoughts of the LORD and their hearts are captured by what captures His heart.

The basic meaning of the word “delight” is “purpose or desire” – and it points to what drives the man under the Blessing.  His desire is to fill himself with the things which the LORD desires.  The man under the Blessing is not surrounding himself with the world or things which God hates… but instead is acquainted with God on every level of his life.  He does not walkstand – nor sit in the counsel of those who do not know the LORD… but instead gains his counsel from a daily diet of the Word.  The man who does this will live as a tree planted in a well-watered garden… sprouting green leaves and prospering in everything that he does (Ps 1:3).

In the exact opposite picture – the man who does not live like described above is a man who is positioning himself under the effects of the Curse.  That man enjoys the same things which entertain those under the Curse with him… and will reap the bounty of the Curse… in sickness – poverty – and emotional distress (among other things).  As opposed to the first man who sprouts up like a green tree – this man will dry up and blow away like chaff or dead leaves (Ps 1:4).  The chaff is the dry, husky part of the wheat kernel – completely worthless and with no sustaining ability.  When the wheat is tossed into the air – the wind blows the chaff portion away and the kernel falls back to the ground to be used.  So this man has very little value and is easily blown away by the wind of circumstances.

One man has deep roots – green leaves – able to withstand any storm which happens to come his way… while the other man is dried up and has no depth – easily destroyed by even the slightest breeze or problem.

The implications for us here are obvious:  The characteristics of one who is under the Blessing is that they delight in the LORD – love to talk about His ways – love to be around His people – and love to be in His Word… while the characteristics of the man under the Curse will miss church for even the smallest attraction – feels more comfortable around non-believers – and is easily bored by the Word of God.  The end game for these two types of people couldn’t be clearer.

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

Job 38-42 – God

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Job-restoredSo after 37 chapters of listening to the inaccurate words of Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elijuh; God has heard enough – and interjects into the conversation out of a whirlwind.  Many of the inconsistencies which are still propagated by Christians today can be cleared up by simply paying attention to what God says in these final chapters.  In fact – right out of the gate He reveals that Job has NOT been completely sinless and right in what he has been spouting during this trial.

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? – Job 38:1-2 AMP

According to God, it was Job who spoke out of turn and “without knowledge”.   In fact – most of what God says is in correction towards Job himself.  Why Christians continue to quote statements from this unfortunate sufferer as Truth is beyond me????

Over the next couple of chapters (38-41), God enlightens Job into just who He is and what He does.  While it is true that Job was righteous and had not “sinned with his lips” in the beginning (Job 2:10) – by now (36 chapters later) Job had done quite a bit of sinning with his lips.  He had wrongfully accused God on several accounts – attributing these calamities as coming from Him – and cursing all parts of his life.  God quickly corrects Job by pointing out how much Job did not really know (“words without knowledge”).

Job’s reaction to this revelation from God was a complete turnaround from what he had been saying just a few chapters earlier.  In chapter 42 we see Job answer God with complete repentance.  Therefore [I now see] I have [rashly] uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” – Job 42:3.  Then a few verses later; “Therefore I loathe [my words] and abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes. – Job 42:6.  (Unlike many Christians today), Job realized that he was wrong in accusing God and attributing this evil as coming from the hand of God.  It was Satan who attacked Job – not God.  God is not attacking His children nor is He a destroyer of His people – and once Job became aware of that, he correctly repented for his words.

Next God addresses the three friends (ignoring Elijuh completely).  God informs the three friends that they are in a much worse situation then Job.  While God had rebuked Job for contending with Him, reproving Him (40:2), disannulling His judgment and condemning Him (40:6); God still referred to Job as His “servant” and that compared to the three friends – Job was more right in what he had spoken.  As we have already seen numerous times before – God is looking at the heart here.  While Job had indeed spoken in error, it was in the midst of intense suffering, pain, and satanic pressure that he had done so.  God knew the heart of His servant, that he would not have said those things about God under normal circumstances and so administered grace toward him.  On the contrary, the three friends had no such excuse.  They had assumed the role of Satan by accusing their brother (Rev 12:10).  That is why they are told to offer a sacrifice for their sin and present it to Job “whom I accept” (Job 42:8).

In the end, after Job had repented, God restored back to Job twice what he originally had.  This is the true heart of God!  He is not stealing from, destroying, nor killing His people… that is the role of Satan.  It was Satan who attacked Job – and when Job and his friends (out of their ignorance) attributed these attacks to God, they were rebuked and repented.

In the same way – we as Christians need to not only understand who the real culprit of calamity is – but also avoid blaming God for the things which happen in our lives (no matter how “spiritual” we want to make it sound).  God is not inflicting His people with sickness, storms, or the like to teach us any lessons – nor is He punishing us in this way as discipline.  Instead He is looking to bless us and bring Glory to Himself through our obedience.

Job repented for his error and the Lord “turned the captivity of Job” (42:10).  Everything was restored to Job – and one has to wonder if this outcome could have happened 40 chapters earlier had Job known the true revelatory nature of God which we enjoy today.  Job lived 140 more years after this attack and died a man “full of days” (42:17).  The Septuagint (original Greek version of the OT) includes at the end of vs 17 “And it is written that he shall rise again with those whom the Lord raises up.”

A nice ending to this story.

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

Job 32-37 – Elihu

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ElihuAs Job continues to suffer – his three “friends” have exhausted all their words of condemnation.  In their perspective, Job is haughty and self-righteous; unwilling to accept his sin and repent.  They feel that this calamity has been administered by God unto Job because of his sin – and as long as he continues to deny that sin he will not be healed.

But we know that this calamity came from Satan (1:12; 2:7).

At the silence of the three friends – a young man who has been sitting and listening clears his throat and begins to speak.  Due to his youth, he has remained silent during the entire discussion – allowing the older and “wiser” fellows to speak to Job.  Yet, after hearing them speak such nonsense – and having no answers for Job’s questions, Elihu – the son of Barachel the Buzite , has had enough.  After making it quite clear that he speaks out of respect – yet also that he is quite upset that so little wisdom has been spoken thus far, Elihu begins to share his own perspective.

Unlike the previous gentlemen, young Elihu is correct about a few matters.  He comes right out and informs Job that he is wrong in attributing this calamity to God – and for saying that God is his enemy (33:8-13).  Elihu rebukes Job for his many incorrect statements about God and His dealings with men, defending God both as Just (34:1-35:16); and as Great (36:1-37:24).  He makes it quite clear that although Job has erred in what he has spoken about God during this time of suffering – it isn’t his sin which brought these things upon Job.

But I would like to focus on something Elihu said which is often times overlooked in his speech.  In Job 33:14-28 Elihu sheds some light on just how God does speak and instruct His people.  (Being as this was all before Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit, it is quite remarkable that Elihu had this insight).

In vs 14-18 Elihu reveals that God first will speak to a man in dreams and visions as he sleeps.  The goal is to reveal His purposes to man, as well as save him from destruction (which God always wants to do).

Then in vs 19-22 we see the next phase of how God instructs man (after the 1st step is rejected).  It is at this time that God will allow calamity to come into someone’s life – in the form of sickness or devastation – in an effort to save them.  Since the dreams/visions were ignored – God will resort to allowing other things to do the teaching.

Finally in vs 23-28 Elihu speaks of God sending a Messenger who will speak the Truth – saving the now broken & bruised rebel from the pit.  It is through this Messenger that the individual will return back to God for deliverance and healing – “because I have found a ransom” (33:24).  This is a beautiful foreshadowing of Jesus – who would one day come as a Messenger and pay the “ransom” against us – atoning for our sin and providing deliverance and healing for us all!

In the end, there is much debate over the position Elihu holds in this conversation; some attributing him as another antagonist due to his various inaccurate statements about God and His work in the world.  Others compare Elihu as the Christ-like figure who stands as a mediator between God and man (33:6) – bridging the gap in the conversation between the three friends and God Himself.  Either way – as we shall see next – God decides to come upon the scene and set things right.  He will rebuke Job and his friends, ignore Elihu, and (upon Job’s repentance) restore all that Job has lost!

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

Insights on Job

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Book of JobAs we continue through the (sometimes quite depressing) arguments between Job and his 3 “friends” – I thought I would take a moment to share some great insights on this book from a pastor friend of mine out of Rhode Island – Pastor Troy Edwards from Victorious Word Christian Fellowship, Pawtucket, RI:

 

Why Job Was Unable To Do Anything About The Devil
(and why that is not true of us today)

 Some have taught that Job is not a literal person. They say this book is allegorical or simply a book of poetry. Some have even gone as far as to say that this book does not belong in the Bible.  Other Bible books show that Job is a literal and real historical figure just as Daniel and Noah were.

 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD … Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness. (Ezek. 14:14, 20)

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.       (James 5:11)

 Job’s Dilemma is often blamed on the Sovereignty of God. Even worse, Job is made out to be a pattern of how Christians are supposed to react to the devil.  Today’s lessons will debunk this false teaching and help Christians to understand the New Testament Pattern for dealing with Satan’s strategies against us.

 

Insight From Others

     Tony Evans: By accusing Job of serving God for gain, Satan was slandering both Job’s character and God’s character. Remember, everything our enemy does is ultimately directed at God. The devil hates God and wants to anything He can to injure God’s reputation so that He does not get the glory due Him.  The devil can’t touch God, so he seeks to destroy God’s glory by attacking His people. This is why the devil is regularly in God’s presence, accusing and slandering the saints to hinder God’s glory and keep us from being blessed. (The Battle is the Lord’s, p. 175)

 

Lessons We Learn From Job

Satan (not God) is the accuser who is always looking for a reason to slander both us and God.

Satan (not God) is the initiator of the problems of life. It was HIS suggestion that God inflict him (though God allowed Satan to do it).

God is the one who desires to deliver people from captivity to sickness and poverty (Job 42:7)

Job had no High Priest/Intercessor as we have today in Jesus (Heb. 4:14, 15; 7:25; Rom. 8:34). Job complained about this (Job 9:33)

Job shows us that no matter what we are going through, we should never become bitter with God, but praise Him and watch for the OUTCOME (James 5:11)

 

James 5:11

(ALT)  Indeed, we consider the ones enduring to be fortunate. You heard of the patient endurance of Job and the outcome [brought about by the] Lord; observe that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

(GNB)  We call them happy because they endured. You have heard of Job’s patience, and you know how the Lord provided for him in the end. For the Lord is full of mercy and compassion.

(GW)  We consider those who endure to be blessed. You have heard about Job’s endurance. You saw that the Lord ended Job’s suffering because the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

(WE) God blesses those who take their troubles quietly and keep on believing. You have heard about Job’s troubles and how he took them. And you have seen what the Lord did for him at the end. The Lord is very kind and helps people.

 

Job 1:8

Some seem to interpret this passage as if God had intentionally brought Job to Satan’s attention. We believe a different understanding is in order:

And Jehovah saith unto the Adversary, `Hast thou set thy heart against My servant Job because there is none like him in the land, a man perfect and upright, fearing God, and turning aside from evil?’ (Young’s Literal Translation)

And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you set your heart against My servant Job, because there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil? (Modern King James)

 

Job 1:8 – Commentary

A number of scholars, commentators, and translations point out that the literal meaning is “set your heart on.”

Barnes: Margin, “Set thine heart on.” The margin is a literal translation of the Hebrew. Schultens remarks on this, that it means more than merely to observe or to look at – since it is abundantly manifest from the following verses that Satan “had” attentively considered Job, and had been desirous of injuring him. It means, according to him, to set himself against Job, to fix the heart on him with an intention to injure him, and Yahweh means to ask whether Satan had done this.

Though the Calvinist author (and Hebrew Scholar) John Gill believes (in my opinion, wrongly) that God was bringing Job to Satan’s attention, he concedes that the literal Hebrew states:

     Or, “hast thou put thine heart on my servant” (p); not in a way of love and affection to him, to do him any good or service, there being an original and implacable enmity in this old serpent to the seed of the woman; but rather his heart was set upon him in a way of desire to have him in his hands, to do him all the mischief he could, as the desire of his heart was toward Peter (Luke 22:31)

     “Considered” is a very strong word. It means, Hast thou been watching him? Hast thou been examining him? Hast thou been going round and round the citadel of this man’s soul, trying to find some way to break in?” – G. Campbell Morgan

      …. God enquired of Satan further: “Have you noticed my servant Job?” Of course Satan had noticed him! And God knew this too. He knew that Job had been the target of Satan’s intense observation. The latter must have thought many times to attack him – Stephen Kaung (associate of Watchmen Nee)

 

God Giving Satan Permission to Inflict Job – Job 1:12

There is no doubt that there are times that Satan is not allowed to act without express permission from God, however, we should not teach this as some universal rule concerning Satan’s acts – Job 1:7; 2:2; 1 Pet. 5:9, 10

Michael L. Brown, A Semitic scholar wrote: That he [Satan] receives divine permission to carry out his nefarious schemes …. Cannot …. Be interpreted as broadly indicative of either the nature of God or His general plans for His people …. (Israel’s Divine Healer, p. 169)

 

Job 1:12 compared to Job 3:25

Could Job have opened the door for Satan to attack through his fear? Some seem to think so.

Christian Psychologist David Stoop, Ph.D comments on Job 3:25: Imagine the scene in heaven as described in the opening chapters of the book. Satan goes to God, and God comments on his servant Job. Job is a man who fears God, and God points that out. But Satan reminds God of the hedge he has built around Job. But the hedge isn’t there! His protection is gone! Job has been busy trimming the hedge with his worries.

Each day he has gone out and tried to make the hedge a little straighter, a little neater. But he has never been satisfied with his work, and he has trimmed until the hedge is gone! His worried Self-Talk has trimmed the hedge, giving Satan an opportunity to attack, Job’s Self-Talk is irrational! (You Are What You Think, p. 40)

 

Albert B. Simpson, founder of the Christian & Missionary Alliance:

Fear is dangerous. It turns into fact the things we fear. It creates the evil just as faith creates the good, “What I feared has come upon me” (Job 3:25), is the solemn warning of Job. Let us therefore be afraid of our fears lest they should become our worst foes (Christ In The Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 485)

 

Some believe and teach that Job only began to fear AFTER the initial trials. Other scholars and commentators believe that Job was in constant fear long before the trials:

Matthew Henry: Even in his former prosperous state troubles were continually feared; so that then he was never easy, (Job 3:25,26) … He was afraid for his children when they were feasting, lest they should offend God (Job 1:5), afraid for his servants lest they should offend his neighbors

Adam Clarke: Literally, the fear that I feared; or, I feared a fear, as in the margin. While I was in prosperity I thought adversity might come, and I had a dread of it. I feared the loss of my family and my property; and both have occurred.

Stephen Kaung (associate of Watchman Nee): Job had attained somewhat and had gotten somewhere, but hidden deep within him was a secret fear. And this fear he finally though unwittingly revealed much later on …. Does this secret apprehension disclose that the knowledge of God in Job was imperfect? …. He was afraid as to how long this blessed state could continue. (The Splendor of His Ways, pp. 33, 34)

David Wolfers (A medical doctor who spent 20 years studying Job): I feared a horror and it came to me, and that which I dreaded is upon me. Is this perhaps related to Job’s Prologue fear that his sons may have cursed God in their hearts? Or is it simply the insecurity which so often accompanies great happiness and prosperity? …. Job is thus seen clearly to be in a continuing state of fear. (Deep Things Out of the Darkness: the Book of Job, p. 97)

 

Job is seen to have actually MEDITATED on this fear:

(Brenton)  For the terror of which I meditated has come upon me, and that which I had feared has befallen me.

(AB) For the terror of which I meditated has come upon me, and that which I had feared has befallen

(ERV) I was afraid that something terrible might happen to me. And that is what happened! The things I feared most happened to me.

 

Job 1:21

Many cite this passage to make a case for a meticulous sovereignty teaching in spite of reading chapters 1 and 2 and seeing Satan behind it.

Job is to be commended for proving the devil wrong by praising God in spite of what happened to him, but this does not mean that his theology of God was correct.

 Beautiful as this is, it is only partly true; because it assumes that all our evils and losses are ruled by the Lord. It is true that He rules; but, He also over-rules. He rules our good, and over-rules our evil. Job’s words manifest wonderful resignation, but it is only religion. Such sentiments can be expressed, and yet the speaker may not know either God or himself; and he may be wholly destitute of a broken heart …. E.W. Bullinger

 In some passages of Scripture Job actually makes statements about God that most would not endorse today (Job 9:23, 24; Job 24:1, 12; Job 10:8, 16, 20; Job 30:18, 21; 16:7-9)

…. I suggest we ought not to take Job’s sentiment that the Lord gives and takes away (Job 1:21) any more authoritatively than we take his sentiment that “God pays no attention to [the] prayer of wounded victims (Job 24:12) …. To discover the proper attitude that believers should take in the face of unjust suffering, we need to center our attention on the person and work of Christ. He never encouraged accepting evil as coming from God. He rather taught us to revolt against it as coming (ultimately) from satan ….” – Dr. Greg Boyd

Why Job Could Not Do Anything About The Devil

Job knew nothing about the devil’s existence:

Job did not have a Bible (like we do today) giving him knowledge of spiritual warfare.

There is no excuse for Christians to be ignorant of the devil’s existence or his strategies today (Hosea 4:6; 2 Cor. 2:11; Eph. 6:11)

 

Jesus had not yet won a decisive victory over the devil during the time of Job:

We can declare Satan a defeated foe today because of Jesus’ victory over him (John 16:33; Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8; Col. 1:12-14; 2:15; etc.)

(WE) Anyone who does what is wrong belongs to the devil. The devil has done what is wrong from the beginning. That is why God’s Son came. He came to stop what the devil does.

Since the world is under Satan’s control (1 John 5:19), he had access to Job. Jesus now has all authority in Heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18)

 

There are no promises of authority over the devil given to Job (or any other Old Testament Saint) as is given to New Testament Believers:

Aside from Job’s ignorance of Satan’s existence, Job had no promise of delegated authority given to him as we do today.

New Testament believers are given a number of promises of authority over Satan and demons that Job never had (Mark 16:15-20; Luke 10:17-20; etc.)