Monthly Archives: November 2009

Job 15

Trust

Job’s ‘friend’ Eliphaz the Termite brings up an interesting thought in his second response to Job.

Why, God doesn’t even trust the angels! Even the heavens cannot be absolutely pure in his sight. – Job 15:15

I had to ponder this one for a bit, God doesn’t trust the angels?

So naturally I’ve done some digging. I looked up every reference to Angel or Angels in the New Living Translation of the Bible. Then I extracted those that might fit the Termite’s premise. I have to conclude that he appears to be correct.

Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including myself, who preaches any other message than the one we told you about. Even if an angel comes from heaven and preaches any other message, let him be forever cursed. – Galatians 1:8

Then there was war in heaven. Michael and the angels under his command fought the dragon and his angels… This great dragon – the ancient serpent called the Devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world – was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. – Revelation 12:7,9

For God did not spare even the angels when they sinned; he threw them into hell, in gloomy caves and darkness until the judgment day. – 2 Peter 2:4

Their king is the angel from the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon – the Destroyer. – Revelation 9:11

And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the day of judgment. – Jude 1:6

Don’t you realize that we Christians will judge angels?  – 1 Corinthians 6:3a

In that day the LORD will punish the fallen angels in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth. – Isaiah 24:1

Ultimately the issue of trusting the angels is one of foreknowledge and predestination. We have no way of knowing what God knew or did not know about the fallen angels prior to their rebellion. Perhaps his omniscience works differently outside of our time-limited reality, I would be inclined to think not. But, we do know that there were incredible numbers of angels that chose to follow Satan, who are now awaiting their judgment. They did not prove to be trustworthy.

So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the Devil. Anyone who does not obey God’s commands and does not love other Christians does not belong to God. – 1 John 3:10

If someone does not obey your directives can you trust them? Obviously the answer is no. Thus there are at least some angels that God cannot trust.

Which leads me to ask, “Can God trust me?” Hmm…

If my past experiences and failures are any indication I would have to honestly answer, no.

Father, I want to be trustworthy. Please forgive me for failing to obey those things that I clearly know I am supposed to be doing or not doing. And during those times of ambiguity, which are few, please let me clearly know what you desire of me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Can God trust you? Jan

Job 13 & 14

Doldrums

So far in reading through the book of Job, this has been the most difficult section for me. What does God want me to focus on? Is there anything specific in these few chapters that speak to me?

Doldrums – 1. a state of inactivity or stagnation.

Yeah, that would be pretty accurate right about now.

I’m am focusing on a few verses.

If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom. – Job 13:5

Man’s days are determined;you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. – Job 14:5

But it isn’t like there is some “Aha” moment going on. Maybe that is the point. Will I be faithful to continue reading, looking, digging, asking, even if there don’t seem to be any gold nuggets lying around?

Sort of like Job. He is in a severe state of another doldrums definition himself.

Doldrums – 3. a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.

So I continue. I read. I pause. I pray. I wait.

Lord, may I always seek your will and your wisdom. May I not just blather for the purpose of filling space – like Job’s friends. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Pause. Jan

Job 12

Number 15,431

A few nights ago as I was sitting in my rather comfy desk-chair, my loving wife came over to me, gazed intently at me, and then unceremoniously yanked hair number 15,431 out of my head! Noticing my surprise, my beautiful wife batted her eyes at me and pronounced, “It was gray.”

You see I have brown hair, sort of, and those of us with brown hair have about 110,000 hairs on our heads. Actually my hair is a now mixture of brown and gray, and to be honest my hair count is now probably well below 100,000. Therefore I can’t afford to lose any more!

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life. – Proverbs 16:31

Just when I’m starting to look Godly… Yank.

Seriously though, have you noticed that we just don’t value the aged in our society anymore? We consider them an inconvenience, a financial burden. The bible speaks quite differently about the aged.

The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old. – Proverbs 20:29

While young people may have brute force behind them, it is those with years of hard gained wisdom that can best direct them in using it. But, sadly we seldom ask for their advice and wisdom these days. Instead we relegate them to warehouses called nursing facilities and visit on holidays and birthdays. But that is a topic for a different time.

John Eldredge, in his book Way of the Wild Heart wrote about the Sage, a person who has wisdom due to years of Godly living. Job likewise speaks of the same people.

Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to those who have lived many years. – Job 12:12

A Sage is someone who has gone through the stages of life identified as; child, cowboy, warrior, lover, and king. He has moved through them all, gaining experience and wisdom along the way. The end-game is that the gray-haired king steps aside for the incoming king and now exhibits his God-given glory in the role of adviser. At least that is how it is supposed to be. Of course if his wife has plucked all of his gray hair out, how will anyone know he is wise?

Lord, thank you for wisdom from the aged. May I show those in my life the respect that they truly deserve. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’m looking more like Friar Tuck every day… Jan

Job 11

Expectant

I found it hard to find something to wrap my brain around in the eleventh chapter of Job. Just like Bildad, Zophar accuses Job of being a windbag. But then Zophar adds as much hot air as the previous three. At least Job was honestly expressing his anguish. This friend’s diatribe was about prodding Job to confess sin. There was one thing that Zophar said that stood out to me because of a parallel I see in the New Testament.

If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! – Job 11:13

The word prepare is the Hebrew word, kuwm, which connotes something as being firmly established, or securely determined.

It reminded me of the following passage.

Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting a gift. But Peter said, “I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!” – Acts 9:4-6

The crippled man’s gaze was firmly established on Peter and John. I don’t think it would be twisting, or reading into, scripture to assume that he held out an outstretched hand, palm open and uplifted toward the duo. His heart was in the right place – unquestioning expectation of receiving something that he could not provide for himself. And then he received more than he could ever have hoped for – not money, but complete healing!

If as Zophar said, we would prepare our hearts and lift up our hands to him in prayer, we would receive more than we could have ever hoped for.

If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. – Matthew 7:11

But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. – James 1:6

He wants us to ask, and then to firmly believe that we will receive.

Lord, please help my unbelief. May I firmly believe. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Palm up and open. Jan

 

Job 10

Painting behind me

Dash

I have a very large painting of a few Seagulls hanging prominently in my living room. My wife thinks it is rather ugly, frankly I’m not too excited by the composition myself – Seagulls are rats with wings. However, since our living room has a Palm-Tree border, this painting works with the decor of our home. But that is not the reason it is given a place of honor.

Next year it will be 25 years since a friend of mine gave it to me as a gift. He found it by some trashcans in an alley behind a doctor’s office and asked if I’d like it. I thought that the frame might be reusable so I accepted.

I’ve had the painting from 1985 – 2009 so far. It some ways it seems like a long time, but that dash between the years is just a blip in the grand scheme of things.

Which brings me to the idea of the dash.

I found an interesting dictionary definition of dash. It is, “a dash is used to note an abrupt break or pause in a sentence or hesitation in an utterance”.

The reason this painting has meaning for me is due to another dash. It is 1972 – 1986.

Todd Wilson

1972-1986

My friend, Cecil Todd Wilson, gave me this painting when he was 13 years old.

Just a few short months later, Todd (he hated to be called Cecil) was riding his bike home from school in the rain when he accidentally turned his bike in front of a car. He died instantly from the impact.

The dash of his life was not even a full 14 years long. His time was up. The dash notes an abrupt break, and a pause.

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment – Hebrews 9:27

Had Todd lived he would have been 37 this year. As I was reading in the book of Job I was reminded of how brief life really is.

Please remember that you made me out of clay and that you will return me to the dust again. – Job 10:9

Why did you take me out of the womb? I wish I had breathed my last breath before anyone had laid eyes on me.Then it would be as if I had never existed, as if I had been carried from the womb to the tomb. Isn’t my life short enough? – Job 10:18-20a

From the womb to the tomb is just a dash. The question is, what do we make of that dash? Will anyone remember that we were even here? Will your life have mattered? Nearly everyone is forgotten after the third generation. Don’t believe me? What are your great-great-grandparent’s names? Where did they live? What did they do? Very rare is the person that is remembered longer.

But thankfully, if we know Christ as our Lord, and more importantly if he knows us, then the dash becomes irrelevant. And a number at the end of the dash is not the end. Christ will never forget us. Everything about us is indelibly written in his books.

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

Some day the painting my come down; it may be damaged, it may lose meaning to those that come after me, it may no longer match the decor. But Todd will never be forgotten.

If you look closely at Todd’s grave maker you’ll see that it has a rather different dash. It says “Asleep in Jesus”, because he knew, and is known of the the Lord. He is not forgotten, no matter how many generations may pass until Jesus’ return. The dash is just a pause in the relationship, I will see him again.

Father, thank you for the dash of my life thus far. Please give me the wisdom and ability to make the most of it. Help me to fulfill your great commission. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Womb – Tomb – Infinity. Jan

Job 9

Daysman

I was raised reading the King James version of the Bible. So for me the archaic English is usually not a problem. In the past few years though, I’ve been reading from some newer translations, primarily from the New Living Translation. I find that it is accurate and much easier to read. Yet on occasion I will jump back into my trusty, well-worn KJV to read some passages. I did a few days ago and encountered the following verses.

For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both. – Job 9:32-33

What specifically stood out to me was the word ‘daysman‘. I’d never encountered it before. My KJV had a little number four next to the word, so I followed the reference to an alternate meaning – ‘umpire‘. Ok, batter up… No, not really. So I dug some more.

According to the Easton’s Bible Dictionary,

This word (daysman) is formed from the Latin diem dicere, i.e., to fix a day for hearing a cause. Such an one is empowered by mutual consent to decide the cause, and to “lay his hand”, i.e., to impose his authority, on both, and enforce his sentence.

I sensed there was more, so I looked up the word umpire.

From a Middle English word, noumpere. It “comes from the Old French nonper, made up of non, “not,” and per, “equal”: as an impartial arbiter of a dispute between two people, the arbiter is not equivalent to or a partisan of either of them.”

This brings things into a much clearer light. If I had simply read a modern translation I would have missed the nuance of what was being asked.

He is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both – Job 9:32-33 (NIV)

If I was to simply look at the word arbitrate, or mediate, I would miss the fact that Yakach, the Hebrew word used, is really referring to someone that is not partial to the case, different, entirely set-apart from either party, someone who has no vested interest in the outcome.

But really, someone who has no vested interest in either? How could Job ever hope to have a case like that decided in his favor vs. God?

Likewise, how could we? The Bible tells me that my righteousness is literally just as disgusting as used maxi-pads (Isaiah 64:6). So no matter how much good we, or Job ever did, our effort would never measure up. The daysman would have to rule against us.

What we need is a mediator, one who stands in the middle bridging the gap to bring both parties of a dispute together. Thankfully we don’t have a daysman, we do have a mediator.

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus – 1 Timothy 2:5

Unlike Job’s wished for daysman, our mediator is like us. But, he is also God. Therefore he is quite partial to the case, on both sides. He is intertwined with both parties and he does have a vested interest. He came to Earth for the specific mission of bridging the gap. Since he is the one doing it, my works or lack thereof are not a consideration in the case. The only thing that is considered is have I relied upon Jesus to place his hand on me, and allowed him to move me into his father’s presence.

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus as my mediator. May I always rely on his righteousness and not mine. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Game over, all three of us win. Jan

Job 8

Shoes

A number of years ago I found a terrific brand of black work shoe that I truly like at Payless Shoes. They have an air-pillow insole, leather uppers, and they are oil and slip resistant. The heel is about one inch high, and the sole is about half an inch high. That means they are comfortable and durable. Additionally, being at least half an inch off the ground means that I can step right through most puddles without worrying about getting my feet wet. I hate wet squishy shoes. And living in Florida where it rains a lot means there are plenty of opportunities to find puddles, so shoe-height is important to me.

There is an old Indian proverb that says, do not judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.

If I could remember the brand of shoe I wear, I’d recommend you get some and walk a few miles in them.

Which brings me to Bildad the Shuhite. His opening words to Job must have cut like a knife.

How long will you go on like this? Your words are a blustering wind. – Job 8:2

Translation: “Job, you’re such a windgbag! How long will you go on polluting the atmosphere with your mouth?”

This is a guy who has not stopped to put on Job’s moccasins. He has no true concept of what is really going on in Job’s life, but he’s decided that he knows the path Job has been on and which one Job must take. I think he is walking right into some pretty nasty puddles of condemnation, and Bildad’s shoe-height isn’t enough to keep his feet from soaking in the stinking sop. Instead of simply sitting and mourning with his friend, he joined in the self-righteous parade.

The sad thing is that I’m just as guilty. I may not say things to someone’s face, but in my heart I have. I’ve harbored thoughts and doubts deep down about a person’s motives, walk, and relationship with God based upon their external circumstances. But that is exactly where the crux of the matter lies, the heart. God looks at the heart, not the external. He will allow whatever is necessary to accomplish his result of molding our heart into one that is in the image of his son’s. So, while I’m busy being shoe-deep in crud, thinking self-righteous thoughts, God is shaping someone’s heart to be what he desires it to be.

If I’m honest I have to admit that I’m more Bildad with the rather low shoe-height than I am Jesus. But I want to be different.

Heavenly Father, please give the desire and ability to look at the heart, not the external. Please give me a discerning spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Put on Jesus’ shoes and walk above the puddle. Jan

Job 7

Soul Sick

Many years ago when my first wife and I parted company I remember the nights of anguish, lying on my bed alone wishing, praying for death. I felt that life was over, I was a failure. My soul was sick and everything in life was affected by it. I didn’t care how I looked, what I ate or how much, when or if I slept, how the house looked – nothing mattered.

I doubt if I have ever been in the same league as Job in subject despair, and hope never to be, but I definitely see soul-sickness in the following verse.

Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. – Job 7:11

Most people when they read this verse don’t take the time to analyze what is really being said, what are the words being used. They just assume Job had finally decided to gripe.

However, Job is not saying, “I’ve had it. I’m going to spew out my disgust and bitterness.”

The Hebrew word “mar”, translated as bitterness also means heaviness, or pain. Likewise the the Hebrew word “siyach” is not just complain. It also means to commune, to put forth in thought.

What Job is really saying is, “I can’t hold it in any more. My soul is distressed and sick. I must somehow express the tremendous pain that is in my soul.”

He had lost hope and saw no possible resolution. Yet, as we know, things changed. But it took time. He had to come through the trial.

And for me everything changed too. It took time. Through the care of loving friends and family and God’s grace, I am a totally different person than I was many years ago. I am married once again. My wife is more beautiful than I deserve. The children I have the privilege of calling my own are a true blessing, and I am useful to my Lord and King as a servant in his work.

Thank you Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

To God be the glory, great things he has done.
Jan

Job 6

Occluded Vision

When I was younger, nearly every summer our family went on vacation. We could not afford fancy theme parks and hotels, so we would venture into nature. We drove the family van, camped at state parks, and explored the beauty of God’s creation up and down the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. By today’s standards we would have been considered poor. But my brother and I were certainly not aware of it. We saw and did things that many of our wealthier contemporaries only wished they had.

My father often spoke of places he’d seen and places he still wanted to visit. One dream of his was to visit the Western half of the United States; the Redwood forest, the Grand Canyon, Mount Ranier, and Yellowstone were among the places he mentioned.

Sadly, as he began to age his hearing and his vision both began to fail. Where once he could see like an eagle, he had trouble reading without magnification, items in the distance were fuzzballs. Cataracts had occluded his vision. Conversations, in which he could best anyone, became a distant memory as he chose not to engage rather than struggle to make out words. His world, once vast, started to shrink.

Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]–blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he. – Proverbs 29:18 amp

When your dreams and hopes for the future start to slip away, what is left?

Job found himself in a similar place. Nearly everything he once knew and held dear was gone and he did not have the strength or health to change a thing. His vision was occluded by grief and pain. David wrote about this form of blindness.

My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies. – Psalm 6:7

Job’s world was gone and only grief filled the void. Where once he had hope for a future, dreams for himself and his children, there was only desolation.

But I do not have the strength to endure. I do not have a goal that encourages me to carry on. Do I have strength as hard as stone? Is my body made of bronze? No, I am utterly helpless, without any chance of success. – Job 6:11-13

In order to rise above the circumstances of life, hope for something better must remain. Those who have found themselves in extraordinarily harsh circumstances, such as prisoners of war, earthquake survivors, and extreme injury victims all point to hope, a vision for something in the future, a goal, as being the thing that sustained them. But Job had lost all hope, his vision was so occluded that he could not see any goal other than to plead for death. However, if we read to the end of the book we know that everything changed.

Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, good life. – Job 42:16-17

And like Job, my father had family and friends to surround him in his sunset years. While he never did get to go West, he did experience the joy of seeing his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He got to hold them, to laugh with them, and to share in the joy of the life he had made possible for his posterity. He lived a long, good life.

Lord, thank you for my father. I just hope that I can be even half the man that he was. Please help me to invest in my posterity as he did in his. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Go West young man… Jan

Job 5

Termite

Much effort, time and money has been spent in this country and others to rid ourselves of termites. They are a relentless destructive force that can silently destroy entire neighborhoods before the residents even are aware of it. They are regarded as a menace nearly everywhere.

I think Job’s ‘friend’ Eliphaz the Temanite, while meaning good, has shown himself to be a rather destructive force. Job needed someone to simply grieve with him. He did not need a lecture, or ‘counsel’.

However, even termites it seems can have a useful purpose. One very surprising discovery is that termites can produce nearly half a gallon of hydrogen from digesting a single sheet of paper. Thus, these destructive little insects could prove to be our fuel-supply salvation. That which seemed evil and destructive may be incredibly beneficial.

And I see that even Eliphaz the Termite did have some good counsel mixed with his windbag diatribe.

But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the chastening of the Almighty when you sin. For though he wounds, he also bandages. He strikes, but his hands also heal. – Job 5:17-18

I know that it is good counsel because God chose to have it repeated in the New Testament.

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. – Hebrews 12:10-11

Wisdom and good can be found in the most unlikely places. Upon seeing it, my responsibility, as with any truth of God, is to choose to live by it and accept it. Or I may find myself fighting against God. And that my friends is a bad place to be. Because, as we’ve just read, he does discipline his own.

Father, may I listen for your rebukes and do what you say so that I don’t need your chastening. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Peace. Jan

Job 4

Encourager

One of the things that I have been gifted with by God is the ability to encourage people. I see that Job is described as a being likewise.

In the past you have encouraged many a troubled soul to trust in God; you have supported those who were weak. Your words have strengthened the fallen; you steadied those who wavered. – Job 4:3-4

But who encourages the encourager when he is down?

But now when trouble strikes, you faint and are broken. Does your reverence for God give you no confidence? Shouldn’t you believe that God will care for those who are upright? – Job 4:5-6

Job’s friend Eliphaz was off to a good start with the few statements he made above. Sadly, he continued to speak.

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. – Proverbs 10:19

It makes me wonder though, how many times have I been like Eliphaz or even Peter on the mount of transfiguration? When they had nothing to say – they spoke anyway.

Father, please give me the wisdom to know when to refrain from speaking. I need to know when someone simply needs me to sit with them. Conversely, Lord please let me know what to say and when the time is right. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Add courage, don’t subtract it. Jan

Job 3

What I Always Feared

I wonder if Satan perked up and started dancing a little evil jig when he heard Job utter the following words.

What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come to be. I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest; instead, only trouble comes. – Job 3:25-26

As a Christian I know that perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). But when you are in the crucible, in the time of trial, it certainly doesn’t feel like love is anywhere nearby. My wife taught me an expression early in our marriage. It is, “Our fears reduce us to lunatics.” From that lunacy all sorts of bad things follow.

Job was starting to despair. Thankfully he had his friends there to sit Shivah with him. There is a very old saying, “Joy shared is double joy, sorrow shared is half sorrow.” At least his burden was lightened for a little while.

Lord, I pray that I never go through anything like Job’s testing. Please continue to guard over me an my family. And may I be sensitive to those who are undergoing trials. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Then his ‘friends’ spoke… Jan

Job 2

Mrs. Job

I think most people who read the book of Job, specifically the second chapter, see Mrs. Job’s outburst and immediately label her as some shrew or heathen.

His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” – Job 2:9

How quick we are to forget what she had just endured.

Women were prized for two things in that culture, beauty and their ability to bear children. Their righteousness was measured by the amount of children God blessed them with. Just look at the two passages below.

Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.” – Genesis 30:1

After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.” – Luke 1:24-25

Notice the passion regarding children “or else I die!”, “my disgrace among men”. Having children was vital to the existence of a middle-eastern woman.

Unless she was some sort of monster, Mrs. Job loved the 10 children she gave birth to, 10 children she’d just buried. So, put yourself in Mrs. Job’s sandals for a moment. Nearly everything your husband owned has either been stolen or destroyed – you’re broke. Your children are all dead, meaning that you have no future security since poor older women were taken care of by their children once their husband died. Your husband is very sick, not to mention pretty repulsive looking with all of the oozing sores, and is likely to die soon. And since you are an older woman, you’re probably not given much of a second glance by the men of the area. Meaning you have very little prospect for remarriage. Therefore, when Job dies, she may as well have them bury her with him.

Notice however, that Job does not call her a Godless woman. Even in his own distress and pain he speaks carefully selected words.

But Job replied, “You talk like a godless woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong. – Job 2:10

He said she is speaking like, not that she is, a Godless woman. This is a key distinction. I like how the Rotherham translation worded the verse above.

And he said unto her, As one of the base women speaketh, speakest thou? Blessing shall we accept from God, and, misfortune, shall we not accept? In all this, Job sinned not with his lips. – Job 2:10 (Rotherham Emphasized Version)

The translator phrased it as a question. In modern parlance I’d phrase it, “Are you going to speak like a woman who doesn’t know God?” It wasn’t a slap in the face. It was a reminder of who she was, a Godly woman.

She was not unrighteous. I challenge you to look up God rebuking her, or Job needing to sacrifice to atone for her sin. It isn’t there. In fact God blesses her in the end. Job doesn’t get a new wife, he still has the same one when the following is written.

So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand teams of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no other women as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers. – Job 42:12-15

Remember how women were prized? Job’s daughters had a triple-blessing; they were beautiful, rich (put them into his will), and they bore him grandchildren. And yes, Mrs. Job was there to enjoy all of the restored blessings too.

Father, may I not be quick to judge. There is often much more going on than meets the eye. Thank you for lessons from Mrs. Job. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A blessing, not a curse. Jan

Job 1

There was…

Six thousand years ago a guy named Job (pronounced Joe-wb) was imortalized with the following words.

There was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless, a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. – Job 1:1

I could stop right here. What an epitaph! It doesn’t get any better than that does it.

But it does!

Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and will have nothing to do with evil.” – Job 1:8

God himself said the exact same thing about Job and added that in all the earth he was the best. Wow!

I’m left wondering, would I like my name inserted into that sentence? And would I have enduring faith like Job’s when in the crucible as a result?

Lord, I truly want to please you. Please forgive me for my frequent lack of faith and occasional lapses in integrity. May I have the wisdom to foresee and to stay away from evil. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

… a man named Jan.

Philemon

Mercy Drops

There is an old hymn named “Showers of Blessing”. The words are:

Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need.
Mercy drops ’round us are falling,
but for the showers we plead.

In my teens my Pastor’s grandson, Tony, was my best-friend; so I spent much time in and around the “Parsonage” (Pastor’s house for those who don’t speak Southern.) Pastor Roy Miller was a merry heart and loved pranks, stories, and jokes – when appropriate. I remember one day that Tony and I were playing indoors and I overheard him singing the following song.

Showers of money, showers of money we need.
Nickels and dimes ’round us are falling,
But for the the green-backs we plead.

As I was reading the book of Philemon I noticed that Paul was euphemistically referencing the topic of giving.

I myself have gained much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because your kindness has so often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. – Philemon 1:7

How would a slave-owner (a wealthy man) refresh the hearts of God’s people? The answer is by supplying their material needs.

While in prison, Paul was responsible for a runaway slave named Onesimus coming to the Lord. This slave was owned by Philemon.

Roman law was quite severe when it came to runaway slaves.

Runaway slaves were branded on the forehead with letters denoting the slave as a runaway (FUG) which was an abbreviation of “fugitivus,” meaning “runaway”. The deliberate breaking of the joints or bones was also a punishment inflicted on runaway slaves.

So, after praising Philemon, Paul went on to ask for a Shower of Blessing from his friend and child in the Lord.

He is no longer just a slave; he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a slave and as a brother in the Lord.

So if you consider me your partner, give him the same welcome you would give me if I were coming. – Philemon 1:16-17

This is no nickel and dime request. No, Paul is asking for green-backs. He is asking for Philemon to forgive a great debt.

If he has harmed you in any way or stolen anything from you, charge me for it. I, Paul, write this in my own handwriting: “I will repay it.” And I won’t mention that you owe me your very soul! – Philemon 1:18-19

How much is a soul worth?

Church history goes on to show that Onesimus was welcomed and the matter was forgiven.

Due to this letter from Paul, Philemon indeed accepted Onesimus as a brother and freed him of slavery. Onesimus was later appointed as bishop of Ephesus following the Apostle Timothy. – Wikipedia.org

I suspect that I’ll never be called upon to make such a huge financial decision for the kingdom of Christ. But should that happen, I pray that I’ll be like Philemon and remember the price that was paid for my soul.

Lord, thank you for showers of blessing. May I never forget them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Green-backs please. Jan