Monthly Archives: December 2009

Job 29

Respect

Job’s mini-autobiography in the twenty-ninth chapter of his book is truly inspiring. It is clear that he was afforded much respect by those that knew him or knew of him. It would be easy to assume that he was respected because of wealth or position, but that was not the case. The key to Job’s popularity lies in the following verses.

For I helped the poor in their need and the orphans who had no one to help them. I helped those who had lost hope, and they blessed me. And I caused the widows’ hearts to sing for joy. All I did was just and honest. Righteousness covered me like a robe, and I wore justice like a turban. I served as eyes for the blind and feet for the lame. I was a father to the poor and made sure that even strangers received a fair trial. I broke the jaws of godless oppressors and made them release their victims. – Job 29:12-17

The key words are:

  • Helped
  • Caused
  • Did
  • Served
  • Fair
  • Made

He was a man of action when it came to ensuring that needs were met, that the oppressed or downtrodden were represented and not ignored.

The result of those action-words by Job was quite evident.

Those were the days when I went to the city gate and took my place among the honored leaders. The young stepped aside when they saw me, and even the aged rose in respect at my coming. The princes stood in silence and put their hands over their mouths. The highest officials of the city stood quietly, holding their tongues in respect.

Everyone listened to me and valued my advice. They were silent as they waited for me to speak. And after I spoke, they had nothing to add, for my counsel satisfied them. They longed for me to speak as they longed for rain. They waited eagerly, for my words were as refreshing as the spring rain. When they were discouraged, I smiled at them. My look of approval was precious to them. I told them what they should do and presided over them as their chief. I lived as a king among his troops and as one who comforts those who mourn. – Job 29:7-10, 21-25

Job was not seeking fame, respect or honor. That was the natural result of how he lived his life, his living out his action-words.

What am I doing? What are the action-words of my life? And how are those action words applied? Is it something my Lord would approve of, or have to turn his back on in disappointment?

Lord, please help my action-words to be ones that honor you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Serving, Jan

Advertisements

Job 28

Fully Understanding

Most people are familiar with the parable of the blind men who examined an elephant. If you are not, the account is below.

It was six men of Indostan, to learning much inclined,
who went to see the elephant (Though all of them were blind),
that each by observation, might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the elephant, and, happening to fall,
against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the elephant, is nothing but a wall!”

The second feeling of the tusk, cried: “Ho! what have we here,
so very round and smooth and sharp? To me tis mighty clear,
this wonder of an elephant, is very like a spear!”

The third approached the animal, and, happening to take,
the squirming trunk within his hands, “I see,” quoth he,
the elephant is very like a snake!”

The fourth reached out his eager hand, and felt about the knee:
“What most this wondrous beast is like, is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree.”

The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said; “E’en the blindest man
can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant, is very like a fan!”

The sixth no sooner had begun, about the beast to grope,
than, seizing on the swinging tail, that fell within his scope,
“I see,” quothe he, “the elephant is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan, disputed loud and long,
each in his own opinion, exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!

So, oft in theologic wars, the disputants, I ween,
tread on in utter ignorance, of what each other mean,
and prate about the elephant, not one of them has seen!

By John Godfrey Saxe (1816 – 1887)

Each man thought he understood the shape, nature, and function of an elephant. And while each man was right in his individual limited assessment, those of us who can see the entire elephant know that each individual man was entirely wrong.

Like the blind men examining the elephant, Job’s friends have been groping about in the dark trying to ascertain the shape of Job’s suffering and pain. And while each thought he understood, each understood nothing.

In response, Job asked a question about wisdom, twice.

But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding?  – Job 28:12 & 20

A little while later, in what surely was a God inspired utterance, Job made the following statement.

Then, when he (God) had done all this, he saw wisdom and measured it. He established it and examined it thoroughly. – Job 28:27

Like those of us with complete use of our senses examining an elephant, God has completely and thoroughly examined wisdom; he knows everything there is to know about it.

And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’ – Job 28:28

That says it all. Later writers of scripture said exactly the same words. The sum total of wisdom is to fear God and do good.

Father, thank you for showing me the truth about wisdom – something that like the blind men I could never understand in my limited perception. Thank you for sending Jesus to live in me so that I can have your wisdom. Thank you for life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Whose eyes are you seeing with? Jan

Job 27

Whirls Down

Katrina

In the dark early morning hours of August 29th 2005 New Orleans Louisiana was forever changed. Churning off shore and heading toward the city was a terrifyingly beautiful Category 5 hurricane. Although it decreased in strength to a Category 3 storm by the time it made landfall, the most devastating part was yet to come. As the center, the most intense part of the cyclone, was pounding the downtown area, storm-surge control levees began to fail. Massive flooding ensued. Some areas of the city were inundated with 15 feet or more of water. Wind destroyed windows and roofs at random. Belongings, and lives were carried away with the wind, rain, and flooding. Final death toll estimates are that over 1,400 people died as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The monetary damage, while still not completely understood, is over $100 billion. Post storm, thousands of people were trapped by the flooding for days, even weeks, trying to flee the destruction and terror.

Terror overwhelms them, and they are blown away in the storms of the night. The east wind carries them away, and they are gone. It sweeps them away. It whirls down on them without mercy. They struggle to flee from its power. – Job 27:20-22

Storms of life will come. It is just a fact of life, a sometimes very painful fact.

…and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. – Matthew 5:45

The question is what will be the outcome on us? How will we deal with the aftermath?

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – 2 Corinthians 1:4

While much of the world turned their attention to New Orleans and the cleanup immediately following the devastation of that city. Now, four years later, it is largely forgotten. The Federal Emergency Management Organization maintains a list published of the various organizations that are still engaged in efforts for the Katrina victims. Notice the makeup of this list.

  • Adventist Community Services (800) 381-7171
  • American Red Cross (800) HELP NOW (435-7669) in English, (800) 257-7575 in Spanish
  • America’s Second Harvest (800) 344-8070
  • Catholic Charities, USA (800) 919-9338
  • Christian Disaster Response (941) 956-5183 or (941) 551-9554
  • Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (800) 848-5818
  • Church World Service (800) 297-1516
  • Convoy of Hope (417) 823-8998
  • Dallas County Medical Society Project Access  (214) 948-3622
  • Lutheran Disaster Response (800) 638-3522
  • Mennonite Disaster Service (717) 859-2210
  • Nazarene Disaster Response (888) 256-5886
  • Operation Blessing (800) 436-6348
  • Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (800) 872-3283
  • Salvation Army (800) SAL-ARMY (725-2769)
  • Southern Baptist Convention — Disaster Relief (800) 462-8657, ext. 6440
  • Texas Nurses Foundation
  • United Methodist Committee on Relief (800) 554-8583

Of the 18 organizations listed, only 3 are not directly Christian related. They are comforting with the same comfort they have been given. Jesus has not forgotten them, nor have his people.

Father, may I never grow callous to the needs and suffering of others. Please help me see with Jesus’ eyes. In His name. Amen.

Lift Up. Jan

Job 26

Empty Space

In the twenty-sixth chapter of Job is a mention of a seeming astronomical anomaly.

God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing. – Job 26:7

Up until just a few years ago it was believed that the Northern sky was nearly devoid of stars. If you look up you’ll see some constellation patterns, but that is all. However, with the advent of the Hubble Space Telescope that area of space revealed something astounding.

Click to Enlarge

In a five day multi-pass exposure of deep-space in the Northern Sky, Hubble uncovered thousands of Galaxies in just a very minute slice of sky. That’s Galaxies, not stars or planets. It is truly mind-boggling.

So, does this prove that the Bible is wrong? Of course not. That would be stupid. Job was a man just like us, he was merely speaking about what was known at that time. If anything, this discovery shows just how vast God’s creation truly is.

Lord, thank you for incredible beauty hidden in plain sight, just waiting to be discovered. You are an amazing craftsman. I’m looking forward to exploring it all. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

He made it all for us! Jan

Job 25

But a Worm?

There used to be Christian comedian out there by the name of Mike Warnke. He apparently got into some trouble regarding lying about his past and disappeared off the radar. I remember seeing him once, many years ago, at a local church. One of the bits he did was a song that reminded me of the following chapter in Job.

Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

“God is powerful and dreadful. He enforces peace in the heavens. Who is able to count his heavenly army? Does his light not shine on all the earth? How can a mere mortal stand before God and claim to be righteous? Who in all the earth is pure? God is so glorious that even the moon and stars scarcely shine compared to him. How much less are mere people, who are but worms in his sight?” – Job 25

Mike Warnke’s song was set to the tune “A Mighty Fortress”. The section that stuck with me was as follows.

Oh Lord, I am but a worm.
So place your foot upon me
and watch me squrim.

That appears to be Bildad’s view of all of mankind, and how he feels that God views us. But is it really?

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross. This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. – Colossians 1:19-22

Did you notice that now he (Christ) has brought us back as his friends?

Worms? Perhaps before Christ. But now, I think not! Too high a price was paid for me to think that I’m but fish-food. It would be an insult to Christ to live with that belief.

Father, thank you for living through Jesus and reconciling me to you. Thank you that I am no longer destined for hell, but instead am counted as your friend. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Transformed, a friend. Jan

Job 24

Trust in The Light

I don’t have much to say about the twenty-fourth chapter of Job. However, the following verse did stick out to me and made think about The Light.

Those who fight against the light do not know God’s ways or stay in his paths. – Job 24:13

The Apostle Paul called Christians Children of the Light.

For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. – 1 Thessalonians 1:5

Jesus also called those who believe in the light Children of the Light.

Believe in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light. – John 12:36

When Simeon prayed to God, while holding the baby Jesus, he had the following to say about him.

He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel! – Luke 2:32

Jesus later identified himself as the light of the world.

Jesus said to the people, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” – John 8:12

I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the darkness. – John 12:46

So I see that Jesus himself is the light. And if I believe in him I am his child.

Father, thank you for lighting my dark world with the light of Christ. May I live my life as a child of the light. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Come into the Light. Jan

Job 23

God’s Commands

I read something today that made me stop and think.

I have not departed from his commands but have treasured his word in my heart. – Job 23:12

What commands?

The events of the book of Job would have taken place around 1700 BC.

God’s commands won’t be written down until hundreds of years in the future (about 1500 BC) when Moses receives them on the tablets, and then by direct conversation with God during the sojourn in the wilderness. So what commands is Job referring to?

In doing research, I found that there were earlier codified forms of law.

The Code of Ur-Nammu is the oldest known tablet containing a law code surviving today. It was written in the Sumerian language ca. 2100-2050 BC. – Wikipedia

Then there is the famous code of Hammurabi.

The Code of Hammurabi (Codex Hammurabi) is a well-preserved ancient law code, created ca. 1790 BC in ancient Babylon. It was enacted by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi. One nearly complete example of the Code survives today, inscribed on a seven foot, four inch tall basalt stele in the Akkadian language in the cuneiform script. – Wikipedia

And there were others. So it would appear that there was enough law available from which of determine right and wrong. At least right and wrong as defined by man. But what about God’s definition of right and wrong?

For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. – Romans 1:19-20

The writer of Romans makes it clear that from the time the world was created people have had knowledge of God. The only issue has been, what they do with that knowledge.

Father, unlike Job I actually have your written word, your will for my life readily available. May I have a burning desire to do what it says so that in all my ways I please you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Read it, Live it. Jan