“My spirit is broken, My days are extinguished, The grave is ready for me. Are not mockers with me? And does not my eye dwell on their provocation. Job 17:1-2 NKJV
Job prays for relief. He considers death. The unmerciful dealings of man toward afflicted people may astonish but not discourage the righteous!
Has your spirit ever been broken? Have you ever been so tired you just wanted to give up? Have you ever felt like life as you know it was coming to an end?
I recall when the life I knew came to an end. I was in a state of hopelessness and despair. I couldn’t eat. I was unable to sleep. I perspired so profusely I had to change my bedding during the night. I lost an incredible amount of weight. I was lost and alone.
I did not know the Lord. Alone in my bed at night I called out to God for help. I did not know how to pray. I just recited the Lord’s Prayer over and over.
One night everything changed. I woke up in the morning believing everything would be alright. Something happened during the night. I could not remember what it was. The Lord encouraged me. I still do not know how He did it.
Jesus gave me a new life. I will never be alone again!
My new life did not include the home I owned or the career I lost. It did not include the possessions that fed my ego. My new life did not include the people who turned their backs on me when I could no longer keep up the façade of success.
My wife and I have suffered trial upon trial and one hardship after another. Today she said she was tired and did not feel like she could go on. There is no one mocking us. No one is provoking us. It would not matter if there was. Our faith in Jesus sustains us!
The book of Job was written to encourage people like us!
This book is not short. Job’s sufferings and struggles with them goes on for an agonizingly long time. Job’s was victorious over his struggles and the works of Satan. He was victorious because his faith in the goodness of God prevailed over his circumstances!
I feel like my suffering and struggles with them have gone on far too long. You may feel the same. You and I can win the victory over our struggles and the works of Satan. We can be victorious over our circumstances through faith in the goodness of Jesus!
We are eternal beings created in the image and likeness of God. He created us to live with Him and for Him throughout eternity. God created us to receive and return His love!
The Lord wants to encourage you with these words, “I love you!” “I have a plan and a purpose for your life. It includes blessing you with my love!”
Encourage other people with the same words!
Then Job answered and said: “I have heard many such things; Miserable comforters are you all!” Job 16:1-2 NKJV
Job scolds his friends for their lack of mercy. Once again, Job asserts his innocence.
Job’s friends argue his illness and the death of his children are the result of sin. They aren’t just making accusations. They believe it. That belief is a central part of their religious doctrine.
Job was a leader in his community. He was held in high esteem. He used his standing and reputation to comfort and encourage others. He expected his wife to stand with him in their time of testing. He expected his friends to comfort and encourage him.
Job calls his friends miserable comforters to remind them of what they should be doing. They should be encouraging comforting and consoling their friend. The have completely forgotten why they sought Job out in the first place.
Ten years ago I made commitment to send out these messages. I have kept that commitment. I have also allowed religion to replace relationship. That is what Job’s friends are doing. They are talking a lot about God but not reflecting His character.
Truth is vital to the Christian life. It is not a weapon to beat people over the head with. It must be tempered with love.
We cannot live the Christian life on our own. We need the Lord to form the life of Christ in us. We need Him to live out the life of Christ through us.
We should never throw truth out the window. We should pray for discernment so that we know what to say to people, how to say it and when to say it.
Job’s friends couldn’t take his pain away. They couldn’t bring his money or children back to him. They could have stopped talking and listened to Job. They should have been embarrassed and ashamed when Job called them “Miserable comforters.”
We all make mistakes. We have a sinful nature. We live in a fallen world. If I stopped writing every time I made a mistake I would have stopped a long time ago.
When you make mistakes acknowledge them. Do your best to correct them. Don’t give up. Trust Jesus to sustain you so that you will never give out, never give up and never give in!
Job’s friends turned on him in his time of greatest need. His wife abandoned him. He thought God was punishing and tormenting him. People will turn on you. Those you love may break your heart. God will never turn His back on you. He will never abandon you.
On the day of your salvation Jesus freely poured out His mercy and compassion on you. Freely give others what Jesus freely gave you!
For he stretches out his hand against God, And acts defiantly against the Almighty, Running stubbornly against Him with his strong, embossed shield. Job 15:25-26 NKJV
Eliphaz calls Job a fool. He argues that wicked men have troubled spirits, why?
Job’s friend believes godly people always prosper. He believes evil people always suffer. There is some truth in what Eliphaz says. He is mistaken in applying it to Job.
God does not judge by our standards. Stretching out our hand against God does not just mean fighting against Him. It could also mean living as though He does not exist.
Acting defiantly against God, running stubbornly against Him with a shield describes a person relying on his own strength instead of trusting God. People who are greatly admired are living as though God does not exist today. They are evil in His sight!
Job was not a sinner. He was a saint. God was not punishing Him. The Lord was using Job to display His power. He was using Job to show His authority over heaven and earth. God used Job to show Satan He knows His sheep. They hear His voice and obey Him.
There are people, churches and denominations who believe financial prosperity is the measure of God’s blessing. They think calamity reveals a lack of faith or hidden sin.
Financial blessing can be a measure of God’s blessing. God can use calamity to build up our faith or reveal hidden sin. If we were all blessed with wealth, we might think we do not need God. We will all suffer some type of calamity as we journey through life!
Living by faith offers greater rewards than financial prosperity. God blesses us with prosperity of spirit. Our minds and bodies are at peace. We get restorative rest. We live above our circumstances. The joy of the Lord overflows from our lives into others.
People who overwork, scheme and plot to get ahead create dysfunctional lifestyles. A man of modest means sleeps better than one who worries about protecting his wealth.
Americans work harder and longer than people in most other nations. We take less time off and have less job security. People in some of those countries live longer than us. It’s no wonder so many of us are troubled in our spirits.
God wants us to strive for excellence. He does not want us to trust in our own strength and resources. He does not want us to judge ourselves or other people by what we accomplish or own. God wants us to recognize Him as the giver of good gifts.
God wants us to trust Him with what we have and with what we do not have!
Do not deceive yourself by trusting in futile things. They may shine and sparkle today but they will evaporate into thin air. Trust the Ancient of Ages. He is the Father of all that is good and righteous. True and eternal blessings come from Jesus!
“What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous? If God put not trust in His saints, And the heavens are not pure in His sight, How much less man, who is abominable and filthy, Who drinks iniquity like water!” Job 15:14-16 NKJV
No one can be pure. Each of us inherits a sinful nature from our parents when we are born. We cannot be righteous. Breaking one law makes us guilty of breaking the entire law.
God gave us free will. He gave us the ability to give and receive love. He gave us powerful minds and imaginations. But what exactly is man? We are the crown jewel of God’s creation. We are the only creatures made in the image and likeness of God!
Who are the saints of God? Does the Lord trust them?
This week two former Roman Catholic Popes received sainthood. I do not know how many people the Catholic Church has invested with sainthood. I do know it is not very many. The Lord calls all people who live by faith in His Son saints!
One third of the angels followed Satan into rebellion against God. The evil in their hearts transformed them into demons. They wage war against the people of God.
Rebellious angels oppose God and His people. They temp us with evil. They want us to follow them into rebellion against the Most High. They hate us because there will be no redemption for their sin. They are the reason God created hell.
All of creation has been tainted by sin. The cosmos is spiraling farther and farther from the perfection of God. Jesus will use the heavens and earth to pour out His wrath in the final days before His return.
God’s perfect plan includes forgiveness for His people.
People who are willing to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior can be washed white as snow. Those who surrender to God can be declared righteous. The crown jewels of God’s creation will be restored to their rightful place in the Kingdom of God!
One day the Lord will create a new heavens and a new earth. People who love God will dwell with Him in blessed perfection forever!
What is man? We are the apple of God’s eye. We are the only creatures to whom God holds out His hand of love and forgiveness!
Will you reach out and receive God’s healing touch? Will you give your heart to Jesus? The Lord is waiting to receive you into His kingdom. Do it today!
If you have you bowed your head and fallen to your knees in submission to Jesus rest assured, God trusts you enough to empower you with His Spirit. Will you trust Jesus enough to pour out your love and devotion to God?
“Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Job 14:1 NKJV
This chapter addresses the brevity of life. When Adam and Eve sinned God cast them out of the Garden of Eden. He did it so they would not eat from the tree of life.
The evil that exists today would be magnified beyond our understanding if we lived forever. God limits our time on earth for very good reasons. God’s judgment is often mercy in disguise!
“Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man dies shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes. Vs 13-14
Job is waiting for change. He longs for a place where he can hide until the wrath of God subsides. Death is the only place he thinks will provide sanctuary from the pain.
Job asks, if a man dies shall he live again? He thinks the answer is no. Throughout the ages many people have believed just as Job did. There are many people who would agree with him today. Other people do not know what to believe.
Some believe they can wait until death catches up to them before they need to know the answer. A blessed remnant knows the answer to this question. It is found in the bible.
This portion of scripture ends with Job saying; “all the days of my hard service I must wait, Till my change comes.”
I can relate with Job’s description of life. It often seems like hard service. The wickedness of man and the devil have distorted creation. We live outside the garden of perfection. We do not live outside of God’s blessing!
“My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You cover my iniquity. Job 14:17 NKJV
Right in the middle of Job’s sobering lament he gets it for just a brief interlude. God forgives his sin! The Lord forgives our sin when we repent!
There was no place for Job to hide from God. There is no place for us to hide from Him today. Jesus wants to be found by people who do not know Him today.
You can find God in the quietness of your own heart. Call out to Him. Ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you. Ask Jesus to show you that He is who He claims to be. Just who does God claim to be? Pick up a bible and find out for yourself!
Change is coming. People who confess their sin and ask God to forgive them will spend eternity in His presence. If you have not asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior do it today. Jesus will seal up your transgression and cover your iniquity.
Change is not always good. The change Jesus brings when He returns will be glorious!
He also shall be my salvation, For a hypocrite could not come before Him. Job 13:16 NKJV
Job scolds his friends for claiming to represent God. Job makes a profession of His faith in God.
Who can rightfully represent God? What does it mean to be a hypocrite? Who determines if a person is a hypocrite?
Later in this book God will be angry with Job’s friends. He tells Job to pray for them. God forgives their sin. He tells Job to pray for them because Job was called to represent the Lord. People who hear God’s voice and respond in faith represent Jesus today!
Job’s friends were not representing God when they condemned and accused him. They were not speaking God’s word. They were speaking from the flesh. They were denying the grace of God by putting more faith in human effort than God’s goodness!
In chapter 13 verse 15 Job says, Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.
It is impossible to be a hypocrite when we trust God even though He seems to be punishing us. We all make choices and mistakes that appear to contradict our faith. That is when our faith in the grace of God must be stronger than our faith in human effort!
God called David a man after His own heart. It is not because David never made choices that contradicted his faith in God. It is not because he never made mistakes that contradicted his faith. It is because David put more trust in God than his own effort.
David knew God loved him. When David sinned he bowed his heart before the Lord in repentance. When God rebuked David he accepted the justness of God’s judgment.
David loved God. He professed his faith in ways that encourage us. It is far too easy for us to read about David’s mistakes sins and failures and call him a hypocrite. God didn’t!
How is it possible for us to trust God even if He decided to slay us? The grave cannot hold us. Heaven awaits us. We will be raised up incorruptible Just as Jesus was!
The Apostle Paul said to live is Christ and to die is gain. Death will come for all of us. It may involve pain and suffering. It will lead us into eternal bliss in the presence of a loving God!
Make a profession of your faith in Jesus that will encourage other people. Represent the Lord by sharing His Word with people. Trust God in ways that make it impossible for you to be a hypocrite.
Trust in God’s grace more than your best effort!
Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. Job 13:15 NKJV
I spoke to a friend I had not seen for several months. He was betrayed by someone he loves. He was heartbroken. He began to question his relationship with God.
I asked him why he was questioning his faith. He answered, “How could God let this happen to me?”
We all suffer trials and hardships. We all experience loss. Some of us have unmet expectations and dreams that do not become reality. Some of us may question our faith.
Some of us will work through our doubts and questions. Others will turn their backs on God. When we have questions we cannot answer we must turn to what we do know!
God created us in His image and likeness. He created us for the purpose of loving us. The Lord wants us to love Him. Jesus is for us and not against us. God will not test us with more hardship and suffering than our faith can endure.
Jesus is a rewarder of people who diligently seek Him!
God wants us to love Him during the mountain top strolls of life. When we experience His obvious blessing upon our lives. God also wants us to love Him during the slogs through the valley of weeping and sorrows.
There may be times when we wonder if Jesus has turned His back on us. There may be times when we think the Lord has forgotten us. We will all be disappointed and hurt by people we love. We will all be hurt and disappointed by the circumstances of life.
Do not judge God by your circumstances!
Jesus knows all things. He is in ultimate control of all things. That does not mean everything that happens is God’s will. It means God’s good and perfect plan for His creation will ultimately prevail. Our destiny is to live in perfection with a perfect God!
God gave us free will. Each of us will abuse that freedom in different ways. If Jesus forced us to love Him our love would mean nothing to Him. If Jesus forced us to be obedient to Him our obedience would have no value to Him!
Jesus loves you. Trust Him with everything that happens in your life!
Jesus came to the earth to live as a man so we can have life and have it more abundantly. The abundant life is available to us today. The reality of abundant life is that we can live above our circumstances. We do not have to be dragged down by them!
You can live a joy filled life regardless of trials and hardships through faith in Jesus! Trust Jesus as you journey through life in the flesh so you can spend eternity with Him in eternal bliss!
“Behold my eye has seen all this, my ear has heard and understood it. What you know, I also know; I am hot inferior to you. But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God. But you forgers of lies, you are all worthless physicians. Oh, that you would be silent, and it would be to your wisdom! Job 13:1-5 NKJV
Job rebukes his friends for claiming to represent God. He declares his confidence in God!
Job has not heard anything he doesn’t already know. He’s seen God working in the world around him. He’s received the Word of God with understanding. His accusers don’t know the Lord any better than Job does. They are not more intelligent or righteous than Job.
Job wants to plead his case with God. He wants to reason with God. Job is bold enough to approach the throne of grace with confidence. He is seeking the mercy of God to help him in his time of need. Is Job’s boldness over the top? Does it border on arrogance?
God has always wanted us to turn to Him for justice. As far back as an ancient Israel God invited us to come to Him so we could reason together. The mercy to help us in our time of need has always come from God. He is our greatest resource. He always will be!
Job friends invented lies about him. Their counsel is as worthless as a blacksmith practicing medicine. Job advises his friends to stop talking. Perhaps that would give them the appearance of wisdom!
Job asked his friends; will they speak wickedly for God? Will they lie for the Lord? Will they show partiality for the Almighty? Will they contend for God? What will be their fate when God searches their hearts? Can they mock God the way men mock each other?
Job tells his friends the Lord will rebuke them for secretly showing partiality. Job asks, “Does not His excellence make you afraid, and the dread of Him fall upon you? Your platitudes are proverbs of ashes, your defenses are defenses of clay.”
Job has been humbled by his circumstances. Job is relating more with the downtrodden and oppressed than the rich and powerful. He has felt the sting of bias and discrimination. Job has learned what it feels like to be out in the cold looking in when the “cool kids” gather together to pat each other on the back!
The church should not judge sinners. God judges the living and the dead. Jesus did not come to call the rich and powerful to meet in a palace. He sat on a hillside, in a boat or in open spaces where people gathered like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus called sinners to repent. Jesus did not scold them for their sin. Jesus loved them!
Showing partiality to people who look, act and think like us is sinful. Asking Jesus to judge people for their sin and forgive ours is a mockery of the mercy and grace of God!
Jesus did not identify with the rich and powerful. He identified with everyday people. Do you? Jesus knew that everyone sins and falls short. Do you? Jesus loved people. Do you? Jesus is the source of reason and justice in the world. Imitate Jesus!
He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth, And makes them wander in a pathless wilderness. They grope in the dark without light, And He makes them stagger like a drunken man. Job 12:23-25 NKJV
Job answers his critics. He shows that wicked men do often prosper. The godly do suffer. He also speaks of God’s divine wisdom and omnipotence.
Job altered his theology. He believed God always blesses the righteous and judges the wicked. Job’s theology was correct. He just didn’t understand that God’s ways are not our ways.
Job discovered prosperity is not necessarily evidence of God’s blessing. Trials and hardship are not always a sign of God’s judgment.
Nebuchadnezzar was the King of the greatest nation on earth. He was the most powerful man alive. He was arrogant and proud. He set up a statue of himself. He issued a decree that all people everywhere should worship at the feet of his image.
God gave Nebuchadnezzar a dream. Only a servant of God could interpret it. Daniel stood before the King and declared he would be driven insane. He would live with the beasts of the field and eat grass like an animal.
Daniel also declared the king would be restored to his throne when he knew the Most High God rules over heaven and earth. Everything happened just as the Lord declared it would.
God made Nebuchadnezzar a mighty king. The Lord judged him for accepting worship. God corrected Him. He blessed Nebuchadnezzar by revealing Himself to the king. Nebuchadnezzar praised God and worshipped Him when he was restored to power.
Why did God place such an evil man on the throne of a great nation? Why did He punish the king and restore him to his former glory?
God demonstrated His power and authority over men and nations. He gained glory praise and honor. God revealed that no one can ascend to a position of great power and authority apart from Him. He showed that He can humble anyone anytime!
Evil people and nations are raised up and brought down for reasons only God knows. Godly people suffer hardship and trial for reasons only God knows. Do not let those revelations change your theology.
Evil people and nations will be judged. People who stand up and declare the truth of God will be blessed by the Lord!
If you stand up and declare the truth of God to a world gone mad with idolatrous pride and arrogant self-reliance Jesus will be with you. The Lord rules over heaven and earth!
Then Job answered and said: “No doubt you are the people, And wisdom will die with you! But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Indeed, who does not know such things as these?” Job 12:1-3 NKJV
Job tells his friends; you guys think you know it all. The world will not stop spinning in its place when you die. I’m no dummy. You are no better than me. Everything you are working so hard to explain is common knowledge!
Job’s friends have done a lot of talking. They are not done yet. They began with genuine concern for Job. Pride raised its ugly head. They continued on in exaggerated self-importance. They stopped listening to Job.
Listening to people has become a lost art. It is the most important part of any conversation. Listening to people is what ministry is all about. How can we share the Word of God with people if we haven’t taken the time to hear from the Lord?
There are people in my life who rarely listen to what I say. They may come up and ask how I am doing but their attention is elsewhere before I finish answering the question.
A man I met with for years kept calling my father a drug addict. I corrected him every time he said it. My father never used drugs. I told him so countless times. He probably still believes it. He said a lot of things over the years. He never really listened to me.
I watched a thriving church dwindle down to twenty people. New leadership was established. Hasty decisions were made. Little regard was given to people’s needs. They did certain things regardless of what anyone thought.
He said to him again a second time, “Simon son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” John 21:16
Jesus wants us to tend His sheep. He wants to use us to meet the needs of His people. He wants us to share the Word of God with people so they can apply it to their lives. We can’t do that if we don’t take time to listen to what their needs are!
Most of us have a lot to say but do not listen enough. That includes me. We can be a greater blessing to the people around us if we take the time to listen to them.
Really listening to people affirms their value to us and God. It shows that our interest in them and concern for them is genuine. Not taking the time to listen to people is rude and disrespectful. It can wound a person’s spirit and make us look hypocritical.
Do want to serve God? Do you want to help hurting people? Practice active listening!
Listen to people. Listen for the voice of God. Be about God’s business. Tend to the needs of His sheep. You will be blessed. Your labor in the Lord will produce eternal fruit and the Kingdom of God will invade the darkness of unbelieving hearts!
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