Life is a Boomerang, Right?

MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – READING THROUGH THE BIBLE IN LOW GEAR.  Job 4-5 NIV and Job 4-5 CEV

Tight summaries from David Atkinson’s commentary. There’s nothing like reading God’s Spirit-breathed Word and meet Him there by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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ELIPHAZ’S FIRST SPEECH (Job 4-5)

  • Eliphaz seems to be the oldest, profoundest, gentlest and generally nicest of the 3 friends.
  • He has a deep faith in God’s transcendent holiness and a deep experience of God making himself known.

ELIPHAZ IS FACED WITH HIS SUFFERING FRIEND.

  • He witnessed a profound but sudden change in Job’s fortunes and heard Job’s heart-rendering outburst in lament –  Job 3.
  • He also  knows nothing of the exchanges between God and Satan.

ELIPHAZ VENTURES TO SPEAK

  • in his first speech, Eliphaz recognises Job’s true piety and goodness.
  • He recognised that in the past Job instructed many and strengthened weak knees (4:4)
  1. Job was known to care for those in trouble, to be in touch with the suffering of others and has a the reputation of a holy and good man of intergrity.
  2. But now trouble has come to Job.  (4:3-5)

ELIPHAZ TRIES TO ENCOURAGE JOB TO BE MORE CONFIDENT.

  • Job you can live in hope because doesn’t God keep innocent and upright people safe? (4:7)
  • The righteous are not ultimately destroyed and the innocent do not perish. (4:7 – 9)

THIS  IS THE BASIS OF ELIPHAZ’ ARGUMENT: you reap what you sow and of course it matters how we live.  Jesus Himself said so.

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BUT CAUSAL LOGIC DOES NOT ALWAYS APPLY IN LIFE

  1. God is just and good.
  2. Virtue will be rewarded.
  3. The way of the wicked will perish.
  4. Job what wrong have you sown that you are sitting on the ash-heap?

LET’S TRY TO FIT CAUSAL LOGIC WITH PSALM 73.

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  • Yes we hold firm that God is just and rewards good and punishes evil.
  • Yes it matters how we live.

AT THE SAME TIME ELIPHAZ SEEMS UNABLE TO ALLOW GOD TO BE THE JUDGE OF REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS.

  • “Job because you are reaping disaster therefore you must have sown trouble”
  • Eliphaz insists on interpreting what he sees before his eyes as evidence of God’s mind.

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IT WAS ONLY WHEN THE PSALMIST SAW LIFE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF ETERNITY THAT BE BEGAN TO UNDERSTAND. 

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ELIPHAZ FAILS TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN AN EARTHLY PERSPECTIVE AND GOD’S PERSPECTIVE.

  • He functions with the natural view of causes and effects.
  • Job’s suffering is the visible effect – and the cause must therefore be Job’s sin.

ELIPHAZ USES A FAULTY EQUATION AND ENDS UP WITH FAULTY COUNSEL

  1. “Job, you ought to stop defending your innocence – rather take responsibility for your sins.”
  2. “You reap what you sow – you are suffering because of your sins.”

Instead of a living faith in the all-sovereign, good and gracious God we now just have a theory of natural causes..

DO WE TRACE THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL AND FAITH IN KARMA HERE?

  •  If you are righteous and you have faith you will be divinely blessed by prosperity in every area of your life.
  • The poor and the disadvantaged have only themselves to blame for their plight.
  • They need to pull themselves together, stop sinning, do good things, come up with super faith.

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Getting our Bearings in the Book of Job

MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – READING THROUGH THE BIBLE IN LOW GEAR. 

Tight summaries from David Atkinson’s commentary.

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WE LEFT JOB BEREFT, BEWILDERED AND IN PAIN CRYING OUT TO GOD.

  • He is still sitting on the ash heap outside the city, scraping his sores.
  • His three friends have been with him for 7 days and 7 nights – the traditional time for mourning the dead.
  • Job breaks the silence with a deep lament. The friends then reply.

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Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 10.19.37We’re out of the blocks with Job. Here’s a very basic outline of the way ahead through the book.

JOB 4-27 IS DIVIDED INTO THREE CYCLES OF SPEECHES.

  1. Eliphaz speaks and Job replies.
  2. Bildad speaks and Job replies.
  3. Zophar speaks and Job replies.
  4. The cycle is repeated a second and a third time. (They run out of steam in the third round of speeches.)

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  • How will they minister to their broken friend?
  • What will they tell him about God?
  • What will be their own reasons for Job’s suffering?

IF WE CAN MAKE  IT READING THROUGH JOB..

  1. We will also see Job’s pilgrimage of faith.
  2. We will see human wisdom and divine wisdom. (There’s a fourth friend).
  3. We will hear hear what God says.

WILL IT BE COLONEL MUSTARD?

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OR WILL IT BE THE GOD OF ALL HOPE?

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Let’s Celebrate God’s Sovereignty.

MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – READING THROUGH THE BIBLE IN LOW GEAR.

Summarised notes from John Piper’s teachings on Job.

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SATAN AIMS TO DESTROY OUR JOY IN GOD AND THUS BELITTLE GOD.

  • Satan is after our joyful faith in God and if he can ruin it, he will make God look worthless to the world.
  • Satan assaults the glory of God in our lives through pleasure and pain.
  1. IN OUR PAIN.. we feel God is powerless and hostile.
  2. IN OUR PLEASURE we feel God is unnecessary.
  • When we cling to our God in the face of our suffering we show His immense worth.
  • God’s glory is displayed in our lives when we cherish, delight and treasure Him above everything.

GOD, US AND SATAN.

  • God is never ever for a moment frustrated by Satan and actually limits his power.
  • Sure, Satan is involved.  God said to him, “Job is in your power. Do what you want.”
  • God will win!

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LET’S ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT TO HELP US TAKE STOCK:

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  1. Are we so rights-driven that we think God owes us everything? Or do we humbly agree that our life is a gift on loan from Him and when God takes it, is doing us no wrong?
  2. Do we weep when calamity strikes or are we defiant or fatalistic in the face of suffering?

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  1. Do we know the heaving sobs and the deep unshakable joy simultaneously in our hearts as we bless His Name?
  2. Do we know the fabulous freedom of affirming and celebrating with all our hearts the sovereignty of a God gave His only Son who laid down His life for us?
  3. Do we celebrate our amazing God’s sovereignty over our pain and our pleasures?

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Desperate Faith

 

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MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – READING THROUGH THE BIBLE IN LOW GEAR. Job 3 CEV. and Job 3 – NIV

A tightly summarised compilation with help from various sermons and commentaries.

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  • THERE IS A  SILENCE MORE ELOQUENT THAN WORDS.
    Job’s friends were willing and compassionate to be present in the face of profound suffering.
  • JOB ISN’T PERFECT BUT HE IS NOT SUFFERING BECAUSE OF HIS SIN – Job’s friends say he is getting punished for his sins. Twice God says Job is blameless and upright.
  • THERE ARE LARGE QUESTIONS like, how can a person maintain faith in God in the face of suffering?

THE SEVEN DAYS SILENCE IS BROKEN WITH JOB’S LOUD LAMENT. We are taken inside Job’s heart to feel his anguish.

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For Job it’s about God’s absence.

Job 3 summarised:

ONE:  JOB’S DESPERATE FAITH.

  • Where is God? Why have these extreme horrid things happened to him?
  • He is frantically trying to reconcile his shocking experiences with His faith in a good God.
  • Job’s in despair over his own life but is holding onto God’s integrity, truth and justice.

TWO:  JOB CURSES THE DAY HE WAS BORN AND BELLOWS HIS MISERY  (Job 3:1-10)

  • He’s not cursing God, he’s not cursing himself.
  • He just wants the day of his birth to be blotted from memory.

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THREE:  JOB’S QUESTIONS (Job 3:11-19)

  1. Why wasn’t his birth a still-birth, why did he survive?
  2. Why do those who long to die, carry on living?
  3. He feels trapped by God – why could he not just die?

 FAITH IS PUSHED TO THE LIMIT – JOB’S JUST SHORT OF DENYING GOD’S GOODNESS. (Job 3:20-26))

  •  Job ends his lament with a cry of reproach and bewilderment.
  • Sighing and groaning is his food and drink and he’s scared God will leave him.

JOB’S 4 SHARP CRIES AS FROM 4 STAB WOUNDS.

  1. I have no peace!
  2. I have no quietness!
  3. I have no rest!
  4. I’m in turmoil!

AGITATED, JOB CANNOT RELAX NOR SETTLE.  He’s in a severe state of anxiety and pain and believes God let him down.

Job is holding on to his faith by the skin of his teeth.

THE TENSION OF FAITH between…..1) what we know about God’s goodness and 2) that we cannot fathom everything about God.

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JOB’S STRUGGLE.

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  • Job knows his life is in God’s hands but does God actually care about Job?
  • How can Job, how can we, reconcile God’s presence with His apparent absence?

Can Job keep believing when overwhelmed by the intolerable magnitude of this suffering?

  • Much of what Job’s friends said is implied, sarcastic, their premise is wrong and therefore their conclusions will be wrong.
  • Just like false gospels promise people everything and when things go wrong, anger flares up.

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DO YOU ALSO WONDER, “WHY DOES GOD ALLOW ME TO SUFFER WHEN I FOLLOW HIM?” There are zero quick fixes for any crisis in the book of Job.

THE BOOK OF JOB SWIVELS ON TWO HINGES – 

  1. Job is a man of enduring godliness under the most acute sufferings..
  2. God is sovereign and His steadfast love never ever fails.

JOB’S FRIENDS’ QUICK-FIX AND SOUL-DESTROYING ANSWERS: “Job, you are suffering because God is punishing you for your sins.”

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Satan is a Lion on a Leash

MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – READING THROUGH THE BIBLE IN LOW GEAR. Job 1:20-2:10 NIV and Job 1:20-2:10 CEV

A tightly summarised compilation with help from various sermons and commentaries.

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JOB DIDN’T CURSE GOD – Satan was proved wrong.

  • Job did not hunt for secondary causes to blame – he took it all as from the Hand of God.
  • Job worshipped.

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We are the start of October 2017 and we don’t know what the rest of this year and the future will bring.

  1. If we have it all – will this be our song: bless the Lord who gives!
  2. If we should lose it all today – will Job’s song be our song?

ALL THAT JOB HAD, ALL THAT JOB WAS, IS GONE.

  • He tore his robe and shaved his head.
  • He fell on the ground and worshipped.

In the face of 10 dead children, Job wept his eyes out, tore his shirt and … with a shaking voice worshipped and blessed the Name of  the Lord, blessed the Lord who gives and takes away.

  1. GOD GIVES – let us celebrate His amazing gifts without the guilt trip.
  2. WHEN GOD TAKES AWAY  – let us weep and sorrow, bless His Name and worship from our hearts. (No fake it till we make it).

Will we, do we, like Job, weep, and instinctively look to our sovereign and merciful God in multiple crises and sorrows and worship?

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BACK IN HEAVEN – God’s trust in Job was vindicated.

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 11.46.30AGAIN SATAN CHALLENGES  GOD’S WORTH AND THE GENUINENESS OF JOB’S AWE OF GOD. 

Will physical health be more valuable to Job than God and his relationship with God?

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  1. God God says: “Behold, he is in your power. Only spare his life.” So “You can do with his body what you want.”
  2. Satan wastes no time to afflict Job with boils.

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A MAN OF WEALTH IS SITTING WITH LEPERS ON THE ASH HEAP SCRAPING HORRID, SEEPING BOILS THAT COVER HIM FROM HEAD TO TOE – NOT LITTLE MEASLE TYPE SORES.

It wasn’t sin that brought this down on Job’s head and body.

JOB ISN’T SUSPICIOUS OF SATAN.

  • He is a paradigm of a good man – not perfect – but upright.
  • Job knows God’s grace – why else would he bring offerings.
  • Job thought God blesses the righteous.

A  BIG QUESTION MARK IS NOW HANGING OVER EVERYTHING THAT JOB BELIEVED IN.

  • Is there any comfort in having a committed faith in Him?
  • Faith is learning to trust God in the dark.

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JOB’S WIFE CAVES IN AND TELLS HIM TO GIVE UP ON GOD.  (2:9-10)

(Let’s have some understanding: 10 crushed children, wealth evaporated, husband with a horrid disease she can’t touch him.)

  • I am suffering you are suffering it is all so helpless.
  • You would be better off dead.
  • “Curse God and die”. A big smile came over Satan’s face.

IN ALL THIS JOB DID NOT SIN WITH HIS LIPS.

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YES, JOB!

  • God is of higher value to God than his health, his wealth, his happiness.
  • Job held fast to His God by faith – and Satan’s face fell.

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(Satan gets no further mention in the book of Job.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curse or Worship?

MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – READING THROUGH THE BIBLE IN LOW GEAR. Job 1:8-20 NIV and Job 1:8-20 CEB

A tightly summarised compilation using  various sermons  and commentaries.

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SATAN IS NOT IMPRESSED.

  • “Well, who wouldn’t fear God if they have camels and asses and cows and sheep and servants and health and ten kids and is the greatest man in the east?”
  • “Come on, God. You are not Job’s treasure. Family, esteem and possessions are Job’s  treasures.”

WHAT AN  ASSAULT ON GOD’S GLORY AND ON GOD’S VERDICT OF JOB’S HEART!

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BACK ON EARTH – THERE WAS A DAY… stab after stab. Blow after blow of cascading disaster and death.

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  • Violent crime, a crack of lightning, raids, a cyclone and all of Job’s children and his servants dead and animals, dead.

    How could we  imagine the depth of that horrific day!

  • All Job’s investments and his esteem tumble to zero.
  • All of his children crushed to death and buried.
  •  Total complete instantaneous loss.
  • All in one afternoon.

IS JOB GOING TO CURSE GOD TO HIS FACE?

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Will We Love God for Himself?

MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – READING THROUGH THE BIBLE IN LOW GEAR. Job 1:1-9 NIV and Job 1:1-9 CEB

A tightly summarised compilation using  various sermons  and commentaries.

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In the opening chapters of Job two stories are woven together: one takes place in heaven and the other on earth. 

WE BEGIN ON EARTH IN THE LAND OF UZ WITH JOB.

  • Job, God’s servant is rich, esteemed, the greatest in the East.
  • At this stage in his middle years, he has a grown family of 7 sons and 3 daughters.
  • Job isn’t perfect, but he is blameless, upright, a good, caring and godly man of integrity. Ezekiel mentions Job in Ezekiel 14.

job-1-1-8-2-728JOB WENT AFTER GOD.

  • He was deeply committed to the spiritual wellbeing of his children. Job 1:7
  • Job was anxious that his 10 children do not curse God – so he got up early in the mornings to burn offerings on their behalf.

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JOB LIVED IN A CULTURE OF “WHAT YOU SOW YOU WILL REAP.*

  • He also believed that God rewards those who seek him with material wealth and many children.
  • Theirs was a moral world in which virtue is rewarded and in which evil is punished.

In the book of job we realise that a lot more goes on in heaven and on earth than we realise. 

THE SCENE SWITCHES TO THE HEAVENLY COURT – Job 1:6

  • There’s no indication that Job was ever aware of this dimension of his predicament.
  • We are given a glimpse.

GOD INITIATES THE DRAMA BY ASKING SATAN  WHAT HE HAS BEEN UP TO.

  • The prosecuting devil is so preoccupied with and spends all his time prowling around on earth wanting to find disloyalty to God.
  • He appears to be like a roaring lion hunting down and devouring faith and enjoying the  downfall of God’s people.

GOD IS PROUD OF HIS SERVANT JOB.

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SATAN’S CYNICAL TAUNT: Job isn’t authentic.

  • God’s character is questioned. Job’s character is questioned.
  • No wonder Job is good, God – he is only after your rewards not after you.
  • Satan says God has hedged Job in but the minute God takes away his possessions he is definitely going  curse Him to His face.
  • Come on God, since when does goodness survive in the real world of human pain?

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IS GOD CAPABLE OF BUILDING FOR HIMSELF A PEOPLE WHO WILL LOVE HIM FOR HIMSELF AND NOT FOR THE BENEFITS HE BESTOWS ON THEM?

  • Satan’s sneer will become one of the central issues of the rest of the book.
  • Is Job only godly for what he can get out of following God? Does Job fear God for nothing?
  • Is Job’s relationship with God is nothing more than a contract:  I serve you, you bless me.

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 We shall see that Job’s fellowship with God is all important to him.

THE SATAN ON A CHAIN – God gives Satan a limited freedom to try Job out.

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  • This is not dualism, not a battle between Satan and God as though they are two equals in a contest.

God is always sovereign and Satan is always an adversary on a chain.

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