With Job facedown in worship to God, the sole one cursing is Devil .
Of all things, the person still worships his God—the One who would permit these disasters to occur. There would not be one in millions on this earth who would do so, but Job did precisely that.
The evil spirits sat with their mouths totally open as it were, as they observed a person who replied to all his adversities with devotion ; who concluded all his problems with worship. No clinched fist raised to the heavens howling, “How dare you do this to me after I have walked with you all of these years. Instead he revealed, “Naked I came from my mum’s womb, and exposed I shall return there. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” That explains it all. At death we shall all leave exposed, as we are prepared for funeral. We have nothing as we are birthed ; we have nothing as we depart. So everything we have between is provided for us by the Giver of Life. Get it when you wander thru your place and see all those superb effects. Get it when you open the door and slip behind the wheel of your automobile. When the stocks rise, all that profit is on loan. You and I arrived in a small, exposed body ( and not a nice looking one at that. And what will we have when we depart? An exposed body and a large amount of wrinkles. You take nothing as you brought nothing.
Are you prepared to accept it? You do not even own your kids. They are God’s kids, on loan for you to look after, rear, nurture, love, discipline, inspire, attest, and then release.
Praise God for “every good and perfect present is from above, coming down from the daddy of the heavenly lights” ( James 1:17 NIV ).
We must not forget that as we observe the life of the person they called Paul. We must also brace ourselves for some rather hideous surprises. The first pen portrait of Paul ( whom we first meet as Saul of Tarsus ) is both savage and bloody. If an artist were to render it with brush and oils, not one of us would want it hung framed in our living room. The person appears more like a terrorist than a devout fan of Judaism. Through our lives we’ve naturally adopted a Christianized mental picture of the apostle Paul.
Of course, he is the person who gave us both letters to the Corinthians.
He wrote Romans, the Magna Carta of the Christian life. He penned that liberating letter to the Galatians exhorting them and us to live in the liberty God’s grace provides. And he wrote the Jail Epistles and the Pastoral Letters so full of knowledge, so rich with significance. Primarily based on all that, you’d believe the man liked the Savior from birth. Surprising though it may appear, we mustn’t ever forget the pit from which he came.
The better we understand the darkness of his past, the more we’re going to understand his deep gratitude for grace.
The 1st portrait of Paul’s life painted in Holy Scripture isn’t of a little baby being lovingly cradled in his ma’s arms.
Neither does it outline a Jewish lad jumping and bounding with neighborhood pals thru the narrow streets of Tarsus. The first portrait isn’t even of a brilliant, young law student sitting faithfully at the feet of Gamaliel. Those photographs would only mislead us into believing he enjoyed a storybook past.
Did you read that too quickly? The end of verse 9? Mark it.
“The LORD accepted.” And then, “The LORD restored.” End of verse ten, “The LORD increased.” start of verse twelve, “The LORD blessed.” Those are words of grace—statements of divine favor. Due to the fallout of our ruthless society, you and I are being programmed to rush by words of grace and blessing and to speed on to words that are negative. We never hear : “Now, tomorrow night we’ll report only good news.” Instead, it’s “Stay tuned if you believe that report was bad ; in a second we will have a full expos.”.
I mean, even the weatherman foresees “partly cloudy.” He never claims, “Mainly sunny tomorrow.” it is often a twenty % chance of rain. He never asserts, “There’s an eighty percent likelihood of sunshine.” And similarly, he is sometimes wrong ( talk about job security ).
You have not forgotten that Job cursed the day he was born, have you? Or that he resented the fact he did not die when he was placed on his ma’s breast? He was also the person that expounded, “I am not at ease. I’m not quiet.” to explain, “I resent what has happened.” that is the same Job who is splendidly sanctified at the end of the book.
When God eventually does talk, He answers Job out of a windstorm. Would it have been excellent for us to once have been there? Whoosh. It must have taken Job’s breath away when the Lord “answered Job out of the whirlwind” ( Job 38:1 ). Many years ago ( I was less than 10 years old ) on a still and silent morning, long before dawn, I was fishing with my pa.
Our small fourteen-foot fishing ship was sitting on a slick, in a little body of water just this side of Matagorda Bay. We had our lines in the water, and neither of us was exclaiming a word. My father was at the cruel by the old twenty-five-horsepower Evinrude, and I was up close to the bow of the ship. It was one of those mornings you might flip a penny onto the outer layer of the water and then count the ripples.
All of a sudden , from the depths of the bay close to the hull of our ship, comes this massive tarpon in full strength, bursting out of the water. He does a big-time flip in the air, then plunges with a big crash into the bay.
I must have jumped a foot off my wooden seat, shaking with fear.
Still watching his line, he announced noiselessly, “I told you the huge ones were down there.”. When He speaks there’s no voice like His.” Job’s view of Our Lord God may have been enlarged, thanks to his mate’s last remarks. When your God is too little, your issues are too large and you retreat in fear and insecurity. But when your God is great, your issues pale into insignificance and you stand in astonishment as you worship the King. Remember : the more that you know God, the bigger He becomes.
When a woman or man of Our Lord God dies, nothing of Our Lord God dies. We get so involved in the lives of certain people that we start to think we can’t do without them.
When even a mighty servant is gone, God has 7000 who haven’t bowed the knee to Baal. Thru the ages He has had His males and females in each age to continue His work.
Never once has God been pissed off, wondering, What will My folks do now that he is gone? Now that she is no longer with them? Our Creator-God is omnipotent. Recalling Elijah’s words, he reached down and picked up the soothsayer’s cloak. Saying the power that now was his, he crossed back over the Jordan and commenced his very own auspicious ministry. We won’t help but wonder whether, in the years ahead, Elisha did not stop and study that old mantle, calling to mind those great days of the past when his coach and friend stood alone, representing God’s presence and announcing God’s message. The memory of the older Elijah—a man of heroism and humility—served to reinforce the younger Elisha, whom God fated to serve in even bigger ways. His life of quiet, deep personality often appears so close to me I am able to virtually feel his warm breath on the back of my neck. Yes, to this day I miss him, but the mantle of his memory spurs me on to bigger heights and deeper attention. The good stories is this : I’ll one day see him. And we, together, will worship the same Lord head to head, “. And so we shall always be with the Lord.”. Whose mantle have you received? And what will you do with its inherited influence?
It’s a learned virtue, inspired by few and modeled by even less, particularly among people who are what we’ve come to grasp as Type A personalities.
Soothsayers are scandalous for exhibiting this personality, which makes Elijah more extraordinary. Without hedging in heroism, he was as soft clay in his Master’s hands. The place of beginning, the place of the prayer, the place of battle, the place of death. That is home base—the very start of our Christian experience when we are born anew. For many of us, that place of beginning, that home base, is far during the past. Do you remember when you took your first few baby steps? You skidded a little bit and people who loved and coached you helped steady you on your feet. And you learned the fundamentals of life : how it is possible to get into the Word ; the easiest way to pray ; the easy way to have some time with Our Lord God ; the best way to share your religion. Remember? You first started to learn what it was to sacrifice, to surrender things dear and dear to you.
For some it was a miscarriage or the loss of a child. For some it was actually the loss of a man or other half. Maybe for you it was actually the loss of a job, your own business, or a lifetime dream never to be realized. Coming all alone to your own Bethel, you learned to offer prayers. God did a genuine work in your life as He carried you from that place of communion to the subsequent stage He planned for you. And because you’d learned the value of prayer, you built your altar, and you learned even more at His feet.
Self-denial is tough to learn, but it is worth the effort.