My Sight vs. Thy Sight

February 22, 2021 at 2:39 pm | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, I Samuel | Leave a comment
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When Saul finally decided to join the battle he was not prepared to fight according to God’s rules of war.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.  Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

I Samuel 15:2-3

Saul didn’t mind destroying everything useless, but he allowed the king, Agag, to live, and the best animals. Samuel was not happy about Saul’s disobedience, and, worse, when confronted, Saul lied about it.

And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?  And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.

I Samuel 15:14-15

Like a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar, claiming that he was only getting the cookie to give to someone else, Saul made up an excuse. His excuse was the skin of reason stuffed with a lie.

Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.

I Samuel 15:16 (emphasis added)

We can see how angry Samuel was, telling Saul to “stay,” which basically meant, “Shut your mouth, enough with the lies.”

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

I Samueal 15:22-23

Rebellion is like witchcraft in that it recognizes a higher power, but contrives to manipulate it or to work against the higher power’s wishes. Stubbornness is like iniquity in that it continually refuses to bend to what what’s right. It is a determination to hurt that which God wants to help. Stubbornness makes me a little god, and denies the True God.

And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?

I Samuel 15:17 (emphasis added)

Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?

I Samuel 15:19

We don’t see very well using our own sight, so we need to be keenly aware of God’s sight.  Stubborness focuses my sight on me, and says, “I will, I will,” instead of “Thy will, Thy will.” 

Better Than Explanations

February 18, 2021 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Job | Leave a comment
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In Job Chapter 37 Elihu described a storm. It’s possible that while he was huffing and puffing (full of hot air) an actual storm was brewing in the distance, and in Chapter 38 the storm arrived and God spoke from it.

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

Job 38:1-2

 In Scripture God spoke out of storms to impress people with His power and His might. In life, listen closely for God during the figurative storms through which you go.

God began to ask Job a series of questions. Remember, Job had been demanding to see God, to get some answers from Him, to summon Him into court. But Job couldn’t answer any of God’s questions.

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

Job 38:4

Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?

Job 38:8

Job did not have the ability to create a single thing. Everything he had and everything he saw was made by God – with no help from Job – before Job even existed. Not only could Job not create anything, but he wasn’t even powerful enough to oversee God’s creations. All the wild animals that can’t be tamed by man, God provides a way for them to feed themselves, to care for their young. We have to study them today just to know how they behave. Job couldn’t explain the ostrich, a big bird that can’t even fly and that lays its eggs in the ground where they can be trampled.

In Chapter 40 Job got a chance to speak:

Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.

Job 40:1-4

In Chapters 40 and 41 God called Job’s attention to two very remarkable animals: behemoth and leviathan. These beasts were beyond Job’s ability to tame.

Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.

Job 40:15-19

Bible scholars debate exactly what sort of an animal behemoth was, but, given the so-called “young earth” creation account, it sure sounds like an herbivorous dinosaur.

Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?

Job 41:1

Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.  Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him.

Job 41:19-22

Leviathan is often defined as a crocodile, and some commentators say that the smoke was just mist rising up out of the swamp, but others believe that fire-breathing dragons (now extinct) actually existed during the days of Job, and even into more recent history.

The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them.

Isaiah 30:6

The questions posed by God to Job were rhetorical questions. They were not designed by God to find out what Job knew. They were designed by God to change Job’s mind. When a kid says, “I’m not going to clean up my room, I’m going to eat candy whenever I want, and I’m going to stay out late,” his father might respond with, “Who pays for this house?  Who pays for your clothes?  Who pays for your food?” The dad doesn’t really expect an answer. He’s making a point.

In Chapter 42 Job repented for challenging God and impiously demanding explanations.

Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Job 42:6

The sacrifices which were made by Job’s friends weren’t in line with Mosaic law, so it seems reasonable that Job (whose life is difficult to date with precision) may have lived after the Flood, but before Moses. In Job 42:7-8 God called Job “My servant” four times. What an honor to be a servant of God! A faithful servant can be trusted, so God restored Job double that which he had before.

And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.

Job 42:10-12

However, Job did not receive twice as many children, perhaps because the first ten were still alive in Heaven.

After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations.

Job 42:16

If the Lord gave Job twice as many years, this means that he was 70 when the Lord allowed Satan to attack him.

He had three daughters, Jemima, Kezia, and Kerenhappuch. Kezia’s name meant cinnamon. Kerenhappuch meant a horn of eye paint. And Jemima was an ancient word which meant, “These pancakes are good, but they’re kind of dry.” (Sorry, it actually meant “dove.”)

Lord, we don’t like to suffer, but, knowing what the Bible says about it, we must thank You even for our suffering. Suffering gets our attention when nothing else will. It sends us back to our Bible. It gets us to pray. It builds our my faith. The trying of our faith works patience, so that we can have a good testimony for You.  You are great.  You know best.  Help us to follow You. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Bold Requests

February 6, 2021 at 12:06 pm | Posted in Joshua | Leave a comment
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Zelophehad had no sons, but five daughters. Their gender did not prevent them from inheriting their father’s portion of the land in Canaan because of their bold faith. Sometimes we have not because we ask not. Can you imgaine going to a fancy gala and receiving a ticket for a valuable door prize, then your number is called as the winner, but you don’t speak up and claim the prize it doesn’t seem socially acceptable or you don’t want to make a scene? Not likely. However, how often in our prayers or in our ministry plans do we hem and haw and “aw shucks, Lord, I know I don’t really want to ask for too big a miracle or a full and complete healing or a huge raise and promotion, because I don’t really deserve it?” Or we know someone who is absolutely Satanic and seemingly beyond hope, with no interest in hearing about the Gospel, and we hedge our bets and meekly mumble a plea that the Lord would at least maybe just get him to come to church once, instead of boldly praying for actual regeneration or barging into a place where it seems hopeless and boldly preaching the Gospel.

And they came near before Eleazar the priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, and before the princes, saying, The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren. Therefore according to the commandment of the Lord he gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father. And there fell ten portions to Manasseh, beside the land of Gilead and Bashan, which were on the other side Jordan; Because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons: and the rest of Manasseh’s sons had the land of Gilead.

Joshua 17:4-6

There is a thread of ominous foreboding running through the inheritance accounts in Joshua 17.

And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher Bethshean and her towns, and Ibleam and her towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Endor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and her towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns, even three countries. Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.

Joshua 17:11-12

It began with a certain laxity, and then moved to compromise, and on to a (perhaps perceived) inability. Of course, there is always covetousness and temptation in our lives with which to contend, also.

Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, but did not utterly drive them out.

Joshua 17:13

Slave labor is cheap.

And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto?  And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee. And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel. And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only:

Joshua 17:14-17

Joshua wisely wanted patient and persevering obedience that would last beyond the more exciting heat of battle and days of miracles, but he also wanted God’s people to not lose their edge, let down their guard, or forget that courage is given for carnage when necessary and conquest for those who don’t quit.

But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.

Joshua 17:18

An Eternal Appointment?

January 11, 2021 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Question: Why does Acts 13:48 say that the people who were appointed to eternal life were the ones who believed?

Answer: The King James Version actually says they were “ordained.” Some other versions say “appointed” or “chosen,” but it’s the same idea.

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Acts 13:48

The reason it says this is to let us know that God decides which people will respond to the preaching of His Word. Only those who have been elected (I Peter 1:2) by God believe the Truth of the Gospel when they hear it preached. This is a great Scriptural example of God’s sovereignty at work, and notice how it is balanced by man’s responsibility in the very next verse:

And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

(Acts 13:49

Knowing that God had ordained many gentiles to be saved, the Apostles and the new believers were excited to preach the Good News all over the region!


January 7, 2021 at 5:17 pm | Posted in Salvation | Leave a comment
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During the time The Deep End was started, I was sometimes being called on to fill in for the pastor of the church to which our family belonged at that time. This included occasionally teaching Wednesday night Bible lessons, and even preaching in the main Sunday morning service a few times. My practice when preaching was to sometimes preach a whole evangelistic message, but at other times to preach a message focused on some specific topic that was addressed primarily to people who were already saved. However, even in those messages, I would try (usually at the end) to give a Gospel presentation or what I would sometimes call a salvation invitation.

In making blog entry categories, I grouped these together under the cateory called Salvation, and later added other evangelistic lessons or messages designed to call unsaved people to repentance and faith, or to hopefully impart some Biblical knowledge on the topic of eternal salavtion.

Since this is the 1500th post on The Deep End, I thought it would be a good idea to place links to those salvation-themed posts in one place.

1. Just the Facts
2. You Need To Know This
3. We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming to Bring You this Important Announcement
4. Standing in the Crossway (Obadiah vv.11,14)
5. What Christians Want You to Know (I Corinthians 1:23; Romans 10:13)
6. It’s Just Faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 4:5)
7. The One Question You MUST NOT Get Wrong (Mark 8:29; John 10:30)
8. The Most Obvious Difference between Jesus and Us
9. Time Is Running Out (Acts 17:30-31)
10. The Bad News and the Good News (Ephesians 2:1-5; Acts 4:12)
11. The Work that Won’t Work (Romans 11:6; 6:23)
12. Do You Want to Live Forever? (I Timothy 2:5)
13. Give Him Your Heart (Proverbs 23:26)
14. Porcine Predilection Predates Powerful Prevailing Pardon, Prompting Personal Purity
15. The Elevator to Heaven
16. The End of Blame-Shifting
17. The Dash Between Two Dates (James 4:14; Job 14:1)
18. The Big Announcement (Luke 2:10)
19. Coming to Yourself (Luke 15:17)
20. From Cursing to Blessing (Galatians 3:10,13)
21. A Major Breaking News Story (Mark 1:15; I Corinthians 15:3-4)
22. Maybe
23. The Last but Not the Least – Part 3 (Jeremiah 46:20-21)
24. Dr. Law and Dr. Grace
25. Healing for Truly Broken Hearts (Psalm 147:3-5; Matthew 5:4)
26. Discipleship Lesson 1: Salvation*
27. Calling Witnesses (Part 1)
28. Calling Witnesses (Part 2)
29. Calling Witnesses (Part 3)
30. The Ordo Salutis
31. More Powerful than a Roaring Shadow (Psalm 23:4)
32. Light Measures Time
33. Salvation Is Not Like Shongaloo
34. The Breathtaking Wonder of God (Micah 7:18-19)
35. How Many Christians Really Know This?
36. The Crisis
37. I Can Tell the Future (Romans 14:10-12; Acts 16:31)
38. The Men Who Worked on Skyscrapers (Genesis 32:24-32)
39. Are You Struggling? (Matthew 11:12; Mark 16:16)
40. From What Were You Saved (A and B)? (Isaiah 53:5-10)
41. From What Were You Saved? (C)
42. Why Some People Just Don’t Get all that Jesus/Church/Religion/Christianity/Gospel Stuff (I Corinthians 4:3-4; Romans 10:17)
43. The Mountain No One Can Climb Alone
44. Beware Forensic Filth (Ephesians 5:5)
45. Catechism Question 21 (Romans 10:13)
46. What Does it Mean to be “Saved?”
47. “Saved” as a Term of Art
48. The Difference between Saved and Lost
49. Merry Reality
50. Reintroducing John 3:16

* most-viewed post in category

Quotes by the Dozen

January 4, 2021 at 11:31 am | Posted in Quotes | Leave a comment
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Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of The Deep End. The initial concept of the blog focused on the idea of “swimming,” so, while the majority of the posts were original content, I would occasionally find a theological quote which referenced swimming, bookmark it, and cite it in a post under a category of quotes. In honor of the occasion I have listed links to these below:

1. Spurgeon Liked To “S.W.I.M.,” Too (Luke 2:19)
2. John Piper Likes To “S.W.I.M.,” Too
3. Vance Havner Liked to “S.W.I.M.,” Too
4. Even Warren Wiersbe Likes to S.W.I.M. (The Gospel of John)
5. Pastor John Wilkerson is the Best “S.W.I.M.”er I Know *
6. My Wife Is a Super “S.W.I.M.”mer
7. Paul Washer Really S.W.I.M.s Hard
8. The Wesleys Were a “S.W.I.M.”ming Family
9. Jonathan Edwards Was a Heavenly “S.W.I.M.”mer
10. Douglas Wilson’s Turn to “S.W.I.M.”
11. All Presidents Should “S.W.I.M.” Like Woodrow Wilson (Romans 12:2)
12. R.C. Sproul “S.W.I.M.”s with Thanksgiving
13. C.S. Lewis Liked to S.W.I.M.
14. S.W.I.M. with Spurgeon
15. It’s Good to “S.W.I.M.” with Spurgeon
16. Spurgeon Would S.W.I.M. Deeper than Most (Deuteronomy 29:29)
17. Curtis Hutson Encouraged Young Men to S.W.I.M. (Numbers 13:23-33)
18. John Piper’s S.W.I.M. Prayer (Hebrews 2:1)
19. Pastor John Wilkerson S.W.I.M. Quote (Galatians 1:3-4)
20. Vance Havner Warns Us to S.W.I.M. with Care (Matthew 8:28-34)
21. Oswald Chambers Says You Can S.W.I.M. with Joy (Romans 8:37; II Corinthians 7:4)
22. My Blog Gets a Shout-Out from Todd Friel
23. R.C. Sproul Discusses the Times in which We S.W.I.M.
24. Spurgeon Exhorts You to S.W.I.M. NOW
25. Charles Spurgeon Liked to S.W.I.M. Poetically (Isaiah 41:18)
26. D.L. Moody S.W.I.M. Quote
27. Short S.W.I.M. with D.L. Moody
28. G. Campbell Morgan Wasn’t Too Proud to S.W.I.M. (Deuteronomy 8:3,16; Proverbs 16:18)
29. A Confident S.W.I.M. with John Flavel (Ephesians 4:14-16)
30. Thomas Watson Says S.W.I.M. by Faith (Deuteronomy 6:4; Galatians 4:6; Hebrews 11:1)
31. Matt Redman S.W.I.M. Quote (Psalm 59:16; Ephesians 2:1-5)
32. Spurgeon Encouraged us to S.W.I.M. Faithfully (Psalm 119:89-92)
33. Spurgeon Was Old Enough to S.W.I.M. (Psalm 92:13-15)
34. S.W.I.M. in Deep Waters with John Aughey (Psalm 69:1-3,13-16)
35. Edmund Spenser Could S.W.I.M. Lyrically (Luke 12:27-31; Proverbs 24:30-34)
36. Warren Webster Said It Is Important to S.W.I.M. with a Few Individuals (II Timothy 2:2)
37. Charles L. Quarles Pleads that We S.W.I.M. with Urgency (John 14:6; I Timothy 2:5; Acts 1:8)
38. Charles H. Spurgeon Needed Grace to S.W.I.M. (Ezekiel 47:9)
39. Douglas Wilson on Why We Must S.W.I.M. (Romans 1:16; Jude v. 23)
40. S.W.I.M. with Humility (Job 38:16)
41. John Piper: S.W.I.M. to be Married (Ephesians 5:31-33)
42. How Rosaria Butterfield Learned to S.W.I.M. (James 3:1; II Timothy 2:2)
43. Tim Challies: When You S.W.I.M. Downstream (I Corinthians 6:19-20; Micah 2:1; Psalm 36:1-4)
44. Douglas Wilson: S.W.I.M. to Obey (Romans 6:16; Joshua 24:22-24)
45. A.W. Tozer Challenged Us to S.W.I.M. in God the Father (Isaiah 40:28)
46. Douglas Wilson: S.W.I.M. to be Detestable (I Corinthians 6:9-11)
47. Pastor John Wilkerson: Don’t S.W.I.M. with Alcohol (Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-35; I Peter 5:7)
48. Douglas Wilson: S.W.I.M. to Get Out of Secularism (II Corinthians 6:17; Colossians 2:8)
49. Or in Which a Christian May S.W.I.M. (John 4:14; Jeremiah 23:29)
50. D.L. Moody: S.W.I.M. Deeper in Grace (II Corinthians 9:8)
51. Tyler Never Actually Learned How to S.W.I.M.
52. Sinclair Ferguson on a Difficult S.W.I.M. with Geerhardus Vos (Psalm 42:7)
53. S.W.I.M. Up through the Depths with Beowulf (Psalm 130:1; 77:16)

*most-viewed entry in category

Tooting Your Own Horn

December 30, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Posted in I Samuel | 1 Comment
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In I Samuel Chapter 11 Nahash, the Ammonite “snake” surrounded Jabeshgilead and proposed a surrender. His terms of surrender? “Just let us gouge out everybody’s right eye and we won’t kill you.” (This would have been an especially tough consequence for me, since my right eye is the only one working these days.) This punishment would have humiliated the Israelites in addition to hindering their archery skills.

Jabeshgilead asked for help although they hadn’t been willing to help others in Judges 21.

And, behold, Saul came after the herd out of the field; and Saul said, What aileth the people that they weep? And they told him the tidings of the men of Jabesh. And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.

I Samuel 11:5-6

Saul was plowing and he received power from the Spirit, but he also got angry in his own spirit. God raised an army of 330,000 and Saul attacked by night. Now the people really began to trust Saul.

In I Samuel Chapter 12 Samuel transferred authority to Saul. After 500 years of judges, now Israel would be a “kingdom.”

Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received [any] bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you.

I Samuel 12:3

“Here I am,” said Samuel, a statement of obedience that he had first said as a boy:

That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.

I Samuel 3:4

No one could accuse Samuel of being a bad judge or prophet.

Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the LORD of all the righteous acts of the LORD, which he did to you and to your fathers.

I Samuel 12:7

 Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness [is] great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king.

I Samuel 12:17

Samuel called Israel’s request for a king wicked, yet it did not surprise God, and it was part of His plan to bring about the throne of David and the Messiah.

For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.

I Samuel 12:22

Samuel “prayed up a storm.” The people needed to accept the consequences of getting what they asked for and then learning how to live with it by faith. Samuel would pray for the people no matter what the future held.

Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:

I Samuel 12:23

As Christians we must pray this way too.

In I Samuel Chapter 13 we see the beginning of Saul’s downfall: pride. Jonathan, Saul’s son, was very brave. He played a big part in the opening battle of the Israelites’ war of liberation, but Saul did not give Jonathan credit.

And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear.

I Samuel 13:3

Instead of giving credit where credit was due, Saul “tooted his own horn.” Let us not be like Saul.

The Good Old Days

December 17, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Posted in Job | 1 Comment
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In Job Chapter 29 Job began to reminisce about the good old days.

As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle;

Job 29:4

My grandfather, whose family went through a very tough time during the Great Depression, used to say the only thing good about the “good ol’ days” is that they’re gone, but Job’s prime was indeed good, so in Chapter 29 he looked back. In Chapter 30 he looked around.

But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.

Job 30:1

They were children of fools, yea, children of base men: they were viler than the earth. And now am I their song, yea, I am their byword. They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face.

Job 30:8-10

You will sometimes hear people, going through a difficult stage in life or a season of calamitous events, say, “Just call me Job,” but looking at what Job actually went through can be encouraging to us.

After looking back and looking around, in Chapter 31 he looked ahead. Job truly believed that he would stand before God one day – and he was ready for it.

Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity.

Job 31:6

I wonder how many of us, in times of trouble, are ready to confidently give an account to God, or to stand before Him, prepared to answer for what we’ve done.

Now another character comes on the scene in the Book of Job – somebody who had been standing around listening to all the debates, and all Job’s vows, and his questioning God, and all the arguments of Job’s three “friends.” His name was Elihu, and he started to speak up in Chapter 32. You’ve probably heard the joke about the shortest man in the Bible being Bildad the Shuhite (“shoe-height”), but we have to wonder if, when Elihu spoke up, people said “Eli-who?” Everybody knew Job. They knew Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. But Elihu had to explain who he was.

Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.

Job 32:2-5

Elihu was also mad at Job, but he was mad at Job’s three friends, too. In fact, he was just plain mad about the whole thing. He had waited, he had listened, he knew their arguments, and he believed he was speaking for God. This is a dangerous thing. He said some good things, but he misquoted a lot of what Job had said. He didn’t try to prove that Job was a sinner, but he did try to show that Job’s view of God was wrong. He brought up two good points. One was that God doesn’t always send suffering to punish us for sin, but sometimes to KEEP us FROM sinning.

He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword. He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:

Job 33:18-19 

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

II Corinthians 12:7

Elihu’s second point was that God sometimes sends suffering to make us better persons.

 He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted. And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction; Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded. He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.

Job 36:7-10

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Hebrews 12:6

One of the toughest things to do as a parent is to let a child cause harm to himself to teach him a lesson. A child’s father can warn a child playing near a pond, and keep warning him not to get too close, but, if keeps getting closer, ignoring the warnings, a fall into the water might scare him enough to make him more cautious, attentive, and obedient in the future. Of course, if it turns out there is a venomous snake in the pond, the father will jump in right away, willing to give up his own life to save the child. We might compare this to God’s use of the Old Testament prophets and their warnings, followed by Jesus and the Atonement. Jesus was the ransom for our sins.

This is what Elihu wanted Job to consider about his suffering. What if God is warning you for your own good? Or what if God is making you even stronger? We have to consider these possibilities when we suffer.

Thank You, Lord, that we don’t have to show off or make a show of doing what’s “right” in order to please You. You see everything we do, and reward us accordingly. Thank You that You have given us opportunities to be faithful in that which is least. Please help us to be faithful in that which is much. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Claiming Your Inheritance

December 9, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Posted in Joshua | 1 Comment
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It is one thing to hear the reading of a last will and testament, and to find out that you have been legally granted an inheritance, but it is another thing to go and actually claim – physically lay hold of – the inheritance.

Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the Lord said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.

Joshua 13:1

Close to 100 years old is probably the best estimate of how old was Joshua at this time – based partly on the fact that we know his friend Caleb was 85. Joshua is said to have been used by God to conquer the land of Canaan, but “conquest” is something that can be described as complete or partial. Much had been accomplished – far too much to downplay it – but there was still some conquest to be done when it came to driving out the stragglers, and especially fighting on the outskirts and farthest regions of Canaan. After something of a pause in the fighting it was important for the Lord to remind them that His promise still held true

All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephothmaim, and all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee.

Joshua 13:6

There is always a danger after a big victory to feel confidence in ourselves instead of in God. Much of the Bible is God reminding people of what He already promised to do. Additionally, for some people the battle itself is more exciting than dogged perseverance over a long period of time.

Nevertheless the children of Israel expelled not the Geshurites, nor the Maachathites: but the Geshurites and the Maachathites dwell among the Israelites until this day.

Joshua 13:13

Don’t grow weary in well-doing. We celebrate great leaps of faith, but we seldom recognize long, lesser-known periods of quiet perseverance. As great as our inheritance can appear in outward and material blessings, we must never forget your REAL inheritance IN the Lord, and that it IS the Lord Himself.

But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as he said unto them.

Joshua 13:33

Traps of Lawless Living

December 3, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Traps of Lawless Living | Leave a comment
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The Bible hero Samson is one of the most enigmatic figures in all of Scripture. Granted superhuman strength by the Holy Spirit, but ruled by his own passions, he careened through life from one extreme to another: from lust to frivolity to apathy to rage to depression. Samson lived as though his Creator had not given him laws to obey. Christian men, if they are not careful, will fall into the same traps of lawlesss living.

1. The Trap of Leaving Our Limits
2. The Trap of Lust*
3. The Trap of Listening to Lies
4. The Trap of Lapsing into Laziness
5. The Trap of Looking instead of Listening
6. The Trap of Failing to Learn Lessons
7. The Trap of Loving Life
8. The Trap of Leaning on Luck
9. The Trap of Loose Liaisons
10. The Trap of Losing Long-Sightedness
11. The Trap of Looking too Low

*most-viewed post in series

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