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JULY 2003

 

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Job 16:2 I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.

 

Most people seem to have insight into other people’s lives that they don’t have into their own. Have you ever noticed how that most people do not know the will of the Lord for their own lives and yet they always know what the Lord wants others to do? Parents are particularly prone to making life’s decisions for their children instead of helping their children learn how to make these decisions.

This same principle seems to apply to problems that come into our lives. It is interesting that in Job’s case, God said that that he was an upright man, and yet his friends were quite confident that God would not allow calamities to happen to Job unless he had sinned. They go from assuming he has sinned to knowing that he has sinned. In Job 4:7,8, Eliphaz asks, “Whoever perished being innocent?” Then he continues, “even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.”

Zophar then goes a step further in Job 11:6, “Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.” Eliphaz then goes even further and is able to recount Job’s supposed sins in Job 22:5-9, “Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite? For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing. Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry . . . Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken. No wonder Job considers his “friends” to be miserable comforters. The only wise thing they did was to sit seven days with Job without saying anything.

God does not punish his spiritual children who believe in Him. Tat was taken care of at Calvary. He cannot punish us or demand justice for our sins and demand it from Christ as well. He makes it clear that He does correct and discipline and censure us (which is the thought in 2 Corinthians 2:6). So when bad things happen in our lives, is it because of sin? It can be and the Lord may be correcting us so that we don’t do it again. If that is why bad things have come, a wise father would make sure that his children knew why they were being disciplined before correcting them or the correction would be useless. So it is with our God. Others will not need to point out our sin if God is correcting us for sinning, we will know what the sin is. If we honestly do not know that we have sinned, then it is likely that we are being strengthened for future service or we are being trusted with a trial so that Satan will see that our faithfulness does not depend upon temporal blessings. Either way we will have “friends” who will likely “know” why God is doing what He is doing. We need to listen to our friends, pray about what has happened (sometimes we aren’t honest with ourselves about our sins) and then ignore any well-intentioned friends who know things that aren’t true.

Week of July 6, 2003

  • Psalm 3:5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.

  • Lamentations 3:21-23 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

  • Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Sleep is a wonderful gift from God. We don’t appreciate the value of sleep until we have trouble sleeping. While lack of sleep may be associated with old age or sickness, it can also be associated with cares and sorrows (Psalm 127:2).

Sleep is a time of rest and rest is something that God knows we need. (See John 11:13.) The seventh day, the seventh year, the fiftieth year and some of the Feasts of Jehovah were times of rest. The Lord provides rest (not necessarily sleep) for those who come to Him to be saved (Matthew 11:28).

What I find interesting, however, is that sleep is one of the great proofs that we are not masters of our own lives and destinies, but that we are subject to the care and control of our creator God. How many of us are really concerned about whether we will wake up once we go to sleep? We may be concerned with when we will wake up but unless we are sick, we are not usually concerned with whether we will wake up. Recently, a man in the news woke up from an accident induced coma after nearly 20 years. What caused him to wake up? What causes us to wake up in the normal course of things? The Psalmist says, “ I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.” Just as we are not usually concerned with keeping our hearts beating, and our lungs breathing, we are not usually concerned with waking up in the morning. Yet Jeremiah, in Lamentations, says that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. I would like to suggest that he is referring to the process of waking up. The Lord could consume us by allowing us to stay asleep. I do not understand how unbelievers who are so dependent on our creator God to wake them up in the morning can be so determined to reject the one who is showing them such practical mercies.

The confidence that we have in the Lord’s ability to show compassion every morning by waking us up is the same confidence that we can have in the resurrection. In Daniel 12:2 we read, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Obviously, this is a reference to resurrection.

The Lord’s mercies expressed in sustaining us while we are sleep and then waking us up should strengthen our faith in Him. We should trust Him to give us eternal life by trusting in His Son who was raised from the dead. We should trust Him for the future when we consider that we who have believed in HIm will be part of the resurrection of life. But most of all we should trust Him during the present. If He sustains us every morning, surely He can sustain us through the day.

Week of July 13, 2003

Isaiah 55: 8-9

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

God made man in His image and likeness according to Genesis 1:26. Because of sin man became ungodly or not like God (Romans 5:6). Because man is ungodly, it is not natural to think like God and yet fallen man constantly assumes that God thinks like we think. The Bible constantly explains that we do not think like God in our natural state. As a matter of fact the “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).” This principle can be stated this way, “Whatever we think is right is wrong!” That is, whatever we think is right naturally is wrong spiritually.

I am so glad that God does not think like we think. If man were planning the way of salvation, we would be going to heaven based on what we do for God rather than on what God has done for us. If man were God, we would have been destroyed by those twelve legions of angels that the Lord could have called when He was about to crucified. God is merciful where man would more than likely be cruel.

If it is true that we don’t think like God, then we need to change our mind to agree with God where the Bible (God’s Word) disagrees with us. That is why the Lord tells us to “repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Repentance is changing our mind and agreeing with God on any issue where we feel like arguing with Him. Normally, we apply repentance to the issue of the sins that we commit. However, it is the process of agreeing with God on any issue where I am inclined to disagree with Him. We need to agree that God is right even when that makes us wrong.

Down through history man has been trying to tell God how He should save and then He has been trying to tell God how He should be worshipped. And of course being saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first step in worshipping Him. However, we need to let God be God. That means that we need to let Him tell us how to be saved and how to worship. We should not be telling Him. His ways and His thoughts are best.

 

Week of July 20,2003

Psalm 40:17

But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

 

King David, the composer of this Psalm is happy. He has had a prayer answered in verse 1 (I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry). He has a song he is singing in verse 3 (And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God). He has a testimony that he is proclaiming in verse 10 (I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation). Now in verse 17 he is marveling that in spite of his weakness and insignificance as far as his friends and the world is concerned, the Lord considers Him important (He thinks upon me).

Are we important to the Lord? Yes! We are important enough for Him to send His Son to die for us (see Galatians 2:20, who loved me, and gave himself for me). We are important enough for the Lord to weep when He sees our sorrow (see John 11:35, Jesus wept). We are important enough so that the Lord’s works and thoughts about us cannot be numbered (see verse 5 of this Psalm, Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered).

In a day when we feel like a number, when we are constantly being pushed back in a crowd, when no one knows our name, there is One who thinks on us (or perhaps devises for us). There is one who knows every hair on our head (Luke 12:7) and who cares about us (1 Peter 5:7). No wonder the Psalmist is waiting expectantly on the Lord when he says, “make no tarrying, O my God.” The Psalmist is probably waiting for the fulfillment of his prayer about his enemies in this Psalm. But, what is the prayer of the church today? Could it be found in Revelation 22:20, “ Even so, come, Lord Jesus”? If our relationship with the Lord is as sweet as that of the Psalmist, if we have seen how important we are to the Lord, surely we too will say, “make no tarrying, O my God.”

Week of July 27, 2003