Archive for February 18, 2012

Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part5)

Pick of the Litter (Job 1)

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” v.1

The meaning of the word Uz is “counsel” and the name of Job means “the cry of woe”. It may very well be that the counsel of his wife and so-called friends are the source of his cry of woe. I want to share with you that the place of honor is often a place of aloneness and separation from others but that will come in a later message. For now lets look at how Job came into his famous predicament.

“That man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” The word eschew is an interesting word. It means to deliberately avoid and abstain from. Well, doesn’t everybody deliberately avoid and abstain from evil? Apparently not, very decidedly not. In fact very few eschew evil. Evil is sold in this world in every marketplace and the prices keep going up because of the enormous demand for it. Just look at how the most popular products glorify evil and sin. (Hint check the logos and themes related to death, anarchy, and destruction).

So how did all this singling out come about that Job found himself in the cross-hairs of Satan? “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.” v.6 For the record there is a difference between the devil and Satan which you should understand. According to Gen. 3:1-5 man is responsible for the introduction of Satan. He came into the world as a result of a conversation between man and the devil.

Satan is the counterfeit of the Holy Spirit. Man was never intended to listen to the voice of the devil but the voice of God by his Spirit to our spirit. When man decidedly sought for another voice of authority in the earth, Satan entered. He is the result of man’s desire and will to organize and live his life apart from God and His Word.

(This reminds me of the movie Shrek where he is looking for someone to accompany him to rescue the princess. He asks is anyone wants to go with him and there among the people is Donkey bouncing about 4 heads higher than all the rest of the crowd enthusiastically shouting “Pick me!, pick me!” to which Shrek replies, “Is there anyone else who wants to go?” God has sent His Holy Spirit to accompany us on our treacherous journey and yet so many are asking, “Is there anyone else who wants to go with me?” looking for other options.)

Satan is the voice of that other option to the revealed will of God. And we too often seek it out, wanting to serve and do our will, not His. He (Satan) is the voice and power behind every rebellious act.

Consider these facts regarding the person of Satan. Only once did our Lord address the devil as Satan. “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written…” Matt. 4:10. Notice that Satan was trying to get Jesus to listen to a voice of Self-service, to execute an independent plan. On another occasion Jesus labeled Peter’s self-pity (inordinate thinking about Self) as satanic.“But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Matt. 16:3.

I like what Oswald Chambers says about this “other” option: “When a man is born from above he has granted to him the disposition of Jesus, Holy Spirit, and if he obeys he will develop into the new manhood in Christ Jesus. If by deliberate refusal a man is not born again he is liable to find himself developing more and more into the satanic, which will ultimately head up into the devil.”

My will, is not my will but submission to the satanic charge to take control of my own destiny, to distrust
God, forsake Him and set an independent course based on natural reasoning and desire. This is why we must deny ourselves and seek His will. Every choice you make is an exposure of what is in your heart. You have a free will for that reason – that it might be known to whom you belong.

And here is Satan doing what he does best, accusing the brethren before God (thank God we have an Advocate that ever-intercedeth for us), “Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?” v.9

Satan zoomed right in on God’s choice man, the pick of the litter. God was boasting about his son Job to a roaring lion who was going about to see whom he might devour. “And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” v.7 And you think that God would protect his prized son from the fight, right? No way! God created Job to enter the arena, to show forth His son.

What is the point of creating a son if not for their manifestation before the world? It is working out what God has worked in. It is a demonstration of faith, trust, dependence and love in and for the Father to His glory.

The devil is not the only one looking throughout the earth. The Father is looking too. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” 2 Chron. 16:9. God is looking for the pick of the litter. And our life should be jumping up and down and stating, “Pick me!, pick me!”. Trust me, you don’t have to jump though, God knows a pick of the litter when He sees one.

“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” 1 Peter 4:12-14

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Garden Variety Theology History therefore is a garden in which we may recognize three divisions. Within its ambit we find the creation, the reconciliation, and the renewal of heaven and earth. Creation is symbolized in the sowing or planting of the garden; reconciliation by the germination of what is sown or planted. For in due course, while the heavens showered from above and the skies rained down the Just one (Isaiah 45:8), the earth opened for a Savior to spring up, and heaven and earth were reconciled. “For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one” (Colossians 1:20), making peace by his blood between all things in heaven and on earth. Renewal however is to take place at the end of the world. Then there will be “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1), and the good will be gathered from the midst of the wicked like fruit from a garden, to be set at rest in the storehouse of God. Bernard of Clairvaux – Sermon on the Song of Songs 23 – circa 1135; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Imposter in the Wild But Disrobed at Home? There cannot be a secret Christian. Grace is like an ointment hidden in the hand; it betrays itself. A lively Christian cannot keep silent. If you truly feel the sweetness of the cross of Christ, you will be constrained to confess Christ before other people. Do you confess Christ in your family? Do you make it known there that you are His? Remember, you must make your position clear in your own house. It is the mark of a hypocrite to be a Christian everywhere except at home. Robert Murray McCheyne – The Best of Robert Murray McCheyne circa 1840, © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries
The Spirit is Working His Way Out Biblical regeneration is birth by which the innermost part of man s being, the deeply hidden spirit, is renewed and indwelt by the Spirit of God. It requires time for the power of this new life to reach the outside: that is, to be extended from the center to the circumference. Watchman Nee – The Spiritual Man, circa 1920, copyright 1968 Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.
The Unction of Religious Presumption If Eliphaz had been wise he would have seen what Job was getting at Job is facing something I do not see; I don t understand his problem, but I will treat him with respect. Instead of that he said, According to my traditional belief, you are a hypocrite, Job. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Religion, Just Like the Law, is Powerless The subject of religion is valuable in its place, but it’s place is limited. The only Cross you can preach to the whole world is a theological one. It is not the fact of the Cross, it is the interpretation of the Cross, the prime theology of the Cross, what God meant by the Cross, that is everything. That is what the New Testament came to give. That is the only kind of Cross that can make or keep a Church. P. T. Forsyth – The Work of Christ, Wipf & Stock, 1910
Binding and Loosing Prayer grasps the power of heaven, and fasting loosens the hold on earthly pleasure. Andrew Murray – Andrew Murray 365 Day Devotional, © 2006 Whitaker House.
Actions Reveal Intentions of the Heart It was this general intention that made the primitive Christians such eminent instances of piety and made the goodly fellowship of the saints and all the glorious army of martyrs and confessors. And if you will here stop and ask yourselves why you are not as pious as the primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it. You observe the same Sunday worship that they did, and you are strict in it because it is your full intention to be so. And when you fully intend to be like them in their ordinary common life, when you intend to please God in all your actions, you will find it as possible as to be strictly exact in the service of the Church. And when you have this intention to please God in all your actions, as the happiest and best thing in the world, you will find in you as great an aversion to everything that is vain and impertinent in common life, whether of business or pleasure, as you now have to anything that is profane. William Law – A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, circa 1728; Random House Inc. © 2002
Taking Up the Shield of Faith You must take your stand on His trustworthiness. You must say to yourself, and to your friends if need be, “I am going to believe what Christ says about God. No matter what the seemings may be, nor what my own thoughts and feelings are, nor what anybody else may say, I know that what Christ says about God must be true, for He knew, as nobody else does, and I am going to believe Him right straight through, come what may. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
Ticket for the Homecoming Party The essence of love is others-centered. So many are busy about loving themselves and making themselves happy. Now joy is another matter altogether. Perhaps that is why God s word tells us, He who gains his life (i.e. spends himself for himself) will lose it, while he who loses his life (i.e. gives himself to God and his neighbors) will gain it in the next. Love is the ticket to this life and the next. Tom Van Hoogen
Marvelous – Astonishing, Wonderful This is a marvelous thing, that God thinks upon men and remembers them continually. — John Calvin Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
The Law Leads us to Christ Paul sets before us a demand: to bring about a newness of life by changing of habits. For when the fornicator becomes chaste, when the covetous person becomes merciful, when the harsh become subdued, a resurrection has taken place, a prelude to the final resurrection which is to come. How is it a resurrection? Is a resurrection because sin has been mortified, and righteousness has risen in its place; the old life has passed away, and new, angelic life is now being lived. John Chrysostom – Sermon on Dying to Sin – circa 400; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
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