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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Observations on Job

The book of Job makes a loud statement, it is that one who is blameless and upright, who fears God and turns away from evil, and who prays for his family will not necessarily escape testing which involves suffering and hardship.  It is very easy to speak well of God when you are living in total comfort.  The real test comes when you are suffering.  Job was tested in his possessions, his family and finally his flesh, but even when he became sick he did not sin with his lips.  He cursed the day of his birth but did not curse God.  On losing his possessions he did not sin or charge God with wrong.  While Job was defending his integrity with his friends, his friends felt that through his declaring his innocence he was exalting himself above them.  Job accuses his comforters of using earthly wisdom to defend God's case against him and goes on to say that even though he may not understand the reasons for his affliction he will not accept it without questioning and reasoning with God, indeed he would rather risk being slain than be a hypocrite.  He decides to complain to God about his situation, accusing God of trying to destroy him.  Job praises all the handiwork of God and yet acknowledges that all that is known of God through nature itself is a minute part of His glory and that no man understands His power.  Job's friends insist that all that Job is suffering is what the wicked suffer when they err and is a form of divine punishment.  They do not connect suffering with godliness.  However in truth Job, just as it says Jesus did, learned obedience through the things that he suffered.  In ch.19 Job discerns that he is completely isolated and that his friends do not understand.  He argues that even if he has erred then it is God that has brought it all about and he doesn't need scorn from them as well.  In spite of all hes suffering and rejection from friends he knows that there is a redeemer and believes that even after his body perishes he shall stand vindicated before God.  He maintains that God knows the way he will take and that when God has tried him he shall come forth as fine gold.
Job came to understand that the man that is acceptable to God is not the flesh and blood man that tries to keep the law in order to be righteous before God, but the spiritual man that seeks God for mercy and grace.  God seeks in man a relationship that is intimate, one which cannot be understood by the carnal mind, nor attained through the flesh.  When Job tried to understand God with the carnal mind he became confused, his reverence for God had been birthed in his financial security and his pyysical well being.  He learned that absolute authority over everything was held by God, whether it be good or evil, and that nothing could happen to him except it be allowed by God. 
It was not to punish Job that God allowed Satan to afflict him, affliction is to strengthen, not to weaken.  Only when one is placed in darkness will one search for light.  During his affliction Job came to know God in truth as a God who could do all things, a God who was to bless Job with even more in his latter days than he'd had in the former, and also a long life.  Job's house had to be built on a rock, not on sand.
Job's friends' advice was based on a knowledge of a far off God who rewarded according to mans' righteousness and punished according to mans' unrighteousness.  Once God had revealed himself to Job, Job could see how unrighteous he was in comparison to God and this took all pride from him and brought him to a place of repentance and humility.
Job, in a sense, is a type of the born again believer, being made righteous in Christ yet having to mature in Christ through suffering in order to fully come to learn God's ways and see Him as He is.  Before his suffering Job, like his friends, knew God only at a distance.  Suffering was the vessel which carried him to the point where he sought out God to ask that which he felt no need to ask before, and the means by which he came to know God as his redeemer.  A redeemer is one who improves to the best advantage.  White marble can only be had through extreme heat and pressure.  It was only when Job truly suffered did he seek God, only when he sought God did he see Him as he really is, and only when he saw Him as all powerful did he see himself as unrighteous.  Only then was he acceptable to God.
In Job ch. 36 v. 16 Elihu tells Job ' He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction.'  Suffering is a temporary circumstance that God can bring us through if we have faith in Jesus.  I have come through, and still experience, many Job situations, as I am sure everyone does, and I would encourage everyone to question God, read the Bible.  He will come back with all the answers, as he did with Job.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Second chance

Reading Tim Child's blog the other day, a post he's entitled 'Second chance' made me think of a song I had written years ago.  It was written after I had come to know Jesus as my Saviour, and was one of the songs I used to sing in the streets with a Christian friend.  I write this song on my blog as a testimony to the love and compassion that I have found in that Saviour.

Listen all you people there's a story to be told
A wondrous tale of beauty talked about in days of old
It speaks about a mystery, a beautiful romance
How the God of all creation gave this world a second chance
A second chance to walk with God, to become His holy child
To be rescued from our wretchedness, and to Him be reconciled
By believing on Jesus, the lamb who was slain
That we might be accepted by the Father again
No more to be in torment, no more to be in shame
When we trust on our Saviour and the power in His name
Yes the Father sent Jesus just to save you and me
He's the bread sent from Heaven, He's the life-giving tree
So turn from your hard labour, come out from slavery
For the Son of God released you on that cross at Calvery
Don't let sin be your master, come shout sing and dance
For the Lord God of Heaven has given us a second chance

There are two other songs which I felt to bring with me today to put on my blog. The first one is a song in which I felt the Lord was speaking to me, and the second one is me speaking to God, in a prayer that I made, and still do make, for others.

Weep no more child

Lost in the world, I was entangled in sin and shame
Lord that was when I met You
Then from my grave I heard You calling, calling my name
With a voice that was gentle but true
'Turn around my child, and look at me'
Were the words that were piercing my heart
'Turn around from your sin, be set free
Come to me and make a new start'
Then water so pure and chrystal clear
Was washing away all my doubt and my fear
And the tears ran free, as you said to me......

Weep no more child, I have bought your peace
I have suffered in your place
All the blows the world has dealt you
I have taken on my face
Turn around, turn around and I will forgive
Turn around, turn around, turn around child and live
For I take no pleasure in the death of a soul
Turn around, seek my face child, and I'll make you whole

Strive no more child, I can bring release
I regained what you had lost
Righteousness was purchased for you
When they nailed me to that cross
Turn around, turn around, and I will forgive
Turn around, turn around, turn around child and live
For I take no pleasure in the death of a soul
Turn around, seek my face child, and I'll make you whole

Sin no more child, turn and look at me
See that I have paid the price
So that you could have salvation
I became the sacrifice
Turn around, turn around and I will forgive
Turn around, turn around, turn around child and live
For I take no pleasure in the death of a soul
Turn around, seek my face child, and I'll make you whole


Somewhere someone's hurting Lord, somewhere someone's hurting
A wife has left her husband, and he's crying in despair
He doesn't know there's a comforter, he doesn't know You're there
Lord reach out and comfort him, send help from above
Send help from the sanctuary, let the world see Your love

Somewhere someone's dying Lord, somewhere someone's dying
The doctors shake their heads and say ' There's nothing can be done '
But they've never seen a miracle performed by God's own Son
Lord reach out and heal him, send help from above
Send help from the sancruary, let the world see Your love

Somewhere someone's crying Lord, somewhere someone's crying
Her tears are shed for all mankind, she knows the end is near
But she doesn't know there's a perfect love that casts out every fear
Lord reach out and love her, send help from above
Send help from the sanctuary, let the world see Your love

Somewhere someone's waiting Lord, somewhere someone's waiting
They've heard there's hope in Jesus Christ, the name above them all
So they're waiting for their Lord's return, responding to Your call
Lord, you've reached out to us, God sent help from above
He sent help from His sanctuary, when He sent You, His perfect love

In my thirty years of knowing Jesus, I have come to know, and am still learning about, that perfect love of God  that wants to change us into the image of His Son, but understands that we are flesh.  I have never come across anything so compassionate, longsuffering and powerful.  That love has the ability to change me, not by force, but by placing in me the knowledge that the change would bring about the most beautiful peace in my soul that I could ever imagine.