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Friday, May 31, 2013

A Job Experience # 12

Job and His Friends

We have said before that in Revelation, chapters two and three, the Holy Spirit has summed up five of the most subtle evil strategies that satan uses against the churches. And they are: 1. the synagogue of satan (2:9); 2. where satan's seat (throne) is (2:13); 3. where satan dwelleth (2:13); 4. the depths of satan (2:24); and 5. the synagogue of satan (3:9). And it is vital that we understand why this evil list begins and ends with "the synagogue of satan," for this means that the other three cannot gain the ground needed to be effective if this and last strategy is triumphed over. "The synagogue of satan" begins and sums up this evil list; and in both instances, the Word explains what this evil is - it is those "which say they are Jews and are not." In Romans 2:28 and 29, the Holy Spirit through Paul explains what this means:

"For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God."

Then Paul tells us n Philippians 3:3:

"For we [Christians] are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit and by the Spirit of God, and exult and glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence or dependence [on what we are] in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearance."

No wonder at the end of Paul's life, we find this brother crying that he "may [actually] be found and known as in Him (in Christ), not having any (self-achieved) righteousness that can be called my own ..." (Phil. 3:9). Paul understood the great threat of "the synagogue of satan," - those which say they are Jews, and are not. He understood that the religious nature of the old man could be used by the enemy to stop Christ from becoming a living reality in the lives of God's people. Paul understood that only that which is the actual reality of Christ in our lives can be of eternal value unto God.

In Ephesians 4:22 and Colossians 3:9, we are told that there is only one way to deal with the old man, which, as we know, includes the religious nature; the old man must be "put off." Now, we all agree that the old man, the adamic nature, must be "put off," but how do we "put off the old man?"

First of all, in order to put off the old man, we need to discern just what the old man is; and in the measure that there is an increase of the reality of Christ in our innermost being, in that measure we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to discern that which is of the "old man." And in the measure that there is an increase of Christ's reality in our lives, in that measure we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to "put off the old man."

And how do we have an increase of the reality of Christ in our innermost being? Well, if we willingly yield to the purgings and chastenings of the Lord, if we willingly yield to God's Way of dealing with us - which is always the way of the Cross, and its principle of self-denial - then, the Word of God makes it clear that there will be an increase of the reality of Christ in our innermost being (Luke 9:23; Romans 5 through 8; Hebrews 12; etc.)

Consequently, let us say again, the more we yield to the way of the Lord's purgings and chastenings, the greater the increase of the reality of Christ in our innermost being; and the greater the increase of Christ's reality, in and through our lives, the more we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to discern that which is of the old man, and, thereby, "put off the old man." Therefore, it is the increase of the reality of Christ in our innermost being, through the means of purging and chastening, that enables us to discern that which is of the religious nature, both in our own life, and in the lives of others.

Remember, in a Christian, the religious nature of the old man is that which takes hold of the Holy things of God when there is not enough of the reality of Christ in our lives. Therefore in the Book of Job, we find satan, "the leviathan," coming against one man in order to stop Christ's reality from being expressed in Job's life; and in Revelation, we find satan, that "twisted serpent," bringing to bear all of his consummate power against the churches of every age and generation in order to stop the Church from becoming the living reality of Christ.

In the Book of Job, the Lord tells us that "the leviathan" is "king over all of the sons of pride"; and in a Christian, pride is self-righteousness - it is a religious self-achieved-righteousness. And, beloved, if any of us think we are past this,that we are more mature than this, let us remember Paul who is one of the greatest examples in the Bible of one who endured until God had His End. Let us remember that at the end of his life, this one who had said, "... for me to live is Christ (is the reality, is the living expressing of Christ)," this one also cried: " ... that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any (self-achieved) righteousness that can be called my own" (Phil. 3:9). Self-achieved righteousness must have been a problem for Paul (as it is for all of us) or he would not have prayed in such a way. But, at the same time, we also find Paul praying the answer to the problem of any self-achieved righteousness when he prays for a greater measure of the reality of Christ to be experienced in and through his life.

He prays: "... that I might come to know Him in an experiential way, and to come to know experientially the power of His resurrection and a joint-participation in His sufferings, being brought to the place where my life will radiate a likeness to His death ..." (Phil. 3:10).

Now, with this in mind, let us return to Job and his friends and discover how God brought about the reality of Christ in their lives; and this will help us to see how the Lord is working in our lives to bring about a greater expression of Christ. When the Lord is leading us into a deeper realm of purging, because there is not enough of the reality of Christ in our lives, we have found that the faithful respond to this in different ways. Remember, the faithful of God are those who have chosen to endure until God has His End through His Way. So, let us examine some of the ways that the faithful respond to God's dealings.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 13)

The Family Influence Good or Bad

Proverbs 22:6 tells us, "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it." What a great responsibility this places on parents. Records of royal lineage (1 Kings 15-16) illustrate that one's level of submission to God is often mirrored in the offspring's life.

Now, it's true that children eventually grow and make their own decisions. There are godly parents who are heartbroken by their kids' poor choices. Similarly, some from backgrounds full of sinful bondage become righteous people of integrity.

As mothers and fathers, we are given a momentous task: to model and teach how to live according to God's Word. Thankfully, we don't have to rely on ourselves for wisdom. Good parenting involves prayerful self-evaluation, godly counsel, and thoughtful course corrections.
Start by considering how you'd answer the following questions if your children were to walk in your way: What place will Jesus, the Word of God, and the church have in their lives? Will they seek God's direction as the ultimate guide for decisions? Will they develop strong godly relationships? Will they know how to handle money wisely? Will they do their best in their vocation? As you seek answers, ask God to reveal truth, since self-examination can be difficult.

In prayerfully considering your impact as a parent, expect to see positives and negatives. The goal isn't self-condemnation, so keep in mind 1) there's no perfect parent and 2) it's never too late. Even if the kids are grown, you can ask forgiveness, share what you've learned, and model a godly life starting now.

~Charles Stanley~

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Job Experience # 11

Job and His Friends

Since it is always God's purpose to bring forth a greater reality of Christ in the lives of His people, then it must be that satan will use any means to stop this from happening. In the Book of Job, it is important to note that from chapter three and on we will not find the name of satan mentioned again; nevertheless, his evil assault continues against Job as he tries to devour God's Purpose in Job's life. But from this point on, satan's assault is not so easily discerned, for he takes on his most subtile and dangerous form, satan becomes "the leviathan," he becomes that old "serpent", he becomes religious! And he subtilely uses the religious nature of the old man in his assault against Job: - satan, "the leviathan," uses the religious nature of Job's friends, and he even uses the religious nature of Job himself. Notice we say "religious," not spiritual! So what is this religious nature of man that satan uses so subtilely?

First of all we need to realize that satan can use the religious nature in both the saved and the unsaved:

In the world, in those who are not saved by God's grace, the religious nature is the part of man that desires to worship and to pay homage and to have communion with and to serve a being (a god) or an object of worship (which becomes idolatry) whom he considers to be higher than himself.

But in God's people, in those of us who are redeemed by the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the religious nature of the old man, the adamic nature, is that in us which takes hold of the Holy things of God when there is not enough of the reality of Christ in our lives. The religious nature of the old man can pray, can worship, can teach the cross-life, can even claim to be purged, broken, and humble, and still have very little of the true reality of Christ expressed in and through the innermost being.

Brethren, the name of satan may not be mentioned in the Book of Job after chapter two, but his venomous influence is certainly present as he takes on his most deceptive form: - he becomes religious - he becomes "the leviathan!" In Job 3:8, we find Job lamenting and travailing over his circumstances as he despairs of life and wonders why he was ever born; and it is in this first discourse of Job that we find the first mention of this poisonous influence, the first mention of "the leviathan."

"Let those curse it who curse the day, Who are prepared to rouse Leviathan" (Job 3:8).

Many say that Job is referring to some mythical serpent or dragon, or to the signs in the stars, or perhaps to some superstitions of the day, but we do not believe that this is so. "The Leviathan," that old serpent, has never been mythical or just a sign in the stars or just a superstitious belief. No! he has been a deadly force against the purpose of God since the day Adam and Eve partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - remember, religion is always a mixture of good and evil. And so, the Holy Spirit calls our attention to "the leviathan," as Job travails, in order that we may be aware that satan's poisonous influence is at work against Job.

In chapters 38-41 of Job, where God is revealing Himself to Job as the Lord of All, as The Eternal One, as The Only One upon Whom Job can depend, we find that the words in the last part of chapter 41 have much more than a surface meaning behind them, as God speaks of "the leviathan." We do not doubt that God is speaking of an earthly creature at the beginning, but in verses 13-34 there is much more than an earthly creature being described. The symbolic language in the following phrases can only be speaking of that old serpent, called the devil and satan: "Who can strip off his outer armor? ... his scales (literally, his rows of shields) are his pride ... his breath kindles coals, and a flame goes forth from his mouth. In his neck lodges strength, and dismay goes before him. His heart is as hard as a stone ... he regards iron as straw, bronze as rotten wood ... he looks on everything that is high; he is king over all the sons of pride" (Job 41:13-34).

Hence, we find God revealing "the leviathan," the evil one who is "king over all the sons of pride"; and by interpreting scripture with scripture, we shall see that God is speaking of that old serpent, called the devil and satan. In Psalm 74, one of the greatest conflicts of the ages was fought at the Red Sea as God's people were being delivered out of the hands of the Egyptians and into the hand of God. But we have to understand the symbolic language of Psalm 74 in order to realize the full implication of the battle at the Red Sea: for this battle was between God and "the leviathan," between God and that old serpent, called the devil and satan.

"Thou didst divide the sea (the Red Sea) by Thy strength: Thou breakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. Thou breakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gave him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness" (Psalm 74:13, 14).

And in Isaiah 27:1, we are told more about this "leviathan."

"In that day the Lord will punish leviathan the fleeing serpent, with His fierce and great and mighty sword, even leviathan the twisted serpent; and He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea".

Then In Revelation 12:9 and 10, we are told exactly who "the leviathan," the twisted serpent, the dragon is:

"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent,  called the devil and satan, which deceiveth the whole world ... the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."

Now, we have said that one of the primary deceptions of "the leviathan" is that he becomes religious, and he uses the religious nature of the old, adamic man. One of the very first  deceptive things that he said to Eve was, "Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" - gods want worship, gods want the preeminence. Also, in Revelation 13, as this ancient serpent's evil power of deception comes to full expression, we find him giving his power, his throne, and his authority to all that is antichrist, and those who are deceived worship the dragon, "that old serpent, called the devil and satan." Yes! "the leviathan" is very religious, and we shall see that one of his greatest strategies is to use the religious nature in the old man.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 12)

Influences from Childhood

No one's childhood is perfect. What we experienced during those years has a profound impact, even into adulthood. Things we saw, heard, felt, and even things we did not feel can affect us later in life.

As one might expect, external influences do help to shape our personality. However, the result is not always predictable. For example, early years full of painful experiences leave deeps wounds in some, but in others, they contribute to the development of depth and perseverance.
Whether your younger years were joyful or painful, it can be valuable to consider what their impact was, back then as well as in the present. You might start by exploring your responses to key childhood events. Next, identify traits that you appreciated in your parents and others--qualities you'd like to nurture in your own life. Finally, think about people with characteristics that impacted you negatively. Ask God for healing and freedom from the patterns you may have developed in response. Then shift your focus to godly attributes you want to exhibit instead, such as peace, grace, and gentleness.

The heavenly Father wants to free you from any negative trends that took root early in life. He can break any unhealthy pattern and replace it with hope and deep satisfaction in Him.

As you explore the effects of childhood experiences, pray to see through a lens of truth. When you recognize ways that others negatively influenced you, pray for strength to forgive and God's help in mending areas of brokenness--whether spiritual, emotional, relational, or mental.

~Charles Stanley~

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Job Experience # 10

The Perfect Timing of God's Full Purpose in Christ was Being Worked Out in Job's Life

Now before we go on in our study of Job's life, let us have a word of explanation concerning why the Holy Spirit inspired the Book of Job to be written in poetic form. Job is the first of the poetic books of the Bible that the Holy Spirit chose to record in poetry. The books considered to be poetry are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, and a great deal of Jeremiah.

The poetry in the Bible is completely different from the poetry of the world, and this is because the poetry of the world is inspired by the soul of man, but the poetry in the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit: for "All Scripture is inspired by God ... Every Scripture is God-breathed ..." (2 Timothy 3:16). In the Holy Word of God, the poetry is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and it flows out of the Essence of All That God Is.

Now the Holy Spirit inspired the Book of Job after Job had had the life-experience that is recorded here. In Job we have one of the most detailed interchanges of dialogue going on between human beings in the whole Bible; and the Holy Spirit inspired this record to be written in poetic form. No one believes that Job and his friends actually spoke in poetry all those many months, but the Holy Spirit inspired their experiences to be written in poetic form; and He did this because what comes out of a man reveals the heart of man (Luke 6:45). And "Job's experiences" revealed and laid bare the very depths of Job's inner being; and it also revealed that which was in the depths of his friends.

In the Book of Job, much of the poetry is written in what is called "parallelism," which means that some of the statements are repeated two or more times in different ways in order to emphasize a point. However, the Holy Spirit is not just using some grammatical techniques when He inspires the Living Word of God to be written. No! by using the figure of speech called "parallelism" as He inspires the Book of Job, the Spirit is showing us that more is taking place than that which is being observed in the earthly realm. He is showing us that at least three different things are taking place at the same time. 1. God is the perfect exactness and timing continuing to bring forth His Full Purpose in Christ. 2. God is dealing with His servant Job in accordance with His Full Purpose in Christ. 3. And a great unseen battle in the battles of the ages is taking place between God and satan because of the man God calls, "My servant Job."

Therefore, the poetry that is found in the Scripture reveals and expresses the Heart of God, the Triune God; and because of God's Purpose in Christ, the poetry in God's Word also reveals and expresses what is in the heart of the redeemed man and in the heart of the unredeemed man.

Furthermore, because of the spiritual warfare that has continued, and will continue, throughout the ages against God and His Purpose In Christ, it is very important for us to realize that the poetry in the Bible reveals the iniquitous heart and characteristics and strategy of the archenemy of God - satan himself.

Over the centuries, Bible scholars have tried to make the ordinary techniques of poetry fit the inspired poetry of the Bible, but there is no set or continuing poetic pattern that man recognizes in the Inspired Word of God; and the reason for this is that the poetry inspired by the Holy Spirit flows out from the depths of God's Heart - and it is accented and emphasized and punctuated by the breath of God - and the metric exactness, and the rhythm of the verses and stanzas, flow measuredly in accordance to the perfect timing of God's Eternal Plan in Christ.

So we begin to understand that God had important and eternal reasons for writing the Book of Job in poetic form. The metric exactness and the perfect timing of the poetic flow tells us that the perfect timing of God's Full Purpose In Christ was being worked out in Job's life. And, beloved, the marvelous, unsurpassable, exactness of the poetic form and flow, used by the Holy Spirit to tell us of Job's experience, also assures us that no matter what the enemy may cause, or do, God is in full and absolute control.

Job And His Friends

"Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, they came each one from his own place, Eliphaz the Termanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite; and they made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and comfort him" (Job 2:11).

So far we have seen that satan is out to destroy God's purpose in Job's life as he brings calamity after calamity upon Job. But now, beginning with the above scripture in Job 2:11, we will consider God's Way of bringing about His End in Job's life.

The Word of God tells us that when Job's friends heard of all the adversity that had come upon him "they came everyone from his own place ... to mourn with him and to comfort him." First of all, the Book of Job makes it clear that Job and his friends are very close friends in the Lord - they have shared much together in the Lord. And when Job's friends "looked from afar off and saw him [disfigured] beyond recognition, they lifted up their voices and wept ... so they sat down with [Job] on the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief and pain were very great" (Job 2:12, 13).

We are sure that Job's friends truly did help and comfort him at first, for the very presence of the Lord's people always helps in such a time; however, in Job 16:2, we find that Job tells his friends that they are "miserable comforters." Why? Why did Job say this of his friends? Well, after Job's friends had sat in silence and mourned with him for seven days and seven nights, the Word of God tells us that they, along with Job, began to try and understand why Job was suffering.

In studying the Book of Job, we found that Job's friends concluded that Job must have done something to deserve the evil that had come upon him; and in the midst of his confusion, pain, and heartbreak, we found that Job tried to justify himself before his friends. In their attempt to comfort him, Job's friends each share and speak and argue their point, and offer their advice and counsel, and they do this out of their own self-acquired wisdom and knowledge of God, and of God's Ways. And in the same way, Job tries to justify himself before them out of his own self-acquired wisdom and knowledge of God, and of God's Ways. And Job and his friends did this because they did not have enough of the actual reality of Christ within their lives.

Therefore, we find what God is after - we find what God is always after in the lives of His people! God is always after a fuller and greater measure of the Reality of Christ within the innermost being of His people. And this Reality, this true expression of Christ in and through the innermost being of those who are the Lord's, can only be accomplished through the way of the Cross - through the way of chastening and the way of purging.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 11)

He Knows Us

"I know him, that he will command his children" (Gen. 18:19).
God wants people that He can depend upon. He could say of Abraham, "I know him, that he will command his children... that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken." God can be depended upon; He wants us to be just as decided, as reliable, as stable. This is just what faith means.
God is looking for men on whom He can put the weight of all His love and power and faithful promises. God's engines are strong enough to draw any weight we attach to them. Unfortunately the cable which we fasten to the engine is often too weak to hold the weight of our prayer; therefore God is drilling us, disciplining us to stability and certainty in the life of faith. Let us learn our lessons and stand fast. --A. B. Simpson
God knows that you can stand that trial; He would not give it to you if you could not. It is His trust in you that explains the trials of life, however bitter they may be. God knows our strength, and He measures it to the last inch; and a trial was never given to any man that was greater than that man's strength, through God, to bear it.

~L. B. Cowman~

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Job Experience # 9

"And Much Time Having Elapsed ..."

Thus, satan went forth from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with loathsome and painful sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And Job took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself, and he sat down among the ashes, an unclean place without the city.

Then, much time having elapsed, his wife said to him, "Are you still holding fast to your integrity? How long wilt thou persist saying, 'Behold I will wait yet a little longer in hope and expectation of my deliverance?' Renounce God, and die."

The majority who interpret this portion of Scripture are very hard on the wife of Job. They seem to forget that up to this point Job's wife had suffered through the same calamities that satan had brought upon Job: Along with Job, she had suffered the loss of their home and lands; and most grievous and painful of all, her mother's heart had been broken by the death of their children. And then, for what seemed like an unendurable length of time, she had watched her husband suffer pain, grief, and affliction. The Septuagint Bible seems to catch the essence of her grief and sorrow as it speaks of what must have been in her heart: "... those sons and daughters, whom I brought forth with pangs and sorrow, and for whom I toiled in vain, are vanished from the earth; and (Job) thou thyself sittest among the putrefaction of worms, all night long in the open air, while I am wandering about or working for wages, from place to place and from house to house, wishing for the setting of the sun, that I may rest from the sorrows I endure ..."

No wonder Job's wife broke under the strain of the calamities that befell them; no wonder she could not endure such suffering; on the contrary, we believe that it was only as Job depended on God's "tender mercy" (James 5:11) that Job endured until God had His End through His Way.

So then, because of the great stress that Job's wife was under, we do not believe that we can be critical or judge her. We know that she allowed herself to be used by satan to discourage Job when she entreated her husband to "renounce God, and die." We know that she spoke foolishly and unadvisedly with her lips. We know she spoke without understanding and wisdom, but still we cannot judge or be critical of her. Remember, even the Apostle Peter allowed himself to be used by satan, to speak against the Cross of Christ (Matthew 16:21-26). Remember, Christ rebuked Peter, and said unto him: "Get thee behind Me, satan ..."

Beloved, if most of us will be honest before God, we have all allowed the enemy to use us, knowingly or unknowingly, to come against or speak against our brethren, at one time or another; and we have done this even when they are undergoing deep stress and trouble. Now, if we are to be counted among the faithful, we believe that at such times as this, we must be willing by God's grace to make up the difference for those who are breaking under their stressful circumstances. Job did this for his wife - listen as he give her a word of faith and a word of wisdom upon which they can stand:

"Whereupon he looking steadfastly at her said, "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh ... Like one of the women without understanding hast thou spoken ... What? ... If we have received good things at the hand of the Lord, shall we not bear up under afflictions?" In all these things which befell him, Job transgressed not with his lips against God." (Job 2:10).

Furthermore, we know that God showed Job's wife His compassion; for when the Lord "turned the captivity of Job," He gave Job twice as much as Job had had before. And the Lord gave him seven sons and three daughters, which means Job's wife came into the good of all that God gave Job, for Job could not have had these children by himself: Job endured, and his wife came into her portion of God's End. Beloved, when God's full End is accomplished in each and every one of His children's lives, would it not be wonderful to find that God had used us, even in a small way, to make up the difference for those who broke under the stains of the unseen warfare?!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 10 - "The Perfect Timing of God's Full Purpose in Christ was Being Worked Out in Job's Life")

God Makes Things Right

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Have you ever wished you could take back something you just said? Or, have you ever thought “If only I had known then what I know now, I would have done things differently?” More than once in my life, I have wished I could go back and do something over to make it right. Even with our best intentions and motives, there are times when our words come out the wrong way and we find ourselves feeling badly. We usually know it immediately. I have learned from my own experiences that the Holy Spirit will convict and impress upon me that I should have handled a situation differently. One of the Greek definitions of the word "conviction" means to bring to light, to cause shame, or to show one's fault. One of the Holy Spirit's jobs is to convict us when we say or do things outside of God's will. This includes speaking when we should have been listening or speaking from our own wisdom instead of the Lord's.

When I find myself in a situation where I feel badly about what I have just said or done, I start praying. I begin by confessing my sin and asking for forgiveness. The Lord promises that He will forgive us our sins if we confess them (1 John 1:9). Repentance is definitely the next step because we need to acknowledge that we do not want to continue sinning against Him or others in this way.  Next, we have a responsibility not only to pray for ourselves but also to pray for the person(s) involved because our sins do affect others. And that is one of the reasons I love Romans 8:28. I pray this verse to the Lord when I know I have made a mess of something. I start asking the Lord to work it together for good despite what I have done or said.

I can honestly say that the Lord has always been faithful to these prayers. You see, we are going to say and do things that we wish we could take back. We are going to hurt others, even when our intentions are good. We will fail and fall short; we need a Savior. We are sinners saved by grace. So today, put the responsibility back on our Savior and Lord. Ask the Lord to work "all things" together for good and apply this verse to those times when you know you have just made a mistake. Ask forgiveness, and then start praying for God to make it right. Only He can make things right. God's love, mercy and grace cover us every moment of our lives and He gives us His Word to help guide us. Memorize this verse today and ask the Lord to bring it to your mind in times of trouble.

~Daily Disciples~

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Job Experience # 8

"Thus Job Did Continually"

So satan, "again," moves against Job, and this time satan afflicts him not only in spirit and soul but also in body. Job two, verse seven, says that satan "smote" Job with loathsome and painful sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Now, the Holy Spirit has a definite reason for using the word "smote" when He describes satan's attack upon Job. Some of the most powerful struggles and intense spiritual conflicts recorded in the Word are behind the use of the word "smote" - conflicts and struggles which have far-reaching effects and results in the Divine Plan. Therefore, let us take note of three such instances in other portions of the Bible in order that we may understand the conflict that Job suffered.

1. " ... these made war with Bera king of Sodom ... and in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims ..." (Genesis 14:2, 5). Here we find satan showing just how far he will go in his war between the evil powers under his control over fallen man; the Rephaims, which are the descendants of the giants of Genesis 6, the monsters of iniquity, who were, and are, the seed of the serpent; and Sodom, which speaks of perversion and also pervert the Right Way of the Lord. And behind this war, which satan inspired between those under his control, was satan's attempt to cause Abraham to compromise with Sodom and thereby corrupt "The Seed," which is Christ. But Abraham said to the king of Sodom, "I will not take anything that is thine." And after these things, the Word of the Lord came to Abraham saying: "Fear not, Abram: I Am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" (Genesis 15:1).

2. "For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I Am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall nto be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt" (Exodus 12:12, 13).  These scriptures point to the Cross, and they speak of the Power of the shed Blood of Christ Jesus our Lord. They speak of the great unseen warfare that took place when God, through the shed Blood of the Lamb, saved and delivered His people out of the bondage of Egypt. Egypt represents the world that is under the rule of satan: it represents a bondage which, if not broken, ultimately means slavery and death and destruction.

Furthermore, God used satan's own power, the destroyer and his evil angels, to "smite" the firstborn of Egypt, "the chief of their strength." In Genesis 49:3, where Jacob is speaking of his firstborn, we find why most nations and families considered the firstborn; my might and the beginning of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power" The destroyer could not touch God's people because of the Blood of the Lamb, but the might and strength and dignity and power of Egypt's firstborn was destroyed. God also executed judgment upon all the gods of Egypt. The destroyer (Exodus 12:23), satan himself, set out to enslave God's people, and to destroy the purpose God had for their lives; but, in the end, satan could only destroy his own evil. Thus, through it all, the Lord saved and delivered His own people unto Himself, in  order that they would build and become His holy habitation.

He (God) cast upon them
(upon Egypt and upon all the gods of Egypt)
the fierceness of His anger,
wrath, and indignation, and trouble,
by sending evil angels among them ...
And smote all the firstborn in their land,
the chief of all their strength ...
But made His own people to go forth like sheep,
And guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
And He led them on safely so that they feared not:
The enemy said,
"I will pursue, I will overtake ...
my hand shall destroy them."
But the sea overwhelmed their enemies ...
Thy Right Hand, O Lord,
hath dashed in pieces the enemy ...
Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the People
Thou hast redeemed:
Thou hast guided them in Thy strength
unto Thy holy habitation.
Psalm 78:49-53; Exodus 15:9, 10, 6, 13).

3. "Surely He hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4, 5). More than any other passage of Scripture, Isaiah 52:13-15 and Isaiah 53 reveal the details of the innermost workings of the Cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And it is even more wonderful when we realize that Isaiah was used to record these innermost details over 600 years before Christ was crucified. This portion of Scripture is very remarkable, for it is written in the past, present, and future tense, for example: He was wounded for our transgressions - and with His stripes we are healed - He shall see the travail of His soul. In other words, all the work accomplished through the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ is "from everlasting to everlasting" - the Cross is always a present-accomplishment from eternity past throughout eternity future.

Therefore, the greatest and most important Battle in all the battles of the ages was being fought through and upon the Cross of Christ. Through the Cross: "God disarmed the principalities and powers ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Christ and in the Cross" (Col. 2:15). The religious leaders of that day thought they put Jesus on the Cross! Rome thought they ordered the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazarene! And satan and all his evil host thought they were crucifying the Christ of God. But, beloved, the Word of God says: "... it pleased the Lord (the Lord purposed) to bruise (to crush) him ..." The Cross of Christ always was, and is, and ever shall be, the most important factor in the Full Purpose of God in Christ: "... when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities" (Isaiah 53:10, 11).

Isaiah 53:4 says, "Yet we did esteem His stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted ..."; and the context of this scripture indicates that we are mostly ignorant of, and probably never will fully understand, the Fullness of the Atoning Work of the Cross. But, beloved, we an by faith believe it! We can rejoice in it! We can walk and live in the reality of it! And we can spend eternity learning of the Fullness of the Atoning Work of the Cross of Christ.

Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening of our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall upon Him (Isaiah 53:4-6).

And so, after considering these examples of the word, "smote," we see that when the Holy Spirit states that "satan ... smote Job," He is emphasizing the importance of the warfare that is taking place in the unseen realm between God and His enemy - A warfare that will result in God's End through God's Way: "You have heard of the endurance of Job."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 9 - "And Much Time Having Elapsed ...")

Sowing Righteousness

The Bible says in Galatians 6:7,

Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

And in Proverbs 11:18 it says,

The wicked man does deceptive work, but he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.

The Bible teaches the law of the harvest, that what you sow, you will also reap.  If you treat others fairly and uprightly, it will come back to you.

We live in a world that doesn't put much stock in integrity, fairness, uprightness, and righteousness.  We must be careful to not give in to that influence. We need to be different.
How? By not cutting corners. By putting in an honest day's work. By giving people what they pay for and more. If you will pursue righteousness, it will come back to you.

You may remember a story back in the eighties about an armored car that crashed in Columbus, Ohio.  Two million dollars in cash spilled out on the highway, and the motorists helped the armored car company gather all of its money.

But, when it was all said and done, only $400,000 of the $2 million made its way back to the armored car company.  $1.6 million ended up in the pockets of the people who stopped along the highway to "help."

I'm sure they had every excuse under the sun. Some probably even said, "Well, I've been praying for God to meet my needs, and it was a miracle!" No, it was not a miracle. They were thieves!

You cannot make an excuse for that kind of thing. And yet that is the way the world thinks. There should be a difference between us and the world.  We need to pursue uprightness, integrity, honesty, and godly character. They need to be hallmarks of our lives. 

~Bayless Conley~

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Job Experience # 7

"Thus Job Did Continually"

So Job is one of the first of God's people to be involved in the unseen, spiritual warfare that has continued throughout the ages; and we have seen that Job was praying when this battle began. We believe it was Job's praying when this battle began. We believe it was Job's prayers that caused satan to turn his attention to Job at this time; for satan fears and hates the results of the effectual prayer of a righteous man, because satan sees his end in the results of prayers that are prayed with God's End in view (James 5:16). So, satan immediately sets out to stop, or hinder, such prayers.

However, satan did not set the appointed time for this warfare in which Job's spirit, soul, and body are the battleground. No! The battle took place in the sovereign timing of the Lord, for God "worketh all things after the counsel o His own will." Beloved, we need to come to a place in the Lord where we realize that Go is never surprised. He is never taken off guard by anything. He knows all things past, present, and future, for He is the Lord. He is the Eternal One, and no matter what satan [the adversary, the opposer, the  withstander of God's purpose in Christ] does in his attempt to stop it, God's purpose continues on exactly as He determined "in the beginning" (John 1:1-3; Eph. 1:1-14).

So Job is praying, and although it is unknown to him at the time, as he is praying, Job enters the battle of the ages; and the unseen warfare intensifies! Job is praying, he is continually worshiping and praying, because he is concerned for his children. Do we find him praying the his children's health? Do we find him praying for their safety and protection? Do we find him praying for their prosperity? Do we find him bemoaning his own state or wanting out from under the pressure that every parent suffers when their children worry or trouble them? No, we do not find him praying this way. Now, we are not saying it is wrong to pray in some of these ways, for we need to cast all our care upon the Lord; but what we are saying is that Job had his priorities right, and when he prayed for his children, h prayed prayers that had God's End in view.

Consequently, we find Job concerned, first of all, for God's satisfaction; and more than anything else, this caused him to be concerned about his children's heart relationship with God: for Job said, "Perhaps my sons have sinned  (missed the mark that God has set before them) and cursed (renounced) God in their hearts." We know that Job was more concerned about God's satisfaction, about God's desires, than he was about anything else, because he offered "burnt offerings"; and the burnt offering which is symbolic of the Perfections of Christ, was offered wholly for God's satisfaction. The burnt offering typified Christ offering Himself without spot to God. It was a voluntary offering - Christ laid down His Life voluntarily and devotedly - He cried: "I delight to do Thy will, O My God" (Psalm 40:7, 8; Hebrews 10:5-10). The entire sacrifice was burnt upon the altar, which means the entire sacrifice was wholly and completely for God, such was the devotion of Christ's heart.

Before the burnt offering was sacrificed upon the altar, the worshiper laid his hand upon the head of the burnt offering, and this symbolizes the completeness of our atonement; for there was a double transfer: the unworthiness of the offerer was transferred to the offering (Christ) and the acceptableness of the offering (Christ) was transferred to the offerer - ...wherein (in His grace) He hath made us accepted in the Beloved" (Lev. 1; Eph. 1:6). "And the priest shall burn all upon the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor, a sweet and satisfying odor, unto the Lord" (Lev. 1:9). And in Ephesians 5:2, we find in Christ the reality of that which is symbolized by the burnt offering: ...Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.

Thus Job the servant, the bondslave of the Lord, offered burnt offerings on behalf of his children. He prayed and stood in the worthiness of Christ, and even though disaster struck and his children lost their lives on this earth, they were not lost to God - because of Job's stand in Christ, they were "accepted in the Beloved." It was Christ's Worthiness that caused both Job and his family to be "accepted in the Beloved"; and because of Christ's Worthiness, we can take the same stand, and have the same assurance, that our loved ones are "accepted in the Beloved." Nevertheless, the loss of one's children is one of the hardest things that anyone must endure; and Job had to endure this pain for the rest of his life on earth. But let us remember this, God knows the end as well as the beginning and Job has now been with his children, all of his children, and he has been with the family of God, for over 4,000 years according to our time; and according to God's purpose in Christ, he will be with them for eternity.

Now Job's grief was just as great, and just as heart-breaking, and just as hard to live with, as anyone's would be who had suffered such a loss. But Job endured. Yes, satan had unleashed his fury, but Job endured. And at the time of his greatest grief and heartache, Job fell down and worshiped the Lord and said: "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." And the Word tells us that "in all this" Job did not charge wrong or injustice to God, he did not blame God, which is another way of saying: "we know that all hings work together for good (for God's ultimate good) to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). Thus Job worshiped the Lord with these words: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21).

Beloved, as Job uttered these words, which came from the very depths of his heart, satan's first attempt to stop God's purpose in Job's life went down in defeat. Now these are the first words that Job spoke after he was informed of the great calamities which had come upon him; and so brethren, when Job uttered these words, satan went down in defeat - satan's deadly and powerful plan to cause Job to err from "God's Way" was defeated. satan had prophesied: "... he will curse Thee to Thy face." But instead, Job humbled himself under the Mighty Hand of God; and Job worshiped and said: "Blessed be the Name of the Lord."  "Again ... satan smote Job ..." However, we find that satan was not through with Job, for in chapter two of Job we are again taken into the realm that is unseen, as the Word of God solemnly states: "Again ... satan came ... to present himself before the Lord." Again satan was summoned by the Lord, by the Eternal-One, to give account of himself, for God knew that His enemy was still seeking to devour the purpose that He had for Job's life. Consequently, our Sovereign Lord, Who is always progressing towards His End, permits satan to further afflict Job, and, remember, whenever God permits satan to afflict one of His own, He always has His eternal purpose in view.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 8)

The Cross is a Great Divide

You are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life. (Colossians 2:10 AMP)

The Cross is a full and final principle, although it has many aspects. It is a full and final principle. We are going to see that the Cross in its fullness and finality was right there at the beginning of the Bible. As a principle, it was absolute then. It is just in so far as you and I bring our lives at this time of the day back to God’s fullness in the Cross that we are going to know this progressive development and increase of Life - so far and no more.

The Cross is a great divide. It divides people into three categories. Firstly, it makes a broad division between those who never get into Life, and those who do. Whether men and women get into Life at all depends entirely upon their acceptance of the Cross. But it divides further. It divides between those who do get into Life, and those who go right through to fullness of Life, and there is quite a real division there. Whether you like the theory or not, it is a fact. There are many Christians who are in the way of Life, that is, who have entered the way of Life, but are not going right on to fullness of Life. That is really what the New Testament is about - trying to get Christians who have entered into Life to go on to fullness of Life. The Cross divides between those, because, while we come into the way of Life by the Cross, we also only come into the fullness of Life by the Cross, and that is another thing - a fuller, deeper application of the Cross. So the Cross makes three categories, those not in Life, those in Life, and those in Life going on to fullness of Life.

By T. Austin-Sparks

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Job Experience # 6

"My Servant Job"

Brethren, as we search into these scriptures about the unseen realm, there are many things that are difficult to understand. We can understand the angels of God coming before Him, but what is satan doing there? - satan whose very name means: the adversary of God and of God's Purpose in Christ! - the opposer of God and of God's Purpose in Christ! - the withstander of God and of God's Purpose in Christ! What is satan, the source of all evil, doing there?

Now we know that satan does not have free access into the Sovereign Presence of God, because satan is not, nor ever shall  be, covered with the Blood of the Lamb. Job had access into God's Presence (Romans 5:2; Eph. 2:18; 3:12); Job could come boldly to the Throne of Grace because the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20). All who have been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb have free access unto God; they can come boldly unto the Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16); and Job lived in the good of the Blood of the Lamb, and he could pray and cry and say with assurance: "I know that my Redeemer liveth ..." (Job 19:25). Oh, beloved, because of the Blood of the Lamb, we have access! We have access! We can come boldly to the Throne of Grace!

But satan did not, nor ever will have, free access into the Presence of God. No! satan did not dare, nor will he ever dare, to come boldly into the Sovereign Presence of God. In God's Plan, the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world, before anything was created, before there ever was a satan; therefore, from the beginning, satan has been a defeated foe because of the Blood of the Lamb.

So what does the Word of God mean when it says that the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and satan also came among them? There can be only one answer - satan is there because he has been Sovereignly summoned by the Almighty God, and satan must,, however unwillingly, subject himself and give account of himself to God.

The Lord's own Words point this out when He says "Whence comest thou?" Our All-Knowing God knew where and what satan had been doing; but now satan must give an account of himself before God. The fact that satan cannot tempt or test or touch Job, or his family, without permission declares satan's absolute subjection unto God.

We must always remember that God is never the source of evil; and if the Lord allows evil to afflict us, He will also cause it to ultimately bring forth that which He Purposed in Christ - God will cause it to bring forth that which is a measure of the Fullness of Christ; and every time there is an increase of the Fullness of Christ, satan again suffers a resounding defeat.

The Battle Begins

So the battle begins, and the Lord takes the offensive and puts satan on the defensive by asking him two questions which he must answer; and these two questions are designed by God to reveal the evil depths, intents, and character of the satanic being. Remember, God knows that in His appointed timing this great spiritual conflict will be recorded in His Word; and the Lord is allowing this unseen realm to be revealed so that His people may be prepared and equipped and instructed for the unseen, spiritual warfare which takes place,  throughout the ages, until all things are consummated in Christ.

Therefore, when the Lord said unto satan, "Whence comest thou?" He was commanding satan to give an account of himself and of is evil doings. And because satan had no choice, he answered: "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it" (Job 1:7).
In 1 Peter 5:8, we find a graphic explanation of what it means when satan, the adversary, is going to and fro ... walking up and down ... in the earth. Listen as Peter, who well knew what it meant to be a target of satan, listen as he issues a solemn warning: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour [seeking someone to seize upon and devour]). And what is satan's evil intent, what is satan, the adversary, the devil seeking to devour? - he is out to devour that which God purposed in the life of His people! satan is out to stop an increase of Christ's Fullness!

The Lord knows satan's evil intent; hence, He asks him: "Hast thou considered My servant Job? ..." (Job 1:8). The Hebrew Interlinear gives us the most accurate account of this scripture: "And Jehovah said to satan, 'Have you set your heart on My servant Job? ..." And in the next few verses satan makes it clear that he has set his iniquitous heart upon Job; consequently, we see what motivates satan's evil heart, for the adversary of God is always seeking out those whose life is an expression of the Fullness of Christ - satan is always considering ways, setting his evil heart upon ways, of devouring the faithful in Christ. Job is one of the first upon whom satan "set his heart"; and throughout the ages,satan, the devourer, has continued his furious assault against God's own until, in the Book of Revelation, we find him turning all his devouring rage against the Church, which is the Body of Christ.

In Revelation, five times the Holy Spirit warns the churches, of every age, of this evil adversary. Five times satan is singled out as the one who would stop the churches from becoming the Fullness of Christ:

1. the synagogue of satan (2:9)
2. where satan's seat (throne) is (2:13)
3. where satan dwelleth (2:13)
4. the depths of satan (2:24)
5. the synagogue of satan (3:9)

And before we go on, we must always remember that Revelation 12:9-12 tells us that the old serpent, called the devil and satan, is overcome because of the Blood of the Lamb. And in this group of scriptures, we are again shown God's Absolute Sovereignty over satan because Revelation 12:12 declares that satan knows he only has a short time; and this means satan only has a short time because God has sovereignly placed a limit upon the time that satan can do his evil.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 7 - "Thus Job Did Continually")

Come, My Beloved

Song of Solomon 7:11,12
Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field . . . let us see if the vine flourish.
The church was about to engage in earnest labor, and desired her Lord's company in it. She does not say, "I will go," but "let us go." It is blessed working when Jesus is at our side! It is the business of God's people to be trimmers of God's vines. Like our first parents, we are put into the garden of the Lord for usefulness; let us therefore go forth into the field. Observe that the church, when she is in her right mind, in all her many labors desires to enjoy communion with Christ. Some imagine that they cannot serve Christ actively, and yet have fellowship with Him: they are mistaken. Doubtless it is very easy to fritter away our inward life in outward exercises, and come to complain with the spouse, "They made me keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept:" but there is no reason why this should be the case except our own folly and neglect. Certain is it that a professor may do nothing, and yet grow quite as lifeless in spiritual things as those who are most busy. Mary was not praised for sitting still; but for her sitting at Jesus' feet. Even so, Christians are not to be praised for neglecting duties under the pretense of having secret fellowship with Jesus: it is not sitting, but sitting at Jesus' feet which is commendable. Do not think that activity is in itself an evil: it is a great blessing, and a means of grace to us. Paul called it a grace given to him to be allowed to preach; and every form of Christian service may become a personal blessing to those engaged in it. Those who have most fellowship with Christ are not recluses or hermits, who have much time to spare, but indefatigable laborers who are toiling for Jesus, and who, in their toil, have Him side by side with them, so that they are workers together with God. Let us remember then, in anything we have to do for Jesus, that we can do it, and should do it in close communion with Him.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Job Experience # 5

"My Servant Job"

The Book of Job, as well as every other book and letter in the Bible, has its own unique purpose in the Full Purpose of God in Christ. And right from the beginning, the Holy Spirit makes it clear that Job's sufferings are not taking place because of something he had done or had not done. Job is not suffering because he had displeased God or because he had sinned. In fact, quite the opposite is true, for the Word of God makes it clear that Job's sufferings are allowed by God Himself. And for this reason, we need to keep in mind, as we are searching into that which Job endured, that God is Omniscient: He is All-Knowing - He knows all the past! He knows all the present! He knows all the future! Everything past, present, and future is all now to God. And when God allowed the enemy to attack Job, God knew that Job would endure! God knew that satan would be defeated through Job's experience! God knew that Job's sufferings would bring forth eternal results in His Purpose! And God knew that the Book of Job's experiences would sustain and comfort all suffering Christians throughout the ages!

So in the very first verses of the Book of Job, the Holy Spirit tells us that Job "was blameless and upright, and one who (reverently) feared God and abstained from he shunned evil [because it was wrong!]" (Job 1:1). We also have God Himself speaking of Job in the most intimate of terms, as He calls him: "My servant Job" (Job 1:8). In this portion of Scripture, God uses the most personal and possessive of pronouns, He uses the word "My"; and in using the pronoun "My," God is stating unequivocally that Job is His possession. God is saying, "Job is Mine! Job belongs to Me! Job is My possession!" And God not only says this of Job at the beginning, before Job's afflictions began, but He also makes this same statement four times in the last chapter of Job as Job's sufferings are reaching God's End.

So, right from the beginning, God proclaims that Job is "My Servant," Job is My bondslave; and a bondslave of God is one whose will has been swallowed up in the Will of God. And we shall find that it is very significant that the first time God makes this proclamation of Job, He is making it to satan himself. Now Job is an ordinary person just like us, so how could that statement ever be made of him or us? Well, there is only one answer. God has Another Whom He calls "MY SERVANT" (Zech. 3:8), and this One is His Perfect Bondslave, the One Who "took upon Him the form of a servant (bondslave)," Jesus Christ our Lord (Phil. 2:7). And it is because we are in Him, and of Him, that we, or any other child of God, such as Job, can be called "My servant."

We have said that God first made this statement about Job to satan himself; so let us return to the scene of the intense warfare that is taking place between God and His archenemy, satan - an unseen warfare in which Jobs spirit, soul, and body is the battleground! In the Book of Job, the Holy Spirit grants us an extraordinary look into the realm that cannot be viewed by earthly sight; it is a realm that cannot e truly comprehended nor perceived by the human nature, intellect, or senses. Remember, this invisible realm can only be accurately revealed by the Holy Spirit, and the interpretation of this unseen realm can only be interpreted by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit interprets all things by and in and through the inspired, written Word of God - the Holy Bible. In the Scripture, we know that most of the time we are called on to view this unseen realm by faith; but in the Book of Job, God has chosen to reveal something of this unseen realm. Therefore, it is essential that we grasp, by the Spirit, what He wants us to know and to experience.

The Lord always has a very significant reason for granting us such a revelation into the unseen realm; and, in this instance, we believe He has done so in order to prepare us for more effective intercession. Therefore, when this warfare begins between God and satan, it is of great consequence that the Holy Spirit records that Job is praying and offering burnt offerings unto the Lord on behalf of his family. In the Word of God the burnt offering, which is a type of Christ's Perfection, was offered wholly to please God. It was a sweet-smelling sacrifice, a type of the perfections of Christ. This sacrifice was always wholly for God's satisfaction and pleasure, and it was always offered in a state of worship, consecration, and prayer. Also in Job, chapters 41 and 42, as this warfare is reaching God's climactic End, let us take note that Job is praying, for the Holy Spirit records that Job is called upon by God to pray on behalf of his friends.

So when this warfare begins, Job is praying. And furthermore, it is quite possible that this warfare is the result of Job's praying. The Book of Daniel, and many other instances in the Word of God, makes it clear that nothing stirs the enemy of God into action more than prayer. Thus, in ob 1:5, we read:

"And it came about, when the days of feasting had completed their cycle, that Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, 'Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.' Thus Job did continually."

And the very next words that the Holy Spirit solemnly puts on record are these: "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and satan also came among them." If we lift out a few statements from these scriptures, we shall see that the battle lines had been drawn:
"Thus Job did continually ..."  (Job continually prayed on behalf of.) "Now" (at that time, at that season) "there was a day when ... The Lord ... and satan ..."  The Lord ... and satan - two irreconcilable foes AND THE BATTLE HAD BEGUN!

So, as we look into this heavenly scene, we find that the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and satan also came among them. The context of these scriptures indicate that the "sons of God" are angels, the ministering spirits of God; and they have taken their station before the Lord to give account, and t receive their instructions. It seems that Job's prayers not only stirred satan into action but the angelic hosts as well.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 6)

Come Close to Him

"He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray, and as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering . . . they saw his glory" (Luke 9:29, 32).
"If I have found grace in thy sight, show me thy glory" (Exod. 33:13).

When Jesus took these three disciples up into that high mountain apart, He brought them into close communion with Himself. They saw no man but Jesus only; and it was good to be there. Heaven is not far from those who tarry on the mount with their Lord.
Who has not in moments of meditation and prayer caught a glimpse of opening gates? Who has not in the secret place of holy communion felt the rush of some white surging wave of emotion--a foretaste of the joy of the blessed?

The Master had times and places for quiet converse with His disciples, once on the peak of Hermon, but oftener on the sacred slopes of Olivet. Every Christian should have his Olivet. Most of us, especially in the cities and towns, live at high pressure. From early morning until bedtime we are exposed to the whirl. Amid all this maelstrom how little chance for quiet thought, for God's Word, for prayer and heart fellowship!
Daniel needed to have an Olivet in his chamber amid Babylon's roar and idolatries. Peter found his on a housetop in Joppa; and Martin Luther found his in the "upper room" at Wittenberg, which is still held sacred.
Dr. Joseph Parker once said: "If we do not get back to visions, peeps into heaven, consciousness of the higher glory and the larger life, we shall lose our religion; our altar will become a bare stone, unblessed by visitant from Heaven." Here is the world's need today--men who have seen their Lord. --The Lost Art of Meditation
Come close to Him! He may take you today up into the mountain top, for where He took Peter with his blundering, and James and John, those sons of thunder who again and again so utterly misunderstood their Master and His mission, there is no reason why He should not take you. So don't shut yourself out of it and say, "Ah, these wonderful visions and revelations of the Lord are for choice spirits!" They may be for you!

~L. B. Cowman~

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Job Experience # 4

The Effectual Work of the Holy Spirit

Now, we have seen that God the Father is the God (the source) of all comfort and that Christ Himself is "The Comfort"; and in the Gospel of John, we will find that the Holy Spirit is "The Comforter." John 14:16-26 and 16:7, tells us that the Holy Spirit is "The Comforter": He is the One Who makes all that Christ is a reality in our lives. As the Comforter, He is our Counselor, our Helper, our Intercessor, our Advocate, our Strengtherner, our Standby. "The Comforter," the Holy Spirit abide with us forever (He lives with us and in us) - He is the Spirit of Truth and He shall teach us the all things of Christ, and He shall bring the all things of Christ to our remembrance and He will guide us into all Truth. "The Comforter" will honor and glorify Christ, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Christ's and He will reveal, declare, disclose, and transmit it to us. So, here again, we learn more of the Fullness of the Three in One - the Fullness of God, the Fullness of Christ, the Fullness of the Godhead - 

God the Father: The Father of Mercies and the God of ALL Comfort.

God the Son: The Comfort.

God the Holy Spirit: The Comforter.

In 2 Corinthians the word "comfort" is used many times and in various ways, and we shall see that it has much to do with that which the Holy Spirit works ("energeo") in and through the lives of the Lord's people, especially when they are in the midst of trial. We also said we believe that in 2 Corinthians Paul and those with him were experiencing that which Job experienced, they were being brought to the place where they "abhor" themselves - they were being brought to the place that they "should not trust in (themselves), but in God  Which raiseth from the dead." Remember Job's cry: "I know that my Redeemer liveth."

At this point, we again need to remember the original goal of our study, which is, how we can become more effective as intercessors - how we can become intercessors who have one intent, one purpose and one motive, and that is, that God have His End through His Way - and that Way is always the Way of the Cross. We also stated that this kind of intercession becomes a progressive reality and power in our lives in the measure that we yield to the chastenings and the purgings of the Lord; and we said that Job's experience was one of the greatest examples of the Lord's dealing with His people in such a way. And, as we proceed, we are going to see that Job's experience and Paul's experience were very similar as the Holy Spirit worked His eternal results in and through their lives.

We have said that Job's story is probably one of the oldest stories in the whole Bible, in fact, his story probably took place before any of the Word of God had been written, for it is almost universally understood that Job lived in the age of the patriarchs (a time which took place before the time of Moses). Job was going through the worst of times, and he could not understand why he was suffering in such a way. No one really seemed to understand why Job was suffering: not Job, not his wife, not his closest friends. They did not realize that a great warfare was taking place in the unseen realm between God and His archenemy, satan, - a warfare in which Job's spirit, soul, and body, were the battleground - a warfare that would result in God's End and in satan's defeat. And this warfare had eternal results, for over 2,000 years later, we find James writing these inspired words of comfort to suffering Christians of that age, and of the ages to come: "You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful."

And before we look further into Job's experience, let us see that the object of the great warfare which was taking place in the unseen realm was that God gain His End in Job's life! God accomplished many things in Job's life that had eternal results, but one of the most precious and encouraging things is that Job came into a fuller and more intimate knowledge of his Lord and God.

So, what knowledge did Job gain? Did he learn of the great warfare that was taking place in the unseen realm, and did he learn that satan was defeated? We do not know if Job even knew of this unseen battle, probably he did not! Did he learn of God's greatness and majesty? Well, if we read some of the statements that Job made, and of the thoughts he had about God, we will realize that he already had a vast experiential knowledge and wisdom of God's Greatness and Majesty. No, the outcome of the Lord's dealings with Job was much more intimate and precious than that; for after all that Job had suffered - he suffered the loss of his children, he suffered the loss of his health, he suffered the loss of his houses and lands, he suffered seeing his wife break under their troubles, and when he desperately needed comfort from his friends, he suffered the loss of their respect and esteem, and he suffered their sincere but cruel accusations of his character - No, after all that he suffered, the most precious result was this, - Job came into the full reality that his Lord and his God was, and ever shall be, "full of compassion and is merciful."

The enemy wanted Job to become bitter and to blame God because of his problems. But Job endured, and he came to know, in the most intimate way possible, his Lord as "the Comfort."

And beloved, all through the ages, when the faithful have faced the unendurable, the Holy Spirit, "the Comforter," brings to their remembrance the endurance of Job; and they are comforted by the fact that they too can endure until God has His End through His Way - they too are comforted, for as they are progressing towards God's End, they are coming to know that, "the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 5 - "My Servant Job")