Free Notes and Study Guides

SESSIONS IN PAIN: STUDY GUIDE

by Dr. Karen Colvin on June 13, 2015

in Free Notes and Study Guides

SESSION IN PAIN STUDY GUIDE COVER

Sessions in Pain, The Study Guide is a chapter by chapter study in the Book of Job. Each chapter examines a different perspective of suffering and helps us to discover new revelations of pain in the light of God’s Word. Dr. Colvin does an excellent in depth study into Job’s human experience of pain; exploring his reactions, emotions, thoughts, mind sets and his final victory as he endured unimaginable suffering. This study teaches us how to begin our own journey to love and trust God unconditionally in a world riddled with unexpected tragedies

 

THE STUDY GUIDE OF THE BOOK OF JOB

  

COURSE PLAN                                                                                          

Lesson 1          Course Introduction / Pain & Purpose

Lesson 2          Job Chapters 1-5

Lesson 3          Job Chapters 6-10

Lesson 4          Job Chapters 11-15

Lesson 5          Job Chapters 16-20

Lesson 6          Job Chapters 21-24

Lesson 7          Levels of Faith / Job Ch. 25 – 27

Lesson 8          Job Ch. 28 – 31

Lesson 9          Job Ch. 32 – 34

Lesson 10        Job Ch. 35 – 37

Lesson 11        Job Ch. 38 – 39

Lesson 12        Job Ch. 40 – 42

Lesson 13       Wound Healing

 

Introduction

The Book of Job is classified by theologians as one the Books of Poetry in the Bible along with Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon & Lamentations. Many scholars consider the Book of Job to be not only the greatest poem in the Old Testament but also one of the greatest poems in all literature. Poetry denotes a writing that is intended to inspire the heart through the quality of beauty and intensity of emotion. Job’s story was deliberately included in the sacred Word of God as His document of Trust to humanity.

The book of Job takes us on a journey from the temporal into the eternal of God. It drives the message home for us that this life is but a training and testing ground for the eternal. This life is but a sliver of eternity but it determines where we will spend it. Job’s story is the story of all humans; the degree of suffering is irrelevant. When you hurt you hurt. The comparison your pain to another’s, even to Job’s, is not the important when your heart is breaking. What is relevant is whether or not you choose to trust God through and after the breaking of your heart. The book of Job dissects the foundation of our pride in many things, even the pride in our Christianity, our righteousness and good deeds.

The Book of Job explores the segments of the agonizing heart. It looks intently at a painful season in one man’s life. It dissects the vulnerability of the human soul. It teaches us how to face our own human tragedies; the moments when you learned that your spouse was unfaithful, you lost everything you owned, or you discovered that your child had a life-long disability. The Book of Job is his manifest of Trust in his Almighty God recorded for you and me as we face our own hardships toward maturity in God.

This study guide is designed to help you delve into the Book of Job and explore the many emotions and attitudes of his heart as he endured great suffering. Each chapter of the Book of Job examines a different perspective of suffering and helps us to discover new revelations of pain in light of God’s Word. The Apostle Paul said, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us — they help us learn to endure.” Romans 5:3, NLT. Forty-one of the forty-two chapters of the Book of Job describe his sorrows; only the final chapter describes his relief from suffering. One might then ask, “Why weren’t more chapters dedicated to Job’s recovery and the good times in his life?” I have discovered that the treasure of Job’s story lies in the pages of suffering. The treasure is his spiritual journey from embracing the temporal to embracing the eternal.

In Job’s story there is growth and healing for the hurting soul. Just as a surgeon must cut open the body for exploratory surgery to heal the body, the Book of Job is an exploration into the painful areas of the human soul. Looking closely at God’s allowance for the pain in people’s lives brings healing.

Pain helps us on life’s journey in many ways. It serves to protect us. Without pain we would not know when something is wrong in the body or in life; it is our internal sensor, alerting us that something needs to be addressed or changed. From a simple scratch on the ankle to the heartbreak of a loved one’s death, pain is the indicator to pay attention and attend to the matter. Pain often assists us to make some of the most difficult and important decisions in life; it helps us to stay in or leave a relationship, or a job. It may be difficult to digest, but the human race is well served by pain.

In this 12 lessons course we will discuss and explore the truths, realities and revelations learned when we suffer. This understanding will bring you to new levels of faith, forgiveness, giving, and healing. You will look deep in to the life of Job and discuss the deep and revealed truths of his life as he endured great pain. Throughout this study are lines for you to record your thoughts and prayers and God’s questions to you. God’s questions to you may be different from His questions to me. I encourage you to be open your heart and make this study personal. It is written to you. I Pray the Holy Spirit guide you on your journey – He is faithful that promised!

 

Purchase of the book, “Sessions Pain”, is optional, although it will enhance the study. 

 

 

LESSON 1

 

Pain & Purpose – The “Why” of Pain

Advanced Reading: Sessions in Pain, Chapter 1, Pain & Purpose

 

The Word of God has a ribbon of suffering throughout its pages. It establishes suffering as God’s standard for bringing maturity in to the lives of His people. As you read the Bible you will find that none of the great men and women of God lived a life free of suffering – Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Ruth, David, Esther, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea, John the Baptist, Paul, and Peter to name a few.

 

“Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3) so says the word of God. The one who endures hardness is described as a good. His word implies over and over again that He will allow sorrow into our lives. However, with God suffering always has purpose(s). God knows what pain does for the human soul and spirit. He will never allow suffering just for the sake of suffering but to push His children into growth and maturity.

 

Job said well “But He knows the way I take (he has concern for it, appreciates and pays attention to it), When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold (pure and luminous). (Job 23:10 AMP).

 

Romans 5:3-5 reiterates this theme: Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us (AMP).

 

Origins of Pain – The Choices of Humanity

Reading Assignment: Genesis 3:6 , 8a -9, 13, 16 -19, 21

Genesis 3 clearly records the origins of pain for the human race. When all is said and done we realize that it was the choices of mankind that introduce pain into our existence. Pain and suffering were not the original plan of the Father. As we chose this course His mercy and love intervened to give us a way back to His original plan for humanity. Looking at Adam and Eve we see a series of choices which led to their downfall:

 

  • And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6, AMP)

Humanity chose Pride over Humility. Each day we are is presented with this same choice, pride or humility. What is your choice?

 

  • …Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden But the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you?. …And the Lord God said to the woman, what is this you have done? (Genesis 3:8b-9, 13, AMP)

Humanity chose to Hide from God’s presence rather than Trust and Confess their sin. What is your choice?

  • And the man said, The woman whom You gave to be with me–she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate. (Genesis 3:12, AMP)

Humanity chose Cowardice and Blame (Dysfunctional Relationship) over Protection and Transparency. What is your choice?

 

What were the consequences of our choices?

 

  • We were given pain and distress as we bear our children. The Pain of being ruled over by imperfect beings. Many women and men suffer in our world because they are ruled over by vulnerable and fallible beings. The Pain of responsibility for the life of an imperfect being.

To the woman He said, I will greatly multiply your grief and your suffering in pregnancy and the pangs of childbearing; with spasms of distress you will bring forth children. Yet your desire and craving will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. (Genesis 3:16, AMP)

Crave: long for, yearn for, desire, want, wish for, hunger for, thirst for, sigh for, pine for, hanker after, covet, lust after, ache for, set one’s heart on, dream of, be bent on;

 

  • The Pain of Frustration and Poverty. The Pain of having to work and perform day in and day out for survival.

And to Adam He said, Because you have listened and given heed to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it, the ground is under a curse because of you; in sorrow and toil shall you eat [of the fruits] of it all the days of your life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. (Genesis 3:17-18, AMP)

 

  • The Pain of Death

The moment that Adam and Eve chose to sin death was required for redemption. Something / Someone had to die cover their sin and to eventually restore them to their former state of sinlessness. Genesis 3 records the first shedding of blood for humanity was that of an animal to make tunics to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. It also records that humanity must also face physical death due to the corruption of their bodies by sin.

In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you shall return… (Genesis 3:18, AMP)

For Adam also and for his wife the Lord God made long coats (tunics) of skins and clothed them (Genesis 3:21, AMP)

 

  • The Pain of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – peace of mind is lost

And the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of Us [the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit], to know [how to distinguish between] good and evil and blessing and calamity; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever– Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. (Genesis 3:22, AMP)

 

When humanity chose to believe the lie of the serpent (Satan) over the Word of God they chose the path of Pain over Paradise. But true to who He is, our Heavenly Father did not abandon us with our choice but continued to give to us His love and care to see us through to redemption. Recall the consequences of some of the choices you have made. How did God see you through it?

 

 

Christ and Pain

Reading Assignment: Isaiah 53

  • There really isn’t more to add to the description of Christ’ relationship and engagement with pain than is what is described by the prophet Isaiah. Jesus Christ had a very intimate experience with pain and suffering. The words of Isaiah not only describe His suffering but also the purposes of His suffering.
  • The Description: Isaiah 53: 2-5, 7, 9-10a: For [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He has no form or comeliness [royal, kingly pomp], that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him. Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. [Matt. 8:17.] But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. He was oppressed, [yet when] He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth…And they assigned Him a grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. When You and He make His life an offering for sin [and He has risen from the dead, in time to come] (AMP)

 

The description of Christ Pain encompasses every aspect of human suffering – physical, emotional and spiritual. He bore the physical agony in his human body, suffering pain that no one else could have endured. He bore tremendous rejected being publicly ridiculed and misunderstood by his own community. He endured betrayal by one who was close to him and false accusations from the spiritual leadership. Finally, He endured the pain of bearing the sins of humanity and being forsaken at that moment by His Heavenly Father – My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me [leaving Me helpless, forsaking and failing Me in My need]? Matthew 27:46 (AMP)

Can you describe examples of these three aspects of suffering in your life? Remember spiritual suffering involves a separation from God because of sin.

 

  • The First Purpose – Pleasing God, Verse 10b: He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, and the will and pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

So is Isaiah saying that it pleased God to see Christ suffer? No! It pleased God to see Christ forge ahead through the tremendous cost of redemption to complete His mission to save the human race. It pleased God to see the love of the Son for the Father to obey through such suffering and pain ‘ “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.”. Luke 22:42 (AMP).

 

  • The Second Purpose – Humanity’s Redemption, Verse 12:Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great [kings and rulers], and He shall divide the spoil with the mighty, because He poured out His life unto death, and [He let Himself] be regarded as a criminal and be numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore [and took away] the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors (the rebellious). [Luke 22:37.]

Christ paid the price for us and now reigns. Why would we ever follow another?

 

 

Our pain also has purpose when we are secured in the hands of God. He has promised that He would make all things in our lives work together for good or for a His good purposes.

 

 

LESSON 2

Reading Assignment: Job Chapters 1-5

Advanced Reading Assignment: Sessions in Pain, Chapter 2, The Test Begins

 

Job Chapter 1

One of the first questions we face as we enter the Book of Job is why did God test him? It is important to note that God chose to test him because of his spiritual maturity. It increases God’s glory and edifies the whole world when Satan is defeated and exposed by Children of the Living God.

[But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us! For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship]. For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it–[yet] with the hope That nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God’s children. Romans 8:18-21 (AMP). Also see 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 2 Corinthians 4: 15-18 (Amp), 2 Corinthians 3:18.

 

Why does God test you?

 

Job’s First Reactions

  1. One of Job’s first reactions to his tragedy was to worship God. Discuss the spiritual maturity of such a reaction. Then Job arose and rent his robe and shaved his head and fell down upon the ground and worshiped. Job 1:20, AMP
  2. Job recognized God’s Sovereignty even in his season of pain. Job recognized God as Lord over his life. Discuss the meaning of “Sovereignty”. Note the word “reign” embedded in this term. Do you recognize God’s Sovereignty in your life? Satan recognized it.

And the Lord said to Satan (the adversary and the accuser), Behold, all that he has is in your power, only upon the man himself put not forth your hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. Job 1:12, AMP (See Ch. 2:6-7)

Naked (without possessions) came I [into this world] from my mother’s womb, and naked (without possessions) shall I depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed (praised and magnified in worship) be the name of the Lord! Job1:21, AMP

Like Job, we are faced with choices as we suffer (to live under the contract of death, paying the wages for sin (Romans 6:23) vs. Adoption as sons – “…we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!” (Daddy God!) (See Romans 8:15b.). What difference does it make in our pain to choose the “Adoption as sons/daughters” of God?

 

The Tests Begins

What act or situation on Earth gets pass the knowledge of God? The Book of Job is very deliberate in recording God’s awareness of the attacks on Job’s life by Satan -yet the tests in his life took place.

 

  1. The Test of Materialism

a messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news: “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: “Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” (Job 1:14-17, NLT)

 

What happens in your heart when you lose material possessions? Does fear, anger and depression creep in and begin to control your behaviors or do you continue to worship and trust God? You will do what you believe.

 

FEELINGS                       vs.                   DOINGS (ACTIONS)

(your humanity)                                            (your belief/faith)

 

God does not call you to deny your humanity but to rise in faith.

 

 

  1. The Test of Family

The Test of Family is a significant test of our love and trust in God because it involves the ones that we love most of humanity. It involves the ones we believe we are called to care for, protect and be responsible for on the earth. Watching their suffering is more painful than enduring it ourselves. Our trust in God’s care for them is on trial – even into the eternal.

 

  • Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the desert and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. Job 1:18-19, NLT

 

What do you do when you loose the one(s) who are most precious to you? When you loose your offspring, the ones who hold your dreams?

 

  • Then his wife said to him, Do you still hold fast your blameless uprightness? Renounce God and die! Job 2:9

 

What do you do when those closest to you reject God in their pain? Are you helping them by rejecting God also to be with them?

 

Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22: 36-38, NLT)

Why is this the “first” and “greatest” commandment? This is the commandment that takes us into the eternal.

 

If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. (Matthew 10:37, NLT)

Why would God hold us to such a strong edict? What does it mean to think in the “eternal?” (See 2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

 

Job Chapter 2

  1. The Test of Illness

To suffering in the physical brings a special set of challenges. To be afflicted in your body confronts the core of who you are and who you claim to be. It is an assault on your “person” – the earthly vessel in which you interact with the physical aspects of your world. This is the testing ground for anger, denial, resentment, shame, fear, self pity and depression. This suffering in the physical spills over into your soul (mind, will, emotions) and spirit (relationship with God). Consider the physical, emotional and spiritual changes that take place when someone suffers physically over a long period of time.

 

But take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, do with him as you please,” the LORD said to Satan. “But spare his life.” So Satan left the LORD’s presence, and he struck Job with a terrible case of boils from head to foot. Then Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. (Job 2:5-8) (NLT)

Satan, the accuser of the children of God, declared that Job would curse God with the loss of his possessions, family and health. What declaration has Satan made about you? Is the declaration true?

 

The First Lament (expressions of grief)

Job Chapter 3

Mind States of Pain (What are the changes your mind goes through when you suffer?)

  1. Job had thoughts of death: “Oh, why should light be given to the weary, and life to those in misery? They long for death, and it won’t come. They search for death more eagerly than for hidden treasure. It is a blessed relief when they finally die, when they find the grave.” (Verses 20-22, NLT).
  2. Job feared the future: “Why is life given to those with no future, those destined by God to live in distress?” (Verse 23, NLT). What happens to our level of trust after a tragedy (in others, in God)? What does the enemy whisper in your ear concerning your future?
  3. Job feared the extent of his tragedy. A tragedy so devastating that he was certain that he would never recover: “I cannot eat for sighing; my groans pour out like water. What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come to be. I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest; instead, only trouble comes.” (Verses 24-26, NLT)

Have you said or thought similarly? How would you fill in the statement below?

 

I don’t know what I would do if___________________________________________.

 

Is there any physical, mental or spiritual state where God cannot rescue you? See the story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus in John 11.

 

When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” “Yes,” Martha said, “when everyone else rises, on resurrection day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. (Verses 20-25a, NLT)

 

What do you see concerning the Sovereignty of Christ in this story? He holds life and death in His hands. He holds “recovery” in His hands. He holds the eternal in His hands.

 

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. Isaiah 59:1, NKJV

 

The Accusation & First Rebuke of Job by Eliphaz

Job chapters 4 &5

  1. The Accuser

‘Can a mortal be just and upright before God? Can a person be pure before the Creator?’ “If God cannot trust his own angels and has charged some of them with folly, how much less will he trust those made of clay! Job 4:17-19, NLT

Have you ever played the role of Eliphaz (an accuser)? Are some of his accusations are valid?

  1. Facing the accusation: When trouble and accusations strikes your house then we all will see what you really believe! Does your light shine in the darkness or are you consumed by the pain? Do you react in the flesh?

“In the past you have encouraged many a troubled soul to trust in God; you have supported those who were weak. Your words have strengthened the fallen; you steadied those who wavered. But now when trouble strikes, you faint and are broken. Does your reverence for God give you no confidence? Shouldn’t you believe that God will care for those who are upright? “Stop and think! Does the innocent person perish? When has the upright person been destroyed? My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same. They perish by a breath from God. They vanish in a blast of his anger. ( Job 4:4-9, NLT) Is this statement valid?

  1. Grieving when we are accused: Is it wrong to cry, to grieve? God does not call us to deny our humanity. He calls us to give it to Him – with all of its faults, its pain and its worries.

There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to rebuild. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, NLT

  1. Where is God when we are accused? He is right there, loving you, making you and molding you into His image. Our problem is that we walk around the planet like spoiled brats never desiring to grow up! Father does judge us. (See Psalms 78), Father does correct us (See Hebrews 12:7-11 below), Father does test us (See Job 1: 8-12). All of these experiences are associated with pain. Father will allow the fuel of your flame to be turned up – often we determine how high! He is Abba Father. Because we were born in sin none of us can escape this process to maturity. God sees your destiny. Note the experience of the strong willed Saul on the road to Damascus (See Acts 22).

 

As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever ? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening — it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.       Hebrews 12:7-11, NLT

 

Recall a recent accusation(s) made against you. How did you react?

  1. Faith beyond the accusations – this is our goal! Our goal when we endure suffering is to hold to our faith in, through and beyond it. This was the example of our Lord Jesus Christ as He suffered.

Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2, AMP

 There is a “joy” awaiting you too on the other side of your endurance as well. Can you recall an episode of “joy” in your life after you had endured a season of suffering – a time when you stepped into the peace, love and strength of the Holy Spirit following a trial? If you cannot then you must consider your attitude through the trial. Did you complain, defend and felt sorry for yourself or did you rise in faith?

  1. Understanding your accusers when you are hand picked by God. Consider their level of spiritual maturity:

“You may cry for help, but no one listens. You may turn to the angels, but they give you no help. Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple. From my experience, I know that fools who turn from God may be successful for the moment, but then comes sudden disaster. Their children are abandoned far from help, with no one to defend them. (Job 5:1-3, NLT).

The verses above are the comments of one who sees God one dimensionally – as a stern task master; without compassion. Job’s accusers did not have a heart toward God like Job. Job had relationship with God. God said Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth — a man of complete integrity. He fears God and will have nothing to do with evil.” Job 1:8, NLT

Your level of integrity determines what you do when no one is looking – what you do when you suffer.

“THE HARDER THE TRIAL THE GREATER THE CALL”. His love for you compels Him to grow you up – to take you to the deeper things of God. He sees your destiny. It is an honor to be invited beyond the veil into the deeper things of God.

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            

 

 

LESSON 3

Reading Assignment: Job Chapters 6-10                                                                                                                                                          

Advanced Reading: Sessions in Pain, Chapter 3, Living Between Murder and Suicide

 

The Second Lament

Job Chapter 6

 

Defenses / Escape Mechanism

  1. Death (suicide)

In the chapters 6-8 of Job we see the cries of a man who is wounded and disappointed with the events of his life. It is here we begin to see Job’s thoughts of discouragement and surrender, not necessarily to God, but to the “pain”, the “losses” and the “hopelessness”. There is a difference between being broken before God and being broken before our “losses”. Being broken before our losses causes us to give up and die; being broken before God causes us to look up, take His hand, rest in His sovereignty and live. But in the process of complete brokenness before God we must travel pass the brokenness of the cares, things and even the people (family) of this life – from the carnal to the spiritual.

 

“If my sadness could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would be heavier than all the sands of the sea. That is why I spoke so rashly. For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows. He has sent his poisoned arrows deep within my spirit. All God’s terrors are arrayed against me. Don’t I have a right to complain? (Verses 2-5, NLT)

 

How would you answer Job’s question? Answer this question honestly.

 

“Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant my hope. I wish he would crush me. I wish he would reach out his hand and kill me. At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One. But I do not have the strength to endure. I do not have a goal that encourages me to carry on. Do I have strength as hard as stone? Is my body made of bronze? No, I am utterly helpless, without any chance of success. (Verses 8-13 NLT).

 

Note the glimmer of faith in verse 10, “At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One”. Job took comfort in that he had not denied the Word of God – it was all he had at that moment to hold to – it was his life line in the midst of his tragedies. What is you life line in the midst of tragedy? Do you deny your Lord?

 

Job Chapter 7

  1. Questions to God

Is it right to question God? Are your questions honest and fair (Do you question God about decisions you have made)? Examine the questions Job asks God below. If you could answer for God how would you answer Job?

 

  • 1-2 “Is this not the struggle of all humanity? A person’s life is long and hard, like that of a hired hand, 2 like a worker who longs for the day to end, like a servant waiting to be paid.”
  • 12 “Am I a sea monster that you place a guard on me?”
  • 17-19 “What are mere mortals, that you should make so much of us? For you examine us every morning and test us every moment. Why won’t you leave me alone — even for a moment?” (“Will you never look away from me or let me alone even for an instant?”, NIV                                                                     What would happen to you if God looked away for an instant?
  • 20 “Have I sinned? What have I done to you, O watcher of all humanity? Why have you made me your target?”
  • 20 “Am I a burden to you?”
  • 21 “Why not just pardon my sin and take away my guilt? For soon I will lie down in the dust and die. When you look for me, I will be gone.”

 

 

  1. Surrendering of your life to God is a process:
    • Surrender and Disappointment in Friends & Family.

Most of us depend on others for the happiness in our lives, therefore, a part of the process of complete surrender to God is seeing the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of our friends, family, neighbors, coworkers and associates.

 

“One should be kind to a fainting friend, but you have accused me without the slightest fear of the Almighty. My brother, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook that overflows its banks in the spring when it is swollen with ice and melting snow. But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears…You, too, have proved to be of no help. You have seen my calamity, and you are afraid. (Verses 14-17, 21, NLT)

 

The songwriter wrote: “On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.” (My Hope is Built by Edward Mote)

 

God brings us to a place of seeing the “sinking sand” in which we lay all of our hopes and dreams upon. Initially, this slap of reality brings disappointment and grief but hold on, beloved, there is a Rock that is steady through the storm; its foundation is sure and within its walls lies hope, comfort and safety. Do you see the Rock? Through the lightening strikes and the torrential rains can you see the Rock? His name is Jesus.

 

  • Surrender & Aloneness – As we continue on this journey to complete surrender before God you will be alone. This aloneness goes pass the physical into the emotional and spiritual. You may feel that no one understands – there is no one to talk to but God. His passion for you brings you to this place on purpose; just as a Lover seeks to be alone with the one He loves so that He can whisper in her ear the thoughts He has of her – the plans He has made for her.

 

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV

 

This aloneness is a good place. This is where intimacy with God sprouts. Can you recall a season of “aloneness”? What were your thoughts? Did you hear the voice of God?

 

  1. Defending

How do you handle the accusations of others? When you are assaulted your natural, human inclination is to come back swinging! Fists and/or tongue prompted and ready to defend yourself. You want to answer their ever nagging question, ”Why do you think this is happening to you?”

  • As we look the words of the prophet Isaiah we see the response of our Lord Jesus Christ to accusations:

 

He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins — that he was suffering their punishment? He had done no wrong, and he never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and fill him with grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of what he has experienced, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of one who is mighty and great, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners. (Isaiah 53: 3-12, NLT)

 

Are we not called to respond like Christ? Are we not called to bear sufferings, so that others can be saved? “Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it].” Galatians 6:2, AMP

 

The only time Christ responded during His time of suffering was to minister the truth of His Father to others and to defend His Father. Can you do the same? Can you concede to only speak the words that the Holy Spirit gives you?

 

  • What do you do when the accusations are true and you are guilty of what they say you’ve done? Once again we find the answers in the Holy Scriptures:

 

[After all] what kind of glory [is there in it] if, when you do wrong and are punished for it, you take it patiently? 1 Peter 2:20, AMP

 

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. 1 John 1:9, AMP

Whether we are guilty or not guilty the Hope of Christ is there for us.

Job Chapter 8

  1. The Accusers

It is not our place to judge why something is happening in another’s life – our place and most significant involvement is prayer – this is the arena where the Holy Spirit can speak and instruct your counsel. Job’s accusers bombarded him with a myriad of questions and thoughts about his predicament in chapter 8 (NLT):

 

  • 2 “How long will you go on like this? Your words are a blustering wind.”
  • 3 “Does God twist justice? Does the Almighty twist what is right?”
  • 4 “Your children obviously sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved.”
  • 8-10 “Just ask the former generation. Pay attention to the experience of our ancestors. For we were born but yesterday and know so little. Our days on earth are

as transient as a shadow. But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you from the wisdom of former generations”.

What would the ancestors say to Job? Remember the lives of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph. Would they not understand the way of suffering as you serve God? This is another reason why you must know the Word of God for yourself.

  • 13-15 “Such is the fate of all who forget God. The hope of the godless comes to nothing. Everything they count on will collapse. They are leaning on a spiderweb. They cling to their home for security, but it won’t last. They try to hold it fast, but it will not endure.”

 

The scriptures teach is 2 important principles when is come to dealing with a brother/sister who has sinned:

 

  • Do not judge (make a decision in your heart concerning them or their situation).

You [set yourselves up to] judge according to the flesh (by what you see). [You condemn by external, human standards.] I do not [set Myself up to] judge or condemn or sentence anyone. Yet even if I do judge, My judgment is true [My decision is right]; for I am not alone [in making it], but [there are two of Us] I and the Father, Who sent Me. John 8:15 -16, AMP – Jesus Christ

 

You will never have enough information on this side of heaven to judge another human being justly. We have a system of laws and human justice in place to maintain the order of our society but it is riddled with flaws – but this is the best that we can do in this fallen world. But God calls believers not to make judgments (attitudes, mind sets) in our hearts against others. This is the path that leads to harboring pride, hatred and unforgiveness and eventual destruction in the lives of believers – this is where we are in danger of judgment. When we judge others we put ourselves in danger of God’s judgment because of the sin that has set up in our hearts.

 

DO NOT judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. Matthew 7:1, AMP

 

Can you recall a time when you accused another person? What was the attitude of your heart?

 

  • Restoration: The second point the scriptures teach us is to restore a brother or sister who has fallen or is in trouble.

BRETHREN, IF any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. Galatians 6:1 AMP

 

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17, NKJV

 

There is a place where you have to let a person who refuses to hear the truth go the way in which they choose; but you must continue to guard your heart against pride, hatred and unforgiveness.

 

The First Attitude Level of Suffering – Anger

Job Chapter 9

When we go through trials we often go through various attitudes and moods. We may start out in one attitude/mood and end up in another during the same suffering situation. It is important to recognize these changes of attitudes in ourselves so that we can make a conscious decision to continue in an attitude of holiness by asking the Holy Spirit to lead us and keep us in the mind of Christ; into the the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NKJV). These attitude levels tests our levels of trust – What do you really believe??

 

  • Anger toward God: In chapter 9 we see Job’s attitude of anger toward God. It is important to note that although Job was angry he did not sin against God. He asked questions before God and his friends according to his understanding of God. Although Job was angry and hurting his heart toward God remained faithful; [I do it because, though He slay me, yet will I wait for and trust Him and] behold, He will slay me; I have no hope–nevertheless, I will maintain and argue my ways before Him and even to His face.” Job 13:15, AMP
  • Can you name other persons in the Bible who “argued” or wrestled with God? What did this argument do for their relationship with God?
  • God allows us to be angry. Why? Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,Ephesians 4:26, NKJV (See Psalm 4:4)

 

  • 2 “But how can a person be declared innocent in the eyes of God?” NLT
  • 3-4 “If someone wanted to take God to court, would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times? For God is so wise and so mighty. Who has ever challenged him successfully?” NLT
  • 10-12 His great works are too marvelous to understand. He performs miracles without number. “Yet when he comes near, I cannot see him. When he moves on, I do not see him go. If he sends death to snatch someone away, who can stop him? Who dares to ask him, ‘What are you doing?’ NLT
  • 13-14 And God does not restrain his anger. The mightiest forces against him are crushed beneath his feet. “And who am I, that I should try to answer God or even reason with him? NLT
  • 21-24 “I am innocent, but it makes no difference to me — I despise my life. Innocent or wicked, it is all the same to him. That is why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ He laughs when a plague suddenly kills the innocent. The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked, and God blinds the eyes of the judges and lets them be unfair. If not he, then who? NLT

 

  • Job accuses God of being great but also distant. He accuses Him of being dictatorial with his power. He accuses God of allowing others to be unfair and of laughing at the pain and suffering of the innocent. As with many of us when we suffer we get into certain mind states; our perspectives are blurred. Can you recall such a time in your own life? – Even if you did not say it out loud.
  • The answer to many of Job’s questions lies under the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only reason we can be found innocent before God. Jesus is the only reason we can come into His Holy Presence and find help in the time of need.

 

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. Hebrew 4:15-16, AMP

 

The Second Attitude Level of Suffering – Self Pity

The “Pity Party” Job 9: 25 -35.

Self pity is a very powerful force. This “spirit/demon” can fuel rash decisions and lead you down a road to self destruction (which is the ultimate goal of this spirit). This demon whispers in your ears that God is against you therefore there is no hope and you should choose another way. Job was concluding that:

  • My lifetime is lost. Has this demon ever whispered in your ear that everyone is going on with their lives but you? There is no more time to recover from your losses? It’s over – why should I keep trying? “My life passes more swiftly than a runner. It flees away, filled with tragedy. It disappears like a swift boat, like an eagle that swoops down on its prey.” V.25-26, NLT
  • God is against me. He has abandoned His love for me. If I decided to forget my complaints, if I decided to end my sadness and be cheerful, I would dread all the pain he would send. For I know you will not hold me innocent, O God. Whatever happens, I will be found guilty. So what’s the use of trying? Even if I were to wash myself with soap and cleanse my hands with lye to make them absolutely clean, you would plunge me into a muddy ditch, and I would be so filthy my own clothing would hate me.” V.27-31.

 

This attitude from the demon of self pity flies in the face of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

God is a bully.

“God is not a mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial. If only there were a mediator who could bring us together, but there is none. The mediator could make God stop beating me, and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment. Then I could speak to him without fear, but I cannot do that in my own strength. V. 32-35

 God is forever sovereign and omnipotent but He still gives humankind free will. He could have abandoned us but He chooses to stay and maintain our existence and love us.

 

The Road to Despair

Job Chapter 10

Without God on My side there is no hope.

Once you take that first drink of “self pity” and allow it to take a higher seat over the Word of God in your heart you begin down the road to despair.

  • On this road we take on self hatred; after all there must be something wrong with me because everyone else is doing well.

“I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, ‘Don’t simply condemn me — tell me the charge you are bringing against me. What do you gain by oppressing me? Why do you reject me, the work of your own hands, while sending joy and prosperity to the wicked? V.1-3

  • On this road we take on bitterness of the soul. This is where the spirits/demons of offense and envy thrives (the sisters of the demons of self pity). You begin to believe people owe you. (See V.1)
  • This road continues on to a place of shame; shame of who you are and what you do not have as compared to others. “If I am guilty, too bad for me. And even if I’m innocent, I am filled with shame and misery so that I can’t hold my head high.” 15 NLT
  • This Road Takes us to Hopelessness – Suicidal thoughts: Suicide does not have to be physical suicide; it may spiritual suicide (complete rejection of God – to be separated from God is spiritual death) or emotional suicide (shuting down to everyone around you).

“You pour out an ever-increasing volume of anger upon me and bring fresh armies against me. “‘Why, then, did you bring me out of my mother’s womb? Why didn’t you let me die at birth? Then I would have been spared this miserable existence. I would have gone directly from the womb to the grave. I have only a little time left, so leave me alone — that I may have a little moment of comfort before I leave for the land of darkness and utter gloom, never to return. It is a land as dark as midnight, a land of utter gloom where confusion reigns and the light is as dark as midnight.'” V. 17-22, NLT

Have you ever been on the “road to despair”? Are you on that road now? To recognize where you are is the first step to recovery. Many fail to recognize when they are on this road. To take charge and responsibility for your thought life is a major step.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV

To go down the Road to Despair is an act of your will? You choose. Choose Christ. Choose your Savior.

 

LESSON 4

Reading Assignment, Job Chapters 11-15)

Advanced Reading: Sessions in Pain, Chapter 4, Pain & Shame

 

The Second Rebuke of Job by Zophar

Job Chapter 11

Your venting and crying before brings a purging, in your spirit. You are bought to a place where you remember who you are before God (you can forget this when you have seen some accomplishments in life). When you finish “tantruming” often you will have clarity of the fact that you are totally at His mercy. “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:17, NKJV

  • Remembering our place before God. V. 1-12
    • God’s wisdom

If only he would tell you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom is not a simple matter. V. 6, NLT)

  • God’s mystery and infinity.

Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything there is to know about the Almighty? Such knowledge is higher than the heavens — but who are you? It is deeper than the underworld — what can you know in comparison to him? It is broader than the earth and wider than the sea. V. 7-9 (NLT)

 

There are many aspects of our relationship with God that are based on our trust in His Love for us. There is so much about God that we do not know nor could we comprehend it if He told us, therefore, we are bound to relate to Him in many ways through the avenue of trust (Noun: confidence, belief, faith, certainty, assurance, conviction, credence; reliance, responsibility, duty, obligation. safekeeping, protection, charge, care, custody; trusteeship. Verb: put one’s trust in, have faith in, have (every) confidence in, believe in, pin one’s hopes/faith on, confide in. rely on, depend on, bank on, count on, be sure of. hope, expect, take it, assume, presume, suppose. entrust, consign, commit, give, hand over, turn over, assign. Apple dictionary (2005-2009))

 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5, NLT

 

Do a Bible search on the term “Trust in the Lord” and review the references – What are the circumstances when it is used? (See www.biblestudytools.com)

 

You cannot have a good and healthy relationship with anyone unless you first trust them. This trust in God is tested greatly when we suffer; but He is faithful who promised. If you want to go to the deeper places in God then you must make a stand to TRUST HIM.

 

  • WHEN YOU COME TO THE PLACE OF UNDERSTANDING YOUR PLACE BEFORE GOD THEN YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THE WORDS OF THE PSALMIST “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers — the moon and the stars you have set in place — what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us?” Psalm 8:3-4 (NLT) Consider this question of King David, a man who learn to trust God and found Him to be faithful.

 

  • Solutions for your pain from others. Often when you suffer other people, in their effort to relieve your suffering, will offer advice or solutions to resolve your pain. Too often these resolutions, although well meaning, are not sought from the Holy Spirit but from their own thought processes. We often seek resolutions to our pain in the realm of the our own understanding. The Holy Spirit is often sought only after we have exhausted our own solutions and they have failed. Can you recall such an episode in your life? Zophar thought he had the solution to resolve Job’s dilemma – take note that he sounds very spiritual but misses the true reason for Job’s suffering.

 

If you set your heart aright and stretch out your hands to [God], If you put sin out of your hand and far away from you and let not evil dwell in your tents; Then can you lift up your face to Him without stain [of sin, and unashamed]; yes, you shall be steadfast and secure; you shall not fear. For you shall forget your misery; you shall remember it as waters that pass away. And [your] life shall be clearer than the noonday and rise above it; though there be darkness, it shall be as the morning. And you shall be secure and feel confident because there is hope; yes, you shall search about you, and you shall take your rest in safety. V. 13 – 18 (AMP)

 

  • What about the shame? Job felt ashamed because of his situation. Is there a place for suffering without shame? Even when suffering is not your fault sometimes there remains an element of shame – disabled soldiers, disabled children and their parents, people with chronic illnesses, abused persons, rape victims are a short list of people who often suffer shame although they are not at fault. What is the source of this shame? How can it be resolved?
    • Let us look at how our Lord dealt with shame. 12:2 (AMP) But He, for the joy (of obtaining the prize) that was set before Him, endured the cross despising and ignoring the shame, and now is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

  • Perhaps there is no place to suffer without shame, however, Jesus showed us that there is a place above and beyond the shame but we must first resolve to “get over ourselves”! To get over what others think of us. Get over this life and what we lose in it and seek the eternal as Christ did. Christ saw humanity in the eternal and this far out weighed the shame of the temporal.

 

The Second Attitude Level of Suffering – Pain and Worship

Advanced Reading: Sessions in Pain, Chapter 5, Pain and Worship

 

Job Chapter 12

Confidence in His Righteousness Rekindles

  • In chapter 12 Job continues to speak of his sorrows but then in the face of it all he makes a declaration to his accusers that he has not forgotten the splendor, power and wisdom of God. He declares that he has not forgotten the foundational principles that he has learned about God through the years. Through his agony he declares that he knows the wisdom of God is intact and active in the world. Why was Job‘s verbal declaration important during his season of suffering? What happens to us when we speak the Word of the Living God?

 

Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying? 4 Yet my friends laugh at me. I am a man who calls on God and receives an answer. I am a just and blameless man, yet they laugh at me…Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to those who have lived many years. 13 “But true wisdom and power are with God; counsel and understanding are his. 14 What he destroys cannot be rebuilt. When he closes in on someone, there is no escape. 15 If he holds back the rain, the earth becomes a desert. If he releases the waters, they flood the earth. 16 “Yes, strength and wisdom are with him; deceivers and deceived are both in his power. 17 He leads counselors away stripped of good judgment; he drives judges to madness. 18 He removes the royal robe of kings. With ropes around their waist, they are led away. 19 He leads priests away stripped of status; he overthrows the mighty. 20 He silences the trusted adviser, and he removes the insight of the elders. (V.3-4, 12-20, NLT)

 

Job Chapter 13

Acknowledgement of Truths

Advanced Reading: Sessions in Pain, Chapter 6, Agendas

 

  • The glory in suffering is that it forces you to acknowledge the level of your relationship with God and your resolve in the Holy Spirit vs. your flesh. It forces you to acknowledge the truths about yourself (your lusts, your thought processes, your weights (unresolved issues), your agendas). This is why the Apostle Paul said, “ And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5, NKJV (also See 2 Corinthians 4:17)
  • Take the time to write out your thoughts the last time you were angry with someone. Categorize the feelings that were associated with each thought (offense (hurt feelings), pride, anger, revenge, etc.). What was your resolution to your anger? Is your anger resolved? See 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.
  • Job spoke openly of his relationship with God to the place of acknowledging his humanness before Him. He trusted the righteousness of God his Creator in the middle of his lack of understanding of his suffering. He asked God to tell him and show him the places in his life where he has fallen short. He asked God to show him any rebellion in his heart that he had not acknowledged. These requests reveals the longing this man had for right relationship with God. Do you have the courage to make such requests before God? Self righteousness has no place in His sight.

 

 

13 “Hold your peace with me, and let me speak, Then let come on me what may! 14 Why do I take my flesh in my teeth, And put my life in my hands? 15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. 16 He also shall be my salvation, For a hypocrite could not come before Him. 17 Listen carefully to my speech, And to my declaration with your ears. 18 See now, I have prepared my case, I know that I shall be vindicated. 19 Who is he who will contend with me? If now I hold my tongue, I perish. 20 “Only two things do not do to me, Then I will not hide myself from You: 21 Withdraw Your hand far from me, And let not the dread of You make me afraid. 22 Then call, and I will answer; Or let me speak, then You respond to me. 23 How many are my iniquities and sins? Make me know my transgression and my sin. 24 Why do You hide Your face, And regard me as Your enemy? 25 Will You frighten a leaf driven to and fro? And will You pursue dry stubble? 26 For You write bitter things against me, And make me inherit the iniquities of my youth. 27 You put my feet in the stocks, And watch closely all my paths. You set a limit for the soles of my feet. 28 “Man decays like a rotten thing, Like a garment that is moth-eaten. Job 13:13-25, NKJV (emphasis mine)

 

 

Can you be so real and raw before God? Have you ever argued with the Almighty?

 

Job Chapter 14

Acknowledgment of Gods Sovereignty and of Man’s Place Before Him

 

In chapter 14 Job declares the frailty of humanity before God. In his pain and depression he comments on the hopelessness of the human condition. We are utterly at the mercy of God for our very existence – air, light, sustenance are all from Him. Why is it good for you to recognize your dependency before God? How does this recognition enhance your relationship with God?

 

1 “How frail is humanity! How short is life, and how full of trouble! 2 Like a flower, we blossom for a moment and then wither. Like the shadow of a passing cloud, we quickly disappear. 3 Must you keep an eye on such a frail creature and demand an accounting from me? 4 Who can create purity in one born impure? No one! Job 14:1-4, NLT

 

  • How would you answer Job’s questions in verses 3 and 4? Must God keep and eye on you? Must He hold you accountable? Consider the words of David, a man who had deep relationship with God:

 

When I view and consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained and established, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him? Yet You have made him but a little lower than God [or heavenly beings], and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet: Psalm 8:3-6, AMP (emphasis mine)

 

David made it personal, (“When I…”). He took a short inventory of God’s works and His creation, then His care for humanity and in doing so his relationship with God is seen on a new level. David basically asked God, with all of your greatness and majesty why do You bother with humanity?   When you consider these things, it brings thanksgiving into your heart even in the middle of trials.

 

He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together.              Colossians 1:17, NLT.

 

Job Chapter 15

The Third Rebuke of Job by Eliphaz

 

Religion vs. Relationship

You are supposed to be a wise man, and yet you give us all this foolish talk. You are nothing but a windbag. 3 It isn’t right to speak so foolishly. What good do such words do? 4 Have you no fear of God, no reverence for him? 5 Your sins are telling your mouth what to say. Your words are based on clever deception. 6 But why should I condemn you? Your own mouth does! 7 “Were you the first person ever born? Were you born before the hills were made? 8 Were you listening at God’s secret council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom? 9 What do you know that we don’t? What do you understand that we don’t? Job 15:2-9, NLT (emphasis mine).

 

  • Would a wise man question God – or only the wicked? Would a man/woman who has relationship with God asked questions about their life?

 

  • Do your questions hinder devotion to God or do they build relationship?

But you even undermine piety and hinder devotion to God. V.4 (NIV).                       (Piety: the quality of being religious or reverent. the quality of being dutiful. a belief or point of view that is accepted with unthinking conventional reverence.   Apple Dictionary 2005-2009)

  • Your sins are telling your mouth what to say. Your words are based on clever deception. 5 (NLT). Can we vent our frustrations, hurts and disappointments to God? Note that much of the Psalms of David was venting to God about his pain and frustration. (See Psalm 2, 28, 55) What happens to you when you keep your pain inside? Note that David was called a man after God’s own heart.

 

  • The wicked will be punished. See V.17-35:

These wicked people are fat and rich, 28 but their cities will be ruined. They will live in abandoned houses that are ready to tumble down. 29 They will not continue to be rich. Their wealth will not endure, and their possessions will no longer spread across the horizon. 30 “They will not escape the darkness. The flame will burn them up, and the breath of God will destroy everything they have. V. 27-30 (NLT)

 

  • Will the wicked be punished? Are all people who suffer wicked?

 

  • Are the allegations of Job’s accusers true? Partially true? When partial truths are presented to you from the Word of God this is the time when discernment from the Holy Spirit is crucial; this is the place where your relationship with God determines your spiritual survival.

 

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            

 

LESSON 5

Reading Assignment Job Chapters 16-20

Advanced Reading: Sessions in Pain, Chapter 7, On Going Pain

 

Job Chapter 16

Breakthroughs

His archers surround me. He pierces my heart and does not pity; He pours out my gall on the ground. He breaks me with wound upon wound; He runs at me like a warrior. “I have sewn sackcloth over my skin, And laid my head in the dust. My face is flushed from weeping, And on my eyelids is the shadow of death; Although no violence is in my hands, And my prayer is pure “O earth, do not cover my blood, And let my cry have no resting place! Surely even now my witness is in heaven, And my evidence is on high. Job 16:13-19, NKJV

 

We see in chapter 16 that Job displays a realization that the only witness of the truth of his situation is in heaven. Have you ever been in a situation where everyone thought you had done wrong and God was the only witness to your innocence? This is a lonely place, however, it is the doorway to intimacy with God. Intimacy is cultivated in an environment of solitude; not just physical but emotional and spiritual solitude – when no one knows your heart or can help you except God. The psalmist wrote: He will make your innocence as clear as the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. 7 Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act.” Psalm 37:6-7. (Also see Romans 1:9-10) In these Scriptures we see three men of God (Job, David & Paul) all writing the same message – God is my Witness.

 

In The Garden by Charles A. Miles

I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses,

And the voice I hear falling on my ear

The Son of God discloses, And He walks with me

And He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own

And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of His voice

Is so sweet that the birds hush their singing

And the melody that He gave to me, Within my heart is ringing

And He walks with me, And He talks with me

And He tells me I am His own,

And the joy we share as we tarry there

None other has ever known

And the joy we share as we tarry there

None other has ever known

 

 

Job Chapter 17

The Broken Spirit

“My spirit is broken, My days are extinguished, The grave is ready for me. 2 Are not mockers with me? And does not my eye dwell on their provocation?… Where then is my hope? As for my hope, who can see it? V. 1-2, 15, NKJV

  • A broken spirit is only realized through pain and suffering and is essential for God to do His best work in you. Why? Because it finally gets you out of the way. You finally get over yourself, your accomplishments, your intellect, your money, your talent, your influence and you are brought to a place where you must depend on God alone.
  • You may be in a state where you can’t help but dwell on what others have said about you or think of you. “And does not my eye dwell on their provocation?” V2. What is the remedy for this? (See Philippians 4:6-9)

 

let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. Hebrews 12: 1b-2a, AMP

 

  • You may be in a place where your hope is consumed in the darkness. Job asked, “As for my hope, who can see it?”(V15). How would you answer him? Jesus can see your hope even when you cannot. He died for your hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly”. Romans 5:5-6, NKJV)

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  • You may face the publication of your suffering – everyone knows what happened to you. Why does God allow this? God has made a mockery of me among the people; they spit in my face.” 6, NLT. This public humiliation leads us to leave the things and ways of Babylon. We begin to see how undependable and precarious people and the world are. Why is this a good thing? God’s love remains whether you’re guilty or not –it remains.

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  • You come to a place of finally relinquishing your plans into the hands of God. My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken. 11, NLT. Why does God want this? The Psalmist wrote: My future is in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly. Psalm 31:15, NLT

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  • To have peace as deadlines and time passes and you are still waiting on God (V.11). What happens in your heart and mind as you let go of your world? These are the times when trust in God is forged. These are the times when you finally release your desires to God. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalms 37:4, NLT.

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The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17, NLT

 

 

Job Chapter 18

The Fourth Rebuke of Job – Bildad / On Going Pain

 

Even as maturity comes the trial may continue. You may continue to be condemned and misunderstood. Job continued to be taunted by his neighbors. As we look at the degree of their condemnation and the cruelty of their words, it seems as if they were waiting for the day when Job would be brought down. Perhaps they were always jealous of God’s blessings on Job’s life and took delight in bringing him down a peg or two. Have you ever faced such a situation? How did you respond? Did you see a reflection of Christ in your life?

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  • The enemy will continue to try and torment you with lies concerning your suffering. This is the time when you must know and stand on the Word of God and your relationship with Him. Note some of the comments from Bildad:
    • 5 The truth remains that the light of the wicked will be snuffed out…7 The confident stride of the wicked will be shortened. Their own schemes will be their downfall…A noose tightens around them. (V.9a). 11 “Terrors surround the wicked and trouble them at every step. 12 Their vigor is depleted by hunger, and calamity waits for them to stumble. 13 Disease eats their skin; death devours their limbs…15 The home of the wicked will disappear beneath a fiery barrage of burning sulfur…17 All memory of their existence will perish from the earth. No one will remember them. 18 They will be thrust from light into darkness, driven from the world. 19 They will have neither children nor grandchildren, nor any survivor in their home country…21 They will say, ‘This was the home of a wicked person, the place of one who rejected God.'”

 

  • Where is the love of God in these comments? The Scripture commands us to speak the truth in Love. (See Ephesians 4:14-15)

                                                                                                                                                          

 

Job Chapter 19                                                                                                                                                        

Becoming Steadfast In the Faith

How can you become steadfast if the integrity of your faith is never tested?

 

9 He has stripped me of my glory, And taken the crown from my head…13 “He has removed my brothers far from me, And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. 14 My relatives have failed, And my close friends have forgotten me. 15 Those who dwell in my house, and my maidservants, Count me as a stranger; I am an alien in their sight. 16 I call my servant, but he gives no answer; I beg him with my mouth. 17 My breath is offensive to my wife, And I am repulsive to the children of my own body. 18 Even young children despise me; I arise, and they speak against me. 19 All my close friends abhor me, And those whom I love have turned against me. V. 13-19

 

“I didn’t loose any friends, I just found out who they really were.” Jim Bakker

 

  • Lessons of Humility Tests Our Steadfastness

Pain and suffering teaches true humility. Job proclaimed in verse 9 that his glory had been stripped from him and his crown was taken (his money, position, respect and power). He was facing the loss of his status and good reputation in his community. Can you still love God when no one loves you? Remember the example of our Savior as He carried His cross to Calvary… “He was despised and rejected by men.” Isaiah 53

 

Humility is a key lesson in our journey to maturity in Christ. We must get over living our lives to cater to the standards and approval of human beings and reach for the approval of God.

 

  • The Lesson of Aloneness Revisited V. 13 -19

God will deliberately bring you to a place where the only person that is listening to you is Him. Job faced the loss of his brothers (neighbors), his family, his spouse, his servants (someone to help and assist him in his daily needs), his respect and his health. This is really being alone – no humans, no fleshly comforts, only God and God alone. Consider yourself in such a state. Have you ever been there? Are you there?

Can you name other persons in the Word of God that faced aloneness? What was the outcome following their season of aloneness? What changed in their relationship with God? (See the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18-19).

 

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  • Hitting “Rock Bottom”
    • As you find yourself alone and stripped of everything you will make one of the greatest choices of your life – to reach for Him or reject Him.
    • As you are left talking only to Father you begin to hear Him better than at any other time in your life. Surprising clarity flows into your spirit as you realize the foolishness of your previous foundation.
    • You come to a place of being transparent with others. You cast off the things you once cared so much about – reputation, the opinions of others, material possessions – your love for them all fade as you grasp the reality of the eternal. It is here that you die to yourself.

 

Christ‘s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.       Galatians 2:20, MSG

 

  • You begin to love this place of total dependency on your Heavenly Father and you never want to return to the way it was. Intimacy with God can be cultivated here.

 

Take time to list the things you currently build or in the past built your foundation on (job/career, money, people, etc.).

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  • Faith Springs Forth! – Confidence in God

For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, (V.25-26, NKJV).

 

  • As your faith springs forth by the Holy Spirit you develop a knowing in your spirit about your God. Nothing or no one can touch this confidence.
  • Your flesh can continue to be destroyed and your things can continue to be taken but your spirit is unscathed – it only sees God!

 

Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another.             (V. 27, NKJV)

 

Whom I, even I, shall see for myself and on my side! And my eyes shall behold Him, and not as a stranger! My heart pines away and is consumed within me.     (V. 27, AMP)

 

  • Your days of whoredom have ended – you will never again seek another. You will never again seek the trappings of Babylon for your security. You find yourself, finally, in Love with Him.

 

  • As chapter 19 comes to a close we see Job speaking to his accusers with a great, confidence in his relationship with God. Keep in mind that nothing in his life has changed but yet he rising to preach a warning to the ones who persecute him. Do you have this much confidence in your relationship with God?

 

“How dare you go on persecuting me, saying, ‘It’s his own fault’? I warn you, you yourselves are in danger of punishment for your attitude. Then you will know that there is judgment.” (V.28-29)

 

 

Just as “Christian” caught hold of his sword when he was near death in John Bunyan’s classic tale, “The Pilgrim’s Progress”, and defeated his enemy, Apollyon, so Job caught hold of his sword and so must you. (See “The Pilgrims Progress”, Chapter 4 “Through the Valley of Humiliation and Death”, by John Bunyan)

                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                            

 

 Job Chapter 20

The Fifth Rebuke of Job – Zophar

In chapter 20 another accuser begins to speak. Once again he speaks of the punishment that is due those who live a life of wickedness. Once again his words have a ring of truth. God will judge the wicked at some point in time as Zophar has said but the question remains is Job wicked?

 

4 “Don’t you realize that ever since people were first placed on the earth, 5 the triumph of the wicked has been short-lived and the joy of the godless has been only temporary? 6 Though the godless man’s pride reaches to the heavens and though his head touches the clouds, 7 yet he will perish forever, thrown away like his own dung. Those who knew him will ask, ‘Where is he?’ 8 He will fade like a dream and not be found. He will vanish like a vision in the night. 9 Neither his friends nor his family will ever see him again. 10 His children will beg from the poor, for he must give back his ill-gotten wealth. Job 20:4-10, NLT

 

  • Look at the paraphrased checklist below based on Zophar’s assessment the wicked – Job seems to fit the bill. Check off all that apply to your life or has applied to your life.

____V.5-9 They prosper temporarily

____Their life will be shortened

____Their riches are fleeting.

____V.10   He and his children will have to return his wealth.

____V.11-15 He will become ill.

____V.16 He will be poisoned

____V.19 He is an oppressor of the poor.

____V.19 He is a thief.

____V.22 He will be miserable

____V. 23-29 He will see the wrath of God.

____V.24 He will be shot

____V.25 He will be terrified

____V.26 He will be consumed by fire

____V.27 His guilt will be exposed

____V.28 He will lose his house

 

What is missing in this assessment and conclusion of humanity’s punishment for its wickedness? Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” NKJV.

 

When you go through a season of suffering the enemy tries to distract you from the cross. The enemy wants you to only see the first part of Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death”, and not the latter part, “but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Don’t forget what in on the other side of the “BUT” in Romans 6:23! Jesus is on the other side of the “BUT”. Recall a season of suffering in your life; what was the major issue(s) on your mind?

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When your accuser stands before God to make his case against you, Jesus interrupts with “BUT”…. Christ is our Intercessor and Advocate before the Father.

 

He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. Colossians 2:14, NLT. Also see Romans 8:27, 34, Hebrews 4:16, 7:25

Halleluiah!

 

LESSON 6

Reading Assignment Job 21-24

Advanced Reading: Sessions in Pain, Chapter 8, Fighting the Fear

 Job Chapter 21

Job’s Assessment of the Wicked

As Job continues in his state of suffering and anguish he begins to have a skewed perspective on the world and the way of things. He sees the wicked as people who never suffer for their wrong doing. Note Job’s opinion of the wicked in contrast to Zophar’s opinion in chapter 20. Also recognize that Job’s description of the wicked is far from his current situation which tells us he continues to stand on the truth that he himself in not wicked.

 

7 “The truth is that the wicked live to a good old age. They grow old and wealthy. 8 They live to see their children grow to maturity, and they enjoy their grandchildren. 9 Their homes are safe from every fear, and God does not punish them…13 They spend their days in prosperity; then they go down to the grave in peace. 14 All this, even though they say to God, ‘Go away. We want no part of you and your ways. 15 Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey him? What good will it do us if we pray?’ 16 But their prosperity is not of their own doing, so I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking. 17 “Yet the wicked get away with it time and time again. They rarely have trouble, and God skips them when he distributes sorrows in his anger. Job 21:7-9,13-17, NLT.

 

Job’s description of the wicked (paraphrased):

  • 7-8 They live long
  • 9 There homes are safe and free from fear
  • 10 They prosper and have no problems
  • 11 Their children are happy
  • 13 They have good long years
  • 14-15 They do not acknowledge God
  • 19 He sees no punishment on Earth
  • 33 Even his death is sweet

 

  • Do you know of anyone who lives or has lived a life as described above?___________________________________________________________
  • Why do you think Job and Zophar have two different perspectives on the wicked? __________________________________________________________

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  • What is your perspective on the wicked? ________________________________

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  • Review   “Living Between Murder and Suicide” and “mind states” in “Sessions in Pain” pgs. 51-81.

 

The scriptures states:

5 And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? He said, “My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. 6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children.” 7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. 9 Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever? Hebrews 12:5-9, NLT (underlining mine)

 

Did Job forget this truth? Have you? Do you need discipline? ____________________________

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 Job Chapter 22

The Sixth Rebuke of Job – Eliphaz

Is it because of your reverence for him that he accuses and judges you? Not at all! It is because of your wickedness! Your guilt has no limit! V.4-5, NLT

Note in chapter 22 how Eliphaz actively tries to reason why Job is suffering. He contrives various scenarios for Job’s dilemma. Once again we see in Eliphaz, a man that fails to understand the deeper things of God – the Fatherhood of God; the God who grows His children up to maturity through the challenges of this temporal life. David said, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.” Psalm 119:71, NKJV

 

  • Eliphaz dissects Job’s life. V. 6-10 (paraphrased)
    • You abused those in need.
    • You did not give.
    • You did not help the widows.
    • You were hard on the fatherless.

 

Is it our place as ministers of reconciliation to seek out the reason for a person’s suffering? Is this seeking from the Holy Spirit or from our pride that hungers to be better than someone else?

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:18, NKJV

(Reconcile: reunite, bring (back) together (again), restore friendly relations between, make peace between; pacify, appease, placate, mollify (appease the anger or anxiety of (someone)); formal conciliate. Apple Dictionary & Thesaurus 2005-2009.

 

If someone is drowning would God want you to throw him/her a lifeline or ask him/her why did he/she jump into the lake? The first lifeline you throw to any brother/ sister in trouble is prayer – consult the Holy Spirit first.

 

  • At the conclusion of chapter 22 Eliphaz offers Job more solutions to relieve his suffering. There is no record that Eliphaz prayed or attempted to connect with God in any way before offering his advice. Words offered without prayer can do much damage even when our intentions are good.

 

Eliphaz offers these solutions to Job (paraphrased):

  • Return to God. V. 21.23
  • Accept His instruction. V.22
  • Get rid of your riches. V.24
  • Help them who are in need of help. V.29
  • Fulfill your vows (promises). V.27
  • V. 26-27

 

And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak. The words you say now reflect your fate then; either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37, NLT – Jesus

 

Job Chapter 23

The Forging of Faith

Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. Ephesians 6:26, AMP (emphasis mine).

 

The hammer of God shapes your faith from a “mustard seed” into a shield that covers all of your uncertainties. In chapter 23 we see the shield of faith cover this great man of God who proclaims that he does not understand, he does not know where God is, that he is frightened but in the darkness of his situation he believes God!

Note Job’s steadfast declarations:

 

  • He continues to be confident in his relationship with God. V. 1-7
  • He continues seeking the face of God (His Presence) and not His hand (His presents). V. 8-9. What does this tell you about his love for God? Is your love for God at this level?

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  • He continues in his assurance that God is faithful to His people; that God sees His children when they suffer; that God does not forsake His beloved ones.

But He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates, and pays attention to it]. V.10a, AMP.”

  • In V.10 we see a breakthrough in Job’s understanding of the purpose of suffering. – We see the beginning of his surrender and brokenness before God concerning the testing of his life, When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” V.10b, NKJV. Here is where the “peace of God that passes all understanding” becomes ours. (See Philippians 4:7, Hebrews 12:11)

And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7, AMP

 

Take a moment and meditate on the meaning of this Scripture – take ownership of it.

 

In verses.11-14 we see Job declare his faith in the face of his pain:

11 My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. 12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food. 13 “But He is unique, and who can make Him change? And whatever His soul desires, that He does. 14 For He performs what is appointed for me, And many such things are with Him. 15 Therefore I am terrified at His presence; When I consider this, I am afraid of Him. 16 For God made my heart weak, And the Almighty terrifies me; 17 Because I was not cut off from the presence of darkness, And He did not hide deep darkness from my face. Job 23:11-17, AMP

His heart is still broken, his things are still destroyed, his tormentors are still there but yet he proclaims his faith!

 

Are you running from the hammer or remaining on the altar? Remember Abraham with his son on the altar – his arms held high ready to strike because God asked Him to (See Genesis 22). What is your breaking point? What will cause you to walk out of His hands, And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”(John 10:28, NKJV). Jesus will never let go of you but will you let go of Him? Will you turn your back and walk away saying it hurts too bad God and “I don’t believe You anymore”.

 

 

The Songwriter Wrote:

Hold to His hand God’s unchanging hand,

Build your hopes on things eternal.

Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

From “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand”, by Jennie Wilson

 

Job Chapter 24

Job’s Revised Assessment of the Wicked

The Power of Enlightenment when you Choose Faith

As we look in chapter 24 we again see Job’s description of the lives of the wicked but this time he ends with the truth of the end of the wicked.

 

18 “But they disappear from the earth as quickly as foam is swept down a river. Everything they own is cursed, so that no one enters their vineyard. 19 Death consumes sinners just as drought and heat consume snow. 20 Even the sinner’s own mother will forget him. Worms will find him sweet to eat. No one will remember him. Wicked people are broken like a tree in the storm. 21 For they have taken advantage of the childless who have no protecting sons. They refuse to help the needy widows. 22 “God, in his power, drags away the rich. They may rise high, but they have no assurance in life. 23 They may be allowed to live in security, but God is always watching them. 24 And though they are great now, in a moment they will be gone like all others, withered like heads of grain. 25 “Can anyone claim otherwise? Who can prove me wrong?” V.18-25, NLT

 

Paraphrased

  • 19 The grave snatches them away.
  • 20 Their mothers forgets them
  • 20 The worms (maggots) feast on them
  • 20 They are no longer remembered
  • 20 They are broken like a tree
  • 22 God drags them away
  • 23 He (God) lets them rest in the feeling of security – but His eyes watch
  • 24 They are exalted for a while and then are gone.
  • 24 They are brought low
  • 24 They are cut off like heads of grain

 

Compare this assessment with Job’s first assessment of the wicked in chapter 21. What happened in Job’s heart from chapter 21 to chapter 24? What caused this transition?

 

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Read Psalm 37. Do you agree with David’s assessment of the wicked? How does it compare with Job’s assessment in chapter 24? What is your assessment of the wicked?

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                                                            STUDY GUIDE – PART 2

 

LESSON 7

Making it Real

Advanced Reading: Session in Pain, Chapter 9, Pain and Waiting

 

Exploring Levels of Faith

It is important for you, as a believer, to examine your level of faith so that you can understand where you are and where God is taking you to. God wants his children mature and strong in the faith and capable of obtaining victory through Him in this world. The Scriptures record, “The just shall live by Faith”. This mandate is recorded 4 times in Bible (See Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38).

 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes,… For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17, NKJV.

 

To live by faith is a “must do” according to the Word of God. No Believer can squeak by in God’s presence not believing. You must live by faith. Father will see to it that you come to a place of believing Him. “…it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Hebrews 11:6, NLT

 

 

First Level – Faith for Salvation

Read Romans 5:1, Romans 10: 9, Ephesians 2:8

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Romans 5:1, NLT

 

God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8, NLT

 

Your first level of faith began with your salvation. You choose to believe that Jesus loves you and died for your sins and then accepted Him into your heart. It is important to note that faith is in direct conflict with your Babylonian mindset which says you must see it to believe it.

 

NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. Hebrews 11:1, AMP

 

Recall the moment you accepted Jesus Christ, the moment you made a decision to believe Him. What were your thoughts? Re-live the moment you decided to take His hand. Do you regret your decision?

 

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Second Level – Faith for Sacrifice

Review Job Chapters 1-3, Hebrews 11 : 8-10 (Abraham)

Job stated, “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me.” Job 3:25, NKJV. The Faith for Sacrifice is a faith that presses on believing God in the face of losing things and people. Remember, it isn’t a true sacrifice unless it strikes fear in your heart or hurts to give it up.

 

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you have come to the first level of faith, however, this is only the beginning of your journey with your Father into the realm of Faith. Many people park at the salvation level faith; they tell God, consciously or subconsciously, I’ll go this far with You and no farther. They accept Christ and then fail to move any further into the deeper levels of faith.

 

What has God asked you to do or to give up that you are not willing to relinquish? Although, Job lost things through tragedy many times things are not taken from us but God will call us to lay it down and follow His way for our lives. This may mean giving up relationships and opportunities that are offered to you in Babylon. Once again you will find that Faith for Sacrifice is in direct conflict with your Babylonian mindset. It involves leaving what is safe and comfortable and stepping with God into the unfamiliar. List some episodes in your life in the past 5 years where you chose to sacrifice something/someone to follow God’s way.

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Read John 6:51-71, (Eat My flesh and drink My blood,) Matthew 19:16-22, (The Rich Young Ruler).

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. Matthew 16:24, AMP

 

Third Level – Faith after Death  

This third level of faith describes a deeper level of believing and trusting God. It involves one of the deepest hurts that humanity bears in this life, the hurt of losing a loved one in death. Many people have difficulty recovering from this pain because of the grip this pain has on the human heart. All we know, to this point, is the temporal and in the temporal death has the resounding ring of gone forever. But the Scriptures teach us:

 

13 And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died. 15 I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet him ahead of those who are in their graves. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever. 18 So comfort and encourage each other with these words.                                          1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, NLT

 

Once again we see faith involves making the transition from the temporal to the eternal. To believe God after someone or something has died like a career, a marriage or a business. Faith after death is a new and stronger level of believing God. Can you recall a time in you life when you had to have faith after death?

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Note the story of Mary and Martha; the two sisters who lost their brother in death. (Read John 11:1-44)

The Bible makes clear that Mary and Martha had relationship with Jesus – Mary was the one who pour the perfume on Jesus feet and wiped them with her hair. Why is this important to know?

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Note that when Jesus first heard that Lazarus was sick He gave a word that his sickness was not unto death but for the glory of God. Have you ever had God speak to your heart in the middle of a situation and tell you everything will be all right?

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Note they pleaded for Jesus to come but He deliberately waited until after Lazarus had died before He came to them. Jesus always did what His Father told Him to do. His inspiration was always the Father by His Holy Spirit – in the face of human emotion our inspiration must always be the Father by His Holy Spirit. What ever inspires you will control you.

 

Note that verse 5 of this passage makes it clear that Jesus loved this family. Why is this important to know? ______________________________________________________________________

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In verses 16-15 Jesus makes it clear that Lazarus was dead and that for the sake of His followers He was glad He was not there because this situation gave them another opportunity to believe in Him. Why was Jesus so adamant about teaching belief in Him during a crucial situation? Has this changed today? _________________________________________________________________

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Jesus was willful, deliberate and public about this lesson of faith after death.

 

Note that when Jesus arrived Martha went out to meet Him but Mary, the one who poured perfume over His feet and wiped them with her hair, the one who should of had a deeper relationship with Jesus, stayed at home. Why to you think of these two sisters the one with the deeper experience with Christ did not go out to meet Him? Have you ever done this to Jesus – failed to meet Him due to the pain in your heart? _______________________________________

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In John 11: 21 we see the great faith and courage of Martha – although her beloved brother was dead and in the grave she rose up and went to talk to her Lord. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Although Martha lack the knowledge of what was about to take place and lacked the understanding of the Power of her Lord she came to Him and talked to Him, just as Job did. Because of her act of faith Jesus imparted to her a great revelation of who He is.

 

23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 “Yes,” Martha said, “when everyone else rises, on resurrection day.” 25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. 26 They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish. Do you believe this, Martha?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” John 11:23-27, NLT (emphasis mine).

 

Note that in the passage above Martha spoke from her spirit and not from her emotions. In the passage above we see Jesus impart to Martha a revelation of the eternal. He conveys to her that He is the eternal – He commands the eternal! He came after the death of Lazarus to give these sisters the gift of that revelation. If you want to go to the deeper places with your Lord Jesus you must be willing to step into the deeper places of faith.

 

32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell down at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, he was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled.

 

37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Why couldn’t he keep Lazarus from dying?” 38 And again Jesus was deeply troubled.

 

Why do you think Jesus was deeply troubled these two times? ____________________________

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39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, said, “Lord, by now the smell will be terrible because he has been dead for four days.” 40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you will see God’s glory if you believe?”

  41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so they will believe you sent me.”

 45 Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen.

 

Note the number of times Jesus speaks the word “believe” or the Scriptures record the word “believe” in verses 39-45. Note that Jesus states that he made His prayer public (I say it out loud) to impart Faith to the people.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6, NKJV (emphasis mine).

If you don’t believe Him then you can’t please Him.

  

         Song – Precious Lord, Take My Hand, lyrics by Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993)

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When my way grows drear
Precious Lord linger near
When my life is almost gone
                                            Hear my cry, hear my call,
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When the darkness appears
And the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
                                     At the river I stand,
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

Dorsey wrote “Precious Lord” in response to his inconsolable grief at the death of his wife, Nettie Harper, in childbirth, and his infant son in August 1932.

 

 

Fourth Level – Faith of the Martyrs

Faith, Even if God Doesn’t Deliver – Daniel 3: 1-30

Beyond the “Faith After Death” is yet another level of faith that speaks with the strength and the fervor of the truest believer. This is the Faith that has made the decision to love God regardless of the outcome of a situation. This faith lives in the one whose heart is sure and whose face is set like flint. This faith is ready to relinquish all and even die for his/her love for Christ. This is the faith that truly seeks only God’s face (presence). This faith has left Babylon long behind and lives in the eternal of God – this is the Faith of the Martyrs. This faith is demonstrated in the book of Daniel in the story of three Hebrew boys:

 

12 But there are some Jews — Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego — whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They have defied Your Majesty by refusing to serve your gods or to worship the gold statue you have set up.” 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be brought before him. When they were brought in, 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance. If you bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments, all will be well. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. What god will be able to rescue you from my power then?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” 19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. Daniel 3: 15-20, NLT (emphasis mine)

Do you have such a faith – Is your mind made up to lay down your life, if need be, to obey God?

 “The more I come to know God the less I understand Him but the more I trust Him.”

Corrie Ten Boom (See Corrie Ten Boom’s book “The Hiding Place” – the story of her years in a Nazi concentration camp.)

 

Review the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11

What is Faith? Passionate belief! – Hebrews 11:1

1 What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. 2 God gave his approval to people in days of old because of their faith. 3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. Hebrews 11:1-3, NLT

 

Faith is born out of a passion for God – a passion fueled by obedience to Him even when we do not see or understand Him. “If you love Me, keep My commandments. John 14:15, NKJV. Can you recall a time when you believed God even though things did not turn out the way you wanted or expected? _____________________________________________________________

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So, how do we get what we want from God? We seek His face (His heart, His way, His presence) until His desires becomes our desires. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4, NKJV

 

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33, NKJV

 

As you seek the face of God you will find that your desires will change. As you learn to trust in God you will modify your requests before Him. As you grow in God you will learn how to pray through His Holy Spirit – according to His heart. You will realize that you know nothing. Your prayers will no longer be selfish but according to His heart. You learn to pray in the eternal. Paul said, “For I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2, AMP (Also see Romans 8:26)

What is prayer for? ______________________________________________________________

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As we grow in believing Christ the trials of this life become light in the light of eternity. The more afflictions He allows the more we trust Him! What is that? Faith!! Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne. Matthew 11:29-30, AMP

 

Who is Faith for? Why do we need Faith? ____________________________________________

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Where is the “place” for Faith?, When is the time for Faith? ______________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Is Faith an avenue to order God or believe God? Your Faith should not “kick in” until you know the will of God. _________________________________________________________________

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Understanding God’s sovereignty – God is not a cosmic bellhop waiting for us to tell Him how to run the universe.

 

What Faith is not: Faith seeks God’s face not His hand. “Faith is not a getter”. Joyce Meyer. Faith is a doer.

 

17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. James 2:17-24, NKJV.

 

What have you done for Me lately?_________________________________________________

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It doesn’t have to be something fresh and new it could be doing what you need to do each day as unto the Lord. No complaining, no grumbling but in pure service and worship to your Lord you keep working and loving and ministering to those He loves – Feed My sheep, Feed My lambs. (See John 21:15-17)

Recommended reading: “Destined for the Throne” by Paul E. Billheimer & “On Prayer” by E.M. Bounds

 

Reading Assignment Job Chapters 25 – 42

The Recant – Bildad

Job Chapter 25

Chapter 25 is the shortest chapter in the book of Job. This chapter is the recant of Bildad to Job’s proclamations in chapters 23-24 – the place where Job declares his steadfast faith in his God. As we continue to read these words of Job’s accusers we can understand why the Word of God describes faith as a shield.

 

Bildad’s view of God – Job 25

Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: 2 “God is powerful and dreadful. He enforces peace in the heavens. 3 Who is able to count his heavenly army? Does his light not shine on all the earth? 4 How can a mere mortal stand before God and claim to be righteous? Who in all the earth is pure? 5 God is so glorious that even the moon and stars scarcely shine compared to him. 6 How much less are mere people, who are but worms in his sight?” (emphasis mine)

  • Once again we see the recant of religion instead of relationship with God. We see the words of a man that does not understand the Love of the Almighty for humankind. Yes, we are small and miniscule in His sight but He Loves Us – Oh, how He Loves Us! Describe in your own words how we are seen in the eyes of God? Answer the question in verse 4.

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David’s view of God – Psalm 8

1 For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by a stringed instrument. O LORD, our Lord, the majesty of your name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. 2 You have taught children and nursing infants to give you praise. They silence your enemies who were seeking revenge. 3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers — the moon and the stars you have set in place — 4 what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us? 5 For you made us only a little lower than God, and you crowned us with glory and honor. 6 You put us in charge of everything you made, giving us authority over all things — 7 the sheep and the cattle and all the wild animals, 8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. 9 O LORD, our Lord, the majesty of your name fills the earth! (emphasis mine)

 

In comparison to Bildad we see in Psalm 8 the passionate words of a man who knew God in the Spirit. David loved God and set many of his writings of Him to music as a love offering. When David wrote of fearing God he was referring to having a respect, awe and wonder of Him. When Bildad spoke of fearing God he was referring to terror and torment. The difference between these two men was Love. For the Scriptures has said:

 

16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love..” 1 John 4:16-18, NKJV. God does not want you to do things for Him out of fear but out of Love.

 

Describe your view of God. _______________________________________________________

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The Third Attitude Level of Suffering – Praise in the Pain    

Job Chapter 26

 

1 Then Job spoke again: 2 “How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved a person who has no strength! 3 How you have enlightened my stupidity! What wise things you have said! 4 Where have you gotten all these wise sayings? Whose spirit speaks through you? Verses 1-4, NLT

 

In chapter 26 we see Job continue to rise in his spirit to a place of preaching to his tormentors. He not only speaks confidently of the greatness of God but he confronts the spirit of torment within his neighbors. Again, keep in mind that Job’s circumstances have not changed – what has changed is him. We see a powerful lesson in this chapter as Job has turned the focus of his mind from what has happened to him to what is happening in him!   Can you recall such a turn in your mind in the middle of a trial? What were your thoughts? What were your words to others? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The outlook may be gloomy but the uplook is glorious – You realize that His Holy Spirit has done a work in you. The fruit of the Spirit explode in your being. This is a priceless gift from your Father – this is maturity in Him.

 

Job replies with praise of God’s power! He praises through the pain – his faith rises to the challenge.

6 The underworld is naked in God’s presence. There is no cover for the place of destruction. 7 God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing. 8 He wraps the rain in his thick clouds, and the clouds do not burst with the weight. 9 He shrouds his throne with his clouds…13 His Spirit made the heavens beautiful, and his power pierced the gliding serpent. 14 “These are some of the minor things he does, merely a whisper of his power. Who can understand the thunder of his power?” Verses 6-9, 13-14, NLT

 

Confident Confrontation      

Job Chapter 27

Job has come to the place of not only confronting his accusers but also preaching to them. You will come through the trial not on your back but preaching on your feet! Hallelujah! No more pity party, no more begging for mercy from your accusers but in the power of the Holy Spirit you will confront them with the Word of God. “Perfect Love casts out fear”1 John 4:18, NKJV

 

36 (Even the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. 39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:36-39, NLT

 

Confidence to Declare his Righteousness

In verses 1-6 we see Job continuing to hold fast to his righteousness (A repeating theme in Job). Job continues to acknowledge that God is the One who has allowed the calamities of his life but in the same breath he proclaims that he will hold to Him. Job is assured of the presence of God with him.

1 Job continued speaking: 2 “I make this vow by the living God, who has taken away my rights, by the Almighty who has embittered my soul. 3 As long as I live, while I have breath from God, 4 my lips will speak no evil, and my tongue will speak no lies. 5 I will never concede that you are right; until I die, I will defend my innocence. 6 I will maintain my innocence without wavering. My conscience is clear for as long as I live. Job 27:1-6, NLT

 

These verses speak of the essence of what God desires from humanity – An unquestionable trust in Him that endures through the hard days of our existence here on Earth. A trust that endures in the face of our enemy who is unrelenting in trying to convince us that we are forsaken by God – that the provision made at Calvary is a lie. Satan seeks to destroy your faith in God’s righteousness within you , and if he can do that he’s got you! Sometimes you have to tie a knot onto 2 Corinthians 5:21 and HANG ON!

 

For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]. 2 Corinthians 5:21, AMP.

 

Confidence to Teach the Things of God

11 “I will teach you about God’s power. I will not conceal anything that concerns the Almighty. 12 But I don’t need to, for you yourselves have seen all this; yet you are saying all these useless things to me. Job 27: 11-12, NLT

 

Job receives the confidence and understanding to teach the things and the ways of God. This receiving has come through his trial. He is able to teach others about the deeper things of God concerning humanity – beyond the superficial. He can teach others what it means to seek and know God’s face (presence) and not just His hand (blessings).

 

Where is your relationship with God? Is He just a God of gifts, only, to you or have you walked with Him in the garden early in the morning or in the cool of evening. Have you shared the deep recesses of your heart with Him or do you keep on your mask of religion? Has His Love been perfected in your heart or do you still “fear” His plans for you? Record your thoughts. ______________________________________________________________________________

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Confidence to Deal with Sin

13 “This is what the wicked will receive from God; this is their inheritance from the Almighty. 14 If they have a multitude of children, their children will die in war or starve to death. 15 Those who survive will be brought down to the grave by a plague, with no one to mourn them, not even their wives. 16 “Evil people may have all the money in the world, and they may store away mounds of clothing. 17 But the righteous will wear that clothing, and the innocent will divide all that money. 18 The houses built by the wicked are as fragile as a spiderweb, as flimsy as a shelter made of branches. Job 27:13-18, NLT.

                                                                                                                                                            

Note that these are the words of a man who has lost his children, clothing and house! All of his natural inheritances are gone but yet he still declares that judgment will come to the wicked. One of the major things that Satan wants to see went you suffer is your silence of speaking the Word and ways of God. Satan wants to shame you into shutting up when you suffer losses. How can you proclaim God’s righteousness and goodness when you appear to be under a curse? You do it by the Power of the Holy Spirit – by wielding your shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God. Can you imagine how Satan screamed as Job preached God’s righteousness in the middle of his agony! “We are more than conquerors though Him who loved us”Romans 8:37, NKJV.

 

Name two people in the Bible who preached God’s Word in the middle of their suffering. What was the outcome of their demonstration of faith? _______________________________________

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Can you name 2 contemporary people who are preaching and teaching in spite of their past or current circumstances? ___________________________________________________________

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This Confident Confrontation in the Holy Spirit also gives you the faith and courage to deal with your own past and sins. You no longer look to hide or cover up your sin but to expose it at the foot of the cross. You are no longer enslaved by lies, pride and reputation – now you are ready to teach His Word. The psalmist records:

 

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. Psalm 51:10-14, NKJV (emphasis mine).

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            

HALLELUIAH!

                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            

 

 

LESSON 8

Coming Forth As Pure Gold

Advanced Reading: Sessions in Pain, Chapter 10, The Pain of the Strongman

 

Reading Assignment Job chapters 28 – 31                                               

 

The Sermon of Job

Job Chapter 28

“People know how to mine silver and refine gold. 2 They know how to dig iron from the earth and smelt copper from stone. 3 They know how to put light into darkness and explore the farthest, darkest regions of the earth as they search for ore. 4 They sink a mine shaft into the earth far from where anyone lives… 20 “But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? 21 For it is hidden from the eyes of all humanity. Even the sharp-eyed birds in the sky cannot discover it. 22 But Destruction and Death say, ‘We have heard a rumor of where wisdom can be found.’ 23 “God surely knows where it can be found, 24 for he looks throughout the whole earth, under all the heavens. 25 He made the winds blow and determined how much rain should fall. 26 He made the laws of the rain and prepared a path for the lightning. 27 Then, when he had done all this, he saw wisdom and measured it. He established it and examined it thoroughly. 28 And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.'” Job 28: 1-4, 20-28, NLT.

 

As we enter chapter 28 we see a clear change in Job’s tone from the previous chapters. He seems more peaceful and he speaks with clarity as he describes wisdom. He has concluded that there are things hidden from humanity that only God knows and understands. He uses the analogy of one searching for precious jewels and minerals. To find them he must dig into the hidden place of the Earth – places that no living creature has seen – only God knows where they lie. In the same way you must dig and search out the deep things of God – He calls you to the deep and precious things in Him. Are you willing to dig? Are you willing to leave all of your stuff and get dirty digging for the deep things of God? Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;” Psalm 42:7, NKJV.

 

Job is beginning to speak with the voice of maturity. He has a revelation about the journey he is on. He is on a quest for the wisdom of God. Everything he has gone through has been an invitation into the deeper places of God. Beloved, God does not want to remain superficial to you. He wants you to know Him beyond the physical into the spiritual. A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers. God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality). John 4:23-24, AMP (emphasis mine).

How is the Father seeking you out? _________________________________________________

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How are you knowing God through your spirit? ________________________________

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Are your prayers a dialogue or a monologue? _________________________________________

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Recommended Reading: “The Kneeling Christian”, Unknown Author, See chapter 5, “What is Prayer”.

 

Understanding the Value of the Wisdom Gained Through Trial. V. 10 -28

As you obtain the wisdom of God you will also obtain a revelation of its pricelessness. God reveals this wisdom to each of us separately as he forges our maturity in Him. I cannot know the wisdom He reveals in you and you cannot know the wisdom He reveals in me – each one of us must dig for ourselves and search out the deep things of God. Others can see God’s wisdom in you and admire it and long for it but they can only know it themselves as they take their own personal journey with God.

 

12 “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? 13 Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living. 14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ 15 It cannot be purchased for gold, Nor can silver be weighed for its price…”From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? 21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living, And concealed from the birds of the air. 22 Destruction and Death say, ‘We have heard a report about it with our ears.’ 23 God understands its way, And He knows its place. 24 For He looks to the ends of the earth, And sees under the whole heavens, 25 To establish a weight for the wind, And apportion the waters by measure. 26 When He made a law for the rain, And a path for the thunderbolt, 27 Then He saw wisdom and declared it; He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out. 28 And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’ ” Job 28:12-15, 20-28, NKJV

 

If you truly hunger for the things of God it will require the refiners fire. It will require a seeking on your part. Note the words of the men of God concerning trial and seeking and God’s wisdom:

 

Job

When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 23:10, NKJV

 

David

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. 6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. 9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

 

Solomon

My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, 2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; 3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, 4 If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; Proverbs 2: 1-7, NKJV

 

Paul

3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-5, NKJV

 

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! Romans 11:33, NKJV

 

God alone made it possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Christ to be wisdom itself. He is the one who made us acceptable to God. He made us pure and holy, and he gave himself to purchase our freedom. 1 Corinthians 1:30, NLT

 

It is a personal tragedy for a man or woman to go through the lessons of God and fail to seek or find wisdom. Some people come through the lessons of life with only bitterness, resentment and anger.

 

“How I have hated instruction, And my heart despised correction! 13 I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! Proverbs 5:12-13, NKJV

 

 

The Review      

Job Chapter 29

In Job chapter 29 we see Job reminiscing over how thing used to be. He talks in detail about the honor and respect he enjoyed in his community. He remembers the blessings of God on his life, in his family and in his home. He remembers wanting for nothing as he lived holy before the Almighty. He talks of the good deeds that he had done – how he helped the orphans and the weak and how he stood for justice.

 

Chapter 29 is very important in this study of God’s interactions with humanity in that it reviews the blessings of Job’s life. Job had everything a man could desire in this life and then he was taken through a horrendous trial that stripped him of everything. Was it to ravage him just for the sake of ravaging him or was it to prove him as a man who knew God and loved God beyond His blessings. Remember the accusation by Satan in chapter 1: Satan replied to the LORD, “Yes, Job fears God, but not without good reason! 10 You have always protected him and his home and his property from harm. You have made him prosperous in everything he does. Look how rich he is! 11 But take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” Job 1: 9-11, NLT

 

As you go through trials you must be aware that the spirit world watches to see your reactions. Satan has accused you and will continue to accuse you as he watches and waits for you to reject the ways of God.

 

The Blessings of Job (paraphrased)  

  • Rich and doing very well. – You (God) and I had a close relationship. V. 1-6
  • Had the respect of all men – both young and old. V. 7- 11
  • Helpful to the poor, the fatherless, the dying and the widows. V.12-13
  • Righteous and just. V.14
  • Helpful to the blind, the lame, the needy, and the stranger. V. 15-16
  • Fighter against the wicked. V. 17
  • Full of hope that he was going to live a long, prosperous, happy life and die satisfied in his own house. V. 18-20
  • A great counselor and leader of men. V. 21-25

 

The heart of this chapter reiterates that God will take only those who are faithful to the next level in Him. The riches and prestige of this life (as good as they may feel to our flesh) are not the best God has for you – He will ever seek to take you to a better place in Him – a place where your spirit knows His Spirit. Never become complacent with where you are because God is constantly moving you on toward your destiny in Him and everything is expendable in getting you there.

 

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” Philippians 1:6, AMP

 

We must wear this life as a loose garment. It is only a testing ground to bring us to understand the spiritual – the eternal.

 

26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, 27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. Job 19:26-27, NKJV

 

5 My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait upon Me, And on My arm they will trust. 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, And look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, The earth will grow old like a garment, And those who dwell in it will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not be abolished. Isaiah 51:5-6, NKJV (emphasis mine).

 

Review of a Season in Torment      

Job Chapter 30

In chapter 30 Job assesses his overall condition. In this chapter we do not hear his arguments or defenses to his accusers we hear instead the honest sorrow of his heart with a peaceful tone. Perhaps the most sorrowful part of chapter 30 is his statements about God’s rejection. Job calls to God but He does not answer, he only sees more pain coming to him. This is a glimpse of what Hell is like – being tormented by those that hate you and separated from God. We may think the worst pain we can suffer is to lose our family, friends or riches but the truth is the worst pain a human being can ever suffer is to be separated from God.

 

The book of Job is about loving God unconditionally and trusting God unconditionally. Although we know that God was watching Job through all of his suffering, for Job he could not feel God’s love. It was only his faith in God’s love that sustained him through this time. This is why faith is described as a shield. It covers you when all else has failed. Review the list below of Job’s trials. Which ones can you relate or have you related to in the past?

 

  • Now even the lowly people look down on me! V. 1-10
  • God has left me defenseless, disrespected, and in danger. V. 11 -14
  • My dignity has been taken away – I am suffering and dying. V. 15-17
  • God has put me down and no longer hears me. V. 18 – 24
  • I am homeless.
  • I am sick V. 28 -30
  • I am depressed V. 31

 

We sometimes review our lives because it’s hard to believe that some of the tragedies of our lives have really occurred. This is especially true for those who have loved and served God with all of their heart and strength. Why would God allow this to happen to His beloved children? Sometimes there are no answers for us on this side of heaven; sometimes there is only trust and there is only faith. Be encouraged, He has not forgotten you. In fact God is extremely active in your life then when you are going through trials. Just as a physician is more attentive to the patient in the intensive care unit – carefully watching and monitoring every vital sign, God is watching and holding you through the worse days of your life, taking to you a victory you cannot yet see.

 

Sing for joy, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth, and break forth into singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion upon His afflicted. But Zion [Jerusalem, her people as seen in captivity] said, The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me. [And the Lord answered] Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me. Isaiah 49: 13-16, AMP

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            

You must understand that God is committed to your development. The question is, are you committed to your development or do you run from the refiners fire?

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-7, NKJV

 

 

The “double minded” man/woman is one who gives God lip service as to his/her commitment but when the tests come to bring him/her to maturity they run from it or ignore the call of God or in some cases are out right disobedient. But yet they want the great blessings of God, they want the prestige of His leaders. If you want to go to the great places of God your mind must by made up and committed to endure whatever comes. You must train daily with your sword, the Word of God, and your Shield of Faith. God calls you to a long obedience in the same direction. Note the words of one who was committed to God, King David:

 

I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, to the very end. 113 I hate the double-minded, But I love Your law. 114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. 115 Depart from me, you evildoers, For I will keep the commandments of my God! 116 Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope. 117 Hold me up, and I shall be safe, And I shall observe Your statutes continually. 118 You reject all those who stray from Your statutes, For their deceit is falsehood.                                               Psalm 119:112-118, NKJV (emphasis mine).

 

Inclined: feel willing or favorably disposed toward (an action, belief, or attitude).

 

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. It is right and appropriate for me to have this confidence and feel this way about you all, because you have me in your heart and I hold you in my heart as partakers and sharers, one and all with me, of grace (God’s unmerited favor and spiritual blessing). [This is true] both when I am shut up in prison and when I am out in the defense and confirmation of the good news (the Gospel). Philippians 1:6, AMP (emphasis mine).                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                          

 

An Examination of My Life and Sins before God.

Job Chapter 31

In chapter 31 Job continues in a tone of peace as he examines his life before God. He comes to a place of recognizing that only God knows our sins completely. Even if we appear to do good He know the intents and the contents of our hearts. He knows our secret sins. In chapter 31 we see Job “asking” instead of “telling” – he asks for God’s justice and will gladly receive his due punishment – we see the buds of “Humility” springing forth.

 

4 He sees everything I do and every step I take. 5 “Have I lied to anyone or deceived anyone? 6 Let God judge me on the scales of justice, for he knows my integrity. 7 If I have strayed from his pathway, or if my heart has lusted for what my eyes have seen, or if I am guilty of any other sin, 8 then let someone else harvest the crops I have planted, and let all that I have planted be uprooted. 9 “If my heart has been seduced by a woman, or if I have lusted for my neighbor’s wife, 10 then may my wife belong to another man; may other men sleep with her. 11 For lust is a shameful sin, a crime that should be punished. Job 31:4-11, NLT

 

Note the depth of Job’s requests. He asks God for an examination of his life that few of us would dare request. He even reviews his love for God’s creation and wonders if he worshipped the creation over the Creator.

 

Have I looked at the sun shining in the skies, or the moon walking down its silver pathway, 27 and been secretly enticed in my heart to worship them? 28 If so, I should be punished by the judges, for it would mean I had denied the God of heaven. Job 31:26-28, NLT

 

He asks these things although he cannot recall doing them. He feels innocent but yet He asks for the examination of the Almighty.

 

Have I ever rejoiced when my enemies came to ruin or become excited when harm came their way? 30 No, I have never cursed anyone or asked for revenge. 31 My servants have never let others go hungry. 32 I have never turned away a stranger but have opened my doors to everyone. 33 Have I tried to hide my sins as people normally do, hiding my guilt in a closet? Job 31:29-33, NLT

 

Can you write out your own examination before the Almighty in the Spirit of Humility? Note that Job went through the details of his life. Do you have the courage to submit yourself to His blade although you feel innocent?

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For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. Hebrews 4:12, NLT

 

 

In verse 36 Job makes a powerful statement that he would treasure God’s correction and he would come before him as a prince (child of God). Again we see the trust in this man’s heart in God.

 

Let the Almighty show me that I am wrong. Let my accuser write out the charges against me. 36 I would face the accusation proudly. I would treasure it like a crown. 37 For I would tell him exactly what I have done. I would come before him like a prince. Job 31:35-37, NLT

 

We have no idea how sinful we are before the Holy God even when we see ourselves as righteous. It is only by God’s mercy on the world and through the blood of Jesus Christ that covers our sins that we all don’t get what we deserve – “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23, NLT (emphasis mine)

 

We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6, NLT

 

 

SEMESTER BREAK HOMEWORK

See below your assignment during the break.

BREAK ASSIGNMENT

Your Personal Examination Guide / Review of the Fruit of the Spirit

 

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]. Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another. Galatians 5:22-26, AMP

 

Record your personal notes on where you are with the Fruit of the Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you areas of growth. No one will see your notes but you and God. I encourage you to make the decision to honestly examine your heart before God as our dear friend Job. God is faithful to bring you to greater maturity by His Spirit through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Me and Love (Love never fails/bears all things)

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Me and Joy (Joy laughs)

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Me and Peace (Peace rules)

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Me and Patience (Patience waits)

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Me and Kindness (Kindness softens)

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Me and Goodness (Goodness does)

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Me and Faithfulness (Faith fights to believe)

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Me and Gentleness (Gentleness bows)

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Me and Self control (Self Control stops)

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Further suggestions

  • Plan to add fasting and special prayer as you study and review these attributes of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

LESSON 9

The Sermon of Elihu  

Advanced Reading: Sessions in Pain, Chapter 9, Pain and Giving

 

Reading Assignment: Job Chapters 32-34    

 

Job Chapter 32

The Attitude to Minister

 

In chapter 32 we hear for the first time the words of Elihu. He was a young man but he spoke with conviction in his heart. This man had a different attitude than the others. Job 32 records that Elihu was present all of this time hearing the discussion that went on between Job and his friends. In the words of Elihi we see a transparency and candor not seen in the others. He prefaced his words with the confession that he is young and that he thought it was best to keep silent and listen to the elders. He also states that he would try to speak without partiality and that he was disappointed in both Job and his accusing friends. Elihu’s openness suggests that his words are born out of an honest heart and not out of pride.

 

6 Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said, “I am young and you are old, so I held back and did not dare to tell you what I think. 7 I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.’ 8 Surely it is God’s Spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent. 9 But sometimes the elders are not wise. Sometimes the aged do not understand justice. 10 So listen to me and let me express my opinion. 11 “I have waited all this time, listening very carefully to your arguments, listening to you grope for words. 12 I have listened, but not one of you has refuted Job or answered his arguments. Job 32:6-12, NLT

 

Note Elihu’s care of his attitude before he speaks to Job. How it is different from the others? Do we take the same care when we minister to people? Do we assess our attitude before God and men/women and then make an honest declaration about ourselves before we speak. An attitude of pride cannot minister the truth in love of the Humble King.

 

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ-16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. 17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you have not so learned Christ, Ephesians 11:20, NKJV (emphasis mine)

 

Please read all of Ephesians 4 – it is a cleansing of our attitude as we seek to minister. Note that these words were written to the Church of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul found it necessary to write to the people of God about ministering to each other in the Spirit of Love. We must realize that there are casualties when we minister the Word of God outside of the Love of God. Once again we come to understand the extreme importance of the operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our tongue.

 

Note that Elihu acknowledges that he must submit to God (his Maker) in what he says and that he prays.

 

18 For I am full of words; The spirit within me compels me. 19 Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent; It is ready to burst like new wineskins. 20 I will speak, that I may find relief; I must open my lips and answer. 21 Let me not, I pray, show partiality to anyone; Nor let me flatter any man. 22 For I do not know how to flatter, Else my Maker would soon take me away. Job 32:18-22, NKJV

 

 

Job Chapter 33

The Preparation to Minister

In chapter 32 we see Elihu prepare his attitude/spirit before he begins to minister. In chapter 33 he continues to prepare himself to minister. He admits his limitations and his dependency upon on God – he comes in humility.

Note the list below of Elihu’s preparation to minister:

  • He asks for Job’s attention. “But please, Job, hear my speech, And listen to all my words.” 1, NKJV. When people are suffering they are often distracted by the pain of their situation. They may require a change of environment or some preliminary comforting to hear you and attend to what you are saying (food, shelter,etc.).
  • Elihu declares the condition of his heart and the sincerity of his words before Job. “My words come from my upright heart; My lips utter pure knowledge.”3. NKJV. There is no place for pride when we minister to others. Complete disclosure of who we are and where we have come from is sometimes required before people will hear us.

 

12 How thankful I am to Christ Jesus our Lord for considering me trustworthy and appointing me to serve him, 13 even though I used to scoff at the name of Christ. I hunted down his people, harming them in every way I could. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how kind and gracious the Lord was! He filled me completely with faith and the love of Christ Jesus. 15 This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — and I was the worst of them all. 1 Timothy 1:12-15, NLT, The Apostle Paul

 

  • Elihu acknowledges his dependence and weakness before God. V. 4

For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (NLT)

 

  • He declares that he is not better than Job but a human being made of clay. V. 6-7

Look, you and I are the same before God. I, too, was formed from clay. 7 So you don’t need to be afraid of me. I am not some great person to make you nervous and afraid (NLT)

 

  • He makes clear he has not come to do Job harm.V.7. Many times when we come to minister to people they are in a defensive mode due to others who have ministered previously. They are guarded and trust must be established before they can hear your words – this may take time, consistency and endurance on your part.

 

15 After breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. 16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. 17 Once more he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. John 21:15-17, NLT

 

Why do you think Jesus asked Peter this question 3 times? _______________________

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You cannot feed God’s sheep until you Love Him. Demonic forces fight against the ministry of Jesus Christ and sometimes they operate through the very ones you are trying to minister to. The question is can you, as a minister of Jesus Christ, rise above these forces and feed His sheep?

 

  • Elihu reviews what Job has said about his situation. V. 8-11. Review brings clarity to the facts. Objective review can dissipates the “mind states” that pain brings and gives us a fresh perspective on a situation. You want to seek for and present God’s perspective – the true perspective of the situation. Human beings have opinions but God has Truth. You can only know and minister God’s Truth through His Holy Spirit. How is this done?

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  • After Elihu prepares he is ready to impart truth to a suffering man. David prayed:

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. 13 Then I will teach your ways to sinners, and they will return to you. Psalm 51:10-13, NLT (emphasis mine).

 

Note that David prayed this prayer after he had sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. David had done many great things in the name of God and was King of Israel but a season came in his life where he had to pray the prayer in Psalm 51. He knew he could not go on in the name of his Holy God until he allowed God to cleanse him.

 

You are not ready to minister for God until the conditions in your own heart and spirit are right. Your heart must be open to be cleansed by God. You must be willing to let Him create a right, loyal and steadfast spirit within you and remain living and walking in His Spirit. You need to be full of the joy that came when God saved you – the joy that came because of His love and His peace when you believed – the joy that came when he rescued you. This joy comes wrapped in humility because you know that you did not deserve it but He saved you and now you are willing to obey Him. After all of this preparation of yourself THEN you are ready to teach sinners in a spirit in which they will come to God.

 

We must stop being so careless with this ministry of reconciliation to which God has called us, and remember to prepare ourselves and keep ourselves prepared to minister. Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32, KJV.

 

God and Mercy

Elihu speaks the Revelation of God

As Elihu continues to speak he brings out a critical revelation about the ways of God. He explains to Job that God speaks in different ways and for different reasons. He may speak soft and still or loud and terrifying. He may speak to warn us or to teach us, but however He speaks it is always because He loves us. Even in His silence He’s loving us. He speaks to preserve our eternal soul from the Pit of Hell. God’s mercy must be painful at times to get our attention and to shake us into understanding the dangerous paths we are on. Can you recall God’s shaking in your life?

12 “Look, in this you are not righteous. I will answer you, For God is greater than man. 13 Why do you contend with Him? For He does not give an accounting of any of His words. 14 For God may speak in one way, or in another, Yet man does not perceive it. 15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, While slumbering on their beds, 16 Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction. 17 In order to turn man from his deed, And conceal pride from man, 18 He keeps back his soul from the Pit, And his life from perishing by the sword. Job 33:12-18, NKJV

 

V14-17 NLT

God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it. 15 He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in bed. 16 He whispers in their ear and terrifies them with his warning. 17 He causes them to change their minds; he keeps them from pride.

 

God would be cruel if He, knowing and understanding all, did not warn you of your eternal end before you got there. He does, just as you would do, whatever was necessary to wake someone you loved who was asleep in a burning house.

 

9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9, NKJV

 

2 Peter 3:9 speaks of the return of Christ and how people may feel God is slack concerning this promise because it has been so long and Christ has not returned but God’s patience in this is because of His love for humanity – giving us time to repent. Similarly, you may feel that God has let you down as you wait for relief of your suffering but He is warning you and growing you up to a strength/maturity in Him that you will need to preserve you in the future so that you do not perish. He shakes you and breaks you toward maturity in Him to save your eternal soul!

 

So often we complain of our affliction not realizing how the mercy of God is operating in our lives. We fail to see how often He intervenes and spares us – He protects us from a devil’s hell. He runs out in the road and pushes us away from the approaching truck that we did not see. As He pushes us we fall to the ground, we are scratched up but we are preserved from death. V. 19-30

 

19 Or God disciplines people with sickness and pain, with ceaseless aching in their bones. 20 They lose their appetite and do not care for even the most delicious food. 21 They waste away to skin and bones. 22 They are at death’s door; the angels of death wait for them. 23 “But if a special messenger from heaven is there to intercede for a person, to declare that he is upright, 24 God will be gracious and say, ‘Set him free. Do not make him die, for I have found a ransom for

 

his life.’ 25 Then his body will become as healthy as a child’s, firm and youthful again. 26 When he prays to God, he will be accepted. And God will receive him with joy and restore him to good standing. 27 He will declare to his friends, ‘I sinned, but it was not worth it. 28 God rescued me from the grave, and now my life is filled with light.’ 29 “Yes, God often does these things for people. 30 He rescues them from the grave so they may live in the light of the living. Job 33:19-30, NLT

 

David wrote:

16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart– These, O God, You will not despise. 18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. Psalm 51:16-18, NKJV

 

God does not desire the sacrifices that you would choose but He wants to build the walls of Zion – He wants to build the walls of your life. He wants to build walls that will endure and withstand the attacks of the enemy so that you are preserved in Him for eternity.

 

He looks upon other men or sings out to them, I have sinned and perverted that which was right, and it did not profit me, or He did not requite me [according to my iniquity]! [God] has redeemed my life from going down to the pit [of destruction], and my life shall see the light! [Elihu comments] Behold, God does all these things twice, yes, three times, with a man, To bring back his life from the pit [of destruction], that he may be enlightened with the light of the living. Job 33:27-30, AMP (emphasis mine)

 

Requite: make appropriate return for (a favor or service); reward. Avenge or retaliate for (an injury or wrong). Apple Dictionary 2005-2009

 

Elihu ends chapter 33 stating to Job that his desire is to help him not to harm him.

31 Mark this well, Job. Listen to me, and let me say more. 32 But if you have anything to say, go ahead. I want to hear it, for I am anxious to see you justified. 33 But if not, then listen to me. Keep silent and I will teach you wisdom!” Job 33:31-33, NLT

 

Note that there is a difference between being righteous and being perfect.

 

Personal Notes

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Job Chapter 34

God and Justice / The Holiness of God

In chapter 34 Elihu reviews Job’s claims for his accusers. The claim is that he (Job) has not sinned before God and yet God has punished him. He acknowledges if Job’s claims are true then he is an unusual man. Elihu goes on to address the comments Job made concerning God and justice and God’s treatment of the wicked in chapters 21 and 30.

 

There are eternal truths that remain in place regardless of how things may appear. One of the eternal truths is that at all times and in all circumstances God is Holy. In chapter 34 we see Elihu communicate this truth to Job. Elihu declares that if Job is righteous and all of the tragedies have occurred in his life than Job is an unusual man indeed BUT God is still Holy. Although I do not understand the circumstances of Job’s life, this I know, GOD IS HOLY!

 

7 What man is like Job, Who drinks scorn like water, 8 Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity, And walks with wicked men? 9 For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing That he should delight in God.’ 10 “Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding: Far be it from God to do wickedness, And from the Almighty to commit iniquity. 11 For He repays man according to his work, And makes man to find a reward according to his way. 12 Surely God will never do wickedly, Nor will the Almighty pervert justice. Job 33:7-12, NKJV

 

Elihu preaches the holiness of God in the face of a situation that seems to indicate that God is unfair. In our world of injustices to the weak and poor, innocent children starving to death and dying of horrible diseases can you still preach the Holiness of God? Again, we see this trust issue arise in chapter 34. Will you trust and proclaim God’s Holiness even when everything around you seems to say He is unjust?

 

12 There is no truer statement than this: God will not do wrong. The Almighty cannot twist justice. 13 Who put the world in his care? Who has set the whole world in place? 14 If God were to take back his spirit and withdraw his breath, 15 all life would cease, and humanity would turn again to dust. 16 “Listen now and try to understand. 17 Could God govern if he hated justice? Are you going to condemn the almighty Judge? Job 34:12-17, NLT

 

So many cannot reconcile the suffering of the innocent with the existence of a Holy God, therefore they conclude that He does not exist or worse that He is unjust. Elihu asks a very important question in verse 17, “Could God govern if he hated justice?” As we think of human leaders who have led nations without justice, each and everyone of their governments failed and eventually fell. From Hitler, to Adi Amine, to Sadaam Hussien and many others who led without justice – their laws did not hold up over time. Evil has a profound weakness in that it lacks justice, therefore, those who are ruled by it will eventually rise up against it.

 

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability. Proverbs 28:2, NLT

 

This is true of nations and this is true of families.

 

As we look at the Holy Government of God we see a profound difference. The Laws of God have withstood the test of time and will continue to stand throughout eternity. All around us is the proof of God’s government – the Law of Gravity, the Laws of Biology, the Laws of the Universe remain stable since the beginning. Man would have ceased to exist had the Laws of God not remained stable (verses 14-15). Elihu asks the question, “Who put the world in his care? Who has set the whole world in place? The answer to this question is that no one did. God chose to create and care for us and the Earth we need to live on. His Love stands as the guiding Law of His Justice. Therefore, from what you know and have experienced answer the question, “Could God govern if he hated justice?” _______________________________________________________

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6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.           Isaiah 9:6-7, NKJV

 

The heavens declare the glory (justice) of God. All of creation declares the justice of God. The integrity of His Laws keeps all of creation in existence. Its beauty and splendor is because of the justice of God. True justice cannot be flimsy or swayed by evil. True justice cannot be bought but stands loyal to righteousness.

 

Insights into Righteousness

For His eyes are on the ways of man, And He sees all his steps. 22 There is no darkness nor shadow of death Where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. 23 For He need not further consider a man, That he should go before God in judgment. Job 34:21-23, NKJV

 

It is important to look at the principles of righteousness as it relates to humanity. When we review chapter Job 1 we see God’s description of Job as blameless and upright who feared God and avoided evil. Recall in chapter 1 that Job regularly made burnt offerings to God for his children in case they had sinned. This was the custom of the people of Israel, to make animal sacrifices for their sins. Job perhaps made sacrifices for himself as well since he was human and was susceptible to mistakes. The only perfectly righteous man who ever walked the Earth was Jesus Christ. Therefore, we can conclude that although Job did all that he could to serve God he was not perfectly righteous.

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” Job 1:8, NKJV

 

This insight into humanity and righteousness needs to be established so that none of us presume that we have attained perfection before God. None of us can conclude that we do not deserve punishment. Job did all that was humanly possible to live holy before God but still was not perfectly holy because he was born in sin in a fallen world. The Scriptures teach us:

 

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23, NKJV

 

For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23, AMP

 

Jesus died to save humanity from the price of sin. He paid the price for our sins and made us the “righteousness” of God. His Blood covers our imperfections before our Holy God as He continues to do the good work in us!

 

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. Philippians 1:6, AMP

 

For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]. 2 Corinthians 5:21, AMP

 

Elihu commented, “That Job speaks without knowledge, and his words are without wisdom and insight.” Job 34:35, AMP

 

Why is all of this important to understand? Because you must grasp that God is passionate about continuing the work in your life. Job needed more work in his life although he was blameless and upright on the Earth. God paid the Greatest Price so that the work of your eternal soul could occur. But often we fail to recognize that the work needs to continue. Perhaps this is where Job was, failing to recognize that the work of his righteousness before God needed to continue. He was disillusioned by the trial; not understanding why it was occurring until chapter 23 where we see him glimpse the purposes of God – But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 23:10, NKJV

  

LESSON 10

The Examination of Self

Advanced Reading: Sessions in Pain, Chapter 12, Wound Healing

 

Reading Assignment: Job Chapters 35-37

 

Job Chapter 35

You and your Sin – A Private Look

In chapter 35 Elihu clearly points out the paradox in Job’s words. Job went back and forth between acclaiming the ways of the wicked and then the ways of God. This was a public display of his inner struggle. We all go through this process when we suffer but we often pursue this struggle in privacy. I believe Job’s personal thoughts were deliberately put on display in the Word of God to show us the need for honest purging of our doubts before God. We all doubt God sometimes, and this road of inner conflict is unavoidable and necessary to bring us to absolute trust in Him.

 

If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts]. If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. 1 John 1:8-9, AMP

 

It is hard for us as “believers” to admit that we doubt God sometimes. We keep that thought under wraps less we be condemned by other Christians. But beloved, the Father wants to deal with your secret. He wants to dissolve all of your doubts and bring you to the place of absolute surrender and absolute trust in Him. Corrie’s words after her years of suffering in a Nazi concentration camp – after losing her beloved family, “The more I get to know God, the less I understand Him, but the more I trust Him”(Corrie Ten Boom). The secret of trusting God is that you do not have to understand, you just need to trust. Let Him carry the understanding and the knowledge of why things happen in this life. Just resolve to Trust Him. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5, NKJV.

 

Assignment: Do a biblical search on the term, “Trust in the Lord”. Review all of the situations where people in the Bible were called to trust in the Lord.

 

This trust thing goes against the grain of your Babylonian mindset that screams for its’ “right to know” before you can go on. It screams for its’ “right to answers” before you can trust God another day. Once again, this is where your shield of faith empowered by the Holy Spirit must be wielded to protect your heart and mind. The Holy Spirit brings peace; the Holy Spirit brings trust.

 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6, NLT

 

 

As Elihu continues his sermon to Job he asks several soul searching questions. Answer the paraphrased questions below.

  • If you sin, how does that affect God? V.6 ______________________________________

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  • If you sin over and over again what does that do to God? V.6 ______________________

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Concerning deliberate and willful sin of those that know the Word of God the Scriptures record:

THEREFORE LET us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God, With teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.] If indeed God permits, we will [now] proceed [to advanced teaching]. For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit, And have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come, If they then deviate from the faith and turn away from their allegiance–[it is impossible] to bring them back to repentance, for (because, while, as long as) they nail upon the cross the Son of God afresh [as far as they are concerned] and are holding [Him] up to contempt and shame and public disgrace. Hebrews 6:1-6, AMP.

 

What are your thoughts on theses verses? ______________________________________

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  • If you are good is this some great gift to God? What could you possibly give of value to God? V. 7_______________________________________________________________

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Do you agree with Elihu’s comments?

  • “your sins affect only people like yourself, and your good deeds affect only other people”. Job 35:8 NLT.

 

“There is no such thing as an isolated sin.” Charles Stanley.

 

We understand from the Word of God that an entire spiritual world looks on and intervenes in the activities of humanity. Yes, your sins do affect other people but we must understand that it goes beyond just a physical affect into a spiritual affect. For example, when you entertain the sin of pornography in secret in your home you invite a host of demons (lust, adultery, incest, etc.) into your home to attack your family. God is affected by your sin and will act according to the choices that you make. God has always been affected by the sins of humanity, both individually and corporately, this is why He sent His only Beloved Son to die for us – our sins break His heart.

 

  • Elihu continues, explaining that the oppress cry out but they fail to call on God because of their pride.

 

“The oppressed cry out beneath the wrongs that are done to them. They groan beneath the power of the mighty. 10 Yet they don’t ask, ‘Where is God my Creator, the one who gives songs in the night? 11 Where is the one who makes us wiser than the animals and birds?’ 12 “And if they do cry out and God does not answer, it is because of their pride. V.9-12, NLT.

 

Have you been guilty of failing to call on God because of your pride – calling on everyone else and depending on everything else; determined to handle the situation yourself? These are hard questions to answer when you are hurting but your answers determine your deliverance. ________________________________________________
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  • Elihu continues, “But it is wrong to say God doesn’t listen, to say the Almighty isn’t concerned. 14 And it is even more false to say he doesn’t see what is going on. He will bring about justice if you will only wait. 15 But do you cry out against him because he does not respond in anger? V.13-15, NLT

 

If God responded in His Holy anger to the sins of humanity we would all be in Hell, but He is patient with us choosing rather to respond in Love – love for you and love for the one who sins against you.

 

The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.    2 Peter 3:9, AMP

 

 

Moving God

 With Faith

We understand that we are beings who are ever learning and growing in the knowledge of and in relationship with God. As we are on this journey we are sometimes left with the question, what moves God? What brings God to finally act on our behalf. As we look to the Scriptures we see over and over again that it is the acts of faith by humanity and the teaching of faith to humanity that calls the Face and Hand of God. All of the miracles of Jesus Christ were in response to or to teach faith.

 

Review the following stories. Which acts taught faith and which were in response to faith? Note, some did both.

  • The raising of Lazarus. John 11____________________________
  • The woman with the blood disease. Matthew 9: 20-22 ________________________
  • The two blind men on the side of road. Matthew 20:29-24_________________________
  • The raising of the ruler’s daughter. Matthew 9:18-25 ____________________________
  • The man with palsy. Matthew 9:1-7 ______________________________
  • Healing of the centurion’s servant. Matthew 8:1-13 _____________________________

 

Faith moves God! We must be careful not to think that if we are pitiful enough God will just feel sorry for us and give us what we want regardless of our faith in Him. His compassion is not like human compassion. His compassion moves Him to always do what is best for us, eternally.

 

 

With Obedience

And going a little farther, He threw Himself upon the ground on His face and prayed saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire. Matthew 26:39, AMP

 

For Jesus, everything He did and said was because it was the will of His Father. His obedient sacrifice on the cross moved God to save the entire world! This was the greatest move of God in the history of humanity. Often we will believe God but not to the place of obedience and not if it means sacrifices on our part. It is obedience to God that gives your faith life. If you want to move God then you must obey Him.

 

But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? James 2:20, NKJV

 

  • See the story of Naaman and Elisha when he was instructed to dip in the Jordan River to heal his leprosy. 2 Kings 5: 1-15

 

Therefore, we come to understand that we move God with Faith and with Obedience. Notice that we do not move God to act on our behalf with tears, works, self pity, anger or strife.

 

lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.” Hebrews 12:16-17, NKJV.

 

Job Chapter 36

Growing –Up

In chapter 36 Elihu continues with his sermon about the justice of God. Elihu’s speaks with the words of one who is mature in the Lord. His words are balanced according to God’s heart concerning the wicked. Elihu reiterates that God will ultimately judge wickedness but also that God is merciful to all and will give the wicked an opportunity to repent and if they do they will be forgiven and receive the blessings of God instead of His wrath.

 

I will give you many illustrations of the righteousness of my Creator. 4 I am telling you the honest truth, for I am a man of well-rounded knowledge. 5 “God is mighty, yet he does not despise anyone! He is mighty in both power and understanding. 6 He does not let the wicked live but gives justice to the afflicted… 9 he takes the trouble to show them the reason. He shows them their sins, for they have behaved proudly. 10 He gets their attention and says they must turn away from evil. 11 “If they listen and obey God, then they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives. All their years will be pleasant. 12 But if they refuse to listen to him, they will perish in battle and die from lack of understanding. Job 36:3-5, 9-12, NLT

 

It takes spiritual growth to embrace the mercy of God for wicked men and women. To desire as He desires, to see them come to repentance instead of eternal destruction. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:9. NLT

Remember, “For God so loved the world…”, John 3:16, KJV(emphasis mine)

 

Remember David, when he was confronted by Nathan the prophet concerning the rich man who had taken the little lamb of the poor man. David was enraged by the story of this injustice until the prophet told him, “You are the man”. David was the rich man who had taken a poor soldier’s wife and then had him killed. David was ready to strike the wicked rich man until he realized that he was the wicked rich man who needed God’s mercy (See 2 Samuel 12). We often come up short when it comes to mercy for others. We forget that we were once lost and wicked and needed the mercy of God.

 

On the other side of that coin are those who refuse to grow up and repent before God. David immediately repented for his sin with Bathsheba. I am convinced that this is one of the reasons he was called “a man after God’s own heart”. (See 1 Kings 15:3). He was not perfect but he was passionate about maintaining his relationship with God. He did not allow his pride or greed or jealousy to get in the way of his relationship with God.

 

It is important to realize that some will not repent. Even as God pursues them through trial and seeks to teach them the truths of His heart and His Word, they will not repent. Lucifer looked right into the glory of God and refused to submit to His rule. He went on to lead a rebellion against God and when all was said and done he took a third of the heavenly angels with him to Hell.

 

If one who has seen God could choose to reject Him then it is possible for human beings who have not seen the fullness of His glory to choose to reject God also. “The just shall live by faith”. Evil is blinding and can run deep into the heart of creation if creation chooses it. Elihu preached: But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword [of God’s destructive judgments], and they shall die in ignorance of true knowledge. But the godless and profane in heart heap up anger [at the divine discipline]; they do not cry to Him when He binds them [with cords of affliction]. [Rom. 2:5.] Job 36:12-13

 

It is a tragedy to die without knowledge. If you do not mature it is all for nothing. If a tree grows to be only a sapling and never matures to produce fruit then it never fulfills its’ purpose. How many of us are born, live long lives, grow old, but never mature. It is possible to go through the most difficult lessons God allows in your life and emerge immature – never growing up or growing in Him.

 

“The richest place in the whole world is the graveyard” Myles Munroe

“Some people are mature and some people are just old!” Myles Munroe

Recommended Reading: In Pursuit of Purpose / Understanding Your Potential, by Myles Munroe

 

God is ever present during our suffering – beckoning to us to learn and grow-up in Him. God is ever available to deliver us, speak His Word of knowledge to us and set our feet on the right path for good and not evil to give us a future and a hope. (See Jeremiah 29:11). The psalmist, David proclaimed:

 

I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. 2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. 3 He has put a new song in my mouth– Praise to our God; Psalm 40:2-3, NKJV(emphasis mine)

 

What was this “new song”? David had offered “Praise to God” many times before. I submit to you that the “new song” was Praise to God during and after his experience in the “horrible pit” and the “miry clay”! This is maturity. The “new song” was David’s celebration of his growth in God. Sometimes the growth will come in the waiting before God. Sometimes the test is in the silence of God as you believe and endure and trust when you don’t see Him move or hear His voice. But you can bank on it, beloved, He means to grow you in Him!

 

Elihu comments, “But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity. 16 “God has led you away from danger, giving you freedom. You have prospered in a wide and pleasant valley. 17 But you are too obsessed with judgment on the godless. Don’t worry, justice will be upheld. Job 36: 15-17, NLT

“he speaks to them in their affliction”. Job 36:15b, NIV

 

Elihu continues with the comment, “Beware of turning to evil, which you seem to prefer to affliction” Job 36:21, NIV. This statement is important because at no other time are we Christians more tempted to sin than when we are hurting. The desires for our old comforts and habits resurface as we wait before God. Once again we turn to King David who wrote, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living”. Psalm 27:13, NKJV

 

Sometimes the enemy tries to convince us that there is no rescue from our situation – it is too bad, it is too horrible, people have died, and no one, not even God, can help this situation. “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26, NKJV

 

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23, NKJV

 

Even after death God, held the children of Job!

 

A Call to Remember the Greatness of God

Elihu completes chapter 36 with a call to remember the greatness of our God. Our God has a history of Holiness, Mercy and Justice. His tract record is flawless when it comes to faithfulness. No other being in all of history and beyond can make this claim. God can be trusted with your life!

 

Yesterday He helped me

So today I’ll praise His name

Because I know tomorrow

He’ll help me just the same

Author unknown

 

Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. 1 Samuel 12.24, NKJV

 

Elihu continues in the latter portion of chapter 36 talking about the greatness of God. He speaks in detail of the operation of God’s order in nature. He speaks of the mastery of God within the functioning of the Earth – His attention to details. The Earth is sustained by Him alone. Unfortunately, most of humankind takes this sustaining for granted as He heaps His love and care upon us.

 

Elihu comments, “Remember to magnify His work, Of which men have sung. 25 Everyone has seen it; Man looks on it from afar. 26 “Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him; Nor can the number of His years be discovered. 27 For He draws up drops of water, Which distill as rain from the mist, 28 Which the clouds drop down And pour abundantly on man”. Job 36:24-28, NKJV.

 

Why must you be reminded of the greatness of God while suffering? _______________________

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How are you reminded? What is your special part of creation that reminds you of God’s care? ______________________________________________________________________________

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This is my Father’s World, by Reverend Maltbie D. Babcock                                                                 Written while looking at beauty of Niagara Falls and the surrounding region

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears

all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought

of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; his hand the wonders wrought.

 

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,

the morning light, the lily white, declare their maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world: he shines in all that’s fair;

in the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me everywhere.

 

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget

that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world: why should my heart be sad?

The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!

 

NOTES & PRAYERS

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 Job Chapter 37

In chapter 37 Elihu continues speaking of the wonder of God and His creation. He speaks in detail of the various elements of the Earth, its efficiency and the miracle of its functioning in sustaining life on this planet. As a physician I am awestruck by the detailed workings of the human body. No one field of medicine can understand the entirety of the human body. We must break the various systems into specialties to adequately address of needs of treatment and care. When you consider the “genius of your creation” by the hand of God how can you doubt His care? He made you Body, Soul and Spirit. He placed one special part within you to commune with Him alone, your spirit.

 

The psalmist proclaimed:

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;” Psalm 139:13-14, NKJV (emphasis mine).

 

NLT

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — and how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.                Psalm 139:13-16, NLT

 

Elihu proclaimed that he became excited as he thought of the creation of God: “My heart pounds as I think of this. It leaps within me.” Job 37:1, NLT. He is ever with you, beloved, watching, caring and sustaining His creation.

 

Elihu asks the questions, “Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?” V. 15-16, NIV. Although scientist can explain what atoms and molecules interact to cause the elements to behave the way that they do, they can never explain how the properties of these atom and molecules came to be outside of God.

 

How does it help you in suffering to recall the awesomeness of His creation – its order and vastness?

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How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!”   Psalm 139:17-18, NLT

 

LESSON 11

The Resume´ of God

Advanced Reading: Sessions in Pain, Chapter 12, Milestones to Maturity

 

Reading Assignment: Job Chapters 38-39

Job Chapter 38    

God the Creator and Sustainer

 In chapter 38 there is a major turn of events as God finally speaks to Job. God’s first words to Job form a question, “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Job 38:2, NKJV

These words are most profound. If we left our study at this question it is enough to humble any man or woman. How can we begin to compare our knowledge of things with the knowledge of God the Father, the Creator? We darken God’s counsel when we speak of Him outside of His Holy Spirit. Consider the great damage that has been done to humanity because of the pride of men and women who speak of God outside of His counsel. We see in this chapter that there is no place for you or I to speak truly of God except under the humility of His Spirit though His Son Jesus Christ.

God continues to question Job about his knowledge of the creation of which Job is a part. Just as Job, you and I are a part of God’s vast creation – we are a part of His incomparable genius. Chapter 38 drives home the truth that we do not begin to understand God’s constant interactions in maintaining the Earth. His Love is the constant that sustains our planet. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1, NKJV). The Earth is faithful because God is faithful. Her dawn comes each morning because God says so. Her seasons are loyal because God is true to His Word – “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, And day and night shall not cease”(Genesis 8:22, NKJV).You have set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter”(Psalm 74:17, NKJV). He maintains her physical laws.

Read Joshua 10:1-15. This is the one account of a prayer to God to have the sun stand still for a day. God did this for Joshua and His people to help them defeat their enemies.

In the verses that follow God continues to ask Job detailed questions about the earth’s creation and maintenance:

Brace yourself, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. 5 Do you know how its dimensions were determined and who did the surveying? 6 What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone 7 as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? 8 “Who defined the boundaries of the sea as it burst from the womb, 9 and as I clothed it with clouds and thick darkness? 10 For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. 11 I said, ‘Thus far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!’ (Job 38:3-11, NLT).

 

Why would God challenge Job like this, with questions he could not possibly answer? ______________________________________________________________________________

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God continues in the following verses questioning Job as He explains His command over the sun, the moon (the dawn and dusk of the Earth). He sets and sustains the course of her rotation so that the sun always rises in the east. He created her atmosphere so that you and I would have air to breathe. How often do we take His love for granted and ignore His great care each day.

In addition to our disregard of God’s care, we are in constant complaint mode as He continues to sustain us. We moan and groan each day when we get up from a safe nights’ sleep, never acknowledging the order and power that went into creating the morning.

Scientist can explain the phenomenon of planet Earth only to the extent of what is happening; they can never explain the how and the why outside of a loving Creator. The “Big Bang Theory” is the best they have come up with – the idea that the order and beauty of the Earth is the result of a massive explosion that occurred billions of years ago. No intelligence, no thought, no care – just order randomly appearing out of chaos. The problem with this theory is that it proposes that order could come from chaos, but everything about creation states differently. Creation states that like begets like, whether it is energy or biology – just as God said in His Word. Fire burns everything it touches; it does not suddenly become cool. Humans begat humans, not tigers or birds. Even in our minds when we seek peace, we seek a place away from chaos – we know we must find the “like” of peace to get peace. Like begetting like is God’s order from the beginning:

 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:11-12, NKJV (emphasis mine).

 This is the law the universe lives by until this day. The Earth declares the glory of God!

Order cannot come from chaos without intelligence. In fact the Word of God is scientifically correct when it speaks of order coming out of chaos by the act of a Great Power in Genesis chapter 1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light”(Genesis 1:1-3, NKJV).

 Therefore the Word of God asks Job and us:

Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east? 13 Have you ever told the daylight to spread to the ends of the earth, to bring an end to the night’s wickedness? 14 For the features of the earth take shape as the light approaches, and the dawn is robed in red. 15 The light disturbs the haunts of the wicked, and it stops the arm that is raised in violence. Job 38:12-15, NLT

God’s order also serves to expose the wickedness that acts in the night. Wickedness must cease and go into hiding because it knows that the dawn is coming by order of the Almighty. (Note the stories of vampires and werewolves – their evil must end with the dawn). If it could, evil would keep the Earth in darkness always and destroy all life on this planet but God will not have it and faithfully commands the sun to rise and stop the evil deeds. Again we see another perspective of His love with the dawn of each new day!

It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. [Mal. 3:6.]. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. [Isa. 33:2.] Lamentations 3: 22-23, AMP

 For I am the Lord, I do not change; that is why you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. Malachi 3:6, AMP

 

Notes & Prayers

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God continues to speak and question Job in chapter 38 according to His knowledge of everything:

  • The recesses of the deep: “Have you explored the springs from which the seas come? Have you walked about and explored their depths?” Verse 16, NLT. Humankind has yet to reach the deepest point on planet Earth. The deepest abyss of the ocean goes down 6.85 miles into the Mariana Trench of the Pacific Ocean. The great pressure of the ocean would crush any human vessel that would go to this depth.
  • The location of the gates death: Do you know where the gates of death are located? Have you seen the gates of utter gloom? 18 Do you realize the extent of the earth? Tell me about it if you know! Verse 17 -18, NLT. This verse may be referring to the gates of Hell or Hades. Many theologians believe that Hell is located in the center of the Earth. The deepest zone of the ocean is named the “Hadel Zone”.
  • Where light dwells: “Where does the light come from, and where does the darkness go? 20 Can you take it to its home? Do you know how to get there? Verses 19-20, NLT Scientists are aware that light travels through space but they do not know of its end – its final destination. It is assumed that it travels for eternity.
  • The abode of darkness: Just as light has a place so does darkness. Scientists have discovered what they call black holes in space. It is place where no light can escape or exist.
  • The treasuries of snow and hail: “Have you visited the treasuries of the snow? Have you seen where the hail is made and stored? 23 I have reserved it for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war.” Verses 22-23. See Exodus 9:19, Psalm 78:47-48, Psalm 147:17, Isaiah 28:2, Haggai 2:17, Revelation 8:7, Revelation 16:21. Only God can reserve violent weather for times of trouble, battle and war. Note the term, “acts of God” used by insurance companies refer to destruction due to weather.

Note that God comments to Job about his years of experience in verse 21. The term “experience” is inadequate to describe the knowledge of God. God is the “Alpha and Omega” (the beginning and ending) (See Revelation 1:8). Unlike you and I, He does not need to experience anything to know it. Humanity can never compare its years of experience on Earth with the knowledge of God because they are in two different realms. God is God. His qualities exceed the ability of our meager vocabulary to depict. Our arrogance often blinds us to this reality. “But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced!” (Verse 21, NLT).

God continues to comment on His detailed care of the Earth; in the vast regions where no human lives. He sends the rain to the places we have yet to discover. He created the cold and ice that our bodies could not withstand. He ensures the seasons and set the course of the stars and the other elements of space. The Earth has existed for millions of years and yet she remains hanging in space sustaining the delicate balance required for life.

In the latter part of chapter 38 God shifts from describing His control of the great stars and powerful elements to His care of the baby lions and birds. We have seen and heard the baby birds. We must be close to them to hear their weak tweets – but He hears them and provides them food that their mother’s brings. Through the coldest of winters and hottest of summers thousands of species of birds remain on Earth…This is our God!

 Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. Matthew 10:29 NLT

 

Notes & Prayers

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Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t He more surely care for you?

You have so little faith!

 

Matthew 6:28b-30, NLT, emphasis mine

 

Job Chapter 39

God the Care Giver / He Commands All

 

As we move into chapter 39 we see yet another aspect of the majesty of God’s care of His creation. In these verses we see a description of various animals – the wild ones, the senseless ones, the fast ones, the fearful ones, the strong, beautiful and courageous ones and the protective ones. In chapter 39 God lays out for Job the detailed greatness of His handiwork.

Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Have you watched as the wild deer are born? Do you know how many months they carry their young? Are you aware of the time of their delivery?…Their young grow up in the open fields, then leave their parents and never return.” Job 39: 1-2 & 4. NLT.

Some animals are born, live and die in places no human being has ever seen. The young ones survive alone, even in the wilderness with only God’s care to sustain them. God tells Job how He gave an attribute to one animal but not to another. How he made the horse brave and fierce. God gave it its’ personality. It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength. When it charges to war, it is unafraid. It does not run from the sword.” Job 39:21-22, NLT. To each of His creations God gave specific gifts and where they are lacking God takes care. The ostrich continues to walk the Earth till this day although it’s mother does not have the wisdom to protect her young.

She is harsh toward her young, as if they were not her own. She is unconcerned though they die, for God has deprived her of wisdom. He has given her no understanding. But whenever she jumps up to run, she passes the swiftest horse with its rider.” Job 39:16-18, NLT.

 God gave the ostrich little sense but gave the eagles and hawk the wisdom to build their nest high and hidden in the rock; safe from danger. He gave them superior vision to hunt from extreme heights.

“Is it at your command that the eagle rises to the heights to make its nest? It lives on the cliffs, making its home on a distant, rocky crag. From there it hunts its prey, keeping watch with piercing eyes.” Job 39:27-29, NLT

The wild animals display the power of God’s creation – beast that men cannot tame; only God can call order and peace to their minds. Any tamer can tell you that some animals cannot be broken.

“Will the wild ox consent to being tamed? Will it stay in your stall? Can you hitch a wild ox to a plow? Will it plow a field for you? Since it is so strong, can you trust it? Can you go away and trust the ox to do your work?” Job 39: 9-11, NLT

  1. Chapters 38 and 39 are a limited portfolio of the greatness of our God. Why would God go into such detail with Job about His order and directives in creation? Why would God leave such a record for you and I? How can humanity know so much about what it takes to care for its own young and the care it takes to maintain order and yet doubt the existence of a loving, caring God for the Earth and all creation? When you consider all of the things that can go wrong in this universe and destroy the Earth and life on this planet the chances of our survival outside of God’s protection is impossible! We know so much and yet believe so little.

(See NASA: Near Earth Object Program, The Sentry Risk Table, http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/risk/, and Wikipedia: Impact Events, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_event).

Notes & Prayers

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Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:26, NKJV

 

LESSON 12

Reading Assignment: Job Chapters 40 – 42

Job Chapter 40

Confrontation By the Almighty          

 Chapter 40 begins with Job being is asked some poignant questions by God. These questions bring out another perspective of the character of God. God’s questions make it clear that He is always watching, sustaining and protecting us.

“Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?” (Job 40:2, NLT)

Are you going to discredit my justice and condemn me so you can say you are right? 9 Are you as strong as God, and can you thunder with a voice like his? Verse 8-9, NLT

 With the first question Job realizes his place before the Almighty – he realizes the error of the pride in which he walked. Job considered God’s way to be in error because of his hurts and losses and he place the need for his comforts above the justice, teaching and training of the Almighty. For humanity to understand God, is often irrelevant. For humanity to trust is God, is everything. What are your criticisms about God – public or secret it does not matter; He knows your heart? Are you condemning God so that you can be right? Have you elevated your pain above His justice? Have you at times hated His justice and wished you could punish your enemies yourself? Have you ever raised your fist to Him in anger because His justice is so patient?

 

Notes & Prayers

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 Job responds with: “I am nothing — how could I ever find the answers? I will put my hand over my mouth in silence. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.” Job 40:4-5 NLT.

 How do you respond? Does the arrogance of your pain prevail over the humility of your love for God. Pain can bring with it arrogance – a subtle pride that demands its right not to suffer. It is a pride that forgets that you and I deserve death for our sins but by the mercy of God we live. By His mercy we are not eternally separated from God.

Pride causes us to forget our place in creation and as low as that place is God sent His only Son to suffer and die for us – and yet we would raise our hearts against Him. Our lives should be a continuous testimony of worship and trust through any storm, through any battle and through any loss our banner should be, The Lord gives and the Lords takes away, Blessed be the Name of the Lord! (See Job 1:21).

As righteous as Job was he still had to repent before God for his pride during his suffering. What about you? Is your trust in God unconditional or is it riddled with resentments? Do you operate in a spirit of offense because of what has happened to you? Sometimes this spirit is hard to recognize because it makes you feel justified in your resentment because of your pain. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you this subtle spirit. Jesus spoke of it in in Matthew 5 and 18. He spoke of bringing offerings to God with resentments toward our brothers. He taught us to leave our gift and first be reconciled to our brother. He went on to speak of violently ripping and cutting away the things in our lives that causes us to be offended. Jesus used the example of plucking out and cutting away body parts possibly to drive home the point that all things are expendable so that we can have right relationship with God, and that we must often dig down deep to recognize and rip out the root of the spirit of offense. Some of us have hated others and resented God for so long that it is buried very deep within our hearts. Our prideful hatred has become an intricate part of who we are and how we related to everyone. We tell ourselves, “I have a right to be mean, selfish or hurtful with my tongue because of my pain.” But Jesus calls you to lay down your pride and “pluck it out”. See Matthew 5:23-30 & Matthew 18.

Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! 8 If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire (Matthew 18:7-9, NKJV).

Notes & Prayers

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God comments to Job about what it takes to be God:

All right then, put on your robes of state, your majesty and splendor. 11 Give vent to your anger. Let it overflow against the proud. 12 Humiliate the proud with a glance; walk on the wicked where they stand. 13 Bury them in the dust. Imprison them in the world of the dead. 14 Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you. Verse 10-14, NLT

 I mean no disrespect to God Almighty but these verses ring with a tone of sarcasm! This is the same tone many parents use when they are talking to their powerless yet defiant children. They speak to their parents with disrespect but have no resources or support to sustain themselves. Parents often dare their children to go out into the world and make it on their own, take care of themselves, conquer their problems and subdue the evil they will face.

Job realizes that he had no robes of state, majesty or splendor; he never had power, a family, a home except it be given to him from the Source of all things. He never had protection from evil except God provided it. All is His! “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there”( Job 1:21, NLT). Nothing is yours or mine – it is all God’s. Your spouse, children, house, and everything else you claim to own are His. If He lets us enjoy some things for a season – bless His name. If He takes His things – bless His name. We can bless His Name in all seasons because He is always Love. All of His interactions with us are founded in Love.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2: 4-7, NKJV (See 1 John 4)

 Nothing and no one is ever gone forever in God’s creation. He has preserved exceeding riches for you in the ages to come. Do you trust Him in this?

Notes & Prayers

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 Later in chapter 40 God confronts Job on yet another plain of His majesty. God questions and comments to Job about just one of His mighty creatures, the hippopotamus. It is an animal that humanity cannot tame. A hippo is never used to haul supplies or plow a field although it is one of the most powerful animals on the planet. It’s power and “untameability” stands as just a small testament of the greatness of God. Till this day the hippopotamus is consider one of the most dangerous animals in Africa.

 “Take a look at the mighty hippopotamus. I made it, just as I made you. It eats grass like an ox…It is a prime example of God’s amazing handiwork. Only its Creator can threaten it…23 It is not disturbed by raging rivers, not even when the swelling Jordan rushes down upon it. 24 No one can catch it off guard or put a ring in its nose and lead it away. Job 40:15, 19& 23-24, NLT.

Have you ever been truly confronted by God? Have you ever been almost speechless before the Almighty because the truth of His words were so powerful? Have you ever trembled before Him as you caught a glimpse of a revelation of who He is? Even a righteous man like Job could not withstand such a confrontation. Would you?

 

Notes & Prayers

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Job Chapter 41

Confrontation by the Almighty continued

In chapter 41 God continues with a detailed description of Leviathan (a great sea creature). Here, God describes what sounds like a fire breathing dragon. Leviathan is described as a creature that terrifies humanity – all men are helpless before him. No one can subdue him but God. God describes in detail how He put Leviathan together; down to the lack of space between his scales. Leviathan’s is mentioned several times in the word of God (Job 3:8, Job 41, Psalm 74:14; 104:26; and Isaiah 27:1). Fire breathing dragons are also described many times in ancient literature. We are certain of the existence of dinosaurs since we have found their bones throughout the Earth. The bones of a large sea creature, such as Leviathan, would naturally be buried at the bottom of the ocean. The Bible records that this creature exists or existed just as it records the existence of giants, angels and demons. Leviathan’s existence showcases the power of God in comparison to Job’s or any other man. There is much on Earth that we cannot control. Whether it is a creature or the elements we are often helpless before the power of God’s creation.

No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up. Who then is able to stand against Me? 11 Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine. Job 41:10-11, NKJV

 Verses 10-11 capture the point of chapters 40-41. Nothing or no one is able the stand against God, no one or nothing has come before God and everything and everyone belongs to God. Genesis 1:1 records that “in the beginning God” . The Hebrew definition of the word “beginning” in Genesis 1 is “dateless past or eternal past”. This is the best description our limited languages have to describe this time. Humanity desires to know where God came from and when God came into existence. Our ability to understand these things is limited by our concepts of time and space. We can never fully perceive God because He exists outside of our concepts. We are left with the truth that our existence and maintenance are proof of His power and care. I am His, you are His; everything under heaven is His. If He did not love we would not exist.

Our only rational resolve is to trust Him.

 

Notes & Prayers

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Job Chapter 42

The Acknowledgement, Repentance, and Restoration of Job      

 

Acknowledgement

In the final chapter of Job we see the culmination of Job’s entire situation as God the Father corrects, reproves and also defends Job. With one act from the Father, Job’s situation makes a complete turn around. It happens effortlessly as he responds to the correction and reproof of God with true repentance and an attitude of humility. Job no longer argues his point or even questions God’s reasons; his attitude is one of complete submission to the will and ways of God. I believe at this moment Job was consumed in the Love of God which birthed a fervent Trust in His Heavenly Father. The pride that demanded to know why melted before God’s incomprehensible Love and unconditional Trust was born!

 

Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. 3 You ask, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?‘ It is I. And I was talking about things I did not understand, things far too wonderful for me. 4 “You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ 5 “I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. 6 I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” Job 42:1-2, NLT, emphasis mine.

 

Are you ready to finally proclaim before God, “It is I”?

The first step to your restoration is true acknowledgement: to admit to be true or as stated, to recognize the authority or claims of, to recognize and answer, to express thanks for, to state that one has received, to admit or affirm as genuine. Webster’s New World Dictionary.

 

To acknowledge God, is the most important lesson to be learned in a season of pain. To finally understand the truth of who He is. To cast away the myths about God and the false teachings we have heard about Him in Babylon and in religion and finally embrace the truth of our Heavenly Father. As we acknowledge God our love for Him is perfected and our fears are relieved. Job spoke of the things too wonderful for him to know. You also can come to God and realize the things too wonderful for you to know – this is the acknowledgement of God! What do you acknowledge about God now?

 

Notes & Prayers

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Repentance

“Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:6, NIV

Acknowledgement of God will naturally lead you to true repentance. True repentance follows the revelation acknowledgment of God. True repentance comes when you find yourself hating your sin as God hates it – hating your pride as God hates it. Job stated that he took back everything he said and he will sit in dust and ashes (an act of humility) to show his sorrow for his behavior. When you repent you reject your former behaviors and cast it from you like a filthy garment. As you review your season of suffering what do you repent of?

(Sinners need to “pent” and Christians need to repent. Mother C.E. Washington, Coweta, OK)

Notes & Prayers

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Restoration

Following Job’s acknowledgement and repentance restoration finally came – not human restoration but God’s restoration, which is always grand and complete. His defense of you is as public as your suffering. He addresses every false accusation. God will even resolve the issues made by your own doing. You do not have to speak a word to defend yourself; people will see His blessings on and in your life and know that God is with you. He will make your innocence as clear as the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun (Psalm 37:6, NLT). These are the words of a man who was guilty of adultery and murder, King David. Although David suffered losses for his sin with Bathsheba God restored him to his throne following his acknowledgment of sin and repentance. Till this day he is regarded as the greatest king Israel ever had. Their national flag dons his star.

In Job’s case God required his accusing friends to submit to Job to obtain forgiveness from God. The ones who tormented Job with their tongues now needed Job to bring God’s blessing into their lives. Have you ever had to pray for and or help some one who had brought hurt and harm into your life? This request of God’s required humility on both sides. Humility must operate in both the offender and the offended.

 THE LORD (God) says to my Lord (the Messiah), Sit at My right hand, until I make Your adversaries Your footstool (Psalm 110:1 AMP).

 This verse refers to our Lord Jesus Christ, our ultimate example of humility. He sat down at the right hand of the Father and God subdued all of His enemies. As we are in Christ and remain in Christ (walking in humility as He did) Father will do the same for us.

The scriptures record that Job prayed for his friends. There is no record of comments Job made to them such as, “I told you so”, but just a prayer for his friends to be forgiven as they submitted themselves to the orders of God. Your enemies may come to you for help. God will refer people to you after you have endured the test of trial and your heart has been proven. Haughtiness has no place in a heart submitted to God. If our Holy God will have mercy on people who are you to condemn them?

After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and with your two friends, for you have not been right in what you said about Me, as my servant Job was. 8 Now take seven young bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not been right in what you said about Me, as my servant Job was.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did as the LORD commanded them, and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer. 10 When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before! Job 42: 7-10, NLT, emphasis capitalizations mine

Note that the completion of Job’s restoration came after he prayed for his friends.

Note that 41 chapters are spent on Jobs suffering and only 1 is spent describing his restoration to prosperity. What does this tell you about the purposes of God? Most of His interactions with us on this Earth have to do with our growth and maturity. His Love keeps Him about the work of making us more like Jesus. We must come to the place of wearing this life on Earth as a loose garment, that we would gladly shed to become more like Jesus. We shed it without resentment or offense. We shed it simply because He asks us to – and that is enough for us. We learn to walk in unconditional Trust before our Heavenly Father.

 God blessed Job with twice as much as he had before – He blessed him with long life, He blessed him with riches, He blessed him with more children, and He blessed his children’s children’s children. God restores all!

 

He is faithful who promised!

 

Be Still My Soul

Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain

Leave to thy God to order and provide

In every change He faithful will remain

Be still my soul thy best thy heavenly Friend

Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end

 

Be still my soul, thy God doeth thunder take

To guide the future as He has the past

Thy hope thy confidence let nothing shake

All now mysterious will be bright at last

Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know

The Christ who ruled them while he dwelt below.

 

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on

When we shall be forever with the Lord,

When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,

Sorrows long forgot, love’s purest joys restored.

Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,

All safe and blessed we shall meet at last…

 

Original words by Katharina von Schlegel, 1752; trans. by Jane Borthwick, 1855 (Ps. 46:10), “long” substituted for “for” by K. Colvin

 

 

LESSON 13

WOUND HEALING

Reading Assignment: Session in Pain Chapter 12 – Wound Healing

 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole.

He was whipped so we could be healed (Isaiah 53:5 NLT).

wound – 1: an injury to the body (as from violence, accident, or surgery) that involves laceration or breaking of a membrane (as the skin) usually damage to underlying tissues. 2: a mental or emotional hurt or blow (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary).

 

This lesson has been set apart from the others to address the specific issue of wounds. Understanding our wounds plays an important role in understanding and overcoming our pain. Wounded people are in pain and tend to hurt other people, who are then wounded people who hurt other people, who are then wounded people…and the cycle of injury goes on and on. This cycle can be seen in many families, businesses and organizations. Beloved, we all bear the scars of living in this fallen world; no one gets through this life without wounds.

It was important to dedicate an entire lesson to wound healing because we receive numerous wounds through life, many of which are left unaddressed. We are taught to just get over it; “cowboy up” is the phrase used by some. We pretend that we have gotten over it but the truth is that many of us carry around open, festering, weeping wounds daily, and they show by the way we talk and interact with others.

Just as a physical wound can disable us from functioning properly, emotional and spiritual wounds can disable us from moving forward into our destinies. Wounds are inevitable; they will occur. Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows” (John 16:33a NLT). The prophet Isaiah declared that he would set his face like flint for the things he would have to face (see Isaiah 50:7). Yes, injury is an unavoidable part of this life, but the good news is that Jesus finished the above verse with the command: “But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b NLT).

Privately and honestly, before the Lord can you (will you) list your wounds? Regardless of where they may be in their stages of healing, can you write them down and face them? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In medicine it is understood that you cannot treat an illness or injury until you have first diagnosed it. Are you willing to let Christ, diagnosed and treat your wound(s)?

If your answer is yes to this question that you are ready to proceed. So how do you overcome in Christ? You have been wounded, your heart is aching, and you are disabled. First of all you must understand that God is ever teaching you and giving you examples to show you His ways. Jesus often used parables or earthly stories to teach people the things of God. Similarly, as you look at how your physical wounds heal, you see an example of how your emotional and spiritual wounds must also heal.

In the field of medical science physical wounds are broken down into categories. Medical science had to categorize wounds because the type of wound dictates the treatment necessary to bring healing.

Most wounds human beings obtain are superficial or penetrating to just underneath the skin. These are usually of no consequence unless left unattended and open for an infectious agent to enter. Other wounds are deep, jagged and very noticeable. Still, others are small at the surface but penetrate deep or even through the body, leaving a clean entry and exit point, and may go unnoticed by others until bleeding and internal injuries cause the body to collapse from the damage.

Most wounds can heal without major treatment and leave small evidence that the body was once violated, while others heal very slowly, leaving grotesque scars where once there was a smooth, undamaged surface. There are other wounds that never heal and gradually destroy the entire body. These wounds persist and progress because no treatment was sought or because incorrect treatment was applied.

Similarly, as you look at your soul, which houses your mind, will, and emotions, you come to understand that you can also suffer wounds. Like the physical body, your soul can and does suffer many wounds through life. In fact, the Holy Scriptures record that our souls are purposely sought after for injury: “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep”(Romans 8:36 NLT) and “…for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring, in fierce hunger, seeking someone to seize upon and devour” (1 Peter 5:8 AMP).

Let’s look closely at the attack of a lion: he prowls silently, listening…unseen. His prey usually feels safe and is unaware of his presence. He takes his time and studies them—learning their weaknesses, comforts and irritants. He masterfully lulls his victims into a false sense of peace and calm—then he strikes! With a ravenous appetite he unmercifully rips the tender flesh from their bones, spilling their bowels to the ground where their precious life’s blood is splattered. Helplessly dying, some victims—shocked by the betrayal of the moment—crawl away wounded or maimed, while still others, unresolved in what has just happened, die on the spot with an expression of surprise on their faces.

Although this description of the lion’s attack is graphic, it describes vividly the emotional and spiritual attacks of so many innocent and unsuspecting people. Jesus told us we would have tribulations, but for some reason, we didn’t think certain tragedies would happen to us. We were good people, innocent children, Bible-believing Christians— it shouldn’t have happened to us.

We thought if we had enough faith, bad things would not happen to us — but they did. We were wounded badly. For some of us it felt like utter destruction with no chance for recovery; our emotional death was imminent. Where was God in all of this? How can this wound ever heal? Before we can begin to see the path to emotional wound healing, we must go deeper.

Can you categorize the wounds you have obtained in your life? Although this exercise may be painful it will help you to know your own heart.

  • Superficial: __________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

  • Deep & Jagged (very noticeable): ______________________________________

__________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________

  • Small & Penetrating (hidden but damaging): _____________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (These are the wounds we try to tell ourselves are of no consequence to us but yet they have broken our hearts and will effect every area of our lives it left unaddressed.)

At an even deeper level than that of your soul dwells your spirit—the place where you have relationship with God. This is an area where you can also experience injury when the atrocities of life hit you hard; and this is also the area where true healing must begin. Injury to the spirit occurs when you choose to reject your relationship with God, due to physical and emotional wounds.

 

SIP study guide pic body.soul.spiritspirit: place in you touched by God alone

(H.S. – Holy Spirit)

soul: mind, will and emotions

body: packaging

 

  • He restores my soul; Psalm 23: 3
  • The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. Psalm 121:7, emphasis mine.
  • For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2 AMP

 

 

He shall, He can restore and preserve your mind, will and emotions through any disappointment or tragedy. Christ has set you free.

 

And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah). 1 Thessalonians 5:23, AMP

 

David’s spirit talked to his soul and encouraged it to trust in God: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 42:11, NKJV

I admire the spiritual resilience of King David; his passion for God always brought him back to spiritual health. In the matter concerning Bathsheba, when he took her and impregnated her and then had her husband murdered, David’s passion for the Spirit of God brought him back from this spiritual injury.

 

The prophet Nathan brought David the word from God that the child Bathsheba carried would die. David fasted and prayed before God that the child would live until the word came to him that the child was dead. After hearing the news, David got up from his pleading before God, washed himself, went to the Tabernacle and worshiped God (see 2 Samuel 11-12). From that day, David continued to worship and desire the Spirit of God as he always had; although he would have to face many consequences as a result of his sin.

 

David’s passionate prayer for the Spirit of God is recorded in Psalm 51:10-12 (NLT):

 

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.

David was adamant about maintaining his relationship with God and the health of his spirit through his mistakes and through the death of his child.

Can you recall a time of spiritual injury in your life – an event or incident that led you to draw away from God? _____________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In medicine Wound Healing is classified by what is called intention or ability to heal. This intention is broken down into three wound healing categories called Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Intention. Let’s take a look at each of these categories as they clearly reflect our emotional and spiritual healing. God is so wise in giving us examples of His ways all around us and often up close and personal within our own bodies.

 

Wound Healing by Primary Intention

Healing by primary intention refers to the type of wound that can be closed immediately. It is superficial, has occurred recently (usually within 8 hours in medicine) and has a low risk of being contaminated by infection. Most wounds that occur are of this type.

 

Emotional and spiritual wounds that may come from cutting words, minor offenses or mild incidences are of this type. These episodes are usually not a big deal for most people if it is dealt with quickly through clarification or an apology, or just by one being emotionally and spiritually mature enough to let it go. However, such wounds can become dangerous if they are allowed to remain open and harbor resentment, or if they are inflicted repeatedly. An example of this can be seen in a child who grows up with constant criticism. Over the years, the little pecks at his soul may accumulate and manifest as low self esteem and a strong need for approval.

 

The Bible says: “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” (Hebrews 12:15 NLT) emphasis mine

 

These primary wounds can be easily mended, usually with a willingness to forgive and not hold the offense against the other person. However, some people will hurt you and never ask for your forgiveness; therefore, the responsibility falls on you to protect your spirit from a root of bitterness. It can happen so easily, not intentionally, for by the very nature of our humanness we will resent who or what has hurt us. This root can begin with a single thought that seeds a superficial wound and before we realize it, we have allowed a small offense to become a painful, infectious, gaping wound that poisons our soul and spirit.

 

Can you identify a root(s) of bitterness in your soul? _____________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

You can tell when a root of bitterness is present in you by the way you react to certain people. Our behavior often exposes this root. You may have intense feelings that surface, because your feelings are often beyond your control. This is where the Holy Spirit can work, if you allow Him. It is up to you to “watch out” that this root does not grow up to trouble you and corrupt others.

 

As a woman, I have to say that women are notorious for this type of thing; we tend to analyze words. Sometimes, ladies, it’s better just to let it go than to analyze ourselves into emotional or spiritual sickness. Negative thoughts are the major catalyst for spiritual infection; therefore, you must be careful to guard your thought life. Philippians 4: 8, 9 (NLT) tells us:

 

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

 

 

Simple offenses or wounds left open leave an entry way to poisoning your system. Choose to close them quickly, and God promises to bring you peace. Stop the bleeding! Be quick to forgive.

 

List some examples of minor offenses:

Inflicted on you: _________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Inflicted by you: __________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Choose to commit these offenses to prayer. Practice entertaining lovely and good thoughts. Keep a spiritual song ready to make melody in your heart to the Lord. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring you to forgive the offender (pray for them). Ask the Holy Spirit to guard your tongue and behavior from offending others. Often we offend others due to our temperaments and because of the way we have learned to cope with painful issues in life. Many of us are quick with our sharp comments without a thought about the wounds we are inflicting on others. Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you the ways of Christ. I was taught that the Holy Spirit is a perfect Gentleman and He will not force Himself on anyone. You must ask for His help and them submit willingly to Him.

 

This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:17-23, NKJV, emphasis mine

Wound Healing by Secondary Intention

Surgeons refer to the next healing method as wound healing by secondary intention. As the name implies, this wound type needs secondary measures to heal. Its level of damage goes beyond the superficial into the deeper tissues of the body. These wounds must be cleaned before they can be closed, or infection is inevitable. As we look at our emotional and spiritual health, we also can have wounds that need cleansing before they can heal. There are instances where the sin of an emotional wound must be rooted out for recovery to occur.

 

David had to repent for his adultery with Bathsheba and for the murder of her husband in order to begin the healing of his soul and spirit. Certain things must be dug out and acknowledged, forgiven and released before we can go forward into healthy relationships with others and with God. In cases where serious harm has been done, such as sexual abuse, adultery, or even accidents where someone has died, cleansing is needed before recovery can occur.

 

It should be made clear that tragedies can often operate like a double-edged sword, cutting both the wounded and the one who inflicted the wound. For the one who has inflicted the wound, shame and guilt can create a wound in his heart and lead this person to respond by covering up this wound. The result of this covering up is always the same: growing emotional turmoil that pervades the soul like a vicious infection. It affects every part of their lives, leading to dysfunction in many areas of their interaction with others.

 

As God made our bodies not to tolerate infection, He also made our souls and spirits not to tolerate deep emotional wounds. Our own souls will cry out for cleansing—a cleansing that can only be accomplished by laying it at the feet of the Great Physician. Sometimes that cleansing begins with repentance, and sometimes it begins with forgiveness. Whether you are a victim of sexual abuse, a woman who has been raped, a couple struggling through past infidelity, or even if you are wounded because of something you believe is God’s fault, such as the death of a child, release it to Him. He can handle your pain, your anger, and the ugly, smelly wound that you have been hiding.

 

Beloved, God loves you too much to leave you infected; He is determined to pursue your healing. The God we serve is Holy and He will stand for nothing less than your complete healing before Him. He will bring you to the place of cleansing those wounds, even when you would rather deny the truth of your wounds. He is relentless in bringing you to deliverance.

What cleanser(s) does the Holy Spirit need to apply to your wound(s)?

Forgiveness ______                Repentance _______              Both _______

 

What about the Offender?

We often believe that our healing would come if we could just make the offender, the person who hurt us, pay in some way for what he/she has done, or at the very least if they would apologize and acknowledge the hurt they’ve caused. The truth of the matter is that true healing requires only your open heart before God. When a surgeon is removing a bullet from a victim to save his life, he does not require the shooter to be present.

Beloved, Christ has already suffered and died for your wounds and holds the healing balm for your heart in His hands. Your offender may never pay for his/her sins in this life to your satisfaction; they may never apologize or acknowledge their wrong. What if the offender has died? If you required their apology to heal, then you leave yourself carrying an open wound until you die. You stand with a choice: live with the ever-weeping wound or seek treatment before the Savior of the world. He alone can take care of all of the unfinished details of our lives even into eternity. Death is not an obstacle for Him. He is eternal and His healing and judgments go beyond the grave. We don’t have to hold on to the sorrow; we can lay it at His feet and move on to our destiny in Him. It’s your choice. Choose to be healed.

 

Prayer of cleansing

Dear Lord Jesus, help me to be healed. I choose to allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse me. You choose the cleanser as I lay down my will and heart to your way.

 

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, Assuredly, I say unto you, unless you are converted, and become as little children, you will by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. Whoever causes one of these little ones which believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! Matthew 18:2-7, NKJV.

A lot is being said in these verses concerning offenses. First, Jesus tells us that after you are converted, you must take on a new mindset. You must become like a child in your attitude toward life or you cannot enter into His Kingdom, His rulership and His protection. To do this you must humble yourself. This is where we tend to have great difficulty when we are wounded. Every fiber in our being wants to get up and fight and take our deserved revenge, but as we think about the mindset of a child, a child who has been wounded, we see a different picture: It is amazing how quickly children are willing to forgive. Children have hearts that are always seeking to love and to be loved.

As I raise my son who has autism, I see in him an amazing patience that he has with me on the days when I am frustrated by his inabilities to do things for himself. His persistent childlike manner is ever loving and forgiving me on those difficult days. Because of the vulnerability of children, they are often the victims of the slights, offences and even abuses of others. But so often we see them continuing to love. These little ones have the promise that Jesus made in Matthew 18 that He will deal with the ones that offend them. Jesus says we must have this same mind set.

How do you get the mindset Jesus talked about in Matthew 18? What is preventing you from obtaining the mindset of a child? (pride, lack of trust, lack of faith, anger, self pity).

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. 19 Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5: 17-22, NLT (Also see Luke 6:45, Romans 12:2).

Matthew 18 goes on to discuss the vengeance of God toward the offender. Their destiny is certain, outside of repentance. Your Father will take care of the offender. Your place is to be His child. There are times when God will lead you to a place of protection and relief from the offender. You must be sensitive in your spirit so that you can hear directives God may give concerning a situation; but take care, beloved, He makes it clear that vengeance belongs to Him. We see many movies today which are portrayed so that the audience rallies behind the one seeking and obtaining their revenge, but this is not the way of our Father. Christ always calls us to a more excellent way.

Vengeance can manifest itself in many ways: through acts, words, or attitudes of un-forgiveness. Vengeance will keep a wound open and infected. Be careful, because the enemy of your soul will try and have you use your wounds to control the one who has hurt you, to keep you and them from healing. Nothing can arrest the destiny of your soul like revenge and hatred; allow the Savior to clean it out so that you can go forward in Him and reach your destiny. This cleansing may involve facing some things about yourself. Scripture records that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

On many occasions I have felt justified in my dislike and hatred of those who have deliberately wounded me. But when I turn to God, I am reminded of the words of David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 KJV). Renew a right, steadfast or loyal spirit within me. Loyal to whom? Loyal to my God. We can become allies with evil so quickly and insidiously when we have been wounded. This is where I found myself when I learned of my husband’s infidelity. My anger, combined with hurt, spiraled into an attitude of vengeance and hatred. I knew my thoughts were wrong but my pain justified them to me.

What has your pain justified to you? __________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

It was only through the prayers of others and good counsel toward forgiveness that brought the help I needed; but first, I had to be willing to be healed. Andrew Murray asked the question in his book, “Absolute Surrender”: “My God, am I willing that Thou shouldst make me willing?” The healing process begins with your willingness to allow God to clean your wound out.

How must you prepare yourself for cleansing? What must you face about yourself to allow cleansing to take place? (your anger, your hatred of others, your hatred of yourself, your self-righteousness, your pride, etc.?) ______________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Lord, make me willing to be willing.

No one can make you keep a dirty wound. You must choose to let the scalpel of the Lord come in and cut away the infected tissue. You must allow Him to use His sutures, which may come in the form of Forgiveness, Love (which hides a multitude of sins -1Peter 4:8), the Word of God (which is quick and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword – Hebrews 4:12), Hope (which makes us not ashamed – Romans 5:5) and Faith (which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1) and/or the Peace of God (which passes all understanding – Philippians 4:7) to mend us back together.

Which suture(s) do you need? _______________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Forgiveness it a powerful thing in that it not only cleanses a wound it also heals it.

Note Satan’s intention for you is hell. He knows the Word of God that says – But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:26, NKJV.    

 

You may not want to allow God’s mending sutures. You cry out, “But you don’t know what they did to me!” No, I don’t know, but God does and He is the one holding the sutures. Leave the judgment with God and be healed.

Forgiving Ourselves

Sometimes your wounds do not heal because you will not forgive yourself. Perhaps you were the offender, or you were the cause of the accident where someone died, or like David, you were the adulterer or the murderer. Perhaps you are the un-forgiven one. Perhaps you are one who refuses to allow God to clean out the guilt you feel over something you have done. Sometimes, offenders sentence themselves to the punishment of guilt for the rest of their lives. Our ability to get over things is directly linked to how our conscience operates and what we believe. In his book, Emotions, Can You Trust Them? Dr. James Dobson asks: “How tender is your own conscience?” If you had to compare your conscience to a flower would you say that you are a (a) violet (easily crushed); (b) a tulip (guilt blooms for a while and then fades away) or (c) a wild rose (hardly, few things bother you)? In Romans 2:15 and 2 Corinthians 1:12 Paul talks about how the conscience can bear witness and can testify. Would you say that your conscience is (a) a hostile witness, (b) a trustworthy witness, or (c) an unsure witness?

Circle which conditions applies to your conscience?

violet               tulip                wild rose

 

hostile             trustworthy    unsure

 

These questions are important in that you must first make an assessment of your conscience and guilt before treatment can begin. With the help of the Holy Spirit you must look honestly at all of the contributing factors. You must also understand that Satan, the enemy of your soul, will try to convince you to leave your wound(s) open. He will tell you, repeatedly, how unrighteous and horrible you are and always will be. If he can convince you of this lie, then he’s got you! This enemy has led many to suicide as the only solution to a hostile or easily crushed conscience.

 

Just as you must know the voice of the Holy Spirit, you must also learn to identify the activity and voice of Satan in your life – how he is affecting your conscience.

Take heart, beloved, and strive to test every thought with the Word of God.   Put your trust here. Remember, “God made HIM who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in HIM we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, emphasis mine). This means that you can forgive yourself because God has forgiven you. He is waiting for you to believe in His righteousness within you and move on to your destiny in Him.

Confess your sins, and Christ promises to be faithful and forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (see 1 John 1:9). The overcoming process can begin with a single scripture that you memorize and hold on to until it becomes truth to you. The Bible is the Word of God and His truth endures. Then add to your scripture, prayer. I promise you that He is waiting to heal the lowliest heart. Begin today, beloved.

 

Wound Healing by Tertiary Intention

The third type of wounds requires healing by tertiary intention. The word tertiary denotes something that is third in order or level. In medicine it refers to the need for a care beyond the primary to the specialist. Wound healing by tertiary intention is required for a wound that has been open so long that it now must be left open to heal from within due to the high risk of infection if closed. This healing is long and requires very close supervision and daily dressing changes. Emotionally and spiritually speaking, this wound type can be seen in adults who were abused as children and people who have experienced prolonged suffering and great losses. This healing takes a lot of time and patience on the part of the Healer.

 

Beloved, be encouraged if you have this type of wound; for His Word says, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, NKJV). Christ will never grow tired or weary of attending to your wounds; but like any good physician, He will always work toward its healing and not just its maintenance.

 

This type of wound will continue to ooze and be foul smelling until it is treated. If it is not treated, it will remain a painful abscess on the heart that will seed the bloodstream and eventually kill the soul, and perhaps the body. People really do die of broken hearts. Many physical illnesses can be tied to emotional unrest, and many people die because they lose the will to live.

 

Beloved, if you are one who carries such a wound, the Word of God is the daily dressing change when you need healing by tertiary intention. Gradually, the Word of God lays down a fresh foundation and new tissue (new attitudes, desires, hope, and peace) can begin to grow and fill in the hollowness that comes with this wound. At the same time, it pulls out the dead, rotting flesh, layer by layer (the guilt upon unforgiveness, upon rage, upon bitterness, upon hatred, etc.).

 

Because this wound has been open for so long, it is most definitely infected. The whole body needs to be treated with medicines (antibiotics) to cure the poisoning of each system. This may mean helping those around you, like family and friends, who have been affected by your wound. It may mean changing your environment and the people you spend time with that feed the infection of your wound. God knows the right medicine and the exact amount to give to you to bring a cure to your sick soul. The medicine may come as an embrace, a tear, forgiveness, confession, or as repentance. He knows where to apply it and whether it needs to be injected or swallowed. Sometimes the medicine is bitter, but He knows it will help to bring the healing you need. He knows how long to apply the pressure and when to ease up; for He is the Great Physician.

 

Can you list some of the medicines you may need to bring healing to your wound(s)? Take the time in thoughtful prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you and show you why you need each medicine and where it needs to be applied.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

It is important to remember that as healing is taking place, you must remain consistent in prayer and in the study of God’s Word. You must watch the company you keep and what you allow into your spirit because you remain vulnerable for a long season. You need to stay close to mature Christians or the nurses God has sent into your life to encourage you in the faith. Walk closely with the “Great Physician,” who is always on call.

I am so grateful for my mature Christian friends and family who stayed close to me and my children through my heartbreak and divorce. I was so vulnerable to infection in my soul, but they stayed close…or I sought them out when I felt I was slipping. Of course, through it all, my Physician was right there. He was there in the morning and at midnight, counseling, comforting, encouraging and protecting as I grew stronger and stronger each day. He is faithful who promised.

I cannot complete this segment on wound healing without warning you of the enablers. These are people who thrive on open wounds. The open wounds of others give such people a sense of power and control; I’m sure you have met them. They behave like your friends but they say and do things which are designed to keep you in bondage. Sometimes, this person can be a close relative or someone you love and trust. Beloved, as God is strengthening you, it is important that you hear His voice above all others.

 

Always remember, God wants you healed!

 It is God’s will that you heal completely of every wound, every injury, and every offense. Reject words and avoid situations that are designed to cause you to relapse. You will already be in a daily struggle overcoming the memories that the enemy wishes to play, over and over again, in your mind; therefore, take care not to allow the words of others to add to this struggle; fight their words with the Word of God. Remember, it is quick and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword (see Hebrews 4:12). The greatest power in the universe is with you and you are more than a conqueror! “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10 KJV, emphasis mine).

 

 The Thought Life

Once healing takes place, your thought life must be controlled. This is your responsibility and it is an active process. It must be an act of your will. Scripture records, “…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV, emphasis mine). Your daily determination should be, “We must pay careful attention therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away…how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:1-3 NIV, emphasis mine).

The hearts of His wounded children are very close to God. The “Great Physician” sits at their bedside and weeps with them, comforts them and heals them, for He is their Savior.

What are your plan(s) to guard your thought life? It is important to prepare ahead of time, before this challenge comes. ________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Healed Wounds: Medals of Valor

It is interesting how we often hide our scars because we find them ugly. Sometimes, they bring a twinge of pain when we touch them the wrong way or when we remember what happened to us—that we were wounded. Sometimes, we don’t want anyone to know that we were wounded, but God sees our scars differently: healed wounds have a certain beauty to Him. Old soldiers will often sit together, compare their old war stories and proudly display the scars they obtained defending their country. The woman who has had a Cesarean-section delivery runs her fingers across her scar and remembers her love for her children.

In the same manner healed wounds are badges of testing, cards of certification and medals of honor—carved right into our bodies. No one can take away the certification of your scars; they are the proof that God brought you through the worst of life—proof of His faithfulness.

Our scars brought us wisdom and strength. We stand less ignorant of our enemy’s devices; we are more aware of him now. We are one of those convinced that, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 KJV, emphasis mine). We make notes in our spirit and join the ranks of the great men and women who bear the marks of battle, who now tighten their armor at the enemies approach, run their fingers across their scars, and draw their swords!

 

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins;

and sinners, plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;

and there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away…

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream thy flowing wounds supply,

redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

(From “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood” by William Cowper, 1731-1800)

 

 

Encouragements

Rolling Stone

  • by Out of Eden (modified for class by Karen Colvin)

Sitting on the front porch, Waiting for you to come home.

  • Visions of reuniting in my head.
  • Only bitter-sweet memories, no holidays, no Christmas trees.
  • Broken promises I’ve got instead.
  • How I used to wonder, ‘Where did I go wrong?
  • How you could have stayed away so long?’
  • Thank God for my mother (__________), Her’s was no easy song.
  • Thank God that He showed me how to get along.
  • My papa (mama, husband, wife) was a rolling stone.
  • Abandon us and left us ‘lone.
  • And how he broke my heart and hope; had me loose my faith.
  • Somebody knows what I’ve been through. I’ve understood, I’ve been there too.
  • So let me introduce you to my Father, Father.
  • Your story sounds alot like mine. It’s a story heard a thousand times.
  • Someone hurting leaves in disaray.
  • Don’t you know that God made you more valuable than they ever knew?
  • You know, you can live past their mistakes.
  • Oh, how I used to wonder ‘How could all this be?

Someone that you loved so much just turns their back and leaves.’

  • Oh, you need the Lover of you soul and, He is able to take care of you and He will never leave!
  • Your papa (mama, husband, wife) was a rolling stone.
  • Abandoned you and left you ‘lone.
  • And how he broke your heart and hope, he had me loose my faith.
  • I’m seeing what you’re going through. I understand, I’ve been there too.
  • So let me introduce you to my Father, Father.
  • I was lost and out of control. Then He found me and saved my soul.
  • Let me lead you to the One I know. He can make you whole.

No longer I wonder, Solid ground under my feet.

  • I know what my life is worth, No longer incomplete.
  • I just want to tell you, You are truly loved,
  • By the Maker of the Heavens, the Creator of the Earth.
  • You know He’s got His hands on you and that is more than enough!
  • My papa (mama, husband, wife) was a rolling stone.
  • Abandoned us and left us ‘lone.
  • And how he/she broke my heart and hope; had me loose my faith.
  • Somebody saw what I’ve been through.
  • They understood, They’ve been there too.
  • They gladly introduced me to my Father, Father.

Tell me what you’re going through.

  • I understand, I’ve been there too.
  • So let my introduce you to my Father, my Father. God…

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