I Had Heard, But Now I See!

(Job 42:1-6 ESV) 1 Then Job answered the LORD and said: 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

Many years ago, there was a commercial on TV that used the tagline, “Try Kelloggs Cornflakes again for the very first time!” It was an intelligent way to entice individuals to reevaluate a well known and very popular breakfast cereal. It worked. The commercial was well received and it accomplished its goal of increasing the sales of the product.

The book of Job is a laborious read. It is an extremely important document that reveals theology unlike any other book in the Bible. Job is not a book that can be quickly read and understood. It takes time, and scholarly commentary is often helpful. With that said, there are many obvious points of interest that can be understood even by a child!

Without rehearsing the whole storyline, let’s agree that Job’s experience with God was one that took him from the height of prosperity, to the depth of dispair, and back again to blessing. He was very rich. He had impressive flocks. A loving wife. Great kids. He was well known, greatly respected, and righteous in the eyes of the Lord. He lost it all. Even his health.

But the wonderful thing about this historical account is that through it all, Job remained faithful; he maintained his integrity. After this lengthy, and difficult trial Job declares that his former knowledge of God was based more on what he had been told rather than personal experience. He said, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear…”  In other words,… Daddy told me. Momma told me. The preacher said it was so. My Sunday School teacher reinforced it. Ooh, I heard through grapevine…

I have good news and bad news. Bad news first… Are you ready? God will allow you to be tested, sometimes severely, so you can know him as never before. There is some knowledge you can only obtain by experiencing difficulty. You must taste the bitterness of tears before you can enjoy the sweetness fo victory. That’s just the way life is. But the good news is, God reveals his strength during our weakness. And when we come through the hard times, we will have a new and exciting knowledge of God’s power.

Job finishes his thought by saying, “but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job now has first hand knowledge of God’s mercy. We often acknowledge that Job was blessed in his last days even more than in his younger years. But, I would suggest that the greatest blessing was the new revelation of God that came through overcoming his terrible circumstances. As faithful as Job was, God proved to be even more faithful.

PRAYER: I’ve been through many difficult things in my short lifetime. But you have always proven yourself faithful. With each victory I have experienced a new level of spiritual understanding. Thank you that I have seen you at your best! amen.

You Have Shut Up The Kingdom!

(Matthew 23:3-4, 13 ESV) 3 So do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. … 13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.


There was a time in my life when I was unwilling to answer the call of God upon my life. Having grown up in a pastors home, I was well aware of the challenges that every minister faces when serving the body of Christ. With that said, when I finally affirmed and committed to my calling, I discovered joys that I did not expect.

With any calling, whether it is a father who provides for his family, a mother who nurtures her children, or an ambassador for Christ in the workplace there comes a great responsibility to be faithful.

The scripture today reveals a terrible wrong that was being committed against people who were seeking the truth of the gospel. The scribes and Pharisees–people whose primary responsibility was to unlock the scripture–were instead shutting the kingdom of heaven to those who were seeking. They did this in two ways: (1) They did not take advantage of the opportunities to learn from scripture themselves, and (2) they prevented seekers by placing heavy requirements of the law that they were unable to bear. The high level of frustration caused the people to give up their search for the truth.

Luke is a little more direct in his description. (Luke 11:52 HCSB) 52 “Woe to you experts in the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge! You didn’t go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in.” 

Each of us are called by God to represent Him to the world. He expects us to prepare ourselves for the opportunities that come before us. As I study the Bible and spend time in prayerful communion with the Lord, my knowledge expands and equips me to open the door of knowledge to those who are diligently seeking.

One of my greatest desires is to remain faithful to the call. God desires that we open doors–not close them–so that seekers may find Him. Our world needs to experience Christ! It is up to us to spread the good news of the gospel!


PRAYER: Father, it is my desire to unlock as many doors as I can to grant access to those who may be seeking you. Forgive the times that I have failed to do so because of my lack of scriptural understanding. I commit myself anew to the study of your word so that I may be adequately prepared to share confidently when opportunities arise. Amen.

Contrast

(Matthew 4:15-16 ESV) 15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles– 16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”


Matthew records a period of time when Jesus moves to a place where no one would expect him to be. John had been arrested and Jesus knew the authorities would come for him soon. It’s interesting to note that this move was the fulfillment of what Isaiah had predicted many years before.

The description of the geographical location certainly seems to be an out of the way place to hide; the land–beyond the Jordan. But, the reference has more to do with the people than the location. Matthew makes it clear that the Land of Zebulun and Naphtali were full of people who were dwelling in darkness. He’s not suggesting that the sun did not shine there. Rather, he was referring to a sense of spiritual ignorance. Consider…

  • The people which sat in darkness – This is an expression denoting great ignorance. As in darkness or night we can see nothing, and know not where to go, so those who are ignorant of God and their duty are said to be in darkness.
  • The region and shadow of death – This is a forcible and beautiful image, designed also to denote ignorance and sin. It is often used in the Bible, and is very expressive.

Into this setting walks the light of the world. Matthew describes it as, “a light has dawned.” The most impactful thought in this passage is one of contrast. The people were accustomed to living in a spiritual fog, but there was an immediate illumination of spiritual truth when Jesus moved in among them! Things they had never understood were suddenly revealed. Knowledge was chasing the ignorance from their lives. Wisdom increased because of the newly found knowledge that had appeared when Jesus arrived!

I don’t know about you, but this gives me hope! We live in a very dark world. We are told that never before in the modern world have people been so ignorant of Scripture. There are so many reasons to be discouraged. Yet, in the middle of the darkness is a shining light. Jesus is the light of the world!

Let me encourage you to let his light illuminate your darkness. His truth provides a contrasting reality to the lies of the devil. You’ll never be able to see your dark days in the same way once you have experienced the light of his presence!


PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for the light that comes from knowing you! May we never forget how our lives have changed because of your presence. I see much more clearly now because of you! Amen

Too Stupid To Be a Man…

(Proverbs 30: 1-3 ESV) The man declares, I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out. Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.


“I am too stupid to be a man.”

When I first read this Proverb, I was taken aback by the force of these words. While there may have been a few occasions when I uttered similar words about myself, it just seems harsh and unnecessary.

As I examined the passage more closely, I understood why the writer (Agur) may have felt that way. First, these words were uttered in a moment of extreme exhaustion. Notice, he didn’t just say it once, but 3 times! He declared, “I am weary” twice, and “worn out” once. This is the picture of an individual who has no energy left.

After declaring his exhaustion, He further explains the reason for his state of mind. He says, “I have not the understanding of a man.” And he continues, “I have not learned understanding.”

Finally, he discovers the most important reality when he writes, “Nor have I knowledge of the Holy one.” Aah! There it is! This man has just uncovered the root problem of so many people who feel totally unprepared to face life.

He confessed to trying to “do” life absent a knowledge of, and relationship with God. His frustration was so severe that he declared himself to be stupid. We will experience similar emotions if we repeat his mistake.

The good news is, God has been revealing Himself to mankind since Creation. In the Old Testament Scripture God provided bits and pieces, types and shadows that revealed His nature to mankind. When Jesus came, He gave even more information about the Father. He was constantly telling people, “The things you see me do are of the Father. The words you hear me speak are coming from Him.” Revelation is now being given to mankind regularly through the released manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Every moment. Every Hour. Every Day. Our responsibility is to identify it, accept it, and utilize it.

Many years ago, I was taught the difference between ignorance and stupidity. And, it’s a huge difference. Ignorance is a lack of information. Stupidity is willfully rejecting truth. One prevents a choice (ignorance) while the other is a choice (stupidity). Shania Twain use to perform a song with the lyric, “Don’t be stupid…” I would have to agree with her!

So, what about Agur? What became of him? Did he live out his life as an imbecile? I don’t think so. Because if you continue reading chapter 30 you will see that he started asking a lot of questions that would ultimately lead him to make this statement in verse 5, “Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”

Now that, my friend, is a smart man!


PRAYER: Father, thank you for giving me the opportunity to know you personally. It is not arrogant to proclaim, “I have the mind of Christ. I have supernatural knowledge and wisdom. I possess the ability to process information in such a way that I will be successful, and will have opportunities to help others be blessed as well. What a great way to live! Thank you Jesus! Amen.

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