Looking at things, distinctions resolutions and expressions

Newbury Exhortation – December 28, 2014

Readings: Job 38; Zechariah 13 and 14; Revelation 15,16

Good morning brethren and sisters and seasonal best wishes and love from Belgium.

We are very near the end of the year and this is the time we traditionally take stock of where we are – what has happened in the year and what we can expect for the coming year. We may then make resolutions of what we want to do and achieve next year.

I will return to this later – but to start with I want to share with you some expressions.

I remember my mum telling me about an exhortation which had the theme – all I ask Thee Lord is for enough. The lesson was developed because this can be read two ways:

All I ask Thee for Lord is enough. Compared with All I ask Thee for Lord is enough.

And I have always remembered this and of course there is an important distinction between the way we look at this. A big difference in the sense – by reading a different way. We can change the entire sense.

Also I remember also a friend of mine was discussing with us the words in Proverbs that read = “spare the rod and spoil the child”. He took this as a command to parents rather than a warning!

I think he was a bit brighter than parents and knew how to get what he wanted about bringing up children! I can imagine him now quoting this at his parent in order to get his way!

Also – I remember the Dennis Gillet talk when he mention about the “sins of omission” and one Sunday school scholar wrote that these were the sins we should have committed but didn’t!

Read slowly to make understand
Read slowly to make understand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wanted to share these with you to emphasize the importance of language and how difference stresses and accents can completely alter the sense.

So as the world sees this as a time of reflection and making resolutions. I wanted also for us to think about make some resolutions of our own as we come not to remember the death of our Lord and Saviour. This should always be a time of when we consider our lives and our spiritual progress, so we can examine ourselves – our motives and our priorities, and whether these properly fit with what we have dedicated ourselves to.

Turning our earlier expression around – are we only giving what we consider is enough or are we giving all we can to the Lord individually. Is the person who now sits in this room – are they different from the person outside this room away from their brethren and sisters?

These are questions, of course, we can only answer ourselves. But hopefully at this time when we remember what was done for us that we might be saved, will strengthen us and rededicated ourselves to giving fit service to the Lord, the ecclesia and those around us.

We are doing this in the context of remembering the sacrifice of the love that has been given for us. The message of hope and of love we have is that our God wants to save us (from ourselves).

In our first daily reading we have been reading how Job faced the travails that came on him – with not a lot of help from his friends.

We have started reading today God’s reply in Job 38. For exhortation this morning – I would like to think a little about our reading from Job and think of Job’s experiences. This rich man that had been brought low due to the calamities that had befallen him.

Before being overly critical also of Job – we should remember the words of Job 1:8  what the Lord’s opinion of the character of Job was:
Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. A unique man who was praised

We have been reading over the past few days that Job could not understand why all these calamities had fallen upon him and his family and he was in fact calling into question the judgements of God.  If we could turn to Job 30, we see in verses 20-31 his lament and his view of his situation:

  • V 20 – he cried to God but did not get any answer
  • V 21 – from his point of view – God had turned on him
    “you turn on me ruthlessly. With the might of your hand you attack me”.
  • V 24 – his plea – “surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his distress”
  • V 25 -31 – read

In chapter 31 of Job he asks God, in verse four of this chapter – Does He not see my ways, and count all my steps?
Job then tries to justify himself before God:

  • v 5 he had not walked with falsehood, and his foot had not hastened to deceit.
  • V6 he asked to be weighed on honest scales that God might know his integrity
  • V7 he had not turned from the from the way or his heart walked after his eyes
  • V9 his heart had not been enticed by a woman, he had not lurked at his neighbours door
  • V10 he had not done any iniquity worthy of judgement
  • V13 he had not despised the cause of a servant
  • V16 he had looked after the poor, widow and fatherless
  • V19 he had not seen anyone perish for lack of clothingIn his eyes – he had done no wrong and was worthy of blessings not what had befallen him. He could not see the justice of it all.

From chapter 38, therefore, we are given the reply of the Lord – and I would like to just consider this.

We are told that it is not in him (and us) to understand the way of God.

  • V4 Where were we at the creation of the earth – did we see what happened?
  • V12 Have we ever given the orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place?
  • V16 Have we seen the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep
  • V18 Do we comprehend the vast expanses of the earth
  • V19 Do we understand where light comes from and what darkness is
  • V22 Do we understand snow
  • V24 Do we understand how lightning is dispersed

This discourse carries on into the next chapter and the gulf between our understanding and the Lord’s understanding is explored.

And then in Chapter 40 tells in, in verse 2

Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?

And we see that Job, this faithful man, understands what he is being told:

V4-5 Behold I am vile (NIV “unworthy”). What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth, Once I have spoken, but I will not answer. Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.

The LORD continues to that He spoke to Job out of a whirlwind or storm:

V8-
Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?
Have you an arm like God?
Or can you thunder with a voice like His?
Then adorn yourself with glory and beauty.
Disperse the rage from your wrath.
Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him.
Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low.
Tread down the wicked in their place.
Hide them in dust together.
Bind their faces in hidden darkness – (shroud their faces in the grave)

He goes in in 41:11
Who has a claim against me that I must pay?
Everything under heaven belongs to me.

This is the argument of how can the clay question what the potter has made.

So Job replies to the LORD in 42:2
I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, Who is this that obscured my counsel without knowledge?
Surely I have spoken of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know

You said, Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
My ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

In our lives – there are events and experiences that we cannot understand. That seem unjust and are undeserved.
Job had gone through seemingly unbearable tragedy – and I am sure we can understand why he was questioning what had happened to him. These are our human feelings also.

We read earlier about what the Lord considered about Job.

1:8
Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.

Further we are told in this chapter that the Satan mention had replied to God –

v9-11
Does Job fear God for nothing!
Have you (
the LORD) not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?
You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.
But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.

As we now prepare for the emblems – I would like us now to look at our Zechariah reading. In this book we have some of the clearest prophecies about the return of our Lord and the restoration of Israel and the time when Jerusalem will be capital of the world.

In Zechariah 12 we read that the all-powerful Lord God, who stretched out the heavens, who lays the foundations of the earth and formed man, the supreme God described to Job, reaffirms that He has a special place for Zion and Jerusalem – verses 2-6.

We read on in verse 10 the words when Israel and Judah will look upon the one who they pierced, and they will mourn and weep for him. This is prophecy when all the tribes will mourn for what has been done.

Earlier in this prophecy, in chapter 8, we are reminded that the LORD Almighty is jealous for Zion.
v3 This is what the LORD says: “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.

We should be longing for that day when the Lord will go out and fight for Jerusalem – looking on to chapter 14. We read in verse three that he will go out and fight against the nations that fight against Jerusalem. V4 – His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives.

We look at this chapter and we can see the emphasis on “that day” – when the Lord will come, and all the holy ones with Him. On that day, we are told in verse 6 that there will be no light, no cold, no frost but it will be a unique day, without daytime and night-time – a day known by the LORD.

NKJ  – Zechariah 14:7
It shall be one day – Which is known to the LORD –
Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen (That) it will be light

Without dwelling on the significance of what is meant here. We should be looking and praying for that day when Jesus will reign in the world.

He gave us a command that before this we need to remember what he has done for us, that we might be part of that time when he will rule.

As we mentioned before – we are coming to the end of another year – so let us now, when we think about what we have done and what we have not done, rededicate our service to time. In Zechariah and chapter 2 we read about the man with the measuring line, who had come to measure Jerusalem to see what its width and length. He was told that it could not be measured – there will be no walls. The only walls would be provided by that LORD and He would be a wall of fire all around here, and would be the glory in her midst.

So when we think of what has been done for us so that we can be saved, this cannot be measured and whatever necessary has been done. In the same manner – let us also in our service give plentifully. He gave His all that we might be redeemed.

We spoke earlier of our prayer to God being – “all we ask of thee is enough”, let us give generously and fully in our service as we develop as brethren and sisters in Christ. When we make our resolutions – we now consider and remember the one who poured Himself out that we might have Hope.

– Steve Robinson

+
Additional reading:

  1. Coming to the end of the year
  2. Presentation: Crisis in the Middle East – Bible Expectations
  3. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  4. Certainty in a troubled world
  5. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  6. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  7. Secret or public return of Jesus
  8. How do we know the coming of Jesus is very near?
  9. A royal wedding due to take place
  10. Why did Christ not reveal the exact time of his second coming?
  11. Looking forward to the return of Jesus
  12. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  13. Together tasting a great promisse
  14. God Watches
  15. The Conclusion of the System of Things

+++

  • Choosing to Believe (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
    I have made peace with the fact that we will never understand on this side of eternity. Some things we will simply never know or comprehend. I can choose to let it eat away at my insides until my existence becomes enveloped in bitterness, madness, or both. That’s not a great way to live.
  • Proverbs 9:10 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, (church4u2.wordpress.com)
    The Scripture tells us that we are responsible to think and learn with a God-centered view of the world. This does not usually happen on its own—we are called to seek, ask and knock for heavenly perspectives on all that we do. This approach to knowledge may seem foreign to you, but wisdom and understanding is waiting for those who apply God’s outlook to their plans.
  • There’s no such thing as a stupid question (themidnightstation.wordpress.com)
    Words like ‘stupid’, ‘dumb’ and ‘simple’ should be expressed sparingly, especially when used to describe people and their actions. We don’t all see the world the same way and we haven’t all experienced the world in the same way, so naturally we all have different perspectives and different pieces of knowledge. I have found recently, from friendship circles to professional environments, that people often laugh or sneer at others who ask questions. It can become daunting and intimidating to ask a question again for fear of humiliation in front of others or for fear of a lowering of respect from peers.
  • Day 9 (cutpaste.typepad.com)
    Asking and receiving the gift leads to seeking and finding the Giver, and this again to the knocking and opening of the door of the Father’s home and love.One thing is sure: the Lord does want us to count most certainly on it that asking, seeking, knocking, cannot be in vain: receiving an answer, finding God, the opened heart and home of God, are the certain fruit of prayer.+++You wrote “Christ assures me that I can find Himself. ” where and when did he do that. Strangely enough direct after it you speak about a totally different person, namely his heavenly Father. “But it is not enough to find God in time of need, without coming to abiding fellowship”-
  • Prayer Part 3 – Ask God (pastortyrus.com)
    I heard someone say to ask for someone else for something you either have to be very humble or very crazy. At first I laughed, but then I started thinking of all the times that I went without because I was too proud to ask. It was only at a time of desperation (which will induce humility) that I broke down and asked for help. Though the act itself is very simple, to ask for something denotes a certain type of consciousness. Let me explain, before you ask, you have to ascertain who has what I need, will they be willing to give it to me, and can I trust them with the knowledge of knowing I’m in need. So to ask in itself is a form of reverence. When we ask God, or when we reverence God with the necessities of our life – he answers as a good parent would.
  • Costa Blues : Day 24 (befreebird.com)
    Like a caress to the aching soul, God tells us we are asking the wrong questions. There is no such thing as a cause an effect here– you did not do something wrong– This happened so that we could all see the glory of God. This is not some prosperity gospel where if we sing well, pray well, and live well some divine ATM will cover it all. That is not how the complex beauty of life unfolds. These dark seasons are not about blame, failure and set-back.
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