Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 10

Job 10

-Despair begins to rule Job’s life as he continues his complaint before God not understanding why all this bad stuff had occurred in his life. He loathed his life and he was now going to give a full venting speaking out on the bitterness of his soul. He wanted to say to God, “Do not condemn me.” He felt guilt placed on him with no reason for it. He wanted to know why God was contending with him. He felt the oppression and rejection intensely. He even assumed the LORD was looking favorably on the schemes of the wicked. He was almost certain God had made some mistakes having human qualities of flesh to see only as man sees. Was God mortal? He concluded that no, God didn’t have to search for guilt or sin. According to His knowledge, he was not guilty; however, he was not getting any deliverance from the Hand of the LORD (Job 10:1-7). He was having a hard time dealing with this in his despondent spirit.

-He then reminded his God that it was His Hands that fashioned him and put him all together with skin, flesh (or body), bones, and sinews. How could He destroy such a one Job wondered? He asked God to remember that he was but clay, and pondered that God would turn him back into dust again. He felt poured out like milk and curdled like cheese. He knew the God of life, lovingkindness, care, and preservation of the spirit, yet he truly believed at this point the LORD was concealing these things in His Heart. In other words, he knew that it was within God to bless, but he was feeling excluded. He postulated that if he sinned, God would surely take note of it and would not acquit. He stated that if he were wicked, woe unto him. But, even in his righteousness he dare not lift up his head. He was sated with disgrace and completely conscious of his misery. Should he lift his head up in pride, God would simply hunt him down like a lion and demonstrate His supreme power. He reiterated that God had renewed His witness against him and increased His anger towards him. He vented yet again, “Hardship after hardship is with me (Job 10:8-17).”

-Job even questioned God on why He brought him out of the womb. He wished that he had died before any eye could have seen him. He uses the term “womb to tomb” to relate is abhorrence. He felt his life was totally useless at this juncture. Hope had so diminished in his spirit. He just wanted the LORD to leave him alone for his last few days on earth, withdrawing from him that he would have just a little cheer before he went, never to return, to the land of darkness and deep shadow in the afterlife. It was a land of utter gloom and total darkness without order, even shining in darkness (Job 10:18-22). The term “shines as the darkness,” I interpret to mean that darkness is the afterlife’s glory in this doomed place. Job’s view of eternity would eventually turn as we can read in Job 19:25-26. He was simply in the deep funk of despair in this outpouring of emotion.

-*Application* We’ve all pretty much been in this state of despondency at one time or another in our lives if we have lived very long. Life can be tough reeking all sorts of havoc in bringing us into a place of negativity and wishing we never existed. God understands our pain more than we know. God hears our sorrow and can certainly take our honesty in such moments of frustration. Thankfully, He is patient and kind even in our worst instances. His answers will come, just give Him time. We can’t afford to let our souls grow bitter. Continue in faith of His love, care, compassion, grace, and everlasting life.

Verse to Memorize: Job 10:1

Monday, January 30, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 9

Job 9

-Job answered Bildad, his friend, in this chapter after some scrutiny had been laid on him. Job recognized the truths in what Bildad was laying out regarding the facets of God; then, he went into his own observations based on his experience. He begins with a deep theological question that each of us need to ponder. This is the age-old question, “How can a man be in the right before God?” As believers in Christ Jesus, that issue is settled. He has become our righteousness (Romans 3:21-24; 5:17, 1 Corithians 1:30, Philippians 3:9). We place our trust in Him, and not ourselves for salvation and redemption. Job was right, no one can dispute with God. We have no answer for Him when He presses us, not even once in a thousand times. He is wise in heart (all-wise, in other words omniscient) and mighty in strength (all-powerful, in other words omnipotent). God is in total charge of everything. Job wanders, “Who has defied Him without harm?” The answer is no one, but the LORD lovingly and sacrificially gave His Son to satisfy that demand of justice. The faithful get set free from the penalty of sin (or missing the mark of God’s perfection). Job ventures on into the might of God. He removes the mountains overturning them in anger if it is His desire, and no one can even know how. He shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble. He commands the sun not to shine, and sets His seal upon the stars. In other words, He controls the weather as well as the universe. He alone stretches out the heavens and tramples down the waves of the sea to fit His purposes. He ordains the constellations, like the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, even the chambers of the south. He does great things, unfathomable things, working wonders without number. Job concludes this section of awe saying that, “Were He to pass by me, I would not see Him; were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him. Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, ‘What are You doing (Job 9:1-12)?’”

-Job poetically takes the reader now through this intense agony of grief that he is feeling trying to figure out what God is doing in all this calamity. God had yet to turn back from His anger in Job’s mind. The reference to the “helpers of Rahab” would have referred to the name of a legendary sea monster of that period according to Babylonian creation myth. In their story, Murduk (the Babylonian supreme being) defeated Tiamat (otherwise known as Rahab), and then captured all of her helpers (see http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Le-Me/Marduk.html). Job’s friends were apparently aware of this legend as an artistic allegory. In other words, Job is actually saying that God has power over all demons and demonic activity. Job knows he as human cannot answer to the LORD. Even if he might have felt like he was in the right, his case could not possibly stand up to the Sovereign One. His recourse is rightly pleading for mercy. God is the only judge and has the final say on matters. Again, in the agony of grief and overwhelming feelings of loss, Job wanders at the effectiveness of his prayers. He is wrongly convinced that the LORD was not listening to his voice during this time. He felt bruised by the tempest, and his wounds were multiplied without cause. This statement his friends would definitely take issue with as the discussion escalates. Job felt like God would not even allow him to catch his breath. He was saturated with bitterness at this point. But, he wisely concludes that if it is a matter of power, God is certainly the One with the upper Hand. His justice is the only justice that counts. In the depths of his depression, God’s kindness seemed far, far away. He held to a righteous claim, but he stated that his mouth would condemn him nonetheless. Though he felt he was guiltless, and he was, he just knew that the LORD would declare him guilty. His self-pity party continued, “I am guiltless; I do not take notice of myself; I despise my life.” He saw the righteous suffering just as much as the wicked in this scenario of destruction. He poured out his frustration saying, “If the scourge kills suddenly, He mocks the despair of the innocent. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked; He covers the faces of its judges. If it is not He, then who is it (Job 9:13-24)?”

-Job continues in his disparaging comments through the rest of chapter feeling powerless and lost. His days were now fleeing away with no good in them, faster than a speedy runner, reed boats, and an eagle swooping upon prey. He was trying to forget his complaint and sad countenance, and become cheerful. But, he was afraid of all his pains, and he did not believe that God would acquit him. This was a false assumption caused by his inner turmoil. He felt accounted with the wicked, and that his toil was in vain. He believed that even if he cleaned himself, he would be plunged by God into the pit of despair and have no recourse. Of course, God was not a man like him that he could take Him to court. There was umpire between the two of them who could render a verdict. Job ended up begging the LORD to remove His rod from him and to not let the dread of Him terrify him any longer. However, he basically recants all that he just poured out in the last verse with this repentant statement that God will later take note of, “Then I would speak and not fear Him; but I am not like that in myself (Job 9:25-35).”

-*Application* Job’s vacillations can be ultra-confusing for us unless we have been through extreme situations that have brought us to the end of ourselves. When trauma hits, it has profound effects on our mind and words, which this sequence clearly illustrates. Job was accurate in his theology of sovereignty, but he often misses the goodness of God in the throes of pain. We can empathize with Job and conclude, like him, that some of our complaining is nonsense, and we are not like that in ourselves deep at the core. We should never let the gravity of life weigh us down, but learn to rise above it by keeping the right perspective and a rejoicing spirit (Philippians 4:4). This is the LORD’s true desire for us as His children.

Verses to Memorize: Job 9:2, 32

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 8

Job 8

-Bildad the Shuhite now speaks into the situation concerning how God rewards those who are truly good and don’t forget about Him. Some, but not all, of what Bildad says here in this chapter is good advice and counsel. He begins by questioning Job as to how long he could say these things in complaint towards God. He rhetorically asks how long these words of his mouth be a mighty wind (ruwach- breath, wind, spirit). I interpret this to mean spirit here more than the translation of wind. Bildad was questioning Job’s spirit in his speech. His mighty spirit was not being led of the Holy Spirit, and this was troubling to Job’s friend. Bildad goes on to ask, “Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert what is right?” Then he gives a series of “if” remarks intended to instruct Job. He starts this with saying, “If your sons sinned against Him, then He delivered them into the power of their transgression.” This was falsely assumed we can take from the text, but the “if” is there for a reason. In fact, Job’s children had done nothing wrong to deserve the fate they experienced. It was a venomous attack of Satan in this case. The next “if” statement attempts to get Job to “seek God” and “implore the compassion of the Almighty.” The last “if” statement says to Job, “If you are pure and upright, surely now He would rouse Himself for you and restore your righteous estate. Though your beginning was insignificant, yet your end will increase greatly (Job 8:1-7).” This is exactly what would eventually happen with Job (Job 42:10-17). However, it took some time and spiritual growth to realize this truth. God had to take His servant through the school of hard knocks first.

-Bildad also advised his friend in this dialog to inquire of past generations and consider the things gleaned by their fathers through time. Experience is a great teacher was his message. They had only been around for what seemed like a yesterday, and Bildad concluded that they knew virtually nothing “because our days on earth are as a shadow.” The ancestors can teach and tell bringing forth wise words from their minds of the past to the present if they would only pay attention (Job 8:8-10).

-The poetry continues with an analogy to the papyrus. Papyrus cannot grow without a marsh, and the rushes cannot grow without substantial water. If it is green, it will not be cut down, but it is a weak plant in its construction. In dry seasons, it withers before any other plant. Bildad compares this to the paths of all who forget God. He plainly says, “The hope of the godless will perish, whose confidence is fragile, and whose trust (like) a spider’s web.” Putting trust in and holding fast to a temporary house will not stand and will not endure. This is a product of this passing earth. There is a seasonal thriving before the sun as roots spread out over the garden, but they wrap around the rock pile and it becomes a house of stones in the end. There is denial in the end with this type of striving. Bildad is wrongly convinced that Job has been sucked in by materialism here. He develops this futile philosophy of creating joy simply by doing the best one can and then passing it on to his descendants. He wraps up his speech with some positive comments on the Heavenly Father. Truth is found in the statement, “Lo, God will not reject a man of integrity, nor will He support the evildoers.” Hope and retribution enter back into the equation as he completes his thought, “He (God) will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouting. Those who hate you will be clothed in shame, and the tent of the wicked will be no longer (Job 8:11-22).”

-*Application* We must take a long-term approach in our relationship with the Sovereign God. Short-term lessons prepare us for the “hope and future” that we have in Christ Jesus (Jeremiah 29:11). Our spirit should always be in tune with His Spirit, we should listen to wisdom from our ancestors if they had proper faith and doctrine, and we should be like trees planted by streams of Living Water (Psalms 1:3, John 7:38, Galatians 5:25, 2 Timothy 1:5). So, remain steady, hold fast, and keep the faith. Better times are coming for those called to the Kingdom of God.

Verse to Memorize: Job 8:6

Friday, January 27, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 7

Job 7

-As Job continues in his misery he gives a reminder of the curse brought by sin to this world upon man (Genesis 3:17-19). He asks the question, “Is not man forced to labor on earth, and are not his days like the days of a hired man?” In his toil, he has felt like “a slave who pants for the shade” and “a hired man who eagerly waits for his wages.” He believes he was dealt months of vanity (shav'- emptiness, falsehood, vanity, nothingness), and nights of trouble have been appointed to him. His dark state continues seemingly merciless. He continually tosses and turns up until dawn longing for relief from the anguish and constant pain. This is his nightmare season, and it’s a total reality in his existence. He states that his flesh is clothed with worms (could be metaphorical relating to death, but also could be literal here as he is being tormented) and a crust of dirt (`aphar- dry ground, dust, powder, ashes, earth, mortar, rubbish). His skin hardens under the strain of disease and his wounds run with puss from the sore boils (Job 2:7-8). Job sees his life as confusing as the intertwinings of a weaver’s shuttle, twisting and turning rapidly in a concocting of material, but he has found no hope in it (Job 7:1-6).

-In this hopeless estate, Job contemplates death for the next few verses. He correctly compares life to a breath (James 4:14). But, he wrongly predicts that his eye will see no more good in his lifetime (Job 42:10-17). He really thinks he’s about to pass on from the earth, and that folks will see him no longer. He mistakenly believes he will be gone like a vanishing cloud going down to Sheol never to return. Further, he thinks he will never return to his house and that those in his place will not know him anymore (Job 7:7-10). Perhaps he feels like he will be forgotten as a non-entity, a worthless fellow, a loser. Job had totally lost perspective.

-Because of these erroneous feelings, he determines that he will not restrain his mouth concerning the anguish of his spirit and the bitterness of his soul. He will speak; he will even complain about it. Job here sets his complaints on the Heavenly One pouring out his honest feeling over the situation. He first asks if he is the sea, or the sea monster, that God would set His guard over him. He has wanted his bed to comfort him and his couch to ease his complaint, but these only garnered the frightening dreams and terrifying visions Job attributes to the Father. Job claims that his soul would prefer suffocation and death rather than his pains. Job felt his life wasting away. He knew he was not going to last forever, and the brevity of life was his forethought. He wanted to be left alone. He wondered why God had magnified mankind, and why He was even concerned about him. He knew the LORD examined man every morning and tried him every moment. He asked plainly, “Will You never turn Your gaze away from me, nor let me alone until I swallow my spittle?” This last phrase may refer to the diseased condition he was experiencing in his body, or it could have been a proverbial idiom of the time to denote a need for more proper time to contemplate and figure things out on his own. Whatever the case, Job continues with his inquisition of the Sovereign, “Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O Watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, so that I am a burden to myself? Why then do You not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity?” Exasperated, Job concludes his tirade with the LORD, “For now I will lie down in the dust; and You will seek me, but I will not be (Job 7:11-21).”

-*Application* Sometimes when things go, they go from bad to worse. The struggle of trauma, disease, and affliction are real and bring out the true angst in us as human beings. We are no different than Job when we reflect on those moments in our lives when we have questioned God about things that surely weren’t going our way, even when we felt like we’d done nothing to deserve it. The LORD can absolutely take our honesty. Any seeking in the psalms of David easily identifies and proves that point. God knows our heart anyway. We might as well be truthful in our thoughts toward Him, just like we see Job doing in this passage. However, let us be cautioned to guard our tongues properly in this matter. Our testimony can be tarnished, and this can have devastating effects on those around us if we are not careful and sensitive with what comes out of our mouths. It is better to glorify and thank God in stressful situations even when we don’t totally understand what He is doing (Ephesians 5:20).

Verse to Memorize: Job 7:20

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 6

Job 6

-Job now answers Eliphaz with a heart rendering comeback that we can learn from. He starts with the fact that his grief is so heavy. Metaphorically he says that if it, along his calamity, were actually weighed and laid in the balances, it would be heavier than the sand of the seas. Anyone who has had to pick up a few sandbags know the gravity of this comparison. Job admits his words have been rash, but he felt like the attack of the Almighty was within him. He calls them arrows, and his spirit was drinking their poison. In fact, he states plainly, “The terrors of God are arrayed against me.” He considers the advice of his friend as tasteless food eaten without salt, or as he says, tasteless like the white of an egg. He refuses to touch these comments for “they are like loathsome food to me (Job 6:1-7).”

-Job prays that his request for death might come to pass. He is in such agony on this earth and longs for release. He longs for the afterlife in other words. He wishes God would “crush” him and “cut” him “off.” However, he contrasts everything with these pertinent words, “But it is still my consolation, and I rejoice in unsparing pain, that I have not denied the words of the Holy One.” This statement shows Job’s unwavering fortitude. In poetic fashion the solemn man now contemplates, “What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should endure?” He wondered whether or not his strength was as the strength of stones and his flesh like toughness of bronze. He questioned if his help was within him, and meditated on the question of his deliverance being driven from him (Job 6:8-13). He was in new territory, and his mind had many intriguing, disturbing, and deep thoughts. At least he was yielded to his Maker in this state of destitution.

-Then, he let his comrades know what he needed. This is sage counsel for us living in the modern era too. “For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend; so that he does not forsake the fear of the Almighty.” He goes on to call these brothers wadis (Definition- A dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream.), torrents which vanish, like when the ice melts or sudden rains hit and then are gone leaving behind dryness and no hope of sustaining water. He complains that his friends had seen terror and were afraid. He asked them, “Have I said, ‘Give me something,’ or ‘Offer a bribe for me from your wealth,’ or ‘Deliver me from the hand of the adversary,’ or ‘Redeem me from the hand of the tyrants’?” He had asked nothing of them. Now, he wanted them to teach him. He said he would be silent if they would only honestly show him how he’d erred. These honest words would be painful, but he wondered what their argument would prove. He admitted his words of despair belonged to the wind (quickly fading), but he indeed questioned their reproof. He maintained his innocence in all this asking them to look at him and see if he was being dishonest. He finishes this section with this, “Desist now, let there be no injustice; even desist, my righteousness is yet in it (or my righteousness still stands). Is there injustice on my tongue? Cannot my palate discern calamities (Job 6:14-30)?” What Job was maintaining was his relationship with God even in disaster. He truly was not guilty of the sins his friends were accusing him of, not that he was perfect.

-*Application* Have we considered how to help our friends in times of intense stress, trauma, or tribulation. Grief is a scary monster, and our kindness towards those going through it is paramount. Sometimes it is just best to be present and listen not taking too seriously what they may be saying. Those words in despair, as Job points out, “belong to the wind.” If we are careless with our words to those going through an extremely difficult time, we run the risk of turning their fear of the Almighty into outright anger and hatred towards God. These are times when there is much disillusionment, suffering, and confusion. Kindness is the best way to bring them back to where they need to be (Romans 2:4). Let’s be good counselors with all the consideration, compassion, and insight of the Scriptures.

Verses to Memorize: Job 6:10, 14

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 5

Job 5

-Eliphaz, one of the three friends of Job, continues his discourse in chapter five. He asks first in this pericope, “Call now, is there anyone who will answer you? And to which of the holy ones will you turn?” Then he postulates his observations. These include some proverbs, which he begins with: 1) anger slays the foolish man, 2) jealousy kills the simple, 3) the foolish take root (deep laziness gets entrenched and spreads), 4) the foolish man’s abode is cursed, 5) the foolish man’s sons are far from safety, 6) the foolish man is oppressed (literally- crushed) in the city gate, 7) the foolish man has no deliverer, 8) the foolish has his harvest devoured by the hungry and taken to a place of thorns, 9) the schemer is eager for other’s wealth, 10) affliction doesn’t come from the dust, 11) trouble doesn’t sprout from the ground, 12) man is born for trouble as sparks fly upward (Job 5:1-7).

-As for him, Eliphaz says that he would seek God and place his cause before Him. Then he proceeds to give some general truths about the LORD. God is described as doing great and unsearchable things, “wonders without number.” God gives rain on the earth and the fields thereof. He sets on high those who are lowly (James 1:9). He lifts those who mourn to safety (Matthew 5:4). The LORD frustrates the plotting of the shrewd, so that their hands will not attain success. The LORD captures the worldly wise by their own shrewdness. The advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted by God. Darkness overwhelms the cunning, and they grope around aimless at mid-day (noon) just like it was night. Great poetic play here. God saves the poor from the sword and the hand of the mighty. Therefore, the helpless have hope, and the unrighteous man must shut his mouth (Job 5:8-16).

-Eliphaz continues, “Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” God inflicts pain, but He is good to give relief. He wounds, but His Hands also heal. “From six troubles He will deliver you, even is seven evil will not touch you.” In times of famine, the LORD will redeem from death, and in war, He will keep from the power of the sword. The reproved man will be hidden from the scourge (showt- a whip) of the tongue. In other words, gossip won’t affect the person whom God has taken through His discipline. This man will not be afraid of violence when it comes. In fact, he will laugh at violence and famine, and wild beasts will not scare him. This person need not fear stones of the field (rock slides that could harm in that region) for he will be in league with them, and all the beasts of the field will be at peace with this one. The reproved of the LORD will have a secure tent and will fear no loss when he visits his abode. He will have many descendants; his offspring will be as the grass of the earth. He will even come to his grave in full vigor, “like the stacking of grain in its season.” Eliphaz concludes, “Behold this; we have investigated it, and so it is. Hear it, and know for yourself (Job 5:17-27).”  

-*Application* We too can observe and discern many things as we see the LORD’s interactions with mankind. We should obediently learn when God seeks to teach and correct us. We must understand that we are fallen creatures in desperate need of a Savior, Protector, and Higher Friend (1 John 4:14, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, John 15:14-15). Therefore, we should heed this counsel when it comes to the discipline and reproof of the Almighty. We should not despise it, but actually be happy about it because of what it produces, the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:5-13).

Verse to Memorize: Job 5:17

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 4

Job 4

-Eliphaz the Temanite answers his friend as this section gets underway after Job has poured out his heart in grief. We, as examiners of the text, must keep in mind that while some of Eliphaz’s statements contain truth, there is definitely some error mixed in as well (Job 42:7). This is important to ascertain. Eliphaz begins with counsel that is intended to help Job, but in some ways could be interpreted to be a harsh demonstration. He says that if one ventures to say a word with him, would he become impatient? It would be difficult to refrain from speaking in this situation. He retold how Job’s words had admonished man, strengthened weak hands, helped the tottering to stand, and strengthened feeble knees. But now (notice the stark contrast here), these things have come upon this righteous man, Job, and Eliphaz accuses him of becoming impatient in the process. Dismay has overtaken. Eliphaz rightly calls his friend back to reverence for God to be his confidence and the integrity of his ways his hope (Job 4:1-6).

-Eliphaz gives his observations as he questions Job. He asks, “Who ever perished being innocent?” and “Where were the upright destroyed?” According to what he has seen, only those who plow iniquity and sow trouble harvest it. He has only speculated, for he concludes, “By the breath of God they (sinners) perish, and by the blast of His anger they come to an end.” These, who he compares to roaring lions, have their teeth broken and are scattered by the Sovereign in such cases (Job 4:7-11).

-Now, Eliphaz continues, a word was brought to him stealthily as if by whisper. “Amid disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men,” dread had come upon him, which made his body tremble and all his bones shake. A spirit passed before his face making his hairs bristle up on his body. The spirit stood still, but he could not discern its appearance. There was a form before his eyes, there was silence, then he heard a voice, “Can mankind be just before God? Can a man be pure before His Maker?” The spirit continues, “He (the LORD) puts no trust even in His servants; and against His angels He charges error. How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before the moth!” The chapter concludes at this point with the spirit’s final words, “Between morning and evening they are broken in pieces; unobserved, they perish forever. Is not their tent-cord plucked up within them? They die, yet without wisdom (Job 4:12-21).”

-*Application* When friends try to pick us up in our down moments of life, we still need to use wisdom and discernment to know if this is a word from the Lord or someone else. Sometimes even the best intentions are not that helpful. Only counsel from the Living God in coordination with His Word (which can be found in the Bible) is absolute truth that we can count on. We must remember this when we find ourselves in these types of life situations. Fact is, with Christ on our side, we can be justified and pure before our Maker, and He does trust us with a call on our lives (Romans 5:1-10, 2 Corinthians 11:2, 1 John 3:3, 2 Timothy 1:9).

Verse to Memorize: Job 4:17

Monday, January 23, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 3

Job 3

-After the seven days of silence (see Job 2:13), Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth saying, “Let the day perish on which I was to be born, and the night which said, ‘A boy is conceived (life starts at conception proof here).’” He went on to languish that darkness was that day of this birth and that God above should not care for it, nor light shine on it. Darkness and black gloom had claimed his life; a cloud had settled on it and terrified it. This darkness had seized his birthday, and it should not rejoice among the other days (or months) of the year. He wished that night had been barren with no joyful shouts of his birth. Leviathan, the great sea monster, Job says to those professionals who bring up curses, should have been roused to swallow up the day of his birth. In short, he wished this day when the LORD opened his mother’s womb had never been created. Further, he wished that he had died at his birth. This would have been better than the things he was experiencing now. An infant death would have been much more quiet and peaceful in his mournful spirit’s perception to the things he was experiencing. He longs for the afterlife, where “the wicked cease from raging,” and where “the weary are at rest.” There, in the afterlife, “the prisoners are at ease together; they do not hear the voice of the taskmaster. The small and the great are there, and the slave is free from his master (Job 3:1-19).”  These are the whims of a man in deep sorrow and grief.

-He wonders why light is given to the one suffering, and “life to the bitter of soul.” This brings to mind John’s opening words of his gospel concerning Jesus (John 1:4-5). He longed for death, but there was none of that. He was, in his poetic words, digging for it (it being death, an ending to the suffering) more than for hidden treasures. He would exalt to see the grave in this grief-stricken state. He was being honest. He felt “hedged in” by God. He groaned at the sight of his food (appetite gone), and his cries poured out like water. Fear encompassed him, and what he dreaded had come about in life’s circumstances. He was not at ease (shalah- to be at rest, prosper, be quiet, be at ease), and he was not quiet (shaqat- a peaceful state, undisturbed). He was not at rest (nuwach- to rest, settle down and remain, to repose, have rest, be quiet); turmoil (rogez- turmoil, disquiet, raging, trembling, trepidation) had definitely come (Job 3:20-26).

-*Application* Any counselor will tell us that these are the classic stages of grief that Job was going through. After the initial shock of what had happened subsided, the gloom and feeling of doom was upon him. He was so troubled in his spirit that he wished the pain and agony were over for good. Life had no meaning or purpose to go forward. He felt betrayed by God, but he wouldn’t curse Him. That was the good news, and an example for us. Life was not appetizing, terrifying, and tumultuous. There was no rest, no peace, no hope, no joy for a season. When these feelings hit us, remember that God is taking us through no matter what. His care is still a fact, even when our emotions are volatile and erratic. Cling to Him in grief, just like Job did. God is faithful even when we are waffling.

Verse to Memorize: Job 3:26

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 2

Job 2

-There came another day when Satan appeared with the other sons of God (created beings) before the LORD of hosts. They presented themselves in subordination to the All-mighty. It is at this time the LORD asked Satan once more, “Were have you come from?” In poetic fashion, Satan answered, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” God asked the repetitive question, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity (important point here), although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.” Satan went further though, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put forth Your Hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your Face (another total lie here perpetuated by the adversary).” So the LORD gave more permissions, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life (Job 2:1-6).”

-Satan proceeded to go out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head. It was so painful, Job had to take a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes of his wailing and mourning. At this point his wife begins to chime in with negativity led by a demonic spirit, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” But, Job said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all his calamity Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:7-10).

-Now, Job had some friends, or what he thought were friends, who heard about all this adversity and came to him from their own place. There was Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made appointment together to come to their friend for sympathy and comfort. When they saw him at a distance and did not recognize him, they raised their voices and wept. Each of them tore their robe and threw dust over their heads toward the sky. Sorrow upon sorrow they observed in their friend. They sat down with Job on the ground for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking to him, “for they saw that his pain was very great (Job 2:11-13).”

-*Application* Maybe we can totally relate to Job’s condition. Physical and emotional torment is excruciating. Let’s think about the redeeming value in Job’s words today… “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” Let’s think about his enduring integrity and refusal to sin with his lips. We live in a “fix it quick” society that desperately tries to alleviate any pain or distress. Who wants to go through torture, right? The person who can handle the toughest times deserve a special place in God’s grace, mercy, and favor. We all can achieve that if we persevere. We can go one of two ways when tragedy hits, closer to God or further away. The choice is ours to make. What Satan means for evil, God means for good and the progress of His Kingdom (Genesis 50:20). The question becomes, how much can we bear? Thankfully, God promises not to lay on us any temptation that is too great for us to handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). So whatever we are going through, God has allowed it to bring us through it…stronger, more dependent, more wise, and more relational with Him. Praise God today for the trouble He allows to flow into our lives (Philippians 1:12; 3:8-15; 4:4-14).

Verse to Memorize: Job 2:10

Friday, January 20, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Introduction and Chapter 1

Job 1

-Introduction: Many Christians tend to shy away from the book of Job, not wanting to even have the thought of tragedy, trial, or trauma that encompasses this book. What those who to attempt to avoid it fail to realize is that Job is a hero with a true relationship with God and a double blessing in the end (Job 42:5, 10). We must keep this perspective in mind as we venture through this work that sees God enter the equation of evil to produce perfect good (evil + God = good). Job is considered by most scholars to be the oldest text in Scripture with events that probably occurred during the time of the patriarchs around 2000-1800 B.C.. Job is the first of the poetic books in the Hebrew Bible. The setting is in the land of Uz, more than likely located northeast of the Promised Land near desert land between Damascus and the Euphrates River. The purpose of this work is to demonstrate God’s sovereignty and the meaning of enduring faith on the part of mankind to come to “see” God (in other words, to know who He truly is, Job 42:5). It addresses the age-old question, “Why do the righteous need to suffer?” God always works through suffering, or going through the bad to get to the great. Defeat turns into victory, and mourning erupts into endless joy. These are the great themes of Job’s life for our application. Other themes include but are not limited to: 1) Satan’s attacks and the limits of his authority, 2) God’s goodness, greatness, testings, and wisdom, 3) Pride, 4) Defending innocence amidst accusation, 5) Dying to self, and 6) Trusting with endurance. The structure can be described as such: Job is Tested (Chapters 1 & 2), Three Friends Attempt to Answer Job (Chapters 3-31), Elihu Attempts to Answer Job (Chapters 32-37), God Answers Job (Chapters 38-41), and God Restores Job (Chapter 42). Job was a man who had it all, lost it, and regained it again through his faith and action in a loving God. Think deeply as we venture into this epic of God’s transcendent plan.

(Ideas extracted from “New American Standard Bible: Life Application Study Bible.” Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, pgs. 834-836)

-Chapter 1: Verse one gives us the setting for this epic in the land of Uz, which was presumably in the middle east somewhere near the Euphrates River in ancient times. Job is introduced as the prominent human character and is described as being “blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil.” He was a prosperous soul and a material giant. He was very wealthy with a listing of his assets in livestock and servants. In fact, he was the greatest man of all the men of the east. His sons would go and hold feasts, “each one on his day,” in their houses inviting their three sisters to eat and drink with them. Times were extremely good in other words. When the days of celebrating were over and had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them all, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offering for them, wanting to purify them just in case they had sinned and cursed God in their hearts. Job was a repentant man and extended intercession. Life and liberty seemed absolutely sublime in this man’s world. He was right with God, his family, and his provision (Job 1:1-5).

-“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.” These give us some indication Scripturally as to who the “host of Heaven” are (Nehemiah 9:6). They are created beings who answer to the LORD. The LORD now speaks to His inferior-counterpart, Satan, “From where do you come?” Lucifer answers Him, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The LORD proceeds to ask Satan a probing question that He knows all about (i.e. omniscient understanding of the end from the beginning), “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Satan, with his great deception and wrangled mind, responds, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your Face.” The accuser didn’t have full knowledge. We can see his limitations here for sure. The father of lies was certainly doing his thing, because Job never would curse God to His Face. The LORD calls Satan on his ignorance and enables in part, “Behold, all that he has in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” After this conversation, Satan departed from the presence of the LORD (Job 1:6-12). With this heightened tension, we can deduce that the enemy does, at least for this season, come into the presence of the LORD, since he is not yet in the abyss or the lake of fire (Revelation 20:1-3, 10).

-The devil does his dirty work, which was allowed by the LORD ultimately for a redemptive purpose, on the day when Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the oldest brother’s house. A messenger came to Job with news that the oxen, while they were plowing, and the donkeys, while they fed beside them, were attacked and taken by Sabean (of southwest Arabia) raiders, and the servants were slain by the edge of the sword. This messenger alone escaped with the grim news. While he was still speaking, another messenger came up with further catastrophe. God’s fire from heaven came down and burned up the sheep and the attending servants. This messenger alone survived to bring this to Job’s attention. While this one was still speaking, another came telling of how the Chaldeans (of the region north of the Persian Gulf) formed three bands and raided their camels, stealing them away and killing the attending servants too with the edge of the sword. This messenger alone made it back to tell of the calamity. But, the worst was yet to come. A final messenger came as the third one was still speaking telling Job that his own sons and daughters, while they were eating and drinking their wine, were killed when a great wind came from across the wilderness and blew down the four corners of the house. He alone escaped the storm to tell the deadly tale. “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head.” This was a cultural sign of intense mourning. He fell upon the ground and worshiped though saying, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the Name of the LORD.” The text next says this in defense of righteous Job, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.”

-*Application* It’s so easy to blame God when things don’t go our way and bad things occur. While it does go through His Hands for permission, it is His rebellious creation that has done the damage. It is never from Him, but He works it all together for a good ending for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, James 1:12-14). Let’s remember that today as we meditate on these deep things of the spiritual realm. Let’s be like Job in our fear of God, our righteous activities, our blameless ways, and our turning away from every evil thing. Let’s also keep lifting high the Name of the LORD even when He takes away. May we never blame God or sin in the times of suffering. Amen.

Verses to Memorize: Job 1:1, 22

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Haggai- Chapter 2

Haggai 2

-On the twenty-first day of the seventh month (Tishri, September-October on our calendar), the word of the LORD came again by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the remnant of the people saying, “Who is left among you who saw this Temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison?” But then, God told both Zerubbabel, Joshua, and all the people to “now take courage” and “work, for I am with you.” He reminded them of His promise made long ago when they came out of Egypt and that His Spirit “is abiding in your midst; do not fear!” This was an exhortive command in the jussive subjunctive framework by interpretation. God told them that He would, “Once more in a little while…shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.” He would “shake all the nations, and they will come with the wealth of all nations,” and the LORD of hosts declares He will, “Fill this House with glory.” “The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine.” The LORD maintains, and “The latter glory of this House will be greater than the former.” He assures to give peace in this place (Haggai 2:1-9). What a promising future, what encouragement, right? I take this to refer to the Millennial Kingdom when Christ will rule over this whole earth (Isaiah 61, Ezekiel 36:33-38, Revelation 20:6).

-On the twenty-fourth of the ninth month now (Kislev, November-December on our calendar), still in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Haggai a third time saying, “Ask now the priests for a ruling: If a man carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?” The priests answered from their Law, “No.” Then, Haggai went further, “If one is unclean from a corpse touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?” Now the priests said, “It will become unclean.” Now the prophet makes his point, “‘So is this people. And so is this nation before Me.’ Declares the LORD, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.’” The LORD warned them to again “consider from this day onward,” and “before one stone was placed on another in the Temple of the LORD” in an effort to bring them back to Him in repentance and obedience. Their sustenance had been withheld. They had been smitten with a blasting wind, mildew, and hail destroying every work of their hands, yet they neglected to turn properly to their Creator and Covenant Keeper. God once more asks them to “consider from this day forward” that from the day when His Temple was founded there was “seed still in the barn” including the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree, which had not borne fruit. Even so, God promised to bless them (Haggai 2:10-19).

-The LORD spoke for the second time that day, and forth time altogether, through Haggai specifically to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah. God was going to shake the heavens and the earth. He was going to “overthrow the thrones and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations;” and “overthrow the chariots and their riders.” The horses and their riders would also go down on that day in violence by the sword declared by the LORD. Zerubbabel was chosen as the servant of God to be made like a signet ring according to God’s decree (Haggai 2:19-23). In other words, this signet ring guaranteed authority and authenticity, which refers to the Messianic line (Matthew 1:12-13, Luke 3:27).

-*Application* In a sense, all of us who have trusted Jesus are chosen in His family line (Ephesians 1:4). Let us thank Him for allowing His great and magnificent promises to be fulfilled in us through the blood of Christ Jesus (Hebrews 13:20-21). Let’s resolve to place a higher priority on God’s work in comparison to our personal comforts. When we give Him first place in our lives, He will help us bear much fruit and give us strength and guidance for the journey (2 Chronicles 16:9, John 15:5, Psalm 73:26, John 16:13). His encouragement is enough.

Verses to Memorize: Haggai 2:17, 23

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Haggai- Introduction and Chapter 1

Haggai 1

-Introduction: Haggai is a prophet called to help the Jewish people complete the rebuilding of the Temple in the post exilic period following their first wave of return from Babylon. Haggai is a contemporary with the prophetic book of Zechariah, and just before the events of Ezra (Ezra 5:1) and Nehemiah in the history of Israel. When the people returned, they set about a rebuilding project right away under the approval of the Persian King Cyrus. Jerusalem had been destroyed in 586 B.C. with the invasion allowed by God of Nebuchadnezzar. In 538 B.C., Cyrus, during the time of Daniel, allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their place of worship, the Temple, back in Jerusalem. The work began, but it was not completed. They began with the right heart and attitude, but slowness of work and wrong behavior eventually halted the project. As the work came to a standstill, the LORD began to use men like Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, Joshua, the high priest, and Haggai, the prophet, to get the work completed. The work had halted in 530 B.C., but then work resumed after ten years or so in 520 B.C. This short Word is written specifically for the people of God who had returned from exile, but it has far reaching affects for all God’s people today. Its themes revolve around the ideas of right priorities and the LORD’s encouragement. Right priorities can be summed up with the key verse of the text, Haggai 1:4, which states, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this House (the Temple) lies desolate?” It is so easy to get sidetracked from Kingdom work and do our own things. If we are not careful, we build our own kingdom over God’s. God always wants us to follow through and build up His Kingdom first and foremost. Therefore, we cannot make excuses. We need to set our heart on God’s priorities in righteousness. Our problems are never the volume of demands or the lack of scheduling skills, but our values. Our values must line up with God’s ideals. When we are more concerned about our own needs over and above God’s will, we all suffer. We must consider our ways (Haggai 1:7-8). When it comes to the idea of encouragement, remember that God’s Holy Spirit is with us and the final victory is ours in Christ. Haggai instilled hope, assurance, and vitality that the Messiah would eventually reign. God’s resources are infinite and He will give us all we need to complete our assignments in life. So, don’t worry and don’t be afraid. Further, we should give others encouragement along the way to do the same.

(Ideas extracted from “New American Standard Bible: Life Application Study Bible.” Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, pgs. 1546-1547)

-Chapter 1: In the second year of Darius, who succeeded Cyrus the king, on the first day of the sixth month (Month of Elul, corresponds to August-September on our calendar), the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai to the governor of Judah, who was Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and to the high priest, who was Joshua, the son of Jehozadak. God was telling the people that it was time for them to get back to work on the His House, the Temple of Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and began to be rebuilt in 538 B.C. upon their return under Cyrus of Persia. It was now 520 B.C., and ten years since the people had done any work on the Temple. The LORD was fed up with His people’s lack of fortitude in the rebuilding of His place to dwell on earth (Ezekiel 43:7). Haggai relates God’s concerns, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this House lies desolate?” The LORD beckoned them to “Consider your ways!” The Jewish people had sown much, but harvested little. They had eaten, but without satisfaction. They had drunk, but it was not enough. They had put on clothes, but they were still not warm enough. The wages they earned were put into purses with holes. God said again, “Consider your ways!” He told them frankly that they needed to go up to the mountains and bring in wood to rebuild His Temple that He may be pleased with their human efforts and receive His deserved glorification. They had looked for much, but it had come to little. When they brought their stuff home, He blew it away. “Why?” the prophet asks by the Holy Spirit, “Because of My House which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.” In other words, their priorities were totally screwed up. They had only thought of themselves, and they had not given credit and glory to God even in their return from exile. The LORD goes on with His indictment, “Therefore, because of you the sky has withheld its dew and the earth has withheld its produce. I called for drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on what the ground produces, on men, on cattle, and on all the labor of your hands.” When the governor and high priest, men of influence, with all the remnant of the people heard these words, they obeyed the Voice of the LORD their God through Haggai the prophet, who was sent. “The people showed reverence for the LORD.” Then, Haggai, the one commissioned as a messenger of the LORD spoke again, “‘I am with you,’ declares the LORD.” The governor, the high priest, and all the remnant were stirred up by the LORD in their spirits to come and work on the House of the LORD of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month of that same year.

-*Application* How many times do we find ourselves struggling in want and perhaps even need? Just like the children of Israel, we can neglect the things of God and do our own thing to our detriment. We are wandering sheep who go astray (Isaiah 53:6). Resolve to establish and keep the right perspective and priorities with God at the forefront of every decision and action. Bless His holy Name. Do His work in His House first. Remember, now His Temple is in us, the believers (Romans 8:9-11, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 2 Timothy 1:14). This is where we will find success and every great blessing. God has a way of showing His favor when we put Him first. He also has a way of keeping us wanting when He is low on our list of priorities.

Verse to Memorize: Haggai 1:4

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bible Study Notes in John- Chapter 21

John 21

-Jerusalem was not the only place that the resurrected-glorified Savior appeared. Jesus manifested Himself also to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias (or the Sea of Galilee). Simon Peter, Thomas (or Didymus, the one who initially doubted, John 20:24-25), Nathanael of Cana, James and John (the sons of Zebedee, Mark 3:17), and two other disciples of Jesus were going fishing at the suggestion of Peter. They went out into the boat all night, but they caught absolutely nothing. When sun was coming up to begin a new day, Jesus stood on the beach, yet His disciples could not perceive that it was Him standing there. So, Jesus spoke to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They all replied, “No.” He spoke further, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” They cast in obedience and were so many fish they unable to haul them all in. Recognizing a repeat of a previous miracle (Luke 5:1-11), that disciple whom Jesus loved (probably John) remarked to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Peter realized this, he jumped out of the boat, again like a previous occasion (Matthew 14:22-33). He put his outer garments on and threw himself into the sea in excitement. The other disciples were more dignified. They came quickly to dock in the little boat, “for they were not far from the land,” only about 100 yards away or so. Plus, they had to drag in all the fish they’d just caught. When they arrived back on the land, they saw that a charcoal fire had already been started with fish placed on it, along with some bread. I’m sure this was a welcome sight for tired, hard-working eyes. Jesus commanded them to bring some of the fish they’d caught, so Peter went up and drew the full net of large fish to land (153 fish in fact). It was undoubtedly heavy, yet the net was not torn in this exercise. Jesus beckoned them now, “Come and have breakfast.” At this point, none of the disciples ventured to question Him any longer desiring to know who He was. It was quite apparent that this was the Lord. Jesus took the bread and gave it to them along with the fish. This, John says, was the third manifestation of Jesus to the disciples after He was raised from the dead (John 21:1-14).

-The discussion after breakfast turned pretty serious. Jesus questioned Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love (agapaō) Me more than these?” Peter responded that he loved him with a brotherly love (phileō). So, Jesus told him, “Tend My lambs.” Again, the Lord asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love (agapaō) Me?” Peter again replied with the same identification towards the Savior, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love (phileō) You.” Jesus said, “Shepherd My sheep.” Now came a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love (agapaō) Me?” By now Peter was grieved in his spirit and stated a third time, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love (phileō) You.” This time, Jesus said, “Tend My sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” Jesus prophetically spoke here, and John was remembering these words under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The Lord was signifying by what kind of death Peter would eventually endure, and then He said one more time, “Follow Me!” As Peter turned around, he saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. This was the one who leaned back on His bosom at the last supper before His death and asked who would betray the King (John 13:21-25). This seems to be the author, the Apostle John, from what comes next in the text. Peter asks, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus explained, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” This statement went out to the brethren that this disciple would not die, but it was a misnomer. Jesus did state he would not die, but only that it could be His will to do that if He desired. John now states that this is the disciple, who was by the time of the writing of this gospel very aged but still testifying to these remarkable things. Then comes some form of collaboration from others in the conclusion of the text, “and we know that his testimony is true.” They go on to relate, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written (John 21:15-25).”

-*Application*- Our job as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ is to follow Him and make disciples of people preaching His gospel (good news) into all the world (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15). The Lord is with us to keep writing new stories of His abundant love, truth, and grace. Keep believing, keep working, the Kingdom is alive and active! This is how we all can tend and shepherd His sheep.

Verse to Memorize: John 21:25

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bible Study Notes in John- Chapter 20

John 20

-On the first day of the new week, which would have been a Sunday according to our methods of tracking days, Mary Magdalene came early in the morning to the tomb while it was still dark outside. What she saw probably puzzled her immensely. The stone encapsulating the tomb had been taken away. So, in haste she ran and came to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, presumably John, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” Resurrection wasn’t even on her mind. She was thinking from a total natural perspective still at this point. The two disciples ran to the tomb immediately. The disciple whom Jesus loved got to the tomb first. I think John might have been doing a little bragging here J. He stooped in and saw that the linen wrappings were there, but he did not go in. Simon Peter then got there and went right on in to the tomb. He also observed the linen wrappings as well as the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ Head. It was not with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place all by itself. The other disciple then entered this tomb chamber. He saw and believed, but they both were yet to understand the Scripture, that Jesus must rise again from the dead (John 20:1-9).

-After these things, the disciples went away back to their homes where they were staying. But, Mary stayed behind, standing outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she stooped and peered into the tomb. What caught her eye now was amazing! She saw two angels in white sitting at the Head and Feet, where the Body of Jesus had been lying. They spoke to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She replied that they had taken away her Lord, and that she didn’t know where He was. “When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but did not know that it was Jesus.” The Lord spoke to her, perhaps with a covering on His Head, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She initially thought Him to be the gardener of the area they were in. She replied, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus spoke again, “Mary!” She now perceived and called out to Him, “Rabboni (which means Teacher)!” Jesus remarked to her to stop clinging on to Him. He had important work to do in ascending to the Father. Instead, He wanted her to go to His brethren with this joyful news, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.” Mary Magdalene came back announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and she joyfully and adamantly told them all these things that had transpired (John 20:10-18).

-As time kept rolling along on that first Resurrection Day, evening came. The doors of the place were shut where the disciples were staying, “for fear of the Jews.” All of a sudden, Jesus came and stood in their midst with His glorified Body. He said to them, “Peace be with you.” After He spoke these few words, He showed them His Hand and His side. The understatement of the chapter comes next, “The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” Again, He said to them, “Peace be with you.” Then, He went on, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” When He said these things, which He had actually spoken previously (John 17:18), He breathed on them and stated, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained (John 20:19-23).” I’m sure the disciples were ready to conquer now. They had witnessed the risen Savior.

-One of the disciples was not there with them when Christ appeared. This was Thomas, otherwise known as Didymus. The other disciples were telling him about the Lord’s appearance, but Thomas had his doubts, “Unless I see in His Hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Eight days later (that’s a pretty long time, right?), His disciples were again inside now along with Thomas. Jesus came back, through the shut doors, and stood in their midst once again saying, “Peace be with you.” He directed His attention to the doubting disciple, “Reach here with your finger, and see My Hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Dumbfound I’m sure, Thomas answered, “My Lord and my God!” He too had seen the resurrected Messiah. Jesus now taught a valuable lesson for us all, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” John tells us that Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of the disciples from that point, which were not written in his book. “But these things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His Name (John 20:24-31).”

-*Application*- We humans are pretty dense in the faith department sometimes, aren’t we? John continues to make the case for belief in his text. Jesus expects us to believe, that’s the simple truth. Completely trust His words and His actions. Also, be quick to accept the testimony of Spirit-filled followers of Christ who have seen His mighty works. Don’t be a doubting Thomas. Jesus is alive!

Verse to Memorize: John 20:31

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bible Study Notes in John- Chapter 19

John 19

-Pilate took Jesus after the events detailed in the previous chapter and scourged Him. This was a relentless beating from barbarians that killed many who were not strong. Jesus was tough, and endured this torture. The soldiers mocked Him, the King of the Universe, by weaving a crown of thorns and putting it on His Head. They also arrayed Him in a purple robe and came ridiculing Him in His desecrated state, “Hail, King of the Jews!” At the same time, they gave Him blows to His Face. The very hands He created were beating Him mercilessly. Soon, Pilate came back out to the Jews and said, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” Then, Jesus came out before them wearing His crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate spoke, “Behold, the Man!” When the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate told them they could go and kill Him by crucifixion themselves since he found no guilt in Him. The Jews weren’t through however. They answered, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.” Upon hearing this statement, the author tells us that Pilate grew even more afraid. He entered the Praetorium again, and said to the Lord, “Where are You from?” But, Jesus gave him no response. Pilate became somewhat indignant, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus once again overcame in the moment with total self-control in answering, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin.” This comment prompted Pilate to make even more efforts to release the Christ, but the Jews were having none of this. They completely denied their covenant God by stating, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.” Jesus was brought out and sat down on the judgment seat at the place called “the Pavement,” in Hebrew, “Gabbatha.” It was the day of preparation for the Passover, about the sixth hour (around 6am Roman time), when Pilate shouted out, “Behold, your King!” The riled-up throng cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests, the ones ordained to keep the Law of the LORD including the one about having no other gods but Yahweh, made their answer, “We have no king but Caesar (John 19:1-15).”

-At this point, Pilate gave up the Messiah to the Jews to be crucified for the sins of all mankind. They took Jesus, and He went out carrying His cross to the place called “the Place of a Skull,” in Hebrew, “Golgotha.” There is where He was crucified, along with two other men on either side of Him. Pilate wrote an inscription and put it on the cross for all who passed by to see. It read in three languages (Hebrew, Latin, and Greek), “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.” The chief priests of the Jews were ticked off about this inscription. They wanted it to read “He said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’” But, Pilate was immovable on this, “What I have written I have written.” The soldiers who crucified the Lord took His outer garments as a commodity and made four parts, a part for every soldier. But, when it came to His tunic (the garment worn next to the skin), it had only one woven piece with no seams. Not wanting to rip this piece up, they decided to cast lots for it to find a winner for the prize. They didn’t know it, but they were fulfilling Messianic prophecy, “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots (Psalm 22:18).” Now, standing by the cross where Jesus died were His mother, Mary, and His aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, along with Mary Magdalene, whom He had cast out seven demons (Luke 8:2). When Jesus saw His mother and near by a man whom most scholars believe to be the author, John, called here “the disciple whom He loved,” He exclaimed, “Woman, behold, your Son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour, this disciple took Mary into his own household for well-being and care. With this final task now completed of taking precaution for the sustenance of His earthly mother, Jesus spoke on His own behalf, “I am thirsty.” Beside the cross was a jar full of sour wine. So, they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop (a purifying symbolism here, see Exodus 12:22, Leviticus 14:4-6, 49-52, Psalm 51:7, Hebrews 9:19) and brought it up to His mouth. When Jesus received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” He bowed His Head and gave up His Spirit (John 19:16-30).

-Now, the text examines the care of the Lord’s Body post death. The Jews, realizing it was the day of preparation for a high-holy day, did not want bodies to remain on the cursed crosses for the Sabbath. They asked Pilate that their legs might be broken to speed up the process of death by asphyxiation, a most gruesome way to die (the process of dying by crucifixion has been known to last days, read Psalm 22 for basically a medical journal on the throes of this type of death). They wanted to take the bodies away before sundown, which would be the start of the holy day. The soldiers broke the legs of the two men on opposite sides of Jesus, but coming upon the Messiah, they saw that He was already dead (proof of His bodily cessation). This also fulfilled prophetic Scripture. They had no need to break His legs, but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear producing a flow of blood and water from His Being. John, who bore witness to these things, truthfully relates this for the purpose of faith citing the prophetic texts (Psalm 34:20, Zechariah 12:10). After these things happened, Joseph of Arimathea, whom John describes as being a disciple of Jesus in secret for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate for permission to take away the body of Christ, which was granted. Nicodemus also reappears in the narrative offering us hope that he had become a believer according to the witness Christ had presented back in John 3. He brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes of about 100 pounds in weight. They took the Body of Jesus and bound it linen wrappings with the spices, as was the burial custom of the Jews. In the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and Joseph of Arimathea happened to own a new tomb there (Matthew 27:60). No one had ever been laid in this tomb hewn out of the rock in what was probably a quarry from Herod’s Temple area building project. They laid Jesus here on account of the Jewish day of preparation and its proximity to the area where Jesus had been slain (John 19:31-42).

-*Application*- This passage is a stark reminder of the pain and suffering that obedience requires when breaking the curses of this wicked world. This passage today calls us to meditate on the love of Jesus Christ even in our fallen condition. God didn’t just curse the world and go on His way. He sent His only begotten and beloved Son to come and pay the price for our redemption, and this was a terrible price to pay. The agony of which, we have a hard time even fathoming. If He loves us that much, shouldn’t we extend that love to others, even when they persecuted us? Don’t retaliate, embrace. Don’t get vengeance, seek restoration. This is the mind of Christ. Finish the course (John 19:30, 2 Timothy 4:7).

Verse to Memorize: John 19:30

Friday, January 6, 2017

Bible Study Notes in John- Chapter 18

John 18

-Now that Jesus had completed all He wanted to say to His disciples before His crucifixion, He went forth to complete His mission in giving the world a chance for salvation. He led His disciples out of Jerusalem over the ravine down through the Kidron Valley, which borders the Holy City on the south and east, and came to the base of the Mount of Olives, where there was a garden. This was the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36, Mark 14:32). In other gospel accounts we can read about the prayers of the Savior at this critical juncture (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46). Judas, knowing that this was the place where the Lord took His disciples to meet and pray often, now received a Roman cohort and certain officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They came to Jesus there with lanterns and torches and weapons preparing for a fight. But the Messiah, with full knowledge of what was about to come upon Him, went forth and asked them, “Whom do you seek?” They flat-out told Him, not fully knowing what He looked like, “Jesus the Nazarene.” The Lord acknowledged that He was the One they were looking for. Judas was standing there with this cohort and the officers siding with the enemy now. When Jesus made this comment, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the earth. Not sure if this was their astonishment or the power of the Living God here, but it is remarkable. Seeing this Jesus remarked again, “Whom do you seek?” Again, they responded, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus told them once more that He was the man they were looking for, and He asked that the rest be let to go their own way in freedom. They had done nothing wrong. This fulfilled another prophecy in the incarceration period (John 17:12). Jesus had not lost one to senseless violence. This point was exacerbated with Simon Peter’s next move. He had a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant in the ear cutting it off. This slave’s name was Malchus, as John personifies, but Jesus rebuked His disciple for this useless assault, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” In another part of Scripture, we see in this account that Jesus actually healed the slain man’s ear in His last known miraculous healing of another (Luke 22:51). Nonetheless, “the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him (John 18:1-12).”

-The Lord was led to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was the high priest for that particular year. Caiaphas had been the one who advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people. This prophetic word was far more apropos than he undoubtedly realized. Of the disciples, Simon Peter and another disciple were following to see what would occur. This other disciple was known to the high priest and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest. However, Peter was left standing at the door outside, but the other disciple was able to get Peter access, and he later came in. There was a certain slave-girl, who kept the door there. Upon seeing him, she exclaimed, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?” Peter began to fulfill the Christ’s former words, “I am not (John 14:38).” Further, there were more slaves and the officers standing in the area where Peter was warming themselves by a charcoal fire. It was cold outside in this mountainous city, and they were all warming themselves up. As this was occurring, the high priest questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching. Jesus, knowing that He was now on enemy turf, purported, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the Temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.” As Jesus said this, one of the nearby officers struck Him in rebuke, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” Jesus responded, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” After this Annas sent the Lord, still bound, to Caiaphas, the high priest. Simon Peter was still standing close by warming himself by the fire, and those with him asked, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied a second time, “I am not.” Then a relative of Malchus, whom Peter had attacked earlier by cutting off his ear, noticed this man, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” When Peter denied his Savior a third time just as Jesus had predicted, “immediately a rooster crowed (John 18:13-27).” Though it doesn’t state it in this gospel text, Jesus looked at him, and Peter proceeded to go out in remorse for what he’d done and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:75, Luke 22:61-62).

-Jesus was now led from a night of captivity in the house of Caiaphas into the Praetorium on the northeast side of the Temple Mount area. It was early on this Friday morning, which is now known as “Good Friday” by Christians. It is noted that the Jews would not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled and be able to eat the Passover. Because of this, Pilate, the Roman in command of the area, went out to them asking what accusations they brought against this Man. They assured him that this individual was an evildoer; otherwise, they wouldn’t be bothering him at all. Pilate wanted them to take Him and judge Him according to their own Jewish law, but there was a problem. They wanted to put Jesus to death, and for that, they had to get Roman permission. This too was in fulfillment of the prophetic words of the Lord as to how the Christ would die (John 12:32). Romans were notorious for crucifying their dissenters, and the Jewish system would have had Him stoned to death. Now, things were getting serious. Pilate summoned Jesus after entering back into the Praetorium and asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus, still as witty as ever, answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” Pilate responded, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” Jesus began to teach the man He created, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If My Kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My Kingdom is not of this realm (literally, not from here).” Pilate therefore said, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered him, “You say correctly that I am a King. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears (comprehends) My Voice.” Pilate now ponders an all-time question, “What is truth?” And when he had said this in his mixed-up, cowardly mind, he went out again to the Jews and proclaimed, “I find no guilt in Him.” He then acquiesced to a tradition among this culture of releasing one criminal at the time of Passover. This, he figured, would be his way out since he knew that the Jews were simply envious of this newcomer professing to be the Messiah (Matthew 27:18, Mark 15:10). But, when he asked the crowd who had gathered there if they wished for the King of the Jews to be released, they cried out again, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Barabbas was a thief, an insurrectionist, a murder, and notorious (Matthew 27:16, Mark 15:7, Luke 23:19), but they wanted him excused and Jesus sacrificed (John 18:28-40). This would soon happen as the perfect and divine will of the Father.

-*Application*- Notice how Jesus’ calmness defused a potentially violent situation. Notice too His incredible wisdom in the face of great intimidation and threat. Here was a Man who was in total and absolute control of the situation. In other words, He demonstrated extraordinary peace during conflict. But, what we should grasp most out of this passionate part of the Bible is the willing and sacrificial Servant that Jesus became on our behalf so that we could realize the truth about God’s love for mankind. He truly emptied Himself (Philippians 2:5-8). Thank the Messiah today for His paying the ultimate cost for our redemption. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me (John Newton).”

Verses to Memorize: John 18:36-38

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bible Study Notes in John- Chapter 17

John 17

-Jesus now offers up prayers for Himself, His disciples, and future believers through the disciples’ word in this chapter, which could be entitled “The High Priestly Prayer.” He begins with asking the Father to glorify His Son so that the Son could glorify Him. This continues the acknowledgement that the gospel writer has previously established that there is a complete unity in the Godhead as well as we will see in His followers by faith. In other words, we are all one, bound together in this spiritual body of righteousness. Jesus expresses that the Father has given His Son authority over all flesh, “that to all whom You (the Father) have given Him (the Son), He may give eternal life.” Then another profound statement is offered in this prayer, “This is eternal life, that they may know (relationally) You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Jesus proclaimed that He glorified His Father on the earth having accomplished the “work,” which He had been given to do. Now Jesus asks that He be glorified together with the Father with the glory which He had with Him before the world was created (John 17:1-5). This teaches us about the eternality of the Messiah. He is self-existent, timeless, and authoritative, just like His Father (John 1:1-5).

-Jesus now begins to pray for His disciples in a powerful way. Christ had manifested the Name of the Father to the men the LORD had given Him out of the world. They were marked out by the Sovereign and given to the Son, and they had been faithful to keep His word. They had come to know that everything the Father had given the Son was from Him alone. The Messiah had given them His words, and they received them and truly understood them as coming forth from the Father of Lights (illumination). They had believed in the sent One from God. Jesus asks for these things on their behalf (intercession), not on behalf of the unbelieving world, but on those who did have faith in the Son of God given by the Father. He prayed again that all things that were His, were the Father’s, and all things that were the Father’s, were His, plus He had been glorified in them. He said, “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your Name, the Name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.” The Christ had kept them in the Name of the Father while He was with them, and He guarded them so that none of them perished except the “son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled (Psalm 41:9).” Jesus comes to the Father and speaks these words so that their joy may be made full. He had given them His word and now the world hated them because they were not like the lost and dying world. They had become just like Jesus, strangers in a strange land. They were not where they belonged. They were now spiritual pilgrims passing through bound for their glory in Heaven, the Kingdom of God. However, for prudence’s sake, Jesus asks the Father not to take them out of this world, but to deliver them from the evil one. He goes further asking the LORD the sanctify them in the truth, proclaiming, “Your word is truth.” Just as the Father had sent His Son into the world, now the Son was sending His followers into the world, sanctified with the truth and set free from sin and the cares of this world (John 17:6-19)

-Jesus did not ask on behalf of these alone, but for all those (which includes us here today) who would believe in Him through the word of their testimony. He prayed that these would all be one; even as the Father and Son were in each Other, “that they also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” The Lord actually wanted to give His people the same glory that He had been given from the Father, “that they may be one,” just as the Father and Son were one. This is a remarkable prayer when we meditate on it. This, as Jesus continued, would give perfection in unity, so that the world would see that the Son was sent from the Father and loved all His dear children with an agape exactly the same as that given to the Son. Jesus petitioned the Father that His followers be with Him in intimacy where He was and actually see His glory that the LORD had given Him. Jesus said this love by the Father for Him was even before the foundation of the world, and though the world has not known Him, He had known and revealed the Father to humanity, especially those who had believed the message and His sending. Final analysis, Christ had made the Father’s Name known to them, and He would continue to make it known through the witness of His disciples with their coming filling by the Holy Spirit. The true love that was in the Godhead would be in all believers as Christ was indeed IN them (John 17:20-26).

-*Application*- C.S. Lewis has stated that we must conclude that Jesus Christ is either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. What are we to make of this mystical union of which Jesus speaks of here in this passage? Is it really possible that God would love His creation to the point that He would indwell the believer and radiate His glory through a once fallen being? Does He really want total and perfect unity with us? If we believe in Him through His word, then all of these things are actually possible. His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). Let’s thank God for those who proceeded us that were faithful to deliver this Word, including of course the Apostle John in his faithful writing of the biblical text. These words from our Savior are golden. We should treasure them and live by them. Christ IN us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Verse to Memorize: John 17:3, 20-21

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Bible Study Notes in John- Chapter 16

John 16

-Jesus begins this chapter of His continued dialog with His disciples just before His incarceration and looming crucifixion with this specified purpose, “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.” He knew the future and was preparing His faithful followers for what was about to happen. He did not want to lose a single soul. They would be cast out of the synagogue, just like the blind man the Lord had healed (John 9:34). They would be killed by people thinking, in error, they were offering a service unto God. The Messiah warned of the coming storm because of the rejection that would be out of ignorance. These people who professed to be religious did not know the Father or the Son. Jesus called His disciples to remember these things which He spoke. They could not have borne this information earlier, but now they had to handle this truth. The moment was huge. Jesus told them figuratively that He was going to Him who sent Him. Because of this, His disciples were filled in heart with sorrow. But Jesus made an encouraging statement that they did not comprehend initially, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (the Holy Spirit) will not come to you (indwelling form); but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” He had much more to tell them, but in His omniscience, He knew they could not bear any more at that time. However, He again assured them that the Holy Spirit was coming as the Spirit of truth to guide them into all veracity based on the Father’s will for what was to come. The Spirit would be sent speaking the words of God by what He hears and not of His own initiative. This was just like Christ’s ministry, but it would be multiplied into every believer. A new age was coming. The Holy Spirit would glorify Jesus and take care of the Messiah’s people disclosing everything needed (John 16:1-15).

-Jesus was teaching vast Trinitarian doctrine here, but these things were difficult to understand for these 1st Century believers. Jesus’ oxymoron comment, “A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me” confounded His disciples leading them to ask what this could possibly mean. They did not have a clue as to what He was talking about; although, we can now easily recognize it as the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah with the consequential manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Jesus perceived that they wished to question Him and stated, “Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me’? Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.” Then He related this to a woman in childbirth. She has intense pain as her hour comes, but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish she had suffered because of the joy that has been brought into the world. He reinforced the fact that while they would have grief for a time, He would surely see them again and that their hearts would rejoice with no one to ever take that feeling away. In that day, Jesus said, they would not question anything any longer, and if they asked anything in the Son’s Name before the Father, He would grant it. Up until that point, they had not asked anything in Jesus’ Name, but He told them to ask so that they would receive and that their joy would be made full. He acknowledged His speech was in figurative language, but now He would tell them plainly about the Father. God loved them because they had loved His Son and believed that He came forth from the Father. Jesus said, “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.” His disciples now responded, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.” Jesus now concludes, “Do you now believe? Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:16-33).”

-*Application*- We too often misinterpret or have misunderstandings about things of a spiritual nature when it comes to the pain of waiting, or intense times of suffering. As Matt Thiessen of Reliant K has said, “When a nightmare finally does unfold, perspective is a lovely hand to hold.” In times of struggle, it is essential to take these words of the Master and hold on to them. Our joy will be unspeakable, and the blessings will soon give birth as we believe in the Name of Jesus to full effect. So have peace and take courage my friends. Enjoy the ride through this world in perfect trust of the One who has overcome it. The way of the cross is redemption. It is all part of His plan. Sorrow may be in the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Verse to Memorize: John 16:33