Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17
Read the “0610 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Then Job answered and said, How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?” (Job 19:1 & 2)
You didn’t have to read long this morning to find a great truth from today’s passage. Job is in the middle of the discourse with his three ‘friends’ who are accusing him of all kinds of wickedness; adding sorrow on top of sorrows. He is already as low as he can go, but these guys continue to beat him and kick him when he is down; and their weapons are their tongues.
“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. … But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:6, 8 )
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)
The Bible has so much to say about the deadly nature of the tongue. Why are we so quick to run our mouths when God tells us very plainly that we are to be slow to speak. We all could avoid much of our problems with our mouth by simply not saying anything unless it is absolutely necessary, or unless we are sure we are saying something that is edifying. If we have to speak at all maybe it would be best if we paused and prayed about what would be the best thing to say.
Job’s friends were not helping him at all; they were making him worse. Remember, the purpose for their visit was to ‘comfort’ him. Maybe they should have just listened to him; even let him vent a little. Maybe, I should try the same thing. As a pastor I need to learn to listen more; pray before speaking; and, as much as possible, tell people what God said instead of what I think.
Lord, help me not to kill or maim any more people with my tongue.
Posted in Thoughts from Job by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Today’s Reading – Job 15 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51
Read the “0609 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.” (Job 16:2)
The story of Job in the Bible has always fascinated me. I have always loved hearing messages preached about his life. For those of you who attend our church, the “Hast thou retained thine integrity?” message is one of the all-time greats. To think that a man could go from being ”the greatest of all the men of the east” as the Bible calls him, to having nothing in just a matter of hours, and still praise God through all of it just boggles my mind. I have often wondered what it was that made Job such a “perfect and upright” man. Was it the fact that he gave his tithes and offerings faithfully? Maybe. Was it the fact that he cared so much about his family and their spiritual condition? Could be. Or maybe did God just like him better than anyone else at the time? God is not a respecter of persons, but who knows? Maybe He did favor him. He obviously blessed him with a lot. But as I read these few chapters a thought jumped out at me. Job is right smack in the middle of the absolute worst time in his life, and here come his ”friends.” They go on and on about why they think this is all happening to Job. And right in the middle of it, I noticed verses 19-20 of chapter 16. And, I may be wrong, but I think these couple verses may be the secret to Job’s “success” as a man of God. The verses say – “And now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high. My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.” Job cared about what God thought, and ONLY about what God thought. He said ‘my witness is in heaven’ , and ‘ my record is on high.’ He knew that God knew everything that was going on. He knew that God knew his heart and his intentions with everything he did in his life. He knew that God knew that his tithes and offerings, his service to God, and his love for his family was out of his love and devotion to God. It had nothing to do with ANYONE else. So, when the chips were down, and everything went down the drain, he didn’t go running to his friends or anyone else. He went to God. He brought his tears to God. He knew that when things were good, it was God. When things were bad, it was God. And he praised God through it all.
As Christians we need to see that everything that happens to us, good or bad, comes from the Lord. He loves us more than we can ever know. He has a plan for our lives, and we need to trust Him and Him alone. When the chips are down, our friends won’t always be there. Sometimes even our family won’t be there. But God is always there. He never turns His back on us…who are we to turn our backs on Him?
Posted in Guest Posts, Thoughts from Job by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Today’s Reading – Job 12 – 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2
Read the “0608 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read another post from this passage – “Wisdom“
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15)
In this statement we see Job’s declaration of faith in God. Though Job certainly has not figured out why God has allowed all of this tragedy to come into his life, he plainly declares here that no matter what God does to him (or allows to be done to him), he will continue to trust Him. When you and I read this book of the Bible it is easy for us, from the perspective of history, to identify with what Job has stated here. But think for a minute with me. If it were you or me going through what Job went through, how would we be feeling about God? If God were to allow us to lose everything all at once; and then to have excruciating physical pain be placed on top of it all, how would we react? Could we say, truthfully, “yet will I trust in Him”?
A few years back, I watched a movie / documentary called Amish Grace about the Nickle Mines tragedy in Lancaster, PA. The movie recounts the true story of a troubled man who went into an Amish school house, shooting 10 little girls and killing 5 of them. The amazing thing is that the Amish people chose to trust God’s wisdom in allowing what happened. Though it was very painful; though it took a little time for all of them to come to this decision, they chose to forgive the man that shot their children. This was certainly a modern day picture of what Job went through. These Amish folks did not understand why God had allowed it to happened, yet they continued to keep their trust in the Lord.
Most of the time I feel that my faith is so weak, I doubt whether it could stand up to such intense suffering. I guess it will have to be the grace of God that will sustain me through the dark days that seem to find their way into every believer’s life at one point or another. I know that difficult days lie ahead for me as well. I want to be prepared for them by getting so close to God that it will be easier to trust Him when it doesn’t seem like He is even there.
I also wanted to make a comment about the second half of verse 15. Job says that he will maintain [his] ways before him (God). I believe what Job was saying here is that though he was being severely tested by the Lord, he was still going to continue to do what he had always done. In other words, he wasn’t going to quit. He was going to keep on living for the Lord through the difficult trial. I know that when we are going through trials in life it can be very difficult to “maintain” your walk with the Lord, but it is especially important to stay close to God during the tough times. Don’t quit.
Posted in Thoughts from Job by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1
Read the “0607 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.” – (Job 9:32-33)
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” – (1 Timothy 2:5)
The word “daysman” in verse 33 of chapter 9 literally means a mediator. Job is lamenting because there is no one to bridge the gap between the righteous and holy God, and a sinner like himself. He already stated in verse 20 that he could not justify himself. God became man in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as the God-man he came to justify sinners like Job, and you and me also. He was the go-between, the mediator, the one who came between God and men, so that men could come into the presence of an holy God.
Consider some of these verses regarding what Christ accomplished for us when He came to earth as a man and died for our sins:
“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” – (Matthew 27:50-51)
The veil in the temple separated men from God; but through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus, the veil was removed. Notice that the veil was torn from the top to the bottom, signifying that it was God that removed the veil that once kept man from Him.
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Jesus was, and is, fully God, yet also fully man. He understands what it is like to be tempted, because he experienced it; yet without sin. He, as our great high priest, went before us and opened up a door for us to now boldly enter into the presence of God. We can now enter into God’s presence through “the Door”; through “the Way”; through Christ.
There has always been a “daysman”, even in Job’s time; but Job may not have understood it at the time. Praise God, however, we definitely have one that we can know today!
Posted in Thoughts from Job by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Read the 0606 Evening and Morning post by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “The Chastening of the Almighty“
“Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?” (Job 6:24-25)
In our passage this morning we read the conversation betweeen Job and his friends. In chapter 5, we read the continuation of what was said by Eliphaz to Job, and in chapters 6 – 7, we see Job’s reply. These friends of Job came to comfort him because of the anguish that he was experiencing. I believe that they were sincere in what they were trying to do because they waited for a full week with Job without saying anything. I think that they really wanted to help him, but I am also sure that they did not understand what Job was going through, nor did the have a clu as to why this was happening to him. They assumed that Job was receiving punishment for something that he had done. Our friends and family members oftentimes do not know how to react when we are going through the dark days. When you get down to it, it is really impossible for people outside of our situation to completely identify or understand what we are going through. Sometimes when people try to help, they can often cause more trouble for us with the things that they say. I guess we often ask for the added problems because we so desire to have the fellowship of people around us, especially when we are hurting.
My advice to you that are hurting right now is to try to understand the lack of understanding on the part of your “encouragers”. Try to appreciate their motivation to help you, but don’t be too frustrated by the help itself. Understand also that you may be the one who is not seeing things clearly and the people who are trying to help you might just be right about what they are saying, though you may not want to hear it.
My advice to you who would try to encourage those that are hurting is that you would be slow to judge, and slow to speak. Give a listening ear and let them vent a little; let them cry on your shoulder for a while. There will eventually come a time when they will need to move forward but give them a little space to see what God is doing their lives. Remember, someday it will be you that is going through the valley and you will be glad that there are others around you who are patient and understanding with you.
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11)
Posted in Thoughts from Job by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Today’s Reading – Job 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Read the “0605 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” (Job 2:9-10)
Good morning. Job just lost his livestock, his seven sons and three daughters, and now he lost his health. It would have been easy for Job to heed what his wife was saying: to curse God and die. That would be the easy way out. But life happens. If you were to look at the cover of my old Bible, the one that has gone missing, you would see my name and my verse. It’s John16:33.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John16:33)
Like I said, life happens. And in this world ye shall have tribulation. Notice it is not written: MAY have tribulation, but SHALL have tribulation. Life happens, and it’s made up of good times as well as bad times. If you look at life in America today, it is easy to get discouraged. The Bible gives us the answer, and shows us how not to be discouraged.
1) God is in control.
“Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” (Job 1:9-11)
“And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” (Job 2:4-7)
God has the devil on a leash. Satan can’t make a move unless God allows it. What ever you are going through, good or bad…
2) God can make it all good.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
If we know this, then everything will work out in the end, and God gets all the glory.
“On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever; Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing.” (Nehemiah 13:1-2)
3) If you have God, you have everything.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” (Psalm 37:23-25)
God upheld Job with His hand. Job trusted in the Lord, and the Lord did not forsake him. And what was the result?
“And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days.” (Job 42:10-17)
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 2 comments.
Today’s Reading – Esther 6 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25
Read the “0604 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.” – (Esther 9:5 )
“But the other Jews that were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey,” – (Esther 9:16)
“So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.” – (Esther 7:10)
In today’s reading we read about the destruction of Haman, his family, and all others who would try to hurt the people of God. Remember, in the previous chapters we read how that Haman had a carefully devised plan to have all of the Jews in the Kingdom of Persia put to death. He even built a special gallows to have Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, displayed on. His plan ended up destroying only him and his kind; and he ended up being hung on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. He not only got back what he gave to others, he got back far more than he gave. The lost world will reap far more in this life, and especially in eternity, what they have sown.
Christians today need to remember that the principle of sowing and reaping still exists. Thank the Lord as God’s children, because of His wonderful grace, we won’t reap nearly the amount of judgment as compared to the sin that we have sown; but we will reap some in this life. However, we can also reap back a lot of good if we sow it. As the people of God today, we should be concerned with sowing love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness to the people around us. I am sure that there will be times when we will want to have those things come back to us. And the beautiful thing is that the Christian will reap much more in eternity than what he has sown in this life. The Bible indicates that the rewards in heaven, and to some degree, even in this life, are multiplied exceedingly.
Posted in Thoughts from Esther by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19
Read the “0603 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read a previous post from this passage – “It’s a God Thing“
“Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” (Esther 5:13)
My attention this morning is turned toward Haman, a wicked lost man that was highest ranking prince in the administration of King Ahasuerus of Persia. This man had a prestigious position, second only to the king. According to the Book of Esther he had a family and friends. No doubt, he had wealth. It could easily be said that this man had all that any man could ask for. He was a rising star in the kingdom. Yet, none of that mattered to him, because he was consumed with hatred toward the Jewish people in general, and specifically toward Mordecai. All of the things that should have brought joy and happiness to this man were of no avail, because all that Haman could think about was Mordecai. He was obsessed, consumed with hatred and bitterness toward another human being. Stupid!
King Saul also comes to mind as another insecure man consumed with hatred and jealousy. Of course, his problem was with David, a young man who had done nothing but faithfully serve his king. Saul’s obsession with David became so acute, he spent all of Israel’s resources trying to find David to put him to death. What a shame!
Unfortunately, this type of situation is very prevalent among believers today. I have observed individuals who were also consumed with jealousy or bitterness toward another. Their entire life seemed to revolve around the object of their obsession. Their thoughts were filled with the person that they were bitter towards, and every conversation they had would eventually turn into a gossip session regarding their enemy. All of this served to rob them of the happiness that they should have been enjoying in an abundant life.
Christian, is there someone you just can’t stop thinking about (in a bad way)? Is there a person out there in the world that has become the object of your obsession? The bitterness that is growing inside of you towards that person will eventually destroy you, and make others around you miserable as well. Get a life! Release this obsession from the prison of your heart. Let them go. Forget about them. Don’t let anyone steal the joy that could be yours. It’s just not worth it. If you continue on in your obsession, you will surely end up being destroyed on the gallows that you intended to use on them.
Posted in Thoughts from Esther by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Reading – Nehemiah 11 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “0602 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.” – (Nehemiah 13:9)
In Nehemiah 13, I noticed that there were four things that had crept back into the life of the people of Israel that had to be cleaned out:
1 In vs. 4 – 9 we see that Eliashib the priest had actually emptied a chamber in the temple of God, and had prepared it for Tobiah to stay in. Tobiah had been the one who had opposed Nehemiah and the people of God as they rebuilded the city of Jerusalem. He had to go. Nehemiah gave him the boot.
2 In vs. 10 – 13 we learn that the Levites had to go back to the fields to work because the people of God were not supporting them through their tithes and offerings. Nehemiah corrected this problem as well.
3 In vs. 15 – 22 we see that God’s people were violating the Sabbath by working, and by trading with outsiders. God wanted the Sabbath Day to be kept holy, and set apart from the normal routines of the week. Nehemiah commanded that the gates of the city be closed on the Sabath so that the merchants could not enter in to do their business.
4 Finally we see that the Jews began to inter-marry with the heathen people around them. It got to be so bad that some of the children did not even speak the Hebrew language, but instead conversed in the language of the land where the mother came from. Nehemiah had a fit about this, and made the people promise to separate from people who were not Jews. He reminded them of how even King Solomon was caused to sin because of his marriages to non-Jewish women. God wants his people to marry within the household of faith.
It is amazing how quickly all of these abuses crept back into the lives of the people of God. Every once in a while we need to have an old-fashioned house cleaning to remove all of the junk that creeps into our lives as well. Why not take a spiritual inventory of your own life. Is there anything in your home, or in your life that God would want cleaned out? Just a thought.
Posted in Thoughts from Nehemiah by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Reading – Nehemiah 8 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8
Read the “0601 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.” – (Nehemiah 9:2-3)
“For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.” – (Nehemiah 10:39)
I enjoyed thoroughly reading these three chapters today from the Book of Nehemiah. The people of Israel are back in their own land after having been in captivity for many years. They are united, “in one accord”; and they are fully surrendered to the Lord. This is certainly one of the high places in their history. In these three chapters I have noticed some ingredients that were in place that brought about a wonderful revival in the lives of God’s people. As I already mentioned, the people were unified, which in itself is an important part of the revival; but in addition to that, let me list some ingredients that I observed.
1 They are putting a heavy emphasis on the reading and preaching of the Word of God. We see this in chapter 8, and again in chapter 9. The people stood for a fourth part of the day listening to the Word. We have a tough time getting people to sit in padded seats for an hour. The word caused them to implement many changes in their lives, including the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles.
2 There is an emphasis on prayer. In chapter 9, we see the people corporately confessing their sins; and praising God for His mercy and grace upon them. People who are right with God will praise God. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.”
3 In chapter 10, we see that the people have made a commitment to the House of God. They committed to give their offerings so that the servants of the Temple, including all of the priests and Levites, would have everything that they need in order to minister to the people.
I have left out some other things, but as you can see from the reading today, these three ingredients were part of one of the greatest revivals in the history of God’s people. If we ever see revival again in America, I bet that these three ingredients will be here as well.
Posted in Thoughts from Nehemiah by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.