Posts tagged ‘Job’

March 13, 2014

843 Acres Lent #TBT: Job and Augustine – Confessions

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 42 (txt | aud, 2:44 min)
2 Cor 12 (txt | aud, 3:21 min)

Job: Job 42:1-6

Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know … I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

Augustine: Confessions

Must I not consider this [trivial thinking], too, as one of the faults which I ought to despise? Can anything restore me to hope except your mercy? That you are merciful I know, for you have begun to change me. You know how great a change you have worked in me, for first of all you have cured me of the desire to assert my claim to liberty, so that you may also pardon me all my other sins, heal all my mortal ills, rescue my life from deadly peril, crown me with the blessings of your mercy, content all my desire for good. You know how great a change you have worked in me, for you have curbed my pride by teaching me to fear you and you have tamed my neck to your yoke, I find its burden light, for this was your promise and you have kept your word. In truth, though, I did not know it, it was light even in the days when I was afraid to bend my neck to it …

But, O Lord, you who alone rule without pride since you are the only true Lord and no other lord rules over you, there is a third kind of temptation which, I fear, has not passed from me. Can it ever pass from me in all this life? It is the desire to be feared or loved by other men, simply for the pleasure that it gives me, though in such pleasure there is no true joy. It means only a life of misery and despicable vainglory. It is for this reason more than any other that men neither love you nor fear you in purity of heart …

But we, O Lord, are your little flock. Keep us as your own. Spread your wings and let us shelter beneath them. Let us glory in you alone …

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March 12, 2014

843 Acres Lent: Praying for Others

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 41 (txt | aud, 3:10 min)
2 Cor 11 (txt | aud, 4:13 min)

Prayer-Pleading: Paul frequently asks his fellow believers to pray for him. Sometimes he simply says, “Brothers, pray for us.” [1] Other times, he passionately pleads, “Strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.” [2] And we know why he so desperately needs their prayers. As he testifies, “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” [3]

Prayer-Needing: Paul is brilliant and intense. He is a great man, a spiritual warrior, and a chosen instrument of God. Yet he needs others to pray for him. Why? First, he cannot accomplish his work apart from God’s grace: “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” [4] Second, moral growth and ministry success come only by prayer. As Paul tells the Philippians: “It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment” (moral growth) [5] and writes to the Thessalonians: “Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored” (ministry success). [6]

Prayer-Doing: Lord, We long for grace, moral growth, and ministry success in our lives. Thus, we know that we must meet with you in prayer. We must boast in our weaknesses apart from you, knowing that we cannot accomplish the most-lasting achievements on this earth apart from your might, power, glory, and love. Let us not be lazy in praying for one another—that your grace would abound in our lives, that our love may grow in knowledge and depth of insight, and that your word may speed ahead and be honored in our lives—even as we endure hardship for our obedience like Paul did. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] See Colossians 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1. | [2] Romans 15:30 ESV | [3] 2 Corinthians 11:24-27 ESV | [4] 1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV. See also 1 Peter 4:11; Hebrews 13:20-21. | [5] Philippians 1:9 ESV. See also Colossians 1:9-10; Luke 22:40. | [6] 2 Thessalonians 3:1. See also Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 4:3-4.

March 11, 2014

843 Acres Lent Tweetables: From Come-See to Go-Tell

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 40 (txt | aud, 2:12 min)
2 Cor 10 (txt | aud, 2:21 min)
Highlighted: 2 Cor 10

Discerning Brokenness

Prior to the coming of Jesus, God worked primarily through Israel by blessing them so that the nations could see and know God as Lord.

Thus, the temple in Jerusalem was extravagant – pure gold on the inside, gold chains in the inner sanctuary, a golden altar. #comesee

The OT pattern “is a come-see religion … a geographic center … a physical temple, an earthly king, a political regime …” @johnpiper

Imagining Redemption

When Jesus came into the world, come-see became go-tell: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Jesus himself is the temple, the king …

The shift from place (come-see) to person (go-tell) meant a change in our lifestyles. For we are “aliens and strangers in the world.”

Tho we live in the world, we don’t wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. #2Cor10 #gotell

Praying ACTS

Lord, We #adore you for preparing a future home for us. For this world is not our home – not even Jesus had a place to lay his head.

Yet we #confess that we often want to build lavish “homes” here, with come-see mentalities, not a go-tell ones.

We give you #thanks for giving us great gain in godliness w/contentment. For we brought nothing into the world & can take nothing out of it.

Therefore, may we lay up treasures in heaven as a firm foundation for the coming age – that we may take hold of true life. #supplication

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March 10, 2014

843 Acres Lent: The End of Knowledge

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 39 (txt | aud, 2:48 min)
2 Cor 9 (txt | aud, 2:26 min)
Highlighted: Job 39

Knowledge: At some point, we reach the end of knowledge—even in science. At the 2010 TED Conference in Houston, Dr. David Eagleman argued, “When you get to the pier of everything we know in science, we see that beyond it is all unchartered waters, all the stuff that we don’t know, the vast mysteries around us like dark matter and dark energy or … what the fabric of reality is or what life and death are about. These are all things that are beyond the end of the pier in science. What you really learn from life in science is the vastness of our ignorance. [1]

Vastness: When God decides to answer Job’s complaint, He appears in a whirlwind with a simple message—that Job is not God [2] and that, unlike God, Job is surrounded by things he doesn’t understand and over which he has no control: “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? … Will the wild ox consent to serve you? … Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane? … Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread its wings toward the south?” [3]

Gospel: In the gospel, we see the depths of our ignorance and the vastness of God’s glory. When Jesus hung on the cross, his enemies mocked him. Yet they were at the end of their knowledge. They did not understand that he chose to die to redeem his people. Even when Jesus’s body was laid in the tomb, his disciples mourned because they thought their hopes and dreams were dead. They did not know that he would rise again.

Prayer: Lord, As we consider our confusing and discouraging circumstances, we look upon the gospel and see how little we can know of your divine intentions and purposes. Our thoughts are but a breath. We admit with great humility that there is a vastness of knowledge beyond the pier of our understanding. Therefore, we plead with you to increase our faith in you. Let us not judge you with feeble minds, but instead let us remember your promise—that you will not forsake your people or abandon your heritage. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] David Eagleman. “TED Houston.” June 2010. | [2] “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” Job 38:2-3 | [3] Job 39 (various verses)

March 7, 2014

843 Acres Lent: The Temperament of Receptivity

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 36 (txt | aud, 3:06 min)
2 Cor 6 (txt | aud, 2:11 min)
Highlighted: 2 Cor 6:1-13

Art: In defining art, Oscar Wilde once wrote, “The temperament to which Art appeals … is the temperament of receptivity. That is all … The spectator is to be receptive. He is to be the violin on which the master is to play. And the more completely he can suppress his own silly views, his own foolish prejudices, his own absurd ideas of what Art should be, or should not be, the more likely he is to understand and appreciate the work of art in question.” [1] What if we defined life as Wilde defined art? That is, what if we saw our everyday struggles or frustrations not as impediments in our schedules, but as strokes in a painting? What if we gave up our expectations and just received?

Paul: In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says that we are God’s “handiwork” or “workmanship” or “masterpiece”—created in Christ Jesus to do good works. [2] He calls us a work of art with a purpose. Here, in 2 Corinthians 7, Paul shows us that his life was chiseled and painted with “afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger.” Yet the great work of art that came from his sufferings was the vibrant life of the church: “We put no obstacles in anyone’s way so that no fault may be found with our ministry … We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.”

Whatever: Paul approached his life as a work of art crafted by the Great Artist. In Wilde’s terms, Paul had a temperament of receptivity—“Whatever, Lord. Whatever you want to do with me, do it. I give up my silly views, my foolish prejudices, my absurd ideas of what my life should or should not be, so that I may know you and draw others into knowing you, too.”

Prayer: Lord, Creating art can be messy and uncertain and inefficient. Yet that is what you are doing with us. You are painting and chiseling all of us—together—to be your church, your people, your bride. During this Lenten season, open our eyes to see your handiwork as you see it. May we have hearts with temperaments of receptivity. Amen.

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M’Cheyne Weekend Reading:

Saturday, March 8: Job 37 (txt | aud, 2:16 min) & 2 Cor 7 (txt | aud, 2:24 min)
Sunday, March 9: Job 38 (txt | aud, 3:36 min) & 2 Cor 8 (txt | aud, 2:58 min)

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Footnotes

[1] See Maria Popova. “Oscar Wilde on Art.” Brain Pickings. August 27, 2013. | [2] Ephesians 2:10 NIV

March 6, 2014

843 Acres Lent #TBT: The Journey Homeward to Habitual Self

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 35 (txt | aud, 1:31 min)
2 Cor 5 (txt | aud, 2:54 min)

Paul: 2 Corinthians 5:2-5 

… while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

C.S. Lewis: Weight of Glory 

What we feel then has been well described by Keats as “the journey homeward to habitual self.” … But we pine … the promise of glory, in the sense described, becomes highly relevant to our deep desire. For glory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgement, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.

Perhaps it seems rather crude to describe glory as the fact of being “noticed” by God. But this is almost the language of the New Testament. St. Paul promises to those who love God not, as we should expect, that they will know Him, but that they will be known by Him. [1] It is a strange promise. Does not God know all things at all times? But it is dreadfully reechoed in another passage of the New Testament. There we are warned that it may happen to anyone of us to appear at last before the face of God and hear only the appalling words, “I never knew you. Depart from Me.” In some sense, as dark to the intellect as it is unendurable to the feelings, we can be both banished from the presence of Him who is present everywhere and erased from the knowledge of Him who knows all. We can be left utterly and absolutely outside—repelled, exiled, estranged, finally and unspeakably ignored. On the other hand, we can be called in, welcomed, received, acknowledged. We walk every day on the razor edge between these two incredible possibilities. Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both would be both glory and honour beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.

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Footnotes

[1] 1 Corinthians 8:3

March 5, 2014

843 Acres Lent: What’s the Purpose of Giving Something Up?

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 34 (txt | aud, 3:31 min)
2 Cor 4 (txt | aud, 2:29 min)
Highlighted: 2 Cor 4:7-12

Lent: Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of the 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting or abstinence that we call Lent. During this season, many of us will give up certain things—social media, chocolate, alcohol—but how many of us understand that Lent isn’t fundamentally about abstention at all?

Abstention: On Saturday, at S1NGLE hosted by Redeemer, Wesley Hill talked about abstention in the form of chastity. He said that his understanding of chastity as a single Christian flipped from negative to positive when he began to discern the fundamental purpose of abstention in the Christian life. “When God gives someone a calling,” he said, “it’s never primarily about orienting your life around saying, ‘No,’ to something. A calling is not about constructing a practice of abstention from something. A calling or a vocation … is fundamentally about saying, ‘Yes,’ to something and whatever you abstain from in the course of pursuing that is important, but it’s not the most important. It’s not the thing you build your passion around or order your affections around.”

Purpose: What then do we build our passions and affections around? To what do we say, “Yes”? Paul writes, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed … so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” [1] In other words, Paul embraces abstention from political freedom in the form of imprisonment and persecution and abstention from an unmarked and healthy body in the form of sufferings and beatings. Why? So that the Corinthians might fully enter into the risen life of Christ. He abstained so that they might know Christ.

Prayer: Lord, In this season of abstention, may we look deeper than at the abstention itself. Show us how to say, “Yes,” to knowing you and to loving others so that we may discern that to which you are calling us to say, “No.” And may we orient this Lenten season around our Yes, not our No. Indeed, may we use Lent as a time of seeking your face so that we may hear your voice about turning our entire lives toward you. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 ESV

March 4, 2014

843 Acres Tweetable Tuesday: Lives of Invincible Constancy

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 33 (txt | aud, 3:09 min)
2 Cor 3 (txt | aud, 2:13 min)
Highlighted: Job 33

Discerning Brokenness

“Even precious truth about eternal life can be so skewed as to displace God as the center and goal.” @JohnPiper [1]

“A lot of evangelical Christianity can easily slip, can become centered on me & my need of salvation & not in the glory of God.” #Newbigin

Job: “I am pure, without transgression; I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me … [God] counts me as his enemy.” (Job 33 & 13) 

Imagining Redemption

A commitment to God’s majesty produced in John Calvin a life of incredible steadfastness, of “invincible constancy,” as he put it.

Incredible Constancy: “to reckon that we shall have enmity … when we do our duty; yet nevertheless let us go thru it w/o bending” #Calvin

In lamenting the low view of God held by Job and his friends (Job 33), Calvin called his congregation to live with “invincible constancy.”

Praying ACTS

Lord, We #adore you because your ways are not our ways. You are the center of the world and are, therefore, high and lifted up in glory.

Yet we #confess that we lose sight of your majesty and become unable to live with “invincible constancy.” Instead, like Job, we waver.

But we #thank you for making our salvation dependent on your faithfulness, not ours. For the object, not the strength, of our faith is key.

Therefore, lift our eyes to see you, the object of our faith, as majestic so that we may live with invincible constancy. #supplication

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Footnotes

[1] John Piper. “The Divine Majesty of the Word: John Calvin: The Man and His Preaching.” Sermon. 4 February 1997.

March 3, 2014

843 Acres: Speaking Wisdom at Opportune Times

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 32 (txt | aud, 2:19 min)
2 Cor 2 (txt | aud, 2:00 min)
Highlighted: Job 32

Endurance: At the beginning of Job, Satan approaches God and says, in effect: “The only reason that Job loves you is because you’ve made him rich.” In response, God gives Satan the freedom to afflict Job, which he does by striking down his children, his servants, and his livestock. Immediately, Job tears off his robe and worships: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” [1] As time drags on and his suffering continues, however, Job begins to lose patience with God. Eventually, he decides that God has become his enemy.

Opportune: A new friend, though, comes into the picture. Elihu has been listening to the conversation between Job and his friends and has remained silent until the opportune moment: “Behold, I waited for your words, I listened for your wise sayings, while you searched out what to say. I gave you my attention, and, behold, there was none among you who refuted Job or who answered his words.” [2]

Wisdom: Although Elihu is young, he recognizes that God, not age, brings wisdom: “I am young in years, and you are aged; therefore, I was timid and afraid to declare my opinion to you. I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.’ But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right. Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me; let me also declare my opinion.’” [3] Here, in Job 32, Elihu begins to challenge Job and, as we will see in the coming days, God reveals through Elihu (and through Himself) that man’s wisdom is not God’s. As we will read tomorrow in Job 33, Elihu continues to speak boldly: “Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you, for God is greater than man.” [4]

Prayer: Lord, We often come to you with unspoken expectations. We may be okay with suffering in some ways, but we often are not okay with letting it drag on and on. Yet you send people into our lives to speak the truth boldly into our hearts, showing us that your wisdom is not our wisdom. For your foolishness is wise than our wisdom. May we love people (and be people) who cherish and speak your wisdom, even as we wait for opportune moments. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Job 1:21 ESV | [2] Job 32:11-12 ESV | [3] Job 32:6-10 ESV | [4] Job 33:12 ESV

February 28, 2014

843 Acres: On Pitying Entrepreneurs (and Christians)

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 29 (txt | aud, 2:07 min)
1 Cor 15 (txt | aud, 6:48 min)
Highlighted: 1 Cor 15:19

Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs sacrifice a lot to accomplish a greater goal. Many leave successful careers in well-established companies, steady incomes and bonuses, and large staffs that take care of all the incidentals of running a business. As a result, entrepreneurs usually live modestly—spending their money and time more strategically and deliberately than they did before. Of course, in their minds, all the sacrifices are worth it because they have a goal in mind—to make their startup successful. They think, “It won’t always be this way. I’ll sow the sacrifices now so that I’ll reap the benefits later.”

Christians: Like entrepreneurs, Christians don’t live for today, but for tomorrow. Our goal is great—to make much of Christ in the only life that we have. We live modestly because we know that our treasure is in heaven, and we spend our time strategically because we know that our lives are precious and short. We think, “It won’t always be this way. We’ll sow sacrifices now so that we’ll reap rewards later.”

Success: In both cases, however, there’s a harsh reality—that the worth of our sacrifice depends on the reality of our success. As Paul wrote, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” Entrepreneurs and Christians alike pour out blood, sweat, and tears into realizing their goal. Yet their ventures cannot be based solely on passion; they must be based on truth. If the startup venture fails, then we pity the entrepreneur. If the biblical portrayal of Jesus isn’t true, then we pity the Christian. Why? Because both of them sacrificed so much for nothing.

Prayer: Lord, Many generations have gone before us and have been commended for their faith—yet none of them received what had been promised. Together with them, we live by faith that looks to the life that is to come. Although we cannot yet see it with our eyes, we thank you for Jesus, who came to live on earth, who bled and died in his mortality, and who rose again for hundreds to bear witness to his resurrection. Therefore, let us give ourselves to risk and sacrifice for the sake of the gospel. For our best life is later, not now. Amen.

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M’Cheyne Weekend Readings

Saturday, March 1: Job 30 (txt | aud, 2:54 min) & 1 Cor 16 (txt | aud, 2:22 min)
Sunday, March 2: Job 31 (txt | aud, 3:59 min) & 2 Cor 1 (txt | aud, 3:28 min)

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