DERAILED

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train-wreck-1919

THE TONGUE SPEAKS

Elihu is taking the lead in speaking ill of Job, who is already ill enough.  Elihu is young and disrespectful of his elders, including those who share his views.  His mouth is open to accuse Job now.  The tongue is like the rudder of a ship, or the little switch that moves trains to the wrong track.

Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.  Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.  My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.  The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.  If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.  Job 33:1-5

Elihu reveals that his tongue is flapping and his words carry knowledge in his own eyes.  He challenges Job to stand up and answer his words of challenge.

Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay.  Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.  Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,  I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.  Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy, He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.  Job 33: 6-11

Young Elihu admits to being formed of the clay as Job too was.  He offers to be gentle in his criticism.  He heard how Job claimed to be guiltless and wondered why God had left him so beaten.  He is setting Job up for the kill now.  Formed from the same clay but ready to sling some mud too!

Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.  Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.  For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.  Job 33: 12-15

Elihu calls Job unjust, and challenges his cries of innocence.  He points out a way that God might communicate with man in dreams. 

In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;  Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,  That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.  He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.  He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:  So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.  Job 33: 16-20

God may come in a dream to deliver instructions to man Elihu says.  Then there is no excuse of ignorance so God can punish the guilty freely.  Elihu suggests torment like what Job has already endured.

His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.  Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.  If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:  Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.  His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth:  Job 33: 21-25

However if there is a messenger who will ransom the guilty man Elihu suggests that God will restore him.  Does Elihu think that he is the messiah?  He goes on about how such a man cold deliver the sinner.

He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.  He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;  He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.  Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,  To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.  Job 33: 26-30

So if a man will repent to this intercessor he will find mercy and he can be redeemed from the pit.  Now Elihu might be prophesying a type of the coming Messiah, but he keeps on going beyond that point.

Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.  If thou hast anything to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.  If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.  Job 33: 31-33

Elihu announces that he wants to justify Job.  Oh yes, listen to Elihu and he will teach you wisdom.  Modest fellow isn’t he?  But then how many have led the lost sheep of God to their own personal promises and agendas even today? 

By now Elihu is adding to Job’s misery and he is also offending his other misguided friends as well.  It is interesting that much of what he says about God may be true, perhaps even prophetic, but he is wrong about Job.  This is the danger of judgment, that we do not see what God sees.  Elihu will rant on like a derailed train until the wreckage of his errors will finally come to a smoking pile up.

DAY, NIGHT, LIFETIME

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MEMORIES

More family histories.  Yesterday I worked, slept and dreamed.  I dreamed about breakfast with my family.  I had a slice of toast, warm and buttered.  My late wife is gone now, but the taste of that toast was here with me again this morning when I awakened.  My wife is with the Lord, but he lets her visit in my dreams.  Butter is gone from my diet, but she is not.  The testimony of a Christian woman is forever. 

We are the bride of Christ, and we can serve others as a good wife does.  The men and women of Israel are the bride who will be remembered by her husband while we are separated.  Let your testimony join these of Israel as the bride our Messiah can dream of.  We may be reunited this year in Jerusalem!

Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.  For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:)  The sons, I say, of Reuben the firstborn of Israel were, Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.  The sons of Joel; Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son,  Micah his son, Reaia his son, Baal his son,  Beerah his son, whom Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria carried away captive: he was prince of the Reubenites.  And his brethren by their families, when the genealogy of their generations was reckoned, were the chief, Jeiel, and Zechariah,  And Bela the son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel, who dwelt in Aroer, even unto Nebo and Baalmeon:  And eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates: because their cattle were multiplied in the land of Gilead.   1 Chronicles 5:1-9

Birthright and sibling rivalry.  Do you remember the noise of children fighting in the house?  Treasure the memory of all that strife and noise; it will go away soon enough.  The tribe of Judah gave us the Lion of Judah, so that birthright claim is undisputed now.  Children and grandchildren will witness the passing of time, but Messiah is the same forever. 

And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites, who fell by their hand: and they dwelt in their tents throughout all the east land of Gilead.  And the children of Gad dwelt over against them, in the land of Bashan unto Salcah:  Joel the chief, and Shapham the next, and Jaanai, and Shaphat in Bashan.  And their brethren of the house of their fathers were, Michael, and Meshullam, and Sheba, and Jorai, and Jachan, and Zia, and Heber, seven.  These are the children of Abihail the son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz;  Ahi the son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, chief of the house of their fathers.  And they dwelt in Gilead in Bashan, and in her towns, and in all the suburbs of Sharon, upon their borders.  All these were reckoned by genealogies in the days of Jotham king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel.  1 Chronicles 5:10-17

Wars and rumors of wars persist today.  Even as US troops are leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, they are quietly being repositioned in Jordan, adjacent to Israel against the threats from Syria, Iran, and Pakistan.  http://www.debka.com/article/21564/

The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war.  And they made war with the Hagarites, with Jetur, and Nephish, and Nodab.  And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him.  And they took away their cattle; of their camels fifty thousand, and of sheep two hundred and fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand, and of men an hundred thousand.  For there fell down many slain, because the war was of God. And they dwelt in their steads until the captivity.  1 Chronicles 5:18-22

May our own people remember God in their endeavors.  We can choose to be of the kingdom of God, even if we are not the nation of Israel.  When our political leaders are going the wrong way we can still be guided to our own survival.  After the fall of Judah, Daniel was able to be successful even as a prisoner of war.  Now we see Israel in later generations yielding to the Assyrians.

And the children of the half tribe of Manasseh dwelt in the land: they increased from Bashan unto Baalhermon and Senir, and unto mount Hermon.  And these were the heads of the house of their fathers, even Epher, and Ishi, and Eliel, and Azriel, and Jeremiah, and Hodaviah, and Jahdiel, mighty men of valour, famous men, and heads of the house of their fathers.  And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them.  And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.  1 Chronicles 5:23-26

We will visit the families and tribes that lived in Judah next.  Some were priests, some warriors.  Some were employed in secular jobs, but still stood out as men of God.  The chronicles of your life will reflect how you use the opportunities to reflect the Messiah who is the path to life.  A slice of toast may be the key to guide your loved ones to eternal life. 

For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.  Mark 9:4

FOOTNOTES ON JOSEPH’S LESSONS

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HOW WE SPEAK

 

Joseph had trouble when he told his dreams to his brothers.  Even today we can have a problem if we boast of what God has revealed to us.  I think I lose support when I go on and on (and on and on!) about my ministry ideas.  I think other saints turn against us if they become jealous or disbelieve the vision we hear from God.  King Hezikiah also set a problem in motion when he showed off the treasures of the temple to the Babylonians.  He revealed too many of his secrets and treasures to an enemy.

 

At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.  And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.  Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country, even from Babylon.  And he said, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.  And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD.  Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.  And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.  2 Kings 20:12-18

 

SECRET AGENT?

 

When Joseph learned to be the “strong silent type” he gained the advantage over his brothers.  He HAD the anointing from God, and didn’t have to brag about it.  We should be careful to say nothing about others in the ministry, for good or bad.  You do not know what thoughts live behind our faces, because God keeps it that way.  He alone can judge his servants.

 

Joseph had known of his father Jacob’s history of course.  He knew of the schemes that came before Jacob let God have his way.  He probably knew that God would not need his help to make the dream come true.  He had seen the futility Jacob found in creating his own solutions. 

 

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:  But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31

 

Joseph was prepared to wait on the Lord.  We should be patient now spiritually, since we have power in Christ.  If we can be as Israel, instead of Jacob, we don’t need boasting or manipulation.   We can have the power of anointing from God in humility. 

 

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

 

Joseph’s brothers made bad decisions by speaking against their brother.  But he did not return that treatment.  He talked to them in private away from Pharaoh.  He did not seek revenge against them or the Egyptians who put him in prison, even when he had the power.

 

Because I can trust my Christian brothers, I can share my struggles when I have a wrong to pray about.  But I can only share about my own failures.  I am supposed to cover everybody else’s sins up, not to uncover them.  That requires a private chat with them alone.  I have previously pointed to what I call “The Matthew three-step”:

 

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, (1)go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then (2) take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he shall neglect to hear them, (3) tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.  Matthew 18:15-17

 

So our pastor (the church) should not allow anyone to come with tales until the conversation was done in private, then with a trusted witness first.  The accused is always present for each discussion.

 

If I am keeping a vision or dream to myself, a secret, I can go about with the confidence of the Lord about my hopes.  Perhaps we have only a glimpse of the vision, and not the full understanding.  Even Jesus came in humility.   By “revealing” more than we really know, we can look foolish. 

 

When I graduated from ministry training school at my old church, I was expecting a prophetic word from the elders.  We were passed over, and I was disappointed.  I have since learned that I was destined to lose our home, our life savings, and my wife.  I might not have wanted to know all of that in advance.  I feel that I am being used now in some of the things of my earlier visions.  But I might have run away if I had known how much fire was needed to purge me of my flaws. 

 

I have some hopes that would bring me great pleasure.  Some of them are at least partially revealed to me, but not in full.  If I tell what I see now, I will probably only repel people.  I have had the experience of sounding foolish a few times now.  Not everyone will keep our secrets!  I have more inner joy when I remembered to keep the vision inside for a season.  I can have this dream, this confidence, with no more than a smile to the outside world.  Or I can lose the smile when little devil spirits try to tear the dream apart before its’ time.

 

I do not know the time of my vision.  Jesus did not know the time of his return either…only the Father knows!    I do know that I found blessings in prison and youth ministries in the past.  But that success was built on the knowledge and opportunity I gathered from others.  We can not produce fruit without the help of the body of Christ.  We need to allow everyone to be close without being repulsive due to false pride in a partial vision.

 

Joseph did not reveal himself or his dreams to his brothers when they came to him in Egypt.  The time was not yet fully come.  They could only tell their father that the ruler of the land wanted to see their youngest brother Benjamin.  Israel could not yet see the plan of the Lord in this.

 

And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.

And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again.  And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.  Genesis 42: 38

 

Joseph had a few trials on his path, but God did deliver his dream in his time.  Jacob would see his two lost sons again after all.  Even the book of Job has a happy ending!  We have to be ready to rejoice when we are down, just as much as when we are in the winning place. 

 

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: Ephesians 2:5-6

 

You are already seated in heavenly places by faith.  You ARE more than conquerors, EVEN NOW.