CONSUMING ZEAL

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RECOVERY

David faced real persecution and violent enemies.  He was aware of his own sins, and experienced weariness.  But he knew how to pull out of a dive and regain altitude by singing the praises of God.  He found a friend in his relationship with God.

Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.  I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.  I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.  They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.  O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.  Psalm 69:1-5

David was overwhelmed.  He had crisis.  We know about war today in Syria and other kinds of spiritual warfare surround us today.  Illness, poverty, storms, and crime can bring us low.  Active enemies, especially former friends and family are even more destructive to morale.  David’s own son Absalom led a revolution against King David.

Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.  Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.  I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.  For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.  When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.  Psalm 69:6-10

The enemies of God will turn on the people of God because their arms are too short to reach God.  David didn’t want his people to suffer with him.  He would take the blame if it would take punishment away from Israel.  He is consumed with passion to serve God, and will take the punishment for them.  Or was he again channeling the coming messiah?

And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.  John 2:16-17

After Yeshua whipped the moneychangers in the Temple in the New Testament, his disciples remembered these words.  David had foreseen the persecution of his messiah.

I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.  They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards.  But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.  Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.  Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.  Psalm 69:11-15

David suffers the rejection and persecution of the prophets.  Those prophets who followed him would share the fellowship of oppression.  Jeremiah would be set in the sewers of the prison and in the mire.  He too would see his freedom, as David will too.  They had confidence in their salvation.

Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.  And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.  Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.  Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.  Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none  Psalm 69:16-20

David can call on God knowing that his nature was to show kindness to man.  He confesses the sins that God already knows, and invites deliverance.  He will find his comforter.

They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.  Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.  Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.  Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.  Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. Psalm 69:21-25

David is living as a shadow of the messiah to come.  He lives experiences not unlike those of Yeshua on the cross.  His prayers against the dark spiritual realm may sound a bit like a tribulation wish list.  God already has such punishments slated for his enemies so we can focus on keeping ourselves in line.  Revelation and Daniel make the future of God’s enemies.

For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.  Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.  Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.  But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.  I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:26-30

Enemies of God persecute the one who God has wounded.  They add sorrow to one who was already brought low by God.  David prays that these will be removed from the afterlife for their sins.  Another prophet will point to the same victim and we begin to see the portrait of our messiah emerge.  The Lamb of God was predestinated to death by God but further tormented by his persecutors.  David and Isaiah prepared their peers to recognize their king before his arrival.  These threads tie our New and Old Testaments together in one continuing design for hope.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  Isaiah 53:4

This is important enough for God to communicate through two different prophets in two different times.  David praises God with a song and with thanksgiving.  As he composes he is guided by another spirit, who also appears for Isaiah.  Praise invites the participation of God.

This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.  The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.  For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners.  Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.  For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession.  The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein. Psalm 69:31-36

Can we afford to make an impressive sacrifice for the offering?  The collection plate pales in comparison to the heartfelt sacrifice of praise.  The rich cannot match the offering of the poor worshiper who meets God in his praise and worship.  Creation itself joins our celebration because God has promised to build the city of our sanctuary.  The  children of faith shall inherit the earth.

Make haste, o god, to deliver me; make haste to help me, o lord.  Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.  Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha.  Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.  But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.  Psalm 70:1-5

When the media paints the world with Walter White, Vick Mackie, and Frank Underwood, do we buy the despair of our corrupt world?  When our friends and family rant agaist our Christian faith are we downcast?  Let them be ashamed and bring joy to those who rejoice in Christ.  Let God be magnified and praised so he can join us, entering in to our worship and guiding our days.  The weak and the poor have the knowledge of God’s personal encouragement.  Lord join our worship quickly with your personal help for us.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.  Matthew 5:11-12

As David, Isiah, Elijah, and Jerimiah, and Yeshua were persecuted, so you too are honored in heaven when men persecute you for the sake of Yeshua.  Rejoice, and give praise to God with the joy of his fellowship.

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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.

INVERTED SERVANT

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warrior youth

FRESH BLOOD

This has gone on long enough.  Job has been harangued by his so-called friends until he has begun to question himself.  He has suffered death in the family, financial loss, and extreme physical illness.  His friends have become his judges to condemn him as a sinner.  But one young man is angry because the others have not managed to shut Job up.

So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.  Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.  Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.  Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.  When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.  Job 32:1-5

The chief critics have failed to put Job down, and he still defends himself.  They assign this to self righteousness, but only God can testify against him.  The young man is impatient with the elders who could not corner their prey.  He takes up the hunt in their place.

And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.  I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.  But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.  Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.  Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.  Job 32:6-10

So Elihu has the humility to admit that his elders intimidated him a bit.  But he goes on to note that not all seniors possess wisdom.  (Perhaps not all young men do either?)  So he is ready to express his humble opinion too now.

Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.  Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:  Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.  Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.  They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.  Job 32:11-15

None of these experienced men found words to force Job to admit that he was a sinner.  In this time Job didn’t attack Elihu, so now Elihu decides to earn a little of Job’s anger.  His senior friends are shocked speechless at his brashness.  I wonder if that would work to silence the foolishness in congress?

When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)  I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.  For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.  Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.  I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.  Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.  For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.  Job 32:16-22

Elihu waits out this silence briefly and continues.  He is bursting to vent his own opinion without patronizing anyone.  Elihu is an equal opportunity offender.  Remember, that we are now instructed to war against spirits and not against flesh.  These friends of Job have opened their minds to suggestion from the accuser of the brethren, Satan.  This voice is disappointed when his point men have failed to destroy his target Job.  He will recruit and promote a willing new volunteer when it suits him.  Elihu is enlisted and ready to serve.