Category Archives: Theology Musings

Thinking About The Speeches of Job

This is an excerpt from my introduction to the Elihu speeches. I have been wrestling with this text for weeks. Here are some things I think I have learned.

I have been thinking and praying each week trying to figure out what these texts mean. As I pondered over the big picture yesterday, I thought again how hard the speeches were to understand. Much of the difficulty comes from the fact that the speeches were written in Hebrew poetry, but not completely. The other main reason for struggle is that people are complicated, especially when we are hurting. Job’s pain and suffering cause confusion because these things cloud his mind with darkness. He oscillates between hope and despair. We can’t remember our own discourse with people much less all that they say. Our memories fail us no matter how young and smart we may think we are. We begin our argument and find that we lack adequate resources to debate so many words. From chapter 3 to the end of 32 we have about 12,000 words exchanged. The human element is obvious. It’s not a matter of whether the writer of Job can write for us words that are comprehensible. Rather, he seems to let stand the difficulties of conversations among men. I say all of this because I want to understand what Job says. I want to understand so that I can make clear to you what Job is saying. It’s hard to apply God’s word if we don’t know what it’s saying. Yet, I think that is a point in Job (the difficulty of the speeches). Understanding this helps me. I hope it helps you. I asked this question of the text because I realized the YHWH speeches are not so hard to understand. They are written in Hebrew poetry too. So, I conclude that God is far more clear than man. And we are to see a contrast between the speeches of men and the speeches of God. I’m looking forward to walking through those next week!

Job 23:10 “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” May this be so of us!

Advertisements

Illustration of Grace

A story told by one of our elders during members’ class. Of course, all illustrations have their limits but this is very helpful:

Pretend that someone came into my house and killed my only son. If as he was fleeing, I took a shotgun and chased him down and killed him, we would call it revenge. If, [however] I called the police and they arrested him and he was sent to prison, we would call it justice. If I went to the jail and told him I forgave him and did not hold anything against him, we would call it mercy. If I forgave him and got him out of jail and took him home and adopted him into my family and he became my son with all the privileges of sonship and full inheritance rights, we would call it grace. That is exactly what our Lord did. We killed His son and yet He forgives us and adopts us into His family with full inheritance rights. Amazing grace!

~Jason


Prayer and Providence

Reading through 2 Samuel reminded me of the topic-Prayer & Providence-because there is an example clearly stated in the text. I think it would be helpful to draw your attention to this. Of course, some want the systematic theology answer. However, others are helped by narrative display. I hope you will be enriched to pray and trust that God is at work. Here are the texts:

But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went. And it was told David, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O LORD, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.” While David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and dirt on his head. David said to him, “If you go on with me, you will be a burden to me. But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so now I will be your servant,’ then you will defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel. (2 Samuel 15:30-34)

Of course, both Ahithophel and Hushai became Absalom’s counselors. As you can see, David asked the LORD to turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. He then asked his friend Hushai to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel with his own counsel to Absalom. However, what else is going on? Where is God in this? We get an explanation a couple of chapters later.

 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom. (2 Samuel 17:14)

Here we see what David had prayed for and sought means to achieve was also ordained by God for a purpose. You may struggle with one side of this issue or the other but here both are present. Both are true. Therefore, we should pray and trust (not completely understand) that God is at work.

Just this morning, I asked my son to do something  that involved reading. He replied, “But I can’t read.” I said to him, “That is not true. You can read. Just because you can’t read everything does not mean you cannot read. If that is so, then I cannot read.” Same goes for this argument. Just because you do not completely understand this does not mean you cannot pray or cannot believe that God ordains. See it here in His holy word and be encouraged!


Sifted But Strengthened

In the text below I am so glad of the “when” instead of an “if.” This is huge for us as believers. For if Satan is sovereign there would be no mercy. His intent is to kill and to destroy. Yet, he is subject to Jesus who is sovereign. One might ask why does God who is sovereign allow Satan to remain? My first statement would be, “He will destroy Satan.” However, for now God has a purpose for him. In this text, God uses Satan to strengthen Peter and Peter strengthened his brothers. Satan demanded but his demand is limited by the sovereign Lord. Not only does Jesus limit the demand, He prays for Peter and had determined that he would not be destroyed. For Jesus says, “when” not “if” you turn again. But for now there will be sifting and interceding for the strengthening of the saints.

Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32

1. Take courage that Satan is not sovereign

2. Take courage there is purpose in suffering

3. Take courage that Jesus intercedes for His own

4. Take courage that God alone is all-powerful and sovereign


Teaching My Children Mercy!

Recently I was preaching in our county jail and trying to explain the gospel and its various implications. I told them what Jesus did on the cross was “Substitutionary Atonement.” Of course, they were not familiar with this theological truth, nor did I expect them to understand it. That is why I was there explaining the gospel right?
You might be thinking, “I thought this post was about teaching his kids mercy.” Well, the following is how I taught my daughter mercy and the previous is the context to which I used the teaching of my daughter to explain the gospel. So, I have two agendas here. One, to help you teach your sons and daughters mercy (showing them the gospel) and proclaiming the gospel to others; whether that be through experiences at home or however.
Now, the teaching of mercy. The other day one of my daughters broke one of the rules in our home. The one who received the breaking of the rule came to me in order to inform me of this violation. So, I called the one who broke the rule to come and speak to me about it. She was quick to admit her wrong and I was thankful for that. Nevertheless, she was less reluctant to admit her need for punishment. I began to explain how God cannot look over sin. He is holy and just, therefore he must punish sin. So, I asked her, “If your brother hits you, do you think it is necessary that I punish him for hitting you?” And she replied, “Yes!” Again, I asked, “If your sister takes your toys away from you, should I punish her?” Again she emphatically replied, “Yes!!!” Now I turned the question to her, “Is it fair that I let you get away with no punishment for breaking the rule you have admitted to?” She then (with understanding) replied, “No, I do need to be punished.”
With that having been established, I then proceeded to teach her mercy. I explained to her that mercy is NOT getting what you DESERVE. But, in order to remain just (like God) someone must take the punishment for the crime. So I began drawing conclusions about this foundation. I indicated that she had admitted the breaking of our rules. She agreed that God is holy and just and cannot NOT punish sin. (I know I used a double negative but it was needed.) And she understood her need for punishment.
In light of this, I then moved to the substitute. I told her that I was going to take the punishment for her and that she would be the one who was to deliver the punishment. It broke her heart that I was to receive the punishment for her sin and that she had to do it. Human pride rose to the surface as she discovered my innocence and her guilt. She did not want to do it. She wept with tears as she lightly tapped me with our paddle. I then began to tell how Jesus Christ had done this for her sin and if she placed her trust in him, for her punishment, she would be saved.
As I shared this with the guys at the jail, they sat there with amazement and hopefully a clearer understanding that God had to punish sin and he did on his Son. But, it is not yours unless you repent and believe in Christ. We will see as I twice a month preach to these guys.
So, have you ever shown your children mercy (the gospel)? Do you now understand the gospel better…substitutionary atonement, propitiation? Maybe you yourself need to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. In him you will find mercy. In him you will have your sins forgiven and receive his righteousness. Praise be to God for reconciling himself to us!


Ruth the Moabite

It is of profound significance that we see Ruth the Moabite in great contrast to many Israelites of her day. It was a dark time in the period of the judges. The cycle of apostasy, servitude, supplication, and salvation is extremely clear. Yet, when many in Israel were turning to the idolatry of the nations (or worse mixing their idolatry with God’s ways); nevertheless, Ruth is turning from her gods, abandoning her family, forsaking her inheritance, and turning to the one, true, and living God. This is amazing!
I wonder why Ruth is being drawn to this God who delivered this famine, took her father-in-law, and left her a widow? I have a theory. I believe Ruth was hearing that God had standards and with Him it is not “anything goes.” Yes, I perceive that the gods she worshiped growing up were like the ones king Adoni-bezek in Judges 1 worshiped. This tells me that God revealed Himself through punishing sin.
I assumed Elimelech (that is, one of many) is dodging repentance and thus feminine is in the land (Lev. 26:3-4). If God looks over the sin of His people then He appears to be like the mute idols of the nations. Praise be to GOD for His holiness and jealousy for His name. May we be as zealous for holiness as He that we might bear fruit for God (Rom. 7).


Teaching My Children Mercy!

Recently I was preaching in our county jail and trying to explain the gospel and its various implications. I told them what Jesus did on the cross was “Substitutionary Atonement.” Of course, they were not familiar with this theological truth, nor did I expect them to understand it. That is why I was there explaining the gospel right?
You might be thinking, “I thought this post was about teaching his kids mercy.” Well, the following is how I taught my daughter mercy and the previous is the context to which I used the teaching of my daughter to explain the gospel. So, I have two agendas here. One, to help you teach your sons and daughters mercy (showing them the gospel) and proclaiming the gospel to others; whether that be through experiences at home or however.
Now, the teaching of mercy. The other day one of my daughters broke one of the rules in our home. The one who received the breaking of the rule came to me in order to inform me of this violation. So, I called the one who broke the rule to come and speak to me about it. She was quick to admit her wrong and I was thankful for that. Nevertheless, she was less reluctant to admit her need for punishment. I began to explain how God cannot look over sin. He is holy and just, therefore he must punish sin. So, I asked her, “If your brother hits you, do you think it is necessary that I punish him for hitting you?” And she replied, “Yes!” Again, I asked, “If your sister takes your toys away from you, should I punish her?” Again she emphatically replied, “Yes!!!” Now I turned the question to her, “Is it fair that I let you get away with no punishment for breaking the rule you have admitted to?” She then (with understanding) replied, “No, I do need to be punished.”
With that having been established, I then proceeded to teach her mercy. I explained to her that mercy is NOT getting what you DESERVE. But, in order to remain just (like God) someone must take the punishment for the crime. So I began drawing conclusions about this foundation. I indicated that she had admitted the breaking of our rules. She agreed that God is holy and just and cannot NOT punish sin. (I know I used a double negative but it was needed.) And she understood her need for punishment.
In light of this, I then moved to the substitute. I told her that I was going to take the punishment for her and that she would be the one who was to deliver the punishment. It broke her heart that I was to receive the punishment for her sin and that she had to do it. Human pride rose to the surface as she discovered my innocence and her guilt. She did not want to do it. She wept with tears as she lightly tapped me with our paddle. I then began to tell how Jesus Christ had done this for her sin and if she placed her trust in him, for her punishment, she would be saved.
As I shared this with the guys at the jail, they sat there with amazement and hopefully a clearer understanding that God had to punish sin and he did on his Son. But, it is not yours unless you repent and believe in Christ. We will see as I twice a month preach to these guys.
So, have you ever shown your children mercy (the gospel)? Do you now understand the gospel better…substitutionary atonement, propitiation? Maybe you yourself need to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. In him you will find mercy. In him you will have your sins forgiven and receive his righteousness. Praise be to God for reconciling himself to us!


A Question From Systematic Theology Class

The Professor was lecturing on the Person of Christ last Thursday when he turned to Colossians to read a Christological passage. The text was Col. 1:13-20. This is a very important passage concerning the Person of Christ. It also describes the Work of Christ. The last verse in this passage says, “…and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven” (Col. 1:20).

The student asked the question, “What things did Christ reconcile in heaven?” There was no answer given. So, I have decided to ask you the question. What is the answer? Enjoy musing over the text. I hope to here from you all soon.

Note: This is just an attempt for you to look in on our classroom discussion. This is just a trial run to see how you all respond. If it does not work out I will do something else.