Faith in a Helpless Place 1

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April 28, 2010 Faith in a Helpless Place Part 1 Kathleen Maples I've been thinking about Job a lot lately. Job was a man of God who lived in a place called Uz. Nobody seems to be able to determine exactly when the time of Job was. Some suggest it was during the period of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Some suggest due to language featured in the book of Job that it was written later, during the time of Solomon, and leading up to the Babylonian invasion. The name Job means the perse
   April 28, 2010Faith in a Helpless PlaceKathleen MaplesPart 1 I've been thinking about Job a lot lately. Job was a man of God who lived in a place called Uz. Nobody seems to be able to determine exactly when the time of Job was. Some suggest it was during the period of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Some suggest due tolanguage featured in the book of Job that it was written later, during the time of Solomon,and leading up to the Babylonian invasion. The name Job means the persecuted and hated one. I was struck by something when I began to research Uz. The name means fruitful counselor, and it comes from the root word which means to impress or immerse oneself. I immediately thought of the Holy Spirit-He is the Counselor, and we definitely need to beimmersed or pressed into Him, full of His life, not our own. If we are filled with the life of the Holy Spirit we will be fruitful-the fruit or evidence of the Holy Spirit is listed in Gal 5.We can see these demonstrated in the life and testimony of Job. I think it is very important when reading the book of Job to consider what the name of the land Job lived in means.The Bible testifies of him that he was a completely righteous man who reverenced God and shunned even the appearance of evil. He turned away from it, withdrew from anythingthat was bad or displeasing to the Lord. The Bible says it's by the fear of the Lord that mendepart from evil, and a true fear of God will be evident in a person's life. Our habits and behavior demonstrate if we truly fear God or not. Everything I read about Job tells me hewas very close to God, and walked with God. He had a wife, 7 sons, and 3 daughters. Hewas a wealthy man, with 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 oxen, many servants, to work inhis large home. Despite all the children, despite the wealth, God was still the most important thing in His life. He was a man who wielded authority justly. He was kind and generous to his fellow man, always willing to help. He was greatly burdened for hischildren, Verse 4 of chapter 1 tells us that his sons were feasting, translated 'drinking' at abanquet, in their homes. They invited their sisters to eat and drink with them. When youstudy these words they imply an over indulgence of intoxicating drink, and suggests somegluttony. Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of  their  feasting were gone about, that Job sent andsanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according  to thenumber of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in theirhearts. Thus did Job continually. These sons took turns holding these parties in their homes, and this behavior tells me theyweren't serious about the things of God, they were intent on pleasing their own selves. It'suncertain if this was a seasonal event, such as at harvest time, or if it was an habitual event. Scripture indicates they had a circuitous way of doing this-each son would take aturn holding a party at their home and the other siblings would all show up and eat and drink, over indulging themselves. Job was very concerned, enough so he sent and sanctified them . So you have an entire week here of this kind of behavior. Job worried that they might have thought or said or did something that would alienate them from God,and he made sacrifice and intercession for them. Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before theLORD, and Satan came also among them. This word for sons in the Hebrew H1121, ben, is a very loose term for son-it means one who  is a builder of the family name, but also includes grandsons, subjects, nations, servants,soldiers,; it's used in the widest sense of the word, whereas in Psa_2:12 the word for Sonmeans heir to the throne. Most of the commentaries agree this verse in Job refers to angelscoming to the throne of God, and Satan coming among them. Consider the timing of thisverse, though. In verse 5, Job is getting up dearly, offering burnt offerings for all hischildren, and praying for them. This was something he did regularly. So in verse 5 youhave a saint of God making intercession for his children, and in verse 6 you have theadversary coming before the Lord to accuse, and seek permission to test this servant's faith and loyalty to God. Perhaps there is a dual application here, for we know angels, asmessengers and servants, are dispatched from God to earth to minister to those who would be heirs of salvation. (  Heb_1:14  ) But consider this: Heb 1:5For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have Ibegotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?  He never called any of the angels of the Son, only Christ-and those in Christ. So for that reason, I tend to wonder about the common interpretation of this verse. Regardless, the Lord focuses on Satan, whose name means adversary, opponent, accuser, and that isexactly what he is there before God to do. Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD,and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. Where did you come from? God asks him, knowing full well what he'd been up to. The word  for 'answer' in verse 7 means to speak, respond, to give account.  Job 1:8And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is  nonelike him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Job 1:9Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?  In the Hebrew, the word Considered used in this verse has three different words in the Hebrew that together express the English translation 'considered'. When you put them all three together, it means Job was the center of Satan's attention and he was determined tomove against him. Job was a marked man as far as Satan was concerned, he intended totake him down. Satan reveals God had made an hedge about Job. What does that mean?  In the Old Testament there are a couple powerful examples of this. In the book of 2 Kings 6there is a powerful example of this hedge. Elisha was the prophet of God who took over after God took Elijah. Elisha lived in the city of Dothan. This was where Joseph wasthrown into a pit by his angry, resentful brothers. The king of Syria was angry with Elisha, for he had been trying to capture and kill the king of Israel and Elisha, warned of God, warned the king of Israel. When the king of Syria learned that Elisha was in Dothan,he sent horses, chariots and a great army to capture this one man. Surely such a bigdisplay for one man reveals a deep fear on the part of the king of Syria. It's early, and Gehazi, Elisha's servant had arisen, gone outside, and he sees this great host of soldierssurrounding the city. There are horses, chariots, armed men, come to capture Elisha. Heruns back inside to Elisha, alarmed, and desperate. But Elisha calmly responds to hisservant Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. Elisha prayed and asked the Lord to open the servant's eyes so he could see and God did. And theservant, Gehazi saw that the mountain around them was full of horses and chariots of firearound Elisha. And when these soldiers, with their flesh and blood horses and their manmade chariots move in, thinking to capture this prophet, Elisha doesn't panic, he turns hisattention heavenward. He doesn't look down, he looks up. He prays and asked the Lord toblind the soldiers. So the Lord did.   Imagine the chaos that erupted. Suddenly, all this great army are blind. Individual panicturns to group panic when they realize they are all blind. Surely, they had heard of thisgreat God and this prophet who knew the secret things the king of Syria spoke in his owntent. They had heard of the God of Israel. They hadn't come charging into this situationwithout making what they thought was adequate preparation. Yet here they are,completely vulnerable, their horses and chariots no good. Psa 34:7The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereththem. The angel of the Lord, means one dispatched, as a deputy, a messenger, an angel, prophet, priest or teacher, an ambassador of the Lord. He encamps, or pitches a tent to camparound, to circle, on every side, those who reverence and fear the Lord, and listen to this-to deliver, equip for the fight, to strengthen, arm or prepare them. He rescues and setsthem free. This is heavenly reinforcement for the children of the Lord who fear Him. Haveyou ever been in a situation when you felt you couldn't go on, and the man of God get up at church and preach a message that fires straight into your heart, and encourages and strengthens you? Have you been in a situation when you were almost hurt, perhaps in acar accident, or something and they missed you and you don't see how they did? Have youbeen walking and had an angry dog growl at you, and then suddenly whimper and slinkaway when you spoke the name of Jesus? Then you have experienced this hedge, as well. Have you suffered a severe temptation, or trial, and felt too weak to endure it, and suddenly you felt as if iron had come into your soul and you were able to stand and resist? That is this hedge. The word hedge means literally to shut in, for formation, protection or restraint. In Exodus, when the children of Israel were backed up against the Red Sea, and the enemychasing after them, intent on their destruction, The Lord was in that cloud that moved toguard them. These people were trapped, a mountain range on each side, the sea at their back, and Pharaoh's army coming at them, mad with grief and hate, and Israel had noweapons, but One-He was the only weapon they needed. Josephus writes about Moses praying to the Lord during this time, and I want to share it with you. But when Moses was come to the sea-shore, he took his rod, and made supplication to God, and calledupon him to be their helper and assistant; and said Thou art not ignorant, O Lord, that it is beyond humanstrength and human contrivance to avoid the difficulties we are now under; but it must be thy workaltogether to procure deliverance to this army, which has left Egypt at thy appointment. We despair of anyother assistance or contrivance, and have recourse only to that hope we have in thee; and if there be anymethod that can promise us an escape by thy providence, we look up to thee for it. And let it come quickly,and manifest thy power to us; and do thou raise up this people unto good courage and hope of deliverance,who are deeply sunk into a disconsolate state of mind. We are in a helpless place, but still it is a placethat thou possessest;   still the sea is thine, the mountains also that enclose us are thine; so that these mountains will open themselves if thou commandest them, and the sea also, if thoucommandest it, will become dry land. Nay, we might escape by a flight through the air, if thou shouldstdetermine we should have that way of salvation.  Antiquities of the Jews, book 2, ch. 16. Emphasis is mine. We are in a helpless place but still it's a place You possess. Everything in it is Yours, themountains, the sea, the air. Wow. Have you ever considered that?  Exo 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and wentbehind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:  Exo 14:20And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was acloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these:  so that the one came not nearthe other all the night. The same cloud that was a light to Israel on one side was darkness to their enemies. What a phenomenal scene. The people were ready to revolt, they were scared, blaming Moses for their situation. But Moses had heard from God. God had already told Moses this would happen. The panic of the people inflamed something in Moses, causing him to cry out tothe Lord. The Lord said, Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward! Lift up your rod and stretch out your hand across the sea and divide it. The people will go through it on dry ground. Moses told the people to stand still and see thesalvation of the Lord. Don't be afraid, for the Lord will fight for you and you will hold your  peace.   Scripture says the Lord looked at the Egyptian army through the pillar of fire and of thecloud and troubled-to put in commotion, to disturb or drive to destruction, the Egyptians.(  Exo_14:24    ) The Lord let Israel get out of reach of the Egyptians as they crossed through thesea before He moved the cloud, allowing the Egyptians to rush into the midst of the seaafter them. He allowed them to get far into the midst of the dry path He had made in themiddle of the waters that they were all in there. None escaped when He let the Red Sea goback to her own place. They had time to realize the Lord was fighting against them, for  Israel. They had time to look up and see the water rushing down on them and it was over. Josephus also relates how after the sea fell in on the Egyptian army, that the next day, Moses and the Hebrews spent gathering the weapons of the Egyptians, carried to their camp against the wind by the current of the sea. Job 1:10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that hehath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased inthe land.  Satan knew there was a hedge around Job, because he'd been there, seeking a way around it, over it, under or through it. He had no access, no point of entry. He misjudged Job'slove and loyalty to God, because his own love and loyalty to God had bowed to love for self and you can read about that in Ezek 28. Satan said God had blessed the work of Job'shands. We take that to mean 'give an increase, prosper'. But here, it means to praise or salute. His substance, everything he had was spreading, increasing as well. So he was aman approved of God. A man Satan wanted to test. He couldn't stand it in the garden when Adam walked with God, and having failed todethrone God in heaven, he determined to dethrone that image of God in that man. Now,here's Job. Job had a reputation in the community as a good, God-fearing man. Hewatched Job's devotion to the Lord and he hated it. He saw Job's faith in God and hewanted to devour it. He saw the blessing of the Lord on Job's life and he wanted to stop it. He wanted to separate Job from God.The Lord, for His own reason allowed Satan access to Job. He dropped the hedge. All hehas is in your hand, but touch not Job himself. Satan wasted no time in going about wreaking as much havoc and destruction as he could. Oh, would to God His people would have the same fervency and urgency to be about His business, myself included. In one day, four messengers show up at Job's house, one right after the other. They all had terriblybad news. Job's servants were plowing the fields, the cows were plowing, the donkeyswere grazing nearby, and the Sabeans showed up, and overwhelmed the servants, killingthem and stealing the animals. Then another messenger came. The Chaldeans formed three companies, seized the camels, killed the servants there, and only one escaped. Then
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