John 14 opens in the midst of Jesus’s dialogue, a continuation from the previous chapter. The evening had begun with Jesus, their Rabbi and Messiah, humbly washing the disciples’ feet, followed by Jesus’s troubling statements that He was going away, and they could not come.
The disciples are troubled. Jesus leaving them is an unimaginable situation for the those who had left everything to follow Him. Though they claim they would lay down their lives for Him, Jesus predicts that the disciples will fail Him.
Jesus being the Good Shepherd is one of the more familiar depictions of Christ. In John 10, Jesus refers to Himself as both the gate and the Good Shepherd. Jesus’s audience would have had the usual understanding of shepherding in mind. Sheep were a common industry in Israel, not only for clothing and food, but also sacrificed in religious worship as part of regular temple activity.
God’s purpose for each of us and our church is to flourish. God intends for us to naturally grow in holiness and Christlikeness. Holiness is flourishing from God’s perspective, becoming more like God and Jesus. If we have any hope of flourishing as God intends for us, we must discipline our inner man to the powerful impact of the truth and reality of God’s providence.
Romans 8:28-30 is a favorite passage for many Christians. Sometimes this can be for sentimental reasons which are not bad in and of themselves. It’s important to distinguish what the passage means to us from what the passage actually says, and to get its meaning right. As humans, we need to hear truth repeatedly.
The majority of the New Testament writings begin and end with the mention of help from heaven in the form of grace that comes to us by the Spirit of God. Grace saves us, and it is grace that consistently changes us through the glorious agony of sanctification as we live our everyday lives. When grace is our tutor unto Christlikeness, whether things are good or bad, we are pressed to forget those things which are behind and to move forward unto the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. We pursue Christ, allowing His grace to mold us into His image.
Sometimes we endure great difficulty, and like Job, we need to come to the realization that when considering God, some things are too wonderful for us to comprehend (Job 42:3), and that the end, or purpose, of the Lord is always mercy and compassion (James 5:11).
Psalm 61 opens with the author, David, not experiencing safety. Different scholars agree that this psalm was written when David was fleeing his son Absalom (2 Sam. 15-17), who not only wanted to overthrow David as king but also desired to kill him. David was far from home and emotionally overwhelmed (Psalm 61:2). This distressing situation was predicted by the prophet Nathan as a consequence to the sin David committed with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11-12). David is fleeing his own son who is now his enemy (Psalm 61:3). Psalm 61 is a hymn about safety, ‘to the choirmaster: with the stringed instruments,’ for the nation of Israel, who would sing this hymn then and later when in captivity. The understanding of safety is something God’s people should enthusiastically and whole-heartedly affirm.
Having concluded the content study of the book of Job, we will now consider the extensive wisdom applications for our lives.
Wisdom literature is one of the more difficult genres in the Bible. Though New Testament epistles might be the easiest for us to read and understand today, it's important to keep a balance of all biblical genres in our personal reading and corporate teaching.
Why do senseless killings happen? What does God’s Word say we can do as believers?
These next two cycles of debate can be read in Job 15-33.
Are we trying to get the infinite things of God into our small finite minds? This is the reality of Job as he struggles through his horrific ordeal. As his friends wield accusations, Job seeks to press his mind and heart to know the wonders of the sovereignty of God. He believes it, yet it seems too wonderful for him to fully know. As he struggles through the months of his God-ordained calamity, God’s grace presses him to know and rest in the doctrine of God’s sovereignty.
If after a short time of great calamity such as Job experienced – his children killed, his lifestyle and position in the region taken away, and his body suffering like never before – would we be able to say like Job, "Blessed be the name of the Lord"? Could it be said of us that we did not sin with our lips? Job experienced supernatural grace in an hour of agony for those two verses to be written about him (Job 1:21, Job 2:10).
By Job 2:10, Satan has done his worst to Job and retreated from his life. God is silent and doesn’t make sense, and Job is alone.
Three of Job’s friends come to commiserate with him in Job 2:11-12. They respect his agony and sit with him in silence for 7 days.
In chapter 3, Job speaks. He asks the question “Why?” twenty times in this book, and a few are in this chapter. He asks why he was born (Job 3:3-10), why he is still alive (Job 3:11-19), and why he can’t die now (Job 3:20-26).
Most Christians are enduring some level of difficulty at any given point in their life. The story of Job offers us wisdom in how to endure crisis and calamity in a godly way.
Job was a man who was prepared to understand his trials because he understood his God. We need to understand what it means to be prepared for God-appointed calamity in our lives. The author of Job is seeking to convey to the reader that Job was the last person on earth that anyone expected to endure such calamity.
Job is a book of wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 9:10). Wisdom is not merely knowledge. Wisdom is living the knowledge of God’s will, being able to apply what we know. The genuinely saved person longs to know the will of God and perseveres in living it. Job 1:1 describes Job as blameless and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil, giving us a brief description of the person of Job and his character.
How does a church stay encouraged as they endure difficulty? We explore another spiritual practice today from 1 Peter 4:7-11.
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