Please Lord, Get Your Hands Out of Your Pockets!

Job 25,26 and Psalm 73,74


Job had certainly experienced his share, actually more than his share, of trouble.  Add to that the counsel of his wife and friends and you can’t help but wonder how he managed to survive, and to actually thrive in his relationship with the LORD.  None of it was fair, but why would we expect life to be fair?  If life was fair, I suppose we’d be zapped with judgment upon our first sin.  Job seemed to have wisdom and understanding beyond most.  Psalm 111:10 comes to mind, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.  To him (the LORD) belongs eternal praise!”  Job did his best to follow the LORD’S precepts, and he was consequently blessed with understanding.  He was certainly a man of faith, with determined loyalty to the LORD, no matter what came his way.  What an example for us as we see evil in our world, as we experience trouble, disappointment, pain, sorrow, frustration.  It’s easy to wonder, where is God?  Why doesn’t he send Jesus back?  Isn’t it time to put an end to this broken and disobedient age in which we live? 


Asaph, author of Psalm 73 and 74, may have had similar thoughts.  He seemed to envy the arrogant, even thought the wicked had it better than he.  Everything seemed to go well for them.  They were carefree, yet their wealth increased.  This bothered him to no end, until he remembered the rest of the picture.  All may have appeared bright and shiny, but he was reminded the wicked are doomed to judgment and destruction.    


Still, it bothered Asaph that things continued as they did.  Notice Psalm 74:11, “Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?  Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!”  Asaph felt, as probably most of us today, that God should get his hands out of his pockets and fix things.  Deal with the evil!  Get rid of those who persecute God’s people!  Smack those who call evil good, and good evil!  Bring your salvation!  Have regard for your covenant, your promises!  Defend your cause!  


Doesn’t that sound like our thoughts and wishes?  Send Jesus back now!  I suspect things are going to get a whole lot worse than they are now, than we can even imagine.  It’s okay that we would wish God would take his hands out of his pockets and fix everything, because that in itself shows that we do know he who can and will eventually fix things.  At the same time, may we be patient, may we persevere, as did Job, and may we wait upon the LORD to take action when and how he sees fit!

-John Railton

Today’s Bible passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Job 25-26 and Psalm 73-74

Reader Beware!

The Letter of Jude

Jude 24 b

“Judgment is Coming, Especially for False Teachers”

“He who saved a people of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (1:5).

The Letter of Jude is very similar to 2 Peter. The letter is a warning to believers that false teachers who have perverted the grace of our God into a license for sin will undergo a devastating, destructive judgment.

 

Turning the Grace of God into a License to Sin

Jude states that the faith had been delivered once for all to the saints (1:3). The believers were “once for all fully informed (1:5). This new teaching was a perversion. The new teaching was brought by false teachers who “pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (1:4). Some people perverted the grace of God and the work of Jesus on the cross into a license to sin. Their attitude was something like: “Our sins our forgiven, so let’s do whatever we want”.

The New Testament strongly condemns such an attitude (Romans 6:1-15, 1 John 3:4-10). Rather than promote sin, the grace of God through the work of Jesus on the cross condemns and defeats sin.

 

Examples of Judgment

Jude reminds his listeners that there is a devasting, destructive judgment in store for these false teachers, but also by implication for those who follow them. Jude gives several examples from the Old Testament to illustrate that judgment will eventually come.

  • God brought Israel out of Egypt, but afterwards destroyed those (in the desert) who did not believe (1:5).
  • Angels who “did not keep their proper position” have been kept in chains “until the judgement of the great day” (1:6).
  • Sodom and Gomorrah acted immorally but were destroyed by an eternal (of an age) fire.
  • Jude also mentions the “way of Cain”, “Balaam’s error” and those who perished in Korah’s rebellion.

All these serve as evidences and examples that God will judge wickedness. It is a great error to turn the grace of God and the work of Jesus into a license to sin.

 

Admonition to Stay Faithful, 1:17-23

Jude knows that a warning is needed, but hopes that his listeners can maintain their “holy faith”. He says believers should not be surprised that false teachers have arisen. The Lord Jesus and the apostles said this would happen (1:17).  In the Old Testament, one reason that God allowed false prophets among the people was to test the people, to see if they loved God with heart and soul, or not (Deuteronomy 13:3).  Likewise, one reason false teachers are around today is for our testing (2 Peter 2:1-3, 1 John 4:1).

“But you beloved…keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal (of the age) life” (1:20-21).

 

Bill & Stephanie Schlegel

 

(Editor’s Note: Yesterday, we provided some links to Bill’s website, Satellite Bible Atlas and trip to Israel.  Today you might enjoy this interview with Bill from our friends at Restitutio.  https://restitutio.org/2019/08/01/interview-53-why-knowing-the-land-of-israel-matters-bill-schlegel/.)

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