3400.) Job 5

April 29, 2022

Job5 v10

Job 5   (NLT)

Eliphaz’s Response Continues

“Cry for help, but will anyone answer you?
Which of the angels will help you?
2 Surely resentment destroys the fool,
and jealousy kills the simple.
3 I have seen that fools may be successful for the moment,
but then comes sudden disaster.

Eliphaz preaches a God who can be figured out. For Eliphaz, there are no unknowns behind the scenes; there is no drama or purpose in the heavens that motivate what God does and what He allows to be done. Eliphaz says he has seen it and he knows. However, we know this heavenly drama from the first two chapters, and we see how shallow and unknowing the counsel of Eliphaz was. Job didn’t know what we know, but he could feel that the counsel of Eliphaz was wrong in his situation.

–David Guzik

4 Their children are abandoned far from help;
they are crushed in court with no one to defend them.
5 The hungry devour their harvest,
even when it is guarded by brambles.
The thirsty pant after their wealth.
6 But evil does not spring from the soil,
and trouble does not sprout from the earth.
7 People are born for trouble
as readily as sparks fly up from a fire.

As the Sparks Fly Upward

The little babe I held upon my knee
Had not yet banished from his sleeping eyes
The dreams of some lost world from which he came,
Nor missed some angel-choirèd paradise.
Strange little soul that claimed me not his own
By glance or smile, but with no seeing gaze
Looked to me who, all timid, dared to call
This wonder mine, and held it in amaze.

I prayed, ‘When comes the light of consciousness
Of things that be to hold him so he seek
To know what place life now had set him in,
And at whose mercy left, so young and weak,
‘Let it be mine, the face he first shall see
Bent on him, full of welcome and of joy,
So that his smile, on thus beholding love,
The pain of coming tears shall half destroy.

‘Or if some day he looks to learn, and I
Am not beside, oh! let it be the sun
Or some fair thing shall greet his seeing eyes,
So he shall find life good and well begun.’
Beside the fire I held him close, and sang
Some sweet child ditty, bidding him to sleep,
And broke the log to make it flame and glow;
Then in his eyes I saw a wonder creep.

Now peeped the soul from out his startled gaze.
‘Look first on me,’ I cried, ‘my little child!’
But from my kiss he held his face away,
And as the sparks flew up he saw and smiled.

 — Dora Sigerson Shorter, Irish poet (1866-1918)

8 “If I were you, I would go to God
and present my case to him.

3)   Here is the third false assumption Eliphaz bases his argument on:  that Job, because he was suffering, must have done something wrong in God’s eyes. Job must repent.

9 He does great things too marvelous to understand.
He performs countless miracles.
10 He gives rain for the earth
and water for the fields.
11 He gives prosperity to the poor
and protects those who suffer.
12 He frustrates the plans of schemers
so the work of their hands will not succeed.
13 He traps the wise in their own cleverness
so their cunning schemes are thwarted.
14 They find it is dark in the daytime,
and they grope at noon as if it were night.
15 He rescues the poor from the cutting words of the strong,
and rescues them from the clutches of the powerful.
16 And so at last the poor have hope,
and the snapping jaws of the wicked are shut.

17 “But consider the joy of those corrected by God!
Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.

Job 5 clean-heart

Eliphaz reminds Job that God will graciously restore those who repent of their sins and turn to him. This, of course, is absolutely true.

Psalm 91:9-10 (NLT)

If you make the Lord your refuge,
      if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
      no plague will come near your home.

 18 For though he wounds, he also bandages.
He strikes, but his hands also heal.
19 From six disasters he will rescue you;
even in the seventh, he will keep you from evil.
20 He will save you from death in time of famine,
from the power of the sword in time of war.
21 You will be safe from slander
and have no fear when destruction comes.
22 You will laugh at destruction and famine;
wild animals will not terrify you.
23 You will be at peace with the stones of the field,
and its wild animals will be at peace with you.
24 You will know that your home is safe.
When you survey your possessions, nothing will be missing.
25 You will have many children;
your descendants will be as plentiful as grass!

Ouch! Eliphaz, this seems cruel, given that Job has just lost most of his possessions and all of his ten children.

26 You will go to the grave at a ripe old age,
like a sheaf of grain harvested at the proper time!

Spurgeon preached a sermon on the words “You shall come to the grave at a full age, as a sheaf of grain ripens in its season.” These were his points of development regarding the death of a Christian: 

~Death is inevitable (You shall come) 
~Death is acceptable (You shall come)  
~Death is timely (at a full age)  
~Death is honorable (as a sheaf of grain ripens in its season)

27 “We have studied life and found all this to be true.
Listen to my counsel, and apply it to yourself.”

Again, the implication is clear. Eliphaz believed that the justice of God, at this present time, worked against Job because Job was in sin and refused to see it. If Job would only see this and repent! — perhaps the justice of God would once again work on his behalf.  Yes, Eliphaz had the answer to Job’s crisis, or at least in his arrogance he thought he did.

Job 5 Peanuts



For all his misunderstandings, Eliphaz knew that God disciplines us when we do wrong for the sake of bringing us back to the right, and that God kindly restores us. And we know, because of Christ and his gift to us on the cross, that God does this through LOVE that is marvelous and wonderful.  HERE  is “I Stand Amazed”  sung by Celtic Worship.


New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
HE provides rain.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/7392c-job-5-10-rain-800-x-600.jpg
“as sparks fly upward.”  http://williambradford.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/sparksinfire.jpg
“Create in me a clean heart”   https://www.genesisspiritualcenter.org/about/news-blog/create-in-me-a-clean-heart-o-god/
Peanuts cartoon.   https://biblioklept.org/2014/09/16/man-is-born-to-trouble-as-the-sparks-fly-upward-peanuts/

3399.) Job 4

April 28, 2022

“Job is rebuked by his friends,” by William Blake, 1805 (Morgan Library, New York)

Job 4   (NLT)

Chapters 4 – 37:  Friends Question Job.

This begins a long section in the Book of Job where Job’s friends counsel him and he answers them. His friends speak in more or less three rounds, with each speech followed by a reply from Job. At the end of these speeches, God answers Job and his friends and settles the matter.

Eliphaz’s First Response to Job

Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied to Job:

Eliphaz came from Teman, a town south of the Dead Sea famous for its wise men. In  this speech, he traces back all affliction to sin, through the natural operation of cause and effect. Eliphaz speaks again in chapter 15, with a clear depiction of the punishment of the wicked. Finally, in chapter 22, Eliphaz insists that Job has sinned and points out to him the path of restoration.

2 “Will you be patient and let me say a word?
For who could keep from speaking out?

3 “In the past you have encouraged many people;
you have strengthened those who were weak.
4 Your words have supported those who were falling;
you encouraged those with shaky knees.
5 But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart.
You are terrified when it touches you.
6 Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence?
Doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope?

Right away we see the direction Eliphaz is going to take:  It is Job’s fault. He has lost faith in God and he has lost his integrity.

7 “Stop and think! Do the innocent die?
When have the upright been destroyed?

1)   Elphaz, for all his wisdom, bases his reasoning on this false assumption:  that a good and innocent person never suffers.

8 My experience shows that those who plant trouble
and cultivate evil will harvest the same.

2)   Why do bad things happen to good people? Eliphaz says, They don’t. He thinks Job must be a bad person. He thinks  Job’s trouble is his own fault. This is his second false assumption:  that those who suffer are being punished for their past sins.

A breath from God destroys them.
They vanish in a blast of his anger.
10 The lion roars and the wildcat snarls,
but the teeth of strong lions will be broken.
11 The fierce lion will starve for lack of prey,
and the cubs of the lioness will be scattered.

12 “This truth was given to me in secret,
as though whispered in my ear.
13 It came to me in a disturbing vision at night,
when people are in a deep sleep.

Eliphaz claims to have received this revelation through a hair-raising dream:

14 Fear gripped me,
and my bones trembled.
15 A spirit swept past my face,
and my hair stood on end.

JOB mind-your-language

Job enriches our language. 

Here is a quotation which has become a part of our everyday speech:  My hair stood on end.

16 The spirit stopped, but I couldn’t see its shape.
There was a form before my eyes.
In the silence I heard a voice say,
17 ‘Can a mortal be innocent before God?
Can anyone be pure before the Creator?’

Eliphaz: “Job, we all sin. There is no great shame in admitting that you have sinned and that is why this calamity has come upon you.”

18 “If God does not trust his own angels
and has charged his messengers with foolishness,
19 how much less will he trust people made of clay!
They are made of dust, crushed as easily as a moth.
20 They are alive in the morning but dead by evening,
gone forever without a trace.
21 Their tent-cords are pulled and the tent collapses,
and they die in ignorance.

“It is all very beautiful, but absolutely short-sighted. Eliphaz had no knowledge of those secret councils in heaven, and was making the mistake of attempting to press all things into the compass of his philosophy.”

–G. Campbell Morgan



Probably we all understand the helpless feeling when so many things are working against us for no good reason! And then we have well-meaning friends come to tell us what we are doing wrong — yep, Job, we are there in the ashes with you!

But then what?

I think of Peter’s declaration — “Lord, to whom shall we go? YOU have the words of eternal life.” And then I remember this beautiful song.  HERE is Selah and “You Are My Hiding Place.” Let us be encouraged, dear friends, in the Lord Jesus!


New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blake.   from the book Blake’s Illustrations for the Book of Job
Why do bad things happen.   https://www.anonymouschristian.org/blog/it-happened-only-once-in-history/
Mind your language.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_Your_Language#/media/File:Mind_Your_Language_title_screen.jpg

3398.) Job 3

April 27, 2022

“Job Praying” by Marc Chagall, 1960.

Job 3   (NLT)

Job’s First Speech

This chapter begins the battle in Job’s mind and soul. He will not lose more or suffer more than he already has (though his physical pain will continue). Yet now we can say that the battle enters into an entirely other arena; the arena of Job’s mind and soul. How will he choose to think about his suffering? How will he choose to think about what others think about his suffering? How will he choose to think about God in all this? These are the questions that take up the remainder of the book, and soon come to any sufferer. The catastrophic loss itself is only an entry point into the agonizing battle in the mind and soul.

–David Guzik

Job wishes he had never been born:

At last Job spoke, and he cursed the day of his birth. 2He said:

3 “Let the day of my birth be erased,
and the night I was conceived.
4 Let that day be turned to darkness.
Let it be lost even to God on high,
and let no light shine on it.
5 Let the darkness and utter gloom claim that day for its own.
Let a black cloud overshadow it,
and let the darkness terrify it.

Birthdays are times of joy and celebration, yet Job wants the day of his birth — even the day of his conception! — to be blotted out in darkness. God once said, “Let there be light.” Job counters with, “Let there be darkness.”

6 Let that night be blotted off the calendar,
never again to be counted among the days of the year,
never again to appear among the months.
7 Let that night be childless.
Let it have no joy.
8 Let those who are experts at cursing—
whose cursing could rouse Leviathan—
curse that day.

In ancient days certain people could be hired to pronounce curses. 

Leviathan — a mythical sea monster or dragon that terrorized fishermen and sailors.

Psalm 104:26 (NIV)

There the ships go to and fro,
   and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

9 Let its morning stars remain dark.
Let it hope for light, but in vain;
may it never see the morning light.
10 Curse that day for failing to shut my mother’s womb,
for letting me be born to see all this trouble.

Job says it would be better not to be born, than to live when separated from God by his trouble.

There is a very deliberate and intricate interweaving of emotions, pain, hyperbole, and figurative language in this chapter which has to do with the nature of Hebrew poetry. The repetitive cadence is like a hammer hitting one on the head over and over. The repetitive images produce a more pronounced indentation of pain. The reader “feels” Job’s pain and is left with an indelible mental and emotional mark, just as a physical impact leaves a bruise or scar.

Job longs for the grave as a release from his present misery:

11 “Why wasn’t I born dead?
Why didn’t I die as I came from the womb?
12 Why was I laid on my mother’s lap?
Why did she nurse me at her breasts?
13 Had I died at birth, I would now be at peace.
I would be asleep and at rest.
14 I would rest with the world’s kings and prime ministers,
whose great buildings now lie in ruins.
15 I would rest with princes, rich in gold,
whose palaces were filled with silver.

One of the world’s most famous tombs, the Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Memtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.”

16 Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child,
like a baby who never lives to see the light?
17 For in death the wicked cause no trouble,
and the weary are at rest.
18 Even captives are at ease in death,
with no guards to curse them.
19 Rich and poor are both there,
and the slave is free from his master.

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the startling sentiments expressed in this speech do not mean that Job has cracked under the strain. There is no hint that Satan has finally made his point. . . . The Lord’s testing is not to find out if Job can sit unmoved like a piece of wood.”

–Francis I. Andersen

20 “Oh, why give light to those in misery,
and life to those who are bitter?
21 They long for death, and it won’t come.
They search for death more eagerly than for hidden treasure.

My former mother-in-law told me, after her husband had passed away, that she woke up each morning disappointed that she had not died in her sleep. Every day was a burden, filled with her muffled calls welcoming death. It was so sad to see her like that, especially when she refused any comfort from the Scriptures or conversation about the Lord. She lived the last years of her life in such emptiness. I contrast this with my father, who opened each of his days for decades with this proclamation:  “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it!”

22 They’re filled with joy when they finally die,
and rejoice when they find the grave.
23 Why is life given to those with no future,
those God has surrounded with difficulties?
24 I cannot eat for sighing;
my groans pour out like water.
25 What I always feared has happened to me.
What I dreaded has come true.
26 I have no peace, no quietness.
I have no rest; only trouble comes.”

With these final four blows of the hammer, Job ends his first speech. Through it all he shows us that even a great man of faith can fall into great depression and despair.

–David Guzik



“There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God” — a good reminder for us all!

Cleland B. McAfee was at Park Coll­ege, Park­ville, Mis­souri, for al­most 20 years as the chair of Christ­ian Phil­o­so­phy and col­lege chap­lain and choir di­rect­or. One day in 1901, to his shock and horror, he received the news that diphtheria had just claimed the lives of his two beloved nieces. To comfort his own soul and the hearts of the suffering family, Cleland wrote this hymn. On the day of the double funeral, the Park College choir sang the hymn for the first time outside the quarantined house of his brother. Cleland McAfee accomplished many good things in his lifetime, but he is remembered most for writing a simple message in the form of a song that reminds us that when bad things happen to good people, the best place to be is Near to the Heart of God.  Hear it  HERE.

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.


O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.


There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Chagall.   https://www.wikiart.org/en/marc-chagall/job-praying-1960
birthday cake.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/cake2bcandles-birthday-cake-with-candles.jpg
Leviathan.  http://www.fybertech.com/4thread/tg_1319933/1205338766443.jpg
Taj Mahal.   https://1.cdn.edl.io/pcgw2VaqrNt40T8SBz904QlY6S8VxZVjpAVFka6EG0x93lAe.jpg
Choose life.    https://www.123rf.com/photo_105806455_stock-vector-choose-life-lettering-hand-drawn-vector-illustration-element-for-flyers-banner-and-posters-modern-ca.html

3397.) Job 2

April 26, 2022

“Satan going forth from the presence of the Lord,” by William Blake, 1805 (Morgan Library, New York)

Job 2   (NLT)

Job’s Second Test

The second act of the heavenly scene:

One day the members of the heavenly court came again to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them.

Revelation 12:10-12 (New Century Version)

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying:
    “The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God
       and the authority of his Christ have now come.

   The accuser of our brothers and sisters,
       who accused them day and night before our God,
       has been thrown down.
And our brothers and sisters defeated him
       by the blood of the Lamb’s death
       and by the message they preached.
    They did not love their lives so much
       that they were afraid of death.
So rejoice, you heavens
       and all who live there!
    But it will be terrible for the earth and the sea,
       because the devil has come down to you!
    He is filled with anger,
       because he knows he does not have much time.”

2“Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan.   Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”

3 Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job?

God says, “Have you seen my friend Job?” I love this line! I hope God can use it about me! “Have you seen her? I know I can count on her. Throw at her whatever problems you want, and she will turn to me in faith believing. She will not deny my name or give up on my goodness. She will not be swayed by present circumstances, for she has placed her trust in me. She believes my word and she claims my promises with her whole heart, with her very life.” 

Oh, may it be so!

He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.”

4 Satan replied to the Lord, “Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. 5 But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!”

“Satan suggested to God a new test for Job. Physical suffering. Pain can weaken our resistance and make everything look and feel worse than it really is. More than one person has withstood tragedy only to fall apart under the onslaught of pain.”

–Stephen J. Lawson

6 “All right, do with him as you please,” the Lord said to Satan. “But spare his life.” 7 So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot.

Job suffers affliction and shows integrity.

8 Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.”

“Job on the Dunghill and his Wife” by Albrecht Durer, 1503 (Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt)

I have watched this scene play out repeatedly. For many, when there is a challenge in their life, Satan seems to be exonerated and God is the scapegoat. The consideration is to curse God and die, but what a foolish thought. Dying does not solve the problem, and cursing God doesn’t bring the solution. Crises reveal the truth about our person.

What should be our reaction in the midst of crisis? Always remember that your adversary is Satan, not God. This is a narrative Satan wants to twist and make it look like God is the problem. Secondly, remember that God is for you. Thirdly, we will do exactly the opposite, we will praise God and live. We have been told to be anxious for nothing but that in everything with prayer and thanksgiving we should make our request known to God.

The secret, then, is to do the exact opposite of cursing and that is to praise. When Paul and Silas praised in prison, their chains broke and the prison doors opened. Cursing is a way of further complicating issues and walking deeper into bondage. 

Lord help me hold on knowing my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth (Job 19:25) in Jesus’ name. Amen.

—Watchman Née

But let’s not be too hard on Job’s wife. She has just lost all ten of her children, too, and her wealth. In addition, it would be hard for her to see her husband suffer like this; just be done with it, she says. We can understand why she has lost hope.

10 But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.

Job’s Three Friends Share His Anguish

“Job’s Despair,” by William Blake, 1805 (Morgan Library, New York)

11 When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. Their names were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. 12 When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.

The Book of Job is not primarily about one man’s suffering and pain; Job’s problem is not so much financial or social or medical; his central problem is theological. Job must deal with the fact that in his life, God does not act the way he always thought God would and should act. In this drama, the Book of Job is not so much a record of solutions and explanations to this problem; it is more a revelation of Job’s experience and the answers carried within his experience.

–David Guzik

So here is the great question of Job, and it is our question, too:  Why do bad things happen to good people? Or more to the point — if God is good, why does he allow evil?



“Words cannot express.” Job’s friends knew this!  HERE  is “Silence Is Golden” by the Tremeloes, an English beat group founded in 1958 in East London.

Oh, don’t it hurt deep inside
To see someone do something to her?
Oh, don’t it pain to see someone cry?
Oh especially when someone is her
Silence is golden
But my eyes’ still see
Silence is golden, golden
But my eyes still see

Talkin’ is cheap, people follow like sheep
Even though there is nowhere to go
How could she tell, he deceived her so well
Pity she’ll be the last one to know
How many times did she fall for his line?
Should I tell her or should I keep cool?
And if I tried I know she’ll say I lied
Mind your business, don’t hurt her, you fool


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blake, Satan.   http://www.blakearchive.org/
Durer.  http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/christian/images/AlbrechtDurer-Job-and-His-Wife-1504.jpg
Blake, despair.    http://www.blakearchive.org/

3396.) Job 1

April 25, 2022

“Job and his family” by William Blake, 1805 (Morgan Library, New York)

Job 1 (New Living Translation)

The author, date, and place of the Book of Job are all uncertain. But it is widely recognized that Job is one of the greatest books ever written — a masterpiece, a classic. It is terrifying and beautiful, tender and powerful. It addresses life’s deepest problem, the problem of evil, of suffering, of injustice in a world supposedly ruled by a good, compassionate, just God. Perhaps we can go into it recalling of a portion of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe In chapter eight, as Mr. Beaver is trying to describe what Aslan is like, Susan jumps in to ask, “Is he—quite safe?”

We might ask the same question about Christ, and the answer we would like to hear might be something like, “Of course, coming to Christ will be perfectly safe.”

“Who said anything about safe?” Mr. Beaver replies. “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

Four chapters later when the group finally meets Aslan, Lewis’s narrator tells us, “But as for Aslan himself, the Beavers and the children didn’t know what to do or say when they saw him. People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time.” Lewis provides this image of Aslan, who is both good and terrible at the same time, for Christians who may have an image of God that is out of balance. 

Some may have a conception of a God who is only terrible, a God who is only fear-inspiring. They need to be reminded that God is also good and compassionate. Others may have an image of a God who is only safe and huggable. Lewis would remind them that the God of the universe is not just a larger version of their favorite grandparent.

Let us ask God to use this study of Job to give us a clearer vision of who God truly is — our Creator, Redeemer, and Counselor, who is neither “safe” nor “tame,” but always, always, wise and good.

* * * * *

Chapters 1 – 3:  Satan Questions God


The stage on earth:

There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.

 “The insistence on Job’s uprightness should not be weakened in the interests of a dogma of universal human depravity. Job is not considered to be perfect or sinless. All the speakers in the book, including Job himself, are convinced that men are sinful. Job’s first recorded act is to offer sacrifices for sin. This is not the point. It is possible for sinful men to be genuinely good.”

–Francis I. Andersen

2 He had seven sons and three daughters. 3He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area.

“Much later in the book we will catch a glimpse of what Job actually did with his money, and with his time and energy: he rescued the needy; he cared personally for the handicapped and the dying; he brought orphans into his home; he even took the power barons of his day to court and argued the case for the underprivileged (see 29:12-17; 31:16-21).”

–Mike Mason

4 Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them. 5 When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.

“What a beautiful example is furnished by Job to Christian parents! When your girls are going among strangers, and your boys into the great ways of the world, and you are unable to impose your will upon them, as in the days of childhood, you can yet pray for them, casting over them the shield of intercession, with strong cryings and tears. They are beyond your reach; but by faith you can move the arm of God on their behalf.” — F. B. Meyer

Job’s First Test

The stage in heaven:

6 One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. 7“Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan.   Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”

1 Peter 5:8 (New Living Translation)

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

8 Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”

9 Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. 10 You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! 11 But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”

12 “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence.

The revelation of the heavenly scene behind the earthly scene helps us to understand the later comment of James on Job: Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful (James 5:11). The two great themes of the Book of Job, as explained by James, are the perseverance of Job and the end intended by the Lord, and it is important that we learn both themes. The end intended by the Lord (James 5:11) connects with God’s eternal purpose as revealed in Ephesians 3:10-11 — that God intends that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose. God used Job to teach angelic beings, especially to teach them about His own spectacular wisdom.

–David Guzik

Job’s tragic and sudden losses:

13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news: “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

“Messengers tell Job of his misfortunes,” by William Blake, 1805 (Morgan Library, New York)

16 While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: “Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. 19 Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

Job reacts to his losses:

20 Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship.

Later in the book, as spiritual battle is fought in and all around Job, he will seem to move very far from these words of worship. Yet is it important to remember that a man’s first reaction is often very telling, and reveals what really dominates his heart. Worship was Job’s first reaction to his crisis.

–David Guzik

21 He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” 22 In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

standing strong in a desperate situation

In this first round of spiritual warfare Satan was singularly unsuccessful in shaking Job from his standing in faith. Job successfully battled against spiritual attack and fulfilled the exhortation that would come many hundreds of years later from the Apostle Paul: that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:13). Job made his stand —

  • against fear and did not give into panic.
  • against make-believe pretending and appropriately mourned.
  • against pride and humbled himself before God.
  • against self and decided to worship God.
  • against a time-bound mindset and chose to think in terms of eternity.
  • against unbelief and did not give into vain questionings of God.
  • against despair and saw the hand of God even in catastrophe.
  • against anger and did not blame God.

— David Guzik



Verse 21:  “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” HERE  is Matt Redman’s song, “Blessed Be Your Name.”


New Living Translation (NLT)    Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blake, family.    http://www.blakearchive.org/
father praying for child.   http://www.cathyconger.com/wp-content/uploads/father-praying-over-child1.jpg
lion eating prey.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/lioneating1.jpg
Blake, messengers.   http://www.blakearchive.org/
cat and dog.  http://karatetraining.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/classic_battle_catvsdog.jpg

3395.) Philippians 4

April 22, 2022

Philippians 4 (NIV)


Lord, you are the giver of every good gift. We pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works by joyfully serving others; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity

1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my JOY and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

Paul used the ancient Greek word for crown that described the crown given to an athlete who had won the race. It was a crown of achievement (a stephanos); not the crown that was given to a king (a diadema). The Philippians, as they stand fast in the Lord, were Paul’s trophy.

–David Guzik

2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Final Exhortations

calligraphy by Michael Noyes

4 REJOICE in the Lord always. I will say it again: REJOICE! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Paul stresses that we can take everything to God in prayer.

As it has been beautifully put: “There is nothing too great for God’s power; and nothing too small for his fatherly care.” We can bring our prayers, our supplications and our requests to God; we can pray for ourselves. We can pray for forgiveness for the past, for the things we need in the present, and for help and guidance for the future. We can take our own past and present and future into the presence of God. We can pray for others. We can commend to God’s care those near and far who are within our memories and our hearts. 

And every prayer must surely include thanks for the great privilege of prayer itself. Paul insists that we must give thanks in everything, in sorrows and in joys alike. That implies two things. It implies gratitude and also perfect submission to the will of God. It is only when we are fully convinced that God is working all things together for good that we can really feel to him the perfect gratitude which believing prayer demands.

–William Barclay

7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Romans 12:2 (ESV)

Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.

9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Thanks for Their Gifts

10 I REJOICED greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Let’s replace all our whining with joy! All our complaining with thanksgiving! All our self-serving discontent with generosity! We can do this through Christ who gives us strength!

14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

Paul described the gift of the Philippians in terms that remind us of sacrifices in the Old Testament (Genesis 8:21, Exodus 29:18, 29:25, and 29:41). Our giving to God’s work is similar to Old Testament sacrifices, which also cost the person bringing the sacrifice a lot. Bulls and rams did not come cheaply in that day.

–David Guzik

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Spurgeon thought that this verse was a great illustration of that wonderful miracle in 2 Kings 4:1-7, where Elisha told the widow to gather empty vessels, set them out and pour forth the oil from the one small vessel of oil she had into the empty vessels. She filled and filled and miraculously filled until every empty vessel was full.

  • All our need is like the empty vessels.
  • God is the one who fills the empty vessels.
  • According to His riches in glory describes the style in which God fills the empty vessels – the oil keeps flowing until every available vessel is filled.
  • By Christ Jesus describes the how God meets our needs – our empty vessels are filled with Jesus in all His glory.

20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.  23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.



Twila Paris says, “I want to encourage people to be faithful in what God has given them to do, however insignificant it might seem, because they have no idea how huge it could be in God’s overall plan.”  HERE she sings “I Can Do All Things” — and notice that her emphasis is on the “through Christ” rather than the “I.”


New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
verse and sunflowers.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/1482586028051563516s600x600q85.jpg
Noyes.   http://www.michaelnoyes.com/images/products/product_165_copyright.png
Think on these things.    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/111/290317481_2baba442c0.jpg
No Whining.    https://www.amazon.com/NO-WHINING-Window-Bumper-Sticker/dp/B00434ZXA6
Paul signature.    http://www.rowforhope.com/html/images/Paul%20-%20Signature.GIF

3394.) Philippians 3

April 21, 2022

Philippians 3 (NIV)


Loving Father, you sent Jesus to earth to die on the cross and save us from our sins. Strip us of any pride in our own accomplishments, and strengthen our hearts to value Jesus above all else, that we may joyfully serve you in true faith, both now and in eternity. Amen.

No Confidence in the Flesh

1 Further, my brothers and sisters, REJOICE in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

Paul first lists four things that were his possessions by birth.

  • Paul was circumcised the eighth day in accordance with Leviticus 12:3.
  • Paul was of the stock of Israel, a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and an heir to God’s covenant with them.
  • Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin, a distinguished tribe. Benjamin was distinguished by the fact that it gave Israel her first king, Saul (1 Samuel 9:1-2). It was the tribe that aligned itself with faithful Judah when Israel divided into two nations at the time of Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:21). It was also the tribe that had Jerusalem in its boundaries (Judges 1:21).
  • Paul was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. This contrasts him with the Jews who embraced Greek culture as it spread through the Mediterranean. In that time, many Jews became ashamed of their Jewishness and tried to live and act as much like Greeks as they could, sometimes even to the point of having their circumcision cosmetically restored or hidden so they could enjoy the Roman public baths without being noticed as Jews.

Paul lists three things that were his by personal choice and conviction.

  • Concerning the law, a Pharisee:  This tells us that among an elite people (the Jews), he was of an elite sect (the Pharisees), who were noted for their scrupulous devotion to the law of God.  “There were not very many Pharisees, never more than six thousand, but they were the spiritual athletes of Judaism.  Their very name means The Separated Ones.  They had separated themselves off from all common life and from all common tasks in order to make it the one aim of their lives to keep every smallest detail of the Law” (Barclay).  The concern that Pharisees had for keeping the law is reflected in passages like Matthew 23:23.
  • Concerning zeal, persecuting the church:  Paul was not merely an intellectual opponent of perceived heresies, he was an active fighter against them – even in his blindness to God.  Paul’s observation that the Jews of his day have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2) was of course true of his own life before God confronted him on the road to Damascus.
  • Concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless:  This shows that Paul achieved the standard of righteousness which was accepted among the men of his day – though this standard fell short of God’s holy standard.  By man’s interpretation of the law, there were those who were deceived into thinking that they really were blameless, like the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-23).

In summary, if anyone could lay claim to pleasing God by law-keeping and the works of the flesh, it was Paul.  He was far more qualified than his legalizing opponents were to make such a claim.

–David Guzik

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

To suffer for the faith is not a penalty, it is a privilege, for thereby we share the very work of Christ.

–William Barclay

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ, my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to His blood

See, from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were all the realms of nature mine
That were a present far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all

–Isaac Watts

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philip 3 I press on

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

. . . but I press on . . .

We live too hurried lives, sometimes; talk too much; think too little. With the goal in view am I racing on is one version of verse 14.

I am pressing on — that was Paul’s word. Is it ours? For what has our Lord laid hold of us? Are we laying hold of that? Or are we content to live the ordinary life?

Let us press on through all hindering things, distracting thoughts, unworthy feeling. Let us press on through all feelings of sloth or discouragement or fear, to the place where our God can speak to us in the stillness, and hold us close to His heart.

Following Paul’s Example

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven.

Philip 3 citizenship-is-in-heaven

Cartoonist Arthur Brisbane once pictured a crowd of grieving caterpillars carrying the corpse of a cocoon to its final resting place. The poor, distressed caterpillars, clad in black raiment, were weeping, and all the while the beautiful butterfly fluttered happily above the muck and the mire of Earth, forever freed from its earthly shell. Needless to say, Brisbane had the average funeral in mind and sought to convey the idea that when our loved ones pass, it is foolish to remember only the cocoon and concentrate our attention on the remains, while forgetting the bright butterfly.

Dr. Werner von Braun, well-known for his part in pioneering the U.S. space program, said that he had “essentially scientific” reasons for believing in life after death. He explained: “Science has found that nothing can disappear without a trace. Nature does not know extinction. All it knows is transformation. If God applies the fundamental principle to the most minute and insignificant parts of the universe, doesn’t it make sense to assume that He applies it to the masterpiece of His creation — the human soul? I think it does.”

The English scientist Michael Faraday (1791-1867) is considered to have been one of the greatest experimental physicists. When Faraday was questioned on his speculations of a life after death, he replied:  “Speculations? I know nothing about speculations. I’m resting on certainties. I know that my Redeemer lives, and because He lives, I shall live also.”

And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.



Verse 10:  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings . . .

HERE  is Larnell Harris and “I Want to Know Christ.” Yes, yes, yes!

I know that I know that my life is redeemed
I know I have found what some only have dreamed
I hold in my heart the pearl of great price
Dear God, hear my cry
I want to know Christ

I want to know Christ
I keep Him before me
I lift up my eyes
I drink in His glory
I press toward the goal
His goodness unfolds
March on , oh my soul
I want to know
I want to know Christ

I know that my path is the way of the cross
So I count what I gain and forget what I’ve lost
In pain there is joy
In death there is life
Dear God, hear my cry
I want to know Christ

And the things that entangle me
I lay them down
All the treasures and trophies of life
Let them be lost
Only let me be found in Christ
For I want to know
Yes I want to know


New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Philippians 3:8.    http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldy2atP1fS1qcgzw1o1_500.jpg
4.    http://ohshouse.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/12427969621529811764number_4_in_red_rounded_square-svg-hi.png
3.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/3.png
Philippians 3:14.    https://www.sccparish.church/thoughtful-thursday-04-06-20/
citizenship in heaven.    http://www.quickenme.com/citizenship-heaven-phil-320-sermon-notes/

3393.) Philippians 2:12-30

April 20, 2022

Philippians 2:12-30 (NIV)


Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and filled with your joy, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you thee and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Do Everything Without Grumbling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw


In Philippians 2:12-13 Paul tells the people in Philippi to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, for “it is God who works in you.” He never indicates that God will work redemptively in our lives in spite of us. God wants to work with us for our future, transforming us into the people he desires us to be.

Do you ever feel uneasy about the future? One of the best antidotes for that uneasiness is to look back upon the past and see the miracles of God’s prevenient grace:  how he worked in your life even before he brought you to himself. It helps to consider how many strings he pulled and what power he used to bring us to the place where we found Christ. Notice his providential, sovereign hand on you since that day, and remember that God’s will toward you has not changed. His will toward you is just as good today as it was yesterday, as good as it was when you were a sinner who did not know him and he was lovingly working to bring you to himself. And he will continue to work and bring you to ultimate, final, and full salvation.

That is why Paul can joyously look at circumstances that seem negative. When he is in prison (Phil. 1:7) and when he is in need of financial support (Phil. 4:12), he can rejoice. He knows what the will of the One who is sovereign over all is toward him. It is good, and it will not change. How appropriate to work with that will.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

One of the features of Paul’s writing is his love of pictures from the life of the athlete.

And there is little wonder. In every Greek city the gymnasium was far more than a physical training-ground. It was in the gymnasium that Socrates often discussed the eternal problems; it was in the gymnasium that the philosophers and the sophists and the wandering teachers and preachers often found their audience. In any Greek city the gymnasium was not only the physical training-ground but also the intellectual club of the city. In the Greek world there were the great Isthmian Games at Corinth, the great Pan-Ionian Games at Ephesus, and, greatest of all, the Olympic Games, held every four years. The Greek cities were often at variance and frequently at war; but when the Olympic Games came round, no matter what dispute was raging, a month’s truce was declared that there might be a contest in fellowship between them. Not only did the athletes come, but the historians and the poets came to give readings of their latest works, and the sculptors, whose names are immortal, came to make statues of the winners.

There can be little doubt that, in Corinth and in Ephesus, Paul had been a spectator of these games. Where there were crowds of men, Paul would be there to seek to win them for Christ. But, apart from the preaching, there was something about these athletic contests which found an answer in the heart of Paul. He knew the contests of the boxers (1 Corinthians 9:26). He knew the foot-race, most famous of all the contests. He had seen the herald summoning the racers to the starting-line (1 Corinthians 9:27); he had seen the runners press along the course to the goal (Philippians 3:14); he had seen the judge awarding the prize at the end of the race (2 Timothy 4:8); he knew of the victor’s laurel crown and of his exultation (1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 4:1). He knew the rigorous discipline of training which the athlete must undertake, and the strict regulations which must be observed (1 Timothy 4:7-8; 2 Timothy 2:5). 

So his prayer is that he may not be like an athlete whose training and effort have gone for nothing. For him the greatest prize in life was to know that through him others had come to know and to love and to serve Jesus Christ.

–William Barclay

17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am GLAD AND REJOICE with all of you. 18 So you too should BE GLAD AND REJOICE with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.

25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier,

“My brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier”: Paul gives these important titles to Epaphroditus. He was a man Paul valued as a partner in the work of ministry.  Brother speaks of a bond to be enjoyed; worker speaks of a job to be done; soldier speaks of a battle to be fought. It is precious and rare when God grants to us relationships which operate on each of these three levels.

–David Guzik

who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may BE GLAD and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great JOY, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.

The ancient Greek phrase for not regarding his life uses a gambler’s word that meant to risk everything on the roll of the dice. Paul says that for the sake of Jesus Christ, Epaphroditus was willing to gamble everything.

In the days of the Early Church there was an association of men and women who called themselves the gamblers, taken from this same ancient Greek word. It was their aim to visit the prisoners and the sick, especially those who were ill with dangerous and infectious diseases. Often, when plague struck a city, the heathen threw the dead bodies into the streets and fled in terror. But the gamblers buried the dead and helped the sick the best they could, and so risked their lives to show the love of Jesus.

–David Guzik



HERE  is a song we all need to be singing, every day, as we live in our comfortable lifestyles (often with silly complaining and without thankful hearts or overflowing joy) in a world so full of need: “Change my heart, O God.”


New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Charlie Brown.    http://www.normanramsey.com/stop-complaining-how-to-follow-jesus-with-faith/
house of the future.   http://www.plan59.com/images/JPGs/styling_house_of_the_future_00.jpg
Roman sports.   http://www.crystalinks.com/romesports.html
gambling with dice.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/philippians2-gambling.png

3392.) Philippians 2:1-11

April 19, 2022

The Face of Christ — detail from the Crucifixion from the Isenheim Altarpiece, c. 1512-16

Philippians 2:1-11 (NIV)


Father of us all, who gave your only begotten Son to take upon himself the form of a servant, and to become obedient even to death on the cross; give us the same mind that was in him, that sharing his humility, we may also reflect his glory here and enjoy eternal blessedness with him in the world to come. In the name of him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Imitating Christ’s Humility

1 Therefore

“Therefore” points back to what Paul has said in chapter 1, telling the Philippians how to stand strong for the Lord against external conflicts. Now he tells them how to act against internal conflicts in the body of Christ.

if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,

“If there is any consolation in Christ”: Is there any consolation in Christ? Of course there is! Every Christian should know what it is to have Jesus console their soul.

  • Luke 2:25 says that one of the titles for Jesus as the Messiah is the Consolation of Israel. Paul could say in 2 Corinthians 1:5, For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. In 2 Thessalonians 2:16, Paul says that God has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace. Of course there is consolation in Christ!

“If there is any . . . comfort of love”: Is there any comfort of love? Of course there is! Every Christian should know what it is to have Jesus give them the comfort of love.

  • 2 Corinthians 1:3 says that God is the God of all comfort. There is no way He cannot comfort us and no circumstance beyond His comfort. But this is more than comfort; this is the comfort of love.
  • The word comfort in this passage is the ancient Greek word paraklesis. The idea behind this word for comfort in the New Testament is always more than soothing sympathy. It has the idea of strengthening, of helping, of making strong. The idea behind this word is communicated by the Latin word for comfort (fortis, the same root as for “fortitude” and “fortress”), which also means “brave.” The love of God in our loves makes us strong and makes us brave. Of course there is comfort of love!

“If there is any . . . fellowship of the Spirit”: Is there any fellowship of the Spirit? Of course there is! Every Christian should know what it is to have the fellowship of the Spirit.

  • Fellowship is the ancient Greek word kononia. It means the sharing of things in common. We share life with the Spirit of God that we never knew before. The Holy Spirit fills and guides and moves in our lives in a powerful and precious way. Of course there is fellowship of the Spirit!

“If there is any . . . affection and mercy”: Is there any affection and mercy? Of course there is! Every Christian knows something of the affection of God, and the mercy of God.

Paul mentions these things in a manner that suggests to us that they should all be obvious parts of the Christian’s experience. To make his rhetorical point, he could have just as easily said, “If water is wet, if fire is hot, if rocks are hard” and so forth.

Each of these gifts – consolation in Christ, comfort of love, fellowship of the Spirit, affection and mercy – are communicated to us both in a direct, spiritual way from Jesus, and from Jesus through His people. But there isn’t any doubt that these are real gifts for Christians to really experience.

–David Guzik

2 then make my JOY complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

If I consider you above me, and you consider me above you, a wonderful thing happens:  We have a community where everyone is looked up to, and no one is looked down on!

Psalm 138:6 (ESV)

For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
   but the haughty he knows from afar.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Make a copy of these verses. Put it in a prominent place in your house. Rejoice in this truth daily.

In many ways this portion (verses 5-11) is the greatest and most moving passage Paul ever wrote about Jesus. It states a favourite thought of his. The essence of it is in the simple statement Paul made to the Corinthians that, although Jesus was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9). Here that simple idea is stated with a fulness which is without parallel. Paul is pleading with the Philippians to live in harmony, to lay aside their discords, to shed their personal ambitions and their pride and their desire for prominence and prestige, and to have in their hearts that humble, selfless desire to serve, which was the essence of the life of Christ. His final and unanswerable appeal is to point to the example of Jesus Christ.

So the follower of Christ must think always, not of himself — but of others, not of his own glory — but of the glory of God.

–William Barclay

Isaiah 43:11 (ESV)

I, I am the LORD,
   and besides me there is no savior.



HERE  is Chris Tomlin and “Name of Jesus.”


New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
The Face of Christ.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/222497257ethe-face-of-christ-detail-from-the-crucifixion-from-the-isenheim-altarpiece-circa-1512-16-posters255b1255d.jpg
obedience of Christ.  http://www.tracts.com/slave5.gif
Jesus name above.   https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/philippians-2-9-the-name-that-is-above-all-names-red

3391.) Philippians 1

April 18, 2022

Philippians 1 (NIV)


Eternal God, who lives eternally in perfect unity with the Son and the Holy Spirit, you have called us to be members of one body. Join us with those who in all times and places have praised your name, that, with one heart and mind, we may show the joyful unity of your church, and bring honor to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to his close friends, the Christians in Philippi, likely from his Roman house arrest described at the end of Acts (Acts 28:30-31), waiting for his court appearance before Caesar (around the year 61). Philippi was a wealthy town, thanks to nearby gold and silver mines and a large number of (retired military) Roman citizens. The church in Philippi was founded by Paul some eleven years before this letter, on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:11-40). This was the first church established on the continent of Europe.

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with JOY 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Ezekiel 16:60 (NLT)

Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were young, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.

7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Deuteronomy 5:33 (ESV)

You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.

Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel

Paul chained to a Roman guard.

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby


There are two ways to look at every situation:  How it will affect you, and how it will affect God’s kingdom. The apostle Paul was always concerned with how his circumstances might aid the spreading of the Gospel. When he was unjustly imprisoned, he immediately looked to see how his imprisonment might provide God’s salvation to others (Phil. 1:13; Acts 16:19-34). When he was assailed by an angry mob, he used the opportunity to preach the Gospel (Acts 22:1-22). When Paul’s criminal proceedings took him before the king, his thoughts were on sharing his faith with the king (Acts 26:1-32)! Even when Paul was shipwrecked on an island, he used that opportunity to share the Gospel there. Regardless of his circumstance, Paul’s concern was how he could use his current situation to tell other of God’s good news of salvation.

Often when we encounter a new situation, our first thoughts are not about God’s kingdom. When we face a crisis, we can become angry or fearful for our own well-being, rather than looking to see what God intends to do through our circumstances. If we remain self-centered we will miss so much of what God could do through our experiences, both for us and for those around us.

Ask God to make you aware of how He could use your present circumstances to bless others. Perhaps someone around you needs to see the difference Christ’s presence makes in your life. Are you willing for God to use your circumstances to demonstrate His saving power to those around you?

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I REJOICE.

Yes, and I will continue to REJOICE, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Since Paul was in prison awaiting trial, he had to face the fact that it was quite uncertain whether he would live or die; and to him it made no difference.

“Living,” he says, in his great phrase, “is Christ to me.” For Paul, Christ had been the beginning of life, for on that day on the Damascus road it was as if he had begun life all over again. Christ had been the continuing of life; there had never been a day when Paul had not lived in his presence, and in the frightening moments Christ had been there to bid him be of good cheer (Acts 18:9-10). Christ was the end of life, for it was towards his eternal presence that life ever led. Christ was the inspiration of life; he was the dynamic of life. To Paul, Christ had given the task of life, for it was he who had made him an apostle and sent him out as the evangelist of the Gentiles. To him Christ had given the strength for life, for it was Christ’s all-sufficient grace that was made perfect in Paul’s weakness. For him Christ was the reward of life, for to Paul the only worthwhile reward was closer fellowship with his Lord. If Christ were to be taken out of life, for Paul there would be nothing left.

“For me,” said Paul, “death is gain”. Death was entrance into Christ’s nearer presence. There are passages in which Paul seems to regard death as a sleep, from which all men at some future general resurrection shall be wakened (1 Corinthians 16:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:14 and 16); but at the moment when its breath was on him Paul thought of death not as a falling asleep but as an immediate entry into the presence of his Lord. If we believe in Jesus Christ, death for us is union and reunion, union with him and reunion with those whom we have loved and lost awhile.

The result was that Paul was swayed between two desires. “I am caught,” he says, “between two desires.” As the Revised Standard Version has it: “I am hard pressed between the two.” 

–William Barclay

25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and JOY in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your JOY in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Life Worthy of the Gospel

27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Matthew 5:11-12 (ESV)

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”



“For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Oh, to say these words with all my heart!  HERE  it is in musical form, by the Sidewalk Prophets.


New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Be joyful.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/philippians-joy.jpg
map showing Philippi.    http://www.jesuswalk.com/philippians/images/philippi_map.gif
Philippians 1:6 with butterfly.    https://pendernews.org/2013/07/10/todays-bible-verse-philippians-16/
Paul chained to Roman guard.    http://www.purifiedbyfaith.com/Ephesians/images/Paul%20chained%20to%20a%20Roman%20guard%20writing%20a%20letter-w-bkgnd.jpg
To live . . . to die.   https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/2438-philippians-1/philippians-1-21/
life, lips.   https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/62909726018419493/