Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Job and Jesus

As I have been reading through the book of Job, a couple of passages have caused me to stop and think. Job 9:33 tells us that Job desires for someone to stand between God and Job to mediate or arbitrate. "There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on both of us." Another passage, Job 16:19, states, "Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high."

Who is this witness? Was Job aware of the role the messiah would play thousands of years before he was born? I'm not sure about what Job knew or didn't know (and I will keep looking for references to Christ as I read through the book), but these verses describe very well the way in which Jesus Christ stands on our behalf before God. Only our High Priest can put one hand on God's shoulder and one hand on our shoulder and reconcile our differences. "For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf" (Hebrews 9:24).

Jesus is exactly what Job needed.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Blameless and Upright Man

Job 1:8 describes Job in God's own words; "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?" God defines the blameless and upright man; he is one who fears God and turns away from evil. To have God say this of me is one of my greatest desires! It may never happen while I breathe with these lungs, but this is the goal at which I aim.

So what keeps us from "fearing God and turning away from evil"? How can we acheive this? Well, in one sense, we can never succeed in such a goal, since we are powerless to accomplish more than legalism in our good works apart from the Holy Spirit. However, with the Holy Spirit's work in us, we can accomplish this goal by the practice of spiritual discipline. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 describes both the process and the goal; "train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." We must train ourselves to ingest and digest God's Word, spend time in prayer, guard against sin, serve others, and proclaim the gospel of Christ in our words and deeds. (Don Whitney has some great books on the spiritual disciplines.)

One of my biggest challenge to accomplishing this goal is simply remembering the goal during the daily grind. When we lose focus on the goal we will inevitably stray. May we all strive diligently for God to call us "blameless and upright," one "who fears God and turns away from evil."

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

"Sin is Crouching at the Door"

While reading my Bible last night (starting a new bible reading plan), I read again a passage that my pastor discussed in a recent sermon. Genesis 4:7 says, "if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." This was God's warning to Cain prior to the murder of Able. This seems to be simple advice, but just like the words "giving birth" cannot adequately describe the intensity of the process, so do the words "you must rule over it" mask the intense process of conquering sin. This passage, however, does encourage us to be diligent, because sin is ready for us especially when we are not. May God give us diligence in good deeds and victory in Christ!