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Job’s response to Eliphaz’s ‘counsel’ in many ways adds nothing new to the discussion. Nothing has changed with Job at all. Job is still suffering. Job still didn’t do anything to deserve his suffering. Job isn’t going to repent of something that he hasn’t done. All Job can do is to plead for mercy from both the LORD and his friends.

Job’s continued complaint begs the question: Is Job wrong in wanting to die?

You can grab the notes here

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Is there pride in your counseling? The danger for this intrusion of pride comes from the very nature of counseling. Someone comes who is needy and we are there to help. It may be assumed that we know more. It may be assumed that we have more experience. It may be assumed that we have things together. These assumptions are terrible assumptions, and they are just that–assumptions.

Eliphaz and his friends have made assumptions about Job. They appear to be innocent and well-meaning. They have some wonderful things to say about God. They have some good advice that we may need to follow at some points in our lives. But they are wrong about Job and it is because of their assumption.

Eliphaz and his friends have also made assumptions about God. It is difficult to say where those came from either. It seems they have learned from the traditions around them. Perhaps they have reasoned them through themselves. It doesn’t really matter where they came from–they are still assumptions and they are terrible assumptions.

Chapters 4 and 5 form the first of Eliphaz’s 3 speeches. He seems to want to help Job and to get him back on his feet, but his counsel is devoid of knowledge about who God is. His counsel is void of life experience. And most importantly, his counsel betrays his own pride.

We have two players together because this lesson was split over two Sundays.

You can grab the notes here

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Suffering is a dark and trying subject because of what suffering is able to do to the thinking and emotions of those who are suffering. It is able to shape the way we look at life. We often view this change in thinking and perspective as a negative, but as Job points out in his discourse there are actually valuable lessons to be gained from suffering.

Suffering has a way of bringing out the true nature of life. We are deluded by visions of grandeur and blinded by our own ambitions. But strip these elements away and we can begin to see life for what it us–marked by suffering and death from day one. These thoughts are not meant to cause depression and despondency, but rather to cause a healthy appraisal of our goals and dreams and focus. Job is able to retain his sanity because he has been able to form a healthy appraisal of life because of his fear of God.

Suffering does have very tragic consequences on our ability to appreciate the good things of life. This is part of Job’s discourse that gives us an inside view into those who are suffering around us and perhaps reassurance in the feelings we are experiencing while suffering. Job is able to uniquely express them and we have the privilege of learning while looking over his shoulder.

This is a continuation from the first lesson and resumes the final two lessons we can learn from Job. (Sadly there is no audio because I forgot to record it!)

You can get a hold of the notes here

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Perhaps one of the finest internet comics sites xkcd.com recently put out a comic that made use of emoji and this was what I say using a browser on linux:

Linux with no emoji

Probably not exactly the author’s intentions…So off to find out how to get emoji working on Linux!

Turns out that it should be a relatively simple process. In the Debian and Ubuntu repositories there is a package called ttf-ancient-fonts which you can install which will give you support for emoji. How this makes sense sense emoji are a relatively recent phenomena, I really don’t know–but I digress.

So we need to install the package:

sudo aptitude install ttf-ancient-fonts

and then try it out…On Firefox I know get:

Firefox use of emoji

Chrome is still broken–even after restarting the browser but that is quite likely a chrome issue.

Hopefully that gets you on your way to a more fulfilled life full of many emoji!

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I’m working on a new site for my church (rosemontbaptist.com) and after doing some work on another project with the Django framework I thought it would be the perfect tool for the site. I like Heroku also so I decided to follow through their tutorial for a Django web-app.

One of the requirements was to install the django-toolbelt package. I was a little surprised at the difficulty of doing this on Debian, so I wanted to document it and leave it up in case someone else has the same difficulty.

Postresql Development Files

The first thing pip complained about was:

Error: b'You need to install postgresql-server-dev-X.Y for building a server-side extension or libpq-dev for building a client-side application.\n'

I had already installed the postgresql server so this surprised me a bit but after searching through the packages I found the package they were looking for:

sudo aptitude install postgresql-server-dev-all

Python Development Files

This was particularly shocking. After I installed the postresql development files, I re-attempted my package installation and pip complained again:

In file included from psycopg/psycopgmodule.c:27:0:
./psycopg/psycopg.h:30:20: fatal error: Python.h: No such file or directory
#include <Python.h>
^
compilation terminated.
error: command 'i586-linux-gnu-gcc' failed with exit status 1

This had to be satisfied. I again searched the repository and sure enough, there are Python development packages as well!:

sudo aptitude install python3-dev python-dev

Because my Django installation was using Python 3 I went ahead and installed both for good measure–in case I ever switched my mind.

And…

I ran pip again and:

Successfully installed dj-database-url-0.3.0 dj-static-0.0.6 django-toolbelt-0.0.1 gunicorn-19.3.0 psycopg2-2.6 static3-0.6.0

Mission accomplished! Hopefully this will save someone a few minutes before they begin a Django project of their own.

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As we move into chapter 3 of Job a lot changes very quickly. We are quickly aware of the change in the style of the book. We are no longer looking at certain narrative, but dialogue. Dialogue that makes us think and dialogue that polarizes us. Chapter 3 begins the ‘discussions’ such as they are–and they don’t get very encouraging.

Chapter 3 is really a song–a poem. Perhaps it is the by-product of being stared at for seven days. Perhaps it occurs sometime within the seven days. It is somewhat confusing, because if it does start the first round of dialogue, Job’s friends pay little to no attention to it at all–perhaps it is just another sign of their being miserable comforters!

We find Job cursing the day of his birth–and this is really the theme of the whole chapter. Thankfully we are told this in verses 1 and 2 because it frees us up to think about what is being said and it lays the environment for us to do our thinking. Job is cursing–but he is not cursing God. This has been the primary goal of Satan since chapter 1. For us to know what Job is cursing–and to know that it isn’t God–allows us to see that Job is still standing, he hasn’t wavered yet. We may cringe at what is being said, but we can rest assured that Satan still hasn’t gotten a victory over Job.

We will look at four lessons from this chapter on suffering. We are privileged to see Job suffering like this. He is righteous and his example is one for us to observe and emulate. He will make mistakes like we will–but we can see where our temptations are likely to lie. We will look at two of the four lessons this week and finish the other two lessons, two weeks from now.

You can get a hold of the notes here

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The book of Job turns a corner at the end of Chapter 2. We end the narrative section of the book and we ‘leave’ the main characters that we have interacted with so far. Thus far the main characters have been the LORD, the Satan, and Job–with a brief appearance from Job’s wife. Starting with verse 11 of Chapter 2, we are introduced to a new cast–Job’s friends.

There isn’t a lot of good that can be said of Job’s friends. They are a group of miserable comforters–but they do attempt to comfort. As far as the book of Job is concerned they are the only ones interested in even trying. They make a point of coming, they bear the expense of traveling, they don’t leave(even though Job might have wished it)–they are genuine friends. As much as we hate to admit it, Job’s friends probably had good motives. They wanted to comfort and sympathize with their friend. But how can you sympathize with Job? Have they experience the same pain? Even if they had, would they have viewed it the same way?

Job’s struggle brings up the issue of pain and sympathy in general. Can anyone really sympathize with anyone else? We are human and we share many things in common, but we are as different from each other as any can imagine. We feel differently, we love differently, we suffer differently, we think differently–and thus we suffer differently. And this aspect of suffering makes sympathy almost impossible. So where do we turn? Are we without hope? Are we doomed to be ‘miserable comforters’ like Job’s friends? Job’s problem points us straight to Christ. We don’t need another man to sympathize–we need a God-Man. We need one who has suffered as we are and knows what pain feels like. We need one who is omniscient and infinite–one who is not bound by human limitations and experiences. We need Christ.

All comfort finds its root in Christ. Any comfort which does not stem from Christ is no comfort–but a cheap substitute. What kind of comfort do we give? Are we, like Job’s friends, miserable comforters? You can get a hold of the notes here

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We have reached a pivotal point in the book of Job. We have witnessed two attacks on Job due to the accusations of the devil. But from here on out the devil seems to just disappear. There are no apologies, no follow-ups in heaven, no explanations to Job–it appears to just be over with Job left in the ash heap.

Job has emerged from the struggle with his record intact. He has not cursed God–he also hasn’t died. He has resisted the natural urge to do and has resisted his wife’s urging. The rest of the book isn’t as clear cut, Job’s thoughts and words get messy and some of it cannot really be defended at all. He eventually puts his hand over his mouth and admits–“I’ve spoken about things that I didn’t understand.”

We have considered Satan and Job but we haven’t considered the other actor in the story. From the start, this story has been a struggle between God and Satan with Job stuck in the middle. How has God viewed these proceedings? From the details of the story I believe God has been pleased in several ways. He has witnessed the obedience of Job. He has seen the accuser proved wrong. He has been glorified as worthy of Job’s love and devotion and victorious over Satan.

But we cannot stop there. These things point us to one who is greater. They point us to Christ. However much God is pleased through the proceedings of Job, Job only serves to point us to one who is greater than Job in every respect. We cannot escape the prophetic picture that Job serves for us. And in these God is very pleased.

You can get a hold of the notes here