Audio for the lesson on Sunday.
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
Satan’s first assault against Job was a dismal failure. In fact, apart from taking everything away from Job, nothing Satan did worked out right. Satan is not easily deterred from his goals. In Job 2, we see Satan again having to present himself before the LORD. Again the LORD himself brings up Job and his steadfast integrity. Satan, without blinking or wavering, asserts that the first assault was not enough. Taking away his possessions was all well and good–but touch Job’s body(which Satan had not been allowed to do the first time), and then see what happens!
Without argument, the LORD gives to Satan the permissive reach he has been asking for and immediately the fiend takes off and rushes to strike Job. There is no room for delay like the first assault–Satan opts for a quick strike with as much pain as possible. Job’s wife only manages to make matters worse with advice that is suspiciously well-informed and serves as another prong of Satan’s attack.
Even with all the pain which Job experiences, Job still holds fast to his integrity. His response to his wife’s sinful advice is a response which is fitting for Satan. Satan is the ultimate fool. His actions and very being are consistently foolish. He is proof that not all fools are stupid–in fact many of the worst fools are extremely intelligent.
You can grab the notes here
Link rot is a perpetual problem with the internet. We all have experienced plenty of occasions where a promising link turns out to be a ‘404’. There is something of a transient nature about the internet. Items can be moved. Servers crash. Domains are abandoned. Articles are lost. Nothing really is certain.
Another layer of certainty that probably needs to be reviewed is the uncertainty regarding link shortening services. This was highlighted recently by an announcement by Bitly.com that they are going to be retiring their link bundling service. This particular feature has apparently not been an overwhelming hit and the company has decided to retire the service rather than keep it up.
This particular feature may not interest you at all…but what about if Bitly goes out of business? What if link shortening becomes a thing of the past and not longer is relevant. Think of the countless tweets, posts, and services that rely on link shortening (and Bitly isn’t the only one). All those ‘links’ will suddenly become a massive pile of rot that barring some interference from the Internet Archive or some other concerned non-profit will be irreversible.
Perhaps we should give some thought as to how we are building the internet and avoid sacrificing convenience or length so that we are building an internet of lasting value.
But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. — Deuteronomy 29:4 (ESV)
Would you believe if you saw Pharaoh’s army defeated? Would you believe if you saw manna fall from heaven? Would you believe if your shoes never wore out?
Our standard answer would be ‘of course!’ Who wouldn’t? These miracles would clearly blow our minds and our faith would immediately latch on to the one who had done all these great signs and made such wonderful provisions. Or not. Moses looks at the children of Israel as they stand ready to enter the Promised Land and says ‘You still don’t understand’.
We tend to look at the words of Christ and his use of parables as being a unique way of speaking to the Jews of his day. It allowed them to hear and yet to not hear. Christ even pronounces blessings on the ones who can hear, because most cannot (Mark 4:10-12). But Christ’s use of parables is not really a new development, it is really a continuation of how God has always works–and man always responds.
Man cannot understand spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14). Man cannot understand or see God unless God reveals himself to man. The result is that God is working and man never notices. God is working in creation and man worships the creation instead of the creator. God delivers a nation from Egypt and they pay no notice and make new gods. God speaks through his Son and they deliver him to the rulers for crucifixion. The experience of the rich man from the story of Lazarus is the experience of all mankind–we would belief if only…
We need new eyes, ears, and hearts. Not mechanical replacements for new living eyes, ears, and hearts. We need to be born from above.
We cannot fully appreciate the value of Christ’s triumph over Satan if we do not appreciate the foe that we have in Satan. We know that Satan is aiming his guns at all mankind and especially at the sons of God, but how well can he aim? Job gives us a great appreciation for the dangerousness of our enemy.
Satan’s first assault gives us a very frightening picture of Satan’s maliciousness and his calculated attacks. He shows that he is able to make the most of the situation and plan attacks that are overwhelming and unrelenting. Job suffers a day of complete loss in which he loses absolutely everything–in the cruelest of circumstances.
It is in the darkness that we find Job’s faith shining like a diamond. Job grieves, but doesn’t sin. He worships and doesn’t blame. He willingly submits to the circumstances in an almost super-human way. How is he able to do that? How do we imitate that?
Trials reveal–they don’t make. They show what is lying underneath and has been there all the time. Why is God confident with Job’s position as a righteous man? Because God knows the heart. He is not surprised by Job’s reaction–the thinking and the faith has been there all along.
For us to profit from Job’s example, we need to study it. We need to absorb the truths from his reaction. We need grace to have these lessons infused into our thinking so that when and if we are tempted in the same way we can respond with like faith.
You can grab the notes here.
Note: This is the second part of a lesson on Christ’s Triumph over Satan.
Job is a book of questions. It is meant to make you think. As we watch what happens to Job we should be thinking how would I respond? How should we respond? What does this teach us about ourselves? What does this teach us about God?….Could this happen to me?
Its this last question that I want to spend a couple weeks on with respect to Satan’s assault on Job. If we read through the book of Job without asking ourselves the question ‘could this happen to me?’, we are doing ourselves a grave disservice.
One of the interesting things about this book is that we don’t know the author. Which means that if Job didn’t write the book, he would have no way of knowing why he went through what he did! God never explains to Job that Satan was after him and that God allowed this to happen to Job. This should make us look at our lives and the situations that we endure and at least ponder the reality of what may be going on behind the scenes. We have no way of knowing, but it could be.
For us to really think through the possibilities we need to first spend some time thinking about Satan’s current position. I have to be honest, Scripture gives some exciting answers to Satan’s current position, so we are going to spend some time contemplating Christ’s triumph over Satan through his work on the Cross.
Our salvation is part of an epic story spanning the Old and New Testaments. The gospel is the story of a militaristic conquest by the Son of God over the god of this world. It is exciting and it is liberating. I hope you’ll enjoy thinking it through as much as I have. The audio should be up sometime tomorrow.
You can grab the notes for the second half of the lessonhere.
The Internet of Things (Iot) has been a much-thrown about buzz word lately. In fact, I’m almost surprised we don’t have a plugin for our browsers yet that detects and changes it.
Manufacturers have been taking advantage of new technology, particularly new, smaller chips, and the pervasiveness of wireless networks that provide near continuous coverage of our daily life. They are attempting to place some sort of microprocessor into everything they can get their hands on–but why?
I’m convinced it is partly because of a smallish tech bubble we are experiencing and partly because we can. The questions needs to not be ‘can we’ but ‘should we’. Here is an example from a Venturebeat article:
KeeLight showed off its Wi-Fi enabled multicolor smart light bulbs at CES. You can control them with an app remotely, and turn on sections of your home to create the right atmosphere within seconds. That sounds great, but each smart light bulb costs $100. The average home has 40 sockets for light bulbs. That means it would cost almost $4,000 to outfit your home with smart light bulbs from KeeLight. You can save by buying a 10-pack for $350. Still, that’s a pretty steep cost for getting a start on the connected home. I have an easier time getting over the psychological hurdle for paying $100 or more for a drone, since I haven’t owned one before, rather than paying that much to retrofit my house with a new version of something that I am already quite pleased with. For me in particular, I would rather pay $60 for a video game than $99 for a light bulb.1
Aside from the cool statistic that the average house has 40 sockets–that is frankly an outrageous amount of money to pay for light bulbs. I’m just in much with LED’s as the next guy–and more in some cases–but most people cannot afford to spend that kind of money.
Obviously, Tech tends to have these sort of pricing issues. Something comes out of R&D and its the next big thing since sliced bread and it is expensive. Wait a year or two and suddenly there has been a pricing break and everyone has it. That is a normal and accepted practice for more than one reason. But still, do we need these things?
One of the concerns that I see is the issue of compatibility–which VentureBeat article quoted above refers to–and the other concern is device management. Are we doing to have to use a different app for each device? Will my phone and tablet be cluttered up with apps from each manufacturer for each device? Can I access it from a computer? Can we access api’s that enable us to automate the control of these devices? Before we go too far down this technological-high-induced dream, we have some serious issues that we need to face.
Not to mention the major question of whether or not we need them to begin with…