Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 8 August 18:
1. Job 5:17 — “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.” Compare this verse with Proverbs 3:11 — Eliphaz responded to Job with sound Biblical doctrine. However, it was misapplied because Eliphaz was using it in a judgmental fashion, assuming that God was punishing Job for an unspoken sin. We can judge whether a person’s actions are consistent with God’s word, but we can never presume to know what God is doing in someone’s life.
2. Job 6:14 — “He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” The counsel and advice Job’s friends were offering him was more than unhelpful, it was hurtful. Job did not need a study of doctrine in his suffering, he needed the comfort of friends.
3. Job 6:21 – “For you have now become nothing; you see my calamity and are afraid.” Job rightly pointed out that judgmental people are really insecure and fearful. Job’s friends blamed Job in an effort to make sense out of a terrible situation that scared them.
4. Job 6:28-30 — “But now, be pleased to look at me, for I will not lie to your face. Please turn; let no injustice be done. Turn now; my vindication is at stake. Is there any injustice on my tongue? Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?” Friends need to support one another by telling each other the truth in trust. Job’s friends were telling him to repent, and Job was seeking understand what they saw in him that he couldn’t see in himself. Everyone has blind spots in their character only others can see. Who will tell you about your blind spots? Are you willing to listen and change?
5. Job 5, 6 — Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied. Job’s friends had ‘Biblical’ knowledge but wrongly applied it because they were not guided by the Holy Spirit and it’s fruit of love. Job desperately needed the comfort of friends, not a sermon.
6. Proverbs 8:12, 13 — “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
– By definition, to fear the Lord is to hate evil, and with wisdom (the first of God’s creations) comes God honoring decisions and actions (prudence and discretion). Growing wisdom and obedience is the natural product of growing spiritual maturity. In our readings from Luke, Jesus points out that knowing him and having a fruitful life involves more than just hearing his words; it involves action:
— “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13)
— “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
7. Proverbs 8:13 – “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil.” Godliness equates to purity, holiness, and humility.
8. Proverbs 8:35, 36 – “For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.” When you obey God’s commands, you harmonize with God’s perfect order and produce conditions that enable God’s blessings upon your life. God does not bless sin. All of God’s creation functions in accordance with God’s wisdom. To live in wisdom is to live in harmony with God’s will, order, and creation. This brings natural blessings. To operate against wisdom is like trying to defy the law of gravity and jumping off of a cliff. Natural consequences are inevitable.
9. Luke 13:8, 9 – “And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” God patiently waits for people to repent and accept Jesus, but there is a limit to His patience.
10. Luke 13:10-17 — Without love, God’s word and commands will be misapplied. When Jesus fulfilled the will of the Father, the religious, using God’s word, called Him a sinner.
11. Luke 13:15, 16 – “Then the Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?’” Many people use religion as an excuse to act unloving and to treat others poorly. Truth approached in a self-centered, selfish perspective becomes untrue in that person’s application.
12. Luke 13:18-21 — “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” The kingdom appears insignificant but grows into something miraculous. God uses your seemingly insignificant deeds to do amazing things, you need only be faithful in the little things.
13. Luke 13:22-30 – “Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’” Knowing about Jesus, knowing His teachings, and being around Him won’t save you. You must truly ‘know’ Him in genuine relationship, having been saved by faith in Him, putting all your trust and hope in Him, and seeking to obey Him.
14. Luke 13:24, 25 — “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’”
– Some people approach God half-heartedly and selfishly – that won’t work. It is all or nothing, and it’s all for Him. God knows the heart.
– How different is Jesus’ message than the popular, worldly message of universalism being taught by so many today (often in the name of Jesus). Consider some of Jesus’ other less quoted statements that we have read from the Book of Luke so far:
— Luke 8:12 — The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
— Luke 8:20-21 — And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
— Luke 9:26 — For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
— Luke 10:13-16 — Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.
— Luke 11:23 — Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
— Luke 11:27, 28 — As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
— Luke 12:8 — The one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
— Luke 12:51-53 — Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
— Luke 13:5 — No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
15. Luke 13:25 – “When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’” The opportunity to know Jesus doesn’t last forever.
16. Luke 13:27 – “But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’” Salvation is a relationship with Jesus, not an acquaintance.
17. Luke 13:29 – “And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.” God’s plan includes people from throughout the world.
18. Luke 13:31 – “At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” Some Pharisees helped Jesus.
19. Luke 13:34 – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!” We tend to interpret much of the Bible verses dealing with judgment as applying to unbelievers, but most of those verses are spoken to God’s people, the church. Judgment comes with the salt loses its saltiness, and the light loses its brightness. As goes the church, so goes the nation.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 Aug 18: Endeavor to show radical hospitality and charity today, holding nothing back from those you can help in love. Use the opportunity to proclaim the love of Jesus. (Luke 13:15, 16)