"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58)

Behold The Man!

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, "Behold the man"! (John 19:1-5 KJV)

Krystal Meyers - The Beauty of Grace


March 20, 2005

John 19:28-30; Hebrews 9:16-22; Hebrews 9:23-26 and Hebrews 10:1-2, 11-14
“It is finished.” Let’s go back and look at the words that heralded the beginning of Christ’s ministry :
According to Luke 4:16-19, what was Jesus’ mission? “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
i. Just an observation. Aren’t you glad Jesus stopped his reading where he did, because that verse goes on to say, “…and the day of vengeance of our God.” (Isaiah 61.) Thank God, that day of vengeance is reserved for those who refuse to receive Christ as their Savior and King. A day of wrath is coming—but, as God’s children—we are not appointed unto wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9!) “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The words, “it is finished,” is translated into the Greek word, “tetelestia,” which means “the debt is paid in full.” After sin entered into the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, God, who is called Holy, and God, who is called Just, and God, who is called Love could not reconcile all these facets of Himself and allow us to enter into His presence in such a state. The God who is Holy (see Habakkuk 1:13 “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.”) cannot even look upon sin. So, that definitely leaves us out in the cold! And, the God who is Just, requires that there be some sort of retribution for sin--death (See Genesis 2:16-17 and Romans 6:23. “And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."For the wages of sin is death…”) So, the God of Love had to devise a plan whereby all requirements of his holiness, His justice and His love would be met. There has always been one plan—initiated by God and was in His heart even before Adam and Eve sinned (See Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”). He knew how this whole human trauma called life was going to turn out. Believe me, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit counted the cost! (See Revelation 13:8 “…the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.”) When Jesus shouted out those words, (see Mark 15:37 “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.:) He was announcing to God the Father and the entire world that He had taken upon Himself our sins and paid our sin debt with His own blood—with His own death, yes, even death on a cross! Ladies, make no mistake—this was a victory shout! God won—and we were restored! The Righteous for the unrighteous—only God! Amazing, knowing how great cost--still they desired and delighted in making man and woman—so much so, that they personally created us with their own hands and made us in Their own image! (See Genesis 1:26-27. “Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.) Glory! The perfect time for Christ to be born had not come (see Romans 5:6 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”) but, from the time sin entered God’s promise of redemption (buying back) was promised (See Genesis 3:15. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
) This reveals a great battle for our souls. Christ vs. satan. We win!
i. Enter the blood sacrifice. Now, I would venture to guess that all of us are probably Gentile (non-Jewish) New Testament believers. Although, if you are Jewish and a believer that Jesus came as Messiah—praise God—that has been His desire for you all along! Either way, I assume that most of us came to know Christ through New Testament scriptures and most probably, most of our devotional time is spent in the New Testament scriptures. This is quite natural, it is probably the part of the Bible we are most comfortable with. But, dear sisters, we can never fully comprehend Jesus’ sacrifice until we dive into the Old Testament and really study the picture of the blood sacrifice. Read Genesis 3:7-8 and Genesis 3:21. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”
1. What were Adam and Eve attempting to do? Did it work?
2. What are some of the ways you have tried or do try to personally cover your own sin?
3. What did God do? How and why was this different?
4. What does Galatians 3:26-27 say we are clothed with? “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Picture Eden. No sin or death had ever before been witnessed. Paradise on earth! God named the stars and the heavens—the sun and the moon, but He gave Adam the awesome privilege of naming all the animals (see Genesis 2:19. “ow the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.”) After sin, both Adam and Eve were witness to the high cost of what they had done. Death entered—blood was spilled--and the victim was innocent of any crime (are you beginning to see a little glimpse of Jesus here?).
i. If you were Adam and Eve, how would witnessing this event make you feel?
ii. What was the purpose of the sacrifice?
You can be sure that Adam and Eve would never forget what had taken place! A little later on we witness the sacrificial form of worship being offered by their sons, Cain and Abel. (See Genesis 4:3-5. “In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.”)
i. What was Cain’s sacrifice? Was it acceptable? Why not?
ii. What did Abel’s sacrifice? Was it acceptable? Why?
You see the pattern beginning here, don’t you? Cain brought the work of his own hands—a symbol of his own self-righteousness. Abel brought God’s accepted sacrifice—an innocent, slain animal. Blood makes the difference! (Read Leviticus 17:11. “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.”) Hebrews 9:22 makes it very plain that, “…without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” You see, God was making it very clear that the life’s blood must be given for sin. Not good works, not doing the best you can—blood. Any other way is man’s way. Excuse me while I get southern here—ain’t gonna happen! God made the plan and God will get the glory! Trust in the precious blood of the Perfect Lamb of God—Jesus Christ!
Turn to EXODUS 12:7; 13 “Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.” – “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” The Passover. God delivering his children from Egypt. (This is a spiritual picture of Jesus delivering us from sin!)
i. What were the Hebrew children told to cover their houses with?
ii. What did the death angel do if he saw the blood? If he didn’t?
iii. Do you think there were some sinners in those blood covered houses? Hmm!
In all these instances what was the blood used for? Did it take away the sin? Why or why not?
Later, in Leviticus, specifics of the Law enter the picture and God lays out for us how the sacrifice was to be performed. Read Leviticus 3:2, 8, 13 “He is to lay his hand on the head of his offering and slaughter it at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. Then Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood against the altar on all sides.” – “He is to lay his hand on the head of his offering and slaughter it in front of the Tent of Meeting. Then Aaron's sons shall sprinkle its blood against the altar on all sides.” – “He is to lay his hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the Tent of Meeting. Then Aaron's sons shall sprinkle its blood against the altar on all sides.”
i. Why do you suppose God required the one who sinned to place their hand on the head of the innocent sacrifice—taking part in the slaughtering and then seeing the innocent blood being sprinkled?
ii. What would be your personal reaction?
iii. How should we respond to Jesus’ sacrifice—the Innocent for the sinner?
We just can’t leave this subject without taking a look at Genesis 22:1-14 “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you." Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.". Here, we are given a beautiful picture of God’s ultimate plan of salvation. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, his only son—the son he loved! I can’t even imagine what must have been going in Abraham’s heart! I can hardly take it in! God will Provide! “Just in time, He brought the Lamb!” A Father giving his precious Son! Oh, the sacrifice! Worthy, worthy is the Lamb! I hope you girls followed through on what we discussed last week and willing and joyfully keeping down on your knees and face before our Awesome, Holy and Loving Father!
“It is finished!” No more sacrifice is needed. See Hebrews 9:23-26 “It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.”, under the old sacrificial system, people were coming to the priests everyday to offer up sacrifices for their sins. Can you just picture the blood that must have covered first, the Tabernacle and later the Temple. Man, those priests had to be cleaning blood up all the time—because this was a holy place and had to be kept cleaned. Even the High Priest, had to offer up sacrifices for himself, because he too was a sinner. Over and over and over again. Why were these sacrifices not enough? (See Romans 6:9-10 “For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.”; Hebrews 9:1-15 “Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now. When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings--external regulations applying until the time of the new order. When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”.)
Hebrews 10:1-2, 11-14. “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming--not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. – “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. “ Perfect cleansing of the sinner—that was the problem with animal sacrifice. Animals can never take away sin—their blood only covered it—it was a shadow or foretaste of something or Someone far more able!. Jesus—our sinless Sacrifice—the God Man. If He had only been a man, His sacrifice would have been in vain. No, as the God Man—fully tempted as we, but without sin--He alone could take away our sin and our guilt! Once and for all! What does Jesus’ sacrifice do for us that animals could not? (Read Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”!)
John 19:31-37
The Jewish leaders were so concerned that the letter of the law be kept—yet they crucified the One the law pointed them to—how crazy is that!
We see so much Old Testament scripture being fulfilled in these passages. Read Exodus 12:46 “"It must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones.”; Numbers 9:12 “They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones. When they celebrate the Passover, they must follow all the regulations.” and Psalm 34:20 “he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”.) How tenderly God oversaw every detail of Christ’s death. He permitted some things, but not one of Jesus’ legs were broken—God didn’t let Him decay either! (Psalm 16:10 “because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”!)
John 19:37 says, “They will look on Him whom they pierced.” Zechariah 12:10 “"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. “ and Revelation 1:7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. “ is prophecy that when they see Jesus, they will mourn. Why? See Revelation 6:16-17: “They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"
Remember, our discussion on the coming of God’s wrath? Well, girls, this is it! This is why they mourn, it is too late. They mourn because all the evidences were there—yet, they did not repent! God forbid!


Things that Matter
Purity Matters
Genesis 2; Proverbs 5, 6, 7

Genesis 2:18-22 (Monday)
"The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man." (NIV)
1) Important note: In all creation, this is the only instance where God spoke of His creation being, "...not good." Why? Does this statement in any way suggest that our God isn't enough to satisfy the heart of man? Explain your reason.
2) Did Adam realize he was alone? What brought him to this realization? Why do you think God let Adam ponder this truth for a while?
3) Did Adam have any part in making woman. Why not?
4) The first surgery ever performed by none other than our Lord God Almighty!
5) Why didn't God just make Eve out of the dust of the earth as He did so with Adam? I like the way my NIV Bible commentary states this: "God forms men and women for various tasks, but all these lead to the same goal--honoring God. Man gives life to woman; woman gives life to the world. Each role carries exclusive privileges; there is no room for thinking that one sex is superior to the other.
6) The word here for "helper" is "ezer", which translated means, "one who can provide what is lacking in another." What are some immediate things you can think of that a man would not be able to do by himself? Be nice!
7) The word helper, or "ezer" comes from the primitive root word "azaq", which translated means to "fence about, surround, protect or aid". Can you think of some ways that a wife, man's helper, would be such to her husband?
8) Does this word "helper" imply in any way that a woman is inferior to a man?
9) God brought woman to Adam! If someone is being introduced to you, how are they usually presented? Right! Face to face! Equal on every level, yet each is a completely distinct individual.
10) When God presented Adam and Eve in much this same way, they complimented one another and became completely blended--one flesh! Quite often that is exactly the case in many marriages—one partner is strong in the area(s) where the other is weak? Good plan! Maybe, this is why opposites attract!

Genesis 2:23-25 (Tuesday)
"The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called `woman, ' for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame." (NIV)
1) Why is it important for a man (yes, this is addressed only to the man) to break ties with his family and be joined wholly to his wife?
2) Here's that expression again, "one flesh." Exactly what do you think that means? (Yes, God instituted the grace gift of marriage and sex!)
3) Okay, we can't go around naked today, but what allowed this freedom for Adam and Eve?
4) In the intimacy of this first marriage, instituted by God Himself, there was no shame. Why?
5) Do you feel that there can be shame today in intimacy? How about inside the sanctity of marriage? Explain.
6) Take time to read The Song of Solomon. This book of the Old Testament speaks with great intimacy of the joys of marital union. Read particularly, chapter 4:11-16 and 5:1. Who enters and encourages these young loves in this most intimate of intimate relationship?
7) If God is in the marital bed, why is purity so important?

Proverbs 5:1-6 (Wednesday)
"My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked, but she knows it not." (NIV)
1) Adultery. Please know, that I am not speaking condemnation here (Thank God Almighty, Christ has paid for everything, even this one!) but there is only one God-given reason for divorce--infidelity (Matthew 19:9)! Why? What is it about stepping outside of your marital vows that can utterly destroy the marriage relationship?
2) How can obtaining wisdom, listening to God's Word and preserving knowledge keep one from falling into the seductive trap of adultery?
3) Scripture clearly tells us that sexual sins are the only sins we commit against our own bodies and selves (1 Corinthians 6:15-20!) Why?
4) How can impurity affect others connected to an impure relationship?
5) How does impurity reflect upon our Christian witness to a lost world?
6) Who first practiced seduction (Genesis 3)? How was this adultery?
7) Today's world offers all types of spiritual, emotional and physical seductions. Name some of the ways we are daily encouraged to turn away from spiritual purity and our God?
8) Did you realize that impurity can lead to more and even worse impurity (Ephesians 4:19!)
10) We've spoken mostly about sexual impurity. Now, you don't have to commit adultery to become ensnared by sin. How does any sin ensnare us?
11) There are other areas of purity we should concern ourselves with. Among them are:
a) Our fear of the Lord and the keeping of His commandments (Psalms 19:11; Psalms 119:9-11!) b) Pure hands and pure hearts (Psalms 24:4; Matthew 5:8; 1 Timothy 1:5!) Who gives us a pure heart (Psalms 51:10?)
c) Pure consciences (Titus 1:15; Hebrews 10:22!)
d) Pure thoughts (Proverbs 15:26; Philippians 4:8!)
e) Pure conduct (Proverbs 20:11!)
f) Pure speech (Proverbs 22:11!)
g) Pure devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3!)
h) Pure motives (1 Thessalonians 2:3!)
i) Pure lives (1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Timothy 5:22!)
j) Pure religion (James 1:27!)
k) Pure wisdom (James 3:17!)

Proverbs 7:7-14 (Thursday)
"I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home; now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: "I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows." (NIV)
1) Take a ride (if you dare) down certain areas of of anytown USA late at night and you'll see this type of woman, and/or man (and God help us, children) these days!
2) We have mentioned this in a previous lesson, but it bares repeating! There are only two ways that God tells us to fight temptation—flee! Or, stand firm, with your full battle armor on (Ephesians 6:11-18!) Which should this simple young man have chosen?
3) Just a personal observation--ever notice how sin screams at you, but God's voice is most often heard in the silences?
4) Sin does have a way of taken hold and it can be very brazen. Do all adulterers or sin appear this way? Why or why not?
5) Oh, my goodness! This woman has all the pretense of being "religious," all the while trying to lead this man astray! Of what use are offerings and vows when sin is crouching at the door? Do you think sexual impurity goes on in the church today? more so than in the world? Why or why not? One word—run!

Proverbs 5:15-23 (Friday)
"Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer-- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man's wife? For a man's ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly." (NIV)
1) In other words,--take a dip only from your own pond, men and women of God! We are given the best reason why right here! What is it?
2) Do you think women are less immune to sexual impurity? Why?
3) Scripture mainly cautions the male (most of the proverbs written by Solomon were directed to his son) in these situations. However, it appears that women are more often unfairly singled out as the perpetrator, much like the adulteress thrown before Jesus' feet (John 8:3-11.) What happened to the man if she was caught in the act? Why weren't they ready to stone him along with her? Not male bashing--just thinking out loud!
4) In regard to sexual purity, do you think we teach a double standard to our own sons? Oh, you know most do! "Good going, son!" What kind of message are we sending? (Fathers, reading Proverbs with your sons!)
5) We can add other soul saving attribute to the list for avoiding any type of impurity—Discipline! What are some disciplines we need to practice in order to maintain sexual purity?
6) Sexual immorality is all around us. How does this lack of spiritual discipline result in death--physically or spiritually speaking?
7) Okay, this is not giving you guys any excuse, but what can we, as spiritually mature women do to help our men be satisfied in our bosoms--even unto our old age?
8) How can and should godly women help men not fall into the trap of seduction—physically or mentally?


Christ Followers
Put Christ First
Luke 9 and 14

Luke 9:57-58 (Monday)
“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (NIV)
1) Would this man have indeed followed Jesus? I have to confess, sometimes I question my own loyalty in this regard. How far am I willing to follow Christ? All of us need to pause and consider the cost in following Christ ( ._ Let’s look at some of the places and into some of the situations God the Father lead His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and ask ourselves if we are truly “willing” to follow Jesus, “whenever he goes.” Remember, Jesus:
a) left the very portal of heaven, humbled himself by “putting on” earthly flesh (Ephesians 4:8-10; John 1:14 and Philippians 2:6-8.) You’re going to understand what this means in a more powerful way later on in this lesson!
2) I have been reading Kay Arthur’s book, “Our Covenant God,” and I have to tell you it is one of the most sobering books I’ve ever encountered. I wanted so much to put the book down (really, to throw it as far away from me as possible) because what following Christ truly requires from us is everything! Kay calls following Christ our own personal “walk into death.” Now, we all “know” that we are to die to ourselves and live for Christ (Romans 6:3.) But, believe me, along the way, we have all somehow watered down all that that statement truly entails! Kay connects this “walk into death” to the real meaning behind “covenant” in a way that just brings you to your knees. Dear ones, if you have never studied the Old Testament (really, covenant) you are missing the richness of what it truly means to walk in holy blood covenant with your God!
a) Covenant is as old as mankind. It is important for us to understand that covenant originated with God Himself (Genesis 3, particularly verse 21. Note: This is probably where man the true worth of one’s life blood. After all, for the first time ever, death—through the shedding of innocent blood—became necessary as a garment or covering for sin (Hebrews 9:22!) From this point forward, the shedding of blood became an extremely important part of both worship and sacrifice to the Lord God (Genesis 4:1-7.) Take time to read Genesis 6, especially verse 18—the very first mention of covenant; Genesis 9; Genesis 15; Genesis 17) While it is true that not all covenants were “cut” in blood, know that the “blood” covenant was the most solemn and binding of all covenants! “Blood” covenant was not to be entered into lightly because breaking such a covenant required the life blood of the offending partner. Now, man did not necessarily take another’s life—although, in some cultures this was highly likely—but, quite often God was called upon as Witness between the covenanting parties (Genesis 31:42-54) as an assurance that the covenant was upheld. In other words, if covenant was broken, God would “see” and judge the offending party accordingly! During Biblical times, those that entered into a “blood” covenant either “cut” animals in pieces, with each partner “passing” between the flesh, sprinkled themselves with the blood (Exodus 24:1-8) or “cut” themselves and the parties mingled their blood together. Why blood—because life is in the blood (Deuteronomy 12:23!) Now, in passing through the pieces, or being sprinkled or cutting ones self and/or by the mingling of blood, the parties, by oath, actually became as one--each equally responsible for to uphold their part in the covenant agreement. Actually, the covenant even went further, because as one, the parties became closer than even blood brothers. The friends and family of one, became the friends and family of the other and more, the enemies of one became the enemies of the other. Each party swore to defend and protect the interest of the other—important point to remember! We see this spiritual mystery more fully explained in the marriage covenant. The two become one flesh. (This is ideally a blood covenant—since both parties are meant to be virginal, thus the shedding of blood.) And, of course, we see it in the church being “one” with Christ Jesus (a covenant “cut” in the shedding of Christ’s own blood on the cross!) Oh, don’t mess the richness of covenant!
b) That brings us to the Old Covenant (the Law (Ten Commandments)—Exodus 20:1-17) that God “cut” with the Israelites upon bringing them out of Egypt (Exodus 24:1-8.) This too, was a blood covenant. However, this covenant was conditionally based upon the obedience of the Israelites (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 11:26-32 and Joshua 1:13-18!) It came with blessing if the Israelites obeyed and cursing if they disobeyed! Under this covenant, the shedding of innocent blood was a repetitive part of the Israelites daily lives. The tabernacle and later the temple was the place to offer up blood sacrifice as atonement for sin and even as part of praise and worship. The high priest was the only one who could enter into the very presence of God (called the Holy of Holies) and that, only once a year. He offered blood sacrifice for the sins of Israel and for himself. Blood was also necessary for cleansing and washing the utensils used in sacrifice and the altars, etc. etc.
c) Now, what does that have to do with us today? Well, let’s go back and read Genesis 15, especially verses12-21. Who were the covenanting parties? Who initiated the covenant? Who walked through the pieces? What role did Abram play?
d) This is an everlasting covenant with Abram (Abraham)—“cut” solely by God (Hebrews 6:9-20!) It is important to note that this covenant was implemented 430 years prior to the giving of the Law, or Old Covenant, to the Israelites! Its foundation was and still is solidly built on God’s faithfulness and unconditional promises! It was brought about as the result of Abram’s unwavering faith in his God (Romans 4:13-16!) This was the covenant was to Abram and his heirs, but Israelites would not! Enter the Law, or the Old Covenant!
e) Throughout scripture, God promised His children the coming of a new and better covenant, not written on tablets of stone, but rather, a covenant written on their hearts ( Isaiah 61:1-9!
e) We see a beautiful example of this “grace” covenant with the anointed, but not yet established king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1-23) David, and the friend who unconditionally loved him, Jonathan. Now, Jonathan was the son of the present king Saul, whom David was sure to eventually replace when God removed Saul from his throne and kingdom because of his sin (1 Samuel 12:13-25 and 1 Samuel 13:1-4.) Let’s take a look into this love covenant by reading 1 Samuel 17:12-58; 18:1-4), because this is the type, or picture of the covenant we have entered into with our Lord, Jesus Christ!
i) What type of agreement did they enter into?
ii) Who initiated the covenant?
iii) Who “loved” first?
iv) In the beginning of this relationship, was there anything that indicated that young David loved at all?
v) What did Jonathan have to offer as son of the king?
vi) What did David have to offer or bring into this covenant?
vii) What is the significance of Jonathan exchanging garments with David?
viii) Go back and carefully re-read verse 1. What took place spiritually between these two men?
f) So, what happened to the Law, or the Old Covenant (Matthew 5:17-19; Romans 3:21-24; Romans 7:4, 6; Romans 10:4 and Hebrews 7:18-28?)
g) Of what value was the Law (Romans 3:20; Romans 5:20-21; Romans 7:7?)
h) What purpose does the Old Covenant Law have today (1 Timothy 1:8-11?)
i) What do the following scriptures tell us is the basis of our New Covenant with God (Matthew 22:34-40; John 13:34-35; John 15:12, 17; Romans 8:1-16; 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 13?)
i) Where does this God kind of love come from (Galatians 5:16-25?)
iii) Clothe yourselves with Christ (Romans 13:14!)
j) Beloved, through our faith in Jesus Christ, we have become heirs to the all the rich promises of God (Galatians 3:11-28!) We are the spiritual seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:29!) So, what part do we have in being in covenant with God?
k) Jesus introduced the New Covenant during the last Passover supper he spent with His disciples (1 Corinthians 11:23b-32 we should carefully examine ourselves, and not take the bread and wine unworthily, less judgment come upon us.)


Respond with Faith
Job 1, 2

Job 1:1-3 (Monday)
“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.” (NIV)
1) A couple of days ago, I was reading my Bible and ran across this passage in Acts 27:13-15, “When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.” Oh, dear ones, enjoy those gentle, soft breezes, but just know that as a child of God, like Job, we are going to have those hurricane force winds coming at us right behind them! Don’t be “driven along!” Have your feet firmly grounded in God’s truth and on the ROCK, the Lord, Jesus Christ so you may be able to stand, just like our dear brother Job!
2) Read over the passage above. On what basis would you consider this man, Job, “great?” How did God?
a) Job was called “blameless” and “upright.” The NLT (from this week’s Transformation) says he was a man of “complete integrity.” The KJV says Job was “perfect!” Okay, so just what do all these terms refer to?
i) Strong's Dictionary translates the word “blameless” differently when speaking of God. God is blameless in that He is entire, complete! He is integrity and truth! The KJV says God is without spot or blemish, full, perfect, sincere, sound, undefiled, upright, whole! He is!
ii) The word translated as “blameless” when referring to man, often means to be (or make) clean, to acquit, to cleanse, to clear, to free, to be held guiltless, to hold innocent, unpunished--utterly, wholly! Blameless also can be translated to indicate that we are not in a state of constantly being led into sin! In the New Testament this word is translated as unaccused or irreproachable!
(1) Who accuses us (Revelation 12:9-10!)
(2) How about reproach (Isaiah 51:7-8!)
(a) Why are we accused and reproached (Jeremiah 15:15; Jeremiah 20:8!)
iii) It is very important to note that no man is without sin, but, through the blood of Jesus Christ, man is made or accounted as blameless—righteous, in right standing with God (Romans 3:20-26; Galatians 3:5-9!) Big, big difference!
(1) None of us are without sin (Proverbs 20:9 and 1 John 1:8!)
(2) There has only been one man who lived on this earth, was tempted in all ways as we are, yet, was without sin—Jesus Christ, the God Man (Hebrews 4:15!)
3) So, Job was cleansed, made free, declared innocent, without accusation and irreproachable! Why was that important for Job and why is it important for us to be blameless, or to be declared righteous?
a) God! God cannot look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13!) This is important because if God looks upon us and sees only our sin, there can be no relationship (Hebrews 9:22!) Sin always brings judgment and death (James 1:15!) God’s wrath would be upon us all! What does Exodus 12:1-13 tell us that God looks upon when He sees us? Oh, God sees the blood when we walk in faith in His Son, Jesus Christ! Dear child, His righteous, holy judgment passes over you! Rejoice!
i) Relationship—the very heart of God’s desire for Himself and for you, precious child! The entire book of Genesis, the Book of beginnings, speaks of our God reaching out to individuals, mere men and women—sinners, much like ourselves, in a loving and holy desire to relate and make Himself known to them. His intent was, is and has always been to show them, and us, His glory (Exodus 33:15-18!) Please know that these accounts are not fables! Not “made up” stories about “made up” individuals put in the Bible for our reading enjoyment! Sisters, Job was a real live breathing man! His story and other biblical stories are living testimonies—actual occurrences that are meant to point us to the truth of God’s great love, mercy and grace! His desire, His longing is to become real and active in the lives of His children! These inspired scriptures speak of how God walked with His children in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8!) How God initiated covenant (a blood binding contract or agreement) with us in order to deliver us from His sure and coming wrath upon sin (Genesis 6-9 and Genesis 12-15!) God desire has always been to dwell among His people and to be known by them intimately (Isaiah 7:14!) Immanuel—God with us (Revelation 21:3-4!) Amen! God gave us actually patterns of His divine purpose and plan:
(1) God dwelt with His people in a tent (tabernacle.) A place where His glory, or Presence lifted and fell (Exodus 25:8 and Exodus 40:34-38!)
(2) God dwelt with His people in the temple built by King David’s son, Solomon (1 Kings 5:3-5; 1 Kings 8:1-12!)
(a) What was God’s desire and purpose for dwelling with the people?
(i) Never leave or forsake us and to turn our hearts toward Him (1 Kings 8:57-60!) Glory!
4) In last week’s study, “Being Holy in and Unholy World, Follow God’s Example,” we learned that the tabernacle and temple limited the people and/or their access to God. With regard to the tabernacle, a tent dwelling, the people could only move out when the Presence of God lifted. With the temple, a dwelling made of stones, the people were limited in that they had to serve and worship where God’s Presence dwelt. Tent and stones! Patterns! Don’t miss that! Where does God dwell today (Colossians 1:27!)
a) Scripture refers to our bodies as:
i) Tents (2 Corinthians 5:1, 4!)
(1) What does Hebrews 11:9-16 say about people who live in tents? Oh, sister! God has got houses for us!
ii) Living stones (1 Peter 2:4-5!)
iii) God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16!)
b) Oh, I pray you are getting the awesome picture of the strongest desire of God’s heart! In seeking relationship, He has desired to dwell with you—you are His temple—one that is free to go out into the world as His ambassador, making God’s urgent appeal to lost mankind (2 Corinthians 5:20) and your are free to be in His Presence, worship any time and any place you so desire (Hebrews 4:16!) In fact, if you have received Christ as your Savior and Lord, it is impossible for you to ever be without Him! Behold, God makes all things new (Revelation 21:5!)
c) So, what should be our response to God’s invitation to dwell with us (Revelation 3:20-22!) Oh, let us dine with Christ!
Job 1:4-8 (Tuesday)
“His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom. One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." (NIV)
1) Look at Job’s tender heart for his children! Job was acting as priest for his family. Sacrificing for them, should they have sinned (does this remind you of Someone (John 3:16?) Don’t ever miss your opportunity to see God and Jesus the Christ in scripture!
2) What are we called in Revelation 1:-4-6? You are a priest of the Most High God! Are you making regular intercession for your family? for others? Share!
3) While Job and his family were having their traditional family reunion, probably a birthday or anniversary, what was taking place in the heavenlies?
4) Enter your accuser—satan! Does it surprise you that satan had access to God’s throne? What did he tell God he had been doing? What do you think his purpose was in going back and forth throughout the earth (1 Peter 5:8?)
a) One of my commentaries says satan does this by:
i) Attacking the Word of God (Genesis 3:1!)
ii) Snatching away God’s Word before it can seek down into someone’s heart (Matthew 13:19!)
iii) Sowing unbelievers among the true believers, seeking to cause confusion (Matthew 13:37-40!)
iv) Blinds or darkens minds (2 Corinthians 4:4!)
v) Placing temptation before us (1 Corinthians 7:5!)
vi) Opposing God’s purposes for earth and man (1 Thessalonians 2:18!)
vii) Spreading of false teaching or doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3)
viii) Persecuting Christ’s church (Revelation 2:10)
ix) Deceiving the whole world (Revelation 16:14!)
5) I hope you noted that God asked satan, “Where have you been?” Oh, rest assured, God knew where and what satan had been up to! Note the difference when God confronts one of his children!
a) Where are you? (He invites us to come out from the darkness of our sin and into His glorious light—Genesis 3:9!)
b) Where have you come from and where are you going? (God draws us to Himself by having us examine our direction in life—Genesis 16:8!)
c) Abraham! (He calls us by name! He calls us out to a new life—Genesis 22-1!)
d) Moses! Moses! (He calls us out for worship and service—Exodus 3:4-10!)
6) Reading these scriptures, it is almost as if God is intentionally drawing satan’s attention to and on Job. For what purpose? What does Job say in Job 2:8-10, 23:10? Have you ever been in God’s refining fire? Share!
7) Oh, don’t you wish God would look upon us and be able to say such worthy things? What does God specifically point out about Job? Why do you suppose God did not mention Job’s tithing, his charitable activities, his service in his church, his kindness to others, etc. (Psalms 49:16-20; Romans 4:1-5; 2 Corinthians 10:17-18; Galatians 6:14-15 and Ephesians 2:8-9?) Oh, let Jesus do the boasting for us!
Job 1:9-12 (Wednesday)
“Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.” (NIV)
1) Exactly what is satan “accusing” God of? Yes, he accuses God, too! There’s also an accusation or charge directed against Job in satan’s comments. What is it? No one is safe from satan’s accusations!
2) Dear one, I pray that you are able to grasp the absolute sovereignty of Almighty God! Nothing, absolutely nothing, can come against you unless it is divinely filtered by the hand of God (John 19:10-11!) As with Job, satan must always ask permission! Oh, one glorious day, we’ll all be able to fling every evil thought, word and deed committed against us right back into his evil face (Isaiah 54:17!) That is part of our inheritance in Christ Jesus—count on it!
3) Who attacks and who permits? Please be clear in your minds about this truth!
4) What specific limitation did God put on this attack against Job?
5) There are a couple of scripture verses that can and should comfort us in our tribulations:
a) What is meant by others for our harm, God turns around and uses it for good (Genesis 50:19-20!)
b) God works all things out for our good (Romans 8:28!)
Job 1:13-22 (Thursday)
“One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (NIV)
1) In a single day, Job lost everything—family, possessions, servants, herds! Disaster upon disaster! Talk about a gentle, soft wind becoming a hurricane! I personally can relate in a small part to Job’s anguish. The Lord moved me away from my hometown a couple of years after becoming a Christian. I never thought I would return! However, again, in God’s great sovereignty, circumstances changed in one day to bring me and my husband back—just in time to learn that my father was terminally ill. Please hear me, this was a blessing—I will never be able to thank God enough! I saw then, and I see now how He showed His love for me and my father in miraculous ways—almost moment by moment! I would not trade that experience for anything on this earth! God is good! Still, every day going back and forth to my father’s home, I wrestled and argued with God over my father’s life It was not until I heard the sound of the heart monitor going to a flat line that I was able to accept my father’s inevitable passing! The pain was crushing—hammering against my chest. I couldn’t breathe! I truly felt the pain would kill me. When I left my father and joined those outside in the waiting room, (this is not to bring glory to myself) but the only thing I could utter was “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away!” Looking back on it now, how I wish I had continued that verse to its completion, so I will do so now: May the name of the LORD be praised forever and ever--Amen!
2) I’m sure most of you have similar heartbreaks. A child of God is not immune to suffering! Jesus told us in advance that in this world we would have trouble (John 16:33) and He told us this so that we might have peace! Have you experienced God’s peace during a storm in your life? Please share!
3) I came across a passage the other day, Colossians 1:24, “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” Now, we cannot add anything to what Christ has already suffered on the cross—it is complete, finished, but do you realize that what you are going through right now is actually a part of what His experienced and suffered on the cross? This makes your passion, your suffering—my passion, my suffering—indeed, the suffering of the entire church body, even those yet to enter in—Christ’s passion and suffering!
4) I wonder how many of us have not, or would not blame God, at least in some part, for the grief(s) we bear on this earth! Yet, in all this, Job did not sin! I tremble at how I might respond if God allowed satan to come against my loved ones. I tremble because I know my weakness in this area. God forbid, I would speak one word against my God! I pray that we all would be as Job and remain faithful! Let me ask you, would your response be lesser or greater if the attack were personal or against your beloved ones?
5) Beloved of God, I pray you caught the fact that grief is NOT sin! Grief has many stages! Anger, denial, bargaining, acceptance—I’ve experienced them all! I’m sure you have, too. We can be angry and sin not (Psalms 4:4!) Please know that you are not alone, God shares in your grief and in fact, He bears them for you (Isaiah 53:4!) As if that were not enough, He has place godly brothers and sisters around you to mourn when you mourn and to help carry your burdens (Romans 12:15 and Galatians 6:2!) Remember, God has promised to turn give us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, a garment of praise for our spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3!) Glory and praise to His name!
Job 2:1-10 (Friday)
“On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” (NIV)
1) Now, the sons of God (KJV), or angels, are ministering spirits sent by God in our behalf (Hebrews 1:14!) God does not need them to tell Him what is happening in the world! No, he sends them out to serve us! They stand before God as witnesses to predestined events—not judges, not initiators, but servants of the Living God! Apparently, they presented themselves on a regular basis before God, quite probably each and every day. Remember, Jacob’s ladder/stairway dream (Genesis 28:1!) Again, we are witness to the haughtiness, the pride, the audacity of satan—how dare he enter into God’s throne room! Can’t wait to see God make a spectacle of him (Ezekiel 28:14-17!)
2) What accusation does satan raise against God and Job this meeting?
3) Who is this testing, or trial for? God, satan, Job or the world? Explain your answer.
4) Boy, to have a husband or wife like Job’s! With friends like that…. I often wonder why God allowed her to live and Job’s blessed children to die. What about you? Seriously, this is probably a very good example that satan is not personally behind every attack that comes our way—sometimes its our very own family and friends (Matthew 5:11; John 15:20!) Acts 9:1-5 makes it very clear that our persecutions very much affect our Lord! In fact, they are personally against Him!
5) Are you like Job, ready to take the bad along with the good that God gives you? Jesus reminds us in Luke 14:25-30 to consider the cost! Oh, press on! I pray none of us will allow the world ridicule Christ because we were not able to run and complete the race set before us!
6) Yesterday and today we witness two distinct ways Job did not sin. What are they? How does Colossians 3:17 speak to Job’s behavior?


Carefully Evaluate Explanations

Job 4:1-8 (Monday)
“Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied: "If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? But who can keep from speaking? Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed. Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope? "Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.” (NIV)
1) Sisters, the exchanges between Job and his three “friends” reveal some truths and some misconceptions about our God! The problem with Job’s “friends” were that even when they were speaking truth, they did not speak in love (Ephesians 4:15 !) These men were not sympathetic to the deep pain in Job’s heart. Rather, by their very words they brought condemnation ( Proverbs 10:11 -12 , 21, 32!) Imagine being told that your sin resulted in the loss of your family, never mind all your worldly possession. Who could bear the pain of such an accusation? As you read this week’s lesson, ask yourselves, could jealousy and a maybe a bit of self-satisfaction been at work in the hearts of these men?
2) Let’s back up and review last week’s lesson. In God’s sight, Job’s greatness did not come from his earthy possessions. Rather, Job’s greatness was the direct result of Go!, In the richness of God’s mercy and grace, God declared Job to be in right standing and blameless before Him! This was not Job’s own misguided perception. God even acknowledged Job’s blamelessness before his accuser, satan! Job was a man under the complete and full blessing of God! For reasons still unknown and unrevealed to us, or even to Job, God gave permission for satan to smite Job, and in one day, Job lost everything—children, property, possessions! As if that were not enough, God again allolwed satan to attack—this time, against Job’s own flesh, or body! We ended last week’s lesson, with Job sitting in an ash pile, scrapping the sores covering his body with broken pieces of pottery—still honoring and trusting his God! Blameless, indeed!
3) This week, we find Job still sitting in that ash heap! We’ve already witnessed Job’s wife telling him to curse God and die (Job 2:9!) Now, his “friends,” Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar come to “comfort” him in that heap. With friends like these, who needs enemies? Can anybody relate? Okay, in plain English, Eliphaz is telling Job, “Look, you have given godly counsel and even helped to lift others out of their sin, yet you are unwilling to even acknowledge your own sin and repent! Surely, you know that nothing bad ever happens to good people. Only the wicked receive evil for evil!” Oh, I’m sure satan has placed that thought in our heads a time or two (I know he has in mine!) Remember, last week, we discussed how others, quite often those closest to us, and not just satan, can come against us? Well, this is exactly what is happening to God’s blameless Job! As far as Eliphaz was concerned, Job, the accused, has been found guilty and is receiving his just punishment! Been there? Please share!
4) Perceptions and assumptions! Let’s look at Eliphaz’s perceptions and assumptions a little closer, less we ever become guilty of “consoling” our friends in such a manner:
a) Job had obviously stumbled and sinned!
b) Job was wrong to complain about his troubles since he brought them upon himself by sinning!
c) Job was being punished!
d) Job was a hypocrite!
e) Job was unrepentant!
f) The wicked are always punished in this life
i) Not true! Look around you! Quite often, the wicked live in great prosperity and even die peacefully (Ecclesiastes 8:10 -14!) Can you think of someone around you that is prospering and still unrepentant? Share how this effects your view of God.
g) And, oh, yes, people who are right with God never suffer!
i) Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-11 ! Still think godly men and women don’t suffer?
h) Suffering is always the result of sin!
(1) Not so! Scripture tells us, “Each heart knows its own bitterness (Proverbs 14:10 !) This is why Jesus chose to “share in our humanity (Hebrews 2:14 !) Did Jesus suffer as a result? Yes, more than we will ever know in this life! Jesus, the God Man calls us to trust and suffer with Him! Some of the reasons for our suffering include:
ii) The awesome display of God’s mighty works and power (John 9:1-3!)
iii) Suffering is sometimes the avenue God chooses to teach us to trust in Him, not ourselves or our circumstances (2 Corinthians 1:8-10; Hebrews 11:17 -19 !)
iv) Suffering deters pride, causing us to lean upon the all sufficiency of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:7-10!)
v) Suffering can actually be the tool that God uses to pull us away from sin (Job 33:19-22, 26-30!)
vi) We are called into the fellowship of Christ’s suffering (Philippians 1:29 !)
vii) Suffering shapes us into the image of God’s own Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:3!)
viii) It is in our own sufferings, that we learn how to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:1-4!)
(1) If God tests us through suffering, or in any other way, is that testing for the sake of God, or for us? Does God need to know if we have genuine faith? No! God wants us to know the depth of our own faith (Job 23:10 !)
Job 8:1-9 (Tuesday)
“Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: "How long will you say such things? Your words are a blustering wind. Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right? When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin. But if you will look to God and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place. Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be. "Ask the former generations and find out what their fathers learned, for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow. " (NIV)
1) Now, not only has Job been misjudged, here we find another of Job’s “friends,” Bildad, misjudging. Yes, Bildad is also making a few assumptions, only this time they are about God’s purposes and motives! Let’s see how some might misunderstand God’s ways:
a) Why, it is unthinkable that God would allow a blameless person to suffer! It would be against His holy nature—an injustice! In fact, that would make God unrighteous!
b) God purpose is always to come to our aid and lift us up—you know, of course, it’s all about us!
c) Right standing with God always brings prosperity (watch out for this one, because it’s all over the TV and radio today!)
d) We can’t possibly know what God is about in our lives—we’re much too immature in our faith!
e) God always works in our lives the exact same way He does in others!
Job 11:13-17 (Wednesday)
“Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning.” (NIV)
1) Oh, this sounds so good, doesn’t it? This is coming from Job’s third friend, Zophar! Oh, there is great truth to be found here. Over and over in His word, God promises blessings for those whose hearts pant after Him, and since it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18 ), we know God will be faithful in keeping His promises and in blessing us! What we must grasp and come to terms with is that these blessings are not always immediate! They were not for Abraham, and many of God’s great men and women of faith (Hebrews 11!) We may be called to patience in receiving our blessings, even if they are fulfilled beyond the grave! Oh, are you willing? Back to Zophar. He, too, is speaking from the position that Job has somehow sinned against God and was getting his just desserts! “Life will be brighter than noonday!” Oh, did you ever think that once you turned from your sin and became a Christian, everything would be perfect? That’s what Zophar is trying to say to Job! Sisters, nothing could be further from the truth! The moment you accept Christ you enter into the battle of your life (Ephesians 6:11 -18!) Know this, if you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s, then satan cannot touch your soul and drag you into the pit of hell with him. Glory! However, that doesn’t mean he takes his gloves come off! No, now he wants to make you miserable! He has several purposes behind every attack:
a) to thwart God’s will and purpose in your life
b) to tempt you and bring sin into your life
c) to use your transgressions (sins) to bring shame upon the name of Christ
d) to damage or destroy your testimony
e) to use you to cause others, particularly, your brothers and sisters in Christ, to stumble or become weaken in their faith
f) to hinder your intercession(s)
g) to rob you of God’s blessings in your life
h) to rob you of God’s promises
2) There are a couple of scripture verses that can and should comfort us in our tribulations:
a) What is meant by others for our harm, God turns around and uses it for good (Genesis 50:19-20!)
b) God works all things out for our good (Romans 8:28 !)
Job 13:20-27 (Thursday)
“Only grant me these two things, O God, and then I will not hide from you: Withdraw your hand far from me, and stop frightening me with your terrors. Then summon me and I will answer, or let me speak, and you reply. How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin. Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy? Will you torment a windblown leaf? Will you chase after dry chaff? For you write down bitter things against me and make me inherit the sins of my youth. You fasten my feet in shackles; you keep close watch on all my paths by putting marks on the soles of my feet.” (NIV)
1) Job has had enough of his “friends!” He has time and time again refuted their assumptions and at last they are silent! They are wrongly judged Job, but I want you to know that Job had wrongly judged the very heart of God! He felt God had imprisoned him, actually shackling him, without just cause, as if God needed to explain Himself or His ways to anyone! Here, we find Job taking his lament to God Almighty!
2) What are Job’s two requests?
3) In these passages we find several things going on in the heart of Job:
a) Questioning God’s purposes and/or motives!
b) Self-examination!
c) A willingness to repent!
d) A plea for mercy!
e) Fear!
i) of further, perhaps more intense judgment!
ii) of sins Job may not be aware of!
iii) of God forsaking him!
iv) of past sins returning to haunt him!
Job 32:1-5; 33:31-33 (Friday)
“So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him. Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.” (NIV) 33:31-33 “"Pay attention, Job, and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak. If you have anything to say, answer me; speak up, for I want you to be cleared. But if not, then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom."
1) Finally, Job’s three “friends” run out of nasty, hateful things (well, at least self-righteous) things to say—they were silent! God is also silent, finding no reason to justify His actions—HE is God! In these passages, we learn that there was at least one more person on the scene—Elihu, the son of Barakel!
2) Admittedly, from all appearances it would seem that Barakel’s young son would not be the wisest of Job’s counselors. However, Elihu, speaks truth to Job, thus, preparing him to listen to what God has to say! Job was very wise to not despise this young man’s youth (1 Timothy 4:12 -16!)
3) Read verse 2. What had aroused Elihu’s anger? Was this justified? Explain.
4) Elihu, who silently stood by listening to this exchange, realized that Job’s “friends,” Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar had already condemned Job! Elihu, wisely discerned that their understanding of God’s purposes in allowing suffering were incorrect! Note Elihu words, “I want you to be cleared.” Job’s three accusers were coming from a position of feeling they were more righteous than Job—pride! Here, we see the sincerity of Elihu—only he wanted Job cleared! From what or from who?
a) Oh, you have to read a little further on and read this entire chapter. Elihu reminds Job that God doesn’t need to listen to man—man needs to listen to God! Elihu assures Job that God does speak—it many different ways, so that man will turn to Him. The problem is man doesn’t or worse, won’t listen!
b) Read verses 23-28. Who is our Mediator before God?
5) We already know God declared Job “blameless.” Trouble is, Job thought he was without blame and God was being unjust! Scripture tells us that there is none righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10 !) When we come face to face with the awesomeness of our God, we know instantly the magnitude of His holiness and depth our sinfulness (Exodus 3:1-6, 13-15; Exodus 33:18-23 ; Exodus 34:5-8 ; Isaiah 6:1-8 , Ezekiel 1 ; Acts 9:1-6 and Revelation 1:10-18 !) Sisters, no matter how good we think we are, we are sinners—and we must approach God fully aware of His awesome holiness and our sinful nature! There is a difference and Job needed to learn this!. Oh, come and worship the LORD!


Look to God for Wisdom

Job 28:1-11 (Monday)
“"There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined. Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore. Man puts an end to the darkness; he searches the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness. Far from where people dwell he cuts a shaft, in places forgotten by the foot of man; far from men he dangles and sways. The earth, from which food comes, is transformed below as by fire; sapphires come from its rocks, and its dust contains nuggets of gold. No bird of prey knows that hidden path, no falcon's eye has seen it. Proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion prowls there. Man's hand assaults the flinty rock and lays bare the roots of the mountains. He tunnels through the rock; his eyes see all its treasures. He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light.” (NIV)
1) This is God’s blameless Job, speaking wisdom. He is revealing the great effort and lengths that man will go to in order to search out things that are worldly: sapphires, gold, silver, diamonds! What steps does this man will go through to possess riches?
a) Puts an end to the darkness
b) Searches the farthest of recesses
c) Assaults and lays bare
d) Tunnels through rock
2) Can’t you just picture a man digging through the earth, his bare hands roughened and blistered from digging and scratching through the hard ground or some rocky river bed! Or, imagine this man dangling and swaying, being lowered by some rope so he can get far enough down a tunnel or into a dark cavern in his search for earthly riches. Perhaps, there is a light shining into the darkness from his hat or helmet, a powerful lantern or flashlight revealing the much sought after treasure. Oh, you just know that he’s been very careful that no one or nothing knows the way! You can sense his desperation in bringing these riches out into the light so he alone can behold their beauty and worth! No minor work is this! No, this is a back breaking—sweat of your brow pursuit! Perhaps, an actual life and death struggle! “Vanity of all vanities!” Or, as some translations read, “Meaningless! Meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2; 2:1-11!)
a) Read Romans 1:25 . How does this speak to what Job is saying?
b) There is only One who is worthy of such passionate desire! Read Jeremiah 29:13 !
i) Proverbs 8:10-22 . Who or What is true wisdom?
3) What keeps us from pursuing our God with this same zeal? If we applied this same determination in seeking out God and His wisdom what do you think would be the result? Isn’t He worthy of such efforts and more?
Job 28:12-14 (Tuesday)
“"But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living. The deep says, `It is not in me'; the sea says, `It is not with me.' (NIV)
1) Why doesn’t man comprehend the worth and value of wisdom? What gets in the way (Matthew 6:19 -24?)
2) How desirable is wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-7?)
3) Why does man need to seek after wisdom?
a) God commands us in His Word to obtain wisdom (Proverbs 4:5-8!)
b) Wisdom is more desirable than precious jewels, gold, silver (Proverbs 8:11 !) If we would go to such great lengths to obtain worldly riches, how much more so for wisdom?
4) Can you be wise and not know God?
5) How does man’s wisdom differ from Godly wisdom?
Job 28:15-19 (Wednesday)
“It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed in silver. It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or sapphires. Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels of gold. Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies. The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it; it cannot be bought with pure gold.” (NIV)
1) Why do you think God made wisdom difficult to obtain?
2) Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed wisdom? Share.
3) Have you ever come up short when wisdom was needed? Did you have the knowledge, but didn’t know how to apply it? Explain.
Job 28:20-28 (Thursday)
“Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds of the air. Destruction and Death say, `Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.' God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters, when he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm, then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it. And he said to man, `The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.'" (NIV)
1) Talk about hidden treasure (Proverbs 2:4!) Wisdom is hidden from every living thing! Why?
2) What do you think it means that destruction and death only have heard the rumor of it (wisdom?)
3) God alone knows the way to wisdom! So, how can we gain godly wisdom?
a) Fear the Lord and shun evil (Job 28:28, Psalms 14:1 !)
b) Seek diligently after her (wisdom!) Proverbs 2:1-6 ; 8:17 !
i) Obey God’s Word and commands—they are our life and health to our bones (Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 4:20-22 ; Proverbs 10:8 ; Ephesians 5:15-16 and James 1:1 !)
c) Pray, ask for wisdom (James 1:5-8!) Have you ever personally called out for wisdom and received it? Share.
i) What causes us to waver in our faith?
(1) Sin/Disobedience
(a) Fear
(b) Unbelief
(c) Doubt
d) Seek out godly counsel (Proverbs 12:15 ; 19:20 !)
i) Godly counsel is good for:
(1) Reproof (Proverbs 6:23 ; 10:17 ; 13:18 ; 15:5, 31-32
(2) Instruction (Proverbs 12:1; 2 Timothy 3:16 !)
(3) Correction (Proverbs 3:11 -12!)
(4) Rebuke (Proverbs 9:8; Proverbs 27:5 ; Ecclesiastes 7:5 and 2 Timothy 4:2 !)
e) Seek out godly relationships (Proverbs 13:20 ; John 17:13-17 ; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18!)
4) Truly, God tested and confirmed wisdom! Read Proverbs 3:19-20 . How was the earth created? Now, again, Who created the heavens and the earth (Colossians 1:16 ?) See the connection?
James 3:13-18 (Friday)
“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. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (NIV)
1) James gives us distinct differences between Godly wisdom and man’s wisdom:
a) Man’s wisdom, often referred to as understanding or knowledge, is limited in that it does not, nor can it ever satisfy the deep desire of our hearts (Psalms 73:25!) Why, because it appeals to things of:
i) the world
ii) the flesh, i.e., our sin natures
iii) the satanic forces around us
2) How do we know we are walking in Godly wisdom (verse 17?) List the evidences of Godly wisdom.
a) Pure
b) Peace-loving
c) Considerate
d) Submissive
e) Merciful
f) Produces good fruit
g) Impartial
h) Sincere
3) Again, can you have godly wisdom and not know God and his Christ?