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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
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Pastor's Pen - June 7, 2007
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June 7, 2007

Job 21-23
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Chapter 21
  1. But Job answered and said,
  2. Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations.
  3. Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on.
  4. As for me, is my complaint to man? and if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled?
  5. Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth.
  6. Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh.
  7. Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?
  8. Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.
  9. Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.
  10. Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.
  11. They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.
  12. They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.
  13. They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.
  14. Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.
  15. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?
  16. Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
  17. How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger.
  18. They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away.
  19. God layeth up his iniquity for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know it.
  20. His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
  21. For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst?
  22. Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high.
  23. One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet.
  24. His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow.
  25. And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure.
  26. They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.
  27. Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me.
  28. For ye say, Where is the house of the prince? and where are the dwelling places of the wicked?
  29. Have ye not asked them that go by the way? and do ye not know their tokens,
  30. That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.
  31. Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him what he hath done?
  32. Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.
  33. The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, and every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before him.
  34. How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?

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Chapter 22
  1. Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,
  2. Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself?
  3. Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect?
  4. Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?
  5. Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?
  6. For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.
  7. Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.
  8. But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it.
  9. Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.
  10. Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee;
  11. Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee.
  12. Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!
  13. And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?
  14. Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.
  15. Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?
  16. Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood:
  17. Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?
  18. Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
  19. The righteous see it, and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn.
  20. Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth.
  21. Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.
  22. Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.
  23. If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.
  24. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.
  25. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.
  26. For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.
  27. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.
  28. Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.
  29. When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.
  30. He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.

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Chapter 23
  1. Then Job answered and said,
  2. Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.
  3. Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!
  4. I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.
  5. I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.
  6. Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.
  7. There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.
  8. Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
  9. On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
  10. But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
  11. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.
  12. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
  13. But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.
  14. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.
  15. Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.
  16. For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:
  17. Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.

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Thought for the day:
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 A major theme of the book of Job is that sometimes troubles come to those who are attempting to serve God. A correlating theme that appears in today's section is that sometimes the wicked prosper. Job points this out in chapter 21. One of the arguments that his friends have been using against him is that God punishes the wicked, so therefore Job must be wicked because of the grief that he is suffering. Job points out that the Lord does not always immediately and severely punish the ungodly, for a simple observation of the world around us shows that often the wicked seem to be doing very well for themselves. The statements that Job makes are incontrovertible. He points out that sinners live long lives and become powerful (21:7), they have children (8), They have comfortable and peaceful homes (9), they don't seem to be suffering direct punishment from the Lord (9), their businesses are productive (10), their children and families are happy (11-12), they seem to have lots of money (13), and they die quickly, not in a lingering, painful way (13).

 I believe that many Christians struggle with this reality. They can't understand why their lives have problems while the heathen seem to have everything that they want. Here are a few thoughts that may help. First of all, it needs to be pointed out that God chastens His own children, and not those who belong to someone else. Hebrews 12:6 tells us,

"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."
The believer is a child of God, and thus is subject to God's chastisement. The ungodly are of their father the Devil (John 8:44), and thus the Lord does not concern Himself with chastening them. Second, and particularly important in this discussion since Job was not dealing with chastisement, is that God is trying to conform His children into the image of Jesus Christ. Romans 8:29 states,
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son",
and it is important to note that this verse occurs in the context of Christians who have infirmities and difficulties. The Lord is not trying to conform the ungodly into the image of Christ, but rather is desirous that they would come to Him for salvation. Since the Lord's desires for the saved and unsaved are different, it would stand to reason that His dealings with them would be different as well. The Bible tells us that "the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Rom. 2:4), and thus the Lord may use His blessings to bring men to Himself. Third, the Christian should always remember that this life is all that the unsaved man has. The believer who has faced heartache throughout his life will spend eternity in the wonders of Heaven, but the Christ-rejector will receive his punishment in the Lake of Fire forever. Luke 16 gives a good account of this in verse 25, where it reads,
"But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented."

 Unfortunately, both Christians and the unsaved often have wrong reactions to their situations. The wicked may despise the blessings of God, and thus choose to reject him because they feel that they don't need him (Job 21:15). They see themselves as masters of their own destiny and foolishly believe that they have made their accomplishments without the assistance of God. The believer gets angry at God for not giving him everything that he wants, and rebels against His plan. This attitude hurts the Christian because it interferes with his relationship with the Father, but it also hurts the unsaved. The non-Christian is doing well, so he doesn't think that he needs God. When troubles do come, his world falls apart because he has no One to turn to. Unfortunately, when he looks at the Christian, he sees someone else who's world has come apart, because the Christian responds to his problems improperly. Perhaps if those of us who are saved responded properly to our difficulties, the unsaved would take notice that there is something different about us, and about our God, and they would be motivated to come to Him.

Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery

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