John T. Willis

Saturday, October 03, 2009

If Mortals Die, Will They Live Again?--Never--Job's First Response to Zophar--Job 12-14

IN the first section of Job's response to Zophar, recorded in Job 12-14, Job addresses his three friends. We discussed this in the previous blog--Job
12:1-13:19. Now, we continue this speech of Job, in which Job turns away from his friends and addresses God directly. This is found in Job 13:20-14:22. This section falls into two parts.

I. Job challenges God to meet Job in a fair court trial. Job 13:20-14:6.
a. Job is now in great dread and terror from God, because God is making Job suffer so much. So, to make this dispute FAIR, Job requests that God "withdraw" God's hand, and let Job have a fair chance to think and speak freely, so he can think and speak clearly and well. 13:20-21.
b. Then, Job gives God two choices: God--you go first and I will respond; OR; I will go first and you will respond. Either way, I know that I will win the debate. 13:22.
c. Job DARES God to give Job a LIST of Job's iniquities, sins, transgressions. The implication of the questions in verse 23 is that Job has NO SERIOUS iniquities or sins or transgressions--certainly, not a serious as warranting Job's great losses and suffering. 13:23.
d. Job accuses God of "hiding his face" from Job, counting Job as God's "enemy," frighten Job like a "windblown leaf" or "dry chaff," "write bitter things against" Job, dredging up iniquities of Job's "youth," putting Job's feet in the "stock," "watching" and "setting bounds" on Job's opportunities, causing Job to wasten away like "a rotten thing" or a "garment that is moth-eaten." 13:24-28. God is mistreating Job unfairly.
e. Job agrees with his friends (see 4:17) that all human beings are "unclean" before God. But Job's losses and suffering are far too severe than Job's sins. Life is too short for Job to have to suffer like this. The brevity of life is like "a flower that withers" or a "fleeing shadow." So, if God is going to continue to make Job suffer like this, Job reverts to his plea in Job 3: Let me die now. 14:1-6.

II. Job proposes a second possibility [the first possibility is in Job 9:30-33, when Job fantacizes that an "umpire" might come to the court and intervene between Job and God and sort out their differences]--God, let me die now, then raise me from the dead in the far distant future, and let me meet you in a fair court trial, and I will prove that I am right, and you are treating me unjustly. Job 14:7-22.
a. Job observes that a TREE has HOPE. A lumberjack cuts down a tree. BUT, in time, little "shoots" sprout out from the stump, and the tree is still alive. Verses 7-9.
b. BUT, Job affirms, God is not like a tree. When a human being dies, a little "manlet" does not sprout out from the dead human being. "Mortals lie down and DO NOT RISE AGAIN"--that is, ON THIS EARTH. The context makes this VERY CLEAR. Here, Job has no concern about living elsewhere, like heaven. God has mistreated Job here on earth--and here on earth is the right place to confront God. Verses 10-12.
c. NOW, Job YEARNS: (1) That God let Job "hide in Sheol" [the grave]--Job wants to die right now; (2) That God would "get over God's tantrum"; (3) that God would set a time ANY TIME in the future--and the two would meet in a fair court trial, so that Job can PROVE that Job is right and God is make Job suffer without just cause. Verse 13.
d. Then, Job STOPS--back to reality, he knows that a human being cannot rise again on earth. "If mortals die, will they live again?--NEVER!!! ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!--Job already said this in his positive sentence in verse 10a. But IF this COULD happen, I would wait forever to have this opportunity. Then, God would speak, and Job would answer, and God would admit that God has treated Job unjustly. Verses
e. The reality is--God keeps on dominating all life on earth. God crushes mountains, wears away stones, and DESTROY THE HOPE OF MORTALS--especially Job. People die, and their children forget them, and thus receive and experience only pain. Verses 18-22.

Again, let me make two points--which I have tried to emphasize previously:
1. At this point, Job has "lost his wisdom," his "fear of the Lord." Oh yes, Job still "believes" that God exists, but Job is AFRAID of God, and is convinced that God is making Job suffer without just cause.
2. Here, I am striving to represent Job's views in Job's spiritual journey. So, I do NOT necessarily agree with Job here. As a matter of fact, I think Job is wrong. I think Job needs to repent--wait as we work through the book of Job.

*Now, we are ready for the second series of the debate--Job 15-21. Be patient.

How are YOU doing in your study of the Book of Job? Share your thoughts. I need all the insights I can get. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Friday, October 02, 2009


From my childhood, I have always been intrigued by lions. As a child, there was a zoo nearby, and we could hear the lions roaring at a distance. We often went to view the lions. Evelyn and I have been to Masai Mara in Kenya on two occasions, and have spent several days in the wild watching lions, along with many other kinds of wild animals.

Lions were quite common in Israel in Bible times, but in recent decades, lions have disappeared from North Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia. Lions are a favorite for people of all ages in zoos around the world. I hope you enjoy and appreciate lions. Lions are God's creatures.

There are numerous references to lions throughout the Bible. Here are a few examples.

1. David as a young lad took care of his father's [Jesse's] sheep. It was common that lions would attack a flock of sheep, and David would have to stand in the way and defend the sheep. When David was talking to Saul about going into single battle against Goliath, David gave this defense in 1 Samuel 17:34-37:
"But David said to Saul, 'Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a LION or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after it and struck it down, rescuingt he lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. Your servant has killed both LIONS and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since has defied the armies of the living God.' David said, 'The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the LION and from the paw of the bear, will same me from the hand of this Philistine.' So Saul said to David, 'Go, and may the Lord be with you!'"

2. Amos compares God's impending punishment of sinful North Israel with a lion pouncing on a prey. Note Amos 3:7-8, 12.
"Surely the Lord God does nothing,
without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.
The LION has roared; who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy? . . .
Thus says the Lord: As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the LION two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of israel who live in Samaria be rescued, with the corner of a couch and part of a bed."

3. Proverbs 28:15 describes a wicked ruler this way:
"Like a ROARING LION or a charging bear
is a wicked ruler over a poor people."

4. The composer of Psalm 22 compares his persecutors with vicious lions. Note Psalm 22:12-13, 20-21a:
"Many bulls encircle me,
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
they open wide their mouths at me,
Deliver my soul from the sword,
my life from the power of the dog!
Save me from the MOUTH OF THE LION!"

5. Hosea 11:10-11 compares Yahweh's deliverance of the Israelites from captivity with lion roaring to call his children from captivity back to the land of Canaan.
"They shall go after the Lord,
when he roars,
his children shall come trembling from the west.
They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
and like doves from the land of Assyria;
and I will return them to their homes, says the Lord."

Of course, lions are dangerous and can kill human beings. But lions have an important role in God's created world. I hope you will respect and appreciate lions.

How do you respond to lions? What lessons can YOU learn from lions? Share your thoughts will others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Thursday, October 01, 2009

If Mortals Die, Will They Live Again?--Never--Job's First Response to Zophar--Job 12-14

As we continue our journey through the Book of Job, we now come to Job's response to Zophar, recorded in Job 12-14. This speech is rather long. This also brings us to the end of the FIRST SERIES of the debate in the Book of Job, namely, Job 4-14.

Job 12-14 falls into two parts. In Job 12:1-13:19, Job addresses his three friends. Then in Job 13:20-14:22, Job turns away from his friends and addresses God directly.
In this blog, we will deal with the first part of this speech, in which Job addresses his three friends.

*My friends, I want to meet God in a fair court trial. Job 12:1-13:19. This section falls into three paragraphs.
I. God is arbitrary. Job 12:1-6. [Note: Job has already made this argument, as for example, in Job 9:13-24, especially verse 22].
a. Here Job begins with sarcasm. This tone is very clear: "No doubt you [plural--not merely Zophar, but all three friends] are the people, and wisdom will die with you [plural]." Then Job turns, and affirms: "I am not inferior to you [plural]." Job is just as intelligent as his three opposing friends. In fact, everyone knows the same thing Job's three friends are affirming. Verses 1-3.
b. Job is convinced that he is "just and blameless"--just as Job affirmed in Job 9:15, 20, 21--, and yet God has made Job suffer greatly and hence appears to be a great sinner. So, before Job's friends, Job is a "laughingstock." Hence, God is arbitrary. Verse 4.
c. God, who created all human beings, is arbitrary. Robbers, opponents of God, and idolaters are living happy lives without distress or suffering. This is unjust. Hence, God is arbitrary. Verses 5-6.

II. God is all wise and God is all powerful, but God misuses his wisdom and his power. Job 12:7-13:2.
a. Job openly declares that God has created every person and every creature in the universe: animals, birds, plants, fish, every living thing, every human being. A person does not have to be old to understand this. Human beings by nature are discriminating. 12:7-12.
b. Job openly declares that God is all wise and all powerful. God overpowers human beings of all types, great and small: the deceived and the deceiver, counselors, judges, kings, priests, elders, princes, the nations. Hence, "I am not inferior to you [plural]." 12:13-13:2. This is not the issue: YES, God is all wise and all powerful. BUT HOW does God use his wisdom and power? This troubles Job.

III. I want to meet God in a fair court trial. Job 13:3-19.
a. Job now lashes out against his friends. The word "BUT" at the beginning of verse 3 indicates a sharp change in Job's thinking and argumentation. "I desire to ARGUE MY CASE WITH GOD." You [plural--Job's friends] are "worthless physicians." You came to me proclaiming that you would comfort and console me, but every since you have been talking, you are opposing me and irritating me and attacking me. I am sick, and you claim you are "physicians," but you have proved that you are "worthless." You are like painters, who claim you are going to paint a dull house, but you simply daub "whitewash" on the house, "lies" declared to me. So, I beseech your to BE SILENT, and listen to my reasoning. Verses 3-6.
b. You [plural--Job's friends] CLAIM that you are proclaming God's words, that you are presenting God's case to me [Job]. This is ridiculous. You speak FOR God falsely, deceitfully. You are so false that in time, God will turn on you and terrify you and bring God's dread upon you. Your arguments are worthless. Here Job uses two figures to convey this idea:
"Your maxims are proverbs of ASHES,
your defenses are defenses of CLAY."
Ashes and clay have no sustenance. They will pass away quickly and completely. Verses 7-12.
c. In desperation, Job cries out that God will give Job a fair chance to defend Job's position. Job proclaims:
"I have indeed prepared my CASE,
I KNOW that I shall be VINDICATED."
Job has already written out his court case. If SOMEONE would just step forward, I am ready to declare my case. Job DARES God to meet God in court:
"Who is there that will contend with me?"
This question assumes that NO ONE, including God, could thwart of overthrow Job's position.
Then Job declares that IF he just had a fair chance to defend himself in court, then he would be silent and die. Verses 13-19.

Now, what would YOU do if you were in Job's present situation? I am not championing Job's position. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, Job is wrong here. But, right now, I am striving to follow Job's feelings, thoughts, ideas, arguments.

What are YOUR thoughts about Job 12:1-13:19? Share your ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Son(s) of . . .

Another fundamental reason why one preparing to teach and preach the Bible is the simple term "sos(s) of . . ." throughout the Bible.

Many times in the Bible, "son(s) of . . ." DOES mean the male child of his father, like: Genesis 21:3: "Abraham gave the name Isaac to his SON;" or Leviticus
10:1: "Now Aaron's SONS, Nadab and Abihu, took his censer." In texts like this, "son of . . ." means the male child of the father.

However, OFTEN in the Bible, "son(s) of . . ." is an idiom, denoting the idea that the individual or group EXCELS in some way or IS DESIGNATED in a certain manner. Here, let us note SEVEN brief examples.

1. The Bible repeatedly uses the expression "the SONS of Israel." One example appears in Joshua 5:6: "For the SONS of Israel traveled forty years in the wilderness." We all know the story of the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites from the Red Sea to the Jordan River. Modern English translations "hide" this biblical idiom, and read "the Israelites." In my opinion, this is a good English translation. BUT, the Hebrew text says: "the sons of Israel." Other biblical texts use similar expressions like: "the sons of Ammon" (Deuteronomy 2:19)=the Ammonites; "the sons of Assyria"=the Assyrians; "the sons of Babylon"=the Babylonians (Jeremiah 23:23); etc. Just a moment reflect indicates that "sons of
. . ." in these cases does not mean MALES, but MALES and FEMALES. Men and women of Israel experienced the wilderness wanderings, etc. One needs to be VERY CAREFUL to avoid MODERN terms which are not biblical.

2. The expression "sons of the prophets" (see 1 Kings 20:35; 2 Kings 2:1; Amos 7:14) does not means MALES whose physical fathers are prophets. Rather, this term means groups of prophets designated by God to proclaim God's message. This may be male or women. Hence, the Bible frequently refers to women as prophets--see Exodus 15:20-21; Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14; etc.

3. "Son of man" (see Psalm 8:4) is an idiom meaning simply "man." Again, this is not male specific, but refers to all human beings--male and female. The synonymous parallelism in Psalm 8:4 demonstrates that "man" [humanity] is equivalent to "son of man" [humanity]=all mortals, male and female.

4. "Sons of God" (see Job 1:6; 2:1; Psalm 29:1) are not male children of God, hence, gods, but this is an idiom meaning heavenly beings, angels.

5. "Sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17) are not male children of a man named Thunder. This is an idiom, referring to the fearsome way that James and John, the physical sons of a man named Zebedee, preached God's message.

6. "Son of encouragement" (Acts 4:36) is not a male child of a male father named Encouragement. This is an idiom, indicating that Joseph, a Levite of Cyprus, excelled in encouraging other people, so Christians called him "Barnabas," the Aramaic term meaning literally "son of encouragement."

7. The expression: "Listen, sons, to a father's instruction" in Proverbs 4:1 are not male children of a male father. This is an idiom, referring to "students" [male and female] who listen attentively to their teacher [male or female]. Note texts like Proverbs 4:3; 6:20; etc., bring out this meaning in context.

Yes, this is very brief. And there is much more to say. But, hopefully, each of us will stop and think about the meaning of these terms. Simple terms are often not what they might appear at first.

How are YOU doing? Is an "academic" like this helpful to you--or worthless? Let me hear from YOU. Have a great day.

John Willis

Monday, September 28, 2009

God Would Say What I Say--Zophar's First Speech--Job 11

As we continue through our study of the Book of Job, now we come to Zophar's first speech, recorded in Job 11.

Job has experienced tremendous losses of wealth. Job has suffered great physical pain. Job's wife has urged Job to curse God and die. Job's friends have come to console and comfort Job, but were so astonished at Job's great suffering that they could not speak for seven days. When Job broke the silence, and sought God to let Job die. Job yearned for his friends to empathize with Job, comfort Job, have compassion on Job. But, instead, Job's friends attack Job's with ARGUMENTS. They have their minds make up. Tradition!!! Tradition!!! Our great grandparents believed it; our grandparents believed it; our parents believed it; and SO, we are not going to budge an inch: ALL righteous people prosper, and ALL wicked people suffer. Hence, since Job is suffering, Job MUST have committed great sins. Zophar stays in this same rut.

Zophar's speech in Job 11 falls into three parts. Here are the three segments with comments.

I. If God spoke, God would say the very same thing we are saying, namely, YOU [Job] are a great sinner. Job 11:1-6.
a. Zophar sarcastically accuses Job of filling the air with a multitude of useless words, of being full of empty talk, of babbling, and of mocking Job's friends and God himself. Verses 1-3.
b. Zophar "quotes" Job's position: "I am pure; I am clean in God's sight."
Verse 4. This is correct, as indicated by Job's speech in Job 9:15, 20, 21.
c. Zophar PRAYS that God would speak and open God's lips to Job and tell Job God's wisdom. Such a statement ASSUMES that Zophar KNOWS UNDOUBTEDLY what God knows and what God would say. Have YOU ever known someone who is absolutely certain that: "When I speak, God speaks?" This is Zophar's attitude. Then Zophar proceeds to "set Job's straight," since God has not spoken himself:
"Know then that God exacts of you [Job] LESS than your guilt deserves."
Verses 5-6. Not only does Zophar claim that God is JUST, but also that God is MERCIFUL. According to Zophar, Job SHOULD suffer MUCH MORE than Job is now suffering. How would YOU feel if you were suffering like Job is suffering, and your friend told you that you should suffer more than you are suffering now?

II. No human being can understand God. Job 11:7-12.
a. Zophar now teaches a great truth. It is obvious. No human being could ever "find out the deep things of God, the limit of the Almighty." The difference between God and human beings is too vast for human beings to understand God at all. For human beings, God's power and wisdom is higher than heaven, deeper than Sheol, longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. Verses 7-9.
b. God continually works on earth in the lives of human beings. God imprisons some people, God brings people into judgment, God knows people who are worthless, God discovers human sins. It is as impossible for a human being to understand God or control God's activities as a wild ass is born as human being. This is preposterous. Verses 10-12.
c. YES, these are indeed great truths. But there are two problems here.
1. Does not Job himself agree with all this? These are great truths, but they do not apply to this situation at this time to this individual. Often, a person teaches a great truth, but it is irrelevant to a specific situation.
2. If Zophar is correct, does not these truths ALSO apply to Zophar himself--and his two friends? It is very easy to point one's finger at another person--but what happens when the SAME IDEAS point one's finger to HIMSELF?

III. Job--REPENT, and everything will be well. Job 11:13-20. If you will remember, Eliphaz in Job 5:17-26 and Bildad in Job 8:5-7 have EXTENDED THE INVITATION to Job to repent--then God will take away Job's suffering, and Job will have a wonderful life. Many people ASSUME that all one needs to do is extending an invitation to OTHERS who are LOST, and all will be well. The position of Job's friends expose the fallacy of such an idea.
a. Zophar advises Job to do four things: (1) direct your heart rightly; (2) stretch our your hands toward God [this is indeed the biblical way of praying to God
--see for example, Isaiah 1:15; 1 Timothy 2:8]; (3) put your iniquity away from you; and (4) do not let wickedness continue to abide in your tents. Verses 13-14.
b. THEN--Job promises Job THE MOON. Job, when you REPENT, here are the promises of God: you will be secure; you will forget all your losses and suffering; your life will be brighter than the noonday; you will have confidence; you will have no fear from others; in fact, many people will entreat your favor; the wicked will fail.

AH--This SOUNDS so easy, so perfect. But it just does not work this way. Life is very complicated. TIT FOR TAT feels so comfortable. BUT, this is just not true. This is just not biblical. This is just not godly.

Now, remember. I am not defending Zophar's position. I am simply attempting to faithfully present Zophar's views. Job 42:7 makes it very clear that Zophar is wrong. But our task now is to try to understand Zophar's thoughts.

What are YOUR responses? Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Iguazu Falls

Several years ago, Evelyn and I traveled all over South America. At one place, we came to the border between Argentina and Brazil and Paraguay and spent several hours walking on constructed walkways over Iguazu Falls. This is a waterfall two miles wide with more than twenty cataracts averaging 200 feet high. Many people were milling around talking and taking pictures. This is an amazing site. I hope you have been there, or will go there soon.

Waterfalls exist where flowing water rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a steep region or a cliff. Typically, a river flows over a large step in the rocks that may have been formed by a fault line. Increasing in velocity at the edge of the waterfall, it plucks material from the river bed. This causes the waterfall to carve deeper in to the bed and to recede upstream. Often over time, the waterfall recedes back to form a canyon or gorge downstream as it recedes upstream, and carves deeper into the ridge above. Streams become wider and shallower just above waterfalls due to flowing over the rock shelf, and there is usually a deep pool just below the waterfall because of the kinetic energy of the water hitting the bottom.

Experts classify waterfalls according to the average volume of water present on the fall using a logarithmic scale. Waterfalls are divided into ten classes. Niagara Falls is in Class 10. Victoria Falls in Africa is in Class 9. Angel Falls in Venezuela is in Class 7. Yosemite Falls is in Class 6.

Angel Falls in Venezuela is the world's tallest waterfalls at 3,212 feet. Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite Valley is 620 feet with a sheer drop when flowing. Cascata del Marmore in Italy is the tallest man-made waterfall in the world. Colonian Creek Falls, the second tallest waterfall in North America, in the North Cascades National Park, Washington, is 2,584 feet. Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world and is more than a mile long. It is located on the Zambezi River on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Waterfalls are another of God's many marvelous wonders on earth. I hope YOU appreciate God's creation. I hope you have experienced some waterfalls somewhere on earth--large or small.

Psalm 42:7 may allude to a type of waterfall. The psalmist proclaims:

"Deep calls to deep
at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows
have gone over me."

How does the GREAT OUTDOORS impact your heart and your life? Share your thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Sunday, September 27, 2009

God Treats Me Unjustly--Job's First Response to Bildad--Job 9-10

In this blog, we continue Job's first response to Bildad, related in Job 9-10. We suggested that this speech falls into four parts, according to an ABAC pattern. In the previous blog, we worked through Parts A in Job 9:1-12 and A in Job 9:25-35. In this blog, we discuss sections B in Job 9:13-24 and C in Job 10:1-22.

I. God is making me [Job] suffering without just cause. Job 9:13-24. [Here we come to one of Job's fundamental arguments. Job claims that God is ARBITRARY. God does not bless the righteous and curse the wicked. Rather, God blesses anyone he wishes, good or bad, and God curses anyone he wishes, good or bad].
a. Job declares that Job is helpless before God. God is all powerful, and thus God can do anything God wishes. Job repeatedly cries out: I AM INNOCENT=blameless [here notice verses 15, 20, 21]. God is so heartless and cold and unwillingness to listen to Job's cries that even if Job "summoned" God and God answered him, Job could not believe God would listen to Job's voice. Verses 13-16.
b. Job clearly asserts: "God multiplies my wounds WITHOUT CAUSE." Verse 17. This hauntingly sounds like Job 2:3.
c. Job proclaims that Job cannot get his breath because God is making him suffer so much. God is much stronger than any human being, so there is no CONTEST between God an any human being. Even though God is innocent and blameless, God can turn things around and make Job APPEAR wicked and guilty. Verses 18-21.
d. Job summarizes Job's view of God: "God destroys both the blameless and the wicked." Verse 22. In other words, God is ARBITRARY. Job's view stands in stark contrast to the view of Job's friends, most recently Bildad in Job 8:20:
"God will not reject a blameless person,
nor take the hand of evildoers."
All righteous people prosper, and all wicked people suffer.
e. Said in a different way, Job declares that God makes a mockery of innocent people by bringing calamity on them, and God exalts the wicked on earth. Who else would make this happen on earth. Verses 23-24.

II. God is Inconsistent. Job 10:1-22. [Throughout Job 9, Job speaks TO his friends ABOUT God. Now, in Job 10, Job turns away from his friends, and speaks TO God directly. "You" throughout this chapter is singular, so God].
a. Job begins by defending his complaints. I am justified in complaining because God has treated me unjustly. Job beseeches God to explain WHY God is CONTENDING AGAINST Job. Verses 1-2.
b. Job tells God that God is inconsistent in the way God treats Job. Job says: Are you happy up there in heaven oppressing me and despising me, the work of your hands. You are divine, but we are human--do you look on us as flesh? Are your days limited like mine are--that you seek out my sins? You must feel very guilty right now, God, because in your heart of hearts, you KNOW that I am NOT GUILTY. By your own hands, you make me like clay. What enjoyment do you have by making me suffering? Verses 3-9.
*Here, I think of a skilled mechanic, who makes the finest automobile every made. He spends several years in hiding in his large garage making this marvelous car. Finally, he finishes the job. He calls all his friends, and at the right moment, he unveils this wonderful automobile. People stand in awe. This is incredible. In the next moment, this skilled mechanic takes a sledge hammer and proceeds to smash the new automobile from top to bottom, front to back. This does not make sense. And Job declares--It does not make sense for God to spend all God's time and energy and concern to bring a human being into existence, and then turn around and annihilate God's creative work.
c. Job says: God, you took great care making me just as you wanted me to be. You took care of me. Yet, whether I am righteous or wicked, you fill me with affliction. You hunt me down like a hunter seeks out a lion. You keep attacking me like an army brings fresh troops against the enemy. Verses 10-17.
d. In this speech, Job returns to his request in his first speech in Job 3. God, why did you not let me die in my mother's womb? The days of my life are very brief. So "LET ME ALONE [GOD], THAT I MAY FIND A LITTLE COMFORT" before I die. Verses 18-22.

*A quick reminder. I am not "taking Job's position." I am REPORTING Job's views at this point in his journey through life. As I suggested earlier, at this point, Job has lost his wisdom=his fear of God. At this point, Job is convinced that God is wrong. Job accuses God of treating Job unjustly. Remember, this is not the end of the story. This is certainly not the end of the Book of Job. So, be patient. Think through what Job is thinking and saying right now in his spiritual journey.

Have YOU every felt like Job is feeling here? Do you know others who are suffering like this? Maybe YOU can emphatize with suffering people like Job. Maybe YOU need a friend, a comforter, in touch times. Share your ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

There Is No One Who Does Good, No, Not One

The Bible, from Genesis through Revelation, blantantly asserts an obvious truth about ALL HUMAN BEINGS--namely, "There is no one who does good, no, not one."

I. Here are three of many passages which declares this truth.
a. Psalm 14:1-3=53:1-3:
Fools say in thier hearts, "There is no God."
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
who seek after God.
They have ALL gone astray, they are ALL alike perverse,

b. Proverbs 20:9:
Who can say, "I have made my heart clean;
I am pure from my sin"?
Obviously, this question requires a negative reply.

c. Romans 3:9-12, 23:
What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that ALL, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written:
there is no one who has understanding,
there is no one who seeks God.
ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, together they have become worthless;
there is no one who shows kindness,

II. But, some people say, the Bible refers to human beings as "perfect" or "blameless."
a. For example, Job 1:1, 8; 2:3 says Job was "blameless and upright."
b. Titus 1:7 says a bishop or shepherd must be "blameless."
c. Paul says in Philippians 1:10 that Christians are to be "pure and blameless."

III. How can the Bible teach that ALL have sinned against God, and yet the Bible affirms that people should be and are "blameless." Here are a couple of thoughts.
a. "Blameless" does not mean "sinless." Rather, blameless means a person whose "tenor of life" "consistently" is above reproach. We all sin against God and against others, but, viewing one's life overall, many people should and can be godly people.
b. Being "blameless" is NOT a human achievement, but a GRACIOUS gift of God through Jesus Christ. Think of Paul's constant references to his persecutions to Christians before he became a disciple of Jesus. Paul declares that Paul is WHO he is ONLY because of WHOM God has made him. Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:12-16:
"I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinner--of whom I am the foremost. But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life."

How vast and enduring and patient and loving is our God!!! His mercy is unfathomable. I hope YOU appreciate God's grace.

NOW--let us be consistent!!! IF it is really TRUE that ALL of us are SINNERS, whom can we exclude? Over the centuries, we human beings have erected GREAT WALLS separating this group from that group. God is the creator of ALL human beings. God loves all human beings. We need to open our hearts and embrace people of all religious groups, not just this narrow group or that narrow group. Will we EVER agree on every issue or every understanding or every belief? NO WAY. But we can still love others, just as God SOMEHOW brings himself to love us.

How do YOU respond? Where do YOU stand before God? What are YOUR attitudes toward others--who differ with your beliefs and understandings and traditions and views? Share your thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis