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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

The Best Commentary On The Bible Is The Bible Itself
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
 
The Reflections Newsletter

Monday, November 24, 2008

**In This Issue**

  1. Learning From Job
  2. What Does the Bible Say About...?
     

Welcome to the Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory.  RHG is a co-ministry with Creation Science Ministries.  Feel free to send this to your relatives and friends.
 


Learning From Job

The primary lesson of Job is what God reveals about the nature of the evil in humans.  As we go through the many dialogues of Job's 'friends', we see his friends view wicked people in terms of murderers, thieves, rapists, fornicators, cruel tyrants, etc.  These are the wicked, as Job's counselors see them.  But as we begin to understand more clearly, the things they point out as wicked are really only the fruit of something deeper in human nature.  They emerge from a deep-seated root of pride that expresses itself as independence and self-sufficiency:  "I can run my own life... I've got what it takes... I don't need help from anybody."  Jesus summarized it this way in Matthew 15:19

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

In Isaiah 14:12-16, the Lord God tells us that all evil comes from the root of pride, which is evil in its purest form.  What we also learn from this book is that pride is expressed not only in terms of murder, thievery and robbery, but also, as we see in Job's three friends, as bigotry, pompousness, self-righteous legalism, critical judgmental attitudes, condemnation of others, harsh, sarcastic words and vengeful, vindictive actions against someone else.  Got the picture?

The evil in humans is not confined to the criminals of the land.  It is present in every heart, without exception (Jeremiah 17:9).  Pride is the root of all sin and it can express itself in many different ways.

The Nature of Faith

Job thought he was exercising faith when he obeyed God and did what was right when it was clearly in his best interests to do so.  Many people today think that they are exercising great faith when they simply believe God is there; when they live their lives day by day, with the recognition that God is watching and is present in their affairs.  They do right because they know that if they do not they will get into trouble.  This is, of course, a form of faith, but it is a weak faith.  They live at a level of serving God only when it is in their best interests to do so.

This is the very accusation that Satan hurled at God when Job was discussed in Job 1:9-11:

Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing?   Have not You made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.   But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face.

Many people are like that.  The moment blessing ceases, difficulty or trials come along, they want to quit.  The lack of a persistent, enduring witness by visible leaders is one of the greatest discouragements among believers.

The kind of faith that makes the world sit up and take notice is revealed as we serve God when it is difficult to do so - when serving Him is the hardest thing we can do.  This is the heart of the Book of Job.  Remember Gethsemane:

 "Not My will, but Yours be done."   Luke 22:42   KJV ER

This is what we see in Job.  Though he trembles... though he falters... though he fails... the final thing he does is cling in helplessness to God.  Job ultimately becomes an example of faith.  Great faith is exercised when we feel we are being the least faithful.  When we are so weak that we cannot do anything but cling.  In that moment all heaven is looking and rejoicing at the greatness of our faith.


 


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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory


What Does the Bible Say About...?

 

In this section of the Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.  If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to send your question in an email to me at biblequestions@reflecthisglory.org.  Of course, you may call me anytime by phone at 801.302-1111.

The question for this issue is, "Why was Jonah so displeased when God spared Nineveh?"

The story of Jonah is known to almost all of us.  Jonah, who was chosen by God to preach to Nineveh about God's judgment, instead went on a cruise in a different direction.  While sailing away from Nineveh, a storm came up that resulted with Jonah being thrown overboard.  God sent a big fish to swallow him.  Three days and three nights later, the fish vomited up Jonah.  After receiving this additional motivational training from the Lord, Bleach Boy, Jonah, proceeded post haste to Nineveh.

In Nineveh, Jonah told the people of the city, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown" (Jonah 3:4).  The city repented, but Jonah went to a hill overlooking the city to see God's judgment fall upon it.  When God spared the city, "it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry"  (Jonah 4:1).

Jonah prayed to God, wherein he acknowledged that God is gracious and merciful, and he knew that God would relent from destroying Nineveh.  This was the reason he gave for his disobedience in sailing to Tarshish.  Jonah then asked God to take his life.

Nineveh was the capitol city of the Assyrian Empire, a people who were known for their wanton cruelty toward their enemies, among whom was Israel.  A normal political, cultural, and religious reaction by an Israelite to the prospect of Nineveh's destruction would probably have been just that which Jonah displayed.  But God expected more from His people, and especially from one who He had chosen to be a prophet.

God responded, again mercifully, by preparing a gourd, a vine that would provide Jonah with shade as he continued to wait outside the city for judgment to fall upon it.  But the next day, God sent a worm that destroyed the gourd, and a scorching wind.  Jonah was again angry, and again prayed for death.  God criticized Jonah for being more concerned about the gourd than about the people of Nineveh "that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?"  (Jonah 4:11)

The Book of Jonah ends with a question mark.  God is asking Jonah, in effect, to see things as He sees them.  Jonah was more concerned about his gourd withering, causing him discomfort, than he was about a city of 120,000 potentially perishing by falling under the hand of God's judgment.

The final aspect of Jonah's experience as related to his book has applications for us today.  What is our greater will for our enemies; their annihilation, or their salvation?  And are we allowing our 'stuff', that which God has generously provided for us, to take priority over our lives and overshadow the more urgent need of bringing the Gospel to a lost world?  These are some of the 'question marks' that we must place in front of ourselves as we study the Book of Jonah.

 

 

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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 

**MEMORY VERSE OF THE MONTH**

But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 1:8  KJV ER

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

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"Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him,
"
If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed;
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
."

John 8:31-32

  
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory