“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Patient experience

“Wilt thou also disannul My judgment? wilt thou condemn Me, that thou mayest be righteous?” (Job 40:8).
Why was the Lord so angry at Job? Previously, I’ve agreed with righteous Elihu, “Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.” (Job 32:2).
“For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.” (Job 34:5). On a past blog post we went through chapter 31 and sensed a lot of self-glory, self-pity, and self-righteousness. But I believe there was more to it, judging by the Lord’s answer to Job in the opening text above.
The plague of painful boils was the judgment of God whether He allowed it or conducted it Himself, whether it was for self-justification or self-pity, or taking His blessings for granted, or even for Job going too easy on his children’s upbringing in frugality or his laxness to enforce godliness in them—it all is not up to me to decide. The basic point is that God saw fit to bring this trial upon Job and the King of the universe and the Judge on trial in the great controversy expected Job to be patient and to not complain, even to the utter end. Faith in the Lord God says, “A reward was coming; and the more suffering, the greater the reward.”
I’m not saying I’d do better in Job’s shoes; but I have been through some real trials, also. So, I have a little idea what waiting patiently is about. And I’m not saying I know this because I got through my trials with flying colors. I’m embarrassed to say, I did not prove that God could keep me from falling.
In fact, the experiences left me questioning that promise of God. Then I began to question my confident formula for victory over temptation and sin. Finally, it left me questioning my salvation. Thankfully, I was grounded enough to not abandon Him altogether, because of the big troubles that led to my restoration to God after 13 years of running from Him. Those troubles and the victory over them through Christ left a deep satisfaction and firm trust in Him to get me through the next round of punches by the 2,000 pound galoot in full-body red tights. But, I’m not through the woods yet.
Patience. It only comes from trials. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:… And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.” (Rom. 5:1,3). We can’t learn it from a textbook. Yes, we can learn about it from books—it’s this long and this wide, and this high. But what is experience? We have to get into the ring to find out. But, first we must be fortified with justification and faith, or we won’t last 2 seconds with that 2,000 pound galoot.
So, how do we get patience, according to Paul? We need hope in Christ which leads to firmer hope, which we call, faith (Heb. 11:1); then that faith leads to reconciliation with God which leads to peace; which leads to access to grace, which leads to happiness in tribulation, tribulation then leading to patience, experience, and deepening hope, so that nothing in this world can shame us for serving God because our heart is then filled to overflowing with love for God.
Experience. I have a feeling that in experience there is a lot of wisdom and knowledge of the operation of God. With experience we have God’s track record and a settled trust in Him for the unknown future because He came through for us in the past.
My dog Pingo, at this moment, is whining. He wants to go for a walk. It’s that time of day. But, the walk has to wait because I’m in the middle of burning a pile of pine straw in my back yard and I can’t leave it unattended. Does Pingo understand the ramifications of my burning down the whole neighborhood, if I take him for a walk? Obviously not. Even if I tried to explain it, it would go in one dog ear and out the other. I would just get the deer in the headlight look and probably a lot of barking because he would misunderstand me, thinking I was apologizing for not going for a walk. Boy, does he ever look forward to his two walks each day! Tiny Chihuahua Mama-mia loves to go, too! But, I’m not sorry a bit for not taking him on his favorite event of the day. I have bigger issues to deal with at the moment. Later, we will romp and play.
We don’t really understand why God puts us through the hard experiences. But, we can find comfort that, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man,” and “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13).
We can also know that there is a controversy raging over our heads. The scenes in Job 1 and 2 are there to show us that controversy. Certainly one thing we can know—that Jesus wasn’t the only one God expected to be victorious over His adversary. Jesus was the first to blaze that trial; but, a great company which no man can number follows right behind Him.
“It became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare Thy name unto My brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee. And again, I will put My trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given Me.” (Heb. 2:10-13).
“I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads.… These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” (Rev. 14:1,4).
This could be the deepest reason the Lord God was so harsh toward Job. He needed and expected Job to prove his loyalty to God. The Father has been on trial and today we live in the privileged time when His final judgment has come. We must prove Him able to keep us from falling. Will we learn patient endurance? Will we draw near to Jesus and face the tests He permits that will make us hard solders for God? Will we do it without complaining and grumbling? If we fall under the burden, will we go back to Jesus and repent and let Him pick us back up and dust us off? Will we get back into the foray and learn experience from that failure to faithfully represent God? The 144,000 will do just that. They won’t be disheartened and doubtful of God’s grace because they fumble and fail. But, they didn’t learn that lesson overnight. They are learning it today. Are we one of them? “Ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Heb. 10:36).
The 144,000 won’t be born with the moral strength to follow the Lamb through all His trials, plus His Gethsemane. That power will come only by coming to Jesus and staying with Him, even if they fumble and fail.
We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Steps to Christ, p. 64.
But, after many failures and justifications, we will have the depth of experience that the 144,000 will have. As Paul described,
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” (Phil. 3:8,9).


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