Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Parable of Job

After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: ‘My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt-offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has done.’ So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. 
And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this Job lived for one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.  Job 42:7-17

So I've been continuing my bible study. I've been following a chronological list. So far I've gone through the creation story, the flood story, and then onto the entire book of Job.

This old testament parable teaches us that 1) God is a mystery, but also that 2) if we remain faithful he will reward us. God rebuke's Job's "friends" for the way they have treated Job and spoken to him. They have falsely judged a righteous man.

While no human is perfect, we as Christians strive to be righteous. No one full understands your walk & relationship with God better than you or God. I'm sure many of us have faced times when other people have hurt us by judging us wrongly. I believe these trials are a test of our faith, our righteousness - like Job.

I recently dealt with a situation where some people very close to me wrongfully judged. They couldn't get over my past in order to see the pureness of my heart for helping out at this event. The entire time they were full of assumptions focusing on what they wanted to believe or "prove" I was doing, not what was actually happening.

The situation hurt greatly (like Job's). I almost made a wrong decision because of it. I wanted to blame the wrong people. I struggled with this situation on my heart for several weeks - no matter how hard I tried to let it go.

But I was finally able to see through my study that I am like Job. And that God had a plan the whole time, and that if I remain faithful and don't let things affect my walk, God will rebuke those who have wronged, and reward righteousness.

We shouldn't get so preoccupied with the storm (the testing) that we lose site of God. We shouldn't harbor bitterness in our hearts.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

There is no original RELIGION.

Christians, "the church" - are all human. There is no original religion. I think people have to realize that religion itself is man-created and man-delivered. It is not perfect, in fact far from it - it's actually a pretty big mess if you take a wide open look at it! Christianity was not the first religion, or the last. There are so many views, so many separations - even within Christianity itself. Even if the original biblical texts are divinely inspired (and again we're taking another MAN's word for it) it has been argued over, translated & re-translated, and interpreted in so many ways  by so many people.

We rely too much on the church to lead and teach us their generally twisted, usually misinterpreted doctrine, and then get angry when those leaders act less than "Christ-like"... be it hypocritical, judgmental, focusing more on other people's wrongs than their own, etc.

Maybe it's time we dig a little deeper - lead instead of follow. Study the bible for ourselves - and I mean really study, not just read one version (as there are so many), but compare versions to the original texts. Try to gain our own understanding of what the bible originally said, meant, intended, etc in it's original context & time. You don't have to understand Greek or Hebrew to do this... there are interlinear bibles out there (free online resources) that directly translate the text for you. If you are looking at a controversial scripture, study the word being translated one way or the other in depth. Locate the original meaning for yourself.

And most importantly pray to God to teach you through the word. Pray to find a true understanding of God's will, his plan, his love. Ask God to show you what is right... and remember he is a God of love. His example was set through the body of Christ.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Genesis 1-3 Creation

So last night I began reading the bible chronologically. I started with Genesis Ch. 1-3. I LOVE my new study bible, it had some great information in it and made the scripture easy to understand.

I found it interesting, that I never realized before, that Genesis actually begins with what appears as two different creations stories (1-2.3, and 2.4-25). In 1-2.3, God creates animals before humans, and then he creates man and woman together - v. 24-27. In Ch. 2.4-3 (another account of creation) God created man, then he created the animals so he wouldn't be lonely and asked him to name them all. Afterward, he took the rib from Adam and created woman (Eve).Some believe that the first account and second do not contradict each other,  but rather the second is a more detailed account of the first. Others believe that the second account actually dates back before the first, and was written by a different author. (Me I don't really know and will continue my study further, as I'm taking a less biased approach, or at least trying to.)

God created man and woman innocent - they did not realize they were naked. It was not until the serpent coaxed them into eating from the tree of good and evil that they gained wisdom and were ashamed. They made clothes out of fig leaves and tried to hide from the Lord. The lord punished the serpent by making him slither with no legs and creating the hostility between him, woman, and woman's offspring (which would be all of mankind).

Woman was punished with pain during childbirth (thanks a lot Eve!) and Adam & Eve were cast out of Eden and locked out so they could not eat from the tree of life - as they punishment for eating from the tree of good and evil was death. While that death was not imminent, they were not allowed to eat from the tree of life to gain immortality. God placed a cherubim guard at the gates of Eden so they may not reenter.