Archives For Exhortation

In the entire Bible, there is only one woman who is explicitly called a virtuous woman—Ruth (Ruth 3:11). The glory of her being such a woman provides glorious encouragement for all people in the following way.

When we consider that she was not born into a family that was among the people of God, but was a Moabite (Ruth 1:4) who was born into a family of idolaters (Ruth 1:15), how glorious is it that she yet became a virtuous woman in spite of her heritage, background, upbringing, etc! Ruth is thus a wondrous testimony of what God can do with the life of someone who was not born into highly favorable circumstances but yet came to trust in the true and living God!

Regardless of who you are or what your circumstances in life have been, trust in God and let Him glorify Himself through your life however He sees fit.

Two remarkable statements by God reveal the unparalleled excellence of Job among all the people who were alive on the earth in his day:

Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

An analysis of these statements provides all believers with profound instruction.

Comparative Divine Assessment of Human Excellence

God twice informed Satan that Job was uniquely excellent in his day (Job 1:8; 2:3), a truth that Satan would never have been able to know otherwise. These statements show that God had assessed all people who were living at that time and deemed that Job was superior to all other human beings in the qualities that God valued the most.

As human beings, even redeemed ones, we are incapable of correctly making such an assessment. Nonetheless, we must not allow our inability to lead us into holding any false views about divine assessment of all human beings—God knows and cares about who in the world is uniquely excellent in His sight!

Based on this revelation, we learn that God makes comparative assessments of all human beings and that it is false to say that in the sight of God we are all deemed to be equals because whatever good qualities we have in us are solely due to the work of God in our lives and the fruit of His grace bestowed upon us. Being saved by grace alone does not mean that we are all equally excellent in the sight of God!

Divine Desire for Human Excellence

God inspired the writer of Job to record these profound statements for our benefit. We can be certain that through this revelation, God has made known that He desires that all human beings strive to be excellent before Him in all the same ways that Job was.

We must not allow the contemporary overemphasis on grace to detract us from our continually pressing on for such excellence. Knowing that God makes such assessment of human excellence and knowing that Job attained such excellence should impel us to strive to be as Job was before God!

Cosmic Significance of Human Excellence

Knowing that God informed Satan about the unique excellence of Job and challenged Satan to consider Job’s excellence teaches us about the profound cosmic significance of human excellence. We do not have any way of knowing what God through us desires to display to fallen spirits in heavenly places.

We must live our lives with the awareness that comparative divine assessments of human excellence matter to both God and other heavenly beings. Let us allow these lessons that we learn from the unique greatness of Job to challenge us to strive to be uniquely excellent on the earth for the glory of God!

Reading in Hebrews recently, I noticed again an important verbal and conceptual link:

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it [faith] the elders obtained a good report.

Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

By noting that the writer of Hebrew begins and ends this glorious chapter with the same statement, we can be certain that he intends to highlight the truth that all the “heroes of the faith” spoken of in this chapter obtained a good report by faith! Let us do the same.

 

 

God intends that biblical revelation about angels transform the way that believers live. Because of the angels who observe what we as believers do, we must live our lives not only with the awareness that we are in the sight of God but also with the awareness that we are in the sight of angels.

2Ki 6:16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Mat 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

1Co 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

1Co 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

Eph 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

1Ti 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

We must live godly because of the angels!

Faced with many hardships, Jacob exclaimed, “All these things are against me.”

Gen 42:36 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.

In reality, God was orchestrating the troubles that he was experiencing for great good for Jacob and the Israelites (cf. Gen. 50:20).

When we encounter hardship, especially multiple challenges at the same time, or sequentially, we should not respond like Jacob by thinking that everything that is happening is against us. Instead, we must view all that happens to us properly based on what God has told us He is actually doing:

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

With Paul, if you are a Christian, rest confidently in knowing that “all these things” are not against you. Rather, our Father is making them all work together for His glory and our greatest good.

In His omniscience, God knows every thought that every angelic being, every human being, and every other thinking being has ever thought and will ever think. With His perfect knowledge, God has chosen to record for our profit *selected* thoughts of both angels and human beings.

Because God is perfect in His wisdom, we can be certain that He has recorded the thoughts of His creatures that are the most profitable for us to learn from. How carefully then ought we to study what God has revealed to us in His word about the godly and the ungodly self-talk of His creatures!

While reading through Deuteronomy again, I was again struck with the importance of the divine revelation that it provides concerning differences between husbands and their wives:

Deu 24:5 When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.

This passages shows us that God instructed His people that husbands had a responsibility to promote the cheerfulness of their wives.

The NT fully corroborates this teaching and goes far beyond it when it plainly reveals a crucial distinction between husbands and wives:

1Pe 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Through this statement, God has instructed His people that husbands must live with their wives with a proper recognition of and active consideration for her as being the weaker vessel.

Both Testaments thus are unequivocal in providing us with crucial teaching that makes clear that men and women are not equals in every way. Let us fully and wholeheartedly espouse what God has revealed in these passages and in many other related passages so that we will as Christians fully shine as lights in this dark world in the way that God wants us to.

For us as Christians, no matter what our current circumstances may be, it will always be true that the Lord has dealt bountifully with us. Therefore, we should sing unto the Lord as long as we live, just as the Psalmist says that he would do:

Psalm 13:6 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 104:33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

Psalm 146:2 While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

Let us sing to the Lord as long as we live!

In a Christian Today magazine article posted today, James Macintyre gives the following as one of “10 Bible verses on the stranger”:

4. Let strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich the house of another (Proverbs 5:10).1

Compare what Proverbs 5:10 actually says::

Proverbs 5:7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: 9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: 10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;

Perhaps, somehow, this is an unintentional distortion of Scripture that he will yet correct; as it stands now, we must beware such distortion of Scripture!


1 From Welcoming The Stranger In Our Midst: 10 Bible Verses (http://www.christiantoday.com/article/welcoming.the.stranger.in.our.midst.10.bible.verses/104300.htm; accessed 1/31/17; 11:02 pm)

A Christian is not just a person who has believed in Christ so that he will not go to hell but will instead go to heaven. A Christian is a person who believes that he has been espoused to Christ as a holy virgin who is preparing for the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Just as a virgin who is preparing to be married is completely absorbed in her wedding preparations, a Christian is to be ever making himself ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. God has given to every Christian—as one who is part of the bride of Christ who clothes herself in fine linen, bright and clean—to clothe himself in that fine linen that is his own righteous acts.

Believers who have so overemphasized the truth that God is perfectly complacent with them because they are in Christ and therefore have concluded that how they live does not matter to God have robbed themselves of the glory that God has given to them to clothe themselves in the fine linen that is their own righteous acts. As one who is espoused to Christ as a holy virgin, let us who eagerly await the marriage supper of the Lamb prepare ourselves for our glorious wedding to Him by living righteously in the power of the Spirit for the glory of God!