Do You Cherish Your Supernatural Redemption?

The grotto of Gethsemane, where it is believed that Jesus was arrested following Judas' betrayal. Photo by Gary Hardman

During our small group gathering this week, we discussed Christian fellowship—that we are a family bound together through the supernatural working of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As our discussion centered around considering others ahead of ourselves, of counting one another as more significant, being in one in spirit and in purpose—all the things that are connected with true fellowship in Scripture–I was reminded of something important: None of it happens without an act of God:

The Christian man must cherish a frank and hearty faith in a supernatural redemption. As certainly as the recognition of the great fact of sin is an element in the Christian’s world-conception, the need and therefore the actuality of the direct corrective act of God – of miracle, in a word – enters ineradicably into his belief. We cannot confess ourselves sinners – radically at breach with God and broken and deformed in our moral and spiritual being – and look to purely natural causes or to simply providential agencies, which act only through natural causes and therefore never beyond their reach, for our recovery to God and to moral and spiritual health.

And in proportion as we realize what sin is – what, in the Christian conception, is the nature of that bottomless gulf which it has opened between the sinning soul and the all-holy and faultlessly just God, the single source of the soul’s life, and what is the consequent mortal character of the wound which sin has inflicted on the soul – in that proportion will it become more and more plain to us that there is no ability in what we fondly call the remedial forces of nature, no capacity in growth, however skillfully led by even an all-wise providence, to heal this hurt. A seed of life may indeed be developed into abounding life: but no wise leading can direct a seed of death into the ways of life.

Dead things do not climb. As well expect dead and decaying Lazarus through the action of natural forces, however wisely directed, to put on the fresh firmness of youthful flesh and stand forth a sound and living man, as a soul dead in sin to rise by natural powers into newness of life. No, the world knows that dead men do not live again: and the world’s singers, on the plane of nature, rightly declare,

One thing is certain, and the rest is lies;
The flower that once has blown, forever dies.

Adapted from B.B. Warfield, Christian Supernaturalism

Without God moving, fellowship doesn’t exist. Unless God brings you from death to life, there is no true fellowship. Those things that we like to talk about these days—connecting, authenticity, community… none of those happen without God’s supernatural redemption. Do you cherish it? 

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3 Reflections on Leading Your Family Well

Dustin Neeley:

I was lying on the floor pushing Thomas the Tank Engine around his wooden track when I realized my young son had been speaking to me for the past 30 seconds, but I hadn’t listened to a word he had said. Instead, I was too preoccupied thinking about the church. Those precious moments were now gone—never to return.

 Sadly, I bet many other pastors can relate.

Temptation Is an Invitation

Casey Cease:

Several years ago I met with a young man who had overcome a lot of sin and had been walking in victory with Jesus. In this particular meeting, though, he seemed beat up and filled with guilt. I asked him what was going on, and he said he felt defeated. Upon further discussion, he described an intense temptation that he had experienced the last several weeks. I asked him if he had acted on the temptation, and he answered, “No.”

I began to smile at him, and he looked at me, quite confused.

Leadership Direction: Organization Assessment

Chad Hall:

As a leader, you want to harness who you are (roots) and what you have to offer (core) for the good of others (fruit).  Actions are what stretches you to produce fruit in the world. These are the activities in which you engage in order to branch out beyond yourself and into your context.

The Church Is Not The Hope of the World

Shawn Lovejoy:

I believe I first heard Bill Hybels say it: “The church is the hope of the world.”  I have actually repeated it many times myself.  However, in recent years, I’ve had a change of heart.  I simply no longer believe it’s true.

Book Review: Equipping Counselors for Your Church by Robert Kellemen

If someone came to you and said they wanted to start a biblical counseling ministry in your church, what might come to mind? That seems like a lot of work? Do we really need another ministry to administrate? After reading Bob Kellemen’s recently released book, Equipping Counselors for Your Church: The 4E Ministry Training Strategy, I’m convinced that’s the wrong question. Why? Because biblical counseling is really about discipleship.

The goal shouldn’t be to start a biblical counseling ministry in your church. The goal, Kellemen argues, should be that your church is a place of biblical counselors. “You don’t need another program,” he writes. “You want a congregation saturated by the vision of every-member ministry and equipped to offer one-another ministry. Even more, you want a congregation where every member is a disciple-maker” (pp. 33-34).

In this book, Kellemen unpacks his vision of “every-member, one-another ministry” while offering practical advice based on his decades-long experience in bringing counseling & discipleship to the core of a congregation’s, from planning and equipping to implementing and replicating.

There’s so much that’s compelling about this book that I couldn’t begin to do it justice (especially given its length), but here are a couple points that I found particularly helpful:

1. Kellemen’s understanding that we’ve wrongly defined biblical counseling as solving problems instead of discipleship. He writes:

We’ve made it a subset of discipleship focused on reactive work with persons struggling with sin. Instead, we should think of biblical counseling as synonymous with comprehensive personal discipleship. Biblical counseling is focused one-another ministry designed to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. (p. 35)

This is a hugely important distinction that moves counseling from a reactive discipline to a proactive one. Reactive ministry has its place certainly, and the concept doesn’t remove the need for qualified, licensed counselors who can deal with issues requiring a medical diagnosis. Kellemen’s every-member, one-another ministry concept encourages people to work out their salvation in community.

2. Kellemen’s principles of envisioning, enlisting, equipping, and empowering God’s people have a much broader application. Reading the book, I was struck at how easy it is to transplant his advice into a different context. He does a great job of providing specific application to the subject at hand, but it’s easy to go beyond it in a good way. If I were starting any ministry, I’d want to see what I could use from this book to help with envisioning what it could be and enlisting the right people. [Read more...]

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Why do modern liberals want to stay within the evangelical movement?

Adrian Warnock, from his interview in the article, “What is the Gospel Coalition? on Christian.co.uk“:

There’s always been liberalism. What’s different about it now is it seems more reluctant to use the label. When I grew up in Christianity I spoke to people who would clearly say ‘I’m a liberal’. Evangelicals were seen as a pesky minority. That’s changed and there’s a trend to a more evangelical faith. The evangelical movement is where the money is, the power is and the growth is in the UK. People who have a more liberal approach are wanting to stay within the evangelical movement rather than critique it from the outside.

The Dirty Little Secret of Endorsements

Tim Challies:

But here’s a dirty little secret of publishing. When you look at the back cover of a book and see a list of commendations, it is possible—likely even—that the majority of those people have not read the book or have not read it carefully. There are some people who will only endorse books for which they have carefully read every word, but more commonly, people merely skim a book before writing their blurb; others do it sight unseen and still others have assistants do it.

Why I Am Discouraged / Encouraged by Slow Growth

Julian Freeman:

This morning I was thinking about the sin that remains in me and how stubborn it is. I was frustrated that I’m not more holy already and discouraged by the pace of my growth in holiness.

As I contemplated the gospel and how it relates to my pace of growth in holiness I was first discouraged and then encouraged. Here’s what I mean.

5 Leadership Lessons I Learned from a Torn Quad

Ben Reed:

Recently while working out at CrossFit, I ripped my quad. It hurt about as much as you’d expect ripping a quadriceps muscle would hurt. Unless, of course, you thought it wouldn’t hurt at all. In which case…it hurt much more than that. . . . It’s taken me a week to get back to the gym. I’m not nearly at 100%…just close enough to fake my way around.

In the process, I learned a lot about life and leadership.

More Lessons I’m Learning from Other Preachers

I remember the first time I stepped into the pulpit. I was scared stiff. Sweaty palms, hands clenching my Bible and notes… but in the end, I did okay. Part of what helped was getting some help. The first meeting I ever had with our pastor was for him to give me some pointers. Then another friend took me under his wing, giving me the opportunity to get better.

Like writing, art, music, cooking or pretty much anything else, preaching takes practice. But it also takes a willingness to learn from others. A while back I shared a few lessons I learned from listening to other preachers. Here are a few more that I wanted to share:

1. There’s a difference between “speaking” and “preaching.”

Recently, I was at an event where I listened to a speaker discuss his vision for ministry and how he does life as a pastor. As I heard him speak, something felt off. He was clearly a gifted speaker, but as I listened, I kept thinking, “This is a man who is clearly a good leader, but he’s not a preacher.” He came across more as a CEO than a shepherd.

Perhaps it’s the context in which he was speaking that led to this, but something I’ve noticed about preachers is that what they say is rooted in God’s Word. Dever and Gilbert put it well when they wrote, “Anything that is not rooted in and tethered tightly to God’s Word is not preaching at all.” That’s the difference between speaking and preaching. Preaching is about God. Speaking is more often than not about me.

2. Preaching requires preparation.

Something I’ve become increasingly aware of in my own life is the propensity toward laziness. Once I get comfortable doing something, it’s easy to think I don’t need to put in all the work. I don’t need to practice or put together my notes in a timely fashion (timely, as in, giving myself enough time to prepare). I rely on natural ability rather than on careful, prayerful effort.

Maybe you’ve heard of this before, but I’ve found it helpful to think of raw ability in degrees of competence:

  • There are the consciously incompetent—you know you don’t know what you’re doing;
  • The unconsciously competent—you don’t know you know what you’re doing;
  • The consciously competent—you know you know what you’re doing; and
  • The unconsciously incompetent—you think you know what you’re doing, but not so much.

All of us, in whatever area we serve, move through these degrees of competence. I’ve seen it happen in the same day (and yes, it was me that did it). Those who know they don’t know much are usually the best learners and most open to criticism. The ones who think they’re awesome but aren’t tend to struggle with receiving critical feedback (in my experience at least).

Preaching requires a great deal of careful preparation. It might not take long to craft an outline or a manuscript (I’m actually getting pretty fast at this part), and some of us might be really quick on our feet, but we cannot afford to become undisciplined.

3. Preaching takes courage.

This weekend my own pastor preached another hard one, one that I shared some thoughts about very recently. Malachi’s a hard book, one that some might call a space-maker. As we’ve seen our church grow numerically, I can’t imagine the temptation that he and our elders must face. More people means our space issues become more pressing. More people in need of ministry means more leaders need to be developed. There are a lot of variables that I have no knowledge of whatsoever that come into play, but I can imagine it’s tempting to compromise on values to get things done. But preaching hard texts, ones that force people to feel the weight of their own sin, especially in the face of growth, takes courage.

Those are a few things I’m learning from other preachers—what about you?

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The Offense of Selfless Love

Chris Castaldo:

…discomfort about Ian and Larissa may reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of Christian marriage. The Bible portrays marriage—especially when entered into by believers—not as a contractual agreement between two parties, but as a covenant relationship before God. Ian and Larissa Murphy know this.

Theological Primer: The Attributes of Scripture

Kevin DeYoung:

Historically, Protestant theologians have highlighted four defining attributes of Scripture:necessity, sufficiency, clarity, and authority. Each of these attributes is meant to protect the truth about the Bible and safeguard against common errors.

Wrestling with an Angel…in Russian?

We have been given a HUGE opportunity to provide one of the simplest and best resources to a family impacted by disability. Working with INLUMINE MEDIA here in Ukraine we are undertaking a Russian translation of WRESTLING WITH AN ANGEL that will provide us with 1,000 copies to give away to people here in Ukraine.

You can donate at Razoo.com

Recommended Reading: The Summer Reading List for 2012

Albert Mohler:

Some of our most important reading takes place when reading those books that most deeply interest us, regardless of subject area. One of the happiest experiences in reading is discovering an entire area of knowledge or subject matter that never seemed to be interesting before. Here are a few very choice non-fiction titles for summer reading. Enjoy the list, and share your own.

Lord, Maintain the Faith Thou Hast Created

Heal us, Emanuel! Here we are, needing that healing. Good Physician, here is scope for Thee; come and manifest Thy healing power! There are many of us who have looked unto Jesus and are lightened, but we do confess that our faith was the gift of God. We had never looked with these blear eyes of ours to that dear cross, unless first the heavenly light had shone, and the heavenly finger had taken the thick scales away.

We trace therefore our faith to that same God who gave us life, and we ask now that we may have more of it. Lord, maintain the faith Thou hast created; strengthen it, let it be more and more simple. Deliver us from any sort of reliance upon ourselves, whatever shape that reliance might take, and let our faith in Thee become more childlike every day that we live; for, O dear Saviour, there is room for the greatest faith to be exercised upon Thy blessed person and work.

O God, the Most High and All-sufficient, there is room for the greatest confidence in Thee. O Divine Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, there is now sufficient room for the fullest faith in Thine operations. Grant us this faith. Oh, work it in us now, while, at the same time, we do confess that if we have it not, it is our shame and sin. We make no excuse for unbelief, but confess it with detestation of it, that we should ever have doubted the truthful, the mighty, the faithful God. Yet, Lord, we shall fall into the like sin again, unless the grace that makes us know it to be sin shall help us to avoid it.

Charles Spurgeon, Adapted from The Pastor in Prayer

The Absolute Need of Self-Examination

There are multitudes who think occasionally about Christianity, but unhappily never get beyond thinking. After a stirring sermon, or after a funeral, or under the pressure of illness, or on Sunday evening, or when things go bad in their families, or when they meet some bright example of a Christian, or when they fall in with some striking, religious book or tract, they will at the time think a good deal, and even talk a little about religion in a vague way. But they stop short, as if thinking and talking were enough to save them. They are always meaning, and intending, and purposing, and resolving, and wishing, and telling us that they “know” what is right, and “hope” to be found right in the end, but they never attain to any action.

There is no actual separation from the world and sin, no real taking up the cross and following Christ, no positive “doings” in their Christianity. Their life is spent in playing the part of the son in our Lord’s parable, to whom the father said, “‘Go and work today in the vineyard:’ and he answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go” (Matthew 21:30).

They are like those whom Ezekiel describes, who liked his preaching, but never practiced what he preached: “My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. . . .Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice” (Ezekiel 33:31- 32). In a day like this, when hearing and thinking without doing, is so common, no one can rightly wonder that I press upon men the absolute need of self-examination. Once more, then, I ask my readers to consider the question of my text, “How is it with our souls?”

Adapted from J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion

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The One Minute Gospel: Helpful Tool or Tragic Mistake

Marc Cortez:

Almost every evangelism training I’ve ever been through has emphasized the importance of being able to share the gospel in one minute or less. The assumption seems to be that this is something every mature Christian should be able to do. And, to be honest, I agree. But with some significant reservations. From the right perspective, the One Minute Gospel can be very helpful. But far too often the One Minute Gospel leads us into a number of critical errors.

Searching for Our Maker in Prometheus

Barry Cooper:

Given the enormous expectation surrounding Prometheus, and since trailers have already given far too much away, I’ll try and keep this review free of major spoilers. However, if you want to go in “clean,” you shouldn’t read any further.

Why Study Church History? Reason #5 – Studying church history will capture the interest of outsiders

Michael Svigel:

Several years ago, a childhood friend of mine contacted me with some questions about the history of the early church. He had read some non-Christian fiction as well as seen programs that presented a distorted view of early Christianity. He knew I had spent over a decade and a half studying church history, so he had direct access to somebody who could help him think through his questions. Sadly, too many outsiders with a genuine interest in the history of the church have no place to turn but the internet, which is a treacherous ocean of ignorance obscuring a handful of sunken treasures of truth.

Buy a Book, Help Africa

Nate Palmer:

You can help Hands At Work In Africa‘s  work of spreading the Gospel in Africa by simply buying Servanthood as Worship.  All the royalties I get from Servanthood as Worship are first matched by Christ Church of San Francisco  and then sent to  Hands At Work In Africa   – a charitable organization which (through relationships with the local Churches in Africa)  challenges, encourages, develops and supports the ministry of servanthood among those in need in their community .

5 Books I’m Reading This Summer

With summer—and with it vacations—just around the corner, now’s a great time to think about what you’re reading if and when you’re taking time off. My summer’s going to be filled with all kinds of new and exciting changes at work (new responsibilities, new position with my current employer) and that will definitely going to impact what I read.

Here are a few books I’m planning to read this summer:

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I don’t have tweens in the house and I typically don’t rush out to buy books that were the basis for blockbuster feature films, and yet here I am. It’s been a really long time since I’ve read a fiction book (probably about 2 years), so this gives me an opportunity to stretch myself and try new things.

So far I’m about a chapter and a half in and, aside from some pacing issues, it’s pretty good. Collins does a nice job of world-building. Looking forward to finishing (and hopefully enjoying).

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

Work culture is very important and with some of the changes going on with my job, building and maintaining a healthy culture within my team is going to be more important than ever.

Patrick Lencioni is one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard on the subject of leadership (he offered a great message at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit last year) and my supervisor greatly appreciates his work as well. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can learn from this one to help me be a better leader in my area.

The Reformers and Puritans as Spiritual Mentors by Michael Haykin

I love (imagine multiple “o”s there) biographies. There are few things better than learning and growing through the example of others, including our dead mentors. In this book, Haykin examines the lives of numerous Reformers and Puritans to give us “models of Christian conviction and living who can speak into our lives today.”

For those desiring to grow in their Christian character, the example of others is much needed and I’m looking forward to seeing what I learn through Haykin’s examination of Tyndale, Cranmer, Bunyan and several others.

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt

Michael Hyatt is another one of those go-to guys in the realm of business leadership. Super sharp guy. I’ve already listened to the audiobook, but I want to go back through this one and examine a number of the points I found helpful in greater detail and see what I can apply. So far, one of the standout nuggets for me has been his five reasons for why we settle for less than excellent:

  1. We run out of time
  2. We don’t have sufficient resources
  3. We have insufficient experience
  4. We acquiesce to the committee
  5. We are afraid

While all are serious and no doubt we’ve all experienced one through four, the fifth is deadly to our pursuit of excellence. (But that’s a post for another time…)

The Work of Christ: What the Events of Jesus’ Life Mean for You by R.C. Sproul

One can rarely go wrong reading R.C. Sproul. He’s consistently thoughtful, helpful and careful in his approach to Scripture. I’ve got this sitting on my Kindle right now just waiting for me to dig in. This book focuses on the life and work of Christ—on showing us why, as essential as Christ’s payment for our sins is, it isn’t enough. His death is half of His work. “If Jesus had only paid for our sins, He would have succeeded only in taking us back to square one,” Sproul writes in his introduction. We need His life of perfect obedience as well. Really looking forward to seeing where Sproul goes with this.

So that’s a glimpse into my summer reading—what are you planning on reading?

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Generous congregations and hard working ministers

Paul Levy:

Over the past few weeks I’ve been asked on three occasions about ministers and contracts and pay rates. It is a tricky subject and in each situation it was fraught with tension and frustration on both sides.

$5 Friday at Ligonier

This week’s selections includes The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men by Richard Phillips (hardcover), and Dr. Sproul’s Meaning For Men & Building a Christian Conscience teaching series (download), among many other items. Sale ends at midnight (Eastern Time). Also this is the last weekend to save 30% storewide (excluding $5 Friday items) using coupon code FATHERS30.

Cheap eBook

Mark Dever on Numbers and Faithfulness

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HT: Tim Brister

Sovereignty and Prayer

Darryl Dash:

Theologians have tried to figure out how to reconcile God’s sovereignty with human responsibility. How can God be sovereign over all things, and at the same time we have the ability to take meaningful action? It’s fair to wrestle with this, and in the end to accept both at the same time.

Freedom Should Not Be Confused with Autonomy

Recently I was at a conference for Christian creative-types with my teammates from work. The time together was terrific, but during many of the sessions, I found myself with a rather odd feeling in the pit of my stomach. (And it wasn’t just because of the smoke machines working overtime during the praise band sessions.)

Without trying to make assumptions about motives—because I believe all the presenters genuinely desire to be impacting their communities for the sake of Christ—the questions asked never really got beyond what can we do to be more engaging, exciting and creative. We never got to the question behind those, which is what are we trying to do in the first place as we seek to be creative.

Walking away, it felt as though in our desire for creative excellence and to reach people for Christ, we were confusing the freedom that Christ offers with autonomy.

This is certainly not unusual in the West. In fact, we do it all the time. Consider how we view governments, regulations, or even being called to moral accountability. When governments do something that we don’t like, what do we do? Often, we grumble. When we are called to account for things we have done, what do we do? Often, we demand that people mind their own business.

But we must be careful that in whatever sphere—whether in our churches, at our jobs, or in our families—we do not display a cavalier attitude toward authority.

In terms of creativity in the Church, desiring creative excellence is a good and beautiful thing. But we have to let God’s Word shape and define the boundaries in which we are to express our creativity. We need to be careful that we don’t fall prey to base pragmatism or a desire to be cool, one that looks at the world’s entertainment and says, “If we do that, then people will come.”

R.C. Sproul puts it well, “We are not free to do what is right in our own eyes. We are called to do what is right in His eyes. Freedom should not be confused with autonomy.”1 We need to let that truth guide our creativity as much as our morality. Understand the boundaries God has placed, embrace them and glorify God through them. But don’t confuse freedom with autonomy in your creativity.

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The Day I Accused My Wife of Infidelity

Michael Patton:

I accused my wife of infidelity last year. No, there was no evidence. No, there was no change in our relationship. No, it is not characteristic of her in the slightest. However, I had my reasons . . . Getting ahead of myself.

15 questions for pastors to ask themselves

Steven Kryger:

“I’m not the king. I’m only an ambassador for the King”. A great reminder from Paul Tripp at the Dangerous Calling conference I recently attended.

Paul has a wonderful gift for speaking to pastors and the specifics of pastoral ministry. If you’re a pastor, ask yourself these questions from Paul Tripp*. If you’re not a pastor – send this to yours!

Satisfied In You

My wife and I really enjoy The Sing Team—this adaptation of Psalm 42 is terrific:

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The scoffer

Ray Ortlund:

Not every opinion deserves a place at the table.  It is the responsibility of a church’s elders to monitor the conversation going on in their church and encourage the positive and confront the negative.

Sadly, some people just don’t listen.

Southern Baptists and Salvation: It’s Time to Talk

Albert Mohler:

A recent statement on the doctrine of salvation has received a good bit of attention in recent days. Since it deals with matters of current controversy, it has generated some heat. Our current task as Southern Baptists is to engage in a theological conversation that will transform heat into light. This is the very least we owe each other as brothers and sisters who are committed to the Great Commission, to the Southern Baptist Convention, and to each other.

Disciples, Deal with Difficult Texts

A number of years ago, I went on my first missions trip. At the time I was excited, but really wrestling with questions of what I was supposed to be doing with my life, frustrated and a little bitter when I saw others around me—some friends and some not-so-much—finding great success. Rather than rejoice at the good fortune of friends who the Lord had blessed, I found myself grumbling over the fact that others who I was working harder than those finding good fortune.

“Didn’t I deserve better?” I thought.”Why was I being treated so unfairly…”

“Where was God in all this?”

Recently I was considering a similar lament recorded in Scripture. In the book of Malachi, we see God’s confrontation of the Israelites over their hard-hearted ways. They were bitter that they were under the thumb of another nation, despite having been returned to the Promised Land. They did not prosper as they saw that God had promised in the Law and through His Prophets. The glory of the Lord was not manifest in the rebuilt temple. And so they grumbled. And their grumbling wearied the Lord:

You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?” (Mal. 2:17)

Reading this text (as I have many times over the last few months) reminded me that disciples need to deal with difficult texts faithfully. Think about this one for a moment: in some ways strikes me as a summary of the dialogue between Job and God. There, after many, many chapters of Job’s being pushed to the breaking point by his foolish friends, and he steadfastly defends his character (though increasingly the tone of his defense appears to move into arrogance), God finally appears.

And He’s not happy.

“Dress for action like a man,” He says to Job. “I will question you, and you make it known to me.”

And so God begins: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the world . . . who shut in the seas with doors . . . Can you send forth lightning . . . Can you hunt the prey for the lion . . .  Do you give the horse his might…?” On and on God goes for two chapters (Job 38:1-40:2), until He turns the question around back to Job, inviting his response:

“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” (Job 40:2)

And what does Job say?

“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.” (Job 40:4-5)

In other words, “I have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m a fool for questioning you.”

And then God does it again. Another line of questioning, “Dress for action like a man,” He says. It’s as if by repeating Himself, God really wants to make a very important point: To Job He says, “You don’t get to question me. Period.”

Then we come back to the people of Israel. The grumbling, unrepentant, bitter, jaded people of God… They wonder why God doesn’t answer their prayers and so they say, “God delights in those who are evil.” They ask, “Where is the God of justice?”

Do they really expect Him to answer? And if so, how?

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