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Monday, October 26, 2020

Headlines: God is Great and We Know Him Not

Imbibe is such an odd-sounding word. Part of our vernacular but you probably can't remember the last time you heard it used or used it yourself.

No doubt that is why, when our pastor used it recently, it stuck with me.

He was lamenting the fact that when you look at many Christians (and indeed the Church) and then you look at the rest of the world, you can see very little difference. When, in fact, there should be very stark differences. 
We have imbibed so much of the cultural beliefs that they have been absorbed into or over our own belief system. 

The origin of imbibe is 'to drink' but all three of the modern definitions apply.

To consume. To absorb. To take or receive into the mind.

In doing so, many of us have become lukewarm. What a dangerous thing to be! (see Rev 3:16)

The book of Job is a good place to start if you're looking for an antidote; a reminder of Who God is. Because the fear (or a proper reverence) of God is the beginning of wisdom and we are all in desperate need of some wisdom right now. Amen?

The opening scene in Job (Chapter 2 after the Prologue in Chapter 1) reminds us that there is a very real enemy out there opposing God and His people. An accuser who accuses us 'night and day before God.' (Rev 12:10) Yes, the enemy has been defeated (Hallelujah!) but that does not make him any less real.

The bulk of the book, following Job's complaint (he feels ill-used by God), is a series of speeches by Job's friends wherein they attempt a sincere, but flawed, explanation of who God is and how He operates.

During these speeches and Job's response to each, you can almost feel the change in the weather. I can just imagine Job's friends casting a wary eye to the sky as the clouds darken and begin to swirl above them. Elihu's last words (36:29-37:24) even seem to refer to this coming storm.

Then in Chapter 38, the Lord answered Job out of the tempest. The storm had arrived!

Read with a humble countenance, the following five chapters should raise our spiritual blood pressure. Where once we were lukewarm, we should arrive at the end of Chapter 41, red hot for God!

Even with all God reveals to Job and his friends, with all that God has revealed to us through His word, through His SON; we must understand, as Job did, that all of this knowledge we have of Him, all these things are still but the edges of His ways, and how faint the whisper that we hear of Him! (Job 26:14)

The Good News is, neither our lack of understanding nor our sin separates us from God when we are in Christ Jesus. Jesus is our advocate. (1Jn 2:1) He is our path to the Father (Jn 14:6). He has ascended to God's right hand (Mar 16:19) and remains, interceding for us against the enemy who accuses us day and night, just as he accused Job. (Rom 8:34)

So how do we stay red hot for God when the world offers us its version of Turkish delight? 

God's Word.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (Psa 119:9-11)
Believe the Bible, accept it as God's word, make it the center of your life, and elevate its authority above everything else.

It's not easy, Beloved, but we don't have to do it alone. We have His Spirit (1Cor 2:12), His strength (Phil 4:13), His provision (Phil 4:19), His peace (Isa 26:3). We have Jesus.

We need nothing more.


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