Stop Punishing Yourself

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King James Bible StudyAnd when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” – Mark 8:34

Date: Friday, January 10, 2020
Chapters: Job 22-26
Message: Stop Punishing Yourself

Hello My Friend,

In this life we go through so many things, some of us more than others, sometimes for no reason at all. The more and longer we suffer the harder it is to see God in the midst of our troubles. And this is why so many people walk away from God, if they cannot see Him, they give up on Him. Let me tell you, God is always with you, in fact, when you cannot see Him, that is when He is doing His best work in you. For years I struggled while serving God only to discover one day that God was not the one keeping things from me, I was. Why? I gave up on Him changing my situation. You see, the longer we take trying to fix our problems without seeking God’s help the longer we will suffer, and the less we will see God. God is in no way punishing us because we have not called out to Him, if anything, we are punishing ourselves because we have not called out to Him. God wants to help us, but He will never force Himself to help us. Why? Well, how are you when people come to you and tell you to do this, and this, and this, when you did not ask for help? Remember, we are created in God’s image, He feels what we feel. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8.

Ask, and it shall be given you;” Pride, guilt, confusion, fear anger, things like these are often cause as to why we do not go to God with our troubles. Sometimes we do tend to blame ourselves for the trouble. How often do you ask God what you did when something comes at you suddenly? I did that myself yesterday as I could barely walk, my knees and feet were inflamed. Then God reminded me that the reason I am suffering is because I have not been eating right, and I was dehydrated. Do you see how we could be punishing ourselves? And let me tell you, the world, and those just watching us to see if we are going to fall, are all too willing to come in and try to fix our troubles. We have been reading about Job, Satan pretty much dared God to allow Him to afflict Job to see if he was going to walk away from Him. And as he lays there in pain, three of his friends made matters worse by suggesting that he had sin in his life, and that was why he was suffering. Eliphaz speaks out a third time, still suggesting that Job does not know God. This time he is trying to encourage him to just confess his sin, and then God will hear his prayers, and turn things around for him.

Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite? For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing. Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry. But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it. Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken. Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee; Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood: Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them? Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee. Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart. If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.” – Job 22:5-10,15-17,21-23,26-27.

and stripped the naked of their clothing.” This is the typical response by those who falsely accuse you in the midst of your suffering, what they are implying is that your selfishness is your sin. You are suffering because you have not helped the poor, the orphans, the widows, given tithes and offerings, or given every saved penny to the missionaries. “whose foundation was overflown with a flood:” Eliphaz is comparing what Job has done to the wickedness that led to the flood. “thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.” Eliphaz suggests that removing sin will keep him from suffering. While it is true that Christ removes our sin the second we ask Him to save us, it is not true that we never face any more suffering when we do. So many people get saved with the assumption that they will not suffer anymore, then walk away quickly when nothing changes. First of all, as long as we live here on earth no one is exempt from suffering because that is the result of sin and part of the curse we all are under. Second, Christ never promised an end to our pain here, but He did promise to be with us and give us the strength to endure it until He brings us home. And third, we cannot expect Jesus to turn things around if we are not willing to come to Him for help. And this is exactly what Job realizes.

Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him. Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him. For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me: Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.” – Job 23:3-4,8-17.

Oh that I knew where I might find him!” How often have you been going through something and screamed out, “Where are You, God?” We must understand, that even if we have sin in our lives that God is not hard to find, He is always right there, with open arms. Last week, I met a guy that I had been talking to for a few months, I could not even wait for him to walk up to the building, I ran out into the parking lot and hugged him. This is the way God wants us to be, run to Him, embrace Him, and He will be more than willing to help us. “But he knoweth the way that I take:” You see, even though Job could not see God, He knew that God was watching him. “Because I was not cut off before the darkness,” You see, Job had never been though anything like this before. When you think about the things that Job speaks about you get a sense that things were not much different back then from what they are today. No one really had a zeal for God, and those who did, were faced with opposition. Job is beside himself wondering how the wicked just ignore God and are blessed while he is having to deal with all this and no explanation whatsoever.

Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days? Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof. They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow’s ox for a pledge. They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together. Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways. They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn. And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?” – Job 24:1-4,23-25.

yet his eyes are upon their ways.” God knows all and sees all, but that does not mean He pays attention to all of us. Think about it, would you pay any mind to someone who is constantly criticizing you, wants nothing to do with you, and in fact, is against everything you stand for? They may be exalted for a while, but they too will face Jesus, but the judgment is far worse than anything we whom are saved will receive. I do not know how long Job’s friends sat with him, but I imagine it seemed like a lifetime to Job as Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad constantly criticized every word he spoke to defend himself. Now, Bildad speaks a third time, questioning Job when he said that he knew he would be justified before God. “How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?” – Job 25:4-6.

How then can man be justified with God?” Justified; To pardon and clear from guilt. There is only one way to be justified before God, Jesus Christ. While the people of Old Testament times never even seen nor heard of the name Jesus, they knew that the only way to salvation was the Lord. “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.” – Psalm 116:12-13.

Although Job felt like God had taken away his understanding of what was going on he knew that the Spirit of God was in him. Job was not about to let any of these men make him believe otherwise. “How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength? How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is? Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them. He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it. He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end. By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent. Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?” – Job 26:2-3,6-10,13-14.

but how little a portion is heard of him?” God’s judgments and blessings are seen everyday, but rarely is He given credit for them. In fact, I have had people look at me as if I am crazy when I say that all the natural disasters and even the unnatural disasters are God’s judgments. Let me tell you, if God judged Israel the way He did, then He will judge every nation the same way. Think about America, it was just like Canaan, and it was truly blessed when the people made God their King, but it is steadily declining the more they turn their backs on Him. Fires, mudslides, hurricanes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks, these are all warnings to repent or else face judgment. “but the thunder of his power who can understand?” There are many things of God that we will never understand, that even science cannot explain, but He does not want us to know everything, He wants us to trust and depend on Him. And let me tell you, there is a very good reason as to why God keeps certain knowledge from man, and even Satan does not know everything about God. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6.

Today’s Prayer: God, When trouble comes, and I cannot understand the purpose of Your plan, not a moment goes by that I do not feel sorrow when I complain to You only to realize that it had nothing to do with me, other than punishing myself. You know the way that I take, and while I know I mess up a lot, You are always faithful and just to forgive me. Lord, keep me humble, it is Your Son in me that keeps me faithful, that helps me take that extra step, that gets me out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, that, even when I want to give up, gives me that strength I need to rise up. Thank You for Your grace, for loving me, and never giving up on me, and for always being there when I need You, I do not even want to know where I would be if I were not walking with You daily. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God Bless You, I am praying for you,

Christina

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