Devotional Thought for our Day:
Earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry for help find no resting place. 19 Even now my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is in the heights! 20 My friends scoff at me as I weep before God. 21 I wish that someone might argue for a man with God just as anyone would for a friend. Job 16:18-21 (CSBBible)
15 I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. John 15:15 (CSBBible)
I have an extensive digital library. Thousands of books that I can search with on two different platforms. Devotionals, Theological Volumes, Sermons Collections. Only some of the commentaries referenced Job 16:21, an incredible plea for help. The rest were silent on this incredible passage.
In those programs, I can search scripture cross-reference indexes. These indexes exist to link one scripture to another based on common thought or topic. They have developed over decades and usually provide significant links. I would have thought one of these indexes would link Job’s plea to Jesus’ statement… “I have called your friends.”
I am not sure why this oversight; I don’t know why Job’s cry for help is overlooked, but it is.
I’ve been in both places. I have cried for help in despair as deep as Job’s. I have tried to be there, pointing people to God during such troubled times. I have often wondered whether God listens and wondered what I’ve got to do to get His attention. That’s why I don’t like reading Job. His words resonate too well, although I know I cannot be considered as holy. Still, I want to know someone who is praying for me. I despaerately need to know someone is arguing on my behalf with God – even fighting on my behalf.
That is what the cross is, the ultimate argument that a sinner like me, a broken, oppressed person, can be made holy. Holding on to that thought sees me through times of despair and the times when our world’s brokenness is beyond the ability to cope.
Jesus is our friend. The friend who will plead with the Father.
He is Job’s answer, and mine, and yours…
Make the connection, don’t overlook this…
Rejoice in it instead!
Mission Briefing #3:
What You Need to Know about Spiritual Warfare
† In Jesus Name †
As you encounter the temptations and trials of this life, may you know that God’s grace, the mercy, love and peace the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ covers you with, will sustain you to victory!
Our Mission has…
This fall, we’ve been focusing on the mission of this church, of the church as a whole. To do the work that God has planned for our lives, to do the very work Christ commissioned us to do. The work He has started, that we have a part in, as we reveal His love to the world.
Our mission? To make disciples of people of every ethnicity, as we go about our lives. To do so by baptizing them, cleansing them of their sin, and teaching them to treasure everything Jesus has taught us.
It is why the church is here, it is why we have a pre-school, it is why we have pastors and teachers and elders. To reach out to the hurting, to those living in guilt and shame, to those whose lives are locked into destructive ways of life.
That is our job – to reach out to them, with the hope that comes from knowing the love of Christ, and the fact that He is with His people. That He is with you! The world needs to know that, they desperately need to know His love, His presence, His healing, and His love.
It is our mission; it is why He sends us out where ever we go. It has been the mission since the day Adam and Eve left the garden. God gave the mission to Israel as they left Egypt, as they were ruled by judges and kings, and called to repentance by prophets. It was their mission as they entered captivity, as they were restored to their land, as they waited for the Messiah.
They were to point to the One who was the light for gentiles, the glory of the people Israel.
Today, the readings all deal with opposition to our church’s mission.
For be sure, as we share God’s love with the world – we will face opposition. A very ticked off and upset opposition. An opposition whose only mission seems to be to drive a wedge between God and His people…
An opposition that has lost…but even so, won’t give up. For our opposition is demonic.
The Nature of Satan’s Mission…
Satan has a number of names, or descriptions in this passage, each revealing his evil character and the mission that has become his over time. Scripture calls the dragon, the primeval serpent, the devil, Satan, and the accuser. SO let us deal with them.
Dragons in Hebrew thought were large serpents, known especially for their patience, and their keen eyesight. The very root word for them comes from one of the words for sight. Their tactics were to kill their opponents by finding and striking at their weakest point – and so it is with Satan, as he looks out at our weakness
The primeval serpent did that, finding the perfect way to deceive Eve and tempt Adam. Working on their pride, and on curiosity, he was able to deceive them into knowing evil, for all they knew before that was good. He got in and poisoned their relationship with God and with each other. That’s his strategy, to cause division.
He tried that with Job, and even thought Job struggled, Job’s God proved faithful. Which is the point we need so badly to learn!
Devil and devils simply mean those who throw against, basically they are spiritual gossips and mudslingers. The devils best tool is to bring light on our failures, to show our sins and character weakness. God, don’t you know your favored people, the people you called your own are a bunch of silly sinners? These people and their pastor, God, don’t you know what they did this week?
Lastly, Satan simply means our Adversary. The one who opposes us and uses all of His cunning to hurt us, for if he can drive a wedge between us and God, then he is happy, for that is all he can try to do, and even that… is but an illusion.
His Weapon? Our Failure, our Guilt
You see, Satan’s only weapon is try to deceive us, to literally lead us astray from the love and mercy of God. He will greatly use temptation, guilt and shame to try and separate us from the love of God.
Which means Satan’s best weapons are our sins, and our weak points where He can tempt us. He wants to uses our failures. He desires to cause us guilt, to cause us shame, to create an illusion that God does not want to forgive us, or that we do not deserve the love of God, and that we stand condemned.
Because he is no longer in heaven, accusing us before the throne of God, his only option is to work on us, to convince us that God will not fulfill the promise of Christ’s blood, to cover our sin.
This was part of our conversation this week in a college class on the Lord’s Supper. That we feel guilty when we do not think we feel guilty enough! When we think our attitude has to be perfect before we can come to church. We have to get our lives in line that we have to become saints prior to coming here, otherwise the roof might fall in, or the apocalypse might happen.
That is Satan’s only goal, to divide us from God, and if God will not listen to his accusations, maybe we will. Either to his accusations about us, or the gossip that accuses others, both of which can cause division.
But if our prosecutor isn’t there?
What we have to remember is the victory is won. The only judge who can condemn us has determined that Satan’s accusations are not worth listening to, and has tossed the one accusing us out of heaven. The battle was not some heaven splitting war, it was simply that it was time to stop listening to the accuser.
Because Christ had come.
Because the blood of Christ has covered every sin.
That is the word that we bear witness! This love of God that sent the Son to bear the guilt of every sin! The word that we testify to is His promise to cleanse us of every sin, to unite us to His death, so that we will rise again.
Which is why we do not have to cling to life, for we know what death brings.
For our life in Christ means more than our physical life, for one is eternal, and one is passing. Think of it this way… in our baptism we meet Christ in His death, and at our death He meets us again, to bring us life.
Salvation and power and God’s empire have become known to us, for in Christ dieing on the cross, the bonds that hell had on us because of sin were shattered, for the gates of hell cannot ever stand against the revelation of God’s love for us, so clearly revealed in the cross of Christ.
It makes Satan’s role as our accuser meaningless, his accusations in heaven not even being heard. For in Christ, our names are written in the record of life. If the prosecutor is not there, if the Judge will not listen to him, those who are guilty are freed, declared innocent.
We don’t have to listen to Satan’s charges, we don’t have to pay heed to the illusion of Guilt and shame, the agony of dealing with sin. We have been declared free in Christ.
That’s why we come to this altar – to be reminded of the blood, to be reminded of that to which we confess, the truth we state when we say, I believe in God the Father…and in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, and in the Holy Spirit who calls us gathers us together. Satan cannot do a thing about it, for He is powerless.
And knowing this, we live, forgiven in the unsurpassed, indescribable peace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.