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Manuscript Version 2008 Under Editorial Review (Edikat & Associate)

Protected Under ISBN Application Dedicated to:

Suffering Saints Who Have Suffered As Christ Has Suffered Under The Great Exchange

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Revised Standard (NASB),  1960, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1973 by the Lockman Foundation, are used by permission. Permissible Suffocation – Suffering Through The Exchanging Life of Christ ISBN: In application process Printed in the United States of America Copyright  2008 by Dr. Stephen R. Phinney IOM America P.O. Box 71 Sterling, Kansas 67579 (602) 292-2985 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Phinney, Stephen Ray Permissible Suffocation – Suffering Through The Exchanging Life of Christ God /by Dr. Stephen R. Phinney. In application process.  2008 IOM America Sterling Kansas

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Permissible Suffocation Suffering Through the Exchanging Life of Christ Stephen R. Phinney

I am certain that the older I get – the less I know. I have been a born-again indwelt Christian since I was 16 years of age. I have fought my way through the jungle of deception and worldly fables for over 50 years and I still ask questions like: How could a righteous God allow such an evil world? Better yet, how could a loving God allow the enemy to torture His children with despair and emotional suffocation? How about, why do righteous people suffer, when they diligently worked to seek His divine will? On top of all that, why does God allow the ungodly to prosper? My utmost favorite is, are adversity and affliction a sign that a suffering Christian has unconfessed sin?

I like many, if not most, Christians have suffered my own measurement of troubles – the type of troubles that bring heartache, physical challenges and emotional ramifications. But, the most difficult of all suffering has been the constant unmerciful criticizing from fellow Body members. Then when fronted with a terminally ailment or disease, Christians have the audacity to conclude that there must be some kind of sin in your life. Pushing and peddling the worldly thought that all suffering is always the result of sin. Therefore, simplistically teaching that if we simply repent of this “unknown sin,” that the momentary light affliction would somehow disappear. Even though we know the error of ~4~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


this dogmatism, we fall into this dark place of treating repentance like a pill – a pill that will somehow deliver us from our moments of despair and emotional suffocation.

Suffocation

Alone in the darkness, I cry on my bed Sleep’s comfort eludes me Thoughts swirl in my head

“Save me, dear Lord!” I plead in despair Anxious thoughts gip my heart No answer is there

I give and I give But still life demands more When is enough enough? And what’s it all for?

My lists never end Sometimes I can’t breathe But still it’s expected ~5~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


Other’s fears I’ll relieve

“Do this!” They say “You could help out a lot!” While I struggle to survive Other’s goals fill my slots

Lord, help me protect The heart of my calling To say “no” to the extras When foundations are falling

Humbly I bow To meet You in prayer Boldly I rise Reassured of Your care

Those others may criticize The choices I make Keep my resolve firm For Your name’s sake

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Jane M. Phinney

Recently, I have been going through such despair. There has been a mounting of perpetual circumstances being thrown in my face at such a rate that I often times feel that I can’t surface long enough to take a deep breath. The feeling of suffocation, in my opinion, is one of the worst kinds of suffering there is. Not long ago, when I first contracted an infection in my heart, which ultimately lead to my heart-failure, I had severe problems with my breathing. At first we thought it was from a head cold. The doctor gave me medication to fight the viral infection. It only made things worst. Next in line was the thought my “childhood asthma” was returning. Treatment applied, which of course made it worst. In fact it was adding to the liquid building up in my lungs. Then it got to the point that I was only able to lay back, forget laying down, for several minutes at a time. Due to only getting 15 minutes of sleep a day, they thought I was developing sleep apnea. When in reality, I was suffocating. By the time I was admitted to ER, one lung was completely filled and the second was at its “half full” mark. I cannot tell you the horrid feelings this suffocation brought on. In fact at one point in the ER they were frantically working to “bring me back.”

Once arresting the crisis, I was placed in a care unit to begin my healing process. While there, I was visited by an array of “friends” and family. Some visitors came to confess their sins of offense against me, left and I never heard from them again. Others came to visit to offer true and respectable comfort. But there were some, one “old friend” in particular, came as a representative of a “group of friends” to confront me about the ~7~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


“sin” in my life. He asked if I thought that God was putting this on me due to my some type of sin.

Now, I am a firm believer in declaring that afflictions sometimes do come from God in order to purify us and that this, in no way, indicates that God is unloving. It is only His way of leading us back to a dependent “talk and walk” relationship Himself - kind of like a father would discipline a child. Even though I know that suffering instructs us in righteousness and prevents us from sinning, it doesn’t make the journey any easier. It certainly puts us in the position of determining if we are going to question God’s sovereignty or accuse Him of hurting His children. All leading to the biggest question of all, will we humbly submit ourselves to God’s will.

I don’t know about you, but I find God’s will to be quite painful. I am NOT saying that He doesn’t provide comfort, healing and guidance but I am saying the walk, for the most part, is retentively daunting. To be straight forward, I find that God does not choose to answer most of my penetrating questions. Instead, he overwhelms me with a panoramic view of His creative power and perfect Divine wisdom. In fact, I usually get reprimanded for attempting to figure out the reason for my pain and suffering. This is the sin that gets me in trouble the most. I can’t tell you how many times I walk away from a conversation with God where I feel humbled and a bit foolish for implying that God owes me some type of explanation. Since I will never be big enough to canvas my own world, how would I ever presume to tell God how to run His world?

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PERMISSIBLE AFFLICTION

Was there ever a time in your Christian life where you really could say that you were righteous in most of your ways, while at the same time experiencing little affliction? I have many fond memories of those days. Then came God’s permissible affliction. Even though I have wrestled with the “theology” of the purpose of “bad things happening to good people,” I understand in my older years that Satan is the force behind all the calamities that come upon us. Keep in mind that I didn’t say “reason,” but the “force.” Personally, I believe this is one of THE most important elements for Christians to understand and believe.

FIRST CHAPTER OF JOB

From what I have learned from the Holy Scriptures, Satan actually needs permission from the Father in order to do his afflictions.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it." The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing? "Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all ~9~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. "But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:6-12)

There are many theological elements contained within this passage but one that tends to glare at me the most is “permissible affliction.” This passage reveals that Satan works to trap and ensnare God’s people, with the deception that it is God’s fault and He is “out to get us.”

Several other significant doctrinal issues present themselves here. First we find that Satan had to approach God and get in line with the rest of the “sons of God” – angels. Once Satan was at the bench of God, the two of them have this unique dialog. God first asked Satan where he came from. This suggests that God didn’t know where he was or what he was doing. The truth of the matter is that God knew exactly who he was and what he was up to. God by proof of most of His dialogs reveals the prerogative of being the one who asks the questions – not man or spiritual beings. Next we see God bringing up the opportunity to persecute Job before Satan could open his mouth to suggest it (v8).

Almost like God set the stage of prospering Job in order to offer Satan

this opportunity. Did God desire to bring hurt and destruction upon His beloved servant? Did God have this hidden curiosity as to test Job to see if he would be attacked, tempted, drawn into sin and the snare of the devil? No – He was confident in ~ 10 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


the investment He had made in Job up to this point in His Divine design. God clearly knew that there was none like him on the face of the earth. Since God watches every thought and footprint of man, He knew that no man has been able to withstand a full on attack of Satan since the days of Noah. He had confidence in this!

Personally, I believe that Satan completely understood the level of character Job radiated. He obviously knew that he couldn’t charge him with any sin because he (Satan) was the author of it. Just as God knew that He was confident in Job’s obedience to the Word, Satan knew of Job’s confidence of disobedience to Satan’s words. What we have is the great standoff, dual per-say, between the confidences of God vs. the confidence of Satan.

What is up with this Satanic statement of “does Job fear God for nothing?” The implication here is that Satan thinks that Job “fears” God NOT because of love but because of the perception that God spoils him with riches, healthy children and the prosperity assigned. He is under direct beliefs that Job would “curse God” and be done with Him if he had these “blessings” or luxuries taken away from him – thus proving that Job’s fear was simply outward and hypocritical. Satan clearly knows how man’s flesh functions – he does to get. After all, Satan developed the demonic reward system of “doing to get.” The bottom line was that Satan was convinced that Job was afraid of being punished by God if he didn’t “jump through the hoops” God set before him.

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The second and less primal issue Satan throws God’s way is the issue of protection. Satan now tempts God with the twisted truth that Job is righteous because he lives in a bubble, a protection, a shield of sorts that God formed around him. The truth of the matter is we can’t function righteously without the almighty protection of God but Satan is hinging Job’s life upon this one principle. Yes, God did border Job’s life and all that was entrusted to him with angels (hedge) to encamp about him. This passage reveals clear evidence that Satan is a pouty big bully who likes picking on the little guy. He basically is saying that if Job didn’t have a big brother protecting him, Job would lose the fight. Well, duh! Satan never picks on someone his own size, although a day is coming when he picks a fight with SOMEONE who is truly going to “clean his clock.” Typical bully – always thinking they are “the man,” all the while suffer with “little man syndrome.” Hummm – maybe that is what this is all about.

Allow me to do some immediacy here. Satan believes that Job breaths freely because he is in the protective bubble that God provided for him. Satan is suggesting having God remove this bubble, allow him to suffocate Job by way hellish and demonic circumstances, and Job is surely to curse God to His face. The second point of immediacy is that Satan knows he can’t do a blasted thing without God “putting forth His hand and touching all that he has.” It is what we call in counseling a covert confession of impotence. Satan NEVER comes out and openly admits he is impotent but manipulates in such a way that a covert confession spills out. This is a classic way of confession for bullies.

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The Lord’s response to this not so cleaver form of manipulation appeared to be in Satan’s favor. With God saying “behold, all that he has (externally) is in your power (strength), only do not put forth our hand on him,” sends him off most assuredly living out his deception. It always amazes me how God will not dialog, prove or interact with Satan, or man, over their manipulative and stupid ways. He gives man, and beast, the appearance of “having their own way” in order for man and beast to learn from the consequences of those ways. What a loving and respectful God we have.

The “Godological” statement here is rather critical for believers to see and embrace. God is not angry and displeased with Job, nor does He want to get some kind of thrill out of hurting him, nor is He gratifying Satan; but he does want Satan to face the doom of his own deception once again, while He (God) ultimately enjoys more glory. The truest form of stupidity is picking a fight with someone who has full and complete control over the universe. This passage shows us how stupid Satan really is. Secondly it shows us that when “bad things” happen to good people, it does not mean that God is angry, disappointed or “out to get us.” God just has a thing about purifying the Bride of Christ for His Son and rubbing Satan’s face in his own confusion. These two are the two primary reasons for the existence of God’s creation – to gain a Bride for His beloved Son and provide a place of torment and punishment for Satan. Humans can deluge their minds with other reasons but these are the simple facts.

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Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:12)

With this the Lord sends a restrained Satan off to accomplish the mission of God. Satan thinking that it is all about his own mission. That is the beauty of this story, God proves the stupidity that deception forms when mixed with pride. Satan is nothing but a tool that God uses to advance His Kingdom. Why doesn’t Satan figure this out, simply because sin makes us stupid. Satan’s limited authority isn’t even his – it belongs to God. All authority is owned by the one who imparts it.

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. (Rom 13:1)

Any human or spiritual being who stretches their imagination to think that they have ownership of anything – particularly authority, is suffering with the same deception of Satan himself. Any authority managed is authority assigned. Therefore, God is in sovereign charge of all things and those who think that they are in charge of anything.

SATAN ALLOWED TO PROVE GOD RIGHT

Have you ever had rapid succession of affliction to the point of not being able to catch your breath between afflictions? This is a classic technique used by the enemy. It is a ~ 14 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


way of wearing us down to the point of cursing something or someone. This is the very technique Satan used on Job and his wife as they were reclining one particular evening. The first wave arrives – the Sabeans attack and Job loses his oxen, donkeys, and first group of servants. Then while the servant was delivering this horrid news, wave two comes in; a fire broke out and consumed the sheep and servants on another part of their ranch. While listening to the pathetic news of the second servant, wave three arrives – the Chaldeans attack another part of the ranch and take the camels and kill more servants. Before this servant could finish, the worst news is delivered – his sons and daughters were reclining at the eldest brothers house and a great wind came, destroyed their house and all die – every man, woman and beast dead except for Job, his wife and four messengers.

Can you imagine the amount of pain and suffering the two of them must have gone through? Usually when you have succession affliction, the overwhelming feeling of suffocation usually follows. In many cases, if literally affects the breathing. Some faint, some have panic attacks and others just sink into despair. What did Job do? He shaved his head/beard (a sign of mourning), tore his robe (symbolizing the death of a loved one) and fell to the ground and began worshiping God by saying:

He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:21)

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For 40 years, since the day of my salvation, on the most part, I have embraced affliction as God has allowed it – until this past year. I am not saying the afflictions He assigned to me throughout my days were easy or lighthearted but I am saying that I have never experienced this level of suffering, the type of suffering that produced physical, emotional and spiritual suffocation. In fact, read what my wife wrote in her journal after one of my many moments of permissible suffocation.

I had never seen him in this state, in 34 years of knowing him. My earthly “rock” had been broken physically the past year and now soulically (i.e. mind, will and emotions). Help him Lord, to embrace your love fully & completely. Let him feel your compassion and kindness. He feels so misunderstood, so kicked in the teeth, so alone, so wanting to die. He is so pessimistic about people’s intentions because of hurt. No trust – but suspicious & expectant of betrayal. He has been beaten down by too many for too long and he is without hope, joy and strength.

Through the toil of watching her husband suffocate and not be able to do anything to help or bring comfort, this poem was born.

Hopeless Jane Phinney

Completely numb I cannot feel ~ 16 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


Pain shreds my heart I doubt what’s REAL

The things I know Have failed the test I grieve my life I yearn for REST

The people I love Have turned on me Lies bind my mind My eyes cannot SEE

I pour myself out But what’s it all for? Self-serving takers Come back for MORE

You told me up front This new life held dread Now battle wounding Has rendered me DEAD

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Shattered dreams Ooze from my heart My life blood gone Time to DEPART

I am undone Woe is me! In hopeless despair I’ll never be FREE

“Redeemed” You call me Your promise wane Doubt and unbelief Feed my REFRAIN

“I’m Yours, Lord save me!” My gut rending cry Devoid of Your hope I’m asking “WHY?”

This past year, Job’s prayer of desperation and worship has found new meaning in my heart of hearts. I literally came into this world naked, dependent and very sick. Growing up shamed, embarrassed and incompetent in almost everything I said and did. ~ 18 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


My entire childhood being filled with being hated, despised and made fun of by family and “friends,� all for the sake of accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at 16 years of age. Then shortly after learning to read at the age of 22, God graces me with one of my favorite passages in the Bible:

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody. (2Co 12:7-11)

Here is what I heard from the Lord regarding this passage:

Stephen, because of your willingness to embrace My Truth and speak it as I reveal it to you, I will be granting you affliction throughout your life in order for you to NOT exalt yourself. You will often cry out to Me for relief and I shall grant you comfort but not necessarily circumstantial deliverance. Stephen, it is through your afflictions and ~ 19 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


weaknesses that you will discover the power of My grace. As you take this new journey, you will struggle with pride, arrogance and boasting. I am calling you to boast only in this – that you came into this world weak and dependant and you will leave it in the same manner. When you were born, you were dependant on man and independent of Me. When you depart from this wicked world, you will be independent of man and completely dependent on Me. When I am finished with you, you will be able to embrace your weaknesses and handle insults, stress, and imparted hatred with the power of Grace. In the end, you will shine for your acute ability to hear Me, understand the deeper Life and lead others into like minded Truth – even though in the world’s eyes, you will be a nobody. Stephen, do you have ears to listen?

Critical Note: Please keep in mind that these entries are not replacing the Word of God – not one bit. They are personal writings of thoughts that I believe God put in my head to help me understand the Word. I have never had an entry to date that does not match the written Word, in fact, these entries are directly from His written Word.

Well – when the Lord revealed this to me, I had no clue as to how much suffering was ahead of me. For 40 years, my life has been filled with many external hardships but I must say the toughest has been the rejection from so called “Christians.” The portion of the passage that I didn’t give a second thought to at the time – became my worst struggle in life.

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I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles…

I totally expect the unbelieving world to hate me because of Christ BUT what surprised me was the level of back-stabbing, kiss on the cheek, rejection from the “body of Christ.” For most of my adult Christian life, I fought this and was compellingly confused by it. In my naive way of living out my Christian life, I thought the body of Christ would be the first to build you up, patch up your wounds and send you back into battle. It was a bit shocking to discover this was not the case. This soul shaking reality was what God used to open the door to my final days of ministry – ministering to the Emergent church, the church of Laodicea. It became evident to me that this so called “body of christ” I was so repelled by, was not actually the true Body of Christ. This group of religious followers were as fake as a bowl of plastic fruit – looks real but is filled with hallow empty deception. As it turns out, this “church” doesn’t even believe in the same Jesus as I do. It also became evident to me that this “group” was to be my “thorn in the flesh” – personally assigned to me by God. Little did I realize that their grievous ways were not by chance, but were by Divine appointment, and are designed and to be made use of, to rid me of the pride of men; and sometimes, by Divine permission, Satan’s hand being at the root of these afflictions.

My mind tends to look at details that often times don’t stand out on the page, for example, the passage of permissible affliction in Job 1:13-19. Who does Satan use to do this affliction? What techniques does he use? What elements of permissible power ~ 21 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


does he have? In asking these questions of myself, I found something rather interesting. In my discovery, I found three primary forms of attack or permissible affliction.

The first form of permissible affliction is his use of humans who have partnered in with his deceptive ways. Look at the Sabeans in verse v15. The Sabeans were descendents of the cursed linage of Ham. They were haters of the God of Abraham and all of His children. Then we have the Chaldeans in verse 17 – they were basically Babylonians and Babylonia was the nation that birthed some of the most evil nations in the world. What are the Chaldeans most known for?

"For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that fierce and impetuous people who march throughout the earth to seize dwelling places which are not theirs. (Hab 1:6)

Here we have Satan being granted permission to afflict Job and he accomplishes his mission – through willing earthlings who seem to be Pons of possession. In my older age, I have come to realize that there is nothing new under the sun. Satan’s approach to slowing the righteous down has not changed all that much. He still uses “fake” followers to sneak in the back door to deliver despair and hopelessness.

The second element of permissible affliction granted to Satan seems to be the elements – earth, wind and fire (v16). Even though ultimately the elements are controlled by God – permission is granted. I see this as the enemy toying with our externals, delivering ~ 22 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


destruction in order to form unrest, inconvenience or financial hardship. He knows that our flesh tends to find security in the things that we can see. Since he is a god of the externals, he also knows that if he keeps the externals unpredictable and constantly changing, that eventually it will bring predictable despair.

The third and final element is that of physiological health. Job’s response of falling on the ground and worshiping God was not an expected one. After taking away all of his externals, except for his wife, he, Satan, was obviously proving God to be right. We are not sure how much time was between the first appeal to God and the second one but, many Jewish writers believed it to be one year. This is not likely, since Satan would never give him so much breathing time; nor can it be though that Job’s friends should stay so long before they paid him visit, which was not till after the second appeal. In any case, we find him at the Lord’s work bench again. The same question is put to him by God and the same answer is given. Interesting enough, God suggests another attack on Job. God sites the same verbiage regarding Job’s integrity but this time He adds, and he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to ruin him without cause. With that, Satan becomes a bit more belligerent – Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life (skin). However, put forth Thy hand, now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse Thee to Thy face.

You would think that Satan would have seen the proof of Job’s integrity by now but he still believes that Job was a selfish and a mercenary type, and that what had been done to him was not a sufficient enough trial to truly test his integrity; that the affliction had not ~ 23 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


been intense enough to discover the real man. I believe this reveals that Satan believes that a man can lose all his externals but as long as he enjoyed physical health – it would be easy for him to serve God. The general sense of the passage here is plain, for the enemy is proclaiming that a man would give everything which he had to save his own hide (skin). In fact, I really think that Satan believes that if Job was so afflicted in his body that he was likely to want to die, or at least give up his faith in God in order to save his own hide.

In spite of the deception that Satan is under, God puts Job back into his hands once again. God allows full on attack but will not allow the enemy to take Job’s breath from him. Personally, after studying the book of Job – death would have been a welcomed option.

SECOND CHAPTER OF JOB

With permission slip in hand, Satan skipped off to afflict Job. The enemy has the power to afflict a person in any manner, including disease, providing that the affliction is not terminally fatal.

What does he pick? Suspected leprosy, a disease involving nerve

infection, related boils and ulcerated sores are considered to be one of the most painful maladies known to man. If you have ever had a boil (sore), you know how painful they can be. If you have had an infected boil, you know how quickly they can spread. Job had these ulcers from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Chapter 2:8 shows us this: ~ 24 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes (Job 2:8, NASB).

Potsherd was a fragment of broken pottery – a homemade knife. The object was for the sole purpose of removing the filth of accumulated infection that was layering upon each festering sore. Sitting among the ashes was a practice of forced humility and confession to the greatness of one’s calamity and sorrow. Back during the ancients of days, people were accustomed to showing their grief by significant external actions, like sitting in ashes. It represented death (from dust to dust and ashes to ashes). Nothing could more strongly express the humility that comes with calamity. Here was a man of wealth, honor, and distinction sitting down in a pile of ashes, taking pieces of broken pottery, and scraping the oozing infected sores that covered his naked body. It does not appear that anything was done to bring relief or healing; nor any kindness shown in taking care of his disease – not even from his wife.

Here sat a man, in a pile of ashes, who was once sought after. Now, it would seem, he was completely separated and rejected by all - even those who claimed to “love” him. He was now a diseased man, whom none would venture to approach, and was doomed to endure his suffering without sympathy from others. I’m not sure which is worse - his physical pain or the sorrow of being completely alone: no children, grandchildren, servants, friends, or even a committed and loving wife. Speaking of Job’s wife; what was up with her? ~ 25 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!" (Job 2:9, NASB).

Job’s wife was no ordinary woman; she was the blood of Jacob. Her name is unknown. But, in ancient versions of this passage, the English word for wife, in the Hebrew, is actually diynah (daughter of Jacob). Can you imagine the sorrow she was experiencing? Day after day, she watched her husband suffer, all while attempting to process her own grief: the disappearance of her earthly securities, the loss of ten sons and daughters, the heartache and sorrows of her womb, and most likely thinking that she had toiled laboriously in vain. Now she watched her beloved: sitting among loathsome worms and ashes, passing the night in the open air, cutting on himself with earthenware, watching the sun go down upon his sorrows day after day, without any sudden relief from their God. I, too, would be tempted to be done with it all. I understand the spotlight is on Job, but his sorrow is shared by Job’s wife. In fact, our women carry our sorrow for us in ways that are incomprehensible to us as men. It was the curse God portion of her speech that aroused the rebuke of her husband.

But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:10, NASB).

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This clearly tells me that Job’s wife was a good woman, filled with wisdom and truth. She was not a foolish nagging woman of her time. Her sorrow was overtaking her and she wanted relief. Seriously, who would blame her? I have a woman like this; who is faithful as the day is long. But, mess with her husband and you’ll hear about it. As with Job’s wife, she carries the sorrow of her husband, children, and grandchildren deeply. She, too, has had her moments of giving up. I, like Job, have been blessed with one of the daughters of Jacob. She is oftentimes the breath within my being, when I have barely enough strength to take a deep breath. So, I think I understand why Satan was not allowed to touch Job’s wife. God needed her to be the completer of Job during his great sorrow and to use her womb to bless Job with seven sons and three daughters. One of my favorite scriptures in the entire Bible is: And in all the land no women were found so fair as Job’s daughters… (Job 42:15, NASB). This is a prayer I prayed over each of my baby girls, as God brought them into this world. You might say that I have a ton of respect for Job’s wife. I have literally wept over her sorrow many times.

Now, Job’s “friends” are a different story. I call them his “fair-weather” fellows. These friends obviously got the news their faithful and “beloved friend” was under some severe suffering. From all given historical evidence, we find these men were prominent wealthy men, much like Job. Eliphaz was king of the Temanites and a son of Esau. Bildad was a highly respected Shuhite and Sauchean, from the direct bloodline of Abraham. Zophar was an inhabitant of Naamah and king of the Minaians. The first challenge was that wealthy men tend to speak through their wealth; that is exactly what took place in their dialogue with Job. No matter what is said about those with excessive money; ~ 27 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


money does tend to camouflage sorrow. When counsel is passed through earthly securities, it tends to turn lukewarm or emergent rather quickly.

Why did they decide to come? The Scriptures tell us their initial intention was to “sympathize” and “comfort” him. I guess the question would be what the definition of comfort was to these so called “friends’? Comfort means so many different things to so many people. To some, it is a bowl of ice cream, while for others it could be having your feet held to the fire. For wealthy people, hardship is typically a result of missing the reward. They’re inclined to believe something (sin) is stopping the flow of prosperity. They also tend to live based on the reward system: you do well, you get good; you do badly, and you get bad. These men came to comfort a man who was barely recognizable, due to being disfigured by his disease, and in such pain that no words could bring comfort. They should have gained a “brownie point” just for effort.

When they lifted up their eyes at a distance and did not recognize him, they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky. Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great (Job 2:12-13, NASB).

Friend One: I look back, on my recent hospital experience, at several visitors who had come to bring me comfort. The first was a young man that came to clear his conscience. He said, “I couldn’t bear the thought of something happening to you (death) ~ 28 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


before I got a chance to seek your forgiveness.” I smiled, he confessed more stuff, we prayed, and I never saw or heard from him again. To whom was he comforting? Was it me? Not really. In due time, I looked back as this as an enormous act of betrayal. For him, it was obviously to free himself from a life of guilt.

Friend Two: Another visitor came with yet another form of comfort. This one was from the land of wealth. After a period of silence, he asked, “Do you think that there is something in your life that would cause God to allow this?” After I told him my heart failure was a result of a virus, and that I didn’t want God to let up on me until I learned everything He had in store for me, a look of disappointment came over him. It is almost like he wanted me to suffer more in the thought of the rebuke of God, than the heart failure itself. It was through this particular “friend’s” expression of comfort that God began to journey me through the truest definition of friendship.

Friend Three: There was yet another kind of comforter that came to see me that week; those who feared what would happen to them if their “counselor” was dead. These “friends” came with words and gifts of comfort. But, within a short period of time, the discussion turned toward their own personal problems. Without delay they started asking for counsel. Here I was, moments from death even upon their visit, and they were asking for advice. This group opened my eyes to yet another reality of true friendship.

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There were four different types of friends that came to visit me that week, but the third was the most difficult to embrace. The first group: well, one can’t expect depth out of shallowness. The second group: I could appreciate their desire for freedom. But, the third: these people thought they were true and honorable friends. In God’s reality, they were fearful of what the cost would be like for them, if I wasn’t around. They suffered with the deception that because they were close enough to get regular counsel, they were close friends. The problem was - I was caught up in the deception as well. I had to be shown by the Lord that I, too, found closeness and friendship in giving my life away. My grievous struggle came when group three took a hike. Yes – full on betrayal. When they discovered that I was not available for “regular” counsel, they were nowhere to be found. Sparse spiritual, psychological, or physical support was offered. One of my board members said, in one of our moments of deep financial need, “Now is the time when you will discover who your real friends are.” I hate to admit it; but, I am a man of few friends.

I will speak later about the fourth group of friends God used to actually sustain me in the most difficult year of my entire life. But, for now, I would like to share some of the intimate lessons embraced as a result of the first three. Keep in mind; I will not even attempt to measure my pain up against Job’s. God forbid. I will use my notes from the study of his life.

Much can be learned about a man by his confession. What words come out of the mouth when pain and suffering finally break him? Do they curse God? Man? Both? ~ 30 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


Or do his words level the playing field of his own existence? One of the critical points of interest I have learned to watch for in myself, as well as others, is: to whom and where does the blame get casted?

THE THIRD CHAPTER OF JOB

I am a man who believes in the literal meaning of Jesus’ words through Paul. Particularly these: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28, NASB).

There is nothing that is allowed to happen to us that is not managed by the Hand of God – not one thing. The things that are allowed are to produce clarity of our reason for being on this defiled earth – that of our daily calling. I have found the truest element of Paul’s statement “and we know” to be most challenging. As a counselor of over thirty years, I have found this to be one of the most fought Truths in the Bible, for true indwelt Christians. I have shared this verse so many times with hurting people, that it is embedded in my memory for Eternity. But, I myself find my flesh waging war against this simple proclamation of God. When we truly know something, it literally becomes a

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part of who we are. I was once of the habit of telling indwelt Christians to memorize this passage in order to make it True for them. Boy, was I wrong! Memorization does nothing more than create hypocrisy and guilt – unless it is embraced through the power of the Holy Spirit. This brings me to my four points: And we know – The Truth of this verse is not proactive, until we experientially know. God causes – He will orchestrate all things for the good, but not necessarily for the good of everyone, who reads this passage. The “good” being spoken of here is sustainably “conditional.” Those who love God - It is only for those who love God. Love is evidenced through obedience. His purpose – This conditional guide is all-conclusive. The allotments of trials in one’s life are fruitless, unless they directly benefit God’s higher calling. The emphasis of this verse is not on the human, but rather on God, and the calling He has placed upon the True believer. When we accept the choosing of God and become born-again, we become lovers of God and partakers of His higher calling. When we use this passage like a comfort Band-Aid, it becomes irrelevant. We earth dwellers classically make the Scriptures all about us. Oftentimes, as humans, our world becomes as large as our pain and suffering. Even though God understands this, for He created us, He is still obligated to break us of this habit. Everything is for His Divine purpose. We are mere tools for His service; favored tools for certain, but still - tools.

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This is why we are called bond-servants of Christ. All of our joys, pains, and sufferings are for His benefit! Afterward Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth (Job 3:1, NASB). In the presence of his “friends,” Job concludes his sufferings with cursed is the day of his birth. In fact, the next 25 verses are filled with his self-life sentiments. Was it appropriate for him to come down on himself to this measure? Did Job have a “selfesteem” problem? Was he feeling sorry for himself, or was he, in his deplorable state, connecting with God’s reality? Job was being more real with God’s reality than most humans who have ever walked the face of the earth. For all of our readers, who are in the nasty habit of “loving themselves,” these following 25 verses are going to be offensive at best. Allow me to quote for you a few New Testament passages: For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself (Gal 6:3, NASB). Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves (Phil 2:3, NASB). For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude (1Tim 4:4, NASB). For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (1 Cor 2:2, NASB). ~ 33 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord (1 Cor 4:4, NASB). If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:2, NASB). I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody (2 Cor 12:11, NASB). All of these passages are extremely powerful; but, I want to emphasize 2 Corinthinans 12:11 and Galatians 6:3. Job was demonstrating the Truth of God’s conclusions of man. God clearly reminds us throughout all the Scriptures, that we are NOTHING and NOBODIES. When we as God’s Divine Creation begin to think that we are SOMETHING, we start demanding the treatment of a self-indulged, spoiled child. Job was concluding the reality of our New Testament Scriptures, even though his writings were the first recorded by the pen of man. Yes – chronologically, the book of Job was the first. God started His earthly writings with the humility of NOTHINGNESS and in the book of Revelation – finishes with it. Just for the sake of irony, I want to state Paul’s conclusion of himself opposite of the actual Truth:

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For when I think I am nothing, when in reality I am something – I deceive myself. (Gal. 6:3, NASB, paraphrase mine). This, reader, is the most dangerous worldly teaching in the church today. Psychobabble has entered the backdoors; OK, the front doors, of our churches. This feel good gospel teaches people to love themselves and to establish boundaries between those who teach a different kind of Gospel. This “feel good gospel” is not what I find written in the Word of God. God is clear regarding the Truth of man’s pride, of thinking more highly of himself than he ought. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness (1 Tim 4:7, NASB). Self-relevance, or self-love, is a living and active foundational lie at the base of the Emergent, lukewarm church of our postmodern world. If you don’t believe me, read this: He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal (John 12:25, NASB). Jesus could not make it any clearer to us. If postmodern “Christians” are duped into loving themselves, they will end up losing, by missing the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, those that understand what it means to hate their own lives, will find

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Eternal Life. I know this is in direct contradiction to almost every self-help “Christian” book on the market today, but it IS the Truth. I have no problem with saying I hate myself/flesh; neither did Job, and nor should you. It is a healthy perspective in light of the frailties of man. Believing this does not erase the importance of being a child of God or the Bride of Christ. It brings proper perspective to the act of Grace the Groom had to perform on the Cross. The Word shows me that I continue to do things that are not in line with who I am in Christ. Paul goes on to say that sin continues to dwell in me, even though it is not me. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me (Rom 7:15-17, NASB). This is the conclusion of Job in chapter 3. He stated the exact same thing in a Hebrew fashion. Job’s friends may have been ready to pounce on him with chapters of the worldly fables, of Job feeling sorry for himself, but God knew exactly what he was expressing. Allow me to make some bullet points of chapter 3: When we are suffering Permissible Suffocation, we are prompted to curse something or someone. Job was not about to curse God. In his rightful mind, he put things into perspective by placing the curse on the day of his birth. He concluded there should not be joy shouted over the day he was conceived. He was reckoning that no life brings joy, except for the life of his God. Therefore, he was not ~ 36 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


about to rob God of his Glory in his allotment of permissible suffering. Behind his despair, was a reality check of who is the Who in all things – even the sufferings of his mortal being. His confession brings Paul’s words to life: He who thinks he is something, when he is nothing, deceives himself. In verse 11, he questioned the mission of his own life: Why did I not die at birth, come forth from my mother’s womb? All of mankind must sooner or later embrace the purpose of all things working together for the good, and our calling here on earth. Job was right in the middle of processing one of the most important reasons for his existence. In this passage, he confessed to the full humanness of his earthly soul. God set the stage for a life lesson that will be preached for all Eternity. The book of Job is one of the most preached books, when it comes to the topic of suffering. Most of the teachings I have heard, or read, typically are candy coated with the emphasis being placed on humans – not the upward calling or purposes of God. Contained within the original meaning of Job’s sufferings, we find the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. The afflictions brought on Job are similar to the afflictions he (Satan) is allowed to bring upon Jesus during His time on earth. Not once did you hear or see Jesus turning His focus to human suffering. Rather, He consistently turned to His Father to gain strength to endure the permissible sufferings allotted by God. There was one occasion where He asked the Father to allow this cup of suffering to pass before Him, but concluded

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with, Thy will be done. Job, too, was in this same garden, being positioned to shift his focus from Job’s will being done, to that of His loving Father. In verse 20, Job asked the question: Why is light given to him who suffers, and life to the bitter soul, who long for death, but there is none, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, who rejoice greatly, and exult when they find the grave? I don’t know if you have ever been in such a suffering position that you were begging for death – I have. When you are there, only one question is begging to be asked – why? The light of God’s life and message is found in these moments. The light of His Gospel is best preached when darkness covers us like the grave. It is the clearest, brightest, and easiest to see. Job was about to discover this! In verse 23, Job’s human interpretation of the “hedge” appeared to be negative and restraining. I am not sure if he was fully aware at the time that this “hedge” was still protecting him. The reason Job was wondering why he was still alive, or was alive from birth, was because of God’s Holy hedge of protection. God’s permissible measurement of affliction is still within the “hedge.” Remember God said to Satan: All that he has is in your hands but do not take his life (Job 2:6). It appears Job hadn’t realized it yet, but God was continuing to show acts of mercy and love by sparing his life. In the last chapter of Job, we are given the reasons why. Job said: For what I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. This was not a proclamation of self-fulfilling prophecy! It was a reality statement of how he was feeling. Did he feel that he could lose all that he had in his years of prosperity? I hope so. God

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gives and He takes away. He just wanted Job to know that he came into this world with nothing, and thus, would be leaving with nothing. He brought Job to a point of repenting, from dust to ashes, regarding the expectations of man. If you have read on, you know that this is exactly what happens. Finally, in verse 26, he states: I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, and I am not at rest, but turmoil comes. This is the heart of Job’s life lesson: being at rest; not being anxious for anything; but in everything, letting his requests be known unto God (Phil 4:6). In conclusion of Job’s honest appraisal, he knew that: "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal (John 12:25, NASB).

It is after this life changing confession that Job had to endure the most difficult part of his journey of suffering – the emergent counsel of his friends. Job, being at the lowest point of his existence, would even make things worse. His honest confession before these “brothers” was used as a weapon to rub his face into the ashes of his demise. All the above edited

#07 ONE OF JOB’S COUNSELORS SPEAKS – Chapter 4-5

The first “counselor” opens his mouth. Eliphaz dares to even speak fearing that Job will become impatient but, as the scriptures show us – he must. He starts reminding Job of how many people he himself as counseled and helped. Then he says to Job: But now it ~ 39 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed. Who does he think he is - God? This technique is a common one used when a man of God is down. Kind of like when the Pharisees said Great physician, heal thyself. Eliphaz is basically telling Job to practice what he preaches. How rude! Who is really lacking compassion here? This counselor is building a case throughout this chapter that Job’s sufferings are a direct result of God’s anger toward him because of either falling into sin, or sinking under calamity and trial. He even tells Job that his strength, confidence and integrity come from his fear of God. That is not good counsel. Job’s confidence and integrity did not come from his actions or fear but rather in him knowing that God is God and He can and will do anything He pleases. Job was in the habit of believing that if God said it, it must be True and who was He to question the hand of God. Was he perfect in this? No – probably not. We find later when he has an open dialog with God that Job suffers with asking questions that shouldn’t be asked. Eliphaz speech is elegant and ruddy but none the less – off base.

I am assuming that Eliphaz was doing the best job he knew how but it is circumstantial, or externally focused, at best. He isn’t really striking at the core of what is going on with Job. I have heard sermons preached on this man’s words like they are dainty morsels from Heaven. They certainly make good sermon notes for the lukewarm church but not for a preacher who really wants to get to the heart of the reason for all Job’s sufferings. Eliphaz puts the emphasis on if a man was confident in God, that God would heal him of these sufferings and Job would be able to go to his grave with much vigor. Read carefully: ~ 40 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


"From six troubles He will deliver you, Even in seven evil will not touch you. "In famine He will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. "You will be hidden from the scourge of the tongue, and you will not be afraid of violence when it comes. “You will laugh at violence and famine, and you will not be afraid of wild beasts. "For you will be in league with the stones of the field, And the beasts of the field will be at peace with you. "You will know that your tent is secure, for you will visit your abode and fear no loss. "You will know also that your descendants will be many, and your offspring as the grass of the earth. "You will come to the grave in full vigor, like the stacking of grain in its season. "Behold this; we have investigated it, and so it is. Hear it, and know for yourself." (Job 5:19-27 NASB)

Did Eliphaz not listen to Job’s story? Did he not see how this unfolded on Job or in his ignorance preach words from worldly fables? He has the rigidity to proclaim that Job should have been able to stay vigorous under any circumstance evil placed upon him. Job isn’t afraid of scourge of the tongue or violence of the evil one – his story had already proven that. He really expected Job to laugh in the face of calamity and not be afraid of wild beasts. Laughing in the face of calamity would be laughing in the face of the One who granted permission for the calamity. Job had more sense than that! He knew that he was dealing with the Hand of God. His first counselor was obviously under the belief that all negative experiences are evil and if Job was experiencing calamity – he was sinning and if Job could hear it, and know if for himself, he would be freed of such adversity. ~ 41 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


JOB RESPONDS TO ELIPHAZ’S COUNSEL – Chapter 6

Job most likely exasperated, he says: Oh that my grief were actually weighed and laid in the balances together with my calamity. Obviously begging for someone to carefully weigh his pain and suffering. Job quickly turns the focus right back to where it should be: For the arrows of the Almighty are WITHIN me, their poison my spirit drink; the terrors of God are arrayed against me. Is God against him? Is Job suffering from some self-pity here? Not really. Job knows that all things come by the permissible Hand of the Almighty. He is certainly having a difficult time understanding why God is doing what He is doing but he continues to put the focus in the right arena. This is a God thing, not a Job thing. Figuring out the “why” is what is going to get Job in trouble with the Lord – which we learn in a later chapter. Job at this point in his writings is in desperate need of figuring out the “why.” He is by no means NOT rejoicing in his pain or denying the Words of God.

"But it is still my consolation, and I rejoice in unsparing pain, that I have not denied the words of the Holy One. (Job 6:10 NASB)

Job is so careful not to curse God in his words or his conclusions. He is in great wonder as to why he should be waiting for the answer to his cry. He wants to know the end reason for his waiting so he can endure with confidence. It is certain that he has a small confidence proplem but not the kind that accuses the mind of the Lord. As for his ~ 42 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


friends, he asks: For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend; so that he does not forsake the fear of the Almighty. Job is not getting a lot of compassion from his first “friend.” He even goes so far to say that his brothers have acted deceitfully like a wadi (brook), like the torrents of wadis which vanish, which are turbid because of ice and into which the snow melts. In other words, here today, and gone tomorrow, they are not providing him with any proper counsel that will empower him to keep up the good fight. The truth of the matter is that these “friends” came in confounded and perplexed – they have no clue how to comfort their “brother.” These “friends” see the terror striking the life of Job and they too are afraid, in fact Job says, you see terror and are afraid.

Job really doesn’t want anything from these men, outside of a little empathy and comfort. He isn’t even asking for them to deliver him from the hand of adversity or redeem him from the hand of tyrants. What Job does do is humbles himself by saying: Teach me, and I will be silent; and show me how I have erred. He goes on to say: how painful are honest words but what does your argument prove? He even goes so far as asking them to please look at me, and see if I lie to your face. Since they are incapable of offering such solace, Job’s discomfort deepens. Due to this, Job asks his “friends” to desist now, let there be no injustice; even desist, my righteousness is yet in it. Through all of this, Job still is about his wits. There is no injustice on his tongue and he is continues to be able to discern calamity!

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Job here excuses what he could not justify, his desire of death. He clearly states man’s reason, at least as he knows it, for being on this earth. He is here and not in his grave. Is there a larger reason why he is still here? He is soon to find the answer to this question - yes, certainly, and the appointment is made by Him who made him. Thus far his conclusion is to labor for the Creator and he is to make an account of his actions at the end of each day. Job had as much reason, in his mind, to wish for death, as a poor servant that is tired at the end of each day’s work, when he shall go and rest. Job is proclaiming: so I am allotted months of vainity, and nights of trouble are appointed me. When I lie down I say, ‘When shall I arise?’ But the night continues, and I am continually tossed until dawn. He is doing a comparison of an average man of labor. Another mistake he later learns.

Job is about to learn that when a man is unable to work for God and is “forced” to sit still quietly for Him, he is still accepted by His loving Father. But if, while he lives, he is to live unto the Lord, in work, as unto Him, it will be all for the love of God, no matter what God’s reasons are for placing him by still waters. Instead, Job fights his night terrors and continues in permissible suffocation:

"If I say, 'My bed will comfort me, My couch will ease my complaint,' then You frighten me with dreams and terrify me by visions; so that my soul would choose suffocation, death rather than my pains.” (Job 7:13-15 NASB)

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He certainly is in a bad way, as they say. But at the end of this profound chapter, we see Job once again turn to God with his perplexing questions:

"What is man that You magnify him, and that You are concerned about him, that You examine him every morning and try him every moment?

"Will You never turn Your gaze away from me, Nor let me alone until I swallow my spittle?

"Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, So that I am a burden to myself?

"Why then do You not pardon my transgression And take away my iniquity?"

I refuse to turn Job into anything other than that of a man. He is warring over the common questions anyone would, or does, have in a time of despair. The plain truth is he is coming to the end of himself. Job stays steadfast and reasons with God concerning his dealings with man – not the Almighty. But in the midst of this discourse, Job seems to have lifted up his thoughts once again to God with some faith and hope hidden within the recesses of his sorrow. He does what most healhy men of God do – wrestles with his concern over his own sin. The best of the best do this. When push comes to shove, he is preserving his life my not accusing God of being unjust! Job

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maintained, against the wishes of his friends, that he was not a hypocrite, not a wicked man, yet he owns to his God, that he had sinned. What is his sin? His sin is most likely that of questioning God with too many questions. This poor sole just wants relief, so he earnestly begs forgiveness of his sins. He means more than the removing of his outward trouble, and is quite focused on the return of God's presence, a desire that all of us thirst for daily – or should.

I recall a time when I was feeling such despair. My heart was questioning the Hand of God and honestly, I was becoming weary of Him. Whenever I am in such a way, and call out to God, the advice I get from Him is usually unsettling at first. Here is an entry in my journal after feeling such despair:

Yet you have not called on me O Stephen; but you have become weary of Me. You have not brought Me the first fruit of your offerings; nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices.

I have not burdened you with offerings, nor wearied you with fruitless

prayers. You have not used the resources I have given you to purchase opportunities for My message. Neither have you filled Me with the best of My blessings I have imparted to you; rather you have burdened Me with your sins. You have wearied Me with your guilt. I, even I, am the One who wipes out your sins for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. Put Me Stephen in your remembrance; let us together argue our case, state your cause, that you may be proved right as My beloved servant. Your forefathers have sinned before Me and those who speak on your behalf have

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sinned against Me. Unless they walk in My ways, I will pollute the place they dwell. For I have called you to lead them into My presence!

Show them My ways by your

testimony. This is not what I expected to hear. I wanted God to feel sorry for me. But, in God’s typical and mighty way, He calls forth the real issue in my heart. For example:

1. I became weary of God. 2. I was not bringing God His first fruit of His offering to me. 3. I was not honoring God with my sacrifices. 4. I was not using the resources He was given me to advance His Kingdom work. 5. I was not filling Him with His own blessings. 6. I was burdening Him with my sins. 7. I was wearing Him with my unbelief regarding true forgiveness. 8. I was not allowing God to argue my case before my enemy. 9. I was not leading those who were persecuting me.

Do you see how many I’s are involved in my error in serving my God? After studying the book of Job, I find some mind altering similarities between what Job was suffering and that of my own. When we suffer permissible suffocation, humans tend to default back to me-me-me. I don’t think the frailty of Job’s story is much different. I am aware that we tend to turn normal men of God in the Bible into super-heroes. I too am guilty of this, but through the ages of my own existence, I am learning NOT to commit such sins. ~ 47 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


Shortly after pondering the above message from the Lord, I was overwhelmed with the humanness of my own cry to God. Rarely does God leave me hanging without offering me the Truth that will set me free. Moments later, He gives me this:

But now Stephen, listen, My servant; and those that are following you: ‘Thus says the Lord who made each of you and formed you from the womb, who will help you, do not fear, O Children, My servants; and you Stephen whom I have chosen. For I will pour out water on their thirsty land and streams on their dry lands and blessings for their dry and desperate souls; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring Stephen, and My blessing on your descendants; and they will spring up among the grass like poplars by streams of water.’ There will be those who say, ‘I am the Lord’s;’ and some will call upon the name of Stephen. But I say to you Stephen, direct them to Me. For calling upon any other name other than Mine will lead to despair. For the flesh of men call upon men but the Spirit within them only calls out to Me. Direct them to hear Me through the Spirit that I have put within them. For I say, the King of Israel and your Redeemer, My Son, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me. Man has fallen far from Me, for they call upon the deception of power, fame and the name they try to make for themselves. When man exalts his name above Mine, they deny the power of My name – My Word.

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Hmmm – counsel from the Lord. Something I always thirst for but clearly defy under intense circumstantial sufferings. God’s perspective of my despair is not focused on me, but rather on Him accomplishing His work! And if you notice, it is not the work in Me, that’s a given, but on those who I am responsible for in ministry. The above statements show me this:

1. He calls me by name. 2. He is the One to be served and I am the servant. 3. He asks me to listen carefully & those that follow me. 4. He formed me and my circumstances. 5. He is a God of help. 6. He requires fear of Him and not of man. 7. He is the One that choose me. I did not choose Him. 8. He will do the pouring out of living water onto those I minister. 9. He will bless my offspring IF I do this. 10. He wants to be the Counselor in me. 11. He wants me to direct all to Him – not me. 12. He is the Redeemer – I am not. 13. He is the only One who deserves to be infamous.

Here we see the difference between me and He. God is all about Himself. He is the only One who has the right to be “self-centered” – rightfully so. I really wonder if this

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was the full on lesson God was showing Job. Even though we know that the real issue of the story of Job is all about God and His adversary Satan, but my experience is that God makes use of everything Satan throws at His people. God wants Job to proclaim and declare that there is NO God like his God. He wants him to recount the order since the birth of Job’s life – which he (Job) is presently cursing. He wants Job to declare to the world the things that are coming and the events that are going to take place once this trial is behind him. He certainly does not want Job to forget the promises He gave him throughout his life. God has a specific purpose for Job’s life and it appears that Job is losing sight of it. I recall another entry from the Lord in my journal that reflects similar mandates:

Stephen, who is like Me? Proclaim and declare it; yes, recount it to Me in order, from the time that I established My calling for your life. Declare to the world the things that are coming and the events that are going to take place. As I send you out, do not tremble and do not be afraid; have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? Forget not the promise I gave you in your youth; ‘For I have called you to speak out My message to the nations. Fear not, for I will put My Words in your mouth, I will touch your mouth with the power of My hand. Do not use the excuse that you are only a youth. Go now and proclaim My Words.’ Cherish these Words all the days of your life Stephen. You are My witness, is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none – do you?

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I have had a great love for eschatology for many years. My wife’s mother, when I was a young Christian, would read to me the book of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation. She once said that God would use me to proclaim these Words unto a dark and depraved world. At the time, I thought she was just being a mom. Many years later, God tells me to pick up my feathered pen, for He was about to unfold my purpose. The above statements are what came forth.

Still the same, I had this relenting question of: why all the suffering and rejection? After I got saved at the age of sixteen, even though my functional illiteracy, I asked for half the wisdom that this King Solomon had in the Bible. Not because I wanted to be the big man on the block but rather I felt so stupid in life and wanted to be a man of wisdom. For the first time in my new walk as a Christian, I heard God in the recesses of my mind; He said:

For I shall grant you this request but it will come with a price!

He then led me to Ecclesiastes – six years later after my wife taught me how to read. It says:

Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain. (Ecc 1:18 NASB)

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My first response was: Oh thanks God! Later, much later, after life began to unfold the grief and pain, I realized that for anyone to be wise and understanding, that they would be called to embraced pain and suffering. From my feeble minds perspective, that was an understatement.

This is why I have such a respect for Job. His level of sufferings was comparable to his level of wisdom and leadership. In the book of Luke we find:

From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. (Luk 12:48 NASB)

Could this be what is going on with Job? Is his level of suffering comparable to his level of wisdom and leadership? I say – yes! In the beginning of this book, God did say to Satan: Have you considered My servant Job? For thee is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil. Now if God says something like that, it is true. I am certainly going to believe God over Job’s “friends.” With that being said, in our next account of the story of Job, his second “friend” is about to reveal more stupidity.

THE SECOND OF JOB’S COUNSELORS SPEAK – Chapter 8

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Job did an awesome job of communicating his perspective of his suffering but his “friend” Bildad, like an eager, angry disputant, changes the mood with this:

"How long will you say these things, And the words of your mouth be a mighty wind? "Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert what is right? "If your sons sinned against Him, Then He delivered them into the power of their transgression. (Job 8:2-4 NASB)

Now his “friend” picks on his sons? This is a bit much! Bildad is not impressed with Job’s conclusion, nor the conclusion of why his children died. He certainly is showing the ignorance of NOT knowing Job. Job already owned that God did not pervert judgment; yet what does that have to do with his children, or that they had committed some great sin against God. I don’t remember reading anything about the sins of his children being in the dialog between God and Satan. Bildad’s beliefs are of extraordinary afflictions are because of extraordinary sins. Bad theology Bildad! This story is not about Job’s children, his wife or any other human – it is about God, Job and Satan. This counselor has some serious lies floating around in his head. His speech is rhetorical and punitive at best. Read Bildad’s conclusion:

"Lo, God will not reject a man of integrity, Nor will He support the evildoers. "He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouting. "Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, and the tent of the wicked will be no longer." (Job 8:20-22 NASB)

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He is directly associating pain and suffering with the rejection of God. Wow – is that a mistake. God warns throughout the scriptures that man will suffer. Jesus said you will suffer as I have suffered. Do you see what Bildad is actually saying here? As Bildad’s message trickles down through the ages, he is covertly accusing Jesus of not being a man of integrity, thus placing the same accusation on God. Hummm – not good. There is more to Bildad’s fluff if you want to read it but this is the earliest form of prosperity doctrine noted in the Word. A doctrine God does NOT support.

When we fashion a graven image like Bildad is doing here, they become futile and these externals he speaks of are of no profit – even if he himself does not see how the adoption of such will ultimately put him to shame. Bildad is fashioning a god, an idol, of fake profit. Because of this fruitless advise, Bildad will soon be put to shame by the Lord Himself – for the crafting of such toys are futile plans and speculations of mere men. Job’s second “friend” is not in a mind-set of trembling before the living God. Any plans that man attempts to shape in His own strength are sure to fail.

I have learned this over and over again. God is quick to slow the works of man down in order to speed up the mighty works of Heaven. He is really good at it. This reminds me of a time when God was confronting me, in love, regarding my efforts of adding “addons” to the ministry He called me to. I was exaggerating the efforts of God – He calls this idolatry and a lie. Read my entry:

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When you fashion a graven image they become futile and these “precious� things are of no profit; even those that adopt them fail to see or know, so they will be put to shame. Have you fashioned a god or built an idol to no profit? Behold all your companions will be put to shame, for the craftsmen of these futile plans are of mere men. Let them all assemble themselves, let them stand up, let them tremble; let them together be put to shame. For when you try to shape your plans using your own strength and have needs and your strength fails; and you refuse to drink My living water, you will become weary. For when you make plans to provide for yourself and your household, and make these plans in the form of a man, like the beauty of man, so that you can sit secure in your house, these will become the things that I your Lord will burn up with my fire of baptism. For these things I will burn, in order that you do not make them as a god and worship it and fall down before it. Stephen, there are times that you offer to Me half of what I give you and the other half you make into a graven image so that your flesh will be deceptively satisfied. For these graven images will not deliver you. If you do this thing, you will feed on the ashes of a deceived heart and once again turn away from Me. Is there not a lie in your right hand? Oh boy, feed on the ashes of a deceived heart – that is flat out ugly! I think this is what Bildad is doing. He is taking some relevant Truths of God and mixing them with worldly fables. The end result is idols of futility. Allow me to summarize the personal lessons I gained from the above entry:

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Graven images (externals) are of no profit.

Graven images form idols.

Idols bring shame and despair upon us.

All our companions, or friends, those who teach such will be put to shame.

When we form these images in our own strength, our strength will fail and we will refuse to drink the Living Water – sound wisdom from God.

Once this happens, we become weary.

When we make plans aside from God’s, He will burn them up through baptism of fire – sufferings.

He does this in order for us not to fall down and worship these graven images, for when we do – it is worshiping the author of them, Satan.

God clearly says that we attempt to satisfy ourselves through these deceptive images.

He also clarifies that these images will NOT deliver us but rather usher us into deeper bondage to the father of lies – Satan.

The result – you will feed on the ashes of our demise.

It should be clear to each of us that we all fall into mixing Truth with worldly fables. I’m afraid is it a part of our humanness. Most of us don’t purposely do what Job’s friends are doing but if we are not lead by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, we are bound to do this. It makes me sick thinking about how many times I have given half-truths, psychobabble, to those I have been ministering. It takes much grief, pain and suffering

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to purify our counsel to others. It is a fact that comes with our baptism of fire. We cannot beat ourselves with guilt or hesitate to move forward – we simply must embrace the lesson of our permissible suffocation and choose to become wiser still.

JOB RESPONDS TO BILDAD’S COUNSEL – Chapter 9

Job starts out by declaring that he indeed did not doubt the true and honorable justice of God, when he refused to accept the fact that they were calling him a hypocrite, for he says: how should man be just with God? He clearly communicates his guilt of sins more than his “friends” could count and that he could not justify them before God, therefore he deserved worse than the permissible sufferings allotted to him by his God. An interesting note here, when Job is talking about the wisdom and power of God, he actually forgets about his sufferings and puts less of an emphasis on them. A practice God wants all of His children to master. Job knew, as we should, we are unfit to question or judge the actions of God. He has come to realize in a very personal way that the acts and decisions of God no creature can resist. If Job did not come to this conclusion, he would think that those who think they have power and strength to help themselves, or others, could actually battle such permissible sufferings.

At this point in our reading, Job is still in harmony with God’s view of him - For thee is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away

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from evil. The lesson that we are not sure he is embracing yet is that of between suffering and the Hand of the Lord, is a question of might, and not right. Job is showing some signs of beginning to manifest an attitude toward God. It is this attitude that God personally addresses in his face-to-face encounter with Job. The rhetorical question that continues to plague the mind of Job is that of his reflection on God’s righteous ways and justice are directly connected to suffering but for what cause.

In this chapter, Job reflects upon the main point of his “friends” argument. His beloved “friends” continue to be steadfast in their opinion that those who are righteous before God, always prosper in the world that He Created and that only those who are in sin are in pain and suffering. This, as stated earlier, is none other than prosperity doctrine. Job too maintains his passion for the purity of God, but in his passion he is forgetting to guard his mouth, a sin that many of us passionate teachers fall into. Job is steadfast in not forgetting who God is and the majestic throne He occupies. He is not clear on that fact that God wiped out his guilt and that he is a redeemed child of the Living God.

I can relate to his dilemma, I think most can. One of the main things I suffer with in my Christian walk is the Truth of God wiping away all of my sins and offering me redemption on a daily basis. Not long ago, I was wrestling this very principle with God. His response:

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Remember these things, O Stephen, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant and you will not be forgotten by Me. I have wiped out your guilt like a thick cloud, and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. I have renamed you this day – ‘the redeemed.’ ‘Shout for joy, O heavens, for I the Lord have done it! For I have delivered My child! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into a shout of joy you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it; for the Lord has redeemed Stephen and in My body I show forth My glory.’ I say to you Stephen, your Redeemer, and the One who formed you from the womb, ‘I the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone, causing the omens of boasters to fail, making fools out of diviners, causing wise men to draw back, and turning their knowledge into foolishness, confirming the Word I put in My servant Stephen, and performing the purpose of My messenger. It is I who says of your household, she shall be inhabited and all the works of Stephen they shall be built. I will raise up your ruins again! It is I who says to the depth of the sea, ‘Be dried up and make your rivers dry. It is I who said to My Son, He is My Shepherd!’ My Son will perform all the desires I have for Stephen. For My Son will declare of Stephen and his household, she will be built, and of My temple, his body, the foundation will be laid in the life of My servant Stephen – the redeemed. It appears to me, this is some of what Job is learning. God’s message, answers, do not change through the ages. This is the element of God’s dwelling in the most high that comforts me the most. He is never changing nor does He change the counsel to His ~ 59 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


beloved – the Bride of Christ. It is always the same – thank God. I don’t know exactly what God is communicating to Job at this point in our story but I can give you a few real to life lessons I gain from the above entry when I too was asking the same question.

1. God wants me to remember what He says to me. 2. He is the God who formed me – I did not form the Creator. 3. I am His servant, He is not mine. 4. He wiped away my sins and the guilt associated with them. 5. He consistently calls me to return to Him – not external solutions. 6. He calls His children The Redeemed Ones. 7. He will, and does, deliver us in His perfect timing. Usually after the lesson has broken us into a pile of humility. 8. He is the maker of all things, even sufferings. 9. He has full control over the omens, fools, diviners and wise men. 10. We are to perform the works of God as messengers. 11. God is the builder of our house and it is built on a rock – Jesus Christ. 12. Any ruins that Satan provokes, He shall raise them up from the ashes. 13. Our bodies are His temple of work and worship. 14. He will build a foundation under our lives that will stand.

Dear God, what little need we have in finding hope in earthenware. We have such a need to redeem wasted time, time spent on the foolish speculations of men. To have

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the mind of Christ in all that we say or do is our desire – why can it not be our steadfastness. How arrogant is it that we find strength and joy in these frail bodies, houses, jobs, or human relationships? May God stir in us a thirst to set our affections on Heavenly things and not on the earth that is soon to go up in flames. Thank God for giving us a Mediator, Christ, that can provide the power to attain such a focus. He, Christ, suffered a suffering that our vain imaginations cannot bear. The price He paid for His Bride to inherit the answers of God were costly. So costly, that only His Father knows for sure what price He had to pay. Someday, and someday soon, we will be clothed with robes of righteousness – literally. No more ashes, boils or unsightly “friends.” May we learn the difference between justifying ourselves vs. experientially being justified by the God of the Universe. What must it take for us to truly trust Christ to fight our battles or rebuke the storms that Satan blows into our lives? If it is permissible suffocation, then let it be.

Another key note here is, Job did not focus on the works of Satan, nor did God. We live in a name it and claim it and renounce it and bounce it world. Christians today put such an emphasis on the devil and his evil deeds. Most are taught how to fight the enemy vs. learning how to embrace the honorable messages of God – like we see here with Job. This I believe is one of the enemies most cleaver tactics offered to the church in our modern world. Every form of credit offered, evil or good, to Satan – he will take it. As with this story, the less talk of what Satan is doing and more about what God is doing, the better. We can learn much from the life and afflictions of Job.

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"For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, That we may go to court together. "There is no umpire between us, Who may lay his hand upon us both. "Let Him remove His rod from me, And let not dread of Him terrify me. "Then I would speak and not fear Him; but I am not like that in myself. (Job 9:32-35 NASB)

This is Job’s conclusive remarks to Bildad. He (Job) is acknowledging that God is not a man as he is. He knows that God in His infinite wisdom doesn’t have to answer him and that he has no prerogative to walk into the same courts of God. He sees that there is no one, human or spirit, that comes between him and his Creator or has any power to touch the ways of God. But then we hear his call once again for God to remove His rod from him so he won’t suffer the dread he presently has toward Him, which seems to keep him in a constant state of terror.

JOB RESPONDS TO GOD IN PRAYER – Chapter 10

Job becomes more and more intense about the honesty of his sole. He openly announces he is intent on complaining, but still will not charge God of doing wrong. This time his complaint is not directed at his “friends” but rather directly to God. I think it wise to actually read this prayer before we do anymore commentating:

"I will say to God, 'Do not condemn me; Let me know why You contend with me. 'Is it right for You indeed to oppress, To reject the labor of Your hands, And to look favorably

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on the schemes of the wicked? 'Have You eyes of flesh? Or do You see as a man sees? 'Are Your days as the days of a mortal, Or Your years as man's years, That You should seek for my guilt And search after my sin? 'According to Your knowledge I am indeed not guilty, Yet there is no deliverance from Your hand. 'Your hands fashioned and made me altogether, And would You destroy me? 'Remember now, that You have made me as clay; And would You turn me into dust again? 'Did You not pour me out like milk And curdle me like cheese; Clothe me with skin and flesh, And knit me together with bones and sinews? 'You have granted me life and lovingkindness; And Your care has preserved my spirit. 'Yet these things You have concealed in Your heart; I know that this is within You: If I sin, then You would take note of me, And would not acquit me of my guilt. 'If I am wicked, woe to me! And if I am righteous, I dare not lift up my head. I am sated with disgrace and conscious of my misery. 'Should my head be lifted up, You would hunt me like a lion; And again You would show Your power against me. 'You renew Your witnesses against me And increase Your anger toward me; Hardship after hardship is with me. 'Why then have You brought me out of the womb? Would that I had died and no eye had seen me! 'I should have been as though I had not been, Carried from womb to tomb.' "Would He not let my few days alone? Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer Before I go--and I shall not return-- To the land of darkness and deep shadow, The land of utter gloom as darkness itself, Of deep shadow without order, And which shines as the darkness." (Job 10:2-22 NASB)

His prayer over all is one of a call to be freed, or delivered, from his permissible suffocation. It is this prayer that most likely provokes God to have this up and coming ~ 63 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


face-to-face talk with him. God never ignores prayer! In his prayer he is searching for the rhyme or reason for his vexation. His guilt is shining through, fearing the condemnation of God. He wants to know exactly why God is contending with him this way. He certainly is proper by phrasing his discontent with questions instead of accusing God, although some theologians believe that is exactly what he is doing. I am not one of those. Job is keeping his head as he appeals, yes – I said appeals, before God through the safest method – that of asking questions. Here are a few of Job’s conclusive remarks:

He is afraid that God is condemning him

He wants to know why God is contending with him

He wants to know if it is right in God’s eyes to afflict one of His hard workers

He would like to know if God sees what he sees

He wonders if God can view life as the mere mortals

Is God hunting for a particular sin he has committed

He repents but still no deliverance – why

Is God about destroying him – is this the purpose

He views God as pouring his life out instead of making use of it

He acknowledges that God preserved his spirit

Wants to know why God is silent

If there was sin in him – wouldn’t God take note of him

He perceives God is angry at him and against him

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He begs for a little cheer in his life before the shadow of death comes

Through all this, Job did not deny that a sinner deserves suffering, but it appears that he was thinking that God’s justice was delivered to him with unreasonable force. His despair and struggle with distorted beliefs are affecting his view of God. This is exactly what Satan originally had in mind for Job. Satan most likely was thinking he was getting really close to accomplishing his mission. But – Job maintains a clear head. Job is an anointed one of God, nothing can change that. God will soon enough subdue Job’s place of misery. God remains silent for a reason, the punishment planned for Satan has not yet occurred. Remember, this is all about a proving between God and His enemy – this is NOT about Job. Job is the tool of proof! Since this is True, God in His infinite wisdom is withholding this significant piece of Truth from His servant Job. God simply wants Job to open the doors of opportunity that He has set before him. He certainly would like him to know that He is a God of the impossible. Soon enough, Job will see this lesson in full swing.

I have great compassion on Job and a deep respect regarding the prayer he calls out to God. I have been here too many times. Since Christ is my Mediator, thankfully, He answers my call, most of the time, in an expeditious fashion. This next entry from my journal came after God allowed a friend to turn on me and act as one of my enemies. This was someone I trusted with my heart and soul. My pain was deep and the betrayal I felt was overwhelming. I expected God to put my friend in his place but instead He said this: ~ 65 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


I tell you Stephen, My anointed, whom I have taken by the right hand, to subdue to places I call you to, and to release the loins of the leaders I put in front of you. Fear not, for this will be done through the strength and power of My Son that I have put within you. Open the doors I put you before you. For I will not allow them to be shut: I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of impossibilities. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places; in order that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name – the redeemed. For the sake of My servant Stephen, and the Body, My Chosen One, I have also called them by their name; I have given them a title of honor though they act as if they don’t know Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you Stephen, even during those times when you act as if you do not know Me. I will do this so that men may know from the rising to the setting to the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these. ‘Drip down, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down righteousness upon My son Stephen; let the earth open up and his salvation bear fruit, and righteousness spring up with it. I the Lord, have created it.’ Woe to you when you quarrel with your Maker – a mere earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing or you that I created say I have no hands? Woe to you ~ 66 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


Stephen when you say to Me as your Father, ‘What are you begetting or to your daughters, to what are you giving birth?’ I say, the Maker: Stephen, ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, and you shall commit to Me the work of My hands from this day forward. It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, and I ordained all their host. I now have aroused you in righteousness, and I will make all your ways smooth; I will build My works through My Son in you and He will let My exiles go free, without any payment for their sins or reward. For the products of the fortunes of ungodly men and the merchandise of men of stature will come over to you and will be yours; they will walk behind you, they will come over in chains and will bow down to My Son in you; they will make supplications to you for resources: surely, I am with you, and there is none else, no other God. Ok, this is not what I expected! He continues to put my reality back into the Hands of His. His voice is just and pure. He places the message of pain in perspective of His Higher Calling. I don’t know why I continue to expect God to respond like a mere man. What sin that would be. He continues to get my eyes off of the pain, suffering and persecution of my soul and gracefully places where it belongs – upon the throne of the Everlasting. Again, here is the summary of my entry:

He will gird me – not my friends

There is no one that can replace Him, particularly my friend

He is the One who created light and darkness – causing wellbeing and calamity ~ 67 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


He will pour righteousness upon his children

He wants us to bear fruit in dark places

I am not to quarrel with my Maker

I am only earthenware and a vessel for God

I have no right to question the ways of God

I need to commit all of my ways to the Lord

He arouses me with righteousness not guilt

He will use the persecutions of friends to benefit me

My rejecters will ultimately come back to hear the Words of the Lord in me

He is always with me and I am never alone

My response to Him was: Truly, You are the one and only God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, My Savior! All those who refuse to honor You will be put to shame and You will humiliate all of them; the manufactures of their idols will go away together in humiliation. I have been saved by You Lord with an everlasting Salvation; You will not be put to shame or humiliated to all eternity.

THE THIRD OF JOB’S COUNSELORS SPEAK – Chapter 11

Zophar the Naamathite attacks Job with stored up vengeance. He has been sitting by listening and waiting for this opportunity. He represented himself a leader who love to

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hear himself speak, even though he didn’t say much to help Job. Zophar took pride in understanding men of falsehoods. He wanted God to show Job that he deserved MORE punishment than he was actually getting. First of all, Job wasn’t being punished and secondly, who is Zophar to determine this? Listen to his tone:

"Shall a multitude of words go unanswered, and a talkative man be acquitted? "Shall your boasts silence men? And shall you scoff and none rebuke? "For you have said, 'My teaching is pure, and I am innocent in your eyes.' "But would that God might speak, and open His lips against you, and show you the secrets of wisdom! For sound wisdom has two sides. Know then that God forgets a part of your iniquity. (Job 11:2-6 NASB)

Overall, I think Zophar speaks clearly concerning God and His greatness and man and his fruitless efforts of hast. Yet he is a proud man, self-conceited in all his counsel. He himself is not submitting to the guidelines of wisdom – for he has a fork tongue. It is no wonder that God is displeased with him in the end. He stretches his hand out for real wisdom and comes short by exacting his opinions. Zophar sounds a bit like he is drawing wisdom from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It sounds good but this kind of wisdom is not that which comes down from God but is earthly, natural and demonic (James 3). Is Satan using the mouths of these counselors? You can be assured of that – or else, God would not rebuke them in the end. Satan is using every tool of his trade to confuse Job and make him more “I” centered.

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Zophar puts a blessing on Job’s repentance, in fact, he encourages him a bit, yet he mixes in this unwholesome wisdom about the personhood of Job. He believed that worldly prosperity was a given sign by God of righteousness. You know, that is the problem with counsel from rich “friends.” They always seem to go back to the goods and use them as a measuring stick up against the Hand of God. He basically deemed Job as a full blown hypocrite unless his prosperity was restored. What he was really confessing is: if you’re not like us Job, you’re a sinner. I think I would rather be in Job’s state – God forbid. These “friends” clearly don’t know who they are speaking to. Their “client” is one, I might add, the only one, who God picked out as the most righteous on earth. Job is truly getting advice from educated fools.

Zophar’s conclusion is this:

"If you would direct your heart right And spread out your hand to Him, If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, And do not let wickedness dwell in your tents; (Job 11:13-14 NASB)

This counselor has the gull to tell Job that if he would just open up his hands for more prosperity, that God would bring rest to his weary bones. Hummm - that sounds like something the god of the externals would say – Satan.

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In any case, I can’t be too rough on Zophar, he is speaking through his wallet and education. Many of us do the same. It is so easy to look upon the people with less and summarize they are suffering because of their irresponsibility. I guess you have to be homeless and poor like Job before you can look through the window of life clearly.

I have lived “hand to mouth” for most of the years of my life, in and out of ministry. I have appealed to God regarding my poverty many times. His direction and counsel for me has been at times a bit disturbing to my flesh. Here is an example after one of those desperate pleas:

Stephen, I have created the heavens and earth and made it and did not create it a waste place. But I formed it to be inhibited – I am the Lord, and there is none else. I have spoken in secret in your life, in the darkness of your soul and said; ‘Seek Me in a waste place.’ I speak righteousness, declaring things that are upright. Gather yourself and come now Stephen; draw near to Me and draw not to your idols that cannot save. Remember to declare and set forth your case; indeed, let your workers consult together and listen to them only if they announce My wisdom. Listen to My voice in you, your counselors and in what I have created around you, there is none except Me. Turn to Me and I will work out your Salvation each day. I have sworn by Myself, My Word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and I will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, and every tongue will swear allegiance. You are to say of Me, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.’ Because of where I place you, men will come

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to Me and all who were angry at Me shall be put to shame. I say again to you My son, all of your offspring will be blessed. You shall see My glory in your children’s children. I called you to a lonely place so that I could give you rest. I have completed this work in you. Never forget the belly of despair I have placed you in. I have marked these days on the tablets of My heart. Not many will understand the work and Words I have given you. For I will be the One who determines who shall hear this testimony. Go now in peace! Poverty and despair is a lonely place and I have lived there many years of my life. Often times when I get swallowed up in my confusion, God has me list the dark place from which I came. A hand full of years ago, He had me do exactly that, He asked me to pen what I saw the conditions were before I was born, as an infant, my early childhood, teen years and finally my adult years. I am putting my neck out in vulnerability but here is what I wrote:

Before I was born:  Unwanted, my birth was an accident  Anger and strive was all around me when I was being formed  Words of despair, vulgarity, and hopeless filled my mother’s womb  Oppression surrounded my soul before I took my first breath  Immorality and rebellion was in the seed that formed me  Noise was all around me – sounds of drunkenness and laughter of mockery

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 The addictions of alcohol and nicotine filled my little body  Fear was all around me  Tears of sorrow were in the heart of my mother  My father was filled with anger - words of oppression and punishment  I was about to come out into a dark oppressive world.  For I know I was born out of despair and necessity. Once I was born, from my first breath, my body began to reject the very environment that I knew was filled with drunkenness, rebellion, and mockery.

As an infant:  Sickness filled my bones. Life didn’t want me. I was placed in an oxygen tent for several years. A message of not being wanted was settling into my soul. Why couldn’t my mother hold me? Where is my daddy? I didn’t understand. Why was I left alone? Why was I in so much pain? I was not wanted and I knew it. Why wouldn’t they hold me? Why wouldn’t they touch me?  Loneliness grew in my heart. For my new heart was already becoming dark and hardened. For I began to withdraw into my own world, secluding myself from the world as I saw it. I began to protect myself by hiding in my secret place-the walls of my own heart. The sin of secrecy was conceived. Why wouldn’t they hold me? For my little soul knew if they would just hold me I would not hide. Why wouldn’t they just hold me?

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 All I heard was yelling and fighting. Anger was everywhere! People laughing that laughter of mockery and drunkenness. Sexual sins were everywhere. My tiny little soul could not understand these things but my heart embraced the wickedness of their sins. Why didn’t they protect my ears and my heart from these things?  I remember a lady who would hold me but she wasn’t my mother. I felt a heart of compassion and tenderness. My soul remembers seeing the love and acceptance in her eyes. Who was this woman? Where did she go?  Where’s my daddy? Why won’t he hold me? It hurts! Why won’t he love me? What did I do wrong? For my soul knew I was born fatherless! It hurts too much to think about it.

Then the Lord interrupted me because of my overwhelming pain and said:

Stephen, this is when you conceived the sin of becoming your own father. There is no love like the love of a Father. I held you Stephen, I was there. I am holding you now. I promised to be a Father to the fatherless and I started being your Father long before you were born. Do not blame your earthly father, for I had great compassion on him in spite of his neglect of you. For he himself suffered as you suffered. His sin became your greatest sin – the sin of secrecy. For your father became a man of secrecy because of his lack of embracing a father’s love. Let go of this pain Stephen! Let me have it - for I sent my Son to bear this pain for you. For you have finally let Me into your heart of hearts, the place where you have been holding all this ~ 74 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


pain – now let me hold you……………... Hear My voice Stephen, this is where all your sins of secrecy were conceived. Because your father would not hold you, you began to hold yourself. This is where your sins came from. All of your sins of indulgence stem from this sin. Your selfishness of being pleased is a direct result of demanding to be held. For this has been your sin of revenge. Yes, you came into this world unloved and rejected but I say to you this day Stephen – no more will you live by this message. For I have redeemed you Stephen. For this sin stops in your generation. My cleansing of your inner room will have ramifications of blessings that will last for generations. Tell your children they are clean, that your sins of secrecy are not in them. Keep your heart open, for I will be giving you more Words of Knowledge to deliver to them.

Early Childhood:  Dependency on substance to feel better  Avoiding public life to avoid being rejected  My sickness controlled my life  Feeling stupid while in school. Developed a fantasy (“day dreamer”) life while in school to deal with the rejection of being told I was “stupid” and couldn’t learn like the other kids.  Always hunting for my daddy. Why didn’t he want to spend time with me? Was my frail body an embarrassment to him? I really wanted to be “daddy’s boy!” Why wouldn’t he let me? I idolized him. He was my hero. ~ 75 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


 I began to boast about my father’s successes to prove to the world I had the best father in the whole world.  I started to exaggerate about everything to cover up for my inferiority. I knew I was nothing and that no one really cared about me. I thought if I would make myself out to be someone bigger and better than the real me that they would accept me. That turned out to be futile because I couldn’t live up to the image – so I would exaggerate all the more. Pride began to rule my life. I knew I was inferior from an early age. I slowly began to believe the lies the enemy tossed my way as truth.  I became sexually active at an early age in order to be touched. For I knew that this was one way to feel wanted and loved. Could I have been that desperate for touch? My shame overwhelms me.

Teen Years:  Now living the lies I had been told.  Taking advantage of people.  Hiding my insecurities by the use of humor and trying to look good.  Using my artistic abilities to compensate for my academic inferiorities.  Using alcohol to fit in with my peers.  The use of drugs in order to match how I felt.  Cheating in school to get the grades I needed to pass – couldn’t read.

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 Rebelling against authority through the “yes” on the outside and the “no” on the inside.  Develop an outright hatred for my father.  Became attracted to rebellious people.  Began developing a habit of living off of other people’s reputations or fame.

Adult Years:  Always trying to prove myself to everyone around me.  Proving I could be independent, make it on my own.  Hiding behind my projected image to keep my feelings of worthlessness secretive.  Fear became a daily struggle. The kind of fear that bound my heart and body.  Work or ministry became a mistress to me.  When I met Janie I saw a woman that loved and accepted me. I had never experienced this before. She was the first to reveal true love to me.

After this painful exercise, His replay was that of Grace:

Hear, Oh Stephen. For I have appointed this time to speak My tender Mercies over you. Rest and hear My voice. I shall shout Words of Knowledge from My Holy throne. Will you not hear them? Do not stay silent any longer when you see sin. When it is spoken of, speak against it. When your spiritual children show the callousness of their ~ 77 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


hearts in areas of secret sins – speak out against these sins. Your home is to be a safe haven for My word. Those that you lead will struggle with feelings of rejection because of your boldness. Always speak to them in love and tenderness. The enemy has spoken lies to My children and your fear to confront has at times allowed these lies to settle into theirs. For this has been a grievous sin to me. You are their leader. It is you’re responsibly to continue to be the patriarch in their lives. Wisdom has not yet sprung up in most of them. Foolishness still needs to be bound up in them. This is your calling to continue to show them the role of a spiritual father and this role will not cease until I call you home. After I call you home, they will continue to seek the role of a father and I will show them My tender Mercies and my great promise – I the Lord thy God will be a Father to the fatherless. It was from this agonizing retreat with the Lord that I began to take my role seriously as a minister of the Gospel. I had been a “righteous man” beholding to the Truths of God long before this experience but this was an encounter that cleared up my habit of mixing of my past guilt with a guiltless Gospel. This is why I relate so much to the story of Job. This is the first time in many years, if ever, in ministry that I have taken the risk of being this vulnerable. Why? Because I feared the same “brow beatings” that Job suffered with his “friends” – intelligible rejection.

Through the years, I too have had many of Job’s counselors at my side. As I have stated before, it IS the most difficult part of my journey here on earth. My body’s afflictions don’t even compare to the pain and suffering I have had to endure at the ~ 78 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


hands of some of my “friends.” If having to endure their strange forms of encouragement to bring me to writing this book, than I am beginning, I said beginning, to believe it was all worth it.

Not one person knows what a spiritual leader must endure from his disgruntled or know better followers except the Lord and other leaders of like circumstances. Job’s counselors couldn’t give Job empathy because they couldn’t relate. People may have come to them for advice because of their wealth or worldly education, but I am fairly sure they were clueless when it came to knowing God! Job knew this but it doesn’t change the suffocation these men were adding to his existing suffering. Many could view Job as feeling sorry for himself as he cried out for answers but I don’t. I think I understand a little about his demise – I hope you can as well.

JOB RESPONDS TO ZOPHAR – Chapter 12

In Job’s response to Zophar, he begins to unravel the worldly counsel of his “friends.” Their opinions begin to fade into the shadows of Godly reason and wisdom. He does what most ture men of God due when enough is enough – he puts them in their place. Here are the summary statements of his responses:

Since they are so wise, wisdom will die with them

He proclaims he too has intelligence and reason ~ 79 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


He proclaims that he is NOT inferior to them

He concludes that most know their level of wisdom

Job acknowledges that he is a “joke” to his “friends”

States that those who do not suffer, hold calamity lightly

He reveals that even violent men prosper

Job tells them to go learn from the beast and birds – for they know more even than they

He humbles them with their elementary counsel

Again, he turns the attention toward the majestic ways of God

Tells them God makes counselors walk barefooted and makes fools judges

It is God who decides to loosen bonds

He reveals God’s ability to bind kings, humble priests, deprives speech of the righteous, takes away discernment of elders, pours contempt on nobles, makes strong men weak, reveals mysteries from dark places, makes nations great, then leads them away, deprives intelligence of those who think their smart and makes them wander in waste

We are seeing a glimmer of the Job God knows. He is being sound and full of wisdom and power of the sovereignty God he serves. This is only the first point of his three point sermon. There is more to come in chapter 13 and 14. But in this passage, Job doesn’t complain, or self-reflect, he is as level headed as he possibly could be at this point in his journey. He delivers a clear message of God’s powerful management of ~ 80 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


children of men, counselors, kings, nobles and His ability to overpower all their oppositions.

Job is finally preaching a good preach. He knows that God in His wisdom knows how to make use of the foolish and their horrid persecutions. He leaves his “friends” with a definite feeling that they, as disputants, are out of their league in attempting to understand the ways of God and the “why” for Job’s permissible suffocation. In simple terms: he leveled the playing field. These counselors are about to see that Job is above their elementary advice. It is a brave thing to attempt to counsel someone who has a depth of wisdom that shatter the reasoning of an average man. It will either silence their ignorance or toss them into the sea of foolishness. We are about to see which direction these counselor take.

One of my journal entries reveals some profound words of wisdom when I asked Him the question of: how do I reach such men of confusion? Here is what He said:

Now I call you to touch the hearts of my people in the same way. With one hand reach into their souls to pull out the sins that bind them and with our other hand hold them with My tenderness and mercies. I will deal with their sins but I have called you as a prophet to the people to call out their sins. Always remember to hold them Stephen. Just hold them. Embrace them but do not touch their sins. Only I have the power to deal directly with their sins. If you touch their sins, their sins will touch you. This is the key truth you ~ 81 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


have been missing in the ministry that I have called you to. You have been calling out their sins and attempting to deal with their sins. This is My doings Stephen! These are the vain philosophies that have bound your heart in ministry. Forsake them My child! Philosophies of men are doctrines of the devil. Demons gather around philosophies. When they hear them spoken – they run to them. When you use these vain philosophies, you invited demons to oppress them. Hear Me My son! Forsake the vain philosophies of the world! Forsake them I say! As you can tell, I use to be in the habit of using worldly philosophies with the Holy scriptures. Not wise! Since I had the nasty habit of relying on the fame and intelligence of others, I would attempt to find earthy ways to help them rid themselves of their maladies. For years, I wasn’t sure how to reach intelligible “friends” like those of Job. So – I asked: Your lack of knowledge throughout the days of your life has been the reason you have been hungry for knowledge as an adult. Much of the knowledge you have embraced has come from the tree of knowledge – not the Tree of Life. You have asked Me to bless you with the daily manifestation of the Word of Knowledge. Do you want this Stephen? Than remember this, Word of Knowledge is simply this, My Words that come from My mind. This is the mystery that I promised to give you last night. Do you really want this Stephen? If I give this to you, you will need to stay in My inner room. For this is the only place I will speak them and the only place you will hear them. My power is the vessel of My Mercies and it is My tender Mercies that heal the minds and bodies of My people. I have long to bless you with all the desires of your heart. If you ask not, ~ 82 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


you will have not. When you ask, ask with the motive of the Spirit I have placed within you. It is only by My Spirit that I do all things. God has so much for us and we short sheet the Hand of God either because of our rebellion or because we simply don’t truly believe He will answer our request. Know this – anything you ask according to the Spirit, you will get. It is His promise.

As Job continues his profound sermon, listen carefully to the Divine wisdom that flows from this frail and weak man. A man mind you, that nobody is presently seeking advice from. His level of despair and misery has most likely projected a image that he is not practicing what he preaches. Too bad though, this man is packed with Divine wisdom and insight.

JOB’S SERMON CONTINUES – Chapter 13

Job again reminds his listeners that he does not need to embrace their elementary teachings because he already knows them. He further reveals how these disputes are tempting to put the heroic efforts on themselves and if he stooped to their level of wisdom, he would be lowering his standard of wisdom. He has proven that he is not inferior to them in knowledge of God but actually outweighs them. Do you remember when Paul made a similar comment:

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For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. (2Co 11:5 NASB)

I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody. (2Co 12:11 NASB)

Job, like Paul, is not saying he is better than they are. He is speaking in the full confidence of his position with God. He knows that true knowledge and wisdom is a gift from God – not something you can obtain from a scribed book. Any leader of God, who walks with God in the Inner Room, can claim the same sort of proclamation. It isn’t an arrogant error but rather a confession of knowing God. This is what many men of the Word call the Deeper Life. There are those that must learn from books and there are those who learn from the Book – the Book of Life, the life of Christ within the believer. In Job’s case, it is hand delivered from God to his mind.

Let’s bullet point part two of Job’s sermon on the ashes:

He already knows what they know

He isn’t inferior to them

Job would rather argue his case with God

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Proclaims his “friends” are worthless physicians

He appeals for them to be silent

Appeals to them to listen now to him

Puts them in their place by telling them they are deceitful before God

That they show partiality to Him

And what if He examined them – will they deceive Him like they are Job

If they did, He would surely be reproved by Him

States they too would be terrified by His majesty

What would they do if dread fell upon them

Notes their memorable sayings as proverbs of ashes

That their defenses of sanity are of clay

Again, he tells them to be silent

Job puts the focus back on God

That he cannot put his life in his own hands or the hands of his counselors

Even though God “slays” him – his hope will continue to be in Him

That this IS his salvation – for man has no goodness on his own

He tells them to allow his wisdom to fill their ears

He now knows God will vindicate him

No one can contend with him except God alone

He asks two things of God: take His Hands off of him and don’t let God’s dread terrify him any longer

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Job’s conclusion with God, like a leaf that falls from the tree in the season of autumn, withers, dries up and blows about with the winds of turmoil, so is his life. A true and real factor when it comes to a Holy perspective of man. Remember the words of Paul to the Galatian church:

For he who thinks he is something, when he is nothing, deceives himself. (Gal. 6:3)

Job’s conclusion is not one of self-pity but rather that of a real to life conclusion of the sustainability of man - in respects to his outward frail, weak, and feeble state as a man.

Another man that comes to mind when I think of a human, by all outward signs, was NOT a man of God to listen to and certainly to receive counsel from. John the Baptist was a depraved looking character that radiates the story of Job. Behind all his locus eating and attire of sackcloth, was the one who God selected to prepare the way for our Groom – Jesus. Take a look:

As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? "But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings' palaces! "But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet. "This is the one about whom it is written, 'BEHOLD, I SEND MY ~ 86 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.' (Mat 11:7-10 NASB)

Job had the appearance of a dead tree. God, and God alone, is the One who saw that the tree had sap (Holy Spirit) hidden within the recesses of its being. God gives us nature to understand the supernatural elements of God. Like a tree in autumn, it has the appearance of being dead but as we all know – it isn’t. Job is going through his season of spiritual autumn. He thinks that it is the end of the trees life but God knows better. Jesus uses a similar parable of the seed, he says:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (Joh 12:24 NASB)

Could this be what is happening to Job? The answer is an affirmative – yes! We see Job’s second life proving this in the last chapter. Job’s tree is blessed with three times the about of the fruit his first season bore.

After one of my many retreats with the Lord into His Inner Room, He shares with me the different kind of minister I would be after His renewal of one of my autumn seasons. Here is what He said:

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Welcome Stephen to My inner room. I have missed you. Your heart has called upon My name and I am pleased. I thank you for coming to Me to discover what I have for you in My Temple. For this study will lead you to the road ways in your wilderness and the rivers in your desert. Come now Stephen, My redeemed, I will take a walk with you through My garden. Now therefore, thus I say, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I took you from the domain of darkness that you should be a leader over the people I put in your charge. I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from destroying you, and I will make your name great, like the names of the great men who are on the earth. I will also appoint a place for you to rule so that I will be able to plant My people. Your fear of men is no longer. I have delivered you from the fear that has bound you for so many years. When I took you from your grief of being fatherless, I took you from the fear that held your heart hostage. Now I can do the work I have planned for you. It was after this experience, I was placed in the presence of some of the most “powerful people” in the world. I spoke with confidence and boldness that I had never experienced before. Most all of my fear of man had been put behind me. I was no longer controlled, but still harassed & burdened, my opinions of man. This started a new season in my life that produced a willingness to be a father instead of constantly searching for one. God truly became a Father to the fatherless in my daily experience. This by no means shortened the burden of dealing with the rejections of men, but certainly gave me a new outlook in dealing with them.

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We are about to explore the third point of Job’s sermon to his beloved “friends.” His perspective of life is clear but still under the repeating question of his soul – why, oh God, must I suffer the sufferings of a frail man.

JOB’S THIRD POINT, THE SERMON ON THE ASHES – Chapter 14

"Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil. "Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain. "You also open Your eyes on him and bring him into judgment with Yourself. "Who can make the clean out of the unclean? No one! "Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; and his limits You have set so that he cannot pass. "Turn Your gaze from him that he may rest, Until he fulfills his day like a hired man. (Job 14:1-6 NASB)

Job is stating the clear and present dangers of a man who does not understand the frailty of his existence. He is reminding his “friends” of the elements of God’s Creation – that of man being born of woman, and that he has a relatively short life and no human has the ability to clean the ways of this man. He acknowledges that man’s days are numbered, like he stated in the first chapter, and that man is limited according to the will of God. His next profession is one of the most profound, at least for me. He says that a man is to remain until he fulfills the day like a hired man. This claim is at the root of Job’s message from God. I don’t think, and I mean think, Job experientially understands what he just said. He will soon understand this, for there is evidence of it

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later on. God is not finished with Job and his autumn experience is only for a season – spring is just around the corner.

"For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and its shoots will not fail. "Though its roots grow old in the ground and its stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs like a plant. (Job 14:7-9 NASB)

In continuing in his message, he makes a healthy comparison of a tree that gets cut off at its base. He recalls how it WILL sprout again and its new life will NOT fail coming forth. He sees a powerful principle here regarding the importance of a strong and healthy root system. And how this aged root system sustains itself in dry times but once it comes in contact with living water, it WILL flourish and put forth another season of real life.

Maybe he should of stopped when he was ahead, but he didn’t. Job attempts to make a comparison of this tree to that of man, but strays from the purity of the illustration God gave him. Listen to this:

"But man dies and lies prostrate. Man expires, and where is he? "As water evaporates from the sea, and a river becomes parched and dried up, so man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens are no longer, He will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep. (Job 14:10-12 NASB) ~ 90 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


Has Job lost his perspective? Is he slipping back into the sorrows of man or is he beginning to see the relevance of the illustration? He is doing an awesome job of communicating the condition of a man who knows NOT God. He is also striking the cords of doctrine of what happens after a man dies in the Old Testament – for the righteous man is held in a paradise until the day when Jesus comes to gather up the Saints of old. Is this what Job is communication? We are about to see.

"Oh that You would hide me in Sheol, that You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You, that You would set a limit for me and remember me! "If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait until my change comes. (Job 14:1314 NASB)

In this passage, Job is clearly communicating a wonder if God will keep him in the Old Testament Hell until judgment day. It sounds like he is assuming that he will have to deal with the wrath of God someday. He is asking the obvious question of: will I live again. But, in the same breath, he says he will wait until his life change comes. This leaves us with the real Truth that Job is clear about what is happening to him. He does believe in the tree illustration. He is expecting new life to spring forth from his dead externals.

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"You will call, and I will answer You; You will long for the work of Your hands. "For now You number my steps, You do not observe my sin. "My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You wrap up my iniquity. "But the falling mountain crumbles away, and the rock moves from its place; Water wears away stones, Its torrents wash away the dust of the earth; so You destroy man's hope. "You forever overpower him and he departs; You change his appearance and send him away. "His sons achieve honor, but he does not know it; Or they become insignificant, but he does not perceive it. "But his body pains him, And he mourns only for himself." (Job 14:15-22 NASB)

He knows that he knows that when the day comes for God’s call, he will answer. He sees that he is the work of God’s Hands and that his steps are planned. But he just can’t figure out why God is not observing is sin; therefore Job’s conclusion is that God is sealing his sins in some Heavenly storage container. His curiosity is getting to him. He sees the externals (mountains) of his life crumbling in around him and that his foundation is shifting. He just doesn’t understand why God will not restore his hope. Job’s final point is probably the most important. He reveals his deep respect of God’s infinite ability to overpower men and leave them in their ashes until His son’s (could this be Jesus the Son?) achieve honor – without even knowing it. He joins God in His perspective that man is insignificant in His eyes but yet few men are able to perceive this. And my favorite line in his entire Sermon on the Ashes is this: But his body pains him, and he mourns only for himself. What a true and honorable conclusion. Our permissible suffocation is for our own mourning of ourselves. This is why we humans make it all about us when we are called by God to endure various trials and ~ 92 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


persecutions. Yes – mourning is very important after death. The question here is: What died? We did! This one-liner is to be so significant to us Christians that it provokes the core message of the New Testament – that of not I but Christ.

"For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. "For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." (Gal 2:18-21 NASB)

Paul shares one of the most profound Truths of the New Testament through this passage. If we attempt to rebuild what God has worked so diligently to destroy in our lives, we prove ourselves to be sinners (unsaved). God established the Law to kill us and destroy our works of self-effort. He did this in order for us to allow Christ to live His life out in and through us – and for God to be the One who lives, not us. How does God accomplish such a miracle? He crucifies (kills) us, our old nature, on the Cross with His Son, for the sole purpose of saying: it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. From this day forward, the lives that true indwelt Christians are to live in these earthenware fleshly bodies, that contain sin, are to be lived by faith in the One we died with. This was the greatest act of love God the Father had ever shown us. If we don’t believe this profound Truth, Christ death actually becomes fruitless.

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Am I to mourn the death of my old tree (nature)? That would be an affirmative yes! The working out of our Salvation is this process. We are consistently asked by God to deny ourselves and follow Christ. This is impossible unless Christ does the living through us. I challenge you to mourn over the death of your old tree and return to the Truth as quick as possible. Suffer the burial of your old nature; put it behind you, so Christ can be about the Father’s business through you.

Is this prophetic parallel of Job’s conclusion? I certainly hope so.

It would be so nice if Job and his “friends” got this message and called it a day, but they don’t. Eliphaz kicks Job in the teeth one more time with his worldly psychobabble. Yes, more of the same, but with a kick that would shatter the foundation of most men. Listen to his speech.

ELIPHAZ REBUKES JOB – Chapter 15

"Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge And fill himself with the east wind? "Should he argue with useless talk, Or with words which are not profitable? (Job 15:2-3 NASB)

Insult upon insult. He rubs Job’s face in his proclamation of being a wise man and that his three point sermon was windy and full of man’s knowledge. He goes on to tell Job that he argues with useless talk, words that are not profitable. Does this man not ~ 94 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


understand true wisdom from Heaven? Is he blinded to the True knowledge of God? Is he incapable of seeing Divine wisdom in Job’s message of Truth? Eliphaz is actually accusing Job of what he and his friends are guilty of the most – the puff and fluff of human reason. Here are the points of Eliphaz rebuke:

Job really isn’t wise and certainly doesn’t know the wisdom of God like he does.

That Job is a big wind bag filled with worldly fables

Job’s words are useless and carry not eternal weight.

Concludes that Job has no reverence for God.

He is filled with guilt and it controls his mouth

That Job’s words are crafty and his own words condemn him

Who does Job think he is – the first man of God

Accuses him of hearing the secret counsel of God, which Job does

How could Job know & understand things they don’t?

How can he speak like this if he is the youth among them?

Measures the truth of Job’s message on the pain worn on his face

Accuses Job’s honest appraisal of being turning against God

He questions how man can be labeled by God as righteous – looking to Job

Says God does not put any trust in Job – in spite of what God said about Job in chapter one of his journey

Begs Job to listen to him in his observations of Job

That wicked men wither away in pain ~ 95 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


Communicates that God is destroying him

Job is much like a wandering animal

Says Job’s hand is stretched out against God

That Job takes God on like a rushing shield

Insults Job by saying he is fat

Reminds Job he lives in ruins – his wealth and home are gone

That Job will never be rich again – hmmm

He (Job) is surly to die

Tells Job he is trusting in emptiness and that he is deceiving himself

Concludes that Job’s reward will be his emptiness

That his “tree” will NOT turn green again

Believes that Job is “godless” and fire consumes his tent like a corrupt man

Job conceives mischief and brings forth iniquity because of his deception

Wow – is this man clueless or what? Almost every line was a direct insult to Job’s personhood. It always amazes me how educated wealthy men are able to insult with flowered words of fables fit for old women. Today, we call this being stabbed in the back while being kissed on the cheek. These men don’t even have the fortitude to say it plainly to his face; rather they use flowered words and meaningless proverbs of the ages.

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I really shouldn’t be too tough on Eliphaz, for too have done this more times than I can count. It is so easy to talk through the mouths of worldly men – saved or not. It is so easy for me to fight against words of Eliphaz and go to battle over flesh and blood. God often warns me that the real fight is not against the flesh and blood of men like these. Years ago, I appealed to God regarding this and I am compelled to share His admonishment with you:

Stephen, your struggles are not against flesh and blood. They are against the devil, ruler of darkness, against his powers, against his world forces, against his wickedness and he does his scheming with your body and mind – My temple. This is the reason why you must take up the full armor that I have given you. You cannot use one, two or three pieces – but all of them at one time. This is the only way that you can block his endeavors. If you use only a few pieces, he will come after you in another area. You must do everything to stand firm against his consistent attacks on My temple, My dwelling place. Remember Stephen, he is after Me not you, therefore: Gird your loins – Live and speak the truth at all times. Breastplate – Stand in My rightness. State not your opinions any longer – only Mine. Shod – Walk in peace with all men. This is where My gospel is revealed. They shall know Me by seeing you walk in peace.

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Shield – All things in My Kingdom are accomplished through faith. Make all of your decisions in faith. Do not make your decisions based on what you see – make them on what I see. Helmet – This is the salvation of your soul. Never forget what I have delivered you from and what I have transformed you into. Sword – This is My Word. Be in it, live by it and let My Word be your words. When you are attacked, draw your sword and fight the good fight by using Truth. Truth is the only thing that fights off lies. You are accustomed to lies and it is My Truth that will transform your depraved mind into a mind that is clean, clear and focused on My inner room. Be careful what you say. Choose wisely My Words. Do not be quick to speak. If I take My time to speak shouldn’t you? Prayer - All this is to be done through prayer and petitions at all times – praying in the Spirit. Don’t just be concerned about you but the body as a whole. Be on the guard for all of My children. This will help you guard your heart. For when you focus on others, you will not be as apt to follow the passions of your flesh. You have asked for my mysteries, this is how you shall find them. When you speak and pray, do it boldly. Do not be afraid of the chains of bondage man will threatening you with. No chain can be made that I cannot break. These are the gateways that the enemy will assault the most. Guard them with your whole heart. Post guards at these gates. If you do My son, you will walk in purity and purpose. ~ 98 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


In my frail human mind, I typically fight what I see or hear. I often forget that there is another force being reckoned with by the Lord. Job too is not in touch with really is what is going on – the battle between Satan and God. This is how Job’s story started; Job’s permissible sufferings started with this battle and they will end when God has made his point clear to Satan himself.

JOB ANSWERS ELIPHAZ – Chapter 16

This would be a completely different story if God said these “friends” where labeled with the same title as that given to Job. I'm afraid, they don’t even come close. They are sorry comforters and there appears to be no limit to their stupidity and ignorance. Their mouths are filled with endless oratorical rhetoric. What possesses these men to answer to Job’s profound sermon on the ashes? Where do these men get their material? Their belligerent emptiness leaves Job and his readers shaking our heads in disbelief. Can man’s mind really be this depraved and self-focused? Who is at the base of the philosophies of these men - God? I think not! That really leaves one last possible conclusion – Satan himself. If this is the case, there is no reasoning with minds empowered by Satan. This dialog is turning, or continuing, to be nothing more than speculative fruitless discussions. Job starts his answer with this:

Then Job answered, "I have heard many such things; Sorry comforters are you all. "Is there no limit to windy words? Or what plagues you that you answer? "I too could speak ~ 99 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


like you, If I were in your place. I could compose words against you and shake my head at you. "I could strengthen you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips could lessen your pain. "If I speak, my pain is not lessened, And if I hold back, what has left me? (Job 16:1-6 NASB)

Job does some reverse empathy here. He says that if he was in their place, he would use his words to strengthen them and bring some form of comfort to their pain. From my perspective, he is confessing that the pain that their words are producing is as great or greater than the afflictions that God has allowed to befall him.

"But now He has exhausted me; You have laid waste all my company. "You have shriveled me up, It has become a witness; and my leanness rises up against me, it testifies to my face. "His anger has torn me and hunted me down, He has gnashed at me with His teeth; My adversary glares at me. (Job 16:7-9 NASB)

Job turns his focus for a moment by to God, declaring that He has exhausted him of anymore words, deeds or thought. He sees now that his “comforter” have been laid waste and that he has no real form of comfort here on earth. It appears he is seeing the deeper message of God being his only comfort. He is still viewing God as being angry at him and that He has a point of prove to him. He obviously is viewing God taking a few blows at him through the rhetoric of his “comforters.” Is this true? No, God is bringing our dear friend to a willingness to accept that God and Him alone is the comforter of his soul. ~ 100 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


"They have gaped at me with their mouth, They have slapped me on the cheek with contempt; They have massed themselves against me. "God hands me over to ruffians And tosses me into the hands of the wicked. "I was at ease, but He shattered me, and He has grasped me by the neck and shaken me to pieces; He has also set me up as His target. "His arrows surround me. Without mercy He splits my kidneys open; He pours out my gall on the ground. "He breaks through me with breach after breach; He runs at me like a warrior. (Job 16:10-14 NASB)

Job desperately wants some comfort and he is not getting it – at least from his earthly “comforters.” He views their actions as mouthing nothingness, slapping him on the cheek with contemptuous words and expounding they are not for him but against him. Good conclusion Job! From what I can see ,that is exactly what is going on here. These men are not your “friends” – they are representatives of your enemy. Job’s conclusion that God is behind this is healthy but Job believing that God is purposely out to get him is not. God is not shattering him or grasping him by the neck and shaking him to pieces because He is angry with him. He is using these counselors to make a point to Satan – Job is the vessel, or what Job calls the target, of God’s proving. By the way, God is not running at him like a warrior, Satan is. God is simply allowing it – and there is a big difference.

"I have sewed sackcloth over my skin And thrust my horn in the dust. "My face is flushed from weeping, And deep darkness is on my eyelids, Although there is no ~ 101 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


violence in my hands, And my prayer is pure. "O earth, do not cover my blood, And let there be no resting place for my cry. "Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, And my advocate is on high. "My friends are my scoffers; My eye weeps to God. "O that a man might plead with God As a man with his neighbor! "For when a few years are past, I shall go the way of no return. (Job 16:15-22 NASB)

Toward the end of Job’s answer, he once again gets real with his life condition. He admits that he is a mess and that his tears have darkened his eyelids with despair BUT still there is NO violence in him and that his prayers are pure. He turns his focus to acknowledging his real witnesses are in Heaven, his advocate in sitting on His throne and that his “friends” are nothing more, or less, than scoffers. He pleads with God to deal with his “friends” because when this is all over, he shall not return to them.

JOB PUTS HIS FRIENDS IN THEIR PLACE – Chapter 17

Job is really close to being at the end of himself as we Exchanged Life counselors say. He still has a bit of fight in him but God is progressively moving him to a healthy point of no return – at least to his self-life. He believes at this point that he is truly a broken man and that he is ready for the grave. A key life-principle we must remember here is that Satan cannot kill him or take him to his grave but this doesn’t stop him from pounding on Job until he wants to take his own life – what today we call suicide. Since Job obviously won’t curse God to His face, I believe that Satan is working diligently to have Job make the decision he can’t – take his life. This a technique Satan uses to this very ~ 102 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


hour. He knows that he is not the one who gives and takes life but he knows that man does have the prerogative to commit such injustice. Why God allows man to fall on his own sword is a mystery only God knows. What we do know is that scripture makes it quite clear that Satan cannot kill unless God decides to allow it. Does this mean that those who do decide to kill themselves are being removed by the hand of God? I say – yes! God might allow Satan to oppress the man with such sorrow that he kills himself, but it is still a decision ultimately made by God. I don’t believe for one moment that any such evil comes from God. I do believe that God makes use of the Evil one to end life once He decides it is time. Yes, that does mean I believe that even suicide is under the mighty Hand of God. No matter what the case really is, Job is not buying into this method of madness that the enemy is throwing his way.

Job’s retort at this point is being directed at his mockers and God. He says:

"My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished, The grave is ready for me. "Surely mockers are with me, And my eye gazes on their provocation. "Lay down, now, a pledge for me with Yourself; Who is there that will be my guarantor? "For You have kept their heart from understanding, Therefore You will not exalt them. "He who informs against friends for a share of the spoil, The eyes of his children also will languish. "But He has made me a byword of the people, And I am one at whom men spit. "My eye has also grown dim because of grief, And all my members are as a shadow. "The upright will be appalled at this, And the innocent will stir up himself against the godless. ~ 103 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


"Nevertheless the righteous will hold to his way, And he who has clean hands will grow stronger and stronger. "But come again all of you now, For I do not find a wise man among you. "My days are past, my plans are torn apart, Even the wishes of my heart. "They make night into day, saying, 'The light is near,' in the presence of darkness. "If I look for Sheol as my home, I make my bed in the darkness; If I call to the pit, 'You are my father'; To the worm, 'my mother and my sister'; Where now is my hope? And who regards my hope? "Will it go down with me to Sheol? Shall we together go down into the dust?" (Job 17:1-16 NASB)

I believe that chapter 17 is the pre-confession of Job coming to the end of himself. Here are a few of the doctrinal highlights of Job’s confession to God and his “friends:”

He acknowledges that his “friends” are mockers and not real friends

He is stuck gazing at the provoking ways

He continues to pledge himself to the God of the Universe

Job knows there is no human who can comfort him

He brings in God’s sovereignty by noting God is keeping his counselors hearts from understanding him and what he is going through

He embraces that God will not lift them up

He pronounces that their children will suffer because of their mockery

That he has no reputation left to defend

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His eyes, or hope, are growing dim because of his grief and that his body looks like the shadows of death

He sees that even the upright will stay away from him because of his sorrow

Then says that in spite of this, the righteous will hold to what is right

Soon all righteous get stronger if they hold to righteousness

He tells his “friends” to bring it on because there is none of them that are wise

His days, as he knew them, are gone – even the desires of his heart

It appears he cleans up his sorted belief of going to Sheol (Hell) by uncovering the falsehood of calling the owner of the pit his father by using the word “if”

Job’s constant comparison of those in the grave is his way of matching his outward and emotional decay with those who are rotting in the grave. I would have to agree with him – this is a good comparison. All that we are seeing in and around Job does show full imagery of death and decay, even the words pilled upon him by his “friends.” When he says that the worms feed upon the dead, I believe he is making the parallel to that of his counselors, or minimally, their counsel. The Hebrew word here for “worm” is feminine in gender and the word “counsel” is also a feminine Hebrew word. This is why he associates his message with that of his mother and sister. He is not cursing the day of his family but rather making a comparison. Back then, men associated bad counsel with that of fables of old women. Women that did not walk in the righteousness of their husbands tended to be like dripping rain and their words of counsel were viewed as being much like worms by adding to that which is already a problematic situation.

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Remember when Job’s wife said curse God and die? Job’s response was, you speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Satan, from the garden forward, has always used the bitterness of a woman to get at the heart of man. He, above all, knows that men are connected to women at the heart and that men need their women to complete the work of God. This is why she is a “helpmate” and not a leader. Women may not want to hear this Truth – but it is true. Satan has a clear perspective of the authority of God. He knows that a man’s leadership is higher than he. This is why he uses women and children to break the man down. It is his way of coming in the back door of a man’s life. Whether it is a man who struggles with immorality or the leadership of his home, Satan has a nasty habit of weakening the woman in order to drop the man. By the way, this approach works almost every time – unless you are a man like Job.

I am not propagating male chauvinism, people who really know me know that I am quick to protect the heart of my women. As most men, I’m not as consistant at this as I should. I like many men get so focused on task, that I forget the heart of my woman. God has rebuked me many times for this. Here is one entry that shows exactly that:

Stephen, I put Jane into your life to introduce you to Me. I have used her to usher you into My inner room. It has taken this many years to bring you to a place of understanding My commitment and love for you. Jane is not able to give you what you need. You have allowed her to take My place in your life. For this has worn her down. You have been called to build her up. Wash her with My Words and lead her into the path that I lay before you – for most of the years that you have been together; you have ~ 106 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


spent following her lead. Lead her through the resources of My strength in you. Give her rest by letting her enjoy watching you have an intimate walk with Me. This has been her prayer to Me for many years. I have answered her prayers. Your thoughts are filled with the length of time it has taken you to see this. For flesh needs time to bring My children into My arms. All things have their perfect timing and this is the day I have made for you to truly know Me.

If this wasn’t humbling enough, moments later He began to reveal to me her weaknesses along with her qualities – fishes with how much I need her in order to be a better leader. Listen to this:

The woman that I have given you displays my everlasting Mercies. Her heart is heavy with the sins of those around her. Her gifts have been operating in her weaknesses. She has become burdened with the pain of her children. Reveal to her that she is going against My hand by not allowing Me to use the frail weaknesses of those around her to bring them to a point of dependence on Me. I need these weaknesses to do My work. I have told you that in weaknesses My power is released. Remind her that by removing the weaknesses it removes My power from delivering My Mercies. Do you remember when she asked you if there was sin in her life that was blocking her from experiencing peace? She was feeling the tender touch of My hand. There is sin in her life Stephen. The sin of removing My assigned distresses to draw her children unto Me. You too have sinned by following her passion to remove these weaknesses she sees. I tell you this day My child, do not touch the weaknesses that I ~ 107 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


work diligently to put into them. For My power is perfected in their weaknesses. This is the message that I have for her. Ask her if she wants Me to perfect My power in those that she loves. Wait for her answer. Then touch her with your hands and pray unto Me. Ask Me to manifest her weaknesses. I first must perfect My power in her weaknesses before she will stop trying to remove the weaknesses in others. I will remove the sins that bind her heart from allowing My manifestations to well up in her. Tell her to be listening for the call. When I call her, you will need to do what is necessary to make this happen as her leader. Dear redeemed, I have given you a woman that is rare. She is a precious stone in My crown. There are none like her. This will be one of the great works that I will do in her. She must accept who she is in My crown before I will answer your prayer of ministering as one heart. She grieves daily over this truth. Grieve with her but do not touch the weakness that I have put in her. This weakness will be used as the key to unlock her heart. Women are a special gift from God. When they are under strong spiritual leadership, they respond much like the Holy Spirit – expelling grace, Truth and solid Biblical counsel.

BILDAD OFFERS MORE FUEL TO THE FIRE – Chapter 18

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Bildad is accusing Job of hunting for meaningless words to comfort himself. He pleads with him to show true understanding so he can reason with him. What exactly does he think Job’s orations have been all about? Job has made more sense out of his suffering than his counselors. Bildad insults Job by saying you regard us as beasts, as stupid. This maybe an insult to Bildad but it is true. He further accuses Job of tearing himself apart by his own anger and that he expects the rocks to move from their place because of his selfish despair. Bildad goes into this preach that associates Job with a wicked man. Listen to this:

"Indeed, the light of the wicked goes out, And the flame of his fire gives no light. "The light in his tent is darkened, And his lamp goes out above him. "His vigorous stride is shortened, And his own scheme brings him down. "For he is thrown into the net by his own feet, And he steps on the webbing. "A snare seizes him by the heel, And a trap snaps shut on him. "A noose for him is hidden in the ground, And a trap for him on the path. "All around terrors frighten him, And harry him at every step. "His strength is famished, And calamity is ready at his side. "His skin is devoured by disease, The firstborn of death devours his limbs. "He is torn from the security of his tent, And they march him before the king of terrors. "There dwells in his tent nothing of his; Brimstone is scattered on his habitation. "His roots are dried below, And his branch is cut off above. "Memory of him perishes from the earth, And he has no name abroad. "He is driven from light into darkness, And chased from the inhabited world. "He has no offspring or posterity among his people, Nor any survivor where he sojourned. "Those in the west are appalled at his fate, And those in the east are seized with horror. "Surely ~ 109 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


such are the dwellings of the wicked, And this is the place of him who does not know God." (Job 18:5-21 NASB)

Job not knowing God – are you kidding? Job may not know what God is up to, but he certainly knows God. God Himself states that to His greatest enemy. Why Job responds to such insults is way beyond me, but he does. Job has got to be the gentlemen of all gentlemen. I am not hyper spiritualizing the state of Job’s humanness but I see a man of character here rarely seen in a man. The more I read about Job, the more respect I have for him. He certainly continues proves God’s view of him. In any case, Job takes the time to respond.

JOB’S RESPONSE TO BEING ACCUSED OF BEING A WICKED MAN – Chapter 19

Rightfully so, Job asks how long will you torment me and crush me with your words? He literally counts the times Bildad insults him – ten. He point out the lack of shame for wronging him. He opens up the possibility of being wrong and IF he was, it should remain between him and God. These men seem to want Job to bow to them as if they, and their counsel, was as high as that of Gods. Job then goes on to by putting his focus on God.

"Even if I have truly erred, My error lodges with me. "If indeed you vaunt yourselves against me And prove my disgrace to me, Know then that God has wronged me And has closed His net around me. "Behold, I cry, 'Violence!' but I get no answer; I shout for ~ 110 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


help, but there is no justice. "He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass, And He has put darkness on my paths. "He has stripped my honor from me And removed the crown from my head. "He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; And He has uprooted my hope like a tree. "He has also kindled His anger against me And considered me as His enemy. "His troops come together, And build up their way against me And camp around my tent. "He has removed my brothers far from me, And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. (Job 19:4-13 NASB)

The sovereignty of God is difficult, if not an impossible, think to understand without Divine understanding. But Job seems to always come back to proving God to be in charge of all that is about him. He once again says that it is God who has put this upon him. He, as a mere man, begs for violence to be done to him, shouts for God’s help but God continues to be silent. He is right! God is at the root of all and He in His righteous ways is choosing to be silent with Job. It’s just not for the reasons that Job thinks. He obviously sees that God has walled up all of his ways in such a way that he cannot get pass this affliction. He appropriately concludes that God has stripped him of the honor of men – his “friends” have proven that. He sees clearly that God is breaking him down in every way possible. He says that God has uprooted his hope but in reality, God is building more of it. We don’t see it now, but we will. Another falsehood he speaks of is that of God viewing him as an enemy and maybe his counselors are His troops. You and I know this is not the case because we are able to read the punch line. Job doesn’t see this because he is analyzing the data as it is unfolding. This is, and always has been, the greatest task of a man. ~ 111 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


"My relatives have failed, And my intimate friends have forgotten me. "Those who live in my house and my maids consider me a stranger. I am a foreigner in their sight. "I call to my servant, but he does not answer; I have to implore him with my mouth. "My breath is offensive to my wife, And I am loathsome to my own brothers. "Even young children despise me; I rise up and they speak against me. "All my associates abhor me, And those I love have turned against me. "My bone clings to my skin and my flesh, And I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth. (Job 19:14-20 NASB)

This portion of our passage is truly revealing just how lonely and deserted Job is at this point in his journey. His relatives have failed him, intimate friends have forgotten he is alive, his helpers treat him like a stranger and his wife is repulsed by him, he is a bother to his brothers, children avoid coming near him and business partners abhor his presence. Everyone he has loved and cherished in his life has turned against him. Have you known loneliness and rejection like this? I have not. Throughout all my years of suffering and rejection, never have I been abandoned and betrayed such as this. After being a counselor for 30+ years, I have known no other with such circumstances. None! I now weep over what Job suffered.

What in this world is God doing with Job? What does He expect from him? I believe it is none other than doing what God asks of him to do – at any price. This is the message of the Gospel, which is the Word of Job’s God. If God requires affliction to ~ 112 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


bring a man to this level of willingness, than let it be. After a period of one of my sufferings, actually in the middle of it, I asked what God was expecting out of me? He said these words:

What is a Steward? A steward is a simple messenger responding to a call to come to the Masters house to pick up a package for delivery. The messenger is to take the package, and with care, protection and diligence, and complete the mission given. The package does not belong to the messenger. It belongs to the Master. What is in the package is not as important as caring for the package and with all diligence completing the mission with excellence. It is none of your business to know the Masters motives, what is in the package, details of the person you are giving it to, but – simply delivering the package in the same condition that it was given to you. It is only a thief that will take from a package that does not belong to him. Stephen, this is why the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. He wants all My packages to arrive empty and destroyed. If I truly own everything, it means he will attempt to destroy everything I give you to steward. Do you see My son‌being a good steward of what I give you does not have anything to do with being perfect with what I give you. It has everything to do with the mission I have placed behind the gift itself. Skin on skin, bone on bones, nothing is to stop the message of God from arriving at its destination. Nothing!

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Job finishes this portion of his discourse with this:

"As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. "Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me! "If you say, 'How shall we persecute him?' And 'What pretext for a case against him can we find?' "Then be afraid of the sword for yourselves, For wrath brings the punishment of the sword, So that you may know there is judgment." (Job 19:25-29 NASB)

Does this sound like a man who does not know God? I dare to proclaim such a thing. Job knows his “friends” have provoked the hand of the Almighty and He in His just ways will in due time humble these men beyond measure. Little do these men know, God in the end graces them by the actions of Job’s sacrifices. If it wasn’t for Job, God would have wiped them off the face of the earth. If they only knew.

ZOPHAR BRAZENLY ANSWERS JOB – Chapter 20

Do you realize that we are not even half way through this journey? How many fruitless discussions must Job endure? The answer is – many more. Have you ever tried to reason with stupidity? I have, for I have been on the stupid side of discussions more than once. I have also been on the side of dealing with fruitless discussions as a righteous man that seem to have no end. Neither are fun and both are wearing to the ~ 114 ~ IOM AMERICA | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | 602-292-2985 | sphinney@iomamerica.org


soul. Am I as your writer starting to go soft hearted? Am I finding compassion for these fine feathered fellows? I'm afraid I am. Stupid is as stupid does. I have been rebuked by God more times than I want to admit for being as these counselors. I have pumped psychobabble in the minds of God’s children more than once. But it still does not excuse the level of ignorance and harshness that needs to be addressed with these “friends.”

Zophar is very agitated with Job and his inward thoughts cannot stand another minute of silence. He says he has listened to the reproof and insults of Job long enough. Here are the points of his impatience:

Does Job have wisdom dating back to the establishment of the earth?

Because of Job’s loftiness, he will parish like refuse – dung

Job will not be remembered – hmmm

His place in history will NOT be marked

His sons will favor the poor because they won’t accept his inheritance

Job is full of vigor but it will take him to his grave

Evil is sweet in Job’s mouth and he is deceptive

When he eats it will be snake venom to his body

Job’s wealth has made him sick

He sucks the venom of snakes and this is why Job vomits

His focus is wrong because he won’t look at the externals

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He is unable to enjoy being a wealthy man

He can’t retain wealth because he is restless

The hand of everyone is against him

Terror is upon him because of this

Darkness has taken his treasures away from him – hmmm

Heaven WILL reveal his sin and all the earth will rise up against him because of this

God took his wealth because of His anger toward Job

This is a wicked man’s (Job’s) portion from God – it is Job’s inheritance

Wow – do you see how many insults are directly related to wealth and the externals they seem to enjoy? These men speak through their bank accounts. A wealthy man is quick to judge through the comparisons of his own stock. Poverty afflicts the world because of this nasty belief that most men of wealth preach. I always wonder what God did with the offspring of these men. Where is their seed today? Is it in the mortality of the future leaders of the coming Antichirst? I guess we will not know until we are on the other side. I guess it really doesn’t matter but I am considering chasing down the linage of the countries two of these men were charged with being king.

Outside of the Book of Job he is mentioned by Ezekiel (Eze_14:14, Eze_14:20) as one of 3 great personages whose representative righteousness would presumably avail, if

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that of any individuals could, to redeem the nation; the other two being Noah, an ancient patriarch, and Daniel, a contemporary of the prophet. It is difficult to determine whether Job was an actual personage or not. If known through legend, it must have been on account of some such experience as is narrated in the book, an experience unique enough to have become a potent household word; still, the power and influence of it is due to the masterly vigor and exposition of the story. It was the Job of literature, rather than the Job of legend, who lived in the hearts of men; a character so commanding that, albeit fictitious, it could be referred to as real, just as we refer to Hamlet or Othello. It is not the way of Hebrew writers, however, to evolve literary heroes from pure imagination; they crave an authentic basis of fact. It is probable that such a basis, in its essential outlines, existed under the story of Job. It is not necessary to suppose, however, that the legend or the name was known to Israel from ancient times. Job is introduced (Job_1:1) as if he had not been known before. The writer, who throughout the book shows a wide acquaintance with the world, doubtless found the legend somewhere, and drew its meanings together for an undying message to his and all times.

This is a work in process – please respect the content as intellectual rights of IOM America, Dr. Stephen R. Phinney & Edikat & Associates. Book shall be released in 2015

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Permissible Suffocation (preview)  

I am certain that the older I get – the less I know. I have been a born-again indwelt Christian since I was 16 years of age. I have fought m...

Permissible Suffocation (preview)  

I am certain that the older I get – the less I know. I have been a born-again indwelt Christian since I was 16 years of age. I have fought m...

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