Posted in theology, advent

Advent- Thirty Days of Jesus: Day 7. The Magi Seek the Child

By Elizabeth Prata

The beginning flow of this Advent series is a presentation of 11 verses overlaid on photos depicting the life of Jesus from prophecy to birth and boyhood.

The next section (#12-16) will feature verses about the Son as an adult God-Man.

From #17-26 we will survey the Preeminence of the Son, His attributes, and His ministry.

From #27-36 we’ll look at His Resurrection, Ascension, & Return.

Yes there are more than 30 verses. I just couldn’t pare it down! There’s a postlude.

All photos are by EPrata unless otherwise noted.

There is no better refreshment for the soul than to meditate on Him. Enjoy!

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. (Psalm 119:15).


Today’s verse: now that Jesus has been born, and the angels had announced His arrival to the Shepherds, who went to see with all haste this thing the angels had spoken of, now Jesus must flee. So we see from the first moments of His life, hatred against Jesus for who He is and what He has come to do. And so it will be for anyone IN Christ, as well. But His flight to Egypt did not happen before others made great efforts to come and see the Babe- namely the Magi from the East. It was their gift of gold which enabled the poverty-stricken Joseph and Mary to fund their flight to Egypt. God’s providence is perfect, and so is His timing.

thirty days of jesus day 7.jpg

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Further Reading

Bible Art: Adoration of the Magi by Giotto
his picture—at once austere and tender—belongs to a series of seven showing the life of Christ. The masterly depiction of the stable, which is viewed from slightly below, and the columnar solidity of the figures are typical of Giotto, the founder of European painting. The impetuous action of the kneeling king, who picks up the Christ Child, and Mary’s expression of concern translate the biblical account into deeply human terms.

GotQuestions: What Does the Bible say about the Three Wise Men (Magi)?
It is a common misconception that the wise men visited Jesus at the stable on the night of His birth. In fact, the wise men came days, months, or possibly even years later. That is why Matthew 2:11 says the wise men visited and worshiped Jesus in a house, not at the stable.

Answers in Genesis: We Three Kings
The original meaning of mάgoi is likely in view here—wise men who interpreted special signs. There are at least three reasons for this identification. First, they acknowledged that they were interested in signs in the heavens.

Grace To You: Who Were the Wise Men?
Vincent, who has written some very helpful word studies, says in regard to this, “Many absurd traditions and guesses respecting these visitors to our Lord’s cradle have found their way into popular belief and into Christian art.  They were said to be kings and three in number.  They were said to be representatives of three families of Shem, Ham, and Japheth and, therefore, one of them is pictured as an Ethiopian.  Their names are given as Caspar, Balthazar, and Melchior.”  You’ve probably heard that.  And their three skulls, amazingly enough, are said to have been found.  Yes, they were found “in the twelfth century by Bishop Reinald of Cologne.”  The bishop dug those up and knew right off they were skulls.  It’s very clear.  And their eyes were still in the sockets fixed toward Bethlehem.  Today, believe it or not, friends, they are on exhibit in a priceless casket in a great cathedral in Europe.

Introduction/Background
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Day 5
Day 6

Posted in advent, theology

Advent – Thirty Days of Jesus: Day 6- The Glory of Jesus

By Elizabeth Prata

We’re in the section of the 30-day Advent flow of the prophecies of Jesus’ coming, his arrival, and his early life. Yesterday’s scripture picture was “The Babe has arrived” and the scripture was from Luke 2.

How can we go any further without pondering that He, the King of Glory, the Infinite, left glory to be wrapped in human flesh and dwell among sinners? To seek and save the lost, humbling himself not only as a God-Man, but departing His heavenly home of glory where He constantly received His due worship… To be rejected, despised among men, and killed. All for us, rotten sinners.

Our God is truly AMAZING!

thirty days of jesus verse 6

Further information

God’s Glory: Ligonier Devotional
We turn today to the first verse of the second chapter of James, wherein the apostle refers to Jesus as “the Lord of glory.” Even though this is an acceptable translation of the original Greek text, it is not necessarily the most accurate way to render the verse in English. As the note in the Reformation Study Bible indicates, it is also possible to translate “the Lord of glory” as simply “the glory.” In reality, it does not really matter which one we choose because the two translations are synonymous. However, to say Jesus is “the glory” is a good way to encapsulate a portion of the New Testament’s description of the majesty of Christ.

Thinking about Jesus: Owen on meditating on Christ’s glory
In his devotional work, The Glory of Christ, John Owen provided five useful helps to meditate on Christ as a divine/human Person. I pass these meditations along to you, hoping that they will increase your devotion to Christ (you can read the full section in Owen’s Works, 1:312-322).

John Owen’s quotes on Jesus’ glory (Goodreads)
“No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight hereafter who does not in some measure behold it here by faith.”

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Posted in advent, theology

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus; Day 5- The Babe has arrived!

By Elizabeth Prata

thirty days of jesus verse 5

Answers in Genesis: Separating myth from biblical fact, No Room For an Inn
You probably recognize this scene:

Bethlehem (around 2,000 years ago): Joseph and Mary arrive at the sleepy town in the middle of the night. Mary, already in labor, remains on the donkey while Joseph frantically searches for a room at the local inns. Desperate, he begs one reluctant innkeeper for any place at all to have this baby. The innkeeper finally relents and makes room for them in a tumbledown stable with the cows. There’s just one problem. This isn’t what the Bible teaches.

Read more from Answers in Genesis at the link above.

GotQuestions: What does it mean that baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling cloths?
Swaddling clothes are cloths and bands used in the practice of swaddling, or essentially “wrapping” an infant tightly in cloth. The idea behind swaddling is that it helps the baby transition from the womb (a very snug place) to the outside world. Swaddling clothes are still used today, but with some modifications…

Thirty Days of Jesus series-

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Day 4

Posted in theology

How to tell a false Bible teacher from a true teacher

By Elizabeth Prata

We know that Acts 17:11 tells us to compare what a teacher is teaching to the Bible. Paul was not offended when the Bereans did just that. Instead, he called them noble! The main way you can tell if a person is teaching rightly, is by comparing what they teach and how they behave, with the Word.

Ladies, here is another way to begin detecting if the person you follow as a Bible teacher is false or true-

I see many Beth Moore defenders defend Moore’s teaching with emotional words and familar nicknames, such as ‘Auntie Beth’, saying they “grow closer to Jesus” through her lessons, and state other warm fuzzy type defenses of her teaching. But HOW do we grow closer to Jesus? There is only one way.

Any Bible teacher, if teaching rightly, will extract from the Bible its truths, including truth about sin and our need for repentance – not just upon salvation, but every day. He or she will then teach those truths. You will know you are “growing closer to Jesus” if said teaching-

reveals unknown sin in your heart,
or if you are convicted of your sins,
or if you drive yourself back to the Bible to seek Jesus,
or if your affections change from carnal to holy,
or if you learn more about Jesus,
or if you desire to pursue holiness,
or if you want to treat others above yourself,
or all of the above!

Those are a few ways you can tell if you are ACTUALLY growing closer to Him.

This will happen because the true Bible teacher will be extracting truth from the Bible, which is living and active. Its writ thus delivered to you will knit conviction of sin, self-denial, and love for Jesus for who He is (not how He makes you feel or what you can get from Him).

If a teacher is false,

you will feel good and warm and have fuzzies during and after the lessons. But you know full well that emotions are fickle. They evaporate.
or when the buzz of the teaching dissipates, you still feel the same,
or if your knowledge of Jesus is less but your knowledge of that teacher is more,
or if your prayer life isn’t energized,
or your conscience isn’t pricked toward repentance,
or if your affections haven’t changed,
or if you still pursue carnal things at the expense of your conscience,
or if you’re in a rut and decide to grab ANOTHER ‘study’ from that teacher because you need to feel good again, and not because you want to know more of Jesus,
or all of the above!

then that teacher is false.

Why is she called “Auntie Beth” by so many? She makes people feel good. They enjoy her funny and charming personal anecdotes that makes them feel close to her in some way, a connection. She makes them feel cared for- but a false teacher’s love is a false love and a carnal love. It’s a carnal love because its origin is fleshly, which includes overlooking sin, love of self, and pursuit of a different Jesus than the one the Bible presents.

As for the cutesy nickname the flat screen admirers give Beth Moore, just think on this. We don’t call a Charles Spurgeon ‘Uncle Charlie’ or John MacArthur “Daddy John” or Paul Washer “Paulie dear”. Why not? Not that nicknames and familiar terms for people we admire are necessarily bad. But these men have a dignity in teaching that comes from their devotion to and teaching of the holy Word of God. Likewise older women are supposed to have a dignity as well, (Titus 2:5) exhibiting deep knowledge of doctrine and living a lifestyle that results in inhibiting such over-familiarity and pet nicknames from people.

Amy Carmichael’s sickroom was called The Room of Peace. China Missionary Gladys Aylward was called The Virtuous One. Spurgeon was called The Prince of Preachers. They received respectful nicknames and not cutesy ones because these teachers were unashamed of the Gospel. Remember, most people who call Beth Moore “Auntie Beth” don’t even know her personally, but know only the persona Beth chooses to present through a screen. 

These concepts I’ve outlined in this brief blog stand for any teacher, but especially celebrity teachers such as Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, etc. Technology’s constant presence and our ability to stream material at-will 24/7 means that we tend to think that our favorite celebrity teachers and preachers are closer to us than they really are. True Bible teachers have students who learn and grow in holiness.

[T]he true prophet must preach what he believes to be the truth, uninfluenced by any considerations of what will please others or profit himself, and must accept no man’s conscience as a substitute for his own, and must be ready to go on a diet of bread and water for a testimony to his sincerity-above and beyond all these, he must have laid hold of the eternal principles of divine government, and whole truths, not half-truths, must be the basis of his preaching.

Source of above quote: True and False Prophets in 1 Kings, Chap. 22, Author(s): Dean A. Walker, Source: The Biblical World, Oct., 1902, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 272-277

Posted in theology, thirty Days of Jesus

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus, Day 4; Angelic Comfort

By Elizabeth Prata

Advent series in scripture photos. We are in the section of my Advent thirty day flow where we examine PROPHECY, ARRIVAL, and EARLY LIFE of Jesus.

‘He will save from sin…’ Do we even know of our sin? Matthew Henry says of the parallel Luke 1:35 verse:

JESUS! the name that refreshes the fainting spirits of humbled sinners; sweet to speak and sweet to hear, Jesus, a Saviour! We know not his riches and our own poverty, therefore we run not to him; we perceive not that we are lost and perishing, therefore a Saviour is a word of little relish. Were we convinced of the huge mass of guilt that lies upon us, and the wrath that hangs over us for it, ready to fall upon us, it would be our continual thought, Is the Saviour mine? And that we might find him so, we should trample on all that hinders our way to him.

thirty days of jesus day 4

What is sin?
Sin is a riddle, a mystery, a reality that eludes definition and comprehension. Perhaps we most often think of sin as wrongdoing or transgression of God’s law. Sin includes a failure to do what is right. But sin also offends people; it is violence and lovelessness toward other people, and ultimately, rebellion against God. Further, the Bible teaches that sin involves a condition in which the heart is corrupted and inclined toward evil. 

What is the definition of sin? – Got Questions
Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7Joshua 1:18). Sin had its beginning with Lucifer, probably the most beautiful and powerful of the angels. Not content with his position, he desired to be higher than God, and that was his downfall, the beginning of sin (Isaiah 14:12-15). Renamed Satan, he brought sin to the human race in the Garden of Eden, where he tempted Adam and Eve with the same enticement, “you shall be like God.”

Matthew Henry on Matthew 1:18-25
That she had conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost; not by the power of nature. The Holy Spirit, who produced the world, now produced the Saviour of the world, and prepared him a body, as was promised him, when he said, Lo, I come, Heb. 10:5. Hence he is said to be made of a woman (Gal. 4:4), and yet to be that second Adam that is the Lord from heaven, 1 Co. 15:47. He is the Son of God, and yet so far partakes of the substance of his mother as to be called the fruit of her womb, Lu. 1:42. It was requisite that his conception should be otherwise than by ordinary generation, that so, so though he partook of the human nature, yet he might escape the corruption and pollution of it, and not be conceived and shapen in iniquity.

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1613). Hendrickson.

Thirty Days of Jesus series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Posted in theology

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus; Day 1

By Elizabeth Prata

Thirty days of exalting Jesus through selected verses with pictures representing the prophecy, life, death, resurrection, and Second Coming of our Savior.

More information and background on this series, here

Charles Spurgeon on the prophecy of the virgin birth: “And, first, we see here, in speaking of this birth of Christ, a miraculous conception. The text says expressly, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.” This expression is unparalleled even in Sacred Writ! Of no other woman could it be said beside the Virgin Mary, and of no other man could it be written that his mother was a virgin.

There is the finite and the Infinite, there is the mortal and the Immortal, corruption and Incorruption, the manhood and the Godhead, time married to eternity! There is God linked with a creature, the Infinity of the august Maker come to tabernacle on this speck of earth—the vast unbounded One whom earth could not hold and the heavens cannot contain—lying in His mother’s arms! He who fastened the pillars of the universe and riveted the nails of creation, hanging on a mortal breast, depending on a creature for nourishment! Oh, marvelous birth! Oh, miraculous conception! We stand and gaze and admire. Verily, angels may wish to look into a subject too dark for us to speak of! There we leave it, a virgin has conceived and borne a Son“. A sermon, The Birth of Christ

Charles Spurgeon on Christmas: “Though creation may be a majestic organ of praise, it cannot reach the compass of the golden canticle—Incarnation! There is more in that than in creation, more melody in Jesus in the manger, than there is in worlds on worlds rolling their grandeur round the throne of the Most High.” Sermon “The First Christmas Carol“, A sermon by Charles Spurgeon, Dec 20, 1857

Further Resources

Ligonier Devotional by Derek Thomas: Christmas: Prophecy and Fulfillment

GotQuestions: How many prophecies did Jesus fulfill?

Posted in theology

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus

By Elizabeth Prata

Thirty Days of Jesus

Christmas is coming. It’s a blessed time of year.

We always think of the Savior, all the year, every day. (Philippians 4:8). But the Christmas season is a special time when we think more pointedly about His incarnation, life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and return. Who is this Jesus? He was born, lived, died, rose again, and promised to return, to bring eternal life to those who believe and eternal death to those who reject. He tore the veil of human history, parted it into BC and AD, and changed everything.

I use my photographs of God’s beautiful creation and overlay a verse on them to publish every day, and for Advent, the theme is Thirty Days of Jesus. Thirty verses, thirty photos of God’s creation that reflect His life and ministry.

I chose three mini-themes for this month’s scripture Advent photos that I believe will flow.

PROPHECY, ARRIVAL, and EARLY LIFE, 15 verses.

In this section I chose verses that reflect the prophecies that predict His coming. Prophecy warns of coming judgment but it also comforts in that it foretells the holy and wonderful resolution of all things for the believer. That resolution will be in Christ and through Christ.

Then the beautiful verses that announce His arrival on the blessed morn.

The third sub-section are verses that mention Jesus as a child and boy, before He began His ministry.

PREEMINENCE OF THE SON, HIS WORKS & MINISTRY, 15 verses

The Son 5 verses over 5 days

Beginning with verses that declare the Son, are verses that focus Him as the Second Person of the Trinity. His sonship is integral to His ministry as the earthly subordinate Person to God the Father. These verses reflect that reality.

Works & Ministry, 10 verses

This section, published over ten days, will present verses that detail His attributes while He was on earth; Jesus as servant, teacher, shepherd, healer, and so on.

RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, & RETURN

This last section is unique in that He is the firstfruit of resurrection. He is unique in that He descended from heaven and ascended to heaven. Of the John 3:13 verse, says that only He is qualified to speak of heaven, being the only One who has been intimately involved with all its doings, and only he has seen the Father and come down from there and returned.

Jesus was raised to life and brought back to heaven, and several verses in this section will illustrate what He is doing while we wait the long centuries for the fulfillment of the end of all things, His glorious return. The last verses will present Jesus in His glory, as He is in heaven now.

The flow mirrors the Revelation 1:8 verse, where it is declared,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Let’s enjoy the season. I pray that it does not become a hectic, shopping slog, frantic with focus on gifts and cleaning houses and to-do lists, though given family obligations and work colleague expectations, some of that is always inevitable. But don’t let it encroach more than it has to. Jesus is the reason for this season. If you’re a believer, this season is a gateway to a new year filled with many reasons each day to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. (Psalm 86:9)

Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21).

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

or you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:20).

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11).

Posted in theology

The glorious promises of God

By Elizabeth Prata

Originally tweeted by B&S (@_B___S) on November 17, 2022.

Bear: RAWR I’M A BEAR 🐻 Dog: I DON’T CARE 🐶

I saw this clip on Twitter. I laughed. I got to thinking about how we should respond to sin and satan. I was reminded of Jesus’ exhortation to Peter when Peter said no, Lord you won’t die, and Jesus said,

Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s purposes, but men’s.” (Matthew 16:23).

It also reminded me of the scene in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress where Christian was met by two lions on a narrow path. The lions were chained, but Christian saw not the chains. Christian halted his way, and paused, thinking to turn back, but the Porter above at the House Beautiful said:

Fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for discovery of those that have none: keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall come unto thee. Then I saw that he went on, trembling for fear of the lions, but taking good heed to the directions of the Porter; he heard them roar, but they did him no harm. 

The Porter quoted Mark 4:40, And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Faith includes trust. We must trust the Lord when good things happen and when (to us) bad things happen. We trust the promises of God.

What is promised to the believer

Salvation is the greatest promise. If you are saved, rest in this magnificent blessing. If someone you know is not saved, pray earnestly for their salvation.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written: “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS ONE WILL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:16–17)

Are you weary?

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:31).

Trust God to do what He said He will do in you:

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6).

HE HEARS US

He hears your night cries from your prayer closet! He hears your appeals from the hospital bedside! He hears your supplications through the sobs.

LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will make Your ear attentive. (Psalm 10:17).

HE GIVES US HIS COMPASSION

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

The LORD makes promises. He does not have to interact with the people He created, but He does. He doesn’t have to make promises to us, but He does.

“by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:4)

I think this is remarkable. We have an incredible Father.

HE DELIVERS US

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. (Psalm 86:13)

HE SENDS THE SPIRIT

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (John 15:26)

HE GIVES PEACE

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)

HE SEES TO OUR NEEDS

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

HE GIVES GRACE

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

HE GIVES LOVE

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)

HE GIVES TENDERNESS

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are so many more promises, too, than can even be recorded here. He supplies all that His children need for a joyful, grace-filled, loving life here and forever in eternity. He delivers us, cleans us, makes us righteous, removes His wrath from our shoulders, fulfills our needs, grows us, sets an inheritance in heaven for us…through and because of His Son- the biggest gift and promise of all. (Genesis 3:15).

Because He is God, and there is no deceit in His mouth (1 Peter 2:22) every promise given to His children in the bible will come true.

Stand on His promises!

Put sin behind you, never mind the lions roaring at your feet. Move forward in joy and security, sister. Hold tight to His promises, lift your eyes above circumstances to see the glory that is above and will soon be ours in person to dwell with forever.

Tomorrow I’ll post a Thanksgiving blog and Friday I am starting the Thirty Days of Jesus, an advent series I post each year. May the Lord bless you today and every day.

Posted in theology

If you think you can ‘bind satan’, think again

By Elizabeth Prata

Some people think they can ‘bind satan.’ They strut around uttering words to the effect that they’ll ‘tie up the strong man’ while busily casting Jesus’ name before them like a magic charm.

Other people don’t take satan seriously. They rely on senses to ell them what’s true, and thus, since they can’t see satan they underestimate satan’s strength. Either kind of thinking causes too many people to rely on their flesh to conquer sin.

Underestimating satan, or worse, inflating our own power to deal with sin, the devil’s lies, and his thievery, is a woefully inadequate way to handle one’s walk in Christ. Let’s take a precise look at the power that satan possesses (power which is at Christ’s behest and allowance)-

When the devil strutted into heaven and the LORD asked satan where he had been, satan said roaming up and down upon the world. He isn’t omnipresent. That is, satan can’t be in all places at once like Jesus is, but he is a supernatural being who can in a second be in Australia, then Thailand, then Kansas. He really does have free rein at the present time to wander at will upon the earth and perform his evil plots (again, within limits of God’s plan and purposes).

The LORD asked satan to consider Job, and the devil was immediately incensed with how the LORD protects Job. Note that the devil knew of Job, there was no extended explanation as to who Job was and where he lived. Satan knew immediately of whom the LORD was talking.

Satan said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” (Job 1:9-10).

Job had a lot of possessions, so it’s obvious satan had been watching Job for a long time if he knew of how the LORD had blessed Job by increasing Job’s holdings.

Observe, Satan knows who the super worshipful are. He may or may not know personally of the minor Christians like me, but he definitely knows the super Christians. He knew of Paul, (Acts 19:15) and he knew of Job. The conversation went on, and the arrangement was confirmed.

Now, to the meat of it- satan’s power. Job had 7000 sheep. Satan caused fire from above to kill all 7000 at once! The servants were killed too, with 1 survivor. Think of the power of satan to cause lightning powerful enough to slay thousands of sheep all at once, and the precision to kill all the servants, except one. Just ponder that for a second!

Not that we need a scientific explanation for obviously supernatural occurrences like satan’s slaying of 7000 sheep and many humans at once- except 1- but this doesn’t normally happen. Here is some lightning strike and animal kill info from John Jensenius of NOAA. Jensenius is a lightning expert-

Animals do tend to group together in storms and huddle under trees. If lightning strikes the tree or somewhere nearby, the entire group can be killed. We don’t know how common this is because it’s hard to track, though usually it’s herds of 10 or 20 animals that get killed. When animals or people are in groups, most are being killed by the ground current. First, there’s a direct strike — this is what most people think of when they think of lightning — that hits the tree or maybe the ground nearby. The energy then spreads along the ground surface, and if you’re anywhere near that lightning strike, you absorb it and get shocked.

Job had 3000 camels. Camels need about 2 acres per camel. They can eat a variety of vegetation but they need 5 ounces (140 grams) of salt every day. They must be groomed and checked, just like any other cattle. That’s a lot of camels requiring a lot of care and guarding, so there must have been many servants. Satan simultaneously incited the heart and mind of three bands of raiding Chaldeans. Satan possesses great quantities of power to be able to incite so many men so quickly and get them organized to the extent that they raided all the acres where camels grazed at once.

Habakkuk 1:6-7 says of the Chaldeans,

“For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans,
That grim and impetuous people
Who march throughout the earth,
To take possession of dwelling places that are not theirs.
7“They are terrifying and feared;

Job had 1000 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, which the Sabeans took all at once and killed the servants with the sword. (1 lone survivor again). Note the language in the verses, “While he was still speaking” over and over.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says, “I alone am escaped—cunningly contrived by Satan. One in each case escapes (Job 1:16, 17, 19), and brings the same kind of message. This was to overwhelm Job, and leave him no time to recover from the rapid succession of calamities

Satan knew where Job’s children would be. Think on that for a moment. He knew they’d be together and which house. He killed all 10 of them at once, by raising up a mighty wind. Note the language in the verse from Job 1:19, “a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house.”

Wind usually comes from one direction at a time. A tornado would swirl and direct wind from all 4 compass points. Satan caused what was likely a tornado within seconds of being allowed to do it by God, and it was strong enough to smash the house to bits and kill everyone inside. He did this in succession with raising the Chaldeans, inciting the Sabeans, and pouring out fire from heaven (likely lightning).

And people think they can raise a puny fist and bind this powerful being?

And people think they can handle their sin in their own power? Satan caused killing thoughts in the Chaldeans and Sabeans, thousands of men all at once. You can resist your own flesh in your own strength?

There is one being who is more powerful than satan. Jesus, the Lion of Judah! He has conquered satan, all the demons, death, and hell!

And one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to be able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5).

Jesus is worthy, powerful, magnificent, and perfectly wise. His Spirit will aid us in slaying sin and resisting the devil. We must rely on our God every moment for all our helps. We are stupid sheep, stuck in a ditch, rescued, only to dive into the ditch again! (have you seen that clip? It’s funny and sad at the same time!) If you think for a minute that “I’ve got this!” you don’t. Jesus does though. If you are IN CHRIST, in Him, he is your very present help in times of trouble, which means every day. Sin troubles us every day. Rely on Him alone. He is perfect.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Sheep clip (video) This is exactly us! We are stupid.

Does Satan have the power to control the weather? (article)

What are cherubim? (article)

Angels: God’s Invisible Army (sermon)

Satan: How does he operate? (sermon)

Posted in theology

Facing Trials with Joy?

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

Joy is not our natural response to trouble, so deeming a trial joyful requires discipline. The Christian must make a conscious commitment to face each trial with a joyous heart. When Paul said in Phil 4:4 he had learned to be content in all circumstances, he was a prisoner in Rome. He had learned to be content in the midst of his trials. That doesn’t happen by accident.” John MacArthur, Benefiting from Life’s Trials.

The critical thought to take away is that this joyful stance must be consciously nurtured every day, and can only be done by growing in the Word. WHEN trials occur in your life it will be too late to stand on joy, we must practice it all the time, and thus, we will be ready WHEN the trial comes.

Do you consciously or unconsciously change the word ‘when’ to ‘if’? Jesus said trials will come, everyone whose name is identified with His will endure trouble in this life (John 16:33). But too often if a period of time goes by when our comforts are steady and our life is tranquil, we begin to think that this status will always be the quo.

It will not.

For anyone undergoing a trial or helping someone undergoing a trial or watching someone undergoing a trial or is about to undergo a trial- which covers ALL of us, just know that it will happen.

Sometimes a trial comes in slowly and incrementally like the tide and you can see the end won’t be well, as with a monthly shrinking bank account or rolling layoffs at work. But other times it comes in like a surprise comet, blasting into your life with a suddenness that startles and shocks. Be ready to confront it with joy, by having nurtured such equanimity all along. When you see the blazing comet appear, it will be too late.

In his book “A Token for Mourners” (retitled Facing Grief as a Puritan paperback) Puritan John Flavel said,

TO be above the stroke of passion, is a condition equal to angels: to be in a state of sorrow without the sense of sorrow, is a disposition beneath beasts: but duly to regulate our sorrows, and bound our passions under the rod, is the wisdom, duty, and excellency of a Christian. He that is without natural affections, is deservedly ranked amongst the worst of heathens; and he that is able rightly to manage them, deserves to be numbered with the best of Christians. Though when we are sanctified we put on the Divine nature, yet, till we are glorified, we put not off the infirmities of our human nature. 

So Flavel affirms the understanding that the Christian can and should grieve, we are human after all. His treatise though, warns about excesses which destroy our witness in the Gospel. Launching off the verse from, – Luke 7:13- “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said to her, Weep not,” Flavel continues,

Yet the words are not an absolute prohibition of tears, and sorrow; he doth not condemn all mourning as sinful, or all expressions of grief for dead relations as uncomely; no, Christ would not have his people stupid, and insensate; he only prohibits the excesses, and extravagancies of our sorrows for the dead, that it should not be such a mourning for the dead as is found among the heathen, who sorrow without measure, because without hope, being ignorant of that grand relief, which the gospel reveals.

And that is the key. Our reaction to trials, whether they involve dread illness, loss, grief, drastic change in life’s circumstance, and so on, will be laced with the human emotion of shock and grief, but should also exhibit the joy and strength we have in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And that is something that doesn’t just appear at the moment, but is nurtured in us every day by our spiritual practices.

A well-disciplined Christian will respond to God’s trial-laced outworking in his or her life with grace and joy through tears. One who is not prepared may allow sorrow to become sinful and excessive, when, “It causes us to slight and despise all our other mercies, and enjoyments as small things, in comparison of what we have lost”, when we become insensitive to “public evils and calamities which lie upon the church and people of God”, when such sorrow interrupts our communion with heaven, and so on, says Flavel. And that is precisely the opposite of the purpose of trials.

The only way to display the joy and confidence in the Lord is to nurture the Gospel seed in us daily, watering it with the word, providing shade for it through repentance, shedding Light upon it through prayer.

Trials will come. Are you ready?

This was episode 281 (season 2) of The End Time Podcast

Further Resources

Women’s Hope podcast: Is it Well With Your Soul? part 1, part 2 with Susan Heck, part 3. Synopsis- “Why do we suffer as Christians? Where is God in times of pain? And how are we supposed to respond? These and other questions are the topic of this next series. In this episode, Kim and Shelbi introduce the topic of trials, offering a biblical framework for thinking about suffering and its purposes in our lives.”

The Priceless Gift in Every Trial, article by Dave Mathis

A Token for Mourners, ebook by John Flavel (.pdf)

Benefiting from Life’s Trials, scripture workbook by John MacArthur.

Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God, book by Tim Challies