Finish Strong!

December Reading Tips
December 1, 2020
Howard Bennett

In December, we are reading through a couple of books that can be quite intimidating!  We start the book of Job and continue in the book of Revelation. The book of Job is one of my favorites (Revelation is up there too!)  Job is a great account of a man who was able to endure – patiently – the will of God as seen through tremendous suffering.  James 5:11 points this out to us, “We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.”
We do not want to miss this as we read through this wonderful book of Job.  As we make our way through this book, let us be keenly aware of Job’s patient response to the suffering – the GOD SENT (Job 2:10) suffering that he endures.

We can all see ourselves reacting MUCH differently than Job in similar situations.  Job provides an example of a man who is so committed to God that he sees and distinguishes the temporal from the eternal.  His hope is so fixed on God that the temporal things of this world are not so important to him that they cause him to “curse God and die” (as his wife encourages him to do.)
I use the book of Job (many times) as a help in times of anxiety and frustration with what is going on around me.  While the entire book is full of many profound verses (look at Job 26:14), the key (for me) is chapters one and two where we have the scene laid out for us.

In these two short chapters, we are given the details of Job’s tremendous suffering.  We also see a man who responds rightly to that suffering.  This is not only an admonition that we dare not complain against God – but it is an encouragement that this man (Job) was able to do what we are commanded to do.  Job shows us that it is possible for us to patiently endure even tremendous suffering if God chooses to send it our way.

After reading Job one and two, I go to Job 38 and read through Job 42:6.  After doing this, I find it almost impossible to accuse God of treating me unfairly.  I find it almost impossible to complain against what God has brought into my life.

Like Job, Revelation has become a favorite book of mine.  Right from the start we see this important verse:
Rev 1:3 – “Blessed is the one who reads, and those who hear the words of the prophecy and keep the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” 
This sets the tone and helps us see that this book DOES contain much more than mysterious things we can never understand. There are things in this book that we MUST “keep” or heed.
As we read through Revelation, we should be looking for those things and not get so lost in the many details that can be confusing and even exasperating as we try to understand them.  There is plenty to understand in this book and we need to look for those things and not spend our time trying to figure out things that we are not meant to figure out.

I remember our own Keith Phillips telling me this: “It’s called the REVELATION of Christ – not the CONCEALING of Christ.”  This book is not meant to be a book of clues that we must decipher before we can learn anything.  There is plenty here for us to read and heed.

One example is chapter nine.  In chapters eight and nine the six trumpets are revealed.  They are a vivid display of God’s power.  There can really be no other explanation for them.  They are SO destructive and SO supernatural that it would be difficult to accept these events as being from anyone other than God Himself.

Remember that as these things unfold – they are unfolding JUST as we see written here in Revelation.  IF there was ever evidence of God TRULY being God and that scripture WAS indeed truthful, this will be it!  Yet, we see something incredible at the end of chapter nine.
Rev 9:20-21 – “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands so as not to worship demons and the idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 21 and they did not repent of their murders, nor of their witchcraft, nor of their sexual immorality, nor of their thefts.”
What???  How is it that people – after all these miraculous and supernatural things are occurring are STILL not repenting?  The thing to keep or heed from this is that we must not give up on our own evangelistic efforts.

People will not believe until God opens their eyes.  We know this and God certainly knows this – yet – here we see that He continues to offer evidence of Who He is – even though NO ONE REPENTS.  I’m afraid we give up too easily and stop sharing the truth of the gospel with those who need to hear it.  If God is continuing to show His glory and power even knowing that no one will repent, we should not give up so easily with our own evangelistic efforts.
We could get bogged down trying to figure out the imagery used in these chapters about the trumpets – and that’s worth checking out if you’re so inclined.  But, don’t miss the point in looking at the details.

So, keep on reading and do not be intimidated by either of these last two books we are reading through.  They are God’s word – intended to teach, rebuke, correct and train us in righteousness.
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