Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer Kostick is an author and speaker who teaches women how to activate their life’s purpose through the study of Scripture. Jennifer knows more about grief and loss than she ever thought she would, but Jesus met her in the middle of fierce storms and held her tightly with an even fiercer love. In addition to her love of teaching the powerful truth of Scripture, Jennifer is married to Paul, her husband of twenty-five years, has three children, and a beautiful daughter-in-law! She is also a full-time seminary student… because you can never know too much about the Bible! Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.
Week Eleven Study Overview: Today, we will discuss the manipulation of the enemy while enduring crisis as we study Job’s discourse on the wicked.
Key Point of Struggle: Why does it seem that people who reject God live without scars?
Key Proof of Comfort: Psalm 118:19
We have finally hit the halfway point in the book of Job! The story of his life is so alive to me, and though I look forward to progressing through the study, I’ll be sad when we turn the last page.
In chapter 20 we see Zophar give his second argument, which once again condemns Job, declaring him guilty of wickedness. There was no consideration for anything Job said to defend himself thus far. After this, in chapter 21 Job speaks about how he feels regarding the wicked, and then it seems he goes onto mock them for their belief systems.
There are two verses in particular I want to pull out of chapter 21. Let’s discuss the first.
Why do the wicked live and become old, yes, become mighty in power?
This is definitely a key point of struggle for me. I’ve watched family members, who know and love Jesus, leave this earth way too soon. I’ve sat in the middle of tragedy watching others who reject God live seemingly unscathed. The truth is, no one lives unharmed by the evil of this world, and it’s not for me to judge hearts. It’s also not my job to critique God’s decisions. Only God knows why. In my opinion, the question Job presents as he’s replying to Zophar’s views is a fine line to walk. The enemy is a master manipulator, and he wants nothing more than for us to question God’s wisdom in all circumstances. He wants us to feel rejected without cause, not only by people, but also by God.
Just yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend about this very subject. When we are hurting, it is way too easy to look at the circumstances of others and judge their lives based on our own insecurities and despair. We want what they have, and so we rationalize why we deserve it more. It’s rather scary, because many emotions, especially rejection, can evoke these feelings. From dire financial needs to needing healing, wanting a child, marriage, or even a best friend can take us down roads leading to sin. If we aren’t aware of the enemy’s manipulation, we won’t even recognize we’re heading there until we arrive. In our own battle to defend ourselves against rejection, we only end up rejecting others, and ultimately hurting ourselves.
There are two more questions posed by Job in verse 15. In this verse, he is actually mocking the wicked by quoting how they might think.
Who is the Almighty that we should serve Him? And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?
I believe it is perfectly okay to ask God questions, as long as we don’t stay in that place expecting to receive and understand all the answers. Sometimes, peace comes through whispers of promise inside pain. It’s about learning to breathe in the scary spaces rather than receiving direct, definitive answers as to why we landed there in the first place. At some point, “faith mode” must override “question mode.” When we stay overly inquisitive for too long, the possibility of asking questions like we see in verse 15 grows greater and greater.
Our questions should be designed to lead us closer to God, not further from Him.
We live in a society where everyone’s lives are on display. If we aren’t very careful, social media statuses and the pictures that go along with them can leave us hungry for what others have. And here’s the thing you might not want to hear: what we feel as a result of what others seem to have, or how they live their lives, very rarely has anything to do with them. It almost always has everything to do with us! Ouch. I know. We all have issues to work through, so let’s start working.
Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, and I will praise the Lord
I memorized this scripture last year. The Psalmist’s words in this particular passage bring me great comfort. I refuse to allow unfit emotions, which usually prove nothing more than manipulation from the enemy, dictate my life. I reject self-pity and accept God’s best for me. I will continually ask the God who I know sees me to open up His gates of righteousness that I may walk through them with praise on my lips. It is within that space where I will find my comfort. And, friend, you’ll find it there, too.
I’m looking forward to discussing this further on this week’s #WordforYourWeekend subscriber only content. If you’ve not subscribed yet, you’re only an email address away from deeper study!
Week Ten Study Overview: Today, we will look briefly at Job 18, and dig into chapter 19 as we learn what it means to truly trust our Redeemer.
Key Point of Struggle: How do we trust our Redeemer when loneliness whispers lies that we will never be redeemed from anything?
Key Proof of Comfort: We will work to discover the power in Job 19:25-27.
Poor Job… It doesn’t matter what he said in defense of himself, it was never enough. Bildad didn’t like Job’s previous response in chapters 16 and 17. And, not only did Bildad not like what was said, he also didn’t believe Job. His doctrine dictated that only the wicked were the only ones punished, and that meant Job didn’t stand a chance in his sight. We can all be thankful our Father in heaven is the Supreme Judge. Job understood that principle, and the trust He had in His Redeemer helped him stand against Bildad’s confused theology.
In chapter 19, Job continues to defend his cause. In verses 13-20 he pours his heart out concerning his loneliness. No one wanted anything to do with him.
As I’m walking through grief, I often hear myself say things like, “Nobody understands how I feel.” It’s true that not everyone has dealt with my exact loss, but most everyone has experienced loss on some level. I’m awakening to the fact that sometimes feeling lonely inside struggles leads to withdrawal. In the long run, retreating does nothing more than propel the cycle of feeling all alone. It’s important to allow other’s to speak into our lives. Most importantly, we must allow the truth of the Holy Spirit to break down walls blocking our healing.
As Job continues emptying out the contents of his soul, he says something very interesting.
“Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and lead, forever!”
He wanted his theology recorded, because he knew what he believed and wanted his account on record. And, guess what? God did just that! The book of Job was admitted into the canon of scripture for a very specific purpose. And what Job says next is what keeps me going through every dark place I’ve ever traversed through.
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
There is no possible way I can describe the power those words hold. They aren’t simply platitudes meant to strike emotion. Instead, just like the writer of Hebrews tells us concerning the Word of God, those words are living and active. Job released those words into the air, and God made sure every life would have opportunity to claim it as promise.
Even before the cross, Job knew his Redeemer lived! That’s crazy amazing to me!
On our #WordforYourWeekend subscriber only content, we are going to talk about what it meant to be a “kinsman-redeemer.” We will also look at a couple in the Old Testament who walked out that principle. And, of course, we will point everything we’ve learned to our redemption in Jesus Christ. I hope you join me!
If you’re not a subscriber, you’re just an email address away from deeper study!
Week Nine Study Overview: Today, we look at Job chapters 15-17, cringe at what Eliphaz has to say, cheer as job responds, and step into enlightenment as we examine his prayer for relief.
Key Point of Struggle: Our key point of struggle is based straight from the mouth of Job: Where then is my hope? As for my hope, who can see it? Job 17:15
Key Proof of Comfort: Proverbs 27:17
The more I step into Job’s world, the more disdain I feel for his so-called friends. In Chapter 15, we find Eliphaz on top of his soapbox using a sarcastic tone. He took Job for a liar and a fool. The lack of compassion is unbelievable.
Job may have been covered in boils and dealing with overwhelming loss, but he was not a doormat for these men. In chapter 16, he refuses to suppress his true emotions. Within the ragged, torn mess of everything he felt both physically and emotionally, he draws enough breath to speak wise words of truth. Let’s take a peek at a few of his statements.
“I also could speak as you do, if your soul were in my soul’s place. I could heap up words against you, and shake my head at you; but I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief.” – Job 16:4-5
He was floored that these men were accusing him of sins he did not commit. They were staring at a man who had lost everything, right down to his physical appearance, and not one of them was able to offer true comfort. Job couldn’t begin to imagine treating anyone else the way he was being treated. He said, “…the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief.”
“Surely even now my witness is in heaven and my evidence is on high.” – Job 16:19
There have been times in my life, that through great sorrow, I have examined everything I’ve done. I have wondered if I’ve stepped out of God’s will and somehow caused my own grief. While it is true that sin has consequence, it’s difficult to feel as if you’re dealing with painful consequence while walking upright before the Lord. The enemy wants to manipulate our minds, so it’s important to be aware of God’s mercy and love through tough times. Beyond dealing with your own worries about what is happening around you, it’s even more painful when people with a skewed theology look to place blame regarding the condition of your heart, especially when they have no idea of the details.
Job did not question the position of God. He knew God had answers for his sorrow. This is why he spoke confidently that God was his witness. He knew his Father in heaven was privy to every piece of evidence.
Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD.
-Jeremiah 23:23 (ESV)
Whether we like it or not, God knows everything there is to know. Job didn’t need his friends to believe him in order to continue believing in the power of the Almighty. Beyond all this, we have a perspective Job wasn’t able to view: some versions of Job 16:19 say, “Even then my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high.” I happen to love that particular translation, because though Job didn’t see the promise of the Messiah fulfilled, we have! We know that Jesus is our advocate! An advocate argues the cause of someone else. Not only does He advocate for us, He calls us friend! (See John 15:15)
“Oh that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleads for his neighbor.” – Job 16:21
Taking ones needs before the throne of God is the single most powerful and loving thing we can do in friendship. We must pray for one another. This is what Job knew he needed, and let me tell you, it’s a crucial component responsible for the survival of friendship.
Lastly, I want to take a look at Job’s prayer for relief in chapter 17.
Job was weary, so weary. He opens the prayer by saying, “My spirit is broken…” And haven’t we all felt like that at one time or another? This man needed hope in the worst way. I believe hope is built on faith.
Job askes the following two questions in verse 15:
If you are contemplating these questions for your own life, what I really want to say more than anything else is that we don’t have to see hope to own it. I’m going to repeat that one more time because it might take a second to hit home.
We don’t have to see hope to own it.
If we believe in the existence of God, then we believe in the existence of hope. Our God creates possibilities out of impossible, illogical circumstances. The writer of Hebrews tells us…
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
So when we ask what Job asked, “Where then is my hope?” there is an answer. It’s in Christ. It lives with Christ Jesus, our living God who is our advocate, and lover of our souls. When we feel like Job felt, wondering where our hope can be seen, we know it is seen in our faith. Hope finds life in our souls when we choose to believe Jesus lived, died, resurrected and ascended. We can own hope. It was given freely to us through the power of the cross.
If you’re a subscriber, I’ll see you Friday on Word for Your Weekend Subscriber only Content! If you aren’t, you are only an email address away from deeper study! Consider joining us!