What’s Wrong with Pictures of Jesus?

What’s wrong with a .jpeg Jesus or a .gif God?

There was a time when men believed that God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

Is not the very act of icon-izing God a lie that portends to portray God in flesh, however so abstractly?

These images of God are just that-the imaginations of man.

We need less of the artists’ rendition and more of God’s revelation.

Our God is not measured in pixels and palette, but in power and promise.

Romans 11:33 (“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! “) doesn’t speak of color depth.

Faith does not come by seeing. (Romans 10:17)

If burning the curious arts books at Ephesus was an act of faith that God blessed with spiritual growth (Acts 19:18-20), then maybe we need to rethink the role of religious art today.

Job 7-8

Bible study notes for January 10, 2012

Job continues his defense to Eliphaz, and Bildad can hold his peace no longer.

Job 7

1-2: Job doesn’t inquire about predestination, but rather about everything coming to an end.

4: Job’s insomnia, restlessness resulting from troublesome days. Sound familiar?

6: The days go by too quickly and the night comes too soon. See also 9:25.

7-16: Why won’t God allow me to sleep? God gives His beloved sleep (Psalm 127:2)

17-18: I’m not so important that I should receive all this attention.

20-21: Job’s confession prefaces his prayer for pardon.

 

Job 8:

At this point Bildad joins the conversation, hoping to persuade Job.

2-3: Job, you are slandering the name of God.

4-6: Job, pray, and everything will be better. God will see to that.

7-10: the argument from history/tradition: Job, listen to the voices from the past.

Note: There are two forms of this argument:

a.  We’ve never done it this way before.

b.  We’ve always done it this way before.

Both argue the same point: we are right and you are wrong.

13-19: Fools and hypocrites suffer dryness of soul, as you do. (It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that Job is to consider himself either a fool or an hypocrite.)

20-21: Will God cast away a perfect man? Then God has not cast you away or else you are either a fool or an hypocrite.

22: If God be for you, who can be against you?

Job 5-6

Notes for January 9, 2012

Eliphaz continues in his attempt to persuade Job that Job’s trouble is no accident, that Job must have done something to bring this upon himself.

Job 5

1-5: Danger to one’s children and business arises from his being a fool. (Note the obvious implication concerning Job)

6: Trouble doesn’t just happen; there must be a cause.

7: Men seem to have lots of trouble in their lives.

9-16: My advice: seek the Lord while He may be found because you can be sure He will discover that sin of yours which has caused all this trouble.

17-26: If you would but submit to God’s discipline, you would find that everything would be turned around and you will live happily ever after.

27: I know what I’m talking about; so take heed to what I’ve said.

Truth and Error

a. TRUTH: a father’s sin can have ill effect upon his family and his business; but not every suffering child does so because of the sin of his father.

b. TRUTH: everything has a reason for its being, every action has a cause; but we are not always able to see that reason.

c. TRUTH: nobody is exempt from trouble in this life

d. TRUTH: God does know all about us and God does what is best for His people; but God doesn’t promise full health or absolute wealth to those who follow Him.

 

Job 6

Job responds to Eliphaz in this and the following chapters.

1-7: The troublesome grief has brought a giant amount of pressure upon Job’s life.

4: God is responsible for all of this.

5-6: My complaint is reasonable.

8-9: If God would abandon me, then I could resolve this issue; but He won’t and I can’t.

10-13: I feel like I’m carrying a ton of bricks; and I can’t do it any longer.

14-21: You haven’t handled this well at all.

22-26: Did I ask for your help? No, I did not. Instead of helping me, you have seriously hurt me.

27-30: I know about these things as much as you do; you should listen to me!

Discussion thoughts:

a. Carrying too much weight can break a roof, a bridge, a wagon and a man’s spirit. The Pharisees may lay heavy burdens upon us (Luke 11:46); but the Lord Jesus gives us light work (Matthew 11:30), never more than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

b. We must be careful when we see God’s hand at work in our lives that we do not assume that everything that is not according to our plan is meant to be against us. The friction that we experience may be God’s sandpaper polishing us that we might better reflect His image in our lives.

c. Jeremiah once considered quitting; but he realized that something inside him wouldn’t allow him to be silent. Quitting may be an easy out; but it is not always the best solution.

d. Weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15), and comfort the afflicted (2 Corinthians 1:3-5); but be sure that your counsel is of God and not empty phrases. Job’s friends did more good by coming and sitting silently for a week than they did in the many words that they uttered afterwards.

e. In grief, we should be willing to listen to those who would be our comforters.

f. In grief, we should be willing to express ourselves so that others might be our comforters.

 

 

Job 3-4

Notes for January 8, 2012

We don’t know how much time passed between that horrible day when Job learned of the loss of his business and of his children, the day that Job was stricken with painful boils, and the day when he finally began to speak again.

Job 3

An outline:

1-10: And what does Job say when he does speak? He curses the day of his birth.

It’s important to remember that Job does not curse God. He merely expresses his thought that it would have been better if he had never been born.

11-19:  Job continues that if birth could not be prevented, then surely premature death would have been preferred to living with all of this trouble in his life.  Dead people, he suggests, are at rest.

20-26:  He doesn’t understand why this has happened to him, nor why he is still required/allowed to live.

Some comments:

a. Does not God appoint the time and place of our birth (Acts 17:26-27)? If we believe this, then cursing the day of our birth or wishing we were dead is but a veiled cursing of God. How is this unlike the believer who curses the rain but worships the God who sends rain?

Job’s grief was great.  But great grief should never be allowed to sway us from our confidence in God.

b. Suicide and suicidal thoughts, like all other sins, would steal God’s authority and abrogate it to ourselves, or they would deny God’s holy love and substitute our own interpretation of what is best for us.

c. Do the dead rest, do they have peace? Of course, the dead body is physically senseless; but is the flesh all there is to life? How often we desire to be relieved of physical pain but totally ignore the spiritual. This is the central point of the book of Job-that there is more going on than the physical events around us, that there is a great, unseen spiritual conflict that affects us in the physical world.

d. Satan had objected that God had hedged in Job and that Job was untouchable by trouble; now Job (verse 23) declares that God has hedged him in so that he was unable to be saved from trouble. Is either of them right?

e. Sometimes our worst fears are realized, and the suffering is compounded by our having dwelt so much on the possibility long before it ever occurred. The world says, “Think happy thoughts.” God says (Philippians 4:8),  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

f. Who has not lived as close to God as possible, diligently seeking to please Him, only to find that “yet trouble came”? Who has not had questions about why bad things have happened to us? TO US? We understand why bad things happen to other people; but why US? Try as we might, when the questions are about us the answers are more difficult to grasp and to accept.

 

Job 4

The friends take turns trying to help Job through this difficult time. We cannot fault them for their concern. But as we listen to them counsel Job, we will find that they often mix a little truth with a lot of confusion, conventional but errant human wisdom, and wishful thinking; and they fail miserably either to understand Job’s situation or to help him move on with his life.

Eliphaz speaks first.

3-5: Job, you have told lots of people how to deal with trouble in their lives; and now that a little trouble comes into your life, you fall to pieces.

7-8: There is an immutable law: whatever you sow, that shall you reap.  Since you are reaping trouble, you must have lived a troublesome life.

12-16: I’ve had a vision…

17: Do you think that you are better than God?

18-21: Do you think that you are better than the angels?

What does he say?

a. True, a faith that is only good for others is not real faith.

b. True, a man will reap what he sows (Galatians 6:7-8).

c. True, God has in time past spoken in dreams and visions and via angelic messengers.

But none of this is proof that Job’s faith wasn’t real, or that he had abandoned God. None of this proves that Job’s current problems were of his own doing. And none of this proves that the voice which Eliphaz heard was from God.

Test the spirits, for there are many false prophets in the world (1 John 4:1). And if they present any other gospel, let them be anathema (Galatians 1:8-9).

(to be continued…)