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“O THAT A MAN MIGHT PLEAD WITH GOD AS A MAN WITH HIS NEIGHBOR!” (JOB 16:21)
by Barnabas

Dear Brethren,

The life of Job is an interesting record of a man who endured through terrible loss and suffering.  Years ago when I was a young believer I passed through a time of severe trial and personal suffering.  I was new to the Faith and many believers were encouraging me to “Trust in the Lord with all my heart…” (Proverbs 3:5) and allow Christ through the Spirit and the Word to comfort and guide me. (Psalm 119:105)  I was longing to know God’s will in my circumstances, and was struggling to hear His voice.  Two passages in the Bible were “quickened” to me in the midst of the counsel, fellowship and prayers.  These two verses were, I believe, a personal word to me from the Lord.  Early in the Book of Job, after all that he had was taken from him, Job declared, “…the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the Name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).  The other passage that the Lord gave me was this.  After Job’s body was devastated by boils and he was all but unrecognizable (Job 2:12), Job confessed, “Do we accept the good from God and not the bad as well?” (Job 2:10)  The comfort and encouragement that the Lord gave me was through the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit and His Word.  At that time I was new to the Faith and trying to find my way – I was new to the battle that every believer fights against his flesh and the devil (Ephesians 6:12; Galatians 5:17).  It was a very real spiritual war for my heart and soul, and through the fellowship of the saints, I was encouraged over and over to “take it to the Lord in Prayer” (Philippians 4:6) while resisting the enemy (James 4:7).

Although Job was having a difficult time finding God in the midst of his suffering, we know from the Word of God that our Father is always available (Psalm 121) and He is always listening for the cry of His children (Nehemiah 9:9; Psalm 34:15; 145:19).  In the fullness of time, the Lord appeared to Job in the whirlwind (Job 38:1); God spoke – Job listened.  In the end, Job was indeed able to speak with God as one speaks with a neighbor (Job 38-42).

Once at my home church in Fort Pierce, Florida, my pastor preached a message on God’s phone number.  His text was Jeremiah thirty-three three, “Call to Me and I will answer you…”  Pastor Raymond was trying to encourage our small Haitian congregation to take every need, concern and burden to the Lord in prayer.  When we pray - He will hear us; since He hears us – He will answer (Jeremiah 33:3).  

There are many examples in the Bible of men and women who were visited by the Lord.  Some in person, some in dreams or visions, and others by encountering angels sent from God.  When the Lord visited Abraham to announce the birth of Isaac and the destruction of Sodom, they spoke face to face (Genesis 18).  When Moses was on the mountain, although he did not see God the Father, they spoke together about His plan to deliver His people out of Egypt, fulfilling His promise to Abraham (Exodus 3).  In the New Testament, the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream concerning the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25); but the Lord sent His angel to Mary to reveal His plan that she would be the mother of His Son (Luke 1:26-38).  When Paul was on his way to Damascus to arrest believers, the Lord “intruded” into his life.  It was then that Paul had his first dialogue with the Lord God Almighty (Acts 9:1-9), and in a vision the Lord spoke to Ananias, giving him a prophetic word for the soon to be Apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:9-18).  In Acts chapter ten we can read about how the Lord spoke to Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, and then sent Peter to Cornelius’ home bringing the Gospel of Salvation. 

For more than thirty-six years the Lord has “spoken” with me through His Spirit, the Word, answered prayer and the fellowship of the saints (1 John 1:1-4).  I know that no matter what my circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19), I can trust in the One who is trustworthy to keep me (Jude 1:24; Revelation 3:10; Hebrews 11) until the day of my redemption (Romans 8:23; Ephesians 4:30). 

Not many of us are going to have dreams, visions or visitations from God, either in person (Abraham and Paul) of by an angelic messenger (Daniel and Mary), but if we are born again, we can have fellowship with God our Father through Prayer (Psalm 6:9).  It is the indwelling Holy Spirit who provides us with that intimate fellowship (2 Timothy 1:14) and it is through the Word of God that we can know Him and understand His ways (Deuteronomy 8:6; Hosea 14:9). 

In these increasing times of global economic turmoil and political instability, let us continue to encourage one another to stand firm in our faith (Ephesians 6:13-17).  Our God and Father, who knows “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10) knows what will come tomorrow.  Jesus encourages us to keep things in perspective, reminding us to not “be anxious about tomorrow” but to stay close to the Him which we are able to do through His Spirit and the Word (Matthew 6:25-34).  May the Lord continue to watch over us all.


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