Endure hardship? Or thresh mountains?

A few days ago, a house on the Sunshine Coast in Australia was destroyed in a fire that was possibly started by faulty Christmas lights. A family of five were sleeping inside at the time but only the father managed to escape the flames. The neighbours found him in the driveway “burnt from head to toe” and screaming in pain. There is some speculation in the press that his wife might have been able to save herself but she stayed with her children, two of whom were disabled. As a father of three, my heart breaks for that man. When he wakes up in hospital he will learn the awful news that he has just lost his entire family.

I wish I could go to that man in the burn unit and say something to ease his pain but I don’t know what I would say. However, I know what I wouldn’t say:

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? (Heb 12:7, NIV)

I have just read something that has my blood boiling. There is steam coming out of my ears. Here’s a paraphrase:

You should view every hardship in life as God’s loving discipline. God is sovereign and everything that happens to you – whether good or bad – is for your good. Indeed, it is proof of His love for the Lord disciplines those He loves.

Apparently this is meant to be a comfort to people in pain. Maybe you just lost your wife and kids in a house-fire but be comforted! God did it. Why? Because He loves you.

Sheesh. And we wonder why sinners aren’t running into our churches.

Job 2.0

One year ago I wrote that God was not responsible for Job’s loss no matter what Job 1:21 says. I still get emails on a weekly basis that say, “How dare you contradict the Bible. How dare you say that God is not the author of evil.” How can I say it? Because Jesus said it:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (Joh 10:10)

Isn’t it strange that most Christians would hesitate to tell the burned man that his family and home were destroyed by the devil – “you can’t blame Satan for everything” – yet they are quick to point the finger at our loving Father. “God did it.” But why would God kill three little kids in their sleep? Who can say. God is mysterious.

Forgive me for ranting, but this is insane! It is exactly this sort of madness that makes the church look like a bunch of whackos. This kind of thinking dishonors the name of the Lord. Worst of all, it keeps us passive when we should be taking a stand and fighting back. Instead of resisting the devil so that he flees, we submit to the devil and say, “The Lord is disciplining us. Oh we’re so loved!”

And this is why I am writing. There is a time for enduring hardship and there is a time for resisting the devil and you need to know the difference. As usual, Jesus is our role model. He did not consider sickness a hardship to be endured – He resisted it. Neither did He consider demonic oppression a hardship to be endured – He resisted it. At times He even resisted death by raising a little girl and a dead man. He spoke to storms and said we would speak to mountains. Jesus did all these things to show us how the Father responds to the devil’s work. And yes, I have no problem attributing sickness to the devil:

You know… how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. (Act 10:38, NIV)

I said I didn’t know what I would say to the man in the burn unit, but Jesus would know. He is the “God of all comfort who comforts us in all of our troubles” (2 Cor 1:3-4). If I was in a position to visit that man I would trust the Holy Spirit to show me what to say and do. Sadly, accidents are a fact of life and sometimes innocent children die. But there’s healing for everything. You want to talk about the mystery of God? Then marvel at how He is able to bring good even out of the most awful of circumstances.

Arise shine!

The bad news of dead religion has reduced Christians to commentators on the sidelines of life. If something good happens, we congratulate each other for sowing into kingdom principles. If something bad happens, we say the Lord did it because He loves us. This is a nauseating, useless, and demonic theology. Live this way and you will never display the manifold wisdom of God to rulers and authorities in heavenly realms (Eph 3:10).

I don’t normally write reactive posts like this but I just had to vent. I’m heartbroken for that man in the burn unit and I’m heartbroken over a church that gets its theology from Job’s friends.

I began by paraphrasing some bad writing. I’m going to finish by paraphrasing something that’s pure gold. You can then decide which you will trust in.

See Jesus! See the finished work of the cross! Your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. You may have problems and hardships and yes thick darkness is over the peoples. But the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Those mountains are coming down! You may be a worm, little Jacob, but God Himself will help you. He will make you into a threshing sledge with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. (Is 41:13-14, 60:1-2)


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40 Comments on Endure hardship? Or thresh mountains?

  1. Thanks paul for this eye opening write up. It truly reveals the true nature of God and not the idols that people worship instead of Him. May God comfort that man in his Pain. Happy 2012. If you can,kindly read “preaching through the bible: Romans” by david eaton. Excellent presentation of the gospel of grace with theological underpinnings. It also available free on his website

  2. Totally agree with you Paul. I still cannot understand why people want to accuse God who is love, of doing evil. It can only be because of having a need to justify what they truly believe in their heart versus who God truly is.

  3. Janet Petruch // December 31, 2011 at 10:29 am // Reply

    I am in TOTAL agreement, Paul! Even if some people lack spiritual knowledge of The Word, common sense should tell you that God cannot give what He DOES NOT HAVE! And, He doesn’t have sickness & disease, He doesn’t have death, He doesn’t have stress & emotional pain, etc, etc.
    It’s always irritated me (just a bit) that people will take man’s word over God’s Word. People sit in churches & accept preaching that is NOT based wholly on The Word of God. Do they go home & check The Word for themselves? Many do not & those are the ones who are so quick to blame God for bad things happening. Once a person receives revelation knowledge of just how much God loves us…there is NO WAY they can think about Him the same way ever again! OK…I’m getting down off of MY soapbox now! Good word, Paul, keep it up!

  4. Thank you for that word, I have never been able to say that God brings sickness or death or tragedy to punish us or teach us, Jesus came to bring light and life, in its fullness, in the Spirit!!

  5. Excellent – posting to facebook and getting ready for the replies – lol

  6. Hebrews 12 seems to be subject to considerable misinterpretation. Throughout, the word translated “chastening” or “discipline” should more correctly be translated “tutorage” or “child training and education”, a much more gentle and positive term. The greek word used is “paideuo” meaning to “to train up a child” (Strongs 3811), from which we get english words such as pediatrician. I have recently been looking at this chapter, because I was confused by the NKJV rendering of Hebrews 12:5b-6: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives.”

    Surely, God cannot scourge (literally “flog”) His children – this would be child abuse! I then realized that the writer of Hebrews is quoting from Proverbs 3:11-12. . The translation of these verses from Proverbs used in Hebrews 12 comes from the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the OT that had been done long before the letter to the Hebrews was written, not from the original Hebrew text in the OT. In addition, the phrase translated “whom he receives” is the greek word “paradechomai”, which according to Strongs can be translated “whom he delights in” – which is in line with the original OT text. In the NKJV Proverbs 3:11-12 is rendered: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as the father the son in whom he delights.” Nothing about scourging!! So, it seems that a translator has incorporated something scripturally incorrect in the greek version of Hebrews.

    I did some digging, and it appears that, according to some of the early Church Fathers (Clement), the epistle to the Hebrews was written initially in Hebrew and then translated to Greek, and used the Septuagint (Greek) version of the OT scriptures for reference. Andrew Farley, in his book “God Without Religion: Can It Really Be This Simple?” covers this very topic, and goes to great lengths to show that the version we have in modern texts of Hebrews 12:6 is very likely incorrect (see pages 234-235). I agree with his conclusion: “Essentially, Hebrews 12 may be conveying this: God deeply enquires into our lives as He disciplines [child trains] us, so that we can experience a harvest of righteousness and peace.”

    Many pastors seem to delight in using Hebrews 12 to batter their congregation over the head with regard to sin, and how God will severely punish them if they don’t get in line with his (the pastor’s) set of religious rules, obligations, duties and responsibilities (oh how they love that word!). This is so far from the gospel of Grace as to potentially lethal to many Christians who are still trapped in the Law.

    Paul, keep preaching Grace – it truly is God inspired and life to all who hear.

    God bless you.

    • Thanks for the sourging lesson John. I get asked about that scripture just about more than any other. I usually direct readers to Drew Farley’s book, as you cite.

      UPDATE: I have now written a post on Hebrews 12:6.

      • John Senior // December 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm //

        Just discovered that the Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010) for Hebrews 12:6:reads:

        “For whomever THE LORD JEHOVAH loves, he instructs, and draws aside his children with whom he is pleased.”

        Now THAT’s more like it!

    • John… you stole my thunder on this one, but did it much better than I could! I was going to comment on how the NIV so often gives a poor translation of the Greek for the sake of English readability. As you so aptly pointed out, there is nothing in the Greek that even hints of “hardship” as the means God uses for training us. And your comment on the problematic use of “scourging” is also spot on. The clincher for me is the fact that in every other verse in chapter 12 the word “paideia” is used, giving us a clear picture of a loving Father who diligently and lovingly trains up His children in the way they should go. So even if we accept a metaphorical use of “scourging” in this passage, it nonetheless must be understood in the overall context set by the multiple instances of “paideia.”

    • speaking of Hebrews.. Im a young Christian.. I got saved and was walkin with God for like 6 months, then chose to sin heavily, and now I have been super distant from God for over a year now. Its like I’m all alone and nothing makes sense any more.. also the weird thoughts runnin through my head are like nothing I would of ever thought of previously, even before salvation.. I am really worried by Hebrews 6:4 and Hebrews 10:26-27 and only found out about these passages when trying my hardest to seek God after the crazy sin I got myself into.. have I crossed the line?? Does God still love me, or am I doomed? please help me out and email me (pinkslurpy@hotmail.com) or somethin I feel like I have no purpose anymore and am so scared of God

      • If God loved you while you were a sinner (Rms 5:8), He surely loves you now. His love for you is unrelated to your behavior. The letter to the Hebrews was written for Hebrews – those who had grown up under law, heard the gospel, and either accepted or rejected Jesus. Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:26 are referring to people who have heard the good news of God’s grace and rejected it.

    • “” the phrase translated “whom he receives” is the greek word “paradechomai”, which according to Strongs can be translated “whom he delights in” – which is in line with the original OT text.”” To further expound from my greek study bible: Paradechomai means to recieve or embrace with “Peculiar” FAVOR “. So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. LK 15:20. The reaction of the father here is Peculiar to the other son to say the least. “”Peculiar favor”” just another word for Grace. This sheds alot of light on the the authors theme of Hebrews 12.

  7. yes job never have an advocate but i do now in the Man Jesus before the Father.

  8. Paul! Thank you for sharing! It is a excellent message for me before entering into a brand new year.Keep preaching; the wall of unbelieved is coming down!

  9. This is awesome, Paul! God bless you and happy new year! Hope to see more topics from you this 2012.

  10. Paul, no need to ask forgiveness for ranting! This post is an excellent rant!

    A few years ago a Christian friend was struggling with serious bowel problems and had convinced himself that this was God’s will to teach him something. When he was challenged to stop taking his drug treatment, and to stop seeing the doctor, so that he could learn more from God he got very upset!

    I also get angry when fellow believers blame God for the bad things in their lives – resist the devil and he will flee! Amen!

  11. I agree, God does not put such hardships on us. In Job’s circumstances it was clearly Satan who attacked Job. Regarding the reference to James 4:7 ( “resist the devil , and he will flee from you” ), I offer my understanding of it for consideration.
    Consider it’s context. James 4:4 “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?”
    Here we see it speaks to those in SPIRITUAL adultery.

    Verse 7,8 “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Here is a salvation call to sinners (it’s not speaking to believers who, as we know, are righteous in Christ).

    Verse 11,12 “….He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?” Speaking to spiritual adulterers who judge by works of the law.

    When believers accepted Christ as savior they humbled themselves and submitted to God. In this they resisted the devil and the devil fleed. Their hands were cleansed and their hearts purified. So, as a believer we are not double-minded.

  12. Dear Paul this is what makes my blood boil too.I hear it on the radio I turn if off.This is why I wrote the post on disability that you would not post.Quess i was ranting.That’s o.k.sensitive subject.Why do we have to defend a Good God?Happy New Year.Expecting greater this year.Blessings to you and yours.

  13. While I agree with some of what you say, I must also say that God, our Father, is the cause of all that happens in His world He so claims that responsibility. However, as you say, He is the God of all comfort – and so, (as with Job, Joseph, and so many others, than and now) He is in the midst of whatever we are experiencing.
    More than saying those who so claim such about God are the ones who are driving others from the church, I would disagree. The biggest contributor to atheism is picturing God as a) being love, and yet b)insisting that in His love He is going to eternally torture any and all who do not “accept” Him (not a scriptural word anyway). Who is going to be drawn by such “love”.
    Your final word was special:
    See Jesus! See the finished work of the cross! Your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. You may have problems and hardships and yes thick darkness is over the peoples. But the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Those mountains are coming down! You may be a worm, little Jacob, but God Himself will help you. He will make you into a threshing sledge with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. (Is 41:13-14, 60:1-2) Amen.


    • HI Joanne,

      Are you a regular on this site or just passing through? I find your idea of the biggest contributor to atheism interesting. Do you believe that somehow God has a way to save all from hell?

      PAUL , Nice ranting . Great Post. When my Mom was in the hospital suffering & eventually died, I had a relative that would make her once a week visit and with a smile she would say w/ a spiritual air “everything is just as it should be” She’s in some new age beliefs. If I hadn’t been so focused caring for my Mom, I probably would have ranted on her. Thanks Paul

    • I like your view about the contribution of atheism, and I definitely agree with that, too. I would also add to it that “picture” is also the cause of why many Christians are turning away from God. Not because of Satan, but their own image of who their mighty God would be. We should see this image of God changed. He loves, and He loves with an eternal, unconditional love, and He’ll never leave us and WILL never forsake us! Hallelujah.

  14. Well said Paul. I, like alot of people am sick of some of the heartless nonsense that comes from places you wouldn’t expect. Apparently (although my Greek isn’t that good), the word for discipline here is the same root we get our word paediatrician from. In other words it means child training. Which of you fathers would train your children this way? Given God is the perfect father this is a no brainier isn’t it? There is no comdenation for those that are in Christ Jesus. For those outside …. God has reconciled the world to himself in Christ, it’s a done deal …. becausr he loves the world … now come and be reconciled to God. In the light of all this i ask, how can God be the author of all this suffering?? Jesus did it all.

  15. The letter to the Hebrews was written for Hebrews – those who had grown up under law, heard the gospel, and either accepted or rejected Jesus. Heb 6:4 and 10:26 are referring to people who have heard the good news of God’s grace and rejected it.

    What I want to know is this:

    when I was first saved I walked with God I was let by the spirit and God revealed allot of stuff to me and really illuminated me when reading the bible and opened up my eyes to what life was really about, I could love people I would of never thought possible, I was having doors opened to me left right and center for ministry and the holy spirit had changed the whole way I even talked to people, God had healed me in so many different areas in my life and I had a peace that surpassed my understanding (the comforter).. then I willfully chose to get into heavy sin, I denied believing in God to friends and said I didn’t believe he was the way to friends, started looking into other religions and started thinking the darkness was maybe the way.. then all of a sudden Gods presence wasn’t with me and the bible made no sense to me.. I didn’t feel comfortable at church anymore and I found it difficult to even be around people.. Did I reject Gods grace like the Hebrews in Hebrews 6:4-8??

    • There’s a simple way to find out. Are you able to repent (i.e., have you changed your mind about the goodness of God)? If so, then Heb 6 does not apply to you (see v.6). Those guys were unable to return to the place of repentance.

      Sin is always destructive – it can literally kill you. But that’s your problem, not God’s problem. He has forgiven and forgotten. You may have good days and bad days, but He just has good days. Stop listening to the devil’s lies and rest in that. No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. You’re a Peter not a Judas. Both rejected Jesus, one repented.

  16. Paul I realized my error and turned back to what I knew was true (if that’s what you mean about changing my mind about Gods goodness?) but It was weird it was like I was blocked off and couldn’t find Gods grace even after I confessed my sin to God and other Christians.. I also tryed getting deliverance.. I just know what its like to be in Gods presence and be lead by him and this isn’t it.. I believe Jesus is Lord so whats the problem with me?

    • Hi Luke,
      When I read your 1st comment, I thought, of course God still Loves YOU. As you have continued, I can see myself. I know what you’re talking about. I won’t get into my story but in the nineties, it was like I was soaring on eagle’s wings.Somehow I got away from that and went down a dark road for many years. I’ve been back for about 2yrs now and in comparison, it’s like I’m crawling up a slope yet I’m thankful that I’m making slow but steady progress. In some ways I think I’m learning more now, it just doesn’t have that same ease & high with it. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad or if it matters. Sometimes I think the reason I got away from it all before was because I wasn’t at a place of understanding what was going on ( it all happened so fast). Even though I long for the high & ease that I had in the 90’s, sometimes I think this way may be better. I’d rather just keep slow steady progress than be on that high and land flat on my face the way I did. One thing I know is that we’re not doomed and God will Always Love us. As Paul said, don’t listen to the devils lies. God has already forgiven you, so it’s time to Forgive yourself. If I were you, I’d throw that scripture out of my mind & get my mind on the Lord and his Love. Sometimes when we’re down we can read something negative into many of the scriptures. I’m sure Paul can give you better scriptures to focus on.

      I don’t know if you’re familiar w/ Joseph Prince but I think you could benefit by going to his website josephprince.org. – click on “Daily Grace Inspiration” & click on “Watch this week’s broadcast”. He’s been talking about condemnation (not from God) but from the devil & how it can affect us. It sounds to me like you have some self condemnation going on so I think his messages will Bless you. Hang in there, it will get better.

  17. hey that sermon was really encouraging 🙂 thanx.. I really wish I could read the bible and get them revelations for myself though..

  18. the hardest part about all of this is that Im so sick and tired of having to run after sermons about grace just to make me feel at ease.. I have prayed for personal revelation of grace and still get scared of opening the bible.. because when I do all that seems to happen is everything I read makes me feel like garbage and not worthy.. then I have other Christians telling me I need to stay in the word?? how am I supposed to when every time I do I cant understand it anymore… Its like I know its a book inspired by God to help me direct me on a course God wants me to go.. it just seems so unfare that every time I open it I feel like killing myself..
    i want the peace back that surpasses my understanding! and believe me I have asked for it back.. like isn’t that the point, to be free in Christ?? I believe he is Lord.. why dont I have peace? and will I get it back?

    • OK Luke, I’ll walk down your road for awhile with you. I sinned & lost my worth. I wish I could get revelation like JP. (I wish I was the way I used to be) I wish I was young like JP but I’m old in comparison. I wish I was good looking like JP but I guess in comparison I’m ugly, I wish I had peace but I don’t. I can’t seem to do anything. Luke, that’s enough for me, I’m getting off your road of wishing, comparing, judging myself and trying to get through life on my own. I’m already feeling lousy.

      Come down my road for a little while. Wow, Jesus died for my sins, Thank You Jesus. Thank God my righteousness is in him, not myself. Praise God you have led me to a teacher like JP. Thank you Father for Loving me just the way I am. My Father see’s me as special & perfect so I choose to see myself that way. Thank you Holy Spirit for showing me another road. Thank You Jesus, you’re my strength, you’re my peace, you’re my victory. I’m going to sit down & rest in you. I put my trust and life in your hands. Praise God, your Grace is sufficient to meet all my needs. Hallelujah.

      This may seem a little silly but I’m content and you’re struggling to be at ease. Get off your road and choose a better one.

      If reading the Bible through your interpretation makes you feel like killing yourself, set it aside. You can stay in the word through sermons. You can stay in the word by reading the posts on this site. You can visit Joseph Prince website and find encouragement. You can go to the website of Andrew Wommack (awmi.net) and read the New Testament (click on Bible Commentary) through his interpretations. Wommack has enough on his site to keep you in the word for years. You’re Blessed. Open your eyes & ears. Give Praise & Thanks. The Bible never said you could do things on your own Quit trying. Cast your cares. Rest in him, trust in him.

    • Ur swinging from 1 extreme to anoda.wat I hear from all u wrote is iv done dis,iv done dat but I don’t feel anyting.Pardon if I sound harsh but I tink u shld 4get abt urself a while and focus on Jesus. If ur looking at how u feel and using dat as a measurement as to wether ur forgiven,then u will keep going round in circles. If Paul were to b a convert in our days am so sure d church will perform deliverance and all sorts on him we will also ask restitution 4 d pple he killed but Jesus did such a good job dat only believ and ur past dosent exist anymore. Move beyond hw u feel and believ ur Father, if He says He’s 4gotten, guess wat? He has! My dear, relax d lamb 4 sacrifice was slain b4 creation.Gods not surprised and He’s not angry either.Its not who u r or wat u do.its who He is. Its all abt Him.

  19. There are many unanswered questions in this life, however Jesus did say : the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy:, so anything happening to a child of God, that is caused by one or all three of these, is according to Jesus, definitely not from God. As to why it is allowed, by God, is perplexing, How does one arrive at a answer for this?

  20. Though I don’t like it, sometimes God allows things to happen for our discipline, that we might endure by faith and when we have endured for a while, He will establish us.
    It usually happens when we are doing things that are contrary to God’s will for us, and He needs to get our attention and get back on track.
    Or we could be careless in our dealings and pay the just penalty.
    Even if we judge some-one, it seems that the penalty that is due our judgement given, comes on us.
    Math 7 :1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
    I don’t think that God would cause evil to come upon us for no reason, but I do think He would allow it.
    In 1 Cor. 15:56″ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ”
    The enemy tempts us and leads us to sin, he then has the power or legal right to bring the curse of the law, regarding that sin, upon us.
    but if we confess our sin, then there is no law that can convict us, because we are covered by the blood of Jesus.
    Under the New Covenant, we have been given the gift of forgiveness, but we must apply the gift to our own lives.
    Though sometimes, we still suffer the consequences of our actions, we can be assured that we are forgiven and should suffer willingly for the sake of our perserverance, character and hope, knowing that God will not let us suffer more than we can stand, but enough to test our faith and produce in us endurance , so that we may be perfect, lacking in nothing.
    I think it is better, if we acknowledge we have missed the mark, to be zealous and repent a.s.a.p.
    Don’t give the devil a foothold, give him an inch and he will think he’s a ruler!

  21. Some people believe God is causing disasters. As a group that believes in Gods Love & Grace, would you please take a moment to pray for those in the path of what the US is calling the “Frankenstorm” Thank YOU

  22. I came to this post from the second post on Job where you address the question of whether the devil is God’s sheepdog (it helped that the link image was of Bishop Dogbert casting out the demon of ignorance!) An excellent rant, and very much on the money!

    The Book of Job should be seen in the inspired placement of the book by Ezra at the beginning of the “wisdom literature” section of the Old Testament. This section is composed of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon, all of which addressed the difficulties people face in life. This entire section should be viewed as a Hebrew/Israelite/Jew viewed it. Job was included to allow a Jew to see what could (and did)happen to the Righteous Gentiles apart from the covenant of God (Job’s lifespan puts him as a contemporary of Abraham and Isaac, and thus not a descendant of Abraham, and not an inheritor of the Abrahamic Covenant). Psalms addresses human pain, and decides that the solution was active worship, reverence, and trust in God. Proverbs addresses human pain by noting that much of our pain is self-inflicted or human inflicted, and so attempts to address the root of the problem through wisdom and understanding. Ecclesiastes is essentially a report on how and where the agenda in Proverbs failed, and goes back to the prescription given in Psalms to honor, worship, and trust God, since only He transcends death, which renders the whole enterprise of living vain.

    it may be unusual to include the Song of Solomon in this grouping, but the Shulamite gives the ultimate solution to the issues raised in Ecclesiastes: Love transcends death, so the solution is not a slavish or superstitious worship and reverence for God (as you correctly surmised Job did), but to enter into a loving relationship with Him, as David did. The Song is the Old Testament version of jesus’ advice to the Ephesian church to return to their first love. Yes, life has pain, and love doesn’t erase it, but it sure helps you endure it, survive it, and conquer it.

    • @ Owens. Your last paragraph is exactly what Christianity is about. Forget church liturgies. Europeans are seeing churches more as lovely traditions rather than the real deal. It’s love that matters. I also especially like your last sentence which I guess demonstrates my struggle to fall in love with God when I realize that I am living under the traditions of just doing things and checking it off my checklist and thinking, “phew! Thank you Jesus that my job is done today. Time for some tv!”

  23. I think that you are wiser than Solomon, Einstein and Socrates put together. You are beautiful intelligent, and in my opinion, the most important Grace writer I have ever come across in my life. I love you loads. God has blessed you richly xxxx Most importantly, I’m going to share your website with everyone!

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