Before you begin your Bible study, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [Known, Unknown and Forgotten sins] (1Jn 1:9)
You will then be in fellowship with God, Filled with God the Holy Spirit and ready to learn Truth from the Word of God.
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth. (John 4:24)
PREPARATION FOR DISASTER; NATIONAL AND OR PERSONAL
Did you ever get a strange feeling that you were going to die or that something terrible was going to happen? Then what I am going to say is dedicated to you; just in case! It is also dedicated to those of you who will have had a miserable social life this year . . . to those of you who will be “Dear Johned.” It is dedicated to those of you who are actually going to die this year. It is dedicated to the men who will be in uniform during the lowest ebb in the history of our armed services. And above all, this is dedicated to our United States of America, which is in great trouble in every area!
We have a government backed by a majority of people who are almost totally divorced from Reality whether it concerns the military, Law enforcement, judicial, foreign or domestic policies, crime or drugs. For example, if they are convicted, drug pushers today may get a couple of years or a suspended sentence, when they ought to be executed for chemically destroying the souls of others!
The same Principle is found almost everywhere. The military is being destroyed right before our eyes. Those men who are entering military service today are going in at the all-time low. Not only is the military persona non grata with our general public, but it is also functioning under a defeatist no-win policy. In Korea not long ago, a missile battery commander requested permission to shoot down a Russian fighter plane. The battery could have easily knocked the plane down, since it fired a very excellent missile that zeroed in on the exhaust of the plane, which was within range for a long distance.
The request wound up going through channels. At every stage it got very quickly on the “hot line” but no one would act. The close echelon stages were afraid to act; the same thing was true higher up, and of course by that time the plane was out of range. But the whole incident stirred up a tremendous fuss and gave everyone such a scare that the brass wanted to court martial the commander, even though he didn’t fire one shot! His attitude later on was, “I should have pressed the button! I am court martialed either way, so I might as well have done something for my country!”
People everywhere are saying, “What shall we do? Shall we organize? Shall we go out and buy a ranch somewhere?’’ What is the solution? The answers are found in the WORD OF GOD — the Bible — and only there! But you have to know how and where to find them! Although the solution begins with God, God is not a “Genie” whom you rub and you get your wish! Nor is He a “Button” that you push and presto! your troubles are over!
God has a master plan, and it is our responsibility to find out how to get in His plan and to know where we fit in to it. His plan is revealed in the Bible and is worked out in our lives through the Spiritual life. (Php 2:12) Therefore, the solution for every problem, every disaster, personal or national, lies in KNOWING TRUTH! And knowing Truth begins with positive volition toward Truth first in Salvation, then in the daily function of the grace apparatus for perception. (Operation Z)
The passage before us has some wonderful Promises for every believer, but they are for the believer only for those who have entered God’s plan by faith in Jesus Christ. Phase One of His plan is stated in: (Eph 2:8-9)
But as for me, I would seek God, And I would place my cause before God. (Job 5:8)
“I would seek” is an expression of continuous positive volition toward Truth. There are actually many kinds of positive volition in people. First of all, there are those who have positive volition based on INSTANT INSPIRATION. This type of volition is weak and unstable. These are the ones who talk a great fight because they are temporarily inspired for one reason or another. Then something happens, and they are distracted, or they become bored or offended, and they fade out.
A second system of positive volition, which is also very weak and very inadequate, is turned on when people start having trouble. This is called TROUBLE INSPIRATION positive volition. When disaster or catastrophe comes along, they begin to look for a quick solution for an easy way out! They want God, as it were, to make it stop hurting.
This leads to a third category of those who are positive — individuals who might be called THE BRIBE CROWD, or the “genie’’ crowd. They are trying to bribe God for something. They regard Truth as the means of getting something they want at the moment. Just to make sure that God is on their side, they become interested in Truth for a while. These people are generally on the verge of prosperity. Then as prosperity develops or expands, they lose interest in Truth.
The fourth category are those who have SHOCK POSITIVE VOLITION. They have had a one-shot disaster something like dope addiction or alcoholism. They realize the bottom has dropped out of their life and everything is topsy-turvy; so they have been shocked into positive volition. Maybe they have tried Alcoholics Anonymous and recognize that this represents a human viewpoint solution just one weak person trying to prop up another weak person. So they know that Truth is the only answer. Some of these people will make it, and some won’t!
Then there is the WISE CROWD those who know that no matter how they feel, no matter what the situation, they cannot miss Truth, for that is their Spiritual food. (Job 23:10-12) They know that the soul requires food even more than the body; that “Man shall not live by bread alone, [Physical food, human needs] but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” [Spiritual food: God's Reality; for us to be able to live Spiritually!] (Matt 4:4) In Principle, this Verse is dealing with those in the fifth category those who have positive volition toward the Word of God on a daily basis. “I would seek God” could be better translated, “I will be positive toward GOD” — AND HIS THOUGHTS ON EVERY SUBJECT!
The second Phrase of, (Job 5:8) and unto God would I commit my cause,” should be translated, “I will put my cause with God,” or, “I will throw my cause to God.” In other words, “I will put it in His hands.” The passage then goes on to develop the Reasons for turning to God; in short, because of Who and What He IS; and What He Thinks With: Truth! (Prov 8:17-23)
Who does great and unsearchable things, Wonders without number! (Job 5:9)
“Who does” means that He manufactures something out of something. Out of His Thinking God manufactures a plan — a plan of grace! He provides definition for life. In the day in which we live, this plan, as it is defined, is found entirely in the Word of God and confined to the teaching of the Word of God. Therefore, we would say today, “Who manufactures out of Truth great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number!”
He gives rain on the earth And sends water on the fields, So that He sets on high those who are lowly, And those who mourn are lifted to safety. He frustrates the plotting of the shrewd, So that their hands cannot attain success. He captures the wise by their own shrewdness, And the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted. By day they meet with darkness, And grope at noon as in the night. But He saves from the sword of their mouth, And the poor from the hand of the mighty. So the helpless has hope, And unrighteousness must shut its mouth. Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal. (Job 5:10-18)
Verse 19 picks up the thread and amplifies: (Job 5:9)
From six troubles He will deliver you, Even in seven [Unexpected disaster] evil will not touch you. (Job 5:19)
“Deliver” means to rescue someone from imminent danger, such as drowning or sinking sand or from some kind of a trap. But since the verb is in the hiphil stem in the Hebrew, it says literally, “He shall cause to rescue;” therefore, it is God and and His Thinking which actually do the rescuing! God provides Truth, He provides the volition of the individual, and the volition linked up with Truth is the rescue point! That’s why the subject begins with positive volition back in. (Job 5:8)
Six is the number of man and seven is completion; and indicates complete protection and deliverance form even the unforeseen troubles! “Yet man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward”; (Job 5:7) these basic categories of trouble are actually discussed in: (Rom 8:35-39)
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, [Satan and the demons] nor principalities, [Human authorities] nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, [Things in heaven] nor depth, [Things in Hades] nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love [The Spiritual life] of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:35-39)
COMPLETE PROTECTION AND DELIVERANCE!
EVEN FROM UNEXPECTED TROUBLES. There are troubles which will come to you and to me, which we could in no way foresee! (Isa 46:8-10) You may not have economic catastrophe at the present time, but you will! You may not be in conflict now, though you will! You may not have been cut to pieces by the tongues of your friends, but you will be! You may not be dying, but some of you will die this year! So this is a very timely Passage.
Now you may be saying, “Wait a minute!” I am still young I am only 55 (Or 60 or 70) years old.” Listen, you can die if you are only twenty years old. It isn’t a matter of age; it is a matter of God’s plan! “NO evil [No unexpected disaster] shall touch you.’’ The word “touch” actually means “to meddle.” Truth protects you from the interfering of disaster! Disaster meddles with your body and your soul; but it is primarily a danger to your soul. Many times when you are overcome with disaster, the first thing you do is to get bitter toward God. Then you go negative toward Truth; and you finally peel off to look for the happy hunting grounds a new social life, new friends, new activities, things that you associate with happiness, things that other people are doing which seem to make them happy. You are in for some shocks there also! But if you are taking in Truth every day, these things will not meddle with you!
Beginning in verse, (Job 5:20) we have the basic categories of disaster in which deliverance can be expected in your day as well as in Job’s day. First, “In famine He shall redeem you from death...” Under an agricultural economy the term “famine” simply meant starvation because people did not have food. Today famine implies much more than the basic Concept given in the Word of God. It includes depression or recession or economic disaster.
We are hearing a great deal of talk today condemning the fact that we are in any kind of catastrophe or economic disaster. All the politicians assure us that we are not having a recession and certainly not a depression! Things are really fine! Ministers are talking about better times; the television and the news media, as well as government bureaucrats, are all prophesying a great upsurge of prosperity. In other words, they hold that if you talk about things being fine, they will be fine! That is exactly the kind of thing that liberals feed on. Libs operate this way. They always assume that if you think sweet thoughts, everyone will be sweet; and of course this is totally divorced from Reality! You can talk and talk, and you can have every media for dissemination of information, but it is merely another stage of self-hypnosis. If you know anything about economics and you look at your own pocketbook, you can draw a lot of conclusions between the two as to how bad things really are!
But notice the Promise from God: in one of the four worst catastrophes, economic disaster, “He shall redeem you from death.” The life of the Spiritually mature believer is delivered or purchased by God’s provision of grace! (Psa 91:1-16) There may be a national economic disaster in which everyone is caught believer and unbeliever alike; or there may be a personal economic disaster in the midst of great national prosperity. You can’t tell whether or not you are going to have disaster on the basis of a national indicator, since it may be down, and you may be up; or you may be down and the national index up. You can’t use television as your indicator either. Lately a lot of these bureaucrats have been posing as economic experts; and when they are interviewed on television, they are asked, “Well, Dr. So and So, what do you think about the economy?”
“Oh, I think it will be fine this year, very fine!” However, even if things are all right, they may not necessarily be all right for you. The Principle is that God in His grace has a purpose for you in this life; (Psa 34:17) and if you are fulfilling, (Job 5:8) seeking God by the daily intake of the Word of Truth, the daily function of Operation Z and the erection of the edification complex in the soul, then you can count on it that you are going to be preserved in disaster! (Psa 34:19)
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness [Experiential righteousness — Spiritual maturity] delivers from death. (Prov 11:4)
Now there is another Principle brought up by the word “death” in: (Job 5:20) No believer can be removed from life by disaster unless God permits it. This is the great Principle of Doctrine. (Jas 5:10-11) Therefore, if this is a year of personal economic disaster for you, or if it is a year of national economic disaster for all of us, God in His matchless grace will provide!
The second disaster is military disaster. “...He shall redeem you . . . in war from the power of the sword. (Job 5:20) Every believer who is going into military service should Think with this Promise because the military is in the most difficult period of our history. And yet it is a period of great challenge. God is still on His throne; Truth still works; and we need as never before MEN OF TRUTH!
Now you are going to find that when you go into the service it will be easy to get away from the daily function of Operation Z and or the books and tape recorder. (MP3 player and or computer) It is easy to get into a routine in which there seems to be little time to take in the Word of God daily. Many of you will be stationed in places where it is very easy to go in the opposite direction. Undoubtedly some of the men who go into the service will fade out, and their positive volition will become negative. But a few wise believers will continue in Truth and will find that the Word of God is powerful and effective even in the most difficult military circumstances! (1Sa 17:47)
The third disaster is stated in: (Job 5:21) “You will be hid from the scourge of the tongue,” Literally, the Hebrew says that you hide yourself from the “scourge” (Whip) of the tongue. Now what does that mean? It means that instead of walking around wearing your feelings on your sleeve, you align your soul with Truth. God isn’t going to hide you in a crack so that people will stop saying unkind things about you. It means that even though people snipe at you and have unkind things to say about you, you are going to go right on.
This phrase indicates that you will be ridiculed by someone somewhere and in the most surprising circumstances. You will probably be strictly minding your own business, when someone will start to malign you. So this is not a Promise to keep you from being ridiculed or maligned or gossiped about. It is saying that when you fulfill, (Job 5:8) and take in Truth, you hide yourself from these things. You won’t need sympathy or protection from friends. You will have an impregnable fortress of the Word of Truth! (Psa 33:20)
Sooner or later all of us will find ourselves in a place where we are condemned or kicked or judged or maligned. If you have Divine Thinking when it comes, you have your own hiding place the WORD OF GOD! If you do not have Truth, you will get your feelings out on your sleeves, and you will fall apart! Pretty soon you will be full of mental attitude sins, running the gamut of self-pity and bitterness to hatred and vindictiveness. Therefore, you are shot down!
The fourth disaster is in: (Job 5:21) “Neither shall you be afraid of civil riots and death when it comes.” You shall not have a mental attitude sin of fear in the face of death! The word for “violence” refers to a savage or a painful death — dying under painful conditions. God has taken the sting out of death so that the mature believer never need fear death nor the manner of dying. (1Co 15:55) The soul with Spiritual maturity has great tranquility, peace and blessing even when the body is in pain. (Psa 119:92)
Now it is possible to face all four categories of disaster at the same time. For example, while in military service, you could be cut off from your organization, without rations, and be dying and bad-rapped by some of the men all at the same time! One or more of these adversities will be the portion of some of you this year. Therefore, to meet them, you need to be daily staying in fellowship and building up Truth in your soul. Just remember, while these are problems to you, they are not problems to God. God’s grace provision of Truth is able to cope effectively with each one!
But the Spiritual Thoughts of the Bible cannot meet these problems; the Bible must be in the soul — the human spirit — building an edification complex, which stabilizes and meets the problems: Truth in the frame of reference, Truth in the vocabulary, Truth in the norms and Standards — all moving out to the Thinking, which is the launching pad. There is the place where you apply Truth! You apply it to your soul; you apply it to your experience. If someone maligns, judges or puts you down in some way, if you find yourself in economic disaster, military disaster or dying, you have something on the launching pad in your soul to stabilize you because of your day-by-day intake of the Word of God!
Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, [Thoughts] As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the Ordinance of their God. [Stays in fellowship] They ask Me for just Decisions, They delight in the nearness of God. (Isa 58:2)
“You will laugh at violence and famine...” (Job 5:22) Phase Two is divided into two parts: the part where you are living and obviously living, and the part where you are dying and obviously dying. “violence or death” applies to a time of suffering in the dying part of Phase Two; “famine” refers to a period of suffering in the living part of Phase Two. And you can “laugh: be content” at both! The Hebrew word, however, neither means a laugh in response to humor nor an hysterical laugh. This is a relaxed laugh of the soul which results from inner happiness or “plus-H.” It is a laugh of confidence and security a laugh; therefore that springs from the inner resources of Divine Thinking. (Prov 4:20-21)
“Neither shall you be afraid” — that is, you will not be pulled down by mental attitude sins, whether you are living in disaster or whether you are dying. If you become afraid, you have had it! If you are in famine or economic disaster, and you become bitter, you have had it! Mental attitude sins destroy blessing. That’s why they are the most dangerous category of sin. They neutralize happiness and they neutralize Truth. They neutralize effectiveness in the Christian life! Any mental attitude sin cluster attached to anyone of these disasters is a blessing-destroyer! Fear is used here because death or dying is involved at this point.
“And you will not be afraid of wild beasts” (Job 5:22) This is a reference to something which can cause death. The Bible must be interpreted in the time in which it was written. In Job’s day, wild animals were a very real danger. And God uses all of His creation, nature, etc., in disciplining people and nations!
I will let loose among you the beasts of the field, which will bereave you of your children and destroy your cattle and reduce your number so that your roads lie deserted. (Lev 26:22)
For you will be in league with the stones of the field, And the beasts of the field will be at peace with you. (Job 5:23)
Literally, the Hebrew says, “For with the stones of the field shall you be in Covenant.” Now what does that mean? “Stones” are weapons of destruction. As a Spiritually mature believer, you do not have to fear modern weapons — missiles, atom bombs, bullets, or anything else. And again we have the beasts mentioned: “they shall be at peace with you.” The wild animals, which kill a man, and the stones, which are weapons of destruction, together form instruments of death; yet all the instruments of death in this world cannot kill the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ until the Lord permits! Therefore, you are at peace with these things, that is, you are safe from them. You are in a period of prosperity through reaching or on your way to Spiritual maturity, whereby these things cannot reach you!
THE DYING BELIEVER
You will know that your tent is secure, For you will visit your abode and fear no loss. (Job 5:24)
YOU SHALL KNOW — this is the key to dying grace! When you begin to die, there is one thing that is important — TRUTH! (Prov 3:15) You should already have accumulated Truth, and now is the time to use that accumulation — whether it takes five minutes or five years to die.
“That your tent is secure,” refers to your human body in dying. You shall know that your body — “in peace” There is no verb here. The word “peace” (“Shalom”) is the happiness and or prosperity factor. The happiness spectrum runs the gamut from ecstatics to tranquility. “Shalom” is the tranquility side and refers to all the factors that go to make up dying grace. Even though the body may be racked with pain, the dying believer will have peace and inner happiness as a part of dying grace!
THE BELIEVER IN TIME AND ETERNITY
“For you will visit your house now in time; and fear no loss; and in Eternity fear no loss of reward!” (Gen 15:1) “Visit” means to take a pleasant trip to visit people you love. Some of us this year are going to breathe our last breath; the soul is going to depart from the body; the last electrical impulse of the brain will be gone. When that happens, you take a trip — “absent from the body, face to face with the Lord.” (2Co 5:8) You will take a trip to your “own habitation.” The word for “habitation” means a place of tranquil habitation. You are going to a place where there is nothing but blessing.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Rev 21:4)
Now, that isn’t all! “We shall not sin!” We will no longer sin either in practice or in Principle, which is sometimes referred to as “ultimate sanctification.” (Php 3:21) That means the old sin nature is gone. And not only is there no sin in heaven, but there is no human morality in heaven either. All human morality, (Anything produced by the sin nature ) is judged when you receive your resurrection body at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (1Co 3:11-15)
The function of the living in the face of death
You will know also that your descendants will be many, And your offspring as the grass of the earth. (Job 5:25)
Again we have YOU SHALL KNOW! WE KNOW through the daily function of Operation Z in our lives. This subject began in verse 8 with positive volition, and now in the remainder of the chapter it is reaching its maximum production. Literally, Verse 25 begins, “You shall know also that numerous is your seed...” “Seed” here refers to the human race as a category rather than to relatives or children or those to whom you have some physical relationship. Mature believers produce mature believers! (Psa 40:1-3)
THE PERFECT TIMING OF GOD
You will come to the grave in full vigor, Like the stacking of grain in its season. (Job 5:26)
The word for “come” is in the qal imperfect to show that — and I love this — every day you live, every day the sun comes up, every day the sun goes down, you are one day closer to death. Now, I really enjoy that one! But if that is a little gruesome to you, or if it gives you the chills, you had better hurry and get some Truth! (Rom 8:23)
The analogy which follows is beautiful. First of all, you have to know something about corn. There is a right time and a wrong time to pick corn. The EXPERT must determine when the corn should be picked. In this case, God is the Expert, and He knows when it is time to take you home. As long as He wants you on this earth, no one nor anything can take you home; and when it is His time for you to go, no one can keep you here! So when the corn is ripe, it is picked, just as when the right time comes, God removes us from the scene of this life.
See now that I, I am He, And there is no God besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand. (Deut 32:39)
Even from eternity I am He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it? (Isa 43:13)
I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. (Isa 45:5-7)
For this reason, you must not question God’s judgment with regard to loved ones or even with regard to your own life. (Psa 116:15) If you are under dying grace, don’t hit the panic button and run around and try all the new cures! Don’t try “divine healers” or get anointed with funny oil! God has a purpose for you, whether in living or in dying — so relax! If it is God’s time for you to die, you are going to die, and there isn’t any way that you can stay on earth! So why get on the panic button? Why be upset? Death may be a short time or a long time away; but God has provided that time. Some of you will never know that because all of these long years you were around you didn’t take in Truth; you didn’t come to Bible class! Of course, you are the kind who will want the pastor to come and hold your hand while you die. But what you need is Truth!
Most people don’t like to be alone when they are dying, much less when they are not dying. But undoubtedly, some of you are going to die under the loneliest conditions. You could die on a battlefield or in a plane crash. It’s a pretty helpless feeling when everything suddenly quits while the plane is in the air! It’s a little lonely even if someone else is around. You don’t care about chitchat while you are going down. You might think of something heroic to say to a limited group. I suppose most people feel better dying to an audience especially if they have lived to an audience. But that won’t really help either. The only answer is the Bible stored up in our soul for the emergency! It has to make the difference or you have had it!
Now the believer is going to die “in a full age, like as a shock of corn comes in its season,” This is not a Promise of long life; it is a Promise that as a believer, when your life is fulfilled and God’s purpose for you is terminated, you will have dying grace in departure. (Psa 116:15)
(Psa 23:1-6) sets forth the same Concept. Humans think of life in terms of age; but God Thinks of life in terms of His plan, His wisdom and His omniscience!
So, here it is: when the right time comes, God is going to take you home, and God is the Judge. At whatever age the Lord takes you home, as a believer with Spiritual maturity; you will have had a full and wonderful life, whether you live to be thirty-five or eighty! Our bitterness and sorrow may question God’s wisdom in taking some wonderful person home at an early age; but He knows best. When you get bitter about the departure of a loved one, you are criticizing God, and that is dangerous! Remember, He knows the situation.
THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING TRUTH
Behold this; we have investigated it, and so it is. Hear it, and know for yourself. (Job 5:27)
“This” refers to the Doctrines of death and dying grace. “We have investigated it” is literally “we have researched it.” In other words, when we are dying, we already have Truth on the launching pad in the right lobe. We have Truth in our vocabulary as categories; we have Truth in our norms and Standards; we have Truth in our Thinking; and Divine Viewpoint is on the launching pad.
Now, before you get to dying, before you go broke, before you begin to starve, before the roof falls in; when some dear friend maligns you, before you are lying on a battlefield watching your life’s blood flow out, get this: HEAR IT and KNOW IT! You have to listen and read the teaching of Scripture, day in and day out from a pastor-teacher who teaches isagogically, categorically and exegetically! It must enter the left or perceptive lobe in the filling of God the Holy Spirit where it becomes knowledge Understood. (“Gnosis” in the Greek) But it has to go farther than the left lobe. Truth has to surpass “gnosis” in order for you to fully Understand Spiritual phenomena and in order for it to be applicable.
To pass “gnosis,” it must be BELIEVED! It must be TRANSFERRED BY FAITH into the human spirit where it becomes “epignosis” (Full knowledge) and Truth stored for cycling into the right lobe’s frame of reference. Here it forms vocabulary, and changes human thoughts, to Divine Thoughts, and produces Divine Viewpoint! The Truth is then exhaled out the left bank of the soul toward God and out the right bank toward people. This, in short, is the function of the grace apparatus for perception. (Operation Z) It is the only way you can hear Truth; and Know and Understand it!
“Hear it, and Know for yourself.” You cannot use someone else’s Knowledge of Truth when you come to one of these problems — economic, social, military or dying. Your stability will come from Truth in your own human spirit. If you want to pick a motto for your life, here is a good one at the end of this Verse: “Hear it and Know it for yourself!” There’s no other way to be prepared or any disaster, and disaster is certain to come to all of us sooner or later! There is recorded in the New Testament in, John 11 such a crisis, which aptly illustrates the need of preparation for disaster and which also presents the solution for every catastrophe.
THE FAMILY CRISIS
There had been a drastic change in circumstances for two sisters, Mary and Martha, and their brother, Lazarus.
Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha (John 11:1)
These three were not only believers in Jesus Christ, but close personal friends of His. However, at the time of Lazarus's illness, Jesus had left the area and gone to Peraea across the Jordan, (John 10:40) Lazarus’ illness became critical. The sisters, of course, would call in the doctor, they would pray for Lazarus, and they would even send for the Lord to come back and heal him. But if the best medical attention of all time had been there, if wonder drugs had been applied, if he had had a successful operation, it would have made no difference this man was designed for dying at this time, and die he would! The helpless sisters could only stand by and watch him become weaker and weaker.
“Lazarus” means “God is my help.” Neither of the two men in the Bible who possessed this name ever complained; neither sought a Divine healer or went to the pool at Bethesda; neither fell apart, even though they both had a fatal illness. They were relaxed, and they both lived up to their name. The real hero in this crisis is Lazarus, though he is barely mentioned. He knew how to die. A lot of men know how to live, but few know how to die. There were no histrionics, no dramatics; he undoubtedly insisted that everything go on as usual. Interestingly enough, Lazarus is one of the few people in the human race who experienced dying grace twice, and who died twice!
Now, in order to understand the two sisters in the approaching crisis, we need to take a brief look at them in prosperity. (Luk 10:38-42) describes such a period in their lives. The scene is set immediately with the visit of Jesus in their home. Martha was busy out in the kitchen; while Mary sat down beside Jesus and listened to Him teach. In fact, Mary so concentrated on the Lord’s Words, she wouldn’t leave, even though Martha was having a hard time in the kitchen. Both were doing what they wanted to do, but one was enjoying herself while the other was not. Martha was under pressure and had become upset. But that isn’t all — she started to stick her nose into her sister’s business!
People who are “hustlers” around the church are nearly always inclined to resent those who want to sit and take in Truth. We have both kinds in the local church. The first have a tendency toward legalism, (People trying to get God's approval by what they do) and the second, toward grace. (Using what God provides and Thinking with it) Martha, unable to stand it any longer, broke in on Jesus and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Then tell her to help me.” (Luk 10:40)
Now there’s a place for workers, when they are doing it as unto the Lord and not trying to run everyone else’s business! But the hustlers have an occupational hazard they are often critical of those who are not doing what they are doing. It takes a lot of Spiritual maturity to hustle around and get things done and yet neither fall into the self-pity trap nor resent others who do not help.
What was Jesus’ answer to the complaining Martha? “Martha, you are worried and disturbed because of the pressure you have allowed to build up in yourself. You have torn YOURSELF up!” Jesus condemned her for her mental attitude sin. Then He told her what would remedy the situation — Truth! Mary had selected the important thing — the BEST DISH, literally. Not one thing is recorded about what was served that day; but many words were recorded about Truth, which is needful. Truth will never be taken away. (2Jn 1:2) The grace person always chooses that which is permanent. The older sister, Martha, was overexerting in temporary things, while the younger sister, Mary, was relaxing in the Thoughts that count the most.
The important Principle which comes out of this brief glimpse of Martha and Mary is: that service is no substitute for Knowledge of Truth! If the believer puts Knowing before doing, there’s no problem; then the Divine plan will fall into place. Under operation grace: all human morality, human programs and gimmicks are excluded!
Now, when it became apparent that Lazarus would not recover from his illness, the sisters sent a message to Jesus to inform Him of the crisis. Were they not aware of His omniscience? No doubt they were; but, as with most of us, DOING seemed to be more important than TRUSTING.
So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick. [Dying] (John 11:3)
The word for “love” here is “phileo,” the strongest word for “love” in the Greek language. Lazarus was a great man of Truth. He had a tremendous “Category One” love response to the Lord based on his love of Truth. The sisters did not need to bid Jesus come, for they knew He also had a tender love for Lazarus.
Upon receiving the message, Jesus sounded almost callous. But He was simply making clear the purpose of the crisis.
When Jesus heard that, he said. This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified by it. (John 11:4)
The word for “sickness” here is a word which means a “sickness unto death.” Yet Jesus said that it was NOT unto death. What did He mean? Death was not the final issue of this crisis, even though Lazarus would die. The death was just temporary in order to glorify God and to bring about the seventh sign of Christ’s Deity. Both of the sisters wanted death to be avoided; but Jesus was going to wait until death had occurred, and then He would come and deliver Lazarus in such a manner as to present His own credit card to prove His identity!
Every crisis in the life of a believer is designed to glorify God and to focus attention on the Person and grace of God. God does not necessarily Promise to deliver FROM pressure; but He will always deliver THROUGH pressure; even of our own making! (Rom 8:28) Pressure makes us apply Truth and brings the message of the Gospel into focus. (cf. John 11:45) Many people would be saved because of this crisis situation.
Verses 5 and 6 set forth: the perfect timing of the Son of God! God's delays in time are God’s advances for us NOW; and in Eternity!
Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was (John 11:5-6)
“Love” here is “agapao” — a mental attitude which is void of mental attitude sins. It is used to indicate that Jesus did not delay His coming because of vindictiveness, implacability, indifference, or any other mental attitude sin. He was not trying to make anyone suffer for no reason; but for one reason, to grow! (Rom 8:17-18) Ultimately, the entire family would benefit from the delay. In the meantime, they would not understand the overriding Principle of the glory of God and the plan of God. But they and we must TRUST HIM! (Job 2:10)
In fact, Mary — the one who was so strong for Truth — is not named in this Verse because she had mental attitude sins toward the Lord. She was bitter and upset because everything did not fall into place in the crisis as she expected it to. Her problem was timing. She knew what the Lord could do; she knew He loved them — so why the delay?
Any suffering from which the Lord does not deliver immediately He intends for us to endure and trust Him and grow! Adversity, plus Divine Thinking; equals Spiritual growth! We cannot superimpose our timing on GOD! We have to learn to sit back and wait for His timing! Some of you are in a big hurry to make an idiot of yourself by getting ahead of the Lord. “Here’s a promise, Lord — I’m going to give you five minutes to fulfill your Word; and if you don’t, I’m going to start the blasphemy!” The Lord has a great sense of humor! He often sits back and chuckles, while you push, push, push! Then one day the whole thing falls in, and you stop pushing, then the Lord takes over in His way and in His time! (Heb 4:10) Never try to interpret God’s love on the basis of whether He gives you what you want WHEN you want it! Faith-rest has no time limit! (2Co 4:17)
THE DISCIPLES CRISIS
The disciples had just escaped the wrath of religion in Jerusalem, as recorded in. (John 10:39-40) When Jesus said in (John 11:7) “Let us go into Judaea again,” He was testing His disciples. It was the same test He had put to them in the boat in the storm. (Matt 8:23-27) The storm at sea illustrates the pressure, the sufferings and the disasters in life. The disciples in the boat were completely helpless. The humanity of Jesus Christ was asleep. What the disciples had to learn was that the Deity of Christ never sleeps, and they were safe in the storm!
Now the question arises: did the disciples learn anything from that storm? Would they panic at the thought of returning to danger? Or would they relax in the knowledge of the “wall of fire” around them; and Himself as the Glory inside them? (Zec 2:5) This is the same Concept men undergo in military life. They have been through a combat experience, they have seen men die, they know what it’s like to be close to death, and yet they themselves have survived. Can they go back again, knowing what’s ahead? And can they go back again and again and again?
Can you, as a believer, go into a pressure situation day in and day out and never quit trusting Him? Can you start out a new day and say, “Well, the Lord hasn’t delivered me from that yet, but back I go?” Can you actually utilize Truth before you go back into the pressure situation? Any time a person goes into a dangerous situation and he knows it’s a danger; it is a great test of the faith-rest technique; and of Thinking by means of God's Reality and not by what we want, see, hear or imagine! (2Co 5:7) The capacity to go through life without flinching or wavering comes from believing and Thinking with the Word of God! If you can go one day on an even balance — congratulations! But there’s always tomorrow. You never solve or meet those big problems unless you can go through today, tomorrow and the next day and the next on an even keel because of Truth. It’s how you handle today, tomorrow and the next day that will determine how you will handle the charge of the elephant when it comes. If you’re zigging and zagging, either you are not applying the Truth or you don’t have enough of it to apply; therefore, you need to function more consistently under Operation Z!
Now the disciples are about to flunk the test.
The disciples said to Him, Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again? (John 11:8)
They always called Him “Master” when they were displeased. They didn’t like the idea of going back at all; they were, in fact, looking for some kind of an out. You never solve the pressures in your life as long as you are looking for an out. Meeting the pressures in life depends on the utilization of Truth. Seeking an out is trying to work out your own problems — usually by denying them, worrying, throwing money at them, or compensating in some way or by changing your circumstances. But as a believer-priest you are not designed to go on your own! You are designed to go with your High Priest, Jesus Christ. That means you go THROUGH the battle — not run away from it! Human viewpoint looks at the danger without relating it to Truth and the plan of God! (Exo 14:13) As long as God has a purpose for your life in Phase Two, there is no danger that can remove you. (Rom 8:38-39)
Jesus is the Authority, and He said they were going back so that was it! The disciples wanted to argue the matter, to work up a good scare, but Jesus straightened them out in a hurry.
(John 9:4) is the background for Jesus’ answer:
We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work!
Jesus Christ is the God-man; He is the unique Person of the universe. His birth was unique; His life was unique; His impeccability and His hypostatic union; His edification complex; His knowledge of the Word that He had to chose to learn and use; (Isa 7:15) His willingness to do the will of the Father at any time, including crossing back over the Jordan into danger, are all involved when He said, “I must work the works of Him [God the Father] that sent Me!” He was a Man with a mission; He was the God-man with an obligation. Therefore, Jesus Christ recognized that His mission called for Him to cross the Jordan River, go back to Bethany and to resuscitate Lazarus, regardless of the danger. Jesus was concentrating on His mission, while the disciples were concentrating on the danger! You can’t succeed in life by concentrating on its dangers!
Every believer in Christ has a mission in life! (1Jn 3:16) The Word of Truth in our soul causes us to concentrate on the mission, rather than on our problems, or our personal desires and lust pattern! How can you concentrate on God’s plan for your life when your pleasures and or adversities overwhelm you? Through Operation Z — learning and Thinking with God's Word every day! (2Pe 1:10) We take it in today, tomorrow and the next day, and we develop concentration on our mission. How many times have you said in the midst of pressure, “I can’t stand it; I’ve got to get away”? That’s concentrating on your pressure.
Maybe you are thinking, “I don’t have a mission I’m just a jackass!” Well, even a jackass can have a mission! (Num 22:23; Jdg 15:16; Matt 21:2-3) But you think, “I’ve blown it!” You don’t blow it till you’re dead no matter what you’ve done! You see, you’re concentrating on your failures; when you should be concentrating on the Word of Truth. (Php 3:13-17) Concentrating on many Doctrines of Scripture is advanced faith-rest. Concentrating on one Promise is elementary faith-rest. Concentrating on pressure, problems, people, prosperity, pleasure, temptation, circumstances, money, sex, things, self, food, gas prices, etc., and or danger is failure to utilize and Think with the Word of Truth! (Php 3:18-19; Jas 1:7-8; Jas 4:7-8) As long as God keeps you here, you have a purpose to fulfill, and you are safe in the most dangerous places or the most adverse circumstances!
There is not one believer who can say by his own effort, “I have it made.” Yet we can all say, “I am making it; heading to and or at the condition of Spiritual maturity.” (John 14:20-21) Things are bad in this country so on what are you concentrating? You will have to concentrate on God's Thoughts sooner or later, if you’re going to survive mentally! (Col 3:2) Now, how do you get around to doing it? You have to learn it. You can’t concentrate on what you don’t know. Did you ever neglect a course in school the entire semester, then try to learn it all in one night? It just can’t be done! You have to learn a little every day; then when the test comes, you’re ready!
“Day” in (John 9:4) refers to the incarnation, or Phase Two for Christ; the “night” refers to His death. By application, the “day” is your entire Christian life! The only opportunity you have to concentrate on Truth as over against the danger is now! In eternity there’s no more sorrow, pain or death, for the old things will have passed away. Do you realize that you can be happy now with your pressure, with that adversity or disaster? You don’t have to wait till you get to heaven. You can be relaxed NOW in pressure. You can laugh at your problem! When you take your problem seriously, you’re concentrating on it, and you’ve had it! (Num 11:4-5)
We all get to the place where we begin to get security-minded. I never saw a believer who didn’t fall into this trap. Our ideas about security are different. Some of us associate security with money, some with marriage or with a job. (Luk 14:16-35) Let me tell you something: your security and my security can be summarized in two words — JESUS CHRIST! Or it can be summarized in one word — GRACE! God has a plan for your life do you believe it? Do you believe He has a purpose for your being alive? If you do, then you must concentrate on Divine Thoughts, not on your pressure! If you concentrate on your pressure, it will eat you up! On the other hand, Truth eats up the pressure. Now let’s see Jesus’ answer to the disciples. He picked up the thread of (John 9:4) He began by stating something that is simple and literal.
Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. (John 11:9)
Jesus could have discussed their fears and focused their attention on them. Psychologists today are trained to do this. They probe your past until they discover why you have a problem; and when they are through counseling, you walk out still with your problem; but now you know why you have it! If anything, this helps you to concentrate even more intently on your problem.
Jesus shocked these disciples by a statement which would appear to be totally irrelevant to the situation. You must remember that they thought of time in a different way than we do. Roughly, twelve hours in a day is simply daylight when people worked. The average working day in the ancient world was about twelve hours. Just as there is an allotted time in the day for work, so the time allotted to Jesus for the incarnation had not yet elapsed. Both He and the disciples would survive the
dangers of returning to Judaea, for until the plan of God was fulfilled, the Pharisees could not harm them.
Then Jesus gave the disciples a simple analogy to illustrate a profound Truth: just as you walk without stumbling when it is light, so functioning daily in fellowship will keep you from stumbling Spiritually. (2Pe 1:10) In other words, concentrate on and Think with Scripture, not on your problems, and they won’t get you down! If you do stumble, if you get to feeling sorry for yourself or get upset or you think it’s all over, it’s hopeless; pick yourself up with rebound (1Jn 1:9) and Scripture!
The thing that will make your problems worse — even unbearable — is to be in reversionism.
But if anyone walks in the night, [In carnality] he stumbles, because the light [Spiritual life] is not in him. (John 11:10)
You stumble because there’s no Spirit & Truth in you. (John 4:24) If you concentrate on your problem, it is inevitable that you will stumble. But if you concentrate on Truth, you are going to walk — you’re going to move; you’re going to have a wonderful life! (Psa 119:141-143)
Thomas was the only disciple who wasn’t convinced. The rest of them moved out. What was Thomas thinking about? Being stoned to death! “Come on, fellows,” he said hopelessly, “let’s go and die!” He’d already decided he was going to be a martyr. The same thing is going to happen to some of you. You feel so sorry for yourself; you don’t hear Truth even when you’re exposed to it. Then you’re going to say, “Those Bible classes don’t do me any good!” Well, how do you know? You’ve never concentrated long enough to find out!
In (John 11:11-16) Jesus informed the disciples that Lazarus had died. He had received no further message from the sisters; but Jesus, being God, knew all things. In fact. He knew from eternity past when Lazarus would die, and He deliberately waited until he was dead before moving back across the border and into Bethany. He didn’t rush to give Lazarus some comforting words before he died. He didn’t run to Bethany to pray for him and to ask God to heal him when he was dying, as everyone wants the pastor to do today. No one has the right to ask God to heal someone who is dying. You have no say over the sovereignty of God! Neither does the pastor. Yet that is the first prayer we all want to pray in the face of death.
When Jesus told the disciples plainly that Lazarus had died. He added, “and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe...” (John 11:15) Jesus knew that Lazarus was infinitely better off than when on earth; he was having a great vacation. But more than that, He knew that his death was designed for a wonderful purpose. (John 13:7) The faith of the believers would be strengthened, and many Jews would be saved because Jesus delayed until Lazarus had died. (John 11:45) Therefore, for anyone to have prayed for Lazarus’ healing would not only have been a waste of time, it would have been out of phase with the plan of God!
THE SISTERS IN A CRISIS
When Jesus arrived near Bethany, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days (John 11:17) This is to verify the actuality of his physical death. Even Martha said later, “By this time he stinketh” (John 11:39) Many of the Jews who came to comfort Martha and Mary were religious believers and unbelievers, and as was their custom, they had a series of epigrams (Witty sayings - dittys) which were to be uttered in a time of disaster. Some of these are recorded in the Mishna and the Talmud and other Jewish writings. Generally they were all about the same: everything will be all right; Lazarus was a wonderful person; we will stand by and help, etc. The Jews also used a religious approach in which they held out the promise of a future in “Abraham’s Bosom” as well as a resurrection, for even unbelieving Jews believed in a resurrection. It was a part of their Theology. Undoubtedly, this is the reason that Martha, who had been hearing these things, would say later on, “I know that he [My brother] shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (John 11:24)
The consolation extended today upon the death of a loved one has not changed much. It is usually characterized by a true sincerity, but it does not produce true consolation. Neither sister was comforted by the epigrams. In fact, the sisters had gotten to the point that they were full of accusation by the time they saw Jesus. These two girls were believers who should have been deriving comfort from the Doctrines that they had been taught especially Mary, who had sat at the feet of Jesus and functioned under Operation Z every time He was in town! But because they could not be comforted, hundreds of Jews were hanging around to find some means of consoling these two women.
The great tragedy lies not in the death of Lazarus, but in the fact that carnal believers and unbelievers were sincerely trying to help “believers” to be consoled when the “believers” should have been comforting and blessing the unbelievers with the Gospel! Many unbelievers have gone to a funeral home to come away blessed and encouraged and even saved because they witnessed the effect of the Gospel under conditions of extreme pressure. There is always something wrong with the believer’s Spiritual life when in time of great disaster he cannot derive his comfort and his strength from Scripture. Jesus, therefore, was going to have to straighten them out. God intends that every catastrophe should have an impact on the unbeliever through believers who have the inner resources of Spiritual maturity!
The Jews who came to comfort the sisters were very thoughtful, kindly people; and at this point these carnal believers and unbelievers, as is so often the case, looked better than the “believers.” The worst thing that can happen to any believer is to be caught in a crisis without Truth or in a state of reversionism. A crisis brings out whether we are or are not using the inner resources of the Spiritual life. (Prov 24:10) If you are not, you will find yourself dependent on others. When a believer in times of disaster finds more comfort in attention from people; than in the Doctrinal resources of his soul, either he has yet to grow up, or he is in a state of reversionism!
(John 11:20) contrasts the difference in the two sisters. Mary was just sitting in the house, while Martha had gotten busy. Working is one way of deriving comfort for some people; sitting quietly alone seems to help others. Even when Jesus arrived, Martha acted immediately, but Mary remained in her room. Up to now, Martha had been too busy to listen to Truth; but she was positive, and the crisis would force her to stop and take in some Truth. Some people will never listen to Truth until they are in a disaster situation; but then it is much more difficult both to take it in and to apply it.
Because Martha was active in hospitality, she was the first to hear of the arrival of Jesus. Consequently, she dashed out of the house to meet Him; but she greeted Him with a rebuke.
Martha then said to Jesus, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. (John 11:21)
Martha’s innuendo is obvious. She implied that Lazarus died because Jesus had not been there to help. Martha had spent too much time in house cleaning and not enough time with Truth. She should have applied the Truth of Divine Essence to the situation. She recognized Jesus as God, (“Lord” — “Kurios”) but turned right around and rebuked Him for not being there when He was needed. It never occurred to her that if He IS God, and He IS, then He did not have to be on the scene to heal someone. (Matt 8:5-13) Actually, as God, He was there all the time, for God IS omnipresent.
People who don’t take in Truth are always IGNORANT and ARROGANT! The old sin nature is the motivator of inconsistency, only Truth can straighten this out; and manufacture UNDERSTANDING and HUMILITY! Martha’s old sin nature was very much in evidence, as she blamed Jesus for the death of her brother! After all, she had sent the note concerning her brother’s illness, and so she knew He had had time to get there before his death. Do you know what was the matter with Martha? She was so impressed with the nice people who had shown up to comfort them that she saw Jesus in a bad light. Why, HE hadn’t even arrived there for the funeral! Without the inner resources of Truth, human viewpoint took over. It’s just as easy for us to fall into this trap to be impressed with the wrong things and the wrong people. If we are living our Christian lives bogged down in legalism, human morality and the details of life, we will react exactly as did Martha in a disaster situation! Here, then, is the great tragedy: disorientation to grace, (“Lord, why did you let this happen to me?”) the substitution of human morality, and being impressed with nice unbelievers!
Now twice Martha is going to say “I know.” The amazing thing is that the people who know the least are the quickest to tell you what they know. What Martha knows is summed up in two short verses!
Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You. (John 11:22)
Martha turned from the innuendo of blasphemy to bullying. Legalism always has a tendency to bully. “I do know that you have an in with God,” she said in effect; the least you can do now is to get cracking with it and do something for me (After all I’ve done for you!) Legalistic believers often give under human good, then turn on the recipient of their generosity and throw it up to him. Martha was not grace-oriented.
Martha again demonstrated her ignorance by telling Jesus that He would have to ask GOD for whatever He wanted. Furthermore, she tried to apply the Doctrine of prayer to the dead. Many sects pray for the dead; but prayer is for the living, not for the dead. Jesus, who is God, can bring Lazarus back but not by prayer for the dead.
Now it is not my purpose in this short booklet to exegete this Chapter in detail, but only to bring out the necessity of preparation for disaster! In (John 11:23) Jesus gave Martha in one phrase, not the Doctrine of resurrection, but the comfort from the Doctrine. Martha knew the Doctrine, but under pressure she had failed to Think with it. Jesus wanted to show her that while Lazarus would be resuscitated, her source of comfort must be from the Doctrine of resurrection, which is permanent, not from resuscitation, which is temporary! When Jesus reminded her, she not only remembered, she added a phrase of her own: “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection ON THE LAST DAY.” (The Second Advent at which time the Old Testament saints receive a resurrection body)
In adding this last phrase, Martha failed to relate resurrection to Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus must show her the relationship.
Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live [Eternally] even if he dies, [Physically] and everyone who lives [Physically] and believes in Me will never die. [Spiritually] Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26)
Whoever believes in Him shall live for all eternity. Unbelievers are lost for all eternity, (John 3:36) that’s why there is no need to pray for the dead. The issue is settled in life. This is the comfort of the believer.
Mary, as we have already seen, was sitting alone in her room. When a person who customarily listens to Truth and who is positive hits some kind of a disaster and cannot cope with it, that person sits alone — in “operation over-think.”
Lazarus is dead! But as soon as she heard from Martha that Jesus was nearby, she was aroused out of her subjectivity, which had led to the mental attitude sins of bitterness, self-pity and resentfulness, and she came immediately to the One she loved. Jesus did not come into Bethany or to the sisters’ home, for He intended to go straight to the tomb of Lazarus — but not before He saw Mary. (John 11:28-30)
As Mary left her room, the Jews who had come to comfort Martha and Mary began to follow her. (John 11:31) Since she had stayed in her room, most of them had not yet made their speeches of consolation to Mary, and now it looked as though the opportunity were presenting itself. Mary had Truth; therefore, none of the sincere but meaningless words from these unbelievers could reach into the soul of Mary and comfort her. When I speak at a funeral, who is comforted? Those who already have Truth in their souls! I merely refresh their memories with regard to Thoughts that are important at this time, and they become meaningful!
What did Mary do when she saw Jesus?
Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. (John 11:32)
Three times in Scripture Mary is at the feet of Jesus. Each time a lesson is taught. In, (Luk 10:39) she learned Truth at His feet; here she came as a failure at His feet. In, (John 12:3) Mary succeeded at His feet — she applied Truth. As the failure, Mary came with the same bitterness and complaint as Martha. These sins had short-circuited the Truth in her right lobe. But there is a difference in the remark of the two sisters. Martha said it in ignorance of Truth; Mary said it in cognizance of Truth. When Martha made the remark, Jesus taught her Truth; when Mary made the remark, JESUS WEPT! Her need at this time was not to be taught Truth, but to apply it. (Psa 119:11)
In operation “over-think,” Mary was totally overcome by weeping and grief. (John 11:33) Anyone who falls into subjectivity in disaster cannot come out on top, no matter how strong he may be. The Jews were also weeping — for a variety of reasons: some had a genuine sorrow; some had pity for the sisters; some wept because it was the thing to do!
(John 11:33) says that Jesus “groaned” at all the weeping; but actually, He was full of indignation. Why? It was bad news for Mary to be doing the same kind of weeping as the “unbelievers.” There is nothing sinful about weeping; but when the weeping reflects lack of Truth or its application, then it is wrong!
Now Jesus was compassionate toward the sorrow of the sisters. One of His Reasons for coming into the world was to take upon Himself our sorrows and our griefs. (Isa 53:4) He understands our frailties. (Psa 103:14) But He was indignant that of all people Mary should weep “as others who have no hope.” (1Th 4:13) He was indignant over the hypocritical mourning of some of the Jews. He broke through all the weeping and wailing and began to calm them with a question; which would begin to focus their attention on who and what He IS: “Where have you laid him?” (John 11:34)
Then as He approached the tomb, Jesus Himself wept! (John 11:35) Some began to murmur and express their doubt and suspicion. Three times in this chapter human viewpoint is expressed: by Martha in, (John 11:21) — a believer ignorant of Truth; by Mary in, (John 11:32) — a believer who failed to apply Truth; by the crowd in (John 11:37) — unbelievers minus Truth, helpless in their souls, unable to derive any true comfort, and unable to see that “all things work together for good.” (Rom 8:28) None of the three groups Understood; that Jesus, who delivers FROM death, can also deliver THROUGH death! To all three, death made the situation hopeless. So Jesus is going to demonstrate that what man cannot do, God can do! Man’s extremity is always God’s opportunity, (Luk 1:37) whether in comfort and or deliverance!
Even greater than that which Jesus Christ did in this passage — resuscitate Lazarus — is that which He can do for us now! He does not bring our loved ones back from the grave. He has given us something better — Divine Thinking! And this is the only answer, no matter what the problem or how great the disaster! It remains for you and for every believer to recognize the Principle of preparing himself for any eventuality, for any disaster, through the intake and use of Truth! Then, and only then, can you LAUGH at disaster, (Job 5:22) for you know that your soul has found refuge in God’s provision until “until destruction passes by.” (Psa 57:1) Remember:
He knows the way that I take: when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His path; [Stayed in fellowship] I have kept His way [Thoughts] and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the Command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. (Job 23:10-12)