Welcome to the Mountjoy Ministries Blog

This blog was authored by Bryan W. Sheldon, author and Bible teacher. His books are listed below. The studies in the blog are offered in the desire that they may be helpful in directing readers to the truths contained in the Bible.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Surveying Scripture - the Books of Experience


The Bibles that we are familiar with (whatever translation they are) are divided into two, the Old Testament and the New. There are five groupings in the Old Testament and, I would suggest, five in the New. The five in the Old are:

The five books of Moses (the Law);

The twelve books of History (from Joshua to Esther);

The five books of Experience (Job to the Song of Solomon);

The five Major Prophets (Isaiah to Daniel) and lastly

The twelve Minor Prophets (Hosea to Malachi).

In this fashion we have the 39 books divided into three groups of five and two groups of twelve.

The five groups in the New Testament are as follows:

The four Gospels

The Book of Acts

The fourteen Pauline Epistles (Hebrews is included!)

The seven General Epistles

The Book of Revelation


For the next few posts we shall (D.V.) seek to find some lessons in the books of Job, Psalms, and Proverbs.

These books are at the heart of the Old Testament and often known as the Psalms or Writings. They are also known as the books of wisdom (containing as they do the writings of Solomon who had been endowed with an exceptional wisdom) or the books of experience (because of the several important testimonies recorded there). Not only so, but the life experiences of David, Solomon, Job, Moses and others that are included, are offered in Scripture as being true to life, and therefore, able also to illuminate the experience of those who read them.

Prelude:  Some say that the centre verses of the Bible are in Psalm 118: It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.” (Psalm 118:8–9). If so, these books which are at the heart of the T’nach emphasise the importance of faith. Faith is God’s minimum. He has everything for faith, He has nothing for unbelief. This would suggest that all spiritual experiences are understood in terms of faith. This mysterious book, setting out the experience of Job, really has a very simple message. God is saying to Job,

Trust Me!


The book of Job is 42 chapters long and can be divided into three unequal parts.
Chapters 1 and 2 serve as the introduction. Chapters 3 to 37 contain the main arguments. Chapters 38 to 42 carry the conclusion.
INTRODUCTION : Chapters 1 – 2
1.     The main characters of the narrative
(a) The Lord God, revealed here by His personal name, YHWH.  He is sovereign and in total control.
(b)   Satan. Introduced among the sons of God. He had been created perfect and previously known as Lucifer, son of the morning (Isaiah 14.12). He was the guardian cherub on the holy mountain amongst the fiery stones. What mystery is here! Even after his fall he still has access to the throne of God. It seems he is fulfilling a service—that of prosecuting council—the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10).
(c)   Job. A man blameless and upright, who feared God.  He had 7 sons and 3 daughters, 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys and many servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
2.     The first movement.   Satan stands – Satan slanders.
Often referred to as the Slanderer, Satan is well named. Three times in Scripture Satan speaks.
In Genesis :         Satan slanders God to man    (Testing of Eve)
In Job :                Satan slanders man to God    (Testing of Job)
In Gospels :          Satan slanders the God/man  (Testing of Jesus)

Satan, is seeking to produce misunderstanding and separate God and man: a slanderer separates intimate friends” (Prov. 16:28). He succeeds in Genesis; he fails in Job. Satan says, But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face” (1:11).
(c)    God permits. Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” (1:12) Why does God allow it?  This is debated for the rest of the book.
(d)   Satan delights. See the speed by which he completes the first stage – removing the possessions of Job and killing his sons and daughters.
(e) Job worships.  He doesn't know about the scene in heaven but he worships. "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord." Through all this Job did not sin or blame God" (1:21,22)
3. The second movement.  Satan stands – Satan slanders
(a)   God initiates.  Chapter 2 begins with almost a mirror image of the encounter given in chapter 1. The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”” (2:3)
(b)  Satan responds.  “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.” (2:4)

(c) God permits: "Behold he is in your power, only spare his life" (2:6)
(d)  Satan delights. So went Satan forth from the  presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown’.
(e) Job sins not: "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not adversity? In all this Job did not sin with his lips."(2:10)
4      The Wisdom of God

These books are called the books of wisdom. Here is the wisdom of God. Can we understand it? The first lesson here is – to find the cause of things seen, we must look to the unseen. The solution to the riddle of life is spiritual not physical. Job and Daniel would teach us that if we wish to affect things here we must address ourselves there. If we would touch things on earth we must address ourselves to heaven. Events happen here because they are allowed there.

 Job was under the protection of God.

(a)   First, everything was protected. God had placed a fence around everything.

(b)   Then the fence was contracted and only Job was protected.

(c)    Finally, only Job’s life was within the fence.

The permissive will of God in the book of Job may be too high for us. How can we understand it? There is a further example of it in Scripture, when the fence was taken completely away; He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32). And remember, the sacrifice of the Saviour not only dealt with sin but also dealt with Satan: “..having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col.2.15).
More next time.