Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Looking Back

Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue. (Job 14:1-2 NKJV)

And Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil (difficult or hard) have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage." (Genesis 47:9 NKJV)

But if a man lives many years And rejoices in them all, Yet let him remember the days of darkness, For they will be many. All that is coming is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 11:8 NKJV)

For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27 NKJV)


I have been reading the book of Job recently and it is probably not the best or most encouraging book to read when one is about to finish his 76th circuit around the sun.  Poor Job had done everything right and yet everything had gone wrong.  He even had three friends who knew exactly what was wrong and they were not hesitant to tell him.  According to them, he had sinned, or God would not have taken his family, his wealth and now his health.  Even his wife had told him to curse God and die.  I don’t think she did that because she despised him, I think she advised him to do that because she loved him and wanted God to put him out of his misery. You will notice that when the trial was all over, Job produced new offspring, but nothing is said about a new wife.


We would say Jacob had lived a long life, yet to him it was short and full of calamity.  In Jacob’s case, he had lied his way through life, and so much of his hard life was because of his deceptions.  His long life had been a struggle and many of us can relate to that.  We really can’t say that we like Job have always been careful to avoid evil.  But even when we tried to do right, we can look back on many decisions that we made in the fear of God that were costly in many ways.  Life would be discouraging if we did not remember that disciples of the Lord “take up a cross and follow Him.”  The cross is a place of death (or separation).  In many cases, true disciples lose the support of their families and those that they thought were their friends when they take up that cross.  It is nice when we suffer for righteousness sake rather than suffering because of our sin and because of self-willed decisions. 


Solomon “had it made” as the world would say.  Yet, even he was led astray by the unbelieving women that he had married.  He had made peace treaties with the nations around him by marrying the daughters of their kings.  Most kings would not want to wage war against their own daughters and so by marrying their daughters he protected himself from those kingdoms that otherwise might have wanted to destroy the nation of Israel.  But in order to keep those pagan women happy, he had to build temples to their gods, and he did that on the hill east of Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:7).  That hill is the Mount of Olives.  The Bible says he “went after” some of these Gods.  Whether that means he worshiped them or simply provided for them to be worshiped by his wives and others is not clear to me.  I would like to believe that he never actually worshiped pagan gods.  But even so, when he writes as a preacher in Ecclesiastes, he seems to reflect on a life of darkness.  Despite his great wisdom, he had made decisions that left him in a state of terrible depression.


Basically, this life has very little to offer.  Even if we “gain the whole world” what do we have?  We still die and leave it to others.  Trusting in the Lord and worshiping Him faithfully through thick and thin without always knowing the “why” of life is one of the lessons of Job’s life.  But because of his confidence in the goodness of God he had hope.  He had something to encourage him.  He knew that His redeemer lived.  That means he knew he was a sinner despite his upright life.  He knew there was a God in heaven that loved him, and Job knew that He would see that Redeemer even if his body was destroyed by the boils and maggots that were a part of his trial.  Basically, if the last 76 years were all that I had to encourage me, I would be highly depressed.  There have been some rally nice victories and I have children that I love, but there have been a lot of disappointments.  But I too know that one day I will meet my Redeemer.  And I am so glad that I will meet him as a believer who has been bought back from the slave market of sin and not as a sinner in rebellion against God. 

I don’t know who wrote this hymn but he/she has said it well:

My Redeemer! O what beauties
In that lovely Name appear;
None but Jesus, in His glories,
Shall the honoured title wear.
My Redeemer!
Thou hast my salvation wrought.
When in heaven I see Thy glory,
When before Thy throne I bow,
Perfected I shall be like Thee,
Fully thy redemption know,
My Redeemer
Then shall hear me shout His praise.

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of June 30, 2019

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