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    Bitterness

    I hope I have your forgiveness in advance for not providing the references in this post. I donít text quickly and am limited on time. I am more than happy to provide any references later (if requested...assuming anyone even reads this).

    If you look at the OT you find several notable instances of individuals who are dealing with bitterness. Job, Hannah, Rachel, Naomi and Jeremiah are the names that come immediately to my mind (I know there are more but my poor memory and substandard OT knowledge limit the list). The thing I want to point out is that never does the Lord chastise them for their bitterness.

    Skip to the NT and there are two passages that spring to mind. First, Hebrews warns to be on guard against a bitter root springing up (and defiling many). There the bitterness seems to be the thing in view. And in a more practical example, Peter rebukes Simon the Sorcerer for thinking he could buy the gift of God. He says he perceives that Simon is
    Code:
    ...in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity...
    and commands him to repent.

    This warning against bitterness seems to be unique to the NT (unless I am overlooking something). Which makes me wonder if the sin (as it is alluded to more directly in the NT) is not so much in the bitterness itself- but rather in the approach to it. Jeremiah himself prophesied that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Are the OT examples of bitterness simply showing the individuals being open to God about their laments (Psalm 51:6) and confessing their state before Him and so finding mercy(Proverbs 28:13)? Or is there something of sin in the bitterness itself (as might be inferred from Peterís rebuke of Simon)?


    Sent from my iPhone using TOL
    If God promises life, He slayeth first; when He builds, He casteth all down first. God is no patcher; He cannot build on another's foundation. - William Tyndale

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Jeremiah 17:9

    Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
    Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

    Isaiah 50:10-11

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    TOL Subscriber Nang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    I hope I have your forgiveness in advance for not providing the references in this post. I don’t text quickly and am limited on time. I am more than happy to provide any references later (if requested...assuming anyone even reads this).

    If you look at the OT you find several notable instances of individuals who are dealing with bitterness. Job, Hannah, Rachel, Naomi and Jeremiah are the names that come immediately to my mind (I know there are more but my poor memory and substandard OT knowledge limit the list). The thing I want to point out is that never does the Lord chastise them for their bitterness.

    Skip to the NT and there are two passages that spring to mind. First, Hebrews warns to be on guard against a bitter root springing up (and defiling many). There the bitterness seems to be the thing in view. And in a more practical example, Peter rebukes Simon the Sorcerer for thinking he could buy the gift of God. He says he perceives that Simon is
    Code:
    ...in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity...
    and commands him to repent.

    This warning against bitterness seems to be unique to the NT (unless I am overlooking something). Which makes me wonder if the sin (as it is alluded to more directly in the NT) is not so much in the bitterness itself- but rather in the approach to it. Jeremiah himself prophesied that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Are the OT examples of bitterness simply showing the individuals being open to God about their laments (Psalm 51:6) and confessing their state before Him and so finding mercy(Proverbs 28:13)? Or is there something of sin in the bitterness itself (as might be inferred from Peter’s rebuke of Simon)?


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    Forgive me in advance for my simplistic response to your good question . . .

    Bitterness {"anger"} as revealed in O.T. is an uncontrollable characteristic & product of fallen humanity; and only remedied (spiritually in Christ) as revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ.

    IOW's, bitterness has been countered with genuine pardon by Christ and will reflect within Christians' acknowledgment & practice of HIS forgiveness.

    Bitterness is natural to man and is only made righteous and remedied through the forgiveness of the grace and power of the Man, Jesus Christ, the Savior.
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

    " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
    Gordon H. Clark

    "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
    Charles Spurgeon

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    Bitterness

    Quote Originally Posted by Nang View Post
    Forgive me in advance for my simplistic response to your good question . . .

    Bitterness {"anger"} as revealed in O.T. is an uncontrollable characteristic & product of fallen humanity; and only remedied (spiritually in Christ) as revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ.
    Nang, this may be where I need to clarify.

    First of all, I donít equate anger and bitterness. Bitterness comes as a result of disappointment- being let down. A perceived loss to oneís self in some way (often consciously held on to for a time). Anger comes more as a response to some slight or affront.

    Second, my intent is (at least in part) to differentiate between the feeling and what that feeling elicits. I sort of answered my own question to that in the OP, but left it open (as best I could) to comment and alteration. Since I donít see anger and bitterness as being equivalent, I donít see them leading to the same outworking. So when Peter confronted Simon, he recognized the root and the fruit. And the foundational question I have is whether the root is sinful of itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nang View Post
    IOW's, bitterness has been countered with genuine pardon by Christ and will reflect within Christians' acknowledgment & practice of HIS forgiveness.
    If bitterness itself is forgiven, are you saying the root is sinful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nang View Post
    Bitterness is natural to man and is only made righteous and remedied through the forgiveness of the grace and power of the Man, Jesus Christ, the Savior.
    Assuming you mean the man is only made righteous in Christ, with this I fully agree.


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    If God promises life, He slayeth first; when He builds, He casteth all down first. God is no patcher; He cannot build on another's foundation. - William Tyndale

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Jeremiah 17:9

    Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
    Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

    Isaiah 50:10-11

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    Over 2000 post club way 2 go's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    I hope I have your forgiveness in advance for not providing the references in this post. I donít text quickly and am limited on time. I am more than happy to provide any references later (if requested...assuming anyone even reads this).

    If you look at the OT you find several notable instances of individuals who are dealing with bitterness. Job, Hannah, Rachel, Naomi and Jeremiah are the names that come immediately to my mind (I know there are more but my poor memory and substandard OT knowledge limit the list). The thing I want to point out is that never does the Lord chastise them for their bitterness.

    in the OT the bitterness examples you gave are of sadness but Simon's bitterness is from jealousy

    Job 3:5 I wish that bitter day had remained as dark as death, covered with the darkest clouds.


    Act 8:23 I see that you are full of bitter jealousy and cannot stop yourself from doing wrong."

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    (Sorry...I edited my original response and didn't realize the first version posted.)

    Quote Originally Posted by way 2 go View Post

    in the OT the bitterness examples you gave are of sadness but Simon's bitterness is from jealousy

    Job 3:5 I wish that bitter day had remained as dark as death, covered with the darkest clouds.


    Act 8:23 I see that you are full of bitter jealousy and cannot stop yourself from doing wrong."
    So you have done the same thing Nang has - relabeled bitterness (at least in certain cases) - indicating that maybe the bitterness itself isn't the issue (or that you don't believe bitterness itself is sinful). Bitterness is a specific response - just as sadness and anger and a whole host of other "emotions" (which could be more than just emotional).

    Job also says this:

    Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
    Job 7:11

    He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.
    Job 9:18

    Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.
    Job 23:2

    He is a good example of bitterness, specifically. These are not merely sadness or anger or any other thing - but the term bitter applies well. Yet Job was ultimately justified.

    I would also point out that the KJV doesn't render Job 3:5 with the term bitterness - and that the version you used references the day as bitter but the other references I cited all specifically and definitively reference bitterness (as it appears the underlying Hebrew supports). I only say this to argue that bitterness was certainly a part of Job's experience.

    So would you say that bitterness itself (not jealousy, anger etc...) is not sinful?
    Last edited by nikolai_42; May 22nd, 2019 at 10:55 AM. Reason: Total revision
    If God promises life, He slayeth first; when He builds, He casteth all down first. God is no patcher; He cannot build on another's foundation. - William Tyndale

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Jeremiah 17:9

    Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
    Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

    Isaiah 50:10-11

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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    (Sorry...I edited my original response and didn't realize the first version posted.)

    So you have done the same thing Nang has - relabeled bitterness (at least in certain cases) - indicating that maybe the bitterness itself isn't the issue (or that you don't believe bitterness itself is sinful). Bitterness is a specific response - just as sadness and anger and a whole host of other "emotions" (which could be more than just emotional).


    So would you say that bitterness itself (not jealousy, anger etc...) is not sinful?
    context

    bitterness , jealousy & anger can be sinful or not sinful depending on context:
    here it says be angry
    Eph 4:26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

    here it says put away anger
    Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

    God is a jealous God
    Exo_20:5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God,

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    Quote Originally Posted by way 2 go View Post
    context

    bitterness , jealousy & anger can be sinful or not sinful depending on context:
    here it says be angry
    Eph 4:26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

    here it says put away anger
    Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

    God is a jealous God
    Exo_20:5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God,
    Okay...I think there are two things of note here :

    1. I think it is of interest (and part of my initial point) that both you and Nang substituted other reactions (anger and jealousy) in for bitterness. It's almost as though bitterness is a more foundational condition and anger and jealousy are more like initial responses to some condition (bitterness being one of them). Of course I know it isn't that simple - bitterness can be fostered by persistent unforgiveness - so it can also be a byproduct. But returning to Peter's rebuke, it was like he was identifying the cause of Simon's sin. In other words, anger and jealousy can be justified by their object (or subject) but bitterness is something more...isolated from other responses (bad word, I know, but best I have). I suppose the practical upshot to this point would be if someone in a counseling position (assuming biblical foundation) would address bitterness directly or would consider it just a natural response of the soul (and so not try to "fix" the bitterness directly, but address the clearly sinful issues at stake).
    2. Paul says to put away all bitterness just as he says to put away all wrath and anger (etc...). Were the OT individuals guilty of the bitterness that Paul says needs to be put away?
    If God promises life, He slayeth first; when He builds, He casteth all down first. God is no patcher; He cannot build on another's foundation. - William Tyndale

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Jeremiah 17:9

    Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
    Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

    Isaiah 50:10-11

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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    Okay...I think there are two things of note here :

    1. I think it is of interest (and part of my initial point) that both you and Nang substituted other reactions (anger and jealousy) in for bitterness. It's almost as though bitterness is a more foundational condition and anger and jealousy are more like initial responses to some condition (bitterness being one of them). Of course I know it isn't that simple - bitterness can be fostered by persistent unforgiveness - so it can also be a byproduct. But returning to Peter's rebuke, it was like he was identifying the cause of Simon's sin. In other words, anger and jealousy can be justified by their object (or subject) but bitterness is something more...isolated from other responses (bad word, I know, but best I have). I suppose the practical upshot to this point would be if someone in a counseling position (assuming biblical foundation) would address bitterness directly or would consider it just a natural response of the soul (and so not try to "fix" the bitterness directly, but address the clearly sinful issues at stake).
    2. Paul says to put away all bitterness just as he says to put away all wrath and anger (etc...). Were the OT individuals guilty of the bitterness that Paul says needs to be put away?
    Mawraw (most often used O.T. word for bitterness) does carry 'anger' as part of the definition from Strong's. I'd think, with you, such is the by-product, however. Job was clearly in 'bitterness.'

    I've always associated 'bitterness' with the taste: When the Lord Jesus Christ was offered a bitter sponge, he turned away. It seems, bitterness can be thought of as synonymous with disgruntled, irritable, and complaining. We'd call such "an embittered old man/woman" for instance (angry, disgruntled, irritable).

    It is often discussed in association with pessimism vs optimism. In Job's case, there was no optimism (he'd lost everything but his Deliverer), but as Nang mentioned, the Christian knows by faith there is only a positive outcome to his/her life. 1 John 3:1-3 Ephesians 2:11-22

    I was a child in a very difficult family setting and often was constantly in the dredges of embittering circumstances. I believe we can, with God's indwelling, overcome our situation with blessing over cursing, but it is despite being inundated by bitter circumstance 1 John 4:4

    Paul wrote from the difficulty of prison and want, unscathed by his bitter circumstance, whereby he encourages the believers to "Rejoice in the Lord" Philippians 3:1,4:4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    Mawraw (most often used O.T. word for bitterness) does carry 'anger' as part of the definition from Strong's. I'd think, with you, such is the by-product, however. Job was clearly in 'bitterness.'

    I've always associated 'bitterness' with the taste: When the Lord Jesus Christ was offered a bitter sponge, he turned away. It seems, bitterness can be thought of as synonymous with disgruntled, irritable, and complaining. We'd call such "an embittered old man/woman" for instance (angry, disgruntled, irritable).

    It is often discussed in association with pessimism vs optimism. In Job's case, there was no optimism (he'd lost everything but his Deliverer), but as Nang mentioned, the Christian knows by faith there is only a positive outcome to his/her life. 1 John 3:1-3 Ephesians 2:11-22

    I was a child in a very difficult family setting and often was constantly in the dredges of embittering circumstances. I believe we can, with God's indwelling, overcome our situation with blessing over cursing, but it is despite being inundated by bitter circumstance 1 John 4:4

    Paul wrote from the difficulty of prison and want, unscathed by his bitter circumstance, whereby he encourages the believers to "Rejoice in the Lord" Philippians 3:1,4:4
    I don't recall where I read it (Beale's We Become What We Worship??) but it has been suggested somewhere by someone that bitterness is the result of deep-seated idolatry. Idols abound and lurk deep within the heart of man (Jeremiah 17:9!) and there are things we think we are due - that we are owed (by whomever), whether we even recognize that entitlement or not. I wonder if that is the distinction between the person who goes through horrendous circumstances without so much as a lasting complaint and the one who can't "let go" of difficulties. The one who is abused yet not bitter may not like the circumstances, but hasn't got it set in his (or her) mind what he or she deserves. Maybe what might be expected, but not what they deserve. It is, I suspect, at the root of the oft asked question - why do bad things happen to good people (as though there are really any truly good people, anyway)? What the unbeliever thinks as an obstacle to rational belief in God, is really his idol preventing him from humbling himself before The Eternal Almighty Sovereign Lord of the universe. And while that might be "expected" from those outside the camp, when it rears its ugly head within the nominal church, it should be a terrifying indication that there is something rotten that God is exposing - something of idolatry that has gone unconfessed and undealt with that will manifest itself to the world (there are a few prominent examples in view in the Western church today). And so it is that the warning we have from the writer of Hebrews might be a warning against idolatry as much as anything else. One man's idol gone unconfessed and unaddressed ultimately takes over and defiles many around him. Could there be a connection to Wormwood(??)

    That little statement in Colossians reverberates around the world with echoes that resound for generations :

    Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
    For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

    Colossians 3:5-6

    Not only is coveting one of the topics of the Decalogue, not only is it found (subtextually) when Jesus elucidates on adultery and murder (or anger), but it is seen to be idolatry. Anything (no matter how good, how noble, how excellent, how beautiful and how pure) that has our affection to a degree surpassing our affection for God is an idol. We want this or that. We want more of (whatever) and how easy it is for that to be obeisance to a stealthy idol. We justify it (because it is so good, because it is a gift of God) and fail to realize that our focus on it is our undoing. God made Moses' body disappear in the wilderness. He made the ark of the covenant disappear. He had Hezekiah destroy the brazen serpent that was the point of focus for the healing of His people! And why? Because they started to follow after and worship the thing, the representation, the image more than the Giver (2 Kings 18:4). And how is that covetousness? It is a wayward heart seeking something (power, control, recognition, self-satisfaction etc...) by substituting an emblem for the actual. That emblem is powerless and only points to the reality. But when shadows - such as the feasts and the ordinances that Moses gave Israel - become greater than the reality, idolatry has set in. And we need only see how the Pharisees reacted to Jesus' words. They were blind, deaf and just plain dead to any of the reality that the Old Covenant pointed to. And while we may smugly say that our desire for another Coke bears no resemblance to the Israelite apostasy, we forget that God sees the end from the beginning. A Coke now becomes a growing appetite until we have no appetite for spiritual things because we are too busy stuffing our bellies (or eyes or ears) with things that delight us. And if it goes too long we will, also like the Israelites, find our nostrils overflowing with the good that we overindulge in - the good that we have becomes a source of revulsion and no satisfaction at all. It becomes a source of bitterness to our souls.


    But to the believer who - with Paul - has learned to be content in all situations, there is no cause for offense. Contentment and covetousness are antithetical to one another. The last several verses of Ephesians 4 (4:25-32) - which w2g already aptly pulled from all address that underlying thing that associates with bitterness (as an underlying "feeling"). Bitterness can't survive when the truth is received (v25). That truth requires that we not hold on to anger or unforgiveness or the lying accusations that often accompany intense anger (vv26-27). Honest work upholds the truth and keeps that spirit of entitlement (connected with covetousness as I think I implied in the first paragraph or two) from rising (v28). Speaking honestly and not gossiping or with a double tongue is more support for the truth (v29). If we aren't careful, we can engage in positively unholy thoughts, words and deeds that come from a bitter root - and so grieve the Spirit (v30 - this is a passing observation as grieving the Holy Spirit can be done in many ways, I suspect). And then the injunction to simply let all anger, bitterness, wrath etc be put away. And finally, forgiveness is also antithetical to bitterness (on a personal level, at least) - thus v32.

    And - as you well said, Lon - a good chunk of that contentment in all situations is giving thanks always for all things (Ephesians 5:20 and cf Rom 1:21) and rejoicing in the Lord even when that doesn't (naturally speaking) make sense. Otherwise, we are letting something come between us and God. A sure sign of an idol (or seeds for one).

    My apologies for the unexpected soapbox and seeming rabbit trail. But I tried to tie bitterness and idolatry together and may not have done a great job of linking them back to the discussion.
    If God promises life, He slayeth first; when He builds, He casteth all down first. God is no patcher; He cannot build on another's foundation. - William Tyndale

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Jeremiah 17:9

    Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
    Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

    Isaiah 50:10-11

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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    What the unbeliever thinks as an obstacle to rational belief in God, is really his idol preventing him from humbling himself before The Eternal Almighty Sovereign Lord of the universe.
    This is a quote-worthy observation and statement. A lot of truth, in a short sentence.
    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    And - as you well said, Lon - a good chunk of that contentment in all situations is giving thanks always for all things (Ephesians 5:20 and cf Rom 1:21) and rejoicing in the Lord even when that doesn't (naturally speaking) make sense. Otherwise, we are letting something come between us and God. A sure sign of an idol (or seeds for one).

    My apologies for the unexpected soapbox and seeming rabbit trail. But I tried to tie bitterness and idolatry together and may not have done a great job of linking them back to the discussion.
    To balance, I think Job (and I when I was going through similar as a young person) may have had such as an idol BUT for me, it was also an expectation of what God's world 'should' be like. We read Job and as one atrocity (a true atrocity) after another continues to where he is finally in the ashes scraping sores, we know from the text it is Satan that is razing havoc on him and that, at least in the text, it is unjust. This injustice is seen by his three friends and they speculate as to Job's sins, what he deserves, and what is right and wrong about the given atrocious circumstances. Job had a contention with God in which he eventually came to close his mouth, perhaps because he neglected to remember he, himself, was also clay in the Potter's hands (this is how I read the last 3 chapters of God's power over creation).

    I think the last part you key in on, that we are to be thankful in all circumstance, is the simple truth of bitter circumstance vs. bitterness 'in' us. In my paragraph above I'm encircling this truth: We can be 'in' bitter circumstances, without becoming ourselves bitter. 1 John 4:4
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

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    nikolai_42 (May 25th, 2019)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    This is a quote-worthy observation and statement. A lot of truth, in a short sentence.

    To balance, I think Job (and I when I was going through similar as a young person) may have had such as an idol BUT for me, it was also an expectation of what God's world 'should' be like. We read Job and as one atrocity (a true atrocity) after another continues to where he is finally in the ashes scraping sores, we know from the text it is Satan that is razing havoc on him and that, at least in the text, it is unjust. This injustice is seen by his three friends and they speculate as to Job's sins, what he deserves, and what is right and wrong about the given atrocious circumstances. Job had a contention with God in which he eventually came to close his mouth, perhaps because he neglected to remember he, himself, was also clay in the Potter's hands (this is how I read the last 3 chapters of God's power over creation).

    I think the last part you key in on, that we are to be thankful in all circumstance, is the simple truth of bitter circumstance vs. bitterness 'in' us. In my paragraph above I'm encircling this truth: We can be 'in' bitter circumstances, without becoming ourselves bitter. 1 John 4:4
    And not only praising God, but loving one's enemies. Job's comforters are called his friends, but with friends like that...

    And so one of the big takeaways I have from the book is this short verse:

    And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
    Job 42:10

    In the midst of utter devastation and inexplicable loss, Job finds himself interceding - not for himself, but for the very ones who were trying to convince him of sin! This is something of the character of Christ (and the essence of the love of God which we are commanded to show). To not look on his own things but on the things of others even while what he did have was being stripped away from him.
    If God promises life, He slayeth first; when He builds, He casteth all down first. God is no patcher; He cannot build on another's foundation. - William Tyndale

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Jeremiah 17:9

    Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
    Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

    Isaiah 50:10-11

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    However “bitterness” is defined (eg “anger” or “idolatry”) it ultimately will manifest as being nothing more nor less than the unregenerate creatures’ ENMITY against his Creator.

    “Bitterness” accurately describes the hardened heart of all mankind (Jeremiah 17:9)that is nothing less than angry sinners blaming God for their misery, and finding excuse for their wrongful actions.

    Only God can provide the repentance necessary to escape this sinful condition and hateful attitude of enmity exhibited against God and fellow man.
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

    " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
    Gordon H. Clark

    "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
    Charles Spurgeon

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    TOL Legend Lon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    I hope I have your forgiveness in advance for not providing the references in this post. I I am more than happy to provide any references later (if requested...assuming anyone even reads this).

    ... to the NT and there are two passages that spring to mind. First, Hebrews warns to be on guard against a bitter root springing up (and defiling many). There the bitterness seems to be the thing in view. And in a more practical example, Peter rebukes Simon the Sorcerer for thinking he could buy the gift of God. He says he perceives that Simon is
    ...in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity...
    Acts 8:17-24 and commands him to repent.

    This warning against bitterness seems to be unique to the NT (unless I am overlooking something). Which makes me wonder if the sin (as it is alluded to more directly in the NT) is not so much in the bitterness itself- but rather in the approach to it. Jeremiah himself prophesied that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Are the OT examples of bitterness simply showing the individuals being open to God about their laments (Psalm 51:6) and confessing their state before Him and so finding mercy(Proverbs 28:13)? Or is there something of sin in the bitterness itself (as might be inferred from Peter’s rebuke of Simon)?
    I believe you are correct in this connection to sin. Acts 8:22 Simon was 'bitter' (envious/desirous/covetous) of something that was greater than anything he had and desired the ability for all the wrong reasons thinking of worldly opportunity rather than a service and gift from God. I'm not sure it diminishes your thread regarding having a rejoicing heart through suffering. When pressure comes, it squeezes out what is already there. I'd hate to go through anything on the scale of Job. I pray it'd reveal a steadfast adherence toward where my hope lies. In Him
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

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    This is a really interesting thread. I like it because it is a search for truth rather than an argument from implacably held opinions.

    I'd like to start my contribution with the dictionary definition of bitterness.

    The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 (gcide)
    Bitterness Bit"ter*ness, n. [AS. biternys; biter better + -nys
    = -ness.]
    1. The quality or state of being bitter, sharp, or acrid, in
    either a literal or figurative sense; implacableness;
    resentfulness; severity; keenness of reproach or sarcasm;
    deep distress, grief, or vexation of mind.
    [1913 Webster]

    The lip that curls with bitterness. --Percival.
    [1913 Webster]

    I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. --Job
    vii. 11.
    [1913 Webster]

    2. A state of extreme impiety or enmity to God.
    [1913 Webster]

    Thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond
    of iniquity. --Acts viii.
    23.
    [1913 Webster]

    3. Dangerous error, or schism, tending to draw persons to
    apostasy.
    [1913 Webster]

    Looking diligently, . . . lest any root of
    bitterness springing up trouble you. --Heb. xii.
    15.
    [1913 Webster]
    What I bolded in the dictionary definition is, to me, the bitterness of Job. He was in the throes of severe distress and grief because of everything that happened to him. He wasn't angry or rebelling against God. He was seeking to understand that which was completely outside his normal life experience. Pretty much the same can be said for Hannah. She was hurting really badly from being barren and her husband's other wife was making it as painful as possible for her. I think the same can be said for each OT character listed. My point being that when we apply only one definition to a word, interpret a word too narrowly, we often come to faulty conclusions.

    As to Simon the sorcerer his case is very different from each of the OT characters. First off a sorcerer is the servant of the devil. A servant of the devil is in a very corrosive situation and most are filled with a lot of anger, and especially when they see that someone possesses that which they do not have but which they covet. That brings envy, anger, and hatred into the picture as their basic emotion in all of this is jealosy. That's basically what Peter told him. He said your attitude is all wrong. You don't want the power of the Holy Spirit because you love God, but because you love power and you think you can buy that power. You're jealous because someone else has something you don't have, and can't have as long as you maintain your current attitude. Now this describes the negative part of bitterness. It's not deep distress or grief because something you can't understand has happened to you that is extremely painful like Job and Hannah. It's more along the lines of Ananias and Sapphira coveting that which they had promised to God.

    When we look at Job's case this becomes very easily understood that his bitterness was not anger or resentment against God. How can I say that? Because God never dinged Job on that at all. In fact God said Job was perfect and dinged his three friends for not saying that which was right about God. Also, in Job 2:9,10 we see the following:

    9 ∂Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
    10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
    This text, to me, completely exonerates Job from having any negative emotion tied to his experience. Did he question and was he hurt badly? Of course, but that is not even close to the same thing as being angry with, and resentful towards, God. It ties in closely with God's statement to the devil that Job was perfect.

    Anyway, that's my two cents worth and I hope it helps this discussion along.

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    Nang (June 2nd, 2019)

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