Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Read Ro. 1:8-13 Paul had heard stories of the faith of the Christians in Rome and asks for their prayers for his safe journey. He is coming to impart a spiritual gift to them that will give them a strong foundation. Paul has wanted to come to Rome for some time but God has not allowed him to so that he could produce fruit in Paul. James talks about that. He says that trials produce patience which is a fruit of the spirit. Just like Eve’s curse to bear children through suffering; we bear fruit through trials or suffering. In Ac 19: 21, Paul purposed in his spirit to go to Rome but he had to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and Jerusalem first. In Macedonia he ran into the man Demetrius who stirred the whole city against Paul. The mob seized Paul’s three traveling companions. Paul’s disciples kept Paul from entering the theater where the commotion was. Finally the city clerk calmed the crowd down and told them to settle this in court in a peaceful manner. Paul took that opportunity to leave town. He traveled teaching for months. In Troas he raised a man from death. In Ephesus he told his followers that he would be going to Jerusalem where he would be put in chains and face much persecution, yet he knew this was what he was suppose to do. He finally made it to Jerusalem and was arrested just as he said and put in chains. But before they took him to prison he was able to address his accusers and give his testimony. After several trials he appealed to Caesar. The road to follow God’s will was not easy for Paul, but he got to see God do great things through him. I’m sure he thought it was worth all the suffering. Lord, help us to give you glory in our trials and to trust your ways.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Romans 1:1-7 I have been drawn to Romans lately so I thought that might be a good place to go next. I think we have a Western church view of sin and righteousness so I’m excited to see what the Word really says about all that. Paul wrote Romans as he was ending his third missionary journey. He had been a Christian for 21 years so he was a mature follower by now. He probably wrote this while he was in Corinth. He had not yet been to Rome but was anticipating visiting there. He is writing this epistle to introduce himself to the Christians in Rome. Romans is full of profound theological truths. He isn’t addressing problems since he hasn’t been there, but he is giving them a general teaching about the righteousness of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul begins by telling us that he is an apostle which by the Strong’s definition is a delegate of Christ with miraculous powers. This would describe Paul to a tee. As soon as he introduces himself he turns the attention to Jesus. He explains that Jesus’ appearance was promised all through the Old Testament. When he came, he was from the line of David through Mary, but also from God which gave him God’s power and holiness. And because of God’s power in him, he was able to raise from the dead. In that day to be an apostle you had to have actually seen the risen Christ. Paul saw him on the way to Damascus so he was an eye-witness that Jesus rose from the dead and lives. Paul explains to them that they are also called to be his. I only know a few people that have had encounters with God and actually saw God, but most of us have accepted Jesus by mere faith. I think God would say to us what he said to Thomas: blessed are they who have not seen and still believe. Lord, thank you for the gift of faith to believe you even though we have never seen you with our eyes.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Read Job 42 After God finished speaking, Job was undone with repentance. Only God can change a heart and convict. Job’s friends tried to get Job to repent but Job didn’t see his need. When he had an encounter with God he saw his need. God reached inside to his heart. This is a good word to us who think it is our duty to get people saved. That is not our duty, it is God’s. Our job is to be led by the spirit and say the things he tells us to say and pray. We can’t convict a person or convince a person they need God. We can present him to them and let God do the changing. God then went to visit Eliphaz and rebuked him for trying to be Him to Job. He stood up for Job even though Job wasn’t right either. He was now. He told them to take 7 bulls and 7 rams to Job and offer a sacrifice and ask Job to pray for them. How humbling was that??? But when God speaks, you obey and they did. Interesting: he didn’t include the last younger one, Elihu. I guess he was letting him off the hook since he was immature and young. Verse 10 is the crowning verse for Job: “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord give Job twice as much as he had before.” Then God put it on all his friends hearts to come over and spend time with him and give him money and gold. I wonder if they heard that GOD ALMIGHTY had spoken to him. That would be something to come over and hear about. God doubled his livestock and replaced the same number of children. After this, Job lived 140 years and saw 4 generations. He died living out all his days. Lord, it is always good to hear a happy ending. You are the author of happy endings and you have one planned for all of us.
Friday, July 26, 2013
≈ Read Job 40:15-41 God describes behemoth who was believed to be a monster with great strength which a mere human could not hope to control. But it is reduced to the status of a divine pet, with rings in its nose. According to the Book of Enoch, Behemoth is the unconquerable monster of the land, as Leviathan is the monster of the waters of the sea, and Ziz the monster of the sky. Leviathan lives in the Abyss, while Behemoth lives in the invisible desert east of the Garden of Eden. According to Jewish rabbinic legend a great battle will take place between them at the end of time. They will fight one another in combat until God kills them with his mighty sword. From the beautiful skin of Leviathan, God will construct canopies to shelter the righteous, who will eat the meat of the Behemoth and Leviathan at a great joyous feast. Although I can’t prove any of this with scripture it is interesting to think about. We know there will be a great battle at the end and the Devil, the False Prophet and the Beast will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. When God talks about what he can do to Leviathan it gives me comfort to know that the Devil really is totally subject to God. God goes to great length to describe Leviathan as something that man could never stand up against yet he is nothing to the Lord. God made him totally protected and hard-hearted. He is fearfully made and seemingly unkillable. Yet God will bring him down in His time. The last verse of 41 describes him the best: “He beholds all high things; he is a king over all the children of pride.” Lord, help us to fear your power and trust the shelter of your wings.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Read Job 39:19 - 40:16 God describes the majesty of the horse that he made. God made him a weapon of war who is fearless and glorious. He loves the smell of battle. Then he moves to the hawk and the eagle that are fascinating in their strengths. God gave them both wisdom to fly and dwell on the rock with eyes that can see long distances. Both of them being a picture of a prophet that abides on the rock of Jesus and can see far into the past and into the future. Then God condensed his questions to Job in one sentence: “Shall he that contends with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproves God, let him answer it.” In other words: is there anything Job needs to teach God since God is the creator of all wisdom and all the earth? If so then God is ready to listen. Needless to say Job was humbled and realizes his sinful state. He has nothing to say and is ashamed of what he has said in the past. He has decided to be quiet. So God speaks again from the whirlwind. He is now addressing Job personally. He rebukes Job for questioning his judgment. He asks him if he has power or majesty or excellency or glory like God does. Can he bring down the proud or destroy the wicked from the face of the earth? If he can then he can save himself. God also shows Job that if he cannot bring under control the lowly creatures like behemoth on land and leviathan in the water, he is probably not capable of ruling the world. Sometimes it is frustrating to know that we really don’t have power to do anything on our own and when we try it ends in disaster. The sooner we realize our total dependence on God the easier life becomes. Then we are free to allow God to do it through us. Lord, help us to give up our ways and allow you to orchestrate our lives. You are the great conductor and the only one that can make music from chaos.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Read Job 38:24- 39:18 God continues to ask them questions about his creation. He describes how he waters and cares for land that man doesn’t even use or see. God brings attention to the rain, the dew, the frost and the deeps of the sea. Then he moves to the sky and its mysteries. He speaks of “sweet Pleiades” which is a cluster of 7 stars that appear in the spring. And of the bands of Orion which is a constellation that pictures a giant chained to the sky. God asks the men if they can bring the zodiac into sight at the right time of the year, or if they can guide Arcturus with his sons which is Ursa Major and perhaps the three stars in his tail. He asks them if they know the meaning of these constellations. Can they call down rain or lighting? Who is the author of wisdom or understanding? Who knows the number of clouds or can control what happens in the heavens? Who feeds the lions and the ravens or knows when the wild goats bring forth their young? Their babies grow up and leave to never return. The wild asses live out in the barren wilderness and who takes care of them? Can man tame a unicorn to be a work animal? Who gave the peacock its beautiful feathers or the ugly ones to the ostrich? The ostrich lays eggs and doesn’t even sit on them or tend to them. She doesn’t love her babies or care for them because God made her that way. Reading this makes me think of people and how we use the excuse “we were just made that way” to act the way we want to. I know some of that is true but the difference between man and the other creatures is that we were chosen to have free will and wisdom. We can be redeemed and transformed into God’s image if we choose. Lord, help us not to judge others but to pray God’s redemptive grace to change us all.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Read Job 38:1-23 This is when I want to stand up and clap, clap, clap!!! Finally, God speaks. We have had enough of man’s opinions to last a life time. God speaks out of the whirlwind because he is angry. He wants to know who has given knowledge a bad name. They better brace themselves because God is going to have his say. He wants to know who was with him when he laid the foundation stone or the axis in which the earth would spin and decided how large it would be. When he did the stars sang and all heaven shouted for joy. When God poured down the water for the seas, who stopped them and put the shores. Who put the clouds in the sky and prepared a storehouse to hold the rain. (This was released during the flood.) God wrote the laws of day and night and as clay conforms to the seal, so the earth has conformed to God’s seal with all its land forms. One day God will fold up this earth as a garment and shake the evil out of it just as Jesus’ garment was found folded in the tomb. God asks these men if they had seen the floor of the ocean or been under the earth to see the place of the dead. All of this is open to God’s eyes. Does anyone understand light and darkness? How about snow, and how every snowflake is different? Where is snow and hail stored up? God says that he stores up hail and snow to use in times of trouble, battle and war. I wonder if God isn’t referring to heavenly wars. Snow in the scriptures is a picture of holiness and redemption….“though our sins be as crimson, they will be white as snow.” I also know that adversity is used as a refining tool. Lord, we take so much of what you have created for granted. Help us to reflect on your creation and learn your mysteries you have hidden in it.
Monday, July 22, 2013
Read Job 36:15-37 Elihu continues and we pick up with his speech about God’s ways. He explains that God listens and helps the poor. God would have delivered Job if he had been in their situation, but instead, Job fell in with the punishment of the wicked. He warns Job of the wrath of God. Elihu thinks that Job has remained in his state of pain and suffering because he has refused to humble himself and accept God’s punishment. Who can contend with God who is the Teacher, the Great I Am, all-powerful, and omnipotent? He explains the wisdom of how rain is formed. Who could have come up with that except God? Then he muses about lightning and thunder. God orchestrates heaven. Thunder is God speaking things we can’t comprehend. (That reminds me of when God thundered on Mt. Sinai and some people heard it as his voice speaking the Ten Commandments and other heard it as thunder.) God controls the animals, the wind, and the seasons. He uses nature to deal with man. He brings different weather to either discipline man or his land, or show his mercy. Elihu asks Job is he knows when God created the earth, or does he understand why God places each cloud where he does. Was Job with God when he created the sky? Does Job alone know how to talk to God? God is so much higher than men in his wisdom and everything he does. Men fear God, and those who don’t God doesn’t respect. Lord, you do have everything orchestrated under your control. That is the comfort we find when we look at how evil the world has become. Keep us as your light shining in the dark.
Friday, July 19, 2013
Read Job 35-36:14 Elihu just couldn’t get enough of himself so he continues. He accuses Job of thinking he is more righteous than God. Obviously Elihu is not a good listener. He challenges Job’s question of what good is it to be cleansed from sin. (I don’t think Job put it that way, but this was Elihu’s interpretation.) He asks: how does our sin or our righteousness affect God? It certainly affects our fellow man. The wicked man lives by his own strength and doesn’t cry out to God. His pride keeps him from the mercy of God. God may be invisible, but he is surely present and he will have the last word. Elihu, in Chapter 36 has the audacity to tell Job that he is speaking to him on God’s behalf. And since they are God’s words, they are true. He tells him that God doesn’t restore the life of the wicked, only the poor. He takes care of the righteous and establishes them and exalts them. If they are bound in affliction, God shows them why and helps them to be set free. He disciplines his children and if they obey and serve him, then they will reap prosperity and joy. If they choose to disobey, then they die a violent death. Those who are hypocrites fall under the wrath of God and die young under God’s curse. Elihu has reduced God to a formula and disregards the fact that God is God and he can turn a piece of pottery into a vessel for honor or a vessel of dishonor. (Ro. 9:21; 2 Tim. 2:20) God is the one in control, not us. We can’t even be saved unless we are chosen and drawn by God. (John 6:44) Joseph’s life was an example of God’s plan emerging from great oppression and persecution. We can’t look at circumstances and judge. Only God can be the judge and he judges rightly. Lord, help us not be tempted to judge others circumstances or our own but to pray that God’s perfect plan will emerge.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Read Job 34 Elihu continues. He calls for all the wise, knowledgable men to listen to him. He wants them to agree with him about the fact that Job claims to be righteous and is not listening to their truth. He puts Job in the category of the sinners and wicked men. He accuses Job of saying that there is no reward in delighting himself in God. But, God does not sin nor does he judge unfairly. As for man, he will reap what he sows. No one gave God authority over the earth so if he decides to destroy man, he can. Who can condemn God or accuse him of anything unholy? It would be worse than accusing the king of wickedness or the prince of being ungodly. God looks at the king like he does the poor because he made them all. He does not regard one person higher than another. He can displace a king in an instant. God sees all and knows all. Nothing can be hid from him. He judges the mighty and punishes those who have no respect for him. When God brings peace, who can disturb it and when he hides, he can’t be found. He exposes the hypocrite. Elihu ends with telling everyone that Job doesn’t know what he is talking about and that he desires Job to be put on trial for defending the wicked and rebelling against God. Talk about digging a hole that is going to be hard to climb out of: Elihu has done just that. A lesson to learn from his boldness - save your boldness for witnessing not judging. Elihu is about to be judged for how he judged Job. Lord, may we let you be our judge and not ourselves. Your judgment is filled with mercy.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Read Job 32,33 Elihu is a young man who has sat back and listened to this whole account and what everyone has said. He is a godly man except his family is of the Buzite which means “contempt”. He is full of contempt for Job for his stand, and his three friends because they could not persuade Job of his sin. Since Elihu is the youngest, he has remained silent to honor the aged. Now that they have run out of words, he is there to fill the empty space. He is full of answers waiting to be delivered. He begins his speech explaining why they need to hear from him. He is no longer convinced that age brings wisdom, because, he is young and full of it. He rebukes his elders for not being able to convince Job of his guilt. Elihu is bursting with wisdom that needs to come out. He is convinced that he is God’s man for the hour even though he is a mere man. He tells Job that he has heard his plea of innocence even though God is clearly punishing him. Then he argues that God is greater than Job and it is not Job’s business to know why God does what he does. God speaks to man in symbols like in dreams. That way man can’t say he had anything to do with it. God’s purpose for communicating is to give man His will for their lives, and to keep him from falling into the sin of pride and impending harm. One of the way God chastens his children is through pain that is so severe it take the daily desires of food away. This man eventually starves to death. But if someone, like himself, comes and shows that man his sin, then his soul can be ransomed back. He will be given back his youth and God will hear his prayers. His sorrow will be turned to joy. In fact, anyone who calls to God with repentance will be saved. Then he tells Job that he has nothing to fear as long as he listens to him and does what he says. Some of what Elihu said was true, but most of it was distorted because it came from a proud man. But, he was right when he said that he who calls to God with repentance will be saved. Thank you, Lord.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Read Job 31 Every young man….and old man should put verse one to memory. Job made a covenant with his eyes not to look longingly on a woman. Why do we think sin is something we can’t conquer. Yesterday I typed ‘Romans’ on my phone app and listened to the reader read Romans. We need to do that often. According to Romans we don’t have to sin. It is our choice whether to live in bondage to sin or to live alive to the spirit. If we choose to live alive to the spirit, then the Holy Spirit will help us. We don’t have to sin! Back to Job. Since Job can’t find anything he has done to deserve God’s punishment, he wonders why he is being repaid this way. Job is going through his personal affairs and wondering how his righteous living got him such unfair results. He treated his wife honorably and his servants with respect. He gave to the poor , the fatherless, and the widow. He obeyed his parents and didn’t trust in the world’s riches. He gave God the glory for all he had and didn’t take the glory for himself for all he had achieved. He didn’t rejoice when his enemy was destroyed or harmed. He never cursed his enemies with his mouth. Job always brought travelers to his house to stay. He never tried to hide his sins like Adam and always faced those who had a complaint against him. He wishes that his adversary would have written a book so he could read the part about him and why this is happening. If the land is crying against him, he can prove that he has never taken the fruits of anyones field without first paying or caused anyone to lose their life. Job is at a loss as to why he is going through this so he finally ends his debate. When John the Baptist was in prison and didn’t understand why the very one who was to set the prisoners free hadn’t set him free. Look at what John had sacrificed for Jesus. You would think he would come to his rescue. Instead, Jesus reminded John the things he did do - open the blind eyes, heal the sick, etc. Then he made the statement: blessed are those who are not offended in me. Lord, help us to accept your perfect will for our lives and not get offended when they don’t turn out the way we expected. We trust you.
Monday, July 15, 2013
Read Job 30:21-31 Job felt like the Lord was torturing him. God had abandoned him to wait for death. Then Job goes into a pity party reminding God of all the good he had done. He had comforted those who mourned and given to the poor. He looked for the good in everything, but, instead he found evil, and darkness instead of light. Job complains of his physical pain in his stomach and his lack of sleep because of his discomfort. He has lost hope: no sun. His only family and friends are the serpents and the owls,. He is sunburnt and his song has turned to mourning. We have all felt at one time that God was our enemy and nothing good was happening to us. But, maybe like Job, our faith was being tested. People watch how we respond to hard situations and our trials might lead them to their salvation. Jesus death and suffering led to the salvation of all who come to him. 2 Co. 4:17-18 puts it like this: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. Lord, help us to see into the eternal and not get tripped up by the temporal. May our lives be for your glory.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Read Job 29 - 30:20 In today’s speech, Job mourns his past life. In the past Job walked in the favor of God. God’s light and revelation made the darkness light. God told Job his secrets and everyone came to hear what Job had to say. God’s presence was with him and his family was his comfort. His steps were anointed and he was filled with the joy of the Lord. He had honor among men - young and old alike. Even princes and noblemen came to hear his knowledge. He reminds me of an early Solomon. Job also gave to the poor and the widow and walked in righteousness and judged fairly. He dispelled evil and gave back what they had stolen. Job had influence all over the world and slept in peace. His word was final and weighty. He ruled as a leader in the army, yet had compassion on those who mourned the death of their loved ones. Job gave us a perfect description of a mature Christian. In the next chapter he gives us an account of his life now that he has lost everything. Now, younger men from base families that he had no respect for, have no respect for him. They were people who lived in want and poverty and had bad reputations. They were not allowed to live in the city with the civilized people but lived in caves and clifts where Job now lives. They are the evil fools that now laugh at his expense. They hate Job now and make fun of him and spit in his face. They persecute Job and terrorize him. Job has become so skinny he can feel his bones which cause him not to be able to get comfortable at night. His sores have ruined his clothes. He feels like God has thrown him away and is no longer listening to his prayers. Lord, how quickly we, like Job, can go from on top of the world to a pit of depression because of our circumstances. May we learn from Job to praise you an trust you no matter what we are going through.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Read Job 28 Job begins talking about 4 different kinds of metals that have to be searched for and taken out of the earth or out of stone. These metals come by hard work. The silver stands for knowledge; the gold for wisdom; the iron for strength; and the brass for judgment. He calls these “stones of darkness” because they are hidden under the earth much like God’s knowledge, wisdom, strength, and judgments seem to be. They are ours only if we unearth them with a cost. Then we are no longer in the dark about the hidden things of God like death and hidden secrets. Verse 4 speaks of a flood which a miner might accidentally run into that is full of metal. Spiritually it is speaking of a person who mines the Word for the secrets of God. He stumbles on a flood of revelation that is full of nuggets. On the surface it is bread to our souls but underneath is where the fire burns the metal and makes it pure. We can read the Bible and it will feed us spiritually or we can go beneath the surface where the fire of God will purge our hearts. Then those metals will bring forth sapphires and gold. Sapphires were used for scratching other substance which reminds me of the verse: “Iron sharpens iron so a man sharpens the countenance of his friends.” God’s throne is the color of sapphire and it is also a stone in the priest’s breastplate. God has paths that no bird or beast has ever found just as he has heavenly portals that no created being knows of. He can open mountains to reveal precious stones just like he can open his Word and give us truth that no previous person has unearthed. He can cut out rivers among the rocks just as he can cause us to find precious things that are hidden among the Word (rocks). Jesus told us in Matt. 13:11 that it is for us to know the mysteries of heaven. Proverbs tells us that wisdom and knowledge and understanding can be ours by fearing God and searching for Him with all our hearts. Wisdom is only found in God. It can’t be bought nor is there anything on earth compared to God’s wisdom. Job realizes in the last verse that wisdom is found in fearing God. Understanding is found when you depart from evil. Lord, we desire You above all else, and You are wisdom.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Read Job 27 Job continues to defend his righteousness in spite of the fact that God is causing his life to be bitter. Then he describes the life of the wicked. Instead of seeing the wicked as prospering like he spoke of before, he now sees them cursed. Their children are killed in war or famine. The wicked man stores up riches that the righteous will use. If he escapes war and famine then he will die by the plague (“called the black death”). No one will be left alive to perform the funeral. Instead of being gathered to lie with his people, his death will lead to terror and a whirlwind will take him away to God’s wrath. What a fearful end to life. God has given us baptism to be a symbol of our death in Christ. Romans 6:7 says that he who has died has been freed from sin. We are now dead to sin and alive to God. We are to present our members a instruments of righteousness to God. Sin no longer has dominion over us, for we are not under law but under grace. We are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness. We now produce fruit to holiness. I get so tired of hearing Christians say that we have to sin everyday. WE DON’T! If we do then we need to be baptized. We are a work in progress but our end is holiness. Lord, only your spirit can reveal your plan of salvation and sanctification. Let your Word set us free from condemnation so that we can boldly proclaim your righteousness.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Read Job 25 & 26 Bildad has just a few more words to say before he bows out of the argument. God owns and created fear and dominion. He is All Powerful and no one can win against him. No one can escape him for he is Omnipresent and All-knowing. So who can be righteous next to him? Can a mortal man be pure and good? Even the moon has no light of its own and the stars are not pure to God. So how can a man think he is? Romans addresses this same question. In Romans 4 Paul explained that Moses was not justified because he was sinless but because of his faith in God. Our faith in Jesus covers our sins and makes us righteous. And since we have a compassionate High Priest, we are invited to come boldly before his throne to obtain mercy and grace. But, alas, Bildad didn’t have Jesus and he didn’t understand that his faith could make him justified like Moses. Job’s response is to ask Bildad how he has done anything in his own power. Even the dead are afraid of God. Those in Sheol which was the invisible world of the departed souls are not invisible to God. Hell, which is the lowest level of Sheol for the extremely wicked has no covering to God’s eyes. God took the quarter of the earth he called “north” and stretched it over empty space to create what we know as the northern part of the earth. He hung earth in the sky and made it stay. He holds water in clouds without it breaking the clouds. He made an end to the oceans with sand and ended the day with night. Even the pillars in heaven shake and are amazed when God is angry. (One commentator thought these pillars represented the mountains that seem to hold up the heavens.) God can divide the sea and bring down the proud. God illumined heaven with his spirit and formed “the crooked serpent” which probably refers to the constellation of the serpent. All this he described is only a small part of who God is and how powerful he is. Lord, reading Job makes me so thankful that I live in the age of grace and have the written Word to read. Thank you that the Word resides in us!
Monday, July 8, 2013
Read Job 24 Job wants to know, if God can see everything, why doesn’t he punish the wicked? And, why does he allow such violence on the earth? The wicked do evil things during the night then in the light fear they will be recognized. They should have to pay for their evil deeds and not prosper. They should die and be forgotten. But according to what Job has observed, the wicked seem to be protected by God and made secure. They seem to get away with their sins till the end when they are finally humbled and die. I know that I have felt the same way Job feels. It does seem that the evil seem to breeze through enjoying their toys while the rest of us struggle. But then I hear the inside story to some of these fairy-tale lives and realize that they live in torment and disfunction and have no real peace or joy. Even if they do enjoy their lives, which is rare, they will spend eternity regretting those few short breaths of what we call a long life. We can’t understand eternity because we live in this bubble called time. But, God lives outside the bubble in a place called eternity which has no boundaries of time. We’ll understand that when we get there. One thing we know is sure….. judgment. We will all be judged and rewarded for our good deeds. I have a feeling these “good deeds” might be different than what we think as good deeds. I think they are going to be the small acts of kindness that we do to “the least of these” as Jesus put it. I wonder if all those hours we spend trying to do something for the Lord is not going to amount to wood, hay and stubble, and the small insignificant things don’t get us a jewel in our crown. Lord, give us your heart toward the poor, the fatherless and the widow.
Friday, July 5, 2013
Read Job 23 How many times have I just wanted to sit down and talk to God and explain what I’m going through and ask him about it. This is exactly what Job is wanting to do. He knows that when he did that he would be strengthened, but, he can’t do that and he can’t seem to find where God is. He feels like God has hidden himself for him, but he knows that God knows where he is and when this trial is all over he will immerse with great wisdom. Job acknowledges that he has walked in the steps of God and followed his commandments. He realizes that God has ordered his steps and there is nothing he can do about it. Job stands in the fear of God because for some reason, God has allowed him to live. We are always telling people that God has a plan for their lives. It has gotten to be cliche but it is still true. There is a big picture where God is preparing an army of his followers to fight in these last days. When we get in out position and do what we are made to do then we stand united and nothing we do will be impossible. But, when we compare ourselves to others and feel slighted or less important then we fight against our own destiny. It doesn’t matter how insignificant we feel our job is….we are all important to the army. On a smaller scale, God does put the desires in our hearts to do our destiny. We have a function on the earth and it is God’s job to put us there. It is our job to let him. Just say “yes”. That is all God is waiting for. Lord, we say “yes” to whatever you want to do with us. We will go wherever and do whatever you say. We are your obedient soldiers.
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Read Job 22 The book of Job is full of questions about God. Today’s question is given by Eliphaz. He asks if God needs man and if God finds pleasure in our righteousness. That is a good question. Eliphaz gets sarcastic and wants to know if God is afraid of Job or his judgment. Then Eliphaz starts condemning Job of robbing the poor, taking bribes, forsaking widow’s needs, neglecting the fatherless, and being clouded by fear and sin. He asks Job if he has forgotten that God is reigning from heaven and though we can’t see him because of the clouds, he can see everything we do. He says that Job has watched the prospering of the rich and missed the fact that God sees everything they do. The righteous understand judgment and laugh at the ungodly. The righteous will not be cut down in judgment. He admonishes Job to instead consider the path of the righteous and follow after him as his example. Then things will go good with him. Then he will have wisdom (gold) and silver (knowledge) and God will defend him. Then he will delight in God and be able to approach God. God will hear his prayers and he will have what he asks. His ways will be blessed. When he falls, God will lift him up if he is humble. He will be delivered by his righteousness. I love verse 28: “You will decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee; and the light shall shine upon you ways.” Lord, that is our prayer today, that we might establish some things that would cause your ways to be illuminated.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Read Job 21 All of these arguments seem a little senseless to me but apparently this is what the sages did in their time. They voiced their thoughts hoping they would say something noteworthy. It’s Job’s turn and even though he is about to take the stage, he already knows that they will be forming a rebuttal. He calls their rebuttal mocking. He tries to explain that he is not complaining to man but to God so they don’t need to feel the need to answer. Job has a different view of the wicked. He sees them and their children prospering. He doesn’t see God’s hand mightily upon them. They party and enjoy their wealth and when they die, they die. They have no need of God and don’t want his dealings or help. They don’t do good and Job has nothing to do with their counsel. They die like grass and are blown away and pass on their sinful ways to their children. They will get their eternal reward. The wicked die just like the righteous: some die in the prime of life fully satisfied and others die poor and bitter. They all die and are buried. But the wicked will be judged one day and then he will reap what he sowed. What Job is trying to say is sometimes you can’t tell on the outside what is on the inside. In Matthew 13, Jesus told his disciples to let the tares grow up with the wheat lest you try to uproot the tares and get some wheat also. Then, in the harvest the harvesters (angels) will gather the tares first and burn them then the wheat will be gathered into God’s barns. Only God knows the heart of man and whose are truly his disciples. Our job is to live the truth so that they can’t point to us as their stumbling stone but as Jesus’ example. Lord, help us to be mature wheat that spreads your truth to all who see us.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Read Job 20 Zophar decides to take another stab at it. I guess it’s his turn. He claims to feel compelled to say something. He wants to talk about the wicked and the hypocrite. Since Job refuses to claim to be wicked, maybe Zophar can convince him he’s a hypocrite. He starts out by saying their life and their joy is short-lived. Job’s joy has certainly been cut off, but he IS still alive. Zophar explains that the wicked hypocrite is very powerful, then as fast as he is exalted, he falls. (Sounds like Job.) His life is like a vapor - here today, gone tomorrow. His children will be left to beg and pay back what their father stole. Even though he kept all the wicked things he wanted to say inside and didn’t say it. It will end up eating his insides up. His secret sins will be exposed as God causes him to vomit them up. Sin is sweet to the taste, but doesn’t settle well. Since he gets his riches dishonestly, it’s rewards will be like poison instead of a flow of blessings. He will see others blessed, but his wealth will be a curse to him because he has forsaken the poor and had no compassion on the oppressed. By stealing from the less fortunate he has lost his peace and he will not prosper like he supposed. He shall lose when he should have gained and he will have made many enemies and many creditors. When he sits down to enjoy his labors, God will judge him and they will be taken from him when he least expects it. He will be afraid for his life and always be on the run. He will be turned over to the devil who will torment him. He will feel overwhelmed and oppressed. His life will end in poverty and he will lose everything in the judgment. Zophar had no mercy when talking about the wicked hypocrite. What he said is true of the wicked, just not true about Job. Lord, let us walk in the fear of the Lord, but the freedom of Christ knowing that our end will not be same as the end of the wicked.
Monday, July 1, 2013
Read Job 19 Job pleads with his friends to stop tormenting him with their false accusations. Job realizes that God has done this to him. He has asked God why, and God is silent. God has humbled him and brought all this on him as if he was an enemy. Everyone on earth has abandoned him also. He’s not the same person to them and even my servants don’t obey him. His wife is repulsed by him and little kids talk against him. Everyone who once loved him, now despises him. Isn’t God’s persecution enough, Job asks. Why do his friends have to add to it? Then Job goes into prophecy. He wishes someone would write it down: One day the Redeemer will stand upon the earth. Even though this body I have now dies, I will have a new flesh and in it, I will see the Lord. Now, I am constrained by these natural eyes, but one day I will have new eyes to see God. Be sure, judgment is coming. Job saw ahead to another day when Jesus would come back this earth and we in our new bodies would rule and reign with him. Lord, in the midst of all we go through on this earth, let us keep eternity as our goal as Job did.