Daily Reading: February 25th

#DailyDevotion It Only Appears The Godless Get Away With Everything

February 25th

Read Job 20:1–23, 29

Job 20:4-9  Do you not know this from of old, since man was placed on earth,  (5)  that the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless but for a moment?  (6)  Though his height mount up to the heavens, and his head reach to the clouds,  (7)  he will perish forever like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’  (8)  He will fly away like a dream and not be found; he will be chased away like a vision of the night.  (9)  The eye that saw him will see him no more, nor will his place any more behold him.


Zophar is not just whistling Dixie here.  In this whole chapter he is expounding on teachings found throughout Scripture.  They should not be dismissed.  For truly it does seem the wicked get away with everything and enjoy life immensely, but even Charlie Harper gets pushed in front of a French train.  It isn’t true that “Only the good die young.”


The Psalmist also writes, Psa 73:12-20  “Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.  (13)  All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.  (14)  For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.  (15)  If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children.  (16)  But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task,  (17)  until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.  (18)  Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.  (19)  How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!  (20)  Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.”


So we should not envy the wicked and try to take up their paths.  We have a Heavenly Father who does watch us and watch over us.  There’s a reason you always get caught when it was the first time you tried something you shouldn’t have been doing.  Your Father in heaven is rescuing you from that life.  But if you persist and harden your hearts look out.  He might just decide to ignore you until you dig a pit for yourself too deep to get out by your own power or strength.


Of course the truth is you and I appear to get away with wickedness all the time.  We just don’t think we’re being wicked.  We think we are justified in our actions, word and thoughts.  The truth is we are being selfish and self-centered and being seen by others as getting away with it.  And you know what, we are getting away with it—Scott Free!  But there is a penalty paid.  There is a debt created by us in the universe by our sins.  It must be atoned for.  Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary, pays that price.  He is the Lamb of God who suffers for your sins in your place.  He makes full atonement for all your self-justifying iniquities which you never see in yourself but others do.  No one really gets away with anything.  The debt must be paid.  It is paid for you by Jesus on the cross in his agony and pain, with his suffering and death.  It should make you feel a little guilty about what you do but it also should be even more comforting that he loves you so much he would go through it for you.


Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for suffering for us.  Give us an appreciation of that death that we in faith avoid those things for which you suffered and live a life that is pleasing to our Father in heaven. Amen.

Daily Readings: February 24th

#DailyDevotion When Your Only Hope Is The Resurrection

February 24th

Read Job 19:1–12, 21–27

Job 19:5-10  If indeed you magnify yourselves against me and make my disgrace an argument against me,  (6)  know then that God has put me in the wrong and closed his net about me.  (7)  Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.  (8)  He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass, and he has set darkness upon my paths.  (9)  He has stripped from me my glory and taken the crown from my head.  (10)  He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone, and my hope has he pulled up like a tree…25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.  (26)  And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,  (27)  whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!


Job’s friends are no friends at all, at least as far as Job is concerned.  It is enough that God has allowed and brought all this misery upon Job.  Job has been crying out for justice but no one answers.  He believes the Lord has hemmed him in on every side so he cannot escape. One thing goes wrong after another and there is no relief in sight.  Everywhere Job looks it appears and is darkness.  He is stripped down to nothing.  He is like a fruit tree that looks like it has been pruned too far and there is not a chance it could ever come back.


Perhaps you have been there or are there now.  There just doesn’t seem to be any point in living.  What use are you to others.  You hear others talking about when they think you cannot hear and they are talking about your death and how a dog wouldn’t be treated this way.  You might even agree.  You wonder why your Lord would allow you to suffer this way or at for so long.  What is the point?  Everywhere you look, it just appears as darkness.


In the midst of this think Job has a ray of light, a smidgen of hope that helps him prevail.  “I know that my Redeemer lives…after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God…my eyes shall behold and not another.”  Job believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Father has permitted Job this vision of salvation.  Job’s Redeemer, the one who pays the debt, who rescues from death and destruction is risen from the dead and will one day stand on the earth for all to see.  His Redeemer, Jesus Christ shall raise Job from the dead and give Job everlasting life.  It will be Job’s body and not another’s.  There is no such thing as reincarnation.  That is Hindu hell and is a lie.  You die once and then there is the judgment.  All flesh shall rise from the dead by the power of Jesus Christ, the first-fruits of the resurrection.  Those that trusted in him will rise to everlasting life. Those who did not trust him will rise to everlasting perdition, the lake of fire, eternal punishment.  It is the Christian’s hope, like Job’s, to rise bodily to live in a new heavens and a new earth and our eyes shall see God and we shall be like Jesus.


Lord Jesus Christ, in the midst of trials, tribulations and troubles even to the point of death, help us always to trust in your promise of eternal life that we may be strengthened in the day as we look forward to the redemption of our bodies. Amen.

Daily Reading: February 23rd

#DailyDevotion Do You Ever Think No One Knows What You’re Going Through?

February 23rd

Read Job 18:1–21

Job 18:2-4  “How long will you hunt for words? Consider, and then we will speak.  (3)  Why are we counted as cattle? Why are we stupid in your sight?  (4)  You who tear yourself in your anger, shall the earth be forsaken for you, or the rock be removed out of its place?


Bildad speaks. He has had enough of Job’s words. Job is sounding a lot like people we may know or maybe you have been one of them who say, “Leave me alone. You don’t know what I’m going through.”  Well maybe they or you are right. Maybe no one knows ‘exactly’ what you are going through. But the people who have come to help and comfort you, are they “cattle” or “stupid”?


The people who care about you are not. Do you think you’re the only person who ever suffered? Do you think your suffering is so unique? You may be working with a sick sense of pride. I tell you quit looking for the differences and look for the similarities in your collective experiences and you may find some comfort there.


Now Bildad speaks a number of things about the wicked in their state. Indeed many times the description of what is going on with the wicked may appear to be true. It is also true it appears to us that nothing ever happens to them and Bildad’s words fall flat. But they do eventually happen at their judgment before God. No one gets away with everything forever. But Bildad’s use of these words are misapplied. He wants Job to confess the sins that have brought this misery upon him. Job though is innocent. There is nothing he can point to and go, “Yes I did x and that is why I am experiencing this.”


We may want to remember these words, Heb 4:15-16 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  (16)  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Jesus is that high priest. When we are afflicted, suffering or in misery, we may draw confidence from Jesus and approach the throne of God’s grace and receive mercy. It is his desire that we do so. Don’t run from God and think he is angry with you because of your affliction. He is waiting to pour out his grace upon you.


Heavenly Father, when those around us try to comfort us, help us to see how they received mercy from you so we may be encouraged to wait patiently and turn to your throne of grace to receive the mercy we need at the right time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: February 22nd

#DailyDevotion When you become appalling to the nicest people.

February 22nd

Read Job 17:1-16

Job 17:7-8  My eye has grown dim from vexation, and all my members are like a shadow.  (8)  The upright are appalled at this, and the innocent stirs himself up against the godless…10 But you, come on again, all of you, and I shall not find a wise man among you.  (11)  My days are past; my plans are broken off, the desires of my heart.


Some of the nicest people are actually appalled at weakness and sickness. They cannot visit the sick or go to hospitals. They are appalled. Why are they appalled? The weakness and sickness of others reminds them of their own sinful condition. To look upon it puts fear into their hearts they may end up, indeed, there is a good chance if they live long enough they will end up the same way.


Maybe you are sick in such a condition that your eyes have grown dim and the members of your bodies are as nothing. You look around and there are people who normally are around you but cannot be found now. It’s nothing personal. Their spirit is simply weak. Do not be too hard on them. But you are suffering. Where is your comfort?


God will send those to comfort you. Don’t be too hard on them either. They will say a lot of stupid things. They mean well. You may be tempted with Job to say to them, “I shall not find a wise man among you.” Take your comfort that they are there and not in what say. You probably don’t want to work up the strength to put up with them, but you will find enough of it to tell them they don’t know what they are talking about.  Just tell them you appreciate them being there.


Take your comfort in this: There is someone who has descended into the grave, into the ground with you. That someone is God himself, in the flesh, Jesus Christ. He took our illnesses, guilt and shame upon his flesh and soul during the time of his visible presence. He suffered upon the cross our suffering. He took upon himself the indignity of our death and burial. In all this, he was there with us presently in our afflictions. He knows what we are going through and he has sanctified our sufferings and made them his own. So we are not alone and there is someone who does know what we are going through because is going through it with us and experiencing it with us.


Heavenly Father, in the midst of our afflictions remind us our Lord Jesus Christ’s sufferings so we may be comforted by them and when we visit the suffering help us to put the life of Christ into their death. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: February 21st

#DailyDevotion Who Will Argue Your Case Before God?

February 21st

Read Job 16:1–21

Job 16:7-9  Surely now God has worn me out; he has made desolate all my company.  (8)  And he has shriveled me up, which is a witness against me, and my leanness has risen up against me; it testifies to my face.  (9)  He has torn me in his wrath and hated me; he has gnashed his teeth at me; my adversary sharpens his eyes against me…20 My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God,  (21)  that he would argue the case of a man with God, as a son of man does with his neighbor.  (22)  For when a few years have come I shall go the way from which I shall not return.


Let’s not make excuses for God.  God could stop all suffering if he wanted to.  We may want to say it is God’s passive action or his secondary will to get him off the hook.  The reality is God doesn’t need anyone to defend his actions.  The Lord is God.  Let’s take him at his word. Isa 45:7 “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.”  We then should give glory to God.


Apparently Job’s friends so far are no help.  A lot of the time, your friends will probably be no help either.  Don’t hold it against them.  They are limited created beings with limited power, knowledge, insight, wisdom and the like.  Take comfort in knowing they care about you and they are doing the best they can, which often isn’t going to be enough.


Job though does have this awesome insight in verse 21.  Do you see it? Look again.  Job pours his tears to God (wait for it) that he (God) would argue the case of a man with God, as a son of man (What does Jesus call himself?) does with his neighbor.  Job wants God to argue his case with God.  He wants the Son of Man to argue with God as with a neighbor.  That is Job’s hope, that he would have an intercessor in heaven who is equal to God.


Well good news!  We do have an intercessor between God and Man who argues our case with God-Jesus Christ, the God-Man. 1Ti 2:5-6  “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,  (6)  who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” And again, Rom 8:34  “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”  And again, 1Jn 2:1  “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”


So let us not despair in the day of trouble.   We have and advocate at the right hand of the Father who intercedes and pleads our case before God.  He cannot fail.


Lord Jesus Christ, you sit at the right hand of the Father with all power and might.  Always intercede our cause for us before the Father as we cannot stand before him in our sin and guilt, that our case may be heard and we would be brought relief from all our trials and tribulations. Amen.

Daily Reading: February 20th

#DailyDevotion God Intends To Purify Our Faith

February 20th

Read Job 15:1–23, 30–35

Job 15:12-16  Why does your heart carry you away, and why do your eyes flash,  (13)  that you turn your spirit against God and bring such words out of your mouth?  (14)  What is man, that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?  (15)  Behold, God puts no trust in his holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in his sight;  (16)  how much less one who is abominable and corrupt, a man who drinks injustice like water!


Eliphaz can hardly handle himself listening to Job. What Job says about himself cannot be true.  He really must have done something really wrong to have the Lord lay this trouble upon him or so Eliphaz thinks.  Job certainly has confessed in the previous chapter that he is not without fault.  Job has confessed that he is a sinful man.  He just doesn’t think he’s done anything to deserve this.


Eliphaz is correct in his words though, there is no pure man but Jesus Christ.  There is no one born of woman who is righteous but Jesus Christ.  Anything and everything in all creation is not perfect because even the angels have their limits, they are not eternal like God.  They are not omnipotent, omniscient or omnipresent.  Much less so is humankind who not only does evil but invents wickedness.


So we may want to curb our speech when we talk about God.  We want to make sure we speak rightly about him and to him especially before others.  People should not think that we have turned against God in our complaint.


Luckily for us there is a man who is pure and who is righteous.  It is the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the pure and spotless Lamb of God.  That’s only lucky for us if Jesus is the Lamb of God for us.  As the Lamb of God, Jesus has taken away the sin of the world.  That means your sin.  The Father has laid all our sin, iniquity, guilt and shame upon Jesus.  He is our scapegoat.  He has become sin so that you may become the righteousness of God.  We need to remember this in the midst of our suffering.  If this is true then what we are suffering is not because of the wrath of God.  He is purifying our faith calling us continually to repentance and faith in Christ.


Heavenly Father, in the midst of trouble help us to remember your Son Jesus Christ our precious lamb who has become sin for us that we may become your righteousness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: February 19th

#DailyDevotion You Ever Wish God Didn’t Love You So Much?

February 19th

Read Job 14:1–22

Job 14:1-6  “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.  (2)  He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.  (3)  And do you open your eyes on such a one and bring me into judgment with you?  (4)  Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one.  (5)  Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,  (6)  look away from him and leave him alone, that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day…14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal should come.  (15)  You would call, and I would answer you; you would long for the work of your hands.  (16)  For then you would number my steps; you would not keep watch over my sin;  (17)  my transgression would be sealed up in a bag, and you would cover over my iniquity.


In this first section perhaps we can hear those who doubt God, don’t trust in him or who may even hate God, at least the God they perceive the Church proclaims.  Job does say some true things here.  Our days are few and full of trouble.  We cannot bring clean things out of ourselves because without Christ, we are unclean and produce unclean works.  The number of our days are limited by God.


Verse 6 is where we meet our friends and perhaps ourselves on one of those really bad days.  Lord, don’t look at me.  Leave me alone.  Act as if I don’t exist.  Pretend I’m just one of those hired men you don’t even look at or know.  For it seems if God knows us and looks at us and pays any attention to us, we’re in trouble. I’ve heard people say, if the Lord is disciplining me because he loves me, I wish he didn’t love me so much.


Job then thinks about his present state and the future. He wishes he was dead.  All his troubles would be over if he were dead he thinks.  Even if death is a miserable existence it has to be better than what he is undergoing.  Then he has a ray of hope enter into his thinking.  God may renew him.  If the Lord would call him from the grave, he would answer him and gladly work for him.  Then the Lord would number his steps, that is, he would care for him.  The Lord would no longer watch over his sins, his transgressions would be sealed up and his iniquity covered.


The good news is Jesus, the Lord, indeed is our resurrection and our life.  Even as he is with us now and our spirits return to him at death, he will call us out of the grave because he has promised as much.  We shall be rescued from the grave and given eternal life.  Even now, because of Jesus’ death, the Father does not look at our sins.  Jesus’ has reconciled us to the Father and he no longer holds our transgressions against us.  The blood Jesus spilt at Calvary covers all our iniquities.  Job’s hope is fulfilled in Jesus.  Jesus is your hope as well.


Lord Jesus Christ, grant us faith to believe our sins are no longer watched, our transgression are sealed up in your grave and our sins are covered by your blood that on the day of your return we are raised to life everlasting. Amen.

Daily Reading: February 18th

#DailyDevotion When God Hides Himself

February 18th

Read Job 13:13–28

Job 13:15  Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face… 20  Only grant me two things, then I will not hide myself from your face:  (21)  withdraw your hand far from me, and let not dread of you terrify me.  (22)  Then call, and I will answer; or let me speak, and you reply to me.  (23)  How many are my iniquities and my sins? Make me know my transgression and my sin.  (24)  Why do you hide your face and count me as your enemy?


I think we can see here that Job is of two mindsets.  One is that is hope and salvation are in the Lord.  It doesn’t matter what the Lord puts in his life.  He knows and trust in God in such a way that despite what he is going through his hope is yet still in the Lord.


The other side is really the more funny or ridiculous side in which he thinks he can argue with his Maker. Sure we do it.  Sometimes I may even encourage it as long as it is done respectfully and with faith and hope.  We want to plead our case before the Almighty.  Sure, we are not perfect.  We have sinned grievously in our youth.  We may have gotten older and simply are too old to engage in some of our more youthful sins.


Job asks the Lord of two things here.  One is that the Lord would remove his hand from Job and the other is to not let the dread of the Lord terrify him.  Removing his hand would be removing the plague that is upon him.  Not letting the dread of the Lord terrify him is allowing him to believe that the Lord still cares for him.  We want the Lord’s countenance to be upon us as does Job.  Now it seems as if God is hiding.


Indeed, sometimes God does hide from us.  He places himself in the place we least expect him.  He hides in misery, disease, trials, tribulations and darkness.  When you who place your faith in Jesus Christ find yourself there do not be troubled.  Do not think Jesus is not with you and sustaining you.  No, he is right there in the midst of it, going through it with you.  He is not far and distant.  He is hiding him in those circumstances.  When he does that, then we must trust his Word and Promises (as of course we are always to do).  Because that is where faith does its best work, when it has nothing left to lose but trust in Jesus’ promise.  If you need something more than the promise, you don’t have faith.


Lord Jesus Christ, in midst of trials, tribulations, sickness and worries, let us see you there by your Word and Promise and trust in you alone.  Amen.

Daily Reading: February 17th

#DailyDevotion Do You Armchair Quarterback With God?

February 17th

Read Job 13:1–12

Job 13:2-3  What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you.  (3)  But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God. Job 13:7-11  Will you speak falsely for God and speak deceitfully for him?  (8)  Will you show partiality toward him? Will you plead the case for God?  (9)  Will it be well with you when he searches you out? Or can you deceive him, as one deceives a man?  (10)  He will surely rebuke you if in secret you show partiality.  (11)  Will not his majesty terrify you, and the dread of him fall upon you?


When we go and comfort people is it with the Word of God or what we think the Word of God says?  Will you be convicted by God for speaking in his name falsely?  Job certainly believes his friends don’t know what they are talking about.  What truth they know and share, he also knows and it is doing no good.  But on top of that they are speaking things which are not so and he calls them on it.  When we speak words of comfort and go to minister to someone, are we speaking God’s Word rightly?


In his suffering Job calls to plead his case to the Almighty One himself!  Job wants to argue with God.  Now this would be an interesting thing to see and hear, particularly if God would answer.  We know later on the Lord does answer and Job cannot answer the Lord.  Yes we all would like to argue with the Lord about the how and whys of our life.  We either don’t deserve what we’re going through or at we don’t deserve it this bad.  We want to play the arm-chair, Monday night God and tell God how he ought to be running things.  He obviously doesn’t know what he is doing, at least so we think.


We see this one ray of light in Job’s words.  Job still looks to God, the Lord.  He is still putting his trust in the Lord despite his misgivings of the Lord’s management of Job.  We too need to be like Job and remain in relationship with our Lord and God Jesus Christ.  He’s pretty thick skinned and I think he can handle our misgivings for a period of time.  He does want to hear our soul’s complaint.  He does promise he will give us the strength we need in times of weakness where his power is made perfect, complete.


It may be best to listen to those who are suffering and not interrogate them.  Share what Word of God we can, particularly God’s promises to them.  We can pray with them and lay bare their soul’s complaint before the Almighty with them and pray Christ’ strength and power be at work in them in the midst of their suffering.


Lord Jesus Christ, do not turn away from our soul’s complaint, but hear and listen to us as you have promised. Intercede for us at the right hand of God that your power is made perfect in our weakness and that we may be able to stand in the days of trials and tribulations. Amen.