#DailyDevotion Are You Getting Better Than You Deserve?
Read Job 8:1–22
Job 8:4-6 If your children have sinned against him, he has delivered them into the hand of their transgression. (5) If you will seek God and plead with the Almighty for mercy, (6) if you are pure and upright, surely then he will rouse himself for you and restore your rightful habitation… 20 “Behold, God will not reject a blameless man, nor take the hand of evildoers. (21) He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting. (22) Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, and the tent of the wicked will be no more.”
Bildad really isn’t much help to Job and probably even less help to us in our suffering. Can we really point to some horrible disaster and say they must have committed an equally grievous sin for that to happen to them? When disaster comes upon us that is particularly bad must we point to some sin in our life and say we deserve this because of that? Hardly. While it is true that some sins and even many sins often come with but not always disastrous results they do not always. So those having sex outside the bounds of marriage may contract some horrible sexually transmitted disease but they do not always. Yet some through no fault of their own may get the same disease without committing the sin. It isn’t always so easy.
On the other hand, we cannot ever really say we don’t deserve whatever evil may come our way. The Scriptures are clear, Rom 3:10 …”None is righteous, no, not one; (11) no one understands; no one seeks for God. (12) All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” So whatever retributive justice the Lord may send our way we certainly do deserve it. But the Lord doesn’t send retributive justice to his children. They are under grace. So if we suffer if is from his fatherly hand chastising and disciplining our flesh that our faith may be purified. Even still, if the Father dishes out any retributive justice its point is not merely to cause suffering but to bring about contrition and repentance. He shows us in Revelation: Rev 16:9 “They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. (10) The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish (11) and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.” For God does not desire the death of the sinner but that he turns for his ways and live.
Bildad does give us this aright though. We can seek the mercies of God in Christ Jesus. If we turn to the Father and beg for him to show us the mercies won for us in Christ Jesus, the Father will not fail to turn to us with his merciful hand. He will show us kindness and love. He may yet not take from us our suffering. He told St. Paul, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” But we can stand up underneath it knowing our Father in heaven loves us and is working these things for good for us.
Lord God Heavenly Father, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean and deserve no good thing from you. But for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us and grant us faith that we will be able to stand firm in the days of trouble. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Sometimes You Wish God Would Ignore You
Read Job 7:1–21
Job 7:16-21 I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are a breath. (17) What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, (18) visit him every morning and test him every moment? (19) How long will you not look away from me, nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit? (20) If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind? Why have you made me your mark? Why have I become a burden to you? (21) Why do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity? For now I shall lie in the earth; you will seek me, but I shall not be.”
We know many a person who has suffered much before death and seek it. A mother or father, a husband or wife are suffering to the point of death, yet death escapes them. Indeed we pray for a merciful release. In this section of Job, Job seems to forget what he knows in a later chapter, Job 19:25 “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.” Job certainly describes to us the oriental thinking on death. We die, go to Sheol and then we fade to black.
That doesn’t trouble Job. He wishes that were so because his present state is so bad. He believes he has gained ire of God and he can’t figure out why. He admits his sin, v. 20, but doesn’t think that he sinned against the Lord so grievously that this has come upon him. Indeed he calls upon the Lord to remember His own character which is merciful, kind and forgiving. Job has bought into the idea that his troubles are his own making. He, like many moderns wonder why an almighty God who takes so much trouble to pay attention to him, who is so little, and mark him for this great trouble. Certainly the Lord has something better to do!
In the midst of all trials, troubles and tribulations it is good to remember the name of the Lord. Exo 34:6 “The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, (7) keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.’” This name is made manifest in the name of Jesus, “The Lord saves.”
In our suffering we must look to Jesus and know in Christ Jesus the Lord is merciful, gracious, slow to angler, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. He forgives our sins, transgressions and our iniquities. These sufferings that come upon us though we are faithful are not God getting back at us. Despite their appearance and our sinful flesh’s desire to deny it, our sufferings are the Lord being these things to us. If he left us alone and ignored us and did not bring these things upon us in his divine wisdom he would not be being merciful or gracious. We might sinfully say, “If that’s how he’s going to treat us, I’d rather be ignored.” But he is working something great in you.
Lord God, heavenly Father, help us in our suffering to look past it and to look to your great and marvelous promises that we might be able to stand up underneath them and attain the glory you promised us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Your Friends Mean Well When You’re Suffering
Read Job 6:14–30
Job 6:14 “He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. 22 Have I said, ‘Make me a gift’? Or, ‘From your wealth offer a bribe for me’? (23) Or, ‘Deliver me from the adversary’s hand’? Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the ruthless’? (24) “Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray. (25) How forceful are upright words! But what does reproof from you reprove? (26) Do you think that you can reprove words, when the speech of a despairing man is wind?”
Well we have at times been a friend to someone who is suffering or experienced suffering in our own lives and we may have said or done things similar to Job’s friends. Their thinking and our thinking at times is someone must have done something wrong to have all these bad things happening to them (other than being a poor sinful being). We question and dig like Job’s friends trying to figure out why this is happening. 99.99999999% we will be wrong. When we act like Job’s friends we are not being friends at all. We are withholding kindness, faithful love from them and we forsake the fear of the Almighty.
It’s not like we really don’t deserve the bad things that happen to use. We sin daily because we are sinful human beings. But most of our suffering is not from us committing any particular sinful act. We just live in a sinful world. Put it this way, if you rob a bank and you get shot, well there is a direct correlation there. If you are in the bank getting robbed and get shot, that’s just part of living in a sinful world.
What does Job need? What do you and I need when trouble befalls us? We need to have the presence of our friends, just to hold our hands, tell a funny story and remind us of the love God our Father has for us in Christ Jesus. We need to hear the assurance that God disciplines those he loves as sons and is using this trouble for our good. We need to hear the suffering we are undergoing is the cross assigned to us by God himself as these sufferings have been sanctified by Christ on the cross.
Paul in 2 Cor. 1 reminds us the sufferings of Christ overflow into our lives. He in the court of the high priest and the court of Pilate suffered our indignities. He took the blame for our sins, our rebellion. By his wounds we are healed for he has taken our sickness into himself. The Father punished him with what we truly deserve for our transgressions. Our part that was laid upon Christ; that which is our suffering is returned back to us sanctified. It is no longer our trials and tribulations but Jesus’. The cross is ours to bear but it has been made holy by the cross of Christ for our good. It won’t be pleasant. It’s not called a cross for nothing. But remember the word excruciating. Ex-from, crucis-the cross. It is our participation of Christ’crucifixion.
Lord Jesus Christ, we the sufferings of your cross overflow into our lives, may the comfort of your Father overflow even in greater abundance that we may be able to comfort others with the comfort you comfort us with. Amen.
#DailyDevotion What Is Your Rock In The Day or Life of Distress?
Read Job 6:1–13
Job 6:8-10 “Oh that I might have my request, and that God would fulfill my hope, (9) that it would please God to crush me, that he would let loose his hand and cut me off! (10) This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
What trouble that Job is experiencing! It is not bad enough to lose all one’s material goods and one’s children or that he had lost his health but now he has his friends who try to comfort him but are no comfort at all. Job in the midst of his suffering has a hope. It is a hope that many who are undergoing pain and suffering have. That hope is that God would loose his grip on him and let him die.
Certainly many people wish they were dead sometimes. Plenty of people who are in hospice who are having much pain from their diseases look forward to death. Job is in such a space he wishes God would just pour it all out on him at once in one great big suffering if only he’d be relieved of the trial he was undergoing. Yet the timing of God’s release of us from this life is in His hands not ours.
Job wonders about the purpose of his suffering. What is the end game for which all this is happening? Job, as far as we know, never finds out. Indeed, much of the time we are left wondering, why am I going through this? What is the point? Is God really going to use this for good?
We may never know. Job says, “I have not denied the words of the Holy One.” We don’t know what words Job is talking about. But in our suffering, as Christians, we do have a word from the Lord that we can take hold of to give us strength and patience. Luk 9:23-24 “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (24) For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.’” If we remain faithful to Christ in our daily sufferings our lives and follow Him, we will be saved. The time of our suffering is momentary. The promise of glory is eternal. While it may be hard to imagine what God has prepared for those who look to Christ and remain faithful in the world to come, he promises it surpasses all our imagination. It is this word of the Holy One that is our strength, our rock, our resource to sustain us in the darkness of our life. We simply must be faithful to it.
Heavenly Father, we have power of our own or resources within to withstand the day and life of trouble, yet you promise eternal life and your presence in the world to come if we remain faithful. Give us faith to trust in your promises so in the day of trouble we do not forsake you or your son Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
#DailyDevotion God May Wound, But He Will Heal Also
Read Job 5:1–27
Job 5:12-20 He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. (13) He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end. (14) They meet with darkness in the daytime and grope at noonday as in the night. (15) But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth and from the hand of the mighty. (16) So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth. (17) “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. (18) For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal. (19) He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no evil shall touch you. (20) In famine he will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword.
Well at least Eliphaz seems somewhat realistic in what we see in the world most of the time and gives some hope to us today. Those who go about being crafty and wily while the get away with it for a while but the Lord does frustrate their plans and brings them to an end. He just does it in his own time because they too are made in His image and likeness he desires that they too repent of their sins and turn to Him for salvation.
Today we also see that when we who belong to the Lord suffer we should consider ourselves blessed. “…blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.” When we suffer as Christians we should know that it is not without purpose. Discipline here does not necessarily mean punishment but training or instruction. If you are under the discipline of the Lord we have these words to give us hope. “For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.” The Lord does not leave His holy ones in distress. He does bring comfort and every grace to deal with the times and He does promise relief.
The author of Hebrews has this in mind when he says, Heb 12:5 “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. (6) For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (7) It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” You see, when you as a Christian who trust in the Lord undergo many pains and trials you should take comfort that you are His sons, His children. It is in love He brings these things to pass in our life.
The devil would have you think you have been spurned by God and that He hates you. He tries to deceive you into thinking you must have done something absolutely horrible for your Father in heaven to treat you this way. But just stick you tongue out at him and remind him of his end. Remember these words and remind yourself and him that you are a child of the Almighty and this suffering is indeed proof of it. It is in love that you are experiencing this. Heb 12:11 “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
O Lord our God, when you place your hand of discipline upon us, grant us faith and hope of your work in us to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness so we and those around us may give praise and honor unto your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
#DailyDevotion You’re Doing Better Than You Deserve
Read Job 4:1–21
Job 4:4-8 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have made firm the feeble knees. (5) But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed. (6) Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope? (7) “Remember: who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off? (8) As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same… Job 4:17-19 ‘Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker? (18) Even in his servants he puts no trust, and his angels he charges with error; (19) how much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed like the moth.
Eliphaz utters things which seem to follow the ways of the world in the beginning. Although he confronts Job with the fact that he himself has preached to, exhorted and comforted others who have had misery fall upon them, when it happens to Job, he is dismayed. Eliphaz then speaks those words which seem wise and reflects the ways of the world otherwise known as karma. “(7) “Remember: who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off? (8) As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.”
Yes in the normal course of things, it does seem that those who sow trouble eventually reap trouble. If you’re a lying, stealing, adulterous, and murderous person these things seem to fall back on you. You tend to get your comeuppance before those who have seen your past actions. But sometimes they don’t. People in the days of Malachi once evilly thought, Mal 3:14 “’It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts? (15) And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.'”
But Eliphaz also spoke this, “Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?” Indeed it is also written, Ecc 7:20 “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” And again Paul quotes the Old Testament, Rom 3:10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;…” So no one can truly say they do not deserve the bad things that happen to them. There is no one who is perfect and does not need the discipline of the Lord. Yet our Lord Jesus Christ is gracious to all. Mat 5:45 “… For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” 2Co 5:14 “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; (15) and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” So the things we endure, particularly when we cannot point to what we did to deserve it look to Jesus to know God’s good will toward us. Even if we are suffering we know that in it never the less our Father in heaven loves us because He sent is Son to die for us, for you. The life we live, whether we experience good or we experience evil, it is a life for Christ Jesus.
Heavenly Father give us hearts that are humble that recognize whatever we are experiencing is it better than we deserve. Help us to see your great love for us when we are being disciplined that we may not lose heart of hope of your redemption. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion When You Look to Death as a Friend
Read Job 3:11–26
Job 3:17-26 There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest. (18) There the prisoners are at ease together; they hear not the voice of the taskmaster. (19) The small and the great are there, and the slave is free from his master. (20) “Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, (21) who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, (22) who rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they find the grave? (23) Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? (24) For my sighing comes instead of my bread, and my groanings are poured out like water. (25) For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. (26) I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.”
Death, the great equalizer. Most of the time, we are serving the fear of death or its companion, sin. It drives every facet of our life when don’t have faith in Christ. All the medicines, diets, quack health products out there tempt us to think we can escape it and we do try them. We don’t want to die normally. It is unnatural. But there are times we wish we were dead. We wish we never were born. We might even as Job says dig for it as it were treasure. We and Job think there is no suffering in death. Indeed much of the ancient world thought that death was pretty much the blahs and then you faded into nothingness. But we know from other revelation from God’s Word that is not the case. We can either be in torment in Gehenna or we can be enjoying Abraham’s bosom.
But what misery must be upon someone who is not chasing after life but instead seeking death and not being able to find it. He has no peace, no comfort, no ease. Instead Job says trouble comes after him. What comfort can we have when this type of life overcomes us? What sense does it make?
Paul tells us, 2Co 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, (4) who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Our sufferings are not our own. They are Christ Jesus’. It is his suffering we are experiencing. We are participating in his sufferings. But first Jesus participated in our sufferings, taking them into his flesh and soul, making them his own. Mat 8:16 “That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. (17) This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”” He takes them, sanctifies them and returns them to us as his own. Jesus says, Luk 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” The cross we bear, Jesus has born it already in his flesh. He then helps us to lift us up and sustain us in our times of trouble.
Lord Jesus Christ, even as you have born the cross for us and you give us a cross to bear, grant us faith and courage of heart to find our life and our death in your innocent suffering and death upon the cross and your resurrection to be our life. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Life with God isn’t Always Easy
Read Job 2:1—3:10
Job 2:3-10 And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” (4) Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. (5) But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” (6) And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” (7) So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. (8) And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. (9) Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” (10) But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Really God? You’re going to let Satan treat your faithful servant Job as he pleases? How on earth can you do that? Sure, God comes back later and tells Job if he can answer His questions then He will answer Job’s and our questions. And well, we can’t answer God’s questions. But still we ask. Still, we complain. But in doing so, do we sin against the Lord. Job in all this did not sin with his lips. We do not know if he sinned in his heart.
Job’s attitude is probably the best we can hope for when we are in similar circumstances. What is that attitude? It is found in his answer to his wife: “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In truth we deserve nothing good from the Lord and pain, trials and tribulations is what we deserve even when we’ve done our best to be only good and faithful servants because we still fail in that endeavor. So we receive the good with bad from the Lord in our daily lives. But why? What purpose does it serve? Does God get his jollies from watching all this?
Paul tells us, Rom 5:3 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, (4) and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (5) and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Again Paul tells us, Rom 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” We who are Christians who are undergoing suffering, particularly suffering to which we can point to no cause in us have these words from God as to the purpose of suffering for the Christian and to a possible outcome. Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the midst of our sufferings is conforming us to his image and likeness. He is going to bring about good from the evil we undergo. What that good is we cannot always see or will discover in this lifetime. But we have this promise that he is going to work it for our and others good. Trusting in Christ’ promises we are able to endure like Job. But it isn’t going to be fun or pretty going through it.
Lord Jesus Christ, you allow all sorts of evil to come our way for our good and according to your purpose to conform us to your image and likeness. Grant us faith in the midst of suffering that we may endure and be examples of faith to those who follow after us. Amen.
#DailyDevotion So You Think You’ve Had A Bad Day?
Read Job 1:1–22
Job 1:20-22 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. (21) And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (22) In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
Ever have one of those days? Here is Job, someone whom God himself has called blameless and upright and look what happens to him in one day. Some Sabeans kill his servants and steal his animals. Fire comes down from heaven and kills all his sheep. Other enemies come upon him and steal other possessions and top off the day, all of his children are killed. So tell me how bad your day was. The absolute worse thing in this whole affair, the Lord not only knows about it, he is complicit in it. He makes Job a target and then lets Satan have free reign over the possessions of Job.
What did Job ever do to God for this to happen to him? God himself said he was blameless. Job is to be a lesson for all people everywhere who have a mistaken understanding of God, merits, good luck and bad luck and the faithfulness of God. Perhaps looking at what happened in one day to Job may cause you to more sincerely and faithfully pray, “And lead us not into temptation and deliver us from the evil one.”
Now God doesn’t need to test Job for himself. He knows what is on Job’s heart. He doesn’t even need Satan to see what sort of man Job is. But Job needs to see what is on his heart and have his faith purified. While it may seem pointless at the time Peter reminds us 1Pe 1:6-7 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, (7) so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
We see here Job does not curse God. He doesn’t say, “I can’t believe in a God who would let this happen to me.” No, instead Job blesses and praises God, “”Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Any good thing we have is a gift from God. We do not deserve it. We’ve sinned against the Lord in so many ways we don’t even know. It is only his grace and mercy that keeps Satan at bay with us. You can have all the faith in the world in Jesus Christ and do everything right but Jesus is going to allow you to participate in his sufferings. (2Cor. 1) He is going to purify your faith in him through trials and tribulations. If you remain faithful you will see it be to the praise, glory and honor when Christ Jesus is revealed from heaven. So don’t give up.
Lord Jesus Christ, you tested your servant Job through Satan and Job remained faithful to you. So give us your Holy Spirit so that in the days, months and years of trials and tribulation we too may be faithful and that faithfulness result in praise, glory and honor on the day of your revelation. Amen.