#DailyDevotion When you become appalling to the nicest people.
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.
#DailyDevotion Who Will Argue Your Case Before God?
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.
#DailyDevotion God Intends To Purify Our Faith
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.
#DailyDevotion You Ever Wish God Didn’t Love You So Much?
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.
#DailyDevotion When God Hides Himself
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.
#DailyDevotion Do You Armchair Quarterback With God?
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.
#DailyDevotion When Your Friends Seem Like Enemies
Read Job 12:1–6, 12–25
Job 12:2-5 “No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you. (3) But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know such things as these? (4) I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called to God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock. (5) In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune; it is ready for those whose feet slip.
It is very difficult to talk to people who are experiencing misfortune. Job’s accusation perhaps may ring true at times. We speak from a position of ease. Maybe we do have contempt for the one experiencing suffering. They may certainly be experiencing it that way when we try to tell them why they are in the condition they are in. Like Job they may think and say to you in other terms, “No doubt…wisdom will die with you.”
Those people who in the midst of adversity may think the people around them are laughing at them and they themselves are a laughingstock. So we should be reminded of this when we try to comfort and council our friends or others around experiencing hardship. Remember Job’s warning, “misfortune; it is ready for those whose feet slip.”
There is not much hope in this section of Job. There are these words: Job 12:13 “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding.” Job 12:16 “With him are strength and sound wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are his.” In the midst of misfortune and affliction we can know God is in control. What he is doing or allowing to be done is according to his wisdom and might. In the context of these verses that is still not particularly comforting. For God builds up and tears down. He loosens and he binds. Our only hope in this is that God is not being capricious. He doesn’t do things willy nilly.
But if you are Christian, then you have a more certain hope. We have a word of promise from through the apostle Paul: Rom 8:35-37 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (36) As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” (37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
We may feel as if we are being slaughtered, indeed we might be. But for those who have been called by Christ, baptized into his name and have put our faith in his salvation for us, we stand on this promise; nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Paul reminds us Jesus is interceding for us. Therefore in all trials and tribulation “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” We are God’s children. Nothing can take that from us.
Heavenly Father, you bind and you loose. You lift up and you tear down. Grant us faith in the midst of you operating according to your wisdom and might to never take our eye off Jesus that in him we may know your perfect will towards us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
#DailyDevotion When Faith In God Is Necessary
Read Job 11:1–20
Job 11:13-20 “If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. (14) If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. (15) Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. (16) You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. (17) And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. (18) And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. (19) You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor. (20) But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last.”
You know this would be true if Zophar were talking to an impenitent sinner. For indeed, those who live impenitent lives in manifest sin should expect no good things from God, although God is merciful and provides good things even to the wicked. There is a place for this in those who have no faith or who have departed the faith. If you have fallen away, you don’t have to remain in your sin. You don’t have to live believing God is angry with you and you’re going to hell anyway.
Put your faith in Christ Jesus. Trust that he has earned God’s mercy for you. Know that God is on your side and desires to spend eternity with you for the sake of his Son Jesus Christ. Confess your faults and he will look the other way because Jesus has spilled his blood for you.
When our faith is in Jesus Christ, when it is focusing on what Jesus has done for us on the cross, then these words, (16) “You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. (17) And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. (18) And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. (19) You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor” will be true for you. They will be true for you even if none of the circumstances in your life change one bit, that is whatever misery has come upon you. With such faith you may indeed and most probably will begin to change whatever circumstances in your life that you can.
For poor Job though, what help is this? He simply (I didn’t say easily) exercise his faith in the Almighty One. There isn’t much he can change about his circumstances. He isn’t one who is living in manifest, unrepentant sin. But what he needs to do and what we need to do when we find ourselves there is to trust in the mercies of God found in Christ Jesus. We need to believe even in the midst of refuse of the world coming down on us, our Heavenly Father still cares for us. This faith will change our attitude. We will see those promises coming to fruition in our lives even in the darkness because darkness is light to the One who loves us. He is our light in the darkness. We simply need to trust him.
O Lord God, Heavenly Father, with whom even darkness is light, grant us such faith in you that when the darkness of this world falls upon us we will not lose faith but rather our faith shall be strengthened and you will be our light. In Jesus’ name. Amen.