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.

Daily Reading: February 16th


#DailyDevotion When Your Friends Seem Like Enemies

February 16th

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.

Daily Reading: February 15th


#DailyDevotion When Faith In God Is Necessary

February 15th

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.

Daily Reading: February 14th


#DailyDevotion I Loathe My Life-Real Feelings From Real Christians

February 14th
Job 10:1–22
Job 10:1-9 “I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. (2) I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me. (3) Does it seem good to you to oppress, to despise the work of your hands and favor the designs of the wicked? (4) Have you eyes of flesh? Do you see as man sees? (5) Are your days as the days of man, or your years as a man’s years, (6) that you seek out my iniquity and search for my sin, (7) although you know that I am not guilty, and there is none to deliver out of your hand? (8) Your hands fashioned and made me, and now you have destroyed me altogether. (9) Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust?

We definitely know someone or have been in Job’s place. I always find it interesting to listen to Job. He really is just like us. Many people who really haven’t read the Bible think it’s full of perfect people. But most of the people mentioned in it really are just like us. Unfortunately, most people think “Church” people are just like the people in the Bible they never really read about also. But “Church” people also suffer. They often talk like Job when suffering.

We too wonder what God has against us when we suffer. We don’t understand why God is letting us go through these things. More than that, we complain that God doesn’t understand us because he isn’t like us. So we make our appeal to God to remember our frailties as we are nothing but clay and dust.

Yet we as Christians know something that Job doesn’t know, at least at this point. The Lord God knows exactly what Job is going through and what he is experiencing. For Jesus, the Lord God, has become flesh and has experienced and continues to experience all that we as man undergo. Jesus took even this suffering of Job upon himself when he suffered in the flesh. Heb 4:15“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.” And again, Heb 5:7 “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. (8) Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.”

So the Son of God knows what it is like to suffer like us. He became flesh like us, like you and experiences the pains and trials of life. He brought you infirmities into his flesh and knows what is going on. He was betrayed by friends and abandoned by them. He lost family and friends to death. He suffered unjustly and was falsely accused. So now we cannot say God doesn’t know what we are going through. The Son of God has experienced your trials, tribulations and suffering in his own flesh, in his own person. So he can indeed sympathize with you.

Lord Jesus Christ, because you have been made like us in every way and because the Father has placed our whole lives upon you have mercy upon us in our troubles and grant us your peace knowing you indeed have provided a solution to it all on the last day. Amen.

Daily Readings: February 13th


#DailyDevotion Thank God Job Is Wrong. We Do Have An Arbiter Between Us And God

February 13th

Read Job 9:1–35

Job 9:2-4  “Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God?  (3)  If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times.  (4)  He is wise in heart and mighty in strength —who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?— …32  For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together.  (33)  There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both.  (34)  Let him take his rod away from me, and let not dread of him terrify me.  (35)  Then I would speak without fear of him, for I am not so in myself.

 

Really, who would invent a God like this?  It isn’t the sort of God I want.  I want one that is more like a powerful genie who has to listen to my every whim.  But that is not the kind of God Job has or that has any existence or is being.  Job says rightly, “how can a man be in the right before God?”  Ecclesiastes tells us there is not a righteous man who does not sin.  We may hate it.  In fact, many times we do.  We are nothing to tell the Lord God, our Creator how he must act with us.  We are putty in his hands. Paul recognizes this in Romans: Rom 9:20-21  But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”  (21)  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?

 

But in verse 33 Job just not realize that he has an arbiter between himself and the Almighty.  It is the angel of the Lord, it is our Lord Jesus Christ.  We need someone to speak to the Father and stand before him on our behalf.  John writes, 1Jn 2:1 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”  Nothing like having the judge’s son be your lawyer in court.

 

Paul also reminds us, Rom 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  (32)  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  (33)  Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  (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.”

 

Christ Jesus, the Son of God is interceding at the right hand of the Father, right now, for you, on your behalf.  Whatever it is you are going through, those who belong to Christ Jesus have him as one who intercedes for you at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.  So you can know that whatever it is you are currently undergoing as a child of God it isn’t because God isn’t angry with you .  It must be for your good even if the devil means it for evil.  It must be good for you and for those around you.  So we need not despair like Job.  We know and believe the very Son of God is standing between us and the Father.

 

O Holy Advocate and Intercessor at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, may your intercession keep at bay all that is harmful for us and may it sustain us in faith when it is deemed necessary for us to undergo all sorts of fiery trial.  Amen.