Monday, May 22, 2017

Shattered Expectations

Job already told us that when his troubles began, he was at ease. Now, he explains a little more. He was at a point in his life when he expected good to happen, and he was waiting for light to come. However, he did not get what he expected. He received evil and darkness.(Job 30:26) That is God's prerogative.  God is not there to fulfill our expectations. He is there to do what is best for us and those around us. Sometimes, His purposes are better fulfilled by causing us to endure a time of suffering and pain. When that happens, we must not let it throw us into depression and despair.

Sometimes we get to where we feel good about our lives. We even think that we are spiritual enough. We are satisfied that we are doing well, so we expect God to bless us with good. In fact, we can go so far as to think that God needs to fulfill our expectations. That is a dangerous place to get to in life. God always knows what is best for us. We do not know. He always takes others into account, too, while we think about ourselves too much. Therefore, we can experience evil or bad things, so that we learn to depend on Him whatever comes, and not to expect God to be slave to our desires.

Also, we can think we are righteous, so that God will give us His light to guide our way. Then, we begin to wait for Him to give us light, but He brings darkness instead. That may seem cruel to us, but it is not. When we get cast into times of darkness, it gives us a chance to continue doing that last thing we were told by the Lord. If we will continue being faithful, he will bring us light at the right time and in the right way.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 31-33.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Acting with Integrity

Job's friends put him in a very difficult place, instead of bringing him comfort. They assumed that his suffering was caused by his sin, when it wasn't. Then, Job had to respond to their assumptions. He had to choose whether to agree with them or to stand up for his righteousness before God. When he spoke the truth, it made him seem proud. He was not proud, at all. He was speaking justly and upholding his integrity. (Job 27:4,5) If he would have done anything else, he would have been sinning with his lips.

All of us have a choice. We can choose to please people, or we can speak the truth in love. Even when speaking the truth may cause us to be misunderstood, we must not put away our integrity to please others. We must be resolved to speak justly, not deceitfully, in every situation of life. When we compromise our integrity, we give up one of the most precious and powerful things we have. If people can't count on us to say and do the right thing, how can they trust us in anything? That shatters our ability to have lasting, close relationships with others, and it grieves the Lord in a terrible way. Please, decide to always act with integrity.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 28-30.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Source of Job's Confident Faith

Job's life was a daily relationship with God in which he lived by His words to him. That daily walk with God was the source of his confident faith in God, not just emotion or wishful thinking. Job let us know how he lived each day with the Lord. (Job 23:10-12) Let's look at what he said, so we can strengthen our walk with the Lord Jesus.

Job was in the habit of talking with God about his plans, the way that he would take in his life. He laid out his plans to the Lord, so he could get input from God. Because of that, he had confidence that when God had finished testing him, he would come out as gold. In other words, his life would be found to be pure before the Lord. Also, he knew that his way was correct, because he never departed from the commands of the Lord. He did not have a written Bible like we do, but when God spoke His commands to him, Job always obeyed them. The reason for his profound obedience was that he treasured the words of God more than his necessary food. He was so glad to hear from God that he stored up all that He said to him, perhaps by writing it down in a journal. Now, we all would do well to walk with the Lord, as Job did. However, the decision is ours. He will not force us. Our inspiration should be that if we truly follow Jesus, we will develop confident faith, too.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 25-27.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Job's Confident Faith

The book of Job is one of the earliest books of the Bible to be written, if not the very first. Yet, Job showed remarkable knowledge of God, and He had a very confident faith in His Lord. In fact, he knew his Redeemer was alive and one day would stand on the earth, and he was looking forward to seeing God.(Job 19:25,26) That is a great insight and confident faith.

For Job to use the word "Redeemer" 2,000 years before Jesus came into the world is amazing. He already knew that we all had sinned, so we have to have a Redeemer to pay our sin debt and set us free from those sins. He knew that Jesus would come to this world, and live among us. Just as remarkable was the fact that he told his friends that after his skin was destroyed, he would see God. He had a definite belief in life after death. How many people alive today have that degree of insight and faith? The number is not very high, considering we have the whole Bible translated into many languages and missionaries who have gone around the world to communicate the gospel. It shows that God is able to speak to a willing heart, and then, the one with a willing heart comes to see great truths and know Christ. Is that true of you today?

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 21-24

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Job was At Ease, but God Shook Him

Job gave a testimony about his life before God turned him over to be afflicted by Satan. He said, "I was at ease." (Job 16:12) That reminds me of a military officer telling the soldiers who are standing at attention to be, "at ease." Then, they relax their rigid posture, and they are less stressed than when the officer is inspecting every detail. I think that is what Job was saying about his life. He was having an easy life. Things were going well, and so he had relaxed, thinking everything would be fine. However, God had another plan for his life. God decided to shake him well and use Job for a target. What an awakening for Job.

I believe most Americans want to live a life of ease. They want to take life easy, and do as little work as possible. This even reflects the mindset of many Christians. They want to be comfortable financially, so that they can do just what they want to do. However, if we live a life where we are "at ease," we will tend to neglect seeking God and serving Him. That is when He has to grasp us by the neck and shake us to pieces. That is when He uses us as a target. It is not to harm us, but to teach us that He is Lord, and we are to be constantly alert to His every command, and always have an urgency about serving Him in His way. That is really the best life we can have, not a life of being "at ease." Job learned that, and we need to learn it, too.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 17-20.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Job's Two Requests of God

As we have seen, Job knew He was righteous before God, so that the pain he was enduring was not because of sin. However, he was very confused about what was happening, and his suffering was intense. In the midst of it all he still trusted God. Then, He made two requests of God, because without these two things he would have to hide from God. (Job 13:20,21) I think these two requests show us a lot about God and His care for us.

Job asked God not to removed His hand from him. That is remarkable! God was allowing Satan to inflict great pain and loss, but Job knew that God's hand was still on him. He was still experiencing the presence of God. Yes, he wanted to talk with God about his situation, and God was not talking yet, but God had not left him or removed His hand from him. Also, Job requested that God would not let the dread of God terrify him. That is profound! God is awesome in His power, and we are to have a fear or dread of God in the sense that we have great respect for Him and what He could do to us. However, He never wants us to dread Him so much that we are terrified of Him. We should never think that God is scary. He always acts in love, even in Job's case. It was just taking a while for Job to see the end of what God was allowing. Then, he would know the goodness of God in his life again. In the meantime it was enough that God's hand was on him, and he was not terrified of God, because He knew His loving heart. I believe all believers can be assured of these two things, no matter what happens in our lives.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 14-16.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Recounting God's Goodness to Us

Job was suffering from his losses and enduring great physical pain inflicted on him by Satan. He was lamenting the fact that he had even been born, because his grief was so deep. However, even in the midst of so much despair, Job recounted the goodness of God to him to his friends. (Job 10:12) This is a great lesson for us.

When we go through trials or grief, no matter how severe our suffering, we must not forget God's goodness. It will really help us to remember His blessings to us, instead of only focusing on the bad things. Then, it will help even more, if we take the time to recount the goodness of God in our lives to others. It helps us to have a balanced outlook, and a divine perspective on our situation. There is never a time when God leaves His children. There are always reasons to praise Him and thank Him for His goodness to us.

We can thank Him for giving us physical life and eternal life. This life will have great pain, but it extends to eternity in heaven where all is joy and peace. Also, we can recount His lovingkindness to us. God is always faithful when He makes promises to us. We can all look back to see the faithfulness of God in our lives. We can, also, thank Him for caring for us so much that He preserves our spirit. He may have to punish us, or He may allow tests like Job had, but He never breaks our spirit, because He knows just how much we can take, so He never gives us too much pain, if we will only trust Him for strength.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 11-13..