Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Job 25

Dominion and awe belong to God

The Lord God is sovereign.  All dominion belongs to Him.   According to the Websters 1828 Dictionary dominion is "power to direct, control, use and dispose of at pleasure; right of possession and use without being accountable; supreme authority; the power of governing and controlling."  All authority begins with God and is His.

Awe is God's.  Awe is a response. My response.  Merriam Webster defines awe as that which is "admirable, amazing, astonishing, wonderment, commanding, inspiring."  Awe combines emotion and enthrallment, feelings and focus.

Sovereignty and my response to God are God's.  No one else.  I am witness to His dominion.  I can only participate in the awe. 

God, please give me eyes to see Your sovereignty, Your dominion in everyday.  Grant me humility and a submissive heart and will that I may honor Your authority and those whose authority You place me under.  Please help me to choose awe in response to You.  You alone are worthy of my emotions, focus and worship.  Keep my eyes on You.  I want them no other place.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Job 24

...There are those who rebel against the light, 
   who do not know its ways or stay in its paths....
   they want nothing to do with the light.
   For all of them, midnight is their morning; 
   they make friends with the terrors of darkness.... 

Light is a fact.  
     There are those who rebel against the truth of light, the authority of light.

Light has a way, a path to follow.  
     The journey in light can be known and kept.

Light is a choice.  
     The decision touches everything, even when nothing is decided upon.

Light's morning dawns true.
     Pitch darkness is the morning of rebellion.

Light introduces mercies afresh.
     Torment of death's shadow haunts the night.

I choose light.  I choose Light.  Thank You Lord God for Your light, thank You Lord Jesus that You are the Light.  Give me eyes to see the light, passion for Your light and the strength and endurance to always choose Light's way.

Job 23

But He knows the way I take;
When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
My foot has held fast to His path;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
I have not departed from the command of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
But He is unique and who can turn Him?
And what His soul desires, that He does.
For He performs what is appointed for me,
And many such decrees are with Him.

Job knows his ways, he know God's ways.  Job gets that what God wants, God does.  God has set certain things to be done, made us some appointments and God carries out those appointments.  Job still knows that in all of what God has decreed for him, that he has not "departed from the command of His lips."  What confidence Job has in the height of his grief.

Lord, that I would have a heart as Job's, one that keeps Your way and does not turn aside; despite the ebb and flow of  emotions, life and public opinion.  I thank You for showing me that it was really You on trial in this ordeal and in every trial that a follower of Yours experiences.  I pray that every one of your children, in all place and all times, would have the same confidence and submission to You as Job.  I praise You for You are my Confidence and Salvation.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Job 22

Agree with God, and be at peace;
   thereby good will come to you....

And this idea continues with Eliphaz's exhortation.  God has a spectacular plan for your life, if you turn to Him and make peace then good will and a good life will follow.  It's guaranteed...that's how God works.

The thing is, Job is in the middle of God's wonderful plan for his life.  Job is the main event in the spiritual realm - a display of God's splendor.  But Job's situation looks like consequences for wickedness to Eliphaz, the others, and maybe to the rest of the world.  

Imagine if the blessings and "happily-ever-after" life Eliphaz spoke of were the reason Job did come to God.  Wouldn't Job be a bit upset right about now, demanding his money back or recanting his allegiance?  He could reasonably cry out that he did not bargain for this deal.  Maybe, he would turn away from God.

God, of course, knew on whom He was bragging, (which is why I wonder why Satan ever took the bet).  The Lord God Almighty, Perfect in Knowledge, Power and Presence, knew Job.  And Job knew God.  That intimacy allowed Job to comprehend the part of relationship with God which many want to overlook; trusting God no matter the journey.  God is Sovereign.  Job yielded to that fact in the good times and the grief-ridden season of his life. 

I wonder if another jewel pops into one of Job's crowns for the Lord each time someone is captured by his story.  

I wonder how the spiritual audience reacted with each monologue from each player in Job's story.  

I wonder what conversations Job's wife was having during this time.  

I wonder what  Bildad, Eliphaz and Zophar were like after Job prayed for them.

I wonder what I would have said to Job or the Mrs. if I were one of the first arrivals.

"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be blessed (Job 1:21b)

"Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?" (Job 2:10b)

"I have not denied the words of the Holy One" (Job 6:10c)

"Though He slay me, yet will I wait for and trust Him" (Job 13:15a)

"I have kept to [God's] way without turning aside" (Job 23:11) 

"... my lips will not speak wickedness and my tongue will not utter deceit" (Job 27: 4) 

Lord God, You are the Giver of Grace, You paid the full price for my devoted allegiance, You are Sovereign.  You are worthy of all my trust and patience, may I bless Your name in my life - without fail.  Please help me not turn aside from You nor deny You.  Let me remain content in the waits and the troubles.  Keep my tongue silent if I entertain wicked or deceitful speech.  Help me to remember that if the enemy tries me, he is testing Your reputation.  Let me be faithful to You. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Job 21

It seems Job and his friends are having an argument about how God deals with the wicked and framing this discussion is the fact that Job has lost everything and is a horror to himself.

Neither the friends nor Job can know precisely how God deals with the wicked as God's ways are not their ways (nor mine).  God dealt with Job, a man He was pleased to brag on, in a manner not unlike what you would reserve for the vilest enemy. 

Maybe this is a continuing part of the enemy's effort to win the bet with God, to manipulate Job into speaking ill of his Creator.  I don't know. 

As I let these words sit heavy on my heart, I keep thinking that no one is crying out to God for Job, no one is attempting to minister to his physical situation, no one has a clue what to do or say.  So they have a spitting-into-the-wind contest, provoking Job to argue about God's dealings with the wicked.  I don't get it.  

 Father God, I thank You for Your words and for Your Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscience.  I thank You that I don't get this, as Your ways are not my ways and Your wisdom is not based on my thoughts.  Please give me understanding and teach me Your ways that I may know You and continue to find favor with You.   I praise You that You know Job so well and had such confidence in him.   What a trust.  Lord, help me to continue to grow in understanding that You are God and You are trustworthy in what You do - even when it is difficult and I don't know how to think about it.  Please guide me in comforting others with Your compassion and insight, that I may not argue with them in their time of need.  Lord, blessing, not disputing.  Love, not contention.  Grace, not judgment.  Empathy, not doctrinal opinions.  Gentleness, not harshness.   Them, not me.  Your glory, not another's.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Job 20

I cry almost everyday I read Job's words.  The words of his friends continue to perplex me, though.  Maybe it's a guy thing (and based on the character of the men I do know, I don't really believe this is true); but I am appalled at Job's friends' interactions with him.  

Today is no exception.  Is Zophar really lecturing Job on the lifestyles of the wicked and infamous, the brevity of their nefarious careers?  Really?  I don't understand how this is coming to comfort a friend in the wake of loss and grief. 

Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
  “My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer
   because I am greatly disturbed.
 I hear a rebuke that dishonors me,
   and my understanding inspires me to reply..."

The friend feels a splash of personal dishonor in the sea of Job's calamity and collateral damage.  And the friend must address that issue.   Zophar is rather missing the point of comfort ... that it is not about him. 

Lord God of Wisdom and Comfort, help me to keep on task when You trust me with an opportunity.  May my words honor You and demonstrate Your compassion to others.   May Your Truth be as gracious and loving as You are when I speak.  Let me not depart from Your purpose for me in each circumstance.  I confess, I often want to make it about me, especially when I feel dishonored.  Lord, I trust You with my honor and my reputation.  

... Though evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue, though he desires it and will not let it go, but holds it in his mouth, ... he returns what he has attained and cannot swallow it; as to the riches of his trading, he cannot even enjoy them....Because he knew no quiet within him, he does not retain anything he desires.... 

Evil is palatable to the perpetrator; but it is not digestible.   (Reminds me of a friend who learned mid-bite that she did not like sushi - at all.)  Evil seems delightful; but you will choke on it.

"...as to the riches of his trading, he cannot even enjoy them..."  What does one trade away in such a deal?  What is the cost of the trade?  Joy does not accompany the transaction of evil. 

"...he knew no quiet within him..."  No peace, no tranquility.

"...he does not retain anything he desires..."   Insatiable appetite and no satisfaction.

Father, keep my heart, mouth and mind stayed on You and Your purposes that I may never conduct business with evil.  When I am experiencing dissatisfaction, discontentment, despair or displeasure, let me repent of any evil I may be entertaining. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Job 19

Job needs a hug.   He needs to know someone is on his side.  Not one of his friends have accomplished that.  Instead, they have tormented Job with their words.  We don't see one of them making sacrifice or supplication to God on Job's behalf.  Sadly, nor do we see that his wife does either.

Psalm 107:19-20

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
         He saved them out of their distresses.
    20He sent His word and healed them,
         And delivered them from their destructions.

Lord,You are Sovereign and always worthy of my worship.  Life can be so incomprehensibly difficult.  God, when answers don't come and relief has not taken hold, please let me love as You love me, let me not be afraid to come close to the hurting.  Father, please help me not respond in fear or reproach to a hurting friend.  Please make my hugs, (whether they be physical or spiritual), quick to be given.  Let my words go first to You before I speak to others.  Lord, keep me from explaining Your ways when I don't know them.  Help me to always see Your glory and  Your grace.  And, please help the hurting, the grieving, the despairing, the betrayed.  Give Your comfort to them that need Your divine compassion.  Holy Spirit, touch their spirits, souls and bodies with Your warming presence of healing and wholeness.  Redeem, Lord Jesus, redeem. 

23"Oh that my words were written! 
   Oh that they were inscribed in a book! (a perpetual best seller, even)
24Oh that with an iron pen and lead  (Matt. 24.35 - His words do not fail)
   they were engraved in the rock forever!  (if Job only knew)
25For I know that my Redeemer lives, (yes, He lives!  and He ever lives to make intercession for His people, Heb. 7.25)
   and at the last he will stand upon the earth. (Zec. 14.4, Acts 1.11-12)
26And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
   yet in my flesh I shall see God, 
27whom I shall see for myself,
   and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
   My heart faints within me!  (Phil. 2.9-11)

     Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.    1 Timothy 1.17

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Job 18

Bildad's words describe what happens to the wicked; but they are telling the story of Job, too.  His description concludes with all of the awful things listed as happening to "... one who does not know God."   The dichotomy is Job knew God, he honored God, he revered God.  God was pleased with Job and that's what began this story.  

Billy-Boy's words also seem to tell the story of what the enemy desired to have happen to Jesus, the One in Whom God was well-pleased.  Things didn't go well for Jesus, from the outsider's viewpoint.  Until that Sunday, Resurrection Sunday.

As I read and listened to these words, I was challenged with what God considers versus what man values.  1 Samuel 16:7:  But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Oh Lord, I so often look at the outside, the externals and make my decisions from there.  I am responsive to what happens, what it looks like and what it feels like - I do not frequently consider, much less linger in the heart-place of others.  Job is teaching me that Your favor can greatly resemble man-defined cursing and that I need to not react naturally to the events You allow me to experience.  Oh God, give me supernatural vision, spiritual acuity and a grace-oriented life to look at the heart of another.  Help me not to shrink back because of discomfort or pain experienced or caused by others; but to fully engage in the relationships You grant me.  Give me Your words, Your strength, Your passion for Your glory's sake.  Help me to be faithful in the life You have entrusted to me.  God, help me...and may I bring praise to Your name. 

Job 17

...the graveyard is ready for me.
Surely there are mockers about me...
He has made me a byword of the peoples,
   and I am one before whom men spit....

Some of these words remind me of the crucifixion and what happened to Mary's Son.
...Lay down a pledge for me with yourself;
   who is there who will put up security for me?... 

These words remind me of what He did for me at the cost of His life.

Only You, my Messiah, only You would have and could have and did give that  perfect pledge for me with Your life.  You are my Security and my Guarantee.  I am so sorry for the abuse You endured as You lay down Your pledge for me.  I know You chose that course; but I am still amazed at the great cost You chose to pay.  You could have done anything.  And You chose to die...for me.  Bless You, my Lord and my Savior.  You are Amazing and Your love is Faithful. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Job 16

I could say the same things if you were in my place.
      I could spout off criticism and shake my head at you.
But if it were me, I would encourage you.
      I would try to take away your grief.

I can treat others like they treat me or I can choose a different path.  I can choose to encourage and apply myself to help others; despite what they do to me.  I can build on the grace given me by others or I can begin to lay a foundation of grace - I don't have to be ugly, to return skin for skin, to be a hater. 

Ephesians 4:29  Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 

My words must be wholesome and edifying, need-meeting, grace-bearing.

Proverbs 16:1 The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. 

Only the Lord can give me the proper response for any occasion and any person.  His words will build up, meet needs and encourage while giving grace to any who may hear.  

Lord, I yield my tongue to you.  Please give the answer of my tongue, help me to be useful in bringing relief to others, let my words (and body language and emails ... any communication) give grace to all who may hear them.  I will only bring trouble on my own. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Job 15

For your guilt teaches your mouth,
         And you choose the language of the crafty. 

A culpable person will not speak truthfully and openly.  The guilt seeks to remain covered so the perpetrator's communication will be informed by that desire to maintain the shroud of deception.   
VINCIT OMNIA VERITAS - Truth conquers all things

Lord, You are Truth and what You say is so.  I pray that my language would always be honoring to You.  Please give me ears to discern the truth from the crafty-speech of the guilty.  Help me to not be deceived or tricked.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Job 14

Oh that You would hide me in Sheol,
         That You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You,
         That You would set a limit for me and remember me!

Sometimes life is really hard.  The experiences I have are not what I expected or planned on.  The unfolding of my life does not match the map I laid out.  Seasons often last  much longer than I would choose and questions just are not answered.  I have wished to be concealed until that trying time passes - to just wait it out as an observer rather than a participant or subject of interest. 

I have wondered where the limits are, how to completely delineate and frame such an epoch - when I knew God hadn't forgotten me; but it felt like He had.   When He had given me understanding that it was to be an enduring time; the only hint I received was "it will take a while."  In the midst of such episodes of life, I experienced death.  Not like Job did with all of his children and possessions; but a dying to my plans, my expectations, my reason, my life, me.  I discovered the influence I had was none.  All I could do was join God's plan for my life and try to endure.  

But how I wanted a limit - to know that this would be for just so long (and not very long, at that) and then my life would return to me.   And, therein lies the rub, the lie.  That "my live" would return to "normal."  My life ceased to be mine when I, by God's gracious drawing, began to follow Him.  How would a mere mortal begin to describe what is "normal" for the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Sovereign King of the Universe?  How can one require limits from the unlimited God?

True my life couldn't return, as it died out somewhere along the sacred journey of God's plan.  In the emptying, silent seasons, that girl died, her plans, her deals, her arrangements... gone.  What was important faded and was reborn in a smaller, more concise package, containing almost none of the original components.  A serious reordering of life, priorities and passions appeared.  Only through the death could this crystallized purpose come forth.  And, through more death to myself will He continue His process of bringing forth that which brings Him most glory and, inexplicably, more life to me.

Lord God of All, I praise Your most precious and wise Name for the limitless way in which You rule and deal with me.  I praise You for You are Just and Perfect and Good and True.  Please help me to be brave, strong and courageous in those places where I begin to long for limits on You.  Help me lean into Your Grace as I am tempted to wiggle around or off the altar of living sacrifice.  You are trustworthy and Your limits are trustworthy, too.  Give me a heart for Your limits and help me die more to myself today.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Job 13

...Will it be well with you when he searches you out?...Though he slay me, I will hope in him...

Such a worthwhile question to consider.  Of course, it wouldn't be well with me when He searches me out.  No wonder evolution is so attractive to people, it means there will be no searching out.  My only hope is the Messiah's gift to me.  My only way is Jesus...by way of the cross.   And because of that, I hope no matter what He will allow.

Thank You Lord for salvation, for that Hope You have given me.  I praise You Lord, for it is well with my soul.  May I not be stingy with Your Life that it may be well with many others.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Job 12

... He who is at ease holds calamity in contempt ...
Does not the ear test words, as the palate tastes its food?...

How easy to be contemptuous about calamity when it is not happening to you.  You can feel badly and almost always offer advice; but when the experience is not yours, the words can ring a bit hollow to the hearer as well as the speaker ... if you're still listening.

My challenge is to consider my words before I say them.  How will they be received?  Do I intend that meaning or should I further test my words until they accomplish God's purpose?  Does what I want to say reflect what God would have me to say?  Do I need to comment on the "misfortune" of another?

How about my body language?  How is my nonverbal communication speaking for me?

Is there an area in which I desire to be contemptuous?  

I can always speak a word; but I cannot ever take back a word once spoken.

Lord God of my tongue, please help me test my words before I toss them out.  I do not want to be contemptuous in word or action.  Please shut my mouth if I am about to be an open gate for pride, disputation, scorn, truculence, babblewhack or anything which is non-glorifying to You.  I submit my tongue and my mind to You and Your wisdom.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Job 11

With friends like these, who needs enemies?  Zophar seems to have a high yet unimaginative view of God; he also does not have a respectable view of his friend.  I don't know what I would or could have said to Job; but I don't know that I would castigate him as Zophar does.  

Zophar says that if only God would tell Job what He thinks then Job would understand why he was being punished.  The thing is, if God did reveal His thoughts to them, they'd all be blown away.  Job knew his blameless estate; but he did not dare to consider that God was bragging on him with the outcome being what it was. Zophar and the others had no idea.  The extreme loss did not humanly indicate a pleased God; but it was true.

"...who are you?  ...what do you know?" Zophar asks Job. Based on his first response to Job, Zophar really has no idea who Job is.  Nor does he have any idea why all the grief has come to Job.  No one did.  If God had not given us this text, would anyone have known?  Zophar did know himself, his sins, his proclivities, his weaknesses.  That self-knowledge should have been enough to keep his mouth shut.

I thank You God for the boldness You have allowed me to have in approaching You.   Holy Spirit, I thank You for the witness and wisdom you give me.  Jesus, I know You experienced similar commentary from other unenlightened folk.  Thank You for dying for us anyway.  Please help me to not speak for You when I don't.  Please let my words properly reflect You.  Lord, please increase the scope of my vision that I may dare to imagine what You are doing rather than to join in the nay-sayers and the rebukers.  Thank You that Your ways are not mine, Your strength is sufficient to accomplish Your will and Your grace is enough for any circumstance.  Help me to see Your trust in hard situations, Your faithfulness in difficulties, Your love in loss.  Help me to always point to You and to glorify You, especially when I have nothing to say.  You are worthy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Job 10

I loathe my life;I will give free utterance to my complaint;
   I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
I will say to God, Do not condemn me;
   let me know why you contend against me.

 Does it seem good to you to oppress,
   to despise the work of your hands
    and favor the designs of the wicked? ...

there is none to deliver out of your hand? ...
Why did you bring me out from the womb?
   Would that I had died before any eye had seen me
 and were as though I had not been,
   carried from the womb to the grave. ...

These are the words of a man who is in God's will.  A stark contradiction to the
"God has a wonderful plan for your life," huh? 

Why am I so reluctant to share this part of the Gospel message?  Look what
the Gospel message did to God's only begotten Son.  Why should it look
different on others?  On me? 

Life can be quite difficult, painful even.  Answers are often elusive, solutions
compromised.  When life trends towards the ugly and hurtful, why am I
inclined to forget the good that has been given me?  The richness and blessing
portioned to my name can be neglected memories when faced with despairing
circumstances.  How does the enemy gain so much ground from this? 

Sovereign Lord, help me to yield no more territory to the enemy's camp
over whether or not my life is comfortable.  I want to choose You in each
opportunity; despite the cost on my heart, mind, soul and strength.  Even when I
am tempted to despair of my life.  Let me remember Your trustworthiness, even
when I want to forget how to think.  Help me to appreciate and embrace Your grace 
in whatever form You choose it to take in my life.  Help me encourage
others in their portion of grace, too.  And if I can't help, let me love well 
in quietness and prayer for their sakes and for the glory of Your Name. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Job 9

Job asks who can be in the right before God, what can he do without a mediator?  Job describes God's awesome holiness, power and presence; he acknowledges that even if he were in the right all he could do is beg for mercy.  Job clearly sees his predicament, amidst his suffering and loss.  I wonder if he had ever known the situation so clearly before that first day?

What Job is asking for is a Savior.  Without a Redeemer, we are all in the same situation before God - not in the right, no defense, in need of mercy and a mediator to go between us. 

Thank You Lord Jesus for being the One to go between the Lord God Almighty and me, for paying my debt and pleading mercy for me.  I thank You that You didn't do a half job of arbitration; but that You saw my need and met it completely - at great cost to You and Your Name.  How marvelous You are, my Lord and my God.  Thank You for being the Answer to the need of every person ever created.  May they all have eyes to see, hearts to respond and strength to yield to You.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Job 8

How long will you say these things,
         And the words of your mouth be a mighty wind?

Yikes.  What a way to begin comforting a friend.  As he continues he speaks earnestly; but ignorantly.  Bildad speaks as if he has the inside track on what God is doing, how He thinks and operates.  Yet, God bragged on Job, not Billy-boy. 

Two things challenge me in these words. 

How careful am I that my words are not a mighty wind when I open my mouth?

How confident am I that I know God's ways (which are not my ways) better than the one experiencing God's ways? 

Lord, let my words be approved by You before they are spoken of You.  Let me not open my mouth only to  create a dust storm of language.  Help me listen and listen well. 
Proverbs 12:18 "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."  God, if my words can't heal or help; please keep me quiet.  You are God in Heaven, here am I on earth...let my words be few or shut my mouth, (loosely Ecc. 5:2b).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Job 7

Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.   c.s.lewis

This is the part of what Job is facing that I can't escape.  Sure, I  can read this, knowing the story, mentally fast-forward through the intervening chapters and land at the "and they all lived happily ever after."  But that's not it.  Job and Mrs. Job still lost all of their children.  Job cannot console the mother of his children.  There are no replacements for the lost.  Sure, more children come; but this loss was not and cannot be mitigated.  I can never get his grief, his perspective; but consider putting my toe in the pool of his life for a minute and I can't breathe.  Inescapable death, pain, pus, more death, grieving spouse, no answer from God, physical ache, mental anguish, a solitude unknown.  Blindsided on every side and a few he didn't know he had.  C.S. Lewis also remarked that no one had ever told him "that grief felt so much like fear."  Consumed.  Drowned but still feeling.  Exhausted but not gone.  I can think; but I can't imagine. 

And this is the man whom God makes much of.  This is the way God makes much of this man.  This completely rocks my "love God, love people, it's all good" mentality.  There is cost.  Excruciating cost for following God.  But it is not any different for Him.  He paid the supreme and excruciating cost for me.  He planned it that way.  He has planned my way, as well. 

What is man, that You make so much of him,
   and that You set Your heart on him?

Oh, God, Your ways are not my ways.  Your heart is so much stronger than my own, Your knowledge is perfect, Your plan flawless - despite my lack of vision and understanding.  Give me Your perspective that I may live fully for You.  I am so moved by what You have done, what You would do to make much of your people.  God, let me make MUCH of You all my life.  Lord God, give me eyes to see and a strong heart to conduct the spiritual transactions You have appointed for me.  Help me, Lord, I need You.  I thank You that You have set Your heart on me; may my heart be fully set on You, everyday.  Keep me from that which would dilute the passion You allow me for You.  Please help me to bring You glory, whether I am covered in sores or sunshine, for You are worth it.  You are Worthy to be made much of.

Job 6

... But it is still my consolation,
         And I rejoice in unsparing pain,
         That I have not denied the words of the Holy One....

Despite all the "unsparing pain," grief, loss and heartache Job is experiencing, he has "not denied the words of the Holy One."  He is consoled in that; he rejoices in his consuming despair.  Wow.  He really was worth bragging on. 

Lord, I thank You that Job maintains his faith in You while drowning in the suffering of his circumstances.  I thank You for Your love and confidence in his devotion to You.  I am inspired  that Job can rejoice in his hurt because of You - and he recognizes that You have allowed these things.  What a challenge to me to praise You in all of my minutes, to be comforted by Your words.  Please don't let me deny any of Your words.  Lord, where I have Your opportunity to console a friend, please give me Your words for that time.  Don't let me be reckless with any of Your words; but let me offer just what You have for that particular situation.  Help me to stay quiet until You direct me.  And help me to go to those that need Your consolation and not just pray from afar - even though You know how You made me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Job 5

As for me, I would seek God,
   and to God would I commit my cause,
who does great things and unsearchable,
   marvelous things without number ...
Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves;
   therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. ...
For he wounds, but he binds up; 
   he shatters, but his hands heal. ...
Behold, this we have searched out; 
   it is true.
Hear, and know it for your good.

Job begins his response to Eliphaz by rebuking anger, jealousy and foolishness. 
Job continues with declaring his intention to pursue God, the same God who
allowed all of the trouble Job and his wife are enduring, and to entrust his 
situation to that God.  Job acknowledges blessing comes from God's discipline; 
God wounds and shatters - yet He binds and God's own hands heal. 
Job must have felt very wounded and shattered about that time, nonetheless, 
his assurance is in God and what God does - despite what God had done. 
Job has personal experience in the matter he addresses and can testify to the
veracity of his words.  Job also directs the observer to "know it for your good."

Oh, my Lord God Almighty, that I immediately would recall Your truths 
and Your faithfulness in all situations.  You do great things which I cannot 
comprehend, things too marvelous for me to know and too vast for me 
to count.  You also discipline and reprove those whom You love. 
Your healing and binding follow the brokenness, Your faithfulness never 
lags or runs out, Your perfection never falters.  You are trustworthy 
in all ways.  You are good and what You do is good.  Let me know it for my good.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Job 4

"Is not your fear of God your confidence,
         And the integrity of your ways your hope?"

Eliphaz's words almost sound right.  Shouldn't I have assurance when I reverence God?  When I walk in blameless ways, shouldn't I be hopeful?  I recognize that Job was operating with sacrifices; but God must still be the faithful One to receive Job's offering, to be satisfied with Job's oblation and to not change the "rules."  God's integrity is what gives hope, God's constancy is where confidence is discovered.

The problem with the Temanite counsel is the confidence and hope are based on me and what I do.  That is never the answer.  My hope comes from God and God alone.  My confidence is from God and Him alone.  I am so grateful that God does not base anything on me and my ability to accomplish or achieve.

I praise You Father for Your wisdom, You know how frail and prone to wander I am.  I praise You that You are not fickle.  I thank You for Your grace in establishing the Covenant and fulfilling the Covenant and including me in the Covenant.  Your grace, Your mercies, Your wisdom, Your power, Your steadfastness, Your honor, Your Name ... You are where I find my hope and my confidence.  You and You alone.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Job 3

...I cannot eat for sighing;
      my groans pour out like water
  What I always feared has happened to me.
      What I dreaded has come true.
  I have no peace, no quietness.
      I have no rest; only trouble comes.

Oh Lord, my God,  You are Consolation.  Only You can provide comfort and peace that is soul-deep and life-long.   Master Creator, I cry out to You for those suffering from grief, dread, depression, oppression, fear, worthlessness, regret, deception.  You are the Answer to every person's life; but You have a unique and personal response for each one.  I ask You, the Lover of our Souls, for healing and restoration on those afflicted; I ask that You accomplish every purpose You have in store for them as well.  Please, don't let me pray away their blessing - but Lord, have mercy, act quickly, dispel the darkness.  Holy Spirit, please speak to each one's spirit today and flood them with Your solace.  Grant them divine succor from the tender heart of their Savior.  Bathe them in Your hope.  For those that know You, please magnify Yourself within their spirits; console them and hearten them with Your Hope and Love.  For those that don't yet know You, please draw them near to Your mercies that they may respond to You and Your gracious provision to them.  God our Healer, remember those in tears, those bereaved, those with gloominess of soul, those whose sighs pour out of them like water.  Holy Father, bring peace, quiet, rest and Hope today; please be the only voice they heed.   The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.  Oh, LORD, make it so; do it now.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Job 2

The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it."

Satan walks around on the earth.  Just like I do.  Is he walking around me?  I need You, Lord .  Please help me to stand firm and not be afraid when the enemy is in my neighborhood.  Rather, teach my hands, heart and spirit in the ways of war that I might be a defense for the place You have given me.  The LORD is a Warrior, the LORD is His Name.

Why did Job's wife escape the destruction?  Was she protected by the two-becoming-one marriage vows that kept Satan from harming Job?  Or was she more useful to Satan's purpose alive?

I hate that her debut on the pages of the meta-narrative are her words to "curse God and die."  I know she was as hurt and as confused about the circumstances as her husband; but those are such harsh words.  She offered no comfort to her husband, nor even a lance.  I hate that they found no comfort in each other.  Had she lived with the blameless man all those years and missed God?

Lord, help me to never be more useful to the enemy than to You.  God, help me to offer compassion and comfort where I can and where I can't, please shut my mouth.  She was the only one who could understand Job's unfathomable situation and she choose cursing.  When I am overwhelmed, please keep me close to You ... When my heart is breaking and I don't understand, please draw me near and fill me with Your comfort.  Help me to never be so gone after this physical world that I turn from You.  Even when my pain fills the landscape of my soul, Lord, You are my God and I will trust in You.  Let me be a light for You rather than a light-switch in the off position in all seasons of life.  I am desperate for You, let me never forget that fact.  You are enough.  Let me never stray from that truth.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Job 1

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.
He was blameless, upright, fearing God and he turned away from evil. 

Perhaps his motive was that awed and reverence for the One True God which yielded his action of turning away from and shunning evil.   That turning was the pivot which caused his conduct to be moral and honorable; perpendicular to the ways of the world.  And the result of his uprightness was a blameless man. 

Oh Father God, may I reverence You with fear and trembling, with awe and adoration, with wonder, love and praise.  May that response to You result in my tenacity to rebel against evil and lead me through the true and virtuous life that my legacy would be blameless before You.  May this be true of my family, my brothers and sisters in You and for all generations which we represent - to the praise of Your Very Great Name.

Genesis 11

It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.

The descendants of Noah journeyed east and began to build.  Cain journeyed east of Eden and lived. 
What is it about pursuing selfish motives or living under judgment that is precipitated by a journey east?  

The east wind is what burned the withered and thin grains from Pharaoh's dream in Genesis 41.  
A warning comes from the east. 

Solomon was wiser than all the men of the east.  So the east is associated with man's wisdom, man's might, man's folly.

The Only Wise God, please help me to never journey east, to not seek wisdom from the east nor to look for direction from there.  You are God alone and I must pursue and Your wisdom and righteousness.  Let my folly be for You, let my might be at Your discretion, let my choices take me closer to You and not to the east.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Genesis 10 with a bit of 9

When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him.  So he said, "Cursed be Canaan;
                             A servant of servants
                             He shall be to his brothers."

We don't know what Ham had done; but Noah did ... Something significant had changed and Noah knew it was at the hands of Ham.  Something big enough to warrant a curse from a Dad.  I think it's good that we do not know what transpired, we need no unholy incentive nor examples for our imaginations.  

I wondered why the curse fell to the son and not the perpetrator.  Maybe, Ham was aged and any curse to befall him would not mean much.  I don't think the reason is too important as the words seem to have the Lord's backing.  

Canaan became the father of Sidon, his firstborn, and Heth
and the Jebusite and the Amorite and the Girgashite
and the Hivite and the Arkite and the Sinite
and the Arvadite and the Zemarite and the Hamathite; and afterward the families of the Canaanite were spread abroad.
The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.  (I wonder how far toward Sodom and Gomorrah they went.)

Judges 1:  The sons of Israel did not take possession of their land fully or they did not completely drive out the Canaanite from the land.  Verses 31 and 32 state that Asher did not drive out many occupants of the land, one of which was the Sidonites, and so Asher lived among them.  In Judges 10 we read:  Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines ; thus they forsook the and did not LORD serve Him.  Ezekiel 28 states:  "Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, prophesy against her ... and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Sidon, And I will be glorified in your midst. Then they will know that I am the LORD when I execute judgments in her, And I will manifest My holiness in her."
Heth, a.k.a. Hethites or Hittites, and the Hivites have this infamy to their names from Exodus 23:  I will send hornets before you that will drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite before you.  Additionally, we see mention of the Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites from Deuteronomy 20:  As for the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is going to give you as an inheritance, you must not allow a single living thing to survive. Instead you must utterly annihilate themthe Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusitesjust as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that they cannot teach you all the abhorrent ways they worship their gods, causing you to sin against the Lord your God.
In Genesis 15, where God was speaking promise to Abram, He says that Abe's descendants will be enslaved for four hundred years; but in the fourth generation, his offspring will be able to return to the land, as the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit. (Lord, may the sin of America be full and may we seek righteousness with all of our hearts.)

Joshua 24 regarding the Girgashites, God says: You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho.  The leaders of Jericho, as well as the Amorites, Perrizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites, fought with you, but I handed them over to you. 

The curse of Canaan seems to be justified in consideration of the subsequent behavior of his generations.  If the other brothers had related to him in the manner prophesied by their father, perhaps much of the trouble the Israelites encountered could have been avoided.   

He also said,
         "Blessed be the LORD,
         The God of Shem;
         And let Canaan be his servant.
         "May God enlarge Japheth,
         And let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
         And let Canaan be his servant."  

I wonder why Noah continued the declaration in this fashion.  Cursed be Canaan, the son of the offender and now "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem..."   From cursing an heir to blessing God ... this makes me think that whatever transpired between Noah and his son was completely ungodly.  

Lord, please help me to honor the words of authority which are spoken to me.  Please give me a heart to fully comply with all that You have for me and to not hedge when I need to drive out an enemy from my land.   You are God Alone.  

Genesis 9

I think I figured out why Noah had favor in God's eyes.  Noah never once  asked, "Are we there, yet?"  He also began the tradition of men not asking for directions as he just floated around and waited to land just where he was supposed to dock.

Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying,  "Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you ... I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.
 "It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. "When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." 

God does so much.  He does not need a reminder, we do; He puts the rainbow in the sky, in the first place.  He creates the opportunity for remembering and then supplies the promised sign.  I don't often think of His tremendous grace in the display.  I think from now on I will look and remember, too.  He did that just for the scared and frail people like me, so we can rest assured that God remembers and is intent on keeping His promise.  

Another example of His tenderness towards His creation is the He spoke to Noah and his sons.  The Almighty, Sovereign King of the Universe did not have to speak to anyone; but he spoke with Noah and his sons.  The fact that these guys get to hear God speak and He speaks with promise, protection and provision must have been so incredible to them after the years of building and the overall destruction of the world as they knew it.  Our God knows just how to bless a brother or sister.

Thank You Father for Your words of promise and the faithfulness of Your promise-keeping all these years later - You still place the rainbow in the sky and You still withhold the waters.  Why You would care so much in the face of such wickedness amazes me.  Thank You.  Please let me never again regard the rainbow or Your promises in such a matter-of-fact manner.  Help me to delight myself in Your handiwork.  You are Amazing.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Genesis 8 - Are We There, Yet?!

But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; 

God remembers Noah the blameless and all the critters.  No mention of the family of Noah.  Had they still not set their hearts towards righteousness?  Oh, Holy Spirit, please let me always yield to the hungering and thirsting for righteousness that You give me.  Let me eat eagerly and drink deeply from Your supply of holiness that I would bring You glory.  Help me to encourage those in my circle of influence and in my prayers to pursue that, as well.  

... So he waited yet another seven days; and again he sent out the dove from the ark. ... So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth. Then he waited yet another seven days ... Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. ... In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. Then God spoke to Noah, saying, "Go out of the ark..."

A week plus a week and then another nearly two months before Noah leaves the ark.  No mention is made of him trying to pry open the door, climb out the window or even asking the God of the Rain and Land if they could pretty please step out for some fresh air.  Noah waits on God.  Even beyond the point when Noah knows that the land is dry.  

Oh, Lord Jesus, that I could follow Noah's example and Yours to wait upon the LORD.  Quietly, patiently, amidst prodigious discomfort, possible duress and probably doo-doo.  Help me to always remember that You are my Comfort, my Fresh Air, my Governor, my God.  If I don't wait on You, I go without You and I know I don't want that.  Give me the spiritual caution (brakes) to never step beyond where You have placed me - especially when the land looks dry  -  unless You say, "Go out of here."  May I bring You glory in the going and in the waiting.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Genesis 7

Then the LORD said to Noah, "Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.

Noah alone was the righteous one, yet all of his family was permitted to join him.  What grace God gives to him.  What blessings the righteousness of a believer brings to one's family.  Noah's family was also his workforce; so the opportunity of blessings of one righteous person extended to the job-place.  The daunting task of building such a vessel took a great deal of time which would have brought extended exposure to holiness as this righteous person engaged in the market place and community giving witness to his God.

Two challenges hit me from this verse.  One, never grow weary of well-doing; God notices and it matters spiritually and in this present time.  Pursue righteousness, despite the conditions.    Secondly, Noah gave witness with his righteousness, and all those who encountered him had to respond.  Holiness will require a response.  Noah did not alter his pursuit of righteousness in response to the others; he pursued blamelessness in response to God. 

Oh Lord, I want to be blameless in my generation.  I want to pursue You and that sanctified life you intend for me rather than living in reaction to the culture and climate of my time.  Please give me wisdom to discern the tides which pull me, strength for the sacred journey, and an enduring passion to complete the task You've assigned me.  May I glorify You in my home, work and life, may I choose the righteous path for Your Name's sake.