Category: Devotional

Good Council Is Not Always Good Council

Let me explain. Job has been stripped of everything but His life. By God — of at least by God’s consent and decree. He was, however, righteous and blameless as the account records. His friends show up and offer their speeches, Eliphaz is the first to speak with Job and his counsel is good. Resentment destroys the fool! Jealousy kills the simple! God bring correction to those He loves! This is all true and would be great advice… just not for Job in this situation. Job was not resentful or Jealous or in need of correction when these trials befell him. Rather he was a faithful man who loved and feared the Lord.

We must remember that when bad things happen, they are not necessarily judgement from God. So that when we are on the receiving end of some terrible news or situation, God is not necessarily punishing us and when we are in times of great news and prosperity, God is not necessarily blessing us — though we should still be looking for opportunities to learn in both circumstances.

And if a friend is going through something, don’t come in strong with a “What sin led you to this situation?” approach. Weep, mourn, and pray with those who are broken. And as you continue to seek the Lord through the healing process, He will reveal His purposes in good time.

Let’s strive to be quick to hear and slow to speak.

Job 5-7 | 020/365

Love in the Trenches

Job is a righteous and prosperous man. He fears God and loves his children. He would offer sacrifices on behalf of his children, in case they had sinned incidentally or accidentally. It was common belief among the worshippers of pagans gods that those deities were capricious and easily offended, so it is not clear if Job is trying to stay on God’s good side, or if he recognizes the need to sacrifice because of the holiness of the one true God.

So the accuser (we should not assume this person is Satan) says that Job is not worshipping God, but rather trying to appease Him. God — being omniscient — already know Job’s heart, but for reasons not revealed to us here He consents to have tragedy befall Job. And it does.

In a matter of minutes everything is taken away from Job, including all of his children. This absolutely devastating turn of events would be enough to push anyone to brink of despair. Surely this would be enough to push Job over the edge. But his reply is as humbling as it is shocking… upon losing everything Job remarks:

“I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be made naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!”

I’ve heard the story too many times to count. People love and worship God so long as things are going well for them. They look at the misery and destruction around the world and it phases them not. But when that misery and/or destruction knocks on their door… God must not exist. It’s okay when it happens to others, but when it happens to me it is proof that God cannot be real.

This is the epitome of self-centredness. Like we’ve talked about before, an eternal perspective is key. It won’t make these things easier to bear, but it will help us understand that when calamity befalls us that God is still in charge, and that this life is but a breath. Those among us who have MUCH can all-too-easily find ourselves worshipping a God of good times and convenience. But those among us who have little, find all their hope in God.

Maybe in some cases those of us who are well-off, are poorer than those who have nothing.

Job 1-4 | 019/365

Cold Comfort and Eternal Perspective

Rachel. The wife Jacob loved. Just to hear it hurts. Nevermind actually BEING Leah, the first wife — the one without the ‘sparkle’ in her eyes. She lived her life in Rachel’s shadow. When Jacob was afraid of his brother Esau coming to exact revenge, he lined up the concubines and their children first, then Leah with her children, Jacob was in the last wave with Rachel. An inspiring picture of male headship at it best.

Back in Genesis 35 we read about Rachel dying after giving birth to Benjamin, and she was buried there in the desert. Meanwhile at the very end of Genesis, Jacob asks to be buried in the family tomb with Abraham & Sarah, Rebekah & Isaac… and Leah. Her body is already there waiting for him. After a lifetime of faithfulness to a man who didn’t love her. Who probably raised her sister’s children when Rachel passed away. She would be the one Jacob asked to be buried next to. He would grow to love her.

And more than that, God had a plan for Leah. She was the mother of Levi. The man whose priestly tribe would produce Moses, the one who would receive the next Divine Covenant from the LORD. She was also the mother of Judah. A wild man whose tribe would produce King David, the one who would receive the next Divine Covenant after Moses. And of course, Jesus Himself, the bringer of the New Covenant would come from the line of David the king, from the line of Judah the lion, from the line of Leah, the loved of God.

It can be cold comfort to know that we have treasures in Heaven or that God is using our suffering for some greater good, but we need to keep an eternal perspective. Even if we are here for more than 100 years, Heaven is eternal. When we’ve been there 10,000 years bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.

Genesis 47:28-50:26 | 018/365

Effectively Resurrected

He was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. He was brutally killed by savages. His blood spilled. His death mourned. He took love and hope and joy to the grave. Surely this was the worst of times. This is the new reality. He would no longer be the favoured son. He is now a memory. A scar. Death, after all, is a permanent thing. Or is it?

News came. He was not dead! He was still alive! Merely hearing the news from the first ones to see was enough to revive the spirit. But this was an exceptional event! Something like this had to be seen to be believed. Good news indeed!

Of course the picture I have painted here is easily evocative of Jesus, but the details also fit Jacob’s perspective on the life of his son, Joseph. Here, I think, is the very first foreshadowing of the resurrection, a son whose “death” allowed for the flourishing of God’s people. Death and brokenness bringing about new and renewed life is a common theme throughout the Bible.

And this is yet another of many reminders that God is in charge. He has a plan. He will not leave us nor forsake us, but our perspective has to remain eternal. Love and hope and joy are gifts that comes from Jesus, the one who beat Satan, death, demons, the grave, and hell to bring them to us. This is something that we should be thankful for every time we breathe.

Genesis 45:16-47:27 | 017/365

God Could Never Use Me

How many of us have uttered this sentence, or held this thought?

If ever you feel like you’re too messed up to be used by God, read the Bible. See how He uses deeply flawed people to accomplish His purposes all the time.

Just in today’s passage; Jacob is cheated by Laban, so he rigs the system to get Laban back and Rachel steals from her father’s house and lies to his face about it.

This is the man who would become the namesake for Israel and the woman who gave birth to two of the 12 tribes of Israel. They are NOT insignificant contributors! God even appears to the unbeliever Laban to issue a warning.

The point is this: no amount of human sin or interference will stop God from achieving His plans.

So you should worry less about being perfect, and more about recognizing your sin and submitting yourself to God.

Remember David wasn’t a person patterned after God’s heart, but a deeply flawed person seeking after God’s heart.

So should we all be.

Genesis 30:25-31:55 | 011/365