Monday, 31 October 2016

The Lord will laugh

Why do the nations rage,
 And the people plot a vain thing?
  The kings of the earth set themselves,
 And the rulers take counsel together,
 Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
  “Let us break Their bonds in pieces
 And cast away Their cords from us.”
  He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
 The Lord shall hold them in derision. - Psalm 2.1-4

Our world is an anti-God world. The nations still rage. The people are still puffed up in their vain ways. The psalmist wrote that the world he lived in was trying to break any connections with God. They want to break the chains that they felt bind them.

When we look at our world today we can almost scoff at the psalmist. Even in my short lifetime we have seen a world that seems to want to do all it can to break off any semblance of holiness or righteousness or goodness. All sorts of sin have become commonplace and laws are being passed to make sin easier and righteousness harder.

And the world thinks it is winning. It thinks it is winning. It really thinks that it can defeat God. It thinks, along with Nietzsche, that ‘God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.’

If God is dead, as some suppose, then we are not accountable. God did not create the world. God does not sustain the world. Man created God and has outgrown Him. There are no boundaries. There is no right and wrong. People can do whatever they want, except take a stand for God.

It certainly looks like the world is winning.

But, one day God is going to laugh at the silliness of man and his arrogance. Like we chuckle at our children when they try to act grown up and look so silly God will one day laugh at man’s ‘silliness.’ All of man’s supposed greatness will be overawed by God true awesomeness. Man will have his way for a time – but the time for God’s people will come.

Longfellow put it well when he wrote  

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

We can look forward to the day when God puts to shame all of man’s petty arrogance.

Sunday, 30 October 2016


Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish. – Psalm 1.1-6

Right from the very start, from the instant that Eve met the serpent at the tree man’s life has been a choice of two ways. Eve faced a choice of obeying God and enjoying His paradise or listening to Satan and facing ruin.

And she chose wrongly. She chose the serpent’s way and every person born since has suffered the consequences.

It didn’t take long for the next poor choice to happen. Adam and Eve’s sons offered sacrifices to God. Abel’s was accepted and Cain’s was not. Cain could have chosen make his sacrifice right, but he chose to get angry and kill his brother instead.

And that pattern has continued time after time after tragic time. When men have the chance to choose between God’s way of righteousness and the ungodly way we too often choose the wrong way.

Psalm 1 paints a wonderful picture of the result of the two choices.

One way is like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither. The other is like the chaff which the wind drives away. One’s eternity will be blessed by God; the other’s is the way of death.

For us as believers our eternal fate is secured, but far too often we mimic the way of the ungodly. We can find ourselves living dry and fruitless lives because we make the wrong choices. Instead of lives of peace we choice to let ourselves be caught up in all the troubles of this world. 

Two choices with two paths – why do we so often make the wrong choices? 

Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Lord restored

And the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold. Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters - Job 42.10-12

At the end of all of Job’s testings and trials he got himself sorted out with God. He realised the purpose of his trials. He recognised that God was sovereign and knew best. He prayed for his friends.

And then God blessed Job by restoring all that he had lost and more. God restored twice what Job had had before.

Job’s story reminds me that we serve a wonderful God of restoration. God restored Job to his previous position. God restored His people when they wandered from Him. God restored the prodigal son to his father.

But the greatest restoration of all is yet to come. Man’s perfect relationship with God was broken by the sin of Adam and Eve. The perfection of Eden was replaced by the sin cursed broken world we live in today.

But our great Restorer has a future in store that will fix it all. The glory of Eden will be restored and more. God’s new heaven and new earth will make all that we are going through now pale. The glories of God’s restoration will make it worth it all.

Friday, 28 October 2016

When Job prayed for them

And the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. – Job 42.7

After all the help and advice and suggestions that Job’s friends gave him how was he going to respond?

None of us like to be accused falsely or have assumptions made of us. We don’t like having people act self-righteous and like somehow they have all of our problems figured out. The thing we’d like to do is respond in kind.

But what happened here?

Job prayed for his friends.

It may sound a little oversimplified but when it comes down to it the answer to any issue or conflict of disappointment amongst believers is to simply pray for each other.

It is hard to dislike someone you are honestly praying for. If you are asking God to be with them it is hard for you to be against them.

Who is there in our lives that we just really have a hard time tolerating? Who is there who have only caused us problems? Who is there that we just don’t like?

Maybe it’s time for us to pray for them? 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

I repent

Therefore I abhor myself,
 And repent in dust and ashes.” – Job 42.6

Job had finally reached the point where he was ready to say those words that really matter after having an encounter with God where God deals with his sin. Job had no more excuses, no more points to make, no more statements, and no more questions.

‘I repent’ Job said.

That’s it – I repent.

How much simpler our lives would be if we could just learn to apply those words when God deals with our sin. After all, when confronted with our sin we really can’t win, can we? God is right and we are wrong and the sooner we deal with that the better off we will be.

When it comes to sin all that works is repentance. There is no reasoning with God and no ‘I’ll do it later.’

So if Christians are dealing with unconfessed sin today let’s do a Job. Let’s repent, confess, and forsake our sin and move on.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Now I see

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You. – Job 42.5

Job had heard all about God. He had heard about who God was and what God could do. His head had always said God could do all of these things – but know He had seen with his own eyes who God was.

This reminds me of Thomas who had to see Jesus’ wounds before he would believe it was Jesus. That was fine, but how much better it would have been if Thomas could have believed without having to see.

In the New Testament we are challenged with the very clear words ‘we walk by faith, not by sight.’ We also read that faith is the evidence of things we have not yet seen. We read a lot about believing without seeing but many of us still live by the axiom ‘seeing is believing.’

Job was a man who loved God and hated evil – and still be struggled with believing until he actually saw things from God’s perspective. I think the key here is not so much seeing physically, but seeing God for who He is and seeing the problem from His perspective. Remember Job just said ‘You can do everything’ and with that in mind we see that those major obstacles are nothing to God.

Oh for that wonderful day when all of our faith shall be sight! 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

You can do everything

Then Job answered the LORD and said: "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. - Job 42:1-2

As this marvellous book comes to a close Job, after all those chapters of dialogue, finally gets his heart sorted. Though Job had spent a long time wondering what was going on and doubting God and not seeing his place in the plan now he says the amazing words ‘I know that you can do anything and Your purposes will be accomplished.

How many times are we told in the word of God truths like this? ‘You can do everything.’ ‘Nothing is impossible with God.’ ‘For with God all things are possible.’ ‘Is anything too hard for the Lord?’

I know all that – in theory. I know and love the word of God. I know that all of these verses are true.

Why then do I still doubt God? Why then do I still fret about the future? Why then do I try to figure out how can sort all of this out?

When it comes right down to it the problem is that my faith is weak. Job rightly points out that God can do everything. Roger says ‘God can do everything – well maybe not the things I worry about. They might just be beyond Him.’

It sounds really awful when we put it there in black and white.

Do you and I really believe that God can do everything? Can He really take care of that problem or that situation or that need that we face? Can He? 

Monday, 24 October 2016

Man up

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: "Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me: "Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His? Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendour, And array yourself with glory and beauty. - Job 40:6-10

Job had decided to sit up and let God teach Him, and God did just that. God starts with the words ‘prepare yourself like a man…’ In today’s slang we would say that ‘man up.’

I hope ‘man up’ is not a sexist phrase, but I think we all have the idea. When we ‘get in trouble’ over something it can be tempting to try and make excuses and get out of trouble.

I think I am glad that I don’t have to see God face to face when He deals with my sin and by doubts and my lack of faith. I am glad that He deals with me through His word and as the Holy Spirit.

When I am confronted with my sin there is no room for excuses or passing the blame. When I am in sin and God reveals it to me it is time to man up and get things sorted. By manning up I admit my sin, I repent, I confess my sin and forsake it.

May I have the character to man up when God deals with my sin. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Shut my mouth

"Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth. Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further." - Job 40:4-5

When confronted with the truths of who God was Job only had one response – ‘I will lay my hand over my mouth, I have said enough, I will say no more.’

Really though, what else could he do? God had confronted Job in a way that Job did not have answer. What would you or I say if God said to us ‘where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?’

I don’t know, but I think I might still have been stubborn enough to say a few repetitions of ‘yeah, buts’ but that would not do any good. God was right like He always is.

How many times would do well to just put my hand over my mouth and let God work. My complained is me telling Him that I know best.

I can be one of those who has a hard time just shutting up and listening. God can speak to be through His word and even though I don’t say it exactly I can have a ‘yeah, but’ attitude.

I need to just do like Job, keep my mouth shut, and let God teach me. 

Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Lord answered Job

Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said: "Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it." Then Job answered the LORD and said: - Job 40:1-3

‘The Lord answered Job!’

What a statement that is. God, the creator and sustainer of heaven and earth answered Job the sinner.

I think this has got to be one of the greatest verses of scripture. The fact that God would condescend to answer Job and his issues and complaints amazes me. Why would God answer Job? Is God answerable to man? Does God have to explain Himself to us?

Of course He doesn’t have to explain anything. His ways are far above our ways and is thoughts are far above our thoughts and He is doing what He is doing whether we get it or not.

Does that sound harsh? Don’t we do things our children can’t understand and then expect them to trust us?

No, God didn’t have to answer Job – but he did answer him. God loves His creation so much that He is willing to condescend and talk to us.

And He didn’t just talk to Job, He talks to us today through His word. God loves us so much that He talked to Job directly and He talks to us as well. All we have to do is to go to His word and find the answers.

But God still does not have to explain it all. Sometimes His ways are so far above ours that we have to simply accept them by faith. God did not tell Job why, but He told Job enough about Himself for Job to trust Him. 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Where were you Job?

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: "Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.  - Job 38:1-4

Job’s friends were done. They had said their peace and given their views and questioned God and given their opinions and in some cases had really tried to help.

But now we read the awesome words that we’ll talk about a little bit more tomorrow – ‘the Lord answered Job.’

But today I want to look at the next words as God asks Job a question – ‘Where were you Job?’ For the next many verses God queries Job about why he thinks he is so smart. In verse after verse God reminds Job of the wonders He has done and asks Job where he was when it all happened.

We might think that Job was foolish and that it was about time God called him up on it.

But what about you and me? What about when things don’t go the way we think is best? What happens when we look down the road and can’t see how it is going to work out?

Aren’t we the same as Job? Aren’t we saying that if we were in control we would have done it better? Aren’t we saying that we know better than God?

And yet where were we when God laid the foundations of the earth? If I wasn’t there who am I to question Him?

Where were we when God laid out His perfect plans? 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

With God is awesome majesty

He comes from the north as golden splendour; With God is awesome majesty. As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, In judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress. Therefore men fear Him; He shows no partiality to any who are wise of heart." - Job 37:22-24

‘Majesty’ is a great word. It is really, well, majestic isn’t it. But in all of its majesty it can be difficult to really grasp what that means. We know that kings and queens can be referred to as ‘your majesty’ and we kind of get it, but what does it mean?

There are a lot of words included with what majesty is. The Hebrew word used here is also translated beauty, excellence, honour, goodliness, and glory.

I think we get an idea with those words. Our God is beautiful in His holiness. He is excellent in every way. He is honourable and good and full of glory. In all of those ways and more he is beyond our understanding.

Do we see the majesty of God on the dark days? Sure, it is easy to see him in his majesty when things are going along swimmingly. We are very aware of his majesty then.

The test comes when His remembering His majesty when life gets rotten and He seems distant.

When that happens it is incumbent on us to look past the troubles to see the majesty of a God who is in our side. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Stand still Job

“Listen to this, O Job;
Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God. – Job 37.14

These words are almost a slap in the face of a person who is totally out of control. Job has gone on and on and on about his woes. What he has needed from the very start is for one of his friends to get his attention and refocus it.

I think we all got through those times when our fears and troubles and anxieties overwhelm us. We live in a terribly broken world and there are moments in history when we really don’t know what is going or how we are going to deal with it. There are times when I feel like someone should have grabbed me and given me a good shake and said ‘Roger! Stop it! Take a deep breath and get your act together!’ Those are the times when we need to focus on the wondrous works of God.

But first, before we can see that we need to stop and stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

Standing still is one of the hardest things we can be called on to do because the world has convinced us that we need to keep going and we need to keep doing.

Right now, in the middle of this busy hectic week, let’s stop for a few minutes before the day gets started and consider then wondrous works of God. It would do wonders to change our perspective on the day. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Remember to magnify His work

 “Remember to magnify His work,
Of which men have sung.
Everyone has seen it;
Man looks on it from afar.
“Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him;
Nor can the number of His years be discovered. – Job 36.24-26

It is not always easy to see God at work in the middle of a trial. In those trial times we too often only see the trials and the trouble and the turmoil and tests.

Elihu’s reminder to Job was one I think we could all take to heart.

‘Remember to magnify the work of God.’

No matter where we are or what we are seeing or what our circumstances are we can look out at the mighty works of God and choose to magnify them rather than magnify our woes.

Our flesh will always magnify the bad things that are happening in our lives. We see the worst and we let our lives be controlled by the worst. When Peter walked on the water he magnified the storm instead of magnifying Jesus who was right in front of him. We do the same, we magnify our fears and worries and concerns more than we magnify the might workings of God.

When I fear the future I ignore the work of God in my past and I magnify the unknown. If I could magnify what God has done and is doing I will see that He will do His work in my future.

Oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together - even when things are as dark and messed up as they are today. 

Monday, 17 October 2016

I have found a ransom

“If there is a messenger for him,
A mediator, one among a thousand,
To show man His uprightness,
Then He is gracious to him, and says,
“Deliver him from going down to the Pit;
I have found a ransom’; - Job 33.23-24

As Elihu continues to try and encourage Job he gives us one of those precious glimpses of the gospel that we find in the Old Testament. Right in the middle of Elihu’s discourse we get a precious glimpse of the redemptive work of Christ.

Elihu is praying for Job here. He prays that there would be messenger or a mediator to show His righteousness to Job. He wants a mediator to deliver him from destruction. Then there were these precious words of which no one could have known the full import at the time.

I have found a ransom.

Elihu certainly didn’t know all the details of how God was going to send His son to pay the ransom for man’s sin, but he did know that only God could provide a ransom, nothing else would do.

The ransom Elihu foresaw is available to all today. Our sin demands a price. The price of sin is death, but Christ has paid the ransom for all who will accept it.

Have you found that ransom? 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Before we speak

Let me not, I pray, show partiality to anyone; Nor let me flatter any man.
- Job 32:21

Young Elihu shows a lot of wisdom in his speech. We wants to be careful not to offends Job or his friends. He wants to keep his own bias out of the discussions. So he does something I think we all should do especially in this age of instant worldwide communication.

What does he do first? He asks God to guide His words. Before Elihu gets in the conversation he asked God to keep him from being partial to either side and the not let him flatter anyone.

Elihu was seeking to use his words wisely. He was looking to speak the truth in love.

Our instant communication world has just about ruined the concept of think before you speak or think before you hit enter or think before you send. I wish we could have any overall filter for Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and email and Skype and all those things what would delay our posts for even 2-3 minutes. We seem to have lost the capacity to do that on our own.

But there is still prayer. Prayer would really be the ultimate filter if we would just use it.

What if every time we prepared to speak or text or post on Facebook we prayed ‘Lord, keep me from flattery and keep me from showing partiality to anyone?’ It’s not only that specifically, but what if we had Elihu’s attitude of praying before we speak.

I wonder how our Facebook feeds would look? I wonder what out texts would say? 

What kind of difference would it make? 

Saturday, 15 October 2016

To depart from evil is understanding

And to man He said,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
And to depart from evil is understanding.’ ” – Job 28.28

What is the ultimate test of godly wisdom and understanding? Who do we know how well we are doing with what God wants us to know? What is the outside manifestation of true inner wisdom?

‘To depart from evil us understanding.’

The real test of understanding the word of God is what we do from evil. Sadly, it seems like a lot of Christians are willing to associate with evil if it seems necessary. Evil should have no place in our lives. We should not tolerate or associate with or condone or excuse evil in any regard. If we understand the word of God we, like Job, will ‘eschew’ evil.

If we truly understand God and His word we hate evil we hate it. We don’t excuse it. We don’t tolerate it. We don’t pragmatically make light of it. We don’t accept evil in our lives and don’t accept it is society.

We live in a broken world. Evil is everywhere. We live here and shake the salt and shine the light. We don’t side up with evil. To depart from evil is to show God's wisdom. We can't work with evil to accomplish God's will.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Where is wisdom?

From where then does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
It is hidden from the eyes of all living,
And concealed from the birds of the air.
Destruction and Death say,
‘We have heard a report about it with our ears.’
God understands its way,
And He knows its place.
For He looks to the ends of the earth,
And sees under the whole heavens, - Job 28.20-24

Where does real wisdom come from?

That question has plagued mankind as long as man has recorded his thought. Philosophers of every society and culture have sought wisdom A philosopher is, after all, a ‘lover of wisdom.’

False philosophers and false wisdom have come and gone though the millennia and still man looks for true wisdom comes only from God. He understand the way of wisdom. He knows its place. He sees how it works.

The fear of the Lord is where true wisdom starts. And that is where our paths diverge. The world seeks one path of wisdom and God’s people seek another. The wisdom of the world if foolish to God and God’s wisdom seems foolish to the world.

With that in mind it makes sense that we are never going to see eye to eye.

It is up to us to decide whose wisdom to follow. In our own search for wisdom we must seek the Lord’s wisdom and not be caught up in the world’s foolish pursuit of the world’s way.

It is more important than ever that we choose God’s way in the tumultuous days ahead.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Holding on to integrity

Far be it from me
That I should say you are right;
Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go;
My heart shall not reproach me as long as I live. – Job 27.5-6

As Job tried to defend himself he seems to dig in his heels and stand on his faith. He told his friends that he could not agree with them. He knew his heart. He did not know why the stuff going on was going on, but he knew that it was not a result of his sin.

So huge made a determination for his life. He determined that he would not be swayed from his integrity. He would not be swayed from his righteousness. He would not be turned aside by his feelings.

It can be hard to hold on sometimes. We strive to live for God and honour Him and do right and all that and things can still go wrong. The temptation may be they to say ‘why bother?’ The temptation may be to just give up in all that and just go after the way of the world.

But despite all of his trouble and despair he was not going to give in.

It seems like today, with all the bad news and despair and poor choices around us that there are Christians around who are willing to give up integrity for pragmatic choices.

No matter how bad things seem we cannot give up our Christian integrity. We must hold true to God’’s righteousness. We can’t afford to sacrifice those things on the altar of pragmatism.                      

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Great men are not alwasys wise

Great men are not always wise, Nor do the aged always understand justice. "Therefore I say, 'Listen to me, I also will declare my opinion.' Indeed I waited for your words, I listened to your reasonings, while you searched out what to say. - Job 32:9-11

Elihu was a young man who had listened to the words of Job’s three friends. He had listened respectfully, but now he could hold his tongue no longer. He starts his talk with respect, but he makes a statement here that I think we ought to consider. He sets out the Bible principle that we ought to respect the aged. We are told to seek the advice and counsel of old men.

And generally that is a good policy.

But Elihu makes a good point here when he says ‘Great men are not always wise, nor the aged always understand justice.’ Sometimes old men are just old men.

What makes the difference?

Truly great men find their greatness in the word of God. Truly just men find their sense of justice in the Bible. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and without the fear of the Lord there is no wisdom whether young or old.

Elihu had patiently waited while the older men said their peace. He showed them respect – but he knew their wisdom was flawed and their sense of justice perverted.

We older guys don’t get a bye on seeking wisdom. We don’t get our views respected just because we are old. We must seek God’s wisdom, speak of God’s wisdom, live in accord with God’s wisdom, and pass God’s wisdom on to the next generation.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

A covenant with my eyes

I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? – Job 31.1

Job says at one point in the midst of his lengthy discourses ‘I know God knows all, but I will still try to defend myself about your false charges.’

His friends were convinced that he had sinned or else God would not be allowing all of these things to happen to him. He knew that was not the case.

Among his defences were the words we see here – ‘I have made a covenant with my eyes, why then should I think upon a maid?’

It is hard to imagine that Job had the same problems with his lusts of the eyes that we men face today.

But with this attitude Job have a big head start if he was suddenly transported to 2016. He had decided beforehand and covenanted with his eyes that he would not succumb to lust by looking at and dwelling on women. He already decided that he would not feed his flesh.

What if we men today had that same covenant with our eyes? What if covenanted with God and our own eyes that we would not be distracted the sights we see around us?

We cannot help what we are going to see today. We can choose the right places and situations as much as possible, but chances are we men are going to see something that is going to draw our eyes today.

But we can help what we do about it. We can’t help what we see, but we can help what we look at. We can’t help what we see, but we can help what we choose to think about.

Maybe it’s time to consider that covenant for us today?

Monday, 10 October 2016

He is unique

“But He is unique, and who can make Him change?
And whatever His soul desires, that He does.
For He performs what is appointed for me,
And many such things are with Him. – Job 23.13-14

I appreciate being privy to the things going on in Job’s heart and mind as he deal with his many troubles. On one hand he says ‘I don’t get it’ and on the other hand he says ‘I know God has this.’ I like that because that is how I think nearly every day.

Here is one of the aspects of God that Job clings to – ‘God is unique and who can make Him change?’

There have been and still are all kinds of supposed deities and false gods. Today, of course, man has just tried to write God off completely. But still, there seem to be a lot of differences of opinion about who God is and how we know which is the real god.

Job uses God’s uniqueness to explain what sets Him apart from man or any other ideas of godness. He is unique, there is no one else like Him.

There are a lot of ways to see God’s uniqueness. He is all knowing. He is all powerful. He is everywhere. He never changes. Those alone would be enough to set Him apart.

But what amazes me is His capacity to love everyone. He loves those who reject Him and hate Him. He is unique because He is love. He is unique because He is always there for me and He is unique because He works all things together for good.

There is none like God. 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

He knows

Look, I go forward, but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.
But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. – Job 23.8-10

This passage is in total contrast to what David perceived in Psalm 139 –

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

Everywhere he looked David sensed God – everywhere Job looked he did not see God.

But at the end they both agreed on one thing – God knows all about us and what we are going through. David sensed God’s presence, Job did not, but God was the same for them both. The wonderful truth for us is that He is still the same for us today.

No matter what you and I face today, no matter if we see it or not, God knows what we are going through this day. He knows all we ever have and all we ever will face.

But this is where faith comes into the picture. Since God knows what I am going through I must be willing to trust that He is doing right. I need to trust that He is doing best. I need to know that He is working ‘all things for good.’

He knows that is going on, and He knows that I am being refined for His use.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

I know that I will live

Oh, that my words were written!
Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!
That they were engraved on a rock
With an iron pen and lead, forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! – Job 19.23-27

Not only did Job have confidence that his redeemer was a alive and that one day his redeemer would live and stand on the earth he also had the faith that even after his old body was destroyed he would have a new body and that in his new body he would literally see God.

The implications of this statement of faith are staggering. In this day before the Law and before the church and before the Bible Job had amazing trusting faith. He knew that when his struggles were done God would still be there. He knew that even if God killed him he would still see God face to face.

It challenges me that Job had that kind of faith without all the benefits I have. I have the word of God, the history of the church, the testimony of saints alive and dead, and still I wonder if I have the faith of Job.

I know that my redeemer is alive and I know that when I die my redeemer will still be alive and that I too will see my redeemer face to face.

Fanny Crosby spoke beautifully of this moment when she wrote - Face to face—oh, blissful moment! Face to face—to see and know; Face to face with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ who loves me so.

No matter what troubles we may face here we, like Job,  can look forward to the glorious hope of seeing our Saviour in the flesh.

I certainly agree with the last words of Job above – ‘how my heart yearns within me’ for that day.

Friday, 7 October 2016

I know that my redeemer lives

Oh, that my words were written!
Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!
That they were engraved on a rock
With an iron pen and lead, forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! – Job 19.23-27

Job was down and discouraged and disheartened and disappointed and yes, even disillusioned with God. He was trying to come to grips with where he was and what was going on. He dug deep and clung on to what I once heard called ‘raw faith.’ Job didn’t have much faith left it appears, but the raw faith he clung to did know two things – God was alive and Job would see Him in His life one day.

I think we have had been around any time at all and have been saved very long at all we have had occasions when we have had to dig down deep and depend on raw faith. Sometimes all we have is he blessed assurance that our redeemer is alive.

But at the end of the day that is enough. If I know that Christ is my redeemer and the fact that he is alive that can get me though the worst of times because at least I have something to cling to.

Praise God that in those darkest days my redeemer lives every to make intercession for us.

I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today. I know that He is living whatever man may say.

No matter what I face today He is there. His life gives me hope because though I face all kinds of impossibilites, nothing is impossible with God.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Are the consolations of God too small?

Are the consolations of God too small for you,
And the word spoken gently with you?
Why does your heart carry you away,
And what do your eyes wink at,
That you turn your spirit against God,
And let such words go out of your mouth? – Job 15.11-13

Eliphaz again has some words of wisdom that, even though he is critical to Job, is a fair question.

Even though Job had been reminded of some great truths about the word of God he still would not believe. He still wallowed in his misery.

So Eliphaz asked him ‘are the consolations of the Lord too small’ for you? He expands the question with things like ‘why won’t you listen to words quietly spoken?’ ‘Why do you wink at the encouragement? Why do you turn your spirit against God? Why do you say such things?’

Though Job had a deep abiding faith the eventual deliverance of God he was struggling with the faith vs sight debate. He knew God was in control, but he couldn’t see it at the moment – so he struggled.

I can be like that. I have issues that I have to deal with just like Job. There are things I get anxious about even though God reminds me of and encourages me through His word. There are times, I am ashamed to say, when ‘the consolations of God are too small’ for me.

That’s a shame. It’s worse than that – it is sin when I allow my circumstances to cast doubt on God’s consolations.

May God give those of us who struggle in this area the strength to rest in His precious consolations.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Though he slay me

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. – Job 13.15

He is one of the great statements of faith in all of the word of God. Job was in absolute despair. He felt alone and abandoned. He must have been tempted to give up on God.

But in the middle of that desperation we see one of the greatest declarations of faith in all the word of God – ‘even if God kills me I will trust Him.’

Now that’s faith. It is raw faith. It is the kind of faith that rejects the situations and circumstances and says ‘I don’t care what is going on. I don’t care what I can see. I will trust God even to the point of death.’

This little statement is an incredible challenge to me. It shows me the kind of man that Job really was and it forces me to question the reality of my own faith.

How many of us can say that we really trust God to the point of death? We say that we trust God for eternity – why then is it so hard to trust Him for today and tomorrow and the next day and next week and next year and ten years from now? Why do we have such a hard time trusting God when things are not clear or we can’t understand how God is working?

‘Even if God kills me I will trust Him?’

How about if we lose a job? How about if we get sick? How about if loved ones die? How about if we can’t see how God is going to provide for our future? How about when that devastating letter or email or phone call or text arrives? Do we trust God then?

It is easy to say ‘I will trust God no matter what, even if He chooses to kill me.’ But it is hard to live that out when money is short to pay the bills or we hear the word leukaemia, or the boss tells us she doesn’t need us, or we can’t pay the rent, or whatever.

Though there is no money to pay the rent, yet will I trust Him?
Though I just found out my child has cancer, yet will I trust Him?
Though I’ve just lost everything, yet will I trust Him?
Though he kill me, yet will I trust Him?

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

God does great things, but...

He does great things past finding out, Yes, wonders without number. – Job 9.10

All through the book of Job we read little reminders of Job’s faith. He knows that, even when he can’t see it, God has not changed. All around this verse Job talks all of the great and mighty works that God did in creation and does in His sustaining power.

But sometimes things seem so bad that we can’t see it. We are so focused on our problems that those problems are all we can see. I have been saved since 1974. You might think someone saved that long would have this thing sorted. You would think that we would have seen God work so often and so much that we would never wonder where God was.

That’s part of the reason Job’s friends were critical. After all he had done for God and others he ought to be able to trust God through this trial (which, by the way, Job probably caused by his own sin).

All of that is true – but we still live in the flesh. We still have times of doubt and discouragement and disappointment and even despair.

Mary and I are reading Spurgeon’s ‘Chequebook on the Bank of Faith’ during our devotions. It is interesting to see the ‘Prince of Preachers’ struggle with these same issues – but always claim the promises of God’s word when it happens.

As we read through Job we see the same thing. It is not unusual for us to go through spells like this when we think ‘God does great things, but what about me?’

The key is what we do during these times. Do we wallow in our despair or do we cling to the promises of God? 

Monday, 3 October 2016

Happy is the man God corrects

“Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects;
Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.- Job 5.17

Not everything Job’s friends is wrong, usually they are misapplied truths. Here Eliphaz makes a true statement as he is attempting to figure out why Job is suffering so. Eliphaz is trying to encourage by reminding Job that the chastening of God is planned to be a good thing. While Eliphaz was wrong about Job’s guilt, he was right in that God uses chastening for man’s god.

Hebrews 12 builds on this teaching that Eliphaz knew. The writer of Hebrews quotes Hebrews when we read ‘don’t despise God’s chastening, because the Lord loves those He chastens.’

Then we read about how loving parents love their children enough that they take time to chasten and disciple them. Parents are concerned about their children – the children they love. God’s loves his children enough to chasten us as well.

Parents don’t always discipline perfectly – we are human and we are fleshly. We all make mistakes even though we discipline in love. God never makes that mistake because He is perfect and His love is perfect.

So when God chastens here what happens according to Hebrews 12.11 – ‘Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.’

God chastened seem pleasant for the moment, but afterwards, when we see what God was doing, perfect chastening brings the ‘peaceable fruit of righteousness.’

Indeed, happy is the man who God corrects. 

Sunday, 2 October 2016

It preaches easier than it lives

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:
“If one attempts a word with you, will you become weary?
But who can withhold himself from speaking?
Surely you have instructed many,
And you have strengthened weak hands.
Your words have upheld him who was stumbling,
And you have strengthened the feeble knees;
But now it comes upon you, and you are weary;
It touches you, and you are troubled. – Job 4.1-5

Eliphaz comes on the scene here. He is one of Job’s friends who comes on the scene to try and help. I used to think that these friends were not really the best of friends, but the more I read them the more I think their hearts are right and their motivations pure.

Eliphaz reminds Job of what he had done for others. Apparently Job was a great encourager. He never wearied of hearing his friends problems. He had instructed many. He had strengthened and upheld those who were weak and struggling. Job was able to give good advice to others who had gone through hard times, but now, when troubles came to Job, it was different.

‘But now it comes to you,’ Eliphaz said, ‘you are weary.’

Can I ever identify with that. There is an old saying that says ‘it preaches easier than it lives.' The idea is that things that sound so cut and dry from the pulpit when someone is preaching or teaching are not quite so easy to live out when it is real and happening to us.

When I go through things I know what I would tell others if they were me. Why then, can I not apply them to me?

Because, as Job knew, some things preach easier than they live.

And even though that is normal, it is not good. It is a bit hypocritical when we tell others, for example, to live by faith when we have a hard time doing it ourselves. If God’s word is good enough to teach to others, it is good enough for us to apply to our lives.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Why was I even born?

“Why did I not die at birth?
Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?
Why did the knees receive me?
Or why the breasts, that I should nurse?
For now I would have lain still and been quiet,
I would have been asleep;
Then I would have been at rest – Job 3.11-13

There is a scene from the great Christmas movie classic 'It’s a Wonderful Life.' Jimmy Stewart is playing the part of George Bailey. His life has taken a series of bad turns to the point where he suddenly gets the notion in his head that everything would be better if he had never been born.  

Long before our fictional George Bailey stood on that snowy bridge we had a real live Job who asked the same question.

Why didn’t I die at birth?
Why did my mother nourish me?
If not for that I would be at peace and not going through the misery I am going through now.

I wish I could say that those kinds of thoughts were rare. However the reality of life and the heaviness of trails can become overwhelming. Personal illness, especially serious illness, can bring anyone to the point where they consider if life is worth living. I can understand why anyone in Job’s situation would say ‘it would have been better if I had never been born.’

And that is the point of the book of Job. Job, like George Bailey and like you and me could not see the whole picture at this point. All he could see was right then and right there and all we can see is right here and right now.

That’s why Job was in despair.

Nut there was a bigger picture – and we are about to be privileged to see it.