In all that happened to Job, he remained humble. He knew that none of us by ourselves could be righteous no matter how hard we try. “Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God? (Job 9:2) We know how Job’s life turned out in the end: “So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning:” (Job 42:12) We may sometimes require patience like Job, but God has promised that all things will work out if we love Him. (Romans 8:28)
Today’s reading: Job 9-10
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psa 14:1) The way “fool” is used here does not mean a lack of intelligence. In other places this same word is translated “vile person”. (Isaiah 32:5-6) The first thought of this description may make us think of an atheist, but it does not state that this person says to others that there is no God. He “says in his heart” means that the way the fool is living is a way as if he cares not if God existed. What should we do about these fools? Jesus’ words tell us best: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Today’s reading: Psalms 12-14
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” These well known words from Joshua 24:15 were spoken by Joshua to the tribes. Their response was one that would be expected. They said they could not forsake the God who brought them out of slavery and did all these great things for them. Joshua’s response to them was “You are not able to serve the LORD…”(24:19). Did he really mean that there was no way they could serve God? He wanted them to understand the seriousness of the promise that they were making. He goes on to tell them that Jehovah is a holy and jealous God. Just like God expected the Israelites to serve Him and Him only, He expects the same of us today. The idols of today may not look like the idols that they worshiped, but they can still pull us just as far away from serving our Heavenly Father.
Today’s reading: Joshua 21-24
God promised Abraham that his descendants would be great. (Genesis 12:2, 17:4) Abraham was getting older and wondering if this promise was really going to happen. When God again made this promise to Abraham (17:16), he laughed and questioned to himself how this could happen to a man who was a hundred years old and a woman who was ninety. (17:17) Sarah also laughed when she heard this promise. (18:12) God works in ways we sometimes do not understand, but he always keeps his promises.
Today’s reading: Genesis 16-19
The parable of the sower was one of the many parables taught by Jesus. (Matthew 13) In that parable were four types of results from the seed that was sown. First was one who heard the word but did not understand what he heard. (13:19) The seed sown on rocky ground was one who was excited when he first heard, but once a little trouble came along, he went back to his old ways. (13:20-21) The seed sown among thorns is one so involved in the riches and cares of the world that he lets these cares choke out the word. (13:22) The only good result comes from the seed sown in good soil. That good soil is one that hears and understands God’s word. He goes on to bear fruit many times over. (13:23) There are numerous lessons to be learned from this parable. We can place ourselves as one of these four types of ground where the seed was sown. Which one would you say is the best match for your life? We could also look at the ground as others that we share the word with at some point in our life. The results depend on many factors. Was the seed sown with love and care or just tossed out like the first example? Just like planting a garden, it takes time and effort to properly prepare the ground, plant the seed and then continued work to keep the weeds out. The seed sown on good ground is the only one that we should desire. It takes a never-ending zeal, but it’s rewards are everlasting life.
Today’s reading: Matthew 11-13
In chapter 8 of Paul’s words to the Romans, we can find great encouragement. The blessings described there are not for everyone, but come to “them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom 8:1) By living this way we are not promised a perfect life or a life without some struggles, but we are promised that all things will work together for good. (8:28) When things are not going our way and we start to doubt, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) It is up to us to study His word, to believe it, and to follow it. If we do our part, Paul explains how nothing can keep us from His blessings. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39)
Today’s reading: Romans 7-8
As a prophet of God, Isaiah was able to share God’s words with others. Some of the prophecies foretold of God’s wrath that was to come. “The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.” (Isa 19:1) There is no person today who can prophesy, but each of us can know and share words from God. By His providence, the inspired Word has been preserved for our benefit. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2Timothy 3:16) We can also know that God’s wrath still exists today for those who do not heed these instructions. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” (Rom 1:18)
Today’s reading: Isaiah 18-22
Having good friends is a blessing during times of need. One of Job’s friends, Bildad, came to talk to Job during his suffering. Instead of encouraging and helping him, Bildad judged and accused Job. “How long will you say these things, and the words of your mouth be a great wind?” (Job 8:2) Bildad made an assumption that Job was not telling the full truth about his life. We know parts of Job’s story that Bildad could not know because we have the inspired words of God. Making assumptions like Bildad is something easy to do when we do not have the full story. Only God knows the full story.
Today’s reading: Job 7-8
Right now the big thing in news media is anything going on with the US president. Of all the varied levels of power that men may have in government, there is one who has power over all. It’s not anyone who was elected by vote. David’s words are a great reminder even today for a nation that sees itself as the greatest on earth. “Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know that they are but men!” (Psalms 9:20) No matter what happens with any vote or any government policies or laws, we should not worry because God is and will always be in control. “He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away.” (Job 12:23)
Today’s reading: Psalms 9-11
Joshua was guided by God to assign the land in Canaan to the Israelites. Each of the twelve tribes were given an allotment of land. The children of Joseph were separated into two; the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh. Joseph’s descendants complained to Joshua and said they should be allotted more land. (Joshua 17:14) Their reason was that they were a “great people”. Joshua’s response was perfect. He told them if they were great, then they had the power to go clear all the trees off their land and then they would have more usable land. (v. 15) This was a land promised and given to the Israelites by God. God by His providence had given each group an assigned area. These people knew this, but they still wanted something better. Each of us has been blessed much more than we deserve, but are we ever guilty of being like the descendants of Joseph? Joshua’s answer is still fitting today. Our life and everything in it is from God. If we feel like we deserve more, maybe we need to “clear the trees”.
Today’s reading: Joshua 16-20