Thursday, June 30: Job 42- What does one say to God?

I wondered what Job would say, if anything, when God finished Job’s cross examination? Now we all know. Then Job replied to the LORD:

"I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. "You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.' My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes" (1-6)

Awe and wonder fill me as I listen to Job stammer a response to the Almighty. Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. I try to envision what it must have been like for Job, I flash to what it might be like for me when I meet my Maker face to face. We hear and read of near death stories filled with white light and surrounded by love.  It sounds all nice and fuzzy and warm but we really won’t know until we are there.

My gut resonates with these words from Job’s lips. I have a deep sense within me that when I am face to face with God, I will realize how great God is and how insignificant I am. I suspect that many of my ‘why’ questions will evaporate in the moment when I, too, see and meet God in His wonder and glory. And I suspect that like Job, I will repent for all my wrong thoughts and actions and fall upon the mercy of Jesus, my Savior…

Jesus, I bow before You today recognizing that there is no way I can stand before You, the Spirit and the Father in my own accord. I can only do so dressed in Your mercy, grace and righteousness. Forgive my sins. I pledge my allegiance to You as my Lord, God and Savior. I will serve and follow You all the days of my life.  To You be honor and glory… Amen and Amen.


I had a few people ask me why we read Job. First, and most importantly, I read it because it is in the Bible. Every part of the Bible is God inspired and since God put it there, it is of value for those of us who seek to follow God. Secondly, even thought Job can be an exhausting read, it raises questions of human suffering and God’s sovereignty, which are difficult yet important issues to grapple with if we are going to live faithfully following Jesus. I hope that helps answer the question.


Wednesday, June 29: Job 41-God presses His case


Humbled though Job may be, God presses His case further against Job. God drills Job about leviathan. Historians are not sure what leviathan is, but it is clear that leviathan is a gigantic animal, well beyond the strength of humans. Can Job catch, or handle leviathan? Clearly the answer is ‘NO’.

In the midst of this discourse pops verse 11: Who has a claim against me [God] that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me. The Lord states His claim… leviathan, weather, all animals, you name it, belongs to God!

I wonder how Job, who dared God to meet him in court, reacted to the opening sentence of verse 11; Who has a claim against me [God] that I must pay?

I spent time dwelling on that question.  I have no claim against God. I deserved nothing from Him. Instead, I am at God’s beckon call.  He can summon me to court but not I Him.

My meditations remind me how easily I can get roles reversed, putting myself above God instead of humbly bowing before God…

O, God, forgive me for minimizing You and exalting me. Life does not revolve around me. I should live my life for You. Lord, I seek to do just that, to live under Your direction and for Your glory. Lord, send the Holy Spirit that I might have the counselor in and with me to guide, direct, instruct and lead me in Your way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, June 28: Job 40- A changed Job

 ‘Humbled’ comes to mind as I read Job’s terse response to God. Before his day in court, Job blustered with self-righteousness.  Now his words are few and humble. "I am unworthy--how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer-- twice, but I will say no more" (4-5).

Would that we all get our “day in court”.  It is in the face of God that we see God’s supremacy, might, power and awesomeness and after that, the depth and truth of His love.

“I surrender all, I surrender all. All to Jesus I surrender. I surrender all.” Jesus, Father, Holy Spirit, faced with who You are, all I can do is surrender all and hope for mercy and love… which came to me through Jesus. Alleluia, Amen.!


Monday, June 27: Job 39- I belong to God.

God continues his interrogation of Job, quizzing Job about animal life, birds, bears, oxen, ostriches, eagles and hawks. What did you have to do with these, Job?

It was as if I immediately returned to my previous devotion. God is so far beyond me. I simply sat in awe of God this morning, amazed at His greatness and wonder, and honest about my limitedness.

Awe of God is a good reaction… it leads me to reverence… adoration… and submission…

Lord God Almighty, I belong to You. I fall on my knees before You. I will follow and obey You. I will go where You direct me to go, do what You ask me to do. I pledge myself anew to live as You would have me live.

Help me to be more and more attentive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as I seek to emulate Jesus in my living. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Saturday, June 25: Job 38- Who? Do you?

The wisdom of men has spoken.  Now it is God’s turn. Job gets his day in court.

The Lord’s opening salvo sets the tone, "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me (2-3). And with that a series of relentless questions begin. I sit, open-mouthed, as I read God’s response. I don’t think I can even imagine what it must have been like for Job, mano-e-mano with the Lord.

As God’s questions fly, I have the impression of supreme command, yet I feel no sarcasm or belittling of Job, simply an affirmation of who’s who.

As I read the accumulating effect is enormous. “No, no, not me, I don’t know…” are my replies. The picture becomes crystal clear. I am not God, Job is not God. Only God is God!

I leave this morning’s text invigorated with an incredible sense of God’s greatness and my smallness.  I am stunned that One so great would desire to live in relationship with one (me, you…) so small.

The prayer that forms in my heart begins,

“O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made. I see the stars. I hear the rolling thunder. Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee.  How great thou art. How great thou are! ...





Friday, June 24: Job 37- God of wonders.

I sit here early in the morning, no one else in my house is awake. All is quiet except for the white noise hum of my computer fan. My yard dances with every shade and hue of green as trees and shrubs and plants begin to sparkle as morning light fills the sky and light shafts sneak between branches creating bright spots and shadows. I slide open the large door to my porch, cool air tumbles in and my feet, clad in sandals, tingle with the cool air. Birds sing a morning cantata and squirrels and chipmunks scamper silently here and there.  Red, blue, violet and white flowers dot our gardens and light blue sky shine in the tree breaks.  It is an absolutely beautiful morning.

Where does all this come from? Is it really just chance, random mutations growing out of primordial ooze? Really, that’s the answer?

I pick up and read.  Like Elihu my heart pounds at the thought of God. Verse 14 lands as a gift in my lap. "Listen to this, Job (or Bill, feel free to insert your name); stop and consider God's wonders. Funny, that’s what I was just doing, considering the wonders of God. Nature cries to me of a creator. Tell me one place in life where beauty just happens to pop out of chaos or ooze. A few weeks ago we had an art hanging by one of our members at my church. A dozen or more canvases painted with vibrant color, strokes and swirls, shading and splashes, each canvas telling its own story. There was nothing random about it. Thought and patience and creativity and skill and so much more went into the creation of each canvas. Nature is God’s canvas. I accept Elihu’s call to consider the wonders of God.

I read on, Elihu’s words end with these thoughts: The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress. Therefore, men revere him, for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?" (23-24). My heart and soul cry, “YES!”

O, God, I revere You. I honor You. I delight in You. I marvel at You. Right now I am silent before You. I love You.

O, God,  I give my life to You who created the wondrous canvas of life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.



Thursday, June 23: Job 36- God's ways are greater.

My heart grows faint reading the relentless pounding inflicted upon Job by his “friends.” In their eyes Job is nothing more than scum of the earth. And yet even in the midst of this chapter Elihu breaks into a marvelous description of God. A description that penetrated deeply into my being…

Verses 22 through chapter’s end laud the wonders of our Lord.

"God is exalted in his power. Who is a teacher like him? Who has prescribed his ways for him, or said to him, 'You have done wrong'? Remember to extol his work, which men have praised in song. All mankind has seen it; men gaze on it from afar. How great is God--beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out… (22-26).

How great is God--beyond our understanding! I am remaindered of Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 55: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (8-9).

God’s ways are higher and greater.  What is there to do but submit to Him? What is there to do but to attend to His Word?  Read, listen, study and live His Word!

God’s Word is like water to a parched garden.  It offers life giving water and nutrients.  His Word is life. Isaiah continues, As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11).

On this Elihu is right, How great is God--beyond our understanding! Even so, God takes his vast understanding and packages it in His Word in such a way that we can learn enough of Him that we might fall down upon our knees in awe and wonder and devotion and praise of whom God is and what God has done for us and all humankind.

O, God, thank You and Bless You that You have revealed Yourself in Your Word… that You came to earth in Jesus and lived among us for a while… that You sent the Holy Spirit –Your presence among Your people- for all time until we can know You in Your fullness in glory. Thanks be to You, O God, for being a connecting, saving, loving God. In and through Jesus, Your Son and my Lord, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, June 22: Job 35- Seeds of doubt

Job’s final word has been that God would listen to and vindicate him. Job seems to have built his case on his relationship with God, I know my redeemer lives (Job 19:25). Elihu goes at Job by filleting Job’s foundation of his relationship with God.

He [God] does not answer when men cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked. Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea; the Almighty pays no attention to it. How much less, then, will he listen when you say that you do not see him, that your case is before him and you must wait for him, and further, that his anger never punishes and he does not take the least notice of wickedness (12-15).

As I tried to understand those strong words from Job’s perspective, I heard seeds of doubt being sown. Elihu’s words were cutting at the very foundation of Job’s life… “God won’t listen to you! Why would God care about you, you wicked person?… You are less than nothing in God’s eyes…”

Doubt is a destroyer. Doubt undermines. Doubt is a tactic still used today.

People and our world regularly sow seeds of doubt that God exists, that God would care about you or me. “You are no better than me, why would God listen to you???” The slings and arrows of doubt fly repeatedly and feverishly fast.

We have no response from Job.  Sometimes there is not a response when people fling doubt at us. Clinging to God is our best response. And that we know (or at least for those reading Job for the first time we will discover)is what Job does.

I imagine the words of Elihu, like Job’s other friends’ words, hurt but they did not cause Job to waver on God. Job held to his relationship with the Lord. And that is my ‘take-a-way’ from my time with God and His Word this morning…

I pledge my allegiance to You, Lord, and to the Triune God –my God. I believe in You, I trust my life and salvation to You. I will stand for You and, as best I can, I will share You and live for You all the days of my life. Thanks be to Jesus because He has won the victory! Alleluia! Amen.


Tuesday, June 21: Job 34-

Elihu offers more of the same, words filled with groundless accusations so that Job can be judged guilty according to their understanding.

And yet in the midst of this chapter a few verses caught my attention and offered solid food for meditation. In verses 13-15 Elihu tossed out a question and comment: Who appointed him [i.e. God] over the earth? Who put him in charge of the whole world? If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust.

I found myself pondering the greatness of God.  No one appointed Him because no one is greater than He. God is in charge of the whole earth because God is! God created it and the earth and all that is in it and the stars and planets and the universe are God’s…. period! There is nothing more to say.

The next declaration was the real stopper for me. I don’t recall having pondered this truth before.  If God withdrew His spirit all mankind would perish. Wow, we are even more personal.  I am absolutely dependent upon God.

I spend so much of my life thinking I am in control… trying to control this and that, worrying about this and that.  Then in this one sentence, I am reminded how utterly dependent I am on God. And actually it feels good being reminded how dependent I am on God

Thank You, Lord, for the reminder.  The mere removal of Your Spirit and the world as we know it is over, life is over.  All Your awesome power and You still invite me into a relationship. You want to spend time with me…WOW!  How awesome is that?!  The God who made everything –and I mean everything- wants a relationship with me. The God who sustains everything invites me to be dependent upon Him. I mean does it get any better than this??

I don’t think so…

Jesus, it is in Your name that I pray. Amen.


Monday, June 20: Job 33- God is greater than we are


Elihu starts bang on… God is greater than man. Simple, straightforward and true.

Those words came as the conclusion of a comparison between Job and God, but as I read I realized it could have been a comparison between me, or any human being, and God.

Verses 8-12 "But you have said in my hearing-- I heard the very words-- 'I am pure and without sin; I am clean and free from guilt. Yet God has found fault with me; he considers me his enemy. He fastens my feet in shackles; he keeps close watch on all my paths.'

"But I tell you, in this you are not right, for God is greater than man.

Though I might think I am pretty good (hopefully I don’t think I carry the arrogance of Job), my goodness doesn’t come close to God’s. He alone is perfect.

Job treads a dangerous precipice…

O, God, keep me far away from this dangerous cliff. Remind me over and over again that I dare not even think for a fleeting moment that I could stand justified in Your presence on my own merit. Only on the merit of my Savior, Jesus, can I stand in your presence. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.


Saturday, June 18: Job 32- Finite wisdom

Elihu has listened in vain as Job and his friends dueled with their words back and forth and back again. From Elihu’s perspective the duel ended in a draw and Elihu became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him (2-3). All these words and no conclusion except the two sides hardened in their positions. We will see if Elihu can bridge the disconnect… the next few chapters will tell.

Today I sit pondering the futile wisdom of man. All their best thinking and speaking cannot settle the matter.  Is Job guilty or innocent? At this point, the whisper of the Spirit reminds me that we humans are finite in our wisdom… and our thinking is always colored by our experiences and our worldview. None of us are truly unbiased and none of us have all the answers. Even at our absolute best (does that ever honestly happen?) we can only grasp so much. We are limited and finite…

I need God. I need God’s wisdom. I need God’s truth. Only God has absolute wisdom and truth. I can never ascend to God’s wisdom and truth and neither will humanity. We -collective humanity- are destined to partial and biased truth. Left to ourselves, we are destined to talk and argue ad infinitum. Only when we submit to God’s truth can we hope to get beyond ourselves and gain an honest view of life.

Thank You, God, for supplying Your truth in the Holy Bible and for giving us Your Word, which is the end of the matter. Help me, Lord, to understand Your Word, and to accept it and live by it to Your honor and glory.  I submit myself to the scriptures of Your Old and New Testaments and Your revealed will and Your perfect Word. It will teach me all the truth You need me to know. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit that He might be my teacher and my guide as I study Your Word in order to live Your word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.



Friday, June 17: Job 31- Give me a reason.


 “Give me a reason, God, give me a reason.” Who hasn’t thought or wondered that?

“Why am I suffering? I mean I’m a pretty good guy, why is this happening to me?” Who hasn’t thought or wondered that?

Sometimes we ask these questions with other people in mind, “Why is he/she/them suffering? Why? Just answer me, why, God, why?” Who hasn’t asked God why this or that was happening to other people?

Job makes his defense citing his good deeds, believing that God will surely have to justify him and answer him. But no answer comes, at least not yet.

Sometimes God lets us wait for His reply. Waiting, at least for me, is not easy. But there is nothing Job or I can do when God chooses to be silent.

Lord, give me patience to wait… to wait when You are silent… Amen.


Thursday, June 16: Job 30-

As I read, a quote from Elizabeth Elliot spun through my thoughts: “The best we can hope for is mixed motives.” The validity of that quote seemed proven in this chapter.

Job begins in what I feel is a mocking, belittling tone of friends and young men he feels are attacking him. He ‘disses’ their fathers and then demeans them. Job’s tone seems a beaten man lashing out with his tongue.

The discourse shifts as Job lifts his gaze toward heaven. With respect to God, Job cries out in utter despair.  But there is no mocking on his lips, only the utter desperation of feeling the weight of his situation. "I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me. You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me. You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm. I know you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living. (20-23).

Where Job’s lips seemed to lash out, mocking men, they cry in anguish to God. I hear mixed motives leaking through his lips…big time!

God, listening to Job, I hear myself speaking comfort  of You one moment and back talking or mumbling under my breath the next. My mixed motives glare at me like a thousand eyes on a Broadway performer. My smallness before You is so evident as I sit with text in hand today.

Were it not for Jesus and the gifts given on the cross, I would be in despair myself. I remain saddened by my lack of faithfulness, yet You, O God, are the lifter of my head. You value me and call me Your son and I leave my time in Your word buoyed by strength and love You give evermore resolved to live for You, my Redeemer and my Friend! Amen.


Wednesday, June 15: Job 29- What has your life been like?.

As I listened to Job think back to days gone by, a question burst into my thoughts, an intruder by the Holy Spirit I believe. What has my (your) life been like? I sat and pondered what have I done with the days I have already been given?

My days have not been as blessed as Job’s, but that is not the facet of the question that the Spirit needled deep into me. A follow up question that came after I reviewed my life to date was the Spirit’s needle point burrowing deep into my soul, “And what have you done with it?” More specifically, “What good have you done with it?”

The middle section of Job’s life recounting was filled with people helped. With his wealth, wisdom and influence, Job rescued the poor … and the fatherless.  He helped the man who was dying and lifted the widow's heart. He fought for justice, helped the blind and lame  I was a father to the needy; … took up the case of the stranger… broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth. (12-17).

In other words, Job used his position, wealth and station in life to do the things of God.  He lived God’s heart on earth.

I asked myself again, “Bill, what have you done with the life you have been given???” A worthy question to ponder this morning with the Lord…

Lord, thank You for life and breath, family and faith. All good gifts come from You. Thank You. Lord, as I consider my life, I see areas in which I lived faithfully.  I pray that how I have lived brought and brings You honor and glory You deserve.

Lord I also see holes and inconsistencies in my life, areas where I remain faithless and selfish, where I have squandered the gifts You have given me. I have used them selfishly rather than in advancing Your kingdom or caring for Your people. Forgive me, Lord, and even more so teach me and renew me that more and more of my life would be fully and faithfully lived for You. In and through Jesus I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, June 14: Job 28- Fear the Lord; shun evil.

In a masterful monologue Job builds an imagery rich highway to his finale… And he [God] said to man, 'The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding'" (28).

Soak in those words; soak as one luxuriating in a hot tub after a long day. Allow those words to be hammered into and shape your soul, as a silversmith hammers and shapes fine silver into exquisite jewelry. Let Job’s words work on you like a deep massage working the kinks and knots out of your tired muscles…

And [God] said to man, 'The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.'"

I repeat it one last time for my sake… 'The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.'

One more time in yet another abbreviated form… fear the Lord, shun evil.

Savor this word from the Lord.  Ingest it that it may form and strengthen you…

O God, may I be more than a listener to Your Word.  May I be a doer, a liver of Your Word. Teach me true fear, true reverence for You so that I give more than lip service and a head nod to Your absolute greatness. Show me the ugly side of evil that I may be repulsed.  Give me conviction beyond the ‘amen’ of this prayer to shun and reject evil in all its degrees.

To You and for You, I pledge my lifelong devotion and service. In and through Jesus and by the power of the Spirit I pray. Amen.


Monday, June 13: Job 27- A bit too puffed up

Job’s discourse (rant) continues… a little too self-righteous is he. It is one thing to maintain one’s integrity and I commend Job for this. However, the tenor in this chapter is of one who is perfectly righteous, therefore God has erred in striking him. This is where my sensitivities bristle and the counsel of Scripture warns me. Righteous, though Job be, no one, Job included, is perfect. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, reads Romans 3:23. And Romans 6:23 adds, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. When you add up that equation, we are all in trouble and all deserve death.

Jesus is the only solution to our sin problem. Faith in Jesus is the only surety in God’s presence. I will put my trust and faith in Jesus, rather than my goodness or my righteousness. How about you?

Think about it…

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever. Spirit, Father, Jesus, thank You for life and mercy and grace. I stand in awe of You and Your love for me and the world. Amen.


Saturday, June 11: Job 26- Look in the mirror; look in the sky.

I found myself reading as if Job was speaking directly to me…

Two movements, two act, one piercing morning with God.

First introspection: what have I done to alleviate pain? Who have I helped? What great wisdom have I passed along to someone? I found myself answering “no one or not really” to each question. The result of which was to be spiritually undressed, spiritually naked before the mirror of myself.

Before I could even process my introspection, the scene shifted. Act two: Outside standing within God’s magnificent creation. Look at what God has done and does.  The clouds move at His will, death and destruction answer to Him, and so this act continues refrain upon building refrain, the overall effect increasing exponentially until the crescendo itself. And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power? (14).

I am left now spiritually naked before myself and before the God who made everything. The chasm is greater than words can describe. I am not God.  It is ludicrous, and probably idolatrous,  even to contemplate thoughts that I am on par with God.

I am put in my place and yet, I am awed by the truth that God who stands so far apart from me loves me, cares for me and seeks to have a connection, a relationship, with me.

Reverence, joy and honor for God bubble up in me like uncorked champagne. I am left with only one response… praising the God, my God- Three in One…

All glory laud and honor to thee redeemer king…

Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of creations…

O for a thousand tongues to sing my great redeemer’s praise, the glories of my God and king, the triumph of his grace…

Crown him with many crowns, the lamb upon the throne…

And so my heart sings to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, great God above all gods. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia… A-men!


Friday, June 10: Job 25- And.

Bildad’s words are few enough that I could print his entire response. Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: "Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven. Can his forces be numbered? Upon whom does his light not rise? How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes, how much less man, who is but a maggot-- a son of man, who is only a worm!" (1-6).

My response to his words, true as they are, was simply, “And?!…” And what am I to do about this? I am left with an utter sense of puny-ness. My thoughts and heart shouted, “Yes, I know I cannot be righteous before God. I will never be pure… I know, I know… what can I do about it??!!!”

If I thought this was God’s last word I would be left in despair.  However, thanks be to God this is precisely why Jesus came, lived, taught, died in my place and rose again.

God has already written the ‘and’… it is called ‘The Gospel’… the message of Good News found through faith (believing) in Jesus!

Praise be to the God of the “and” who solved my worst dilemma by sending His Son Jesus to die in my place, paying the price for my sins, failures, impurity, and unrighteousness.  And even more by giving me His perfect righteousness. All this simply by grace through faith… thanks be to God for Jesus! Amen. Amen.


PS… I hope you believe in Jesus. If you still have questions, ask away. Hopefully I can answer some for them for you…


Thursday, June 9: Job 24- Why are there troubles in this world?

The ‘why’ questions fly from Job’s mouth. “Why does God…? Why doesn’t God…?” Job’s cries strike a note within me. I have wondered ‘why’ a thousand times, a million times. Why do crazed despots hurt and starve millions? Why do drunks drive and kill people? Why do earthquakes and tsunamis happen? Why cancer? In a world where enough food is produced to feed everyone, why are so many hungry?

Sometimes my questions are generic. Other times I direct them to God.

Why does God allow crazed despots hurt and starve millions? Why doesn’t God protect innocent people from drunk drivers who kill people? Why does God allow earthquakes and tsunamis happen? Why cancer? In a world where enough food is produced to feed everyone why does God allow so many to go hungry and die of starvation?

Why God, why???

What became glaringly obvious to me as I wrote and pondered this morning is that the question I don’t often enough ask is “Why don’t I do more to alleviate that which I can, regarding the concerns I have?”

I realize I am not speaking for anyone else, but I am driven to examine myself this morning.  All too often my ‘whys’ absolve me and implicitly condemn others, even God

As I re-read what I just penned, a deep sorrow wells up within me, my eyes fill and the screen before me blurs due to my watery eyes…

O, God, why do You put up with me? The selfish, spoiled, lazy, hypocritical person that I am. I question You, I question others and yet I sit by in my comfy house, with my belly full and my closet bursting and I do little to help those in need. O Lord, take the plank out of my own eye…

One more thing, Lord, thank You for still loving me, for not giving up on me, and for giving me 2nd, 3rd, 4th, chances. O, Jesus, I owe You everything and yet I ask for more. I ask You to help me give myself to You with reckless abandon.

To You, the Spirit and the Father, be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


Wednesday, June 8: Job 23- I'll go strait to God

How things turn. Job seems to be done arguing with his friends, now he wants to speak with God. I am fascinated by this. On the one side, Job believes God to be fair and that God would give him a hearing. This suggests to me that Job either has a deep trust in God himself or at least a deep trust in the system of judgment God has established. In a purely human situation, I would either have to trust the judge or the judicial system to willingly seek to state my case and believe I have a fair shot at winning.   Right?!

Given all that has transpired up to this point, my sense is that Job has a deep trust in God.

Interestingly, Job is not going to court to tell God off but rather to plead his case. Even in this request Job is acting honorably with respect to the Lord.

As I read on, it certainly seems that Job is overestimating his abilities to argue his case or his righteousness.  Job seems to think he will convince God. I’m not sure if that is arrogance or stupidity.

All in all, I am awed by Job’s gambit, a willingness to enter God’s court and plead his case… for me that shouts TRUST in GOD!

O, God, the money of my country says, “In God We Trust.” I suspect that is merely a slogan, a phrase with a nice ring to it that is a vestige of decades gone by.

My prayer, O Lord, it that those four words would be absolutely true for me and for my family. That I (and we) will trust in You all the days of our lives until You sweep us home to be with You for eternity. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, June 7: Job 22- Hitting a man who is down.


What courage does it take to stomp on a man who is wounded and down? What courage to “rebuke” a friend who is broken? None.

I am amazed at the comments that Eliphaz makes regarding Job’s life. Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless? You demanded security from your brothers for no reason; you stripped men of their clothing, leaving them naked. You gave no water to the weary and you withheld food from the hungry, though you were a powerful man, owning land-- an honored man, living on it. And you sent widows away empty-handed and broke the strength of the fatherless. That is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you… (5-10).

I don’t know how to react to drivel like this. If Eliphaz knew that Job was doing these things and didn’t confront him sooner, then what kind of a ‘friend’ is he? What friend would let a buddy live a lie like this and not say something to correct him before it was too late?  Especially believing that Eliphaz believes God will judge the wicked in this life.  And if Eliphaz has no proof that Job has done these things, then he is merely assuming or projecting and this is not fair either…

Verbal sparing can get ugly and the rules of honorable engagement can be tossed out the window.  However, this kind of talk does not live up to God’s standard of ‘speaking the truth in love.’

Where the Spirit takes me in the next moments is examining the manner and character of my conversations and arguments when I find myself at odds with another.  Do I resort to tactics like Eliphaz or do I honor God by speaking truthfully with the motivation of love?

Lord, words matter and the tone of my words matters and the spirit behind the words I speak matters.  Lord, I do not always honor You and follow Your decree to speak truthfully in love.  Please forgive me and help me to grow in this area of life…

Also, Lord, help me to seek forgiveness and reconciliation when my words have cut others like swords cut flesh.

This I pray in the name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, who for me and the world endured the cross that those who believe might be saved. Amen.


Monday, June 6: Job 21- In his pain, God.

In his responses, whether rants or cries or reason, Job always remains tethered to God, to the truth God is supreme and God’s ways are above and beyond man’s ways. This foundation leaks out here and there. Verse 22: Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest?

Job’s words and arguments are with his friends. Job doesn’t believe them and he doesn’t receive their counsel. He is not moved to repentance by their words. His impatience with them seems to be growing. Yet there is constantly and always faith in God. The Lord remains Job’s anchor amidst the storm…

When storms come, who is your anchor? More pointedly is the Lord God your anchor?

My meditations begin with this piercing question… Is God –Father, Son and Holy Spirit- the anchor of my life or is it something else?

O, God, I pray it is You… Amen.


Saturday, June 4: Job 20-

Wow, not much here that is uplifting to the soul, nothing here to get an aching heart through another day. No grace, no mercy, no rainbow on a dreary rainy day.

Apparently Zophar was righteous, blameless and good. I wonder how good a person had to be? I mean did a little slip up garner the wrath of God or did it have to be a major play against God or people that warranted God’s punishment? I mean really, I have had plenty of slipups. I just don’t know where to put them on Zophar’s scale. Should I be looking over my shoulder for the coming wrath of God on my life? What a way to live!  My gut says that in those honest moments of introspection my world would not be good and the fear of God’s slaying hand would rob me of sleep.

I am so thankful that I do not need to live that way. That God’s love has reached me, that mercy and grace fill and flood my life, and although I sin (and I do not take my sin lightly or flippantly), Jesus paid the penalty my sins require.

I know I am not perfect, however, that is not an excuse to let myself go and sin wildly. But I also know I have a Redeemer who died for me and who gave me His righteousness in exchange for taking my sins upon himself. Blessed be Jesus,  the Lamb of God who took away my sins!

Lord, I am grateful that I am a son of the New Covenant, that Jesus’ atoning death has covered my sins… and that through Jesus I have crossed over from death to life. Alleluia. I will sing of this today in my heart and I will sing of this tomorrow with my mouth in worship. Alleluia, Jesus is risen, my sins are forgiven and I will live forever with him,  my Savior and my Lord. Amen.


Friday, June 3: Job 19- A ray of hope on a dismal day.

Being outdoorsy types, my family and I have spent many a day camping and hiking.  We have run into most every weather imaginable. Today’s chapter reminds me of those days that are dull, dreary and wet. These are not the best of days, wet feet and ‘wet’ attitudes prevail, but they come with outdoor activity. Every now and then on one of those days, there is a momentary break, a parting of the clouds (sometimes in the distance, sometimes overhead) and sunshine lights up or at least brightens the world for a few moments. Those rays of the sun can produce spectacular images, the most beautiful of which is a rainbow. I recall seeing a magnificent double rainbow in the West once… in the land of big sky we saw both ends of this double rainbow touching the ground.  Most times the sunlight produces lesser wonders,like wet leaves backlit by the wonder of the sun, mists rising over still waters, and then the clouds close and the murkiness of the day returns. The wonder of nature.

Today’s murky chapter is splashed with a few of the most uplifting lines in the Book, some might say the whole of scripture. I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (25-27).

Beaten, depressed, upset, moderately judgmental against his friends, confused, Job, too, believes the righteous live blessed lives, and yet he knows his Redeemer. His faith remains intact and solid and what may come in the present, his Redeemer wins and forever stands.  And that no matter what happens to his earthly body, he will see his God!

That’s faith… and that is why God gave Job this assignment in the first place!

I don’t presume to understand God, but I pray that like Job I will cling to the Lord, my Lord, no matter what assignments He gives me.

I am Yours, O Lord, I am Yours. I will, by Your  grace, serve You till the end.  Assign to me whatever tasks best serve and advance Your kingdom. And I mean that, Lord, whatever tasks serve Your purposes! I pray this in the name of Jesus my Lord. Amen.


Thursday, June 2: Job 18- Talk about a beat down

Talk about a beat down, from his first syllable to his last, Bildad shreds Job. Job is the ‘evil’ man of verse 21: Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man; such is the place of one who knows not God. According to Bildad, circumstances and station of a person’s life show how close he/she is to God. Wealth, fame and fortune indicate closeness to God. Ruin, trouble and sickness is punishment from God.

I sat for a moment and wondered if I used that formula, what it would say about the world? Have it all people like Donald Trump, sheiks from oil-rich nations and William & Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of York = close to God. Hunger ravaged and/or AIDS infected masses of Africa, inner city poor, civilians maimed by the crossfire of war = know not God.

It is neat and tidy, but oh so misguided.

Even as I write this, I observe vestiges of this kind of thinking in my life and my world. It is all to easy for me to create ‘we vs. them’ scenarios, lumping people and judging entire groups not knowing one of them… not understanding the forces applied against them… judging people by exteriors.

O, God, these attitudes within me are not right. These kinds of attitudes are filled with and grow from sin still resident in my life. Forgive me, Lord, and even more cleanse me. Help me live up to You word spoken through Micah the prophet: He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.





Wednesday, June 1: Job 17- Clinging to faith.

Despair rolls over Job like storm waves upon a beach.  Yet in these dark days, Job holds on to God. His grip may seem weak but he clings to the Lord, nonetheless.

My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me. Surely mockers surround me; my eyes must dwell on their hostility. "Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me? …"God has made me a byword to everyone, a man in whose face people spit. My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow. … Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger (1-9).

Job’s faith may be reduced to a mere flicker but faith still lives. God remains the only one who “will put up security” for him. Job knows his tragedies have passed through the hands of God, and yet he holds to his faith in God.

It is important to note what Job has not done; he has not cursed God, abandoned God or ‘spit’ in God’s face. Faith continues to flicker, weak as it may be.

There is something to be said for the person who holds to faith in the Lord despite the tragedies and circumstances of life. Many turn and run from God during times of heartache, not Job.  In that he stands as an example to me, to all of us, imperfect though he is, misguided in some of his understanding about God that he may be, Job continues hold his faith in the Lord.

O, God, give me a faith that holds and never lets go.  That is my plea. Good times, when I am tempted to trust in myself, may I hold to You and honor You above all as the Rock of my salvation and Giver of all good gifts.

When difficult times come, Lord, and I am tempted to throw in the towel and give up on You for all the wrong and selfish reasons, give me strength and tenacity to keep holding on to You and never let go.  This, too, is my plea. For You alone saves and I pledge my allegiance to You and You alone, Holy and Almighty God –Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.