Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 15/260: Job

Read Job 40:1-5

The Patient Love of God

After losing everything and facing harsh and undue criticism from his friends, Job’s frustration is understandable. Doubt crept in, and though he never lost it, Job’s faith was strained. The inspired record shows his silence after Job 31 until Job 40. The young Elihu’s “wrath was aroused” against Job and against his friends (Job 32:2-5) and he criticizes them while proclaiming God’s justice, goodness, and majesty.

After Elihu finished his observations, “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’” (Job 38:1-2). Through a series of questions that attest to His divine power, God then asks, “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it” (Job 40:2).

Job understandably stepped down off his soapbox when he realized what he had done. He had questioned God’s integrity! Humility overtook the patriarch as he confessed, “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).

He realized that he had overstepped. He realized the vastness of the Lord and his own relative unworthiness. And yet, despite being insignificant, God still loved Job.

The same is true today. We may suffer greatly and face struggles that no one around us understands. That does not give us the right to question God. Yet, even when we do allow doubts to creep in during moments of weakness, God still loves us. Jesus still died for us. We still have the ability led by the Spirit through His Word. As small as we are compared to God, He still cares. This is why Jesus pleaded, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon You and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

What a patient, loving God we serve! May we always remember His great power and His great love!

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 14/260: Job

Read Job 31:1-40

Defending Your Own Honor

You have likely heard the expression, “Action speaks louder than words.” In fact, Peter encouraged his readers to live with “a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” (1 Peter 3:16). There are times, however, that we must speak up in defense against such defamations, and that is what happens in Job 31.

Job declares his innocence in sexual situations. “I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?” (Job 31:1), going so far as to say that if he has been unfaithful to his wife, she has every right (in his judgment, at least) to do the same (Job 31:9-12). Jesus warned that we must protect ourselves against sexual impurity, hyperbolically saying that one should cut off the temptation at the root (Matthew 18:8-9).

Job proclaimed his honesty. “If I have walked with falsehood, or if my foot has hastened to deceit, let me be weighed on honest scales, that God may know my integrity” (Job 31:5-6). Even in his business dealings, Job held on to his integrity. “If my land cries out against me, and its furrows weep together; if I have eaten its fruits without money, or caused its owners to lose their lives; then let thistles grow instead of wheat, and weeds instead of barley” (Job 31:38-40). He did not want to be unfair, and recognized that there should be consequences for one’s dishonest dealings.

He also asserts that he is fair toward his servants (Job 31:13-15), generous toward those in need (Job 31:16-23), and good even to his enemies (Job 31:29-37). Indeed, the Scriptures state, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). This is not a command that we are obligated to obey only toward those who are friendly toward us. Rather, it is for “all”—even and especially those we perceive as enemies. Did our Lord not say, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (Luke 6:27-28)?

Above all else, though, Job was faithful to the Almighty (Job 31:24-28). He did not worship his wealth or nature. “This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment, for I would have denied God who is above” (Job 31:28). Job was not perfect, but he was an honorable man.

President Biden on Unity

The White House

I watched part of President Biden’s inauguration speech today. He made some good points, even though I would disagree with the way he would apply some of those points. The President spoke of the importance of unity. “Uniting to fight the foes we face: anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, violence, disease, joblessness, and hopelessness. With unity, we can do great things—important things.”

I can’t help but wonder if Biden’s speechwriters were influenced by the letter to the Ephesians. Regarding anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, and violence, the Holy Spirit commanded through the pen of the apostle Paul, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Regarding joblessness, do we not all have work to do in the Lord’s church? “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Regarding hopelessness, Paul wrote, “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at the time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-13).

The President affirmed, “With unity, we can do great things—important things.” I wholeheartedly concur! “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).

Did Paul—inspired by the Holy Spirit—tell us to strive for something in the church that is impossible to achieve? “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 13/260: Job

Read Job 23:8-12

Finding God in His Word

Distressed by his circumstances, Job looked for God and for the reasons for his suffering. He went “forward,” “backward,” “left,” and “right,” but was unable to “perceive,” “behold,” or “see” Jehovah (Job 23:8-9). Despite his inability to find what he sought, Job continued to hold fast to his faith and was confident that these tribulations would pass. “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).

Peter encourages his readers in their trials and persecutions by referring to their faith as “more precious than gold.” He writes, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7).

How precious is your faith? Is it built upon the proper foundation? Faith is so much more than a warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you think about Jesus. Proper, Biblical faith is founded upon “hearing…the word of God” according to the apostle Paul in Romans 10:17.

That was not a new concept in Paul’s time; Job viewed God’s revelation as vital to his own faith as well. “I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). Is that your view of the inspired Scriptures?

We are so blessed to live in a day and age when the Scriptures are not only complete, but readily available at the click of a button or the tap of a mobile device. However, reading the Scriptures every day does no good if we do not apply the truth of God’s Word to our lives. If we continue to live in sin and disobedience, the Spirit can have no impact on our lives through the things He inspired.

We can be “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17), but only through study and application of the Word of God. We can live out God’s will only if we have the same attitude as Job: “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 12/260: Job

Read Job 21

Are You Listening?

For more than four decades, brother V.E. Howard used the power of radio to preach the gospel via the International Gospel Hour. He was well known for directing the listener’s attention to an important point by using this phrase, “Are you listening?”

In the twenty-first chapter of Job, the patriarch begged with his friends to listen to him without jumping to conclusions. They had run ahead of the truth and made assumptions without first examining the facts. Brother Howard wanted his listeners to avoid that habit, as did Job.

Three times before he got into his speech, Job pleaded for his friends’ attention. He said, “Listen carefully to my speech” (Job 21:2). All too often we do not actually listen to what our friends are saying, or why they are saying it. We must give careful attention to words and the motivation for those words.

Job then pleads, “Bear with me that I may speak, and after I have spoken, keep mocking” (Job 21:3). How patient are we with our friends’ struggles? Do we even let them finish telling us what is wrong? Or do we try to get to the end of the story without hearing the details, and mock (whether intentionally or not) their situation or the way they handled it? Let’s practice patience when our friends go through trials and bear with them. Isn’t this how we “fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2)?

Finally, Job says, “Look at me and be astonished; put your hand over your mouth” (Job 21:5). If we are not willing to examine the facts of a situation, we should not comment on it. It is an insult to the person going through a trial to hear ignorant and uninformed opinions that are not based on actual facts but assumptions.

Don’t be like Job’s friends. When those close to you are going through difficult situations in this life, listen to them. Bear with them. Look at them. Avoid prejudgment and mockery. Kindly offer support and love.

“Are you listening?”

[Note: If you are not familiar with the International Gospel Hour, it is a highly recommended resource for sound gospel teaching. Brother Jeff Archey is the current host. Learn more at www.internationalgospelhour.com.]

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 11/260: Job

Read Job 19:25

Confidence in the Faithfulness of God

Despite all the tragedy occurring in the life of Job, he confidently declared, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth” (Job 16:25). This was no guesswork or flimsy wish on Job’s part. He took full assurance in the fact of the existence of his Redeemer.

This is not the first time the patriarch foreshadowed the coming Redeemer. Earlier in the inspired record, Job lamented that there was not presently a go-between that could understand both God and man. “For He is not a man, as I am, that I may answer Him, and that we should go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both” (Job 9:32-33). Then, in the sixteenth chapter, Job makes reference to “my witness…in heaven” (Job 16:19) and longs “that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleads for his neighbor!” (Job 16:21).

These are but a few prophecies in the book of Job of the Word who became flesh (John 1:14). The specific verse under consideration, Job 19:25, prophetically proclaims the fact of a Redeemer who, in Job’s very day, was alive (though He had not yet taken on human form). Job affirmed that this Redeemer would “stand at last on the earth.” He would not remain in heaven, but would take on “the form of a bondservant” (Philippians 2:7), and would become “obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). It was in these actions that Jesus became our Mediator, our Witness, our Advocate, and our Redeemer.

But how could Job have such confidence? The answer is simple: Job was a person of faith. Did he challenge God with questions? Yes. Did he bemoan his situation? Yes. Did he lose his faith in the Almighty? No!

No matter what happens to us in this life, we must never let our faith in God waver. Search for answers from Him, but do not give up on Him. Understand that the answers you want may not come. There are things that we simply do not need to know, no matter how badly we want to know. We can, however, know everything we need, “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).

Have the confidence in God that Job possessed. “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth.”

Using Good for the Gospel (Acts 3:1-26)

Using Good for the Gospel

Acts 3:1-26

I. God gives more than we ask for

    A. The man’s request (Acts 3:1-7)
    B. God goes above and beyond (1 Kings 3:5-14; Ephesians 3:20-21; Psalm 147:5)

II. Create an opportunity to praise God

    A. The apostles refused praise (Acts 3:8-12)
    B. Our good works should be seen and praise directed toward God (Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 6:10; Matthew 5:13-16)

III. Using those opportunities of praise, we should preach the gospel

    A. Peter points to “the God of Abraham” (Acts 3:13)
    B. Peter points to God’s “Servant Jesus” (Acts 3:13; Isaiah 53; 52:11; 42:1-4)
    C. Words of comfort and hope (Acts 3:17-19)
    D. We must teach our sincere religious neighbors the truth of the one body (Ephesians 4:4), the Savior of the body (Ephesians 5:23), how to enter that body (Galatians 3:27)

In The Beginning Was The Word…

In the Beginning was the Word

John 1:1-5, 14

I. “In the beginning…” (John 1:1)

    A. Compare with Genesis 1:1
    B. “…was the Word” (Proverbs 8:23; John 17:5; 8:53-58)
    C. He was the creative agent through whom the beginning began (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17)

II. “And the Word was with God” (John 1:1)

    A. Not “in” or “from,” but “with”
    B. “…and the Word was God” (Philippians 2:6; Judges 13:19-22; Joshua 5:13-15; Revelation 5:12)

III. “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14)

    A. He chose to become flesh so He could redeem mankind (Philippians 2:7; John 1:5)
    B. We must shine as lights (John 1:6-9; Matthew 5:16)
    C. Show the love of Christ (Philippians 2:8; Romans 5:6-11)

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 10/260: Job

Read Job 16:1-22

The Importance of Good Friends

To whom do we turn for comfort when we are sad, upset, mad, or depressed? Which of our friends knows just the right words to pick our spirits up, or at least to keep us from falling deeper into despondency? Job needed friends like that, but instead he had Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu.

Look at how Job describes his so-called friends: “Miserable comforters are you all!” (Job 16:2). He accuses them, “I also could speak as you do, if your soul were in my soul’s place. I could heap up words against you, and shake my head at you” (16:4). He says that he would be better than that, though. “But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief” (16:5).

We must take seriously the words that we use with those who are closest to us, and the words they use as well. The apostle Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).

Do your friends act like Job’s friends? Do they accuse you of wrongdoing when bad things happen without any evidence? Certainly, we can bring hardship upon ourselves through sinful actions, but sometimes adversity comes through no fault of our own. If our friends automatically assume that we are to blame, perhaps some changes need to take place in our relationships.

Put the shoe on the other foot, too, though. Are you more like Job, or more like his friends? Are you the one who looks for fault in the face of a loved one’s disaster? Our goal must be to edify, to “impart grace to the hearers,” not to tear a person down through unfounded accusations and undue criticism.

Consider this warning from the apostle Paul: “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). We must be careful to surround ourselves with people who have our eternal interests at heart, and we must strive to seek the very best for those we call friends as well.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 9/260: Job

Read: Job 1:1-2:10

“There is None Like Him on the Earth”

If God and Satan were to have a conversation about you, how would it go? Would God say the things about you that he said about this patriarch? Replace Job’s name with yours as you think about this question: “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (Job 1:8).

How would Satan respond? Again, substitute your own name for Job’s: “Does Job fear God for nothing?” (Job 1:9).

Satan was accusing Job of serving God only because God blessed Job. That, according to Satan, was his whole motivation. Satan did not believe that Job feared God because of God’s power or righteousness. Rather, he only served God—according to Satan—because Job was getting something out of it.

God allowed Satan to test his theory. God allowed calamity upon calamity to come upon Job at the hand of the adversary. His servants were killed by the Sabeans. His sheep and those servants tending to them were destroyed by fire from the sky. The Chaldeans stole his camels and killed the servants riding them. His children were crushed in the collapse of the oldest brother’s house. Horrible tragedies, but Job’s resolve toward God remained the same. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

After all of this, God told Satan, “And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause” (Job 2:3). Satan again challenges God, alleging that Job only continues to serve Him because his health remains. Thus God allowed Satan to inflict bodily harm upon Job: “painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (Job 1:7).

His wife encouraged Job to forsake his faith, but Job responded, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10). Many today are quick to turn on God and curse His church. Friends, we must stand firm against the devil’s many attacks and be rooted in the truth of God’s Word. Will life always be easy? No! But even in those difficult times, may we never, in the words of Job’s wife, “Curse God and die!” (Job 1:9).

But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (Acts 8:12)