Category Archives: Daily Devotional

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 18/260: Abram

Read Genesis 13:1-18

Avoid Strife

Strife is defined as “angry or bitter disagreement over fundamental issues; conflict.” It is not surprising that Abram wanted to avoid such a situation with his nephew Lot.

Strife comes from a heart that is filled with hatred, anger, pride, and perversity. Notice what the inspired wisdom literature says:

  • “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12).
  • * “By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10).
  • * “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention” (Proverbs 15:18).
  • * “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends” (Proverbs 16:28).

Wisdom also teaches, “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts” (Proverbs 17:14). Adam Clarke explains, “As soon as the smallest breach is made in the dike or dam, the water begins to press from all parts towards the breach; the resistance becomes too great to be successfully opposed, so that dikes and all are speedily swept away. Such is the beginning of contentions, quarrels, lawsuits, &c.” (Clarke’s Commentary, Volume 3, p. 750).

Rather than go to war with Lot over the land, Abram put his trust in God to provide wherever he found himself. God had promised to bless him, but it is difficult to receive blessing if one is filled with anger and pride.

Perhaps Abram recognized that strife between himself and Lot would also cause strife between himself and God. This is the point Jesus made in Matthew 5:23-24 when He said, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Is your relationship with God strained? If it is, take a look at your relationship with your neighbor. “Please let there be no strife between you and me…for we are brethren.”

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 17/260: Abram

Read Genesis 12:10-20

It’s Never Right To Do Wrong (and Ignorance is No Excuse)

Have you ever heard the term “situational ethics”? It is the idea that it is okay to do something that is wrong as long as you benefit from it and no real harm is done. It is summed up in the phrase, “The end justifies the means.”

When Abram entered Egypt, he was worried for his life. His wife Sarai was very beautiful, and Abram believed he would be killed so that she would be free from their marriage bond. To prevent this, Abram convinced Sarai to tell people she was his sister rather than his wife. Abram viewed this as an act of self-preservation, thus justifying in his mind the need to lie about their relationship.

Pharaoh was smitten by Sarai, and Abram supposedly reaped the benefits of this deception. God, however, punished Pharaoh, even though what he did was done in ignorance. Abram and Sarai’s deception caused another to suffer the wrath of God even though they did not have complete information.

We learn two important lessons from this incident. First, it’s never right to do wrong. Yes, we may see some temporary benefit to a lie, but in the long run it will ruin our soul. Liars are among those who “shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). Any benefit we may gain from deception in this life will pale in comparison to the punishment we will receive eternally.

Second, we will have to answer for our sins, even those done in ignorance. That is why it is so important to study the Scriptures and apply them to our lives. Don’t just read a chapter and close the Bible feeling accomplished. Study the Bible, seeking to understand what it says and how you can put it into practice.

The Son of God said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). In other words, ignorance is no excuse.

If you are not engaged in an organized Bible study, I encourage you to get involved with the local church of Christ. If there is no local congregation in your area, enroll in online courses through the World Video Bible School (school.wvbs.org) or a similar sound program.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 16/260: Abram

Read Genesis 12:1-9; Hebrews 11:8

If God Says It, Do It

God does not speak directly to us today like He did in the age of the patriarchs…but what if He did? What if He said to you, “Leave everything and everyone you know and go to a strange place.” Would you obey without hesitation? In a hypothetical situation, it is easy to say that we would obey. But in reality, there would likely be some trepidation at such a request.

Abram is the man who we later come to know as Abraham. He showed no hesitation in following God’s directive. God said, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). The Scriptures do not indicate any argument from Abram. Inspiration simply says, “So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him” (Genesis 12:4). How did this man so readily accept what the Lord had spoken?

The answer to that question is revealed in Hebrews 11:8. “By faith.” Abram trusted that God would accomplish what He willed and that He would protect his followers. So without any debate with Deity, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” There was no question in Abram’s mind but that God would do what God said He would do.

God promised to bless Abram, to bless those who blessed Abram, and to bless all the families of the earth in Abram. God led Abram to the land of Canaan, a land that was inhabited, and said, “To your descendants I will give this land” (Genesis 12:7). The thing is, Abram did not have any descendants at this time. He was seventy-five years old (Genesis 12:4), and his wife Sarai was barren (Genesis 11:30).

Still, the Scriptures do not indicate any doubt in the mind of Abram. Instead of questioning what God had just said, Abram built an altar there. Then Abram continued on, as the land was not yet his, and built another altar. His faith did not waver; Abram trusted the Lord. He had the attitude, “If God says it, do it.”

Do we display that same attitude in our lives today?

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.

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.”

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).