Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 22 August 21:
Job 42:5 — “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore, I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
There is a big difference between knowing ‘about’ God and truly knowing God personally and experiencing His power, love, grace, joy, and peace in your life. A personal encounter with God drives you to repentance, humility, and surrender, as well as awe, worship, joy and praise. Witnesses testify to what they have seen and have experienced first-hand, not merely what they have been told by others, which in a court is considered hearsay. Eternal life begins the moment you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and enter a personal relationship with Him, the moment you begin to truly know Him – “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Through Job’s terrible trials, Job’s friends tried to make sense of it all by referencing what they knew ‘about’ God. Job’s friends took what they had “heard” about God and acted as if they could “see” what God was doing in Job’s life, thereby misrepresenting God in the situation — “I am angry with you [Eliphaz] and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me” (Job 42:7). Meanwhile, Job, acknowledging his own spiritual ‘blindness’, earnestly desired to go from merely “hearing” to “seeing.” Job wasn’t hoping simply to find an answer to His problems; he was hoping to find God Himself — “Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat!” (Job 23:3) And Job remained confident that God would honor His heart’s desire – “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” (Job 19:25-27)
- Proverbs 8:17 — I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
- Jeremiah 29:13 — You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
- John 3:3 — Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
- 2 Corinthians 3:16 — But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
- Ephesians 1:18 — …having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints….
- John 17:22, 23 — The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Through his trials and pleas to God, Job had a genuine, personal encounter with God, which immediately drove Job to humble repentance. Job went from overstating his own righteousness to admitting and mourning his spiritual poverty before God’s perfect Righteousness – “I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” When God moves in a person’s life, heartfelt repentance is always their first response –
- Matthew 5:3, 4 — “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
- Psalm 51:17 — The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
- Matthew 4:17 — From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
- Mark 6:12 — So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.
- Luke 15:10 — Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
- Acts 17:30 — The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent….
- 2 Corinthians 7:10 — For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
As Job’s story reveals, an encounter with God serves many purposes: to bring glory to God and reveal to us His holiness and sovereignty; to reveal to us the truth of our total inadequacy and dependence on God’s mercy and grace; to draw us closer to God and conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29); to reveal God to those around us (such as Job’s friends) who witness His transformational impact in our lives; and to strengthen our faith that we would serve Him in greater ways in the future. An encounter with God is life changing, evident to those around us, the foundation of our testimony, the reason for our indescribable joy, and the source of our enthusiasm to share the Gospel with others, as was the case with Paul, who after his encounter with Jesus, dedicated His whole life to sharing the Gospel with others through great trials, persecution, and imprisonment until his death by execution.
“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16) Have you had a genuine encounter with God which has changed your life in a powerful, evident way and which compels you to share the Gospel with as many as possible? The more you know Jesus personally, the more you will joyfully share Jesus with others personally.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 August 21: Today, pray that God will increase your knowledge of Him (not just about Him) through your personal relationship with Him, so through your relationship with Him, “the world may know….” (John 17:23)