YEAR 2, WEEK 11, Day 5, Friday, 17 March 2023

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 17 March 2023:

Job 6:21 – For you have now become nothing; you see my calamity and are afraid.

Job rightly pointed out that judgmental people are really insecure and fearful. Job’s friends blamed Job in an effort to make sense out of a terrible situation that scared them.

Job 6:28-30 — But now, be pleased to look at me, for I will not lie to your face. Please turn; let no injustice be done. Turn now; my vindication is at stake. Is there any injustice on my tongue? Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?

Friends need to support one another by telling each other the truth in trust. Job’s friends were telling him to repent, and Job was seeking to understand what they saw in him that he couldn’t see in himself. Everyone has blind spots in their character only others can see. Who will tell you about your blind spots? Are you willing to listen and change?

Unfortunately, Job’s friends could not point out Job’s blind spots but merely broadly accused him of some kind of concealed sin. Job’s friends lacked wisdom in their counsel. Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied. Job’s friends had ‘Biblical’ knowledge but wrongly applied it because they were not guided by the Holy Spirit and its fruit of love. Job desperately needed the comfort of friends, not a sermon.

Acts 27:11, 12, 21, 25 – But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. And… the majority decided to put out to sea from there…. Paul stood up among them and said…. take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.

God’s word will quite often defy the experts, ‘common sense,’ and majority opinion. However, God’s word prevails. Everyone will decide in whom or in what they will place their faith, whether they will take God at His word in faith or rely on worldly ‘wisdom.’

Paul had no credibility as a sailor, but as an ambassador for Christ, he tried to warn everyone of impending doom, but they refused to listen. When the sailors, soldiers, prisoners and passengers finally did decide to listen to Paul, he explained that God’s deliverance from the storm required their complete commitment, an all or nothing proposition — “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 27:31) He also demonstrated that faith in God inspires confident thanksgiving in the face of apparent crisis — “He took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat.” (Acts 27:35) Through Paul’s faith and leadership, all 276 persons in the ship survived despite the apparently terrible odds against them.

“Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12, 13) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7) Trust and obey God wholeheartedly despite all other influences, even your feelings. When God’s word is clear on a matter, fully commit to it with thanksgiving as a witness to all around you.

  • Hebrews 11:6 — And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Acts 27:31, 32 – Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.

The passengers and the crew on the ship had to decide whether to trust their experienced instincts or the man of God. This was a life or death decision, and one person’s decision would affect them all.

Acts 27:35 – And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat.

When everyone else was in complete despair, Paul gave thanks to God, an incredible testimony to everyone else. Again, this reminds me of Jesus sleeping in the boat during the storm when the disciples feared for their lives. A faith that demonstrates peaceful trust through all circumstances is a powerful thing. At some point, we will all come to a time when all appears lost, at least on our death beds. What sort of faith will we reveal?

Acts 27:37 – We were in all 276 persons in the ship.

The author knew exactly how many were on the ship. A Christian leader keeps accountability of everyone – every single person is precious in the eyes of God. Are you keeping account of everyone God has placed in your life?

Acts 27:42-42 – The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan.

A soldier would be executed for losing a prisoner. The centurion was ready to risk his life to save this Jew. What an impact Paul had on this natural enemy of the Jews and in such a short time. The power of God tears down all social barriers. God uses relationships to save Paul. God often uses ungodly people to support His people.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 March 2023: Trust and obey no matter what others say, and proclaim Christ along the way.

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