Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 2 April 2023:
Job 22:7-9 – You have given no water to the weary to drink, and you have withheld bread from the hungry. The man with power possessed the land, and the favored man lived in it. You have sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless were crushed.
Not helping the needy is sin.
Job 22:22-30 — Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Receive instruction from his mouth, and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty you will be built up; if you remove injustice far from your tents, if you lay gold in the dust, and gold of Ophir among the stones of the torrent-bed, then the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver. For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty and lift up your face to God. You will make your prayer to him, and he will hear you, and you will pay your vows. You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways. For when they are humbled you say, “It is because of pride”; but he saves the lowly. He delivers even the one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.
Eliphaz preached powerful words, likely memorized words of wisdom, which are worth your memorization too. However, he was misapplying these truths to Job’s situation because he had made false assumptions about God’s activity in Job’s life. There is an important lesson for us here: God’s word must be rightly applied, which requires Holy Spirit enabled discernment. We must be careful not to judge matters from own, extremely limited perceptions. Again, though misapplied to Job’s situation, don’t disregard what Eliphaz said. Is the Almighty your gold and your precious silver? Have you dug deep for Him?
Job’s problem was not that God could not see or did not know what was happening to Job or that Job had chosen worldly pursuits over his relationship with God. Job’s challenge was that God did not intend to respond to him because Job was being tested. “During the exam, the teacher is silent.” We will all be tested. How well we do will depend on how prepared we are for the test. “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10)
Psalm 38:3 — There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin.
Sin affects your health.
Psalm 38:11 — My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off.
Sin affects your relationships.
Psalm 38:13, 14 — But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth. I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes.
Sin hinders your ability to hear God and to pray effectively.
Psalm 39:1-3 — I said, “I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence.” I was mute and silent; I held my peace to no avail, and my distress grew worse. My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
It is extremely hard to control your emotions and hold your tongue. You will not be able to do it from a worldly perspective under your own strength. The fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control – is fruit of the Spirit, not of intellect or will power.
Psalm 39:4 — O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!
Life is too short to be bitter.
Psalm 39:8 — Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
Understanding your own sinfulness and dependency on grace will help you control your temper and impatience with others.
Psalm 39:9 — I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it.
Understanding that God knows what is happening and remains in complete control will help you control your emotions.
Proverbs 2:3-5 – …if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
Acquiring the knowledge of God requires great diligence and consistent perseverance. God does not honor the half-hearted searcher. How you search for God reveals how much you value Him. Think about it, how can God be God and you seek Him halfheartedly?
Proverbs 2:6 – For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Knowledge is given by God through His word.
Proverbs 2:10 – …for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Knowledge must move from your mind (head knowledge) to your heart (character), to your feet, hands, and mouth.
Proverbs 2:11, 12 – …discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil.
When your obedient to God, you will avoid needless pain and suffering that most other people go through. Most trouble in life is self-induced. God’s word will help you avoid much self-induced trouble if you obey it.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 2 April 2023: Pray that God will help you more and more to receive the power of the Holy Spirit with its fruit of self-control to help you control your temper and your tongue. (Psalm 39)