YEAR 2, WEEK 16, Day 2, Tuesday, 18 April 2023

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 18 April 2023:

Job 38:1-3 — Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:  “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.

“Job was a righteous man who, from a human perspective, did not deserve to suffer.  He lived a blameless life and followed God’s laws to the letter.  As he was experiencing great tribulation, Job cried out in frustration and questioned why God was allowing him to suffer.  God came to Job in the form of a whirlwind with His answer.  As soon as God spoke, Job recognized that he should not have challenged God’s wisdom.  God turned to Job and asked him several sobering questions: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Where were you when I set the oceans in their place?  Where were you when I put the constellations of stars in position?”  God’s questions humbled Job and reminded him that his own wisdom did not begin to compare with God’s.

When God finished asking His questions, Job replied, “I have uttered what I did not understand, / Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:3).  In a moment of despair and frustration, Job had challenged God’s wisdom. God had firmly reminded Job that He was still sovereign and that this truth was enough for Job.  Whether Job ever knew that his life had been the focus of a cosmic struggle is unclear.  Perhaps Job never realized that his experience brought glory to God in the face of Satan’s challenge (Job 1:8-12).  But Job was satisfied to know that God’s wisdom was flawless.

At times you may not understand why a loving Father would allow you to suffer as you are.  You may question the wisdom of God’s direction for your life.  Learn from Job. Review the awesome power and wisdom of almighty God (Job 38-41).  Have confidence that this same God is directing your path.” {Henry T. Blackaby)

Job 38:4, 36 — Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?…  Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind?…

How incredibly foolish is it for us, mere humans, to question God, to doubt Him, to challenge Him, to demand answers or proof from Him, to attempt to define Him, to make light of Him, to ignore Him, or to disobey Him?

Romans 5:1 — We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you feel a peace that transcends all understanding today?  Is your peace evident and bewildering to others?  Is your peace evident and bewildering to others?

Romans 5:2 — We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Are you rejoicing in your hope today?

Romans 5:3-5 — We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

A person of noble character is developed through adversity.  There is no easy path to character.  There is no comfort in the growth zone, and there is no growth in the comfort zone.  It has also been said that the life of ease will ruin a person.  Resolve to be willing to pay the price for character and to trust God through the process — that is faith.  Faith trusts God now; hope is faith projected forward, trusting God with your future.  As you grow in character (trusting God now), you will grow in hope, trusting God with tomorrow.  Are you rejoicing in your sufferings today, knowing that God is using your sufferings to develop you?

Romans 5:6-11 — While we were still weak…  Christ died for the ungodly….  God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…. while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…. we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Are you ready to show the love of Christ to others by giving your life to your weak, sinful, ungodly enemies in pursuit of their reconciliation?  The Bible says, “Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…, entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us (2 Cor 5:18-20).”  God expects you to bear the burden and suffering of maltreatment in relationships (your cross to bear) in order to reveal the grace of Jesus to others.  Yes, it is completely unfair (from an earthly perspective).  But aren’t you glad Jesus didn’t deal with you on the basis of fairness?  Love is not about fairness or fair exchange – good for good, bad for bad. Love is about grace, mercy, and peace – giving to glorify God, not giving to get.  When you are abused for His Name’s sake, while on the mission of reconciliation, you fellowship with Jesus and truly worship Him.  This is the type of suffering that builds your Christ-like character.  Deny self, take up your cross, and follow Jesus.  You will not be disappointed.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 18 April 2023:  Today, memorize Romans 5:3-5.  Say it to yourself whenever you face challenging circumstances or challenging people.   – Romans 5:3-5 — “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

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