YEAR 2, WEEK 16, Day 6, Saturday, 22 April 2023

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 22 April 2023:

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.

“In his time, Job was the most righteous person on earth.  He was so godly that the Lord took pleasure in pointing him out to Satan (Job 1:8).  Yet, despite his love for God and his diligent obedience to His commands, even Job had not fully come to know God.  The blessings God had given to Job had not revealed everything about God’s character.  There were characteristics that Job would come to realize only through adversity.  So the Lord allowed Satan to test Job through suffering.

Although Job lost everything he had, even his ten children, Job discovered that God was still with him.  Though he faced the most difficult and bewildering tribulations imaginable, Job came to understand that God was infinitely wiser than he (Job 42:1-4).  As Job endured the insensitivity of his friends, he learned that God is the only One who is absolutely trustworthy.  Job learned much about God through his anguish.  Finally, he confessed that at first he had only heard about God, but now, through his suffering, he had come to see God (Job 42:5).

When you are in the midst of your trials, your Lord will reveal His character to you in ways you never knew.  You will experience His strong and comforting presence.  Like Job, you will learn that your Lord will remain, even when everyone else abandons you.  You will see God more clearly as He takes you through the dark times.  Then you will experience God in ways you had previously only heard about from others.” (Henry T. Blackaby)

Job 42:7 — My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right.

Job’s friends apparently spoke from God’s word, but they misapplied God’s word by judging Job for an assumed hidden sin, claiming to understand what God had not revealed to them.  Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied.  All of Job’s friends had knowledge but not wisdom which can come only from right relationship with God.  Wisdom comes only from God through the Holy Spirit’s counsel from God’s word.  Pray for wisdom today.

Job 42:8 — And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly.

God forced Job’s friends to humble themselves before Job who they wrongly accused.  Job in turn prayed for those who treated him inappropriately.  Our goal is not to seek justice for ourselves but rather God’s mercy and grace for our offenders and their reconciliation with God through Jesus – we are to intercede for the wicked.  Is that your heart, a heart that seeks reconciliation and peace with God for all?  Pray for this sort of heart.

Psalm 46:10, 11 — Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 

Relax. God is God, and He is with you and will protect you.

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Habit patterns instilled in childhood are VERY hard to break.  The strength of the family unit is vital to national strength.  You may have bad habits that started from your upbringing, they are hard to break, but the Spirit is greater than the flesh.

Proverbs 22:7 — The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Avoid all debt because God’s people should not be slaves to the world.

Proverbs 22:9, 16 – Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor….  Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

How many times does the Bible tell you to take care of the needy?

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Habit patterns instilled in childhood are VERY hard to break.  The strength of the family unit is vital to national strength.  You may have bad habits that started from your upbringing, they are hard to break, but the Spirit is greater than the flesh.

Proverbs 22:7 — The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Avoid all debt because God’s people should not be slaves to the world.

Proverbs 22:11 – He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend. 

See if this wasn’t proved in the life of Daniel when we get there soon.

Proverbs 22:17-21 — Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips.  That your trust may be in the Lord, I have made them known to you today, even to you.  Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge, to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?

The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23).”  Today’s Proverbs remind us that in order to guard your heart, you must “incline your ear” to God’s word, and you must also “apply” it to your heart, storing it up within your heart.  You must live by God’s word, decide from God’s word, respond to life’s challenges with God’s word, and respond to others solely from God’s word.  Today’s Proverbs say that it is “pleasant” to keep God’s word “within you.”  Jesus said that living in Him and in His word was the key to life, love, and joy — “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”  Today’s Proverbs also say that remaining in God’s word will build your “trust… in the Lord,” which will give you more and more confidence to walk in faith, rely upon God’s provision, and live in peace.  The peace of God will guard both your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus (see Philippians verse below).  How important is God’s word in your life?  Is time in God’s word and time in prayer your top priority today?

Proverbs 22:24, 25 – Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.

Anger is a snare that will needlessly entangle you.

Proverbs 22:28 – Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set.

God has established certain rights that you never have the right to take from another person.

Proverbs 22:29 — Do you see a man skillful in his work?  He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

God wants you to be excellent in what you do so you will have a greater influence on the world to God’s glory. “Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 April 2023:  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)

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