Week 25--June 20-26
Scripture Reading:Job 19-41; Psalm 86-88
Scripture Reading:Job 19-41; Psalm 86-88
Key passage for devotion: Job
"Years ago, my cousin lost her 6 day old baby...Christian “friends” told her that if her and her husband’s faith had been stronger, Baby Matthew would still be alive."
“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25)
Job, the oldest book in the Bible, presents the sovereign will of God as preeminent even in the worst of circumstances. How does the “free choice” of man enter into the equation of God’s will? Our freedom to make choices is seen in our response to God’s sovereignty.
Job was a righteous, prosperous man with admirable but untested faith. God referred to him as “a man of perfect integrity who fears God and turns from evil” (Job. 1:8). So Satan intervened and secured divine permission to unleash an abyss of horrors meant to expunge Job’s integrity. Poor Job! It seems unfair that he would be caught in a conflict between heaven and hell, but he was. And in the midst of that battle, Job declared “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.”
Despite the conflict in Job’s life between heavenly forces and earthly relationships, Job had a firm grasp on two truths that seemed to govern his choices: 1) He knew his Redeemer was alive and actively involved in his life. 2) He believed a day of judgment was coming that would bring final justice for all the earth.
This week’s reading, chapters 19-41 cover the last round of speeches delivered by three of Job’s friends in their visit. He had suffered significant property casualties, the loss of all ten children at once and then became infected by a crippling sickness. With oozing sores that emitted a nauseating stench, Job’s disenchanted wife even suggested that he curse God and die (Job 2:9). On the heels of that consolation, came these friends who decided that he had sinned greatly against God to be in such a situation. I wonder if it was Job who initiated, “With friends like these, who needs enemies!” And as for his wife – “till death do us part” is exactly what she had in mind.
Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar evaluated Job’s situation as evidence of his sin. Bildad even concluded that Job’s children had been killed because of their rebellion (Job 8:4). If you read the previous chapters, you know that Job fervently prayed for his children, offering sacrifices to cover their sins (Job 1:5). Losing them despite his intercession would have been difficult enough. Being told by “friends” that his children deserved their demise…well, if it were me, I might have reacted without restraint. Job himself responded with, “Shut up and let that be your wisdom” (13:5). Sometimes silence is the best option to exercise in our “free choice” response.
Years ago, my cousin lost her 6 day old baby because of a heart defect and complications. Some Christian “friends” told her that if her and her husband’s faith had been stronger, baby Matthew would still be alive. What a horrible thing to tell someone. And these were people of God! Their “free choice” response condemned rather than consoled Matthew’s parents. Everyone around Job condemned him as well.
Defending his righteousness, Job contended for his innocence against the adversity that made no sense to anyone. His friends finally became silent. “So these three men quit answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes” (Job 32:1). Then Elihu, who seemingly comes out of nowhere, gets angry and speaks “because Job justified himself rather than God” (Job 32:2). Elihu is the defender of God’s sovereignty who puts everything back into perspective for Job and his friends. Both the righteous and unrighteous should humble themselves before the Almighty and pray, regardless of the circumstances. We are all caught in a conflict between heaven and hell that God will ultimately win. Why? Because…
Our Redeemer lives! And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. It is on that day that we will see Him as He is and according to 1 John 3:2, finally become just like Him. Until then, we must allow our Creator to sovereign rule over our lives, regardless of the battlefield and ominous battles we find ourselves fighting. Jesus Christ WILL take His stand on the earth one day and we WILL be standing with Him! That is, if we choose to allow His sovereignty to rule in our lives before then. That is our free choice.
Jan and her husband Barry are the parents of 7 children. Jan studied with Kay Arthur and loves the inductive study of God's Word.