Devotions for Job 31:35-37, 38:1-11
July 18-24, 2016
Monday, July 18, 2016
“O that I had my indictment written by my adversary” (Job 31:35).
Job was feeling pretty proud of himself. For over twenty chapters of his story Job has withstood the accusations of his friends. Job has maintained his integrity and his righteousness. While his friends have tried to knock him down, Job has focused on building himself up. He has succeeded—perhaps overly so.
The Job we see in these verses is not an attractive sight. No one likes a braggart and that is what Job has become. There is a subtle, but important, difference between pride and self-confidence. Pride announces to the world how great we are. Self-confidence is an attitude and posture by which we walk through life. It is one thing to believe that we are God’s gift to creation and another to hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
Job will soon learn that he has built his pride on a false foundation. Once again the words of the Prophet Micah are shown to be true. The prophet writes, “What does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” As self-confident disciples of Jesus we follow him in humility.
Lord, God, enable us to turn away from our self-centeredness and pride that causes us to want to be served rather than to serve. Amen.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
“Like a prince I would approach him” (Job 31:37).
We may not live in countries with royalty, but we have seen enough movies and video clips to know how royalty act. Kings and queens, princes and princesses have dozens of servants to wait on them. People bow and curtsy in their presence. Royals make their wishes know and their will is carried out.
We may not see ourselves as royalty, but at times we approach God like princes and princesses instead of God’s children and servants. In our prayer times we tell God what we think we need and expect God to do our bidding. We tell God we need more money, less stress, a new car, respectful children, less dominating parents, easy teachers and a grand vacation. “Hurry now,” we say, “do what we want.”
Martin Luther reminds us that we should approach God as children approach a loving parent. Children are bold and specific with their requests. Still, the motivation for their requests to be granted is not because they are mommy’s little angels or daddy’s little princes and princesses. Needs are met and requests are granted because of the parents’ love. As disciples of Jesus we are children of a loving God.
O God of Love, thank you that you have adopted us into your family and provide for us as a loving parent. Amen.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind” (Job 38:1).
The breeze began to pick up. The wind chimes began to sound. Leaves started to wave and branches bowed. Storm clouds rolled in and the wind grew in force. Soon people were not able to stand against the wind. Tables, chairs and other objects were tossed to and fro. Building shook and then the whirlwind arrived and nothing stood in its way. The power of the wind was awe-inspiring, frightening and humbling. With all our knowledge and technology, humankind cannot control the wind.
God’s presence is sometimes revealed through a mighty wind because of its power and the
fact that the wind is uncontrollable. We might recall that the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost like the rush of a mighty wind (Acts 2:1ff). God appeared to Job in a whirlwind—a reminder of who was speaking to Job. Job’s God and our God is not a carved chunk of wood that stands quietly waiting to be worshiped. Rather, God is a powerful God who is active in the world and in our lives.
Powerful God, blow mightily in our lives and through our lives. Amen.
Thursday, July 27, 2016
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge” (Job 38:5)?
Ken was a know-it-all. There wasn’t a subject on which he couldn’t wax eloquent. Ken had the right opinions and the right answers. If a person disagreed with Ken that person was obviously wrong. Ken’s friends didn’t pay much attention to what Ken said. They realized the limits of Ken’s knowledge even if Ken didn’t.
The problem with know-it-alls is that they don’t listen and they don’t learn. What’s scary is that we sometimes act like know-it-alls. We find ourselves not listening to differing opinions because we are so sure of our own. Discussions become arguments. While someone is making a point we’re busy planning our rebuttal.
Job was about to learn how much he didn’t know. Once again he would become a student with God as his teacher. This change would transform his suffering and his life. As disciples of Jesus we seek to open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit so that the Spirit will teach us. No matter how much we think we know there is so much that we don’t know. We can always learn.
Divine Teacher, instruct us and give us knowledge, understanding and wisdom so that we may live lives that honor you and so that we may better serve you. Amen.
Friday, July 23, 2016
“Who determined its measurements—surely you know” (Job 38:5).
We gaze up into a sky filled with thousands of stars and we stand amazed. Creation is so big and we are so small. Observing the fiery colors when the sun rises or sets we are awed by creation’s beauty. The God we worship is a BIG God. Yet God is also a God of details—the small and the minute. When we look at the complexity of our bodies, we agree with the Psalmist who wrote, “[We] are fearfully and wonderfully made. The microscopic world is as amazing as the world in which we live.
The God of creation is the God who was involved in Job’s life. God appeared to Job in a whirlwind and spoke to Job specifically addressing the situation with which Job was struggling. This God of creation hears our prayers and moves in our lives. God touches our lives with God’s steadfast love, overwhelming grace and unconditional forgiveness. It is both awe-inspiring and humbling that the God of creation is intimately involved in our lives.
Almighty God, our maker and our redeemer, thank you that you love each and every one of us and are involved in all of our lives. Amen.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
“When the morning stars sang together and all heavenly beings shouted for joy” (Job 38:7).
Life was not easy for Cathy Snyder. She had served in Afghanistan and wounded in battle. Her wound caused her to be paralyzed from her waist down. She endured several months of healing and rehabilitation and now she was learning to live with her new life style. There were days when Cathy slide into the pit of depression. Her life became a life of pain and suffering. All of creation turned dark and foreboding. Things would change, though, when her daughter climbed into her lap and hugged her and when her husband stroked her hair. Cathy would hear the song of a bird or feel the gentle brush of the wind on her cheek. Light would enter her darkness and Cathy would understand that even in her struggle life was precious and beautiful.
Job’s grief and struggle had darkened his life. He had cried out against the capriciousness and unfairness of life. Life for Job had become something to be endured rather than enjoyed. God appeared to Job and reminded Job that even in his suffering, life and creation were still precious and good. At the beginning of time the morning stars sang and the heavenly beings shouted for joy—and they hadn’t stopped since then.
God of creation, raise up our eyes from our suffering and struggles. Enable us to see the preciousness and beauty of life and the goodness of life lived with you. Amen.
Sunday, July 24, 2016
“And said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no further” (Job 38:11).
Things were out of control for Job. He couldn’t hold onto his wealth and prosperity. He hadn’t been able to protect his children and he was unable to regain his health. His world had come apart and try as he might he couldn’t put it together again.
Like Job, things are out of control in our lives. We try so hard to be in control and to attain our dreams, but then our lives fall apart. Well laid plans disintegrate. Hectic schedules are constantly changing. Accidents happen and our children struggle in school or rebel against our love and hope. Try as we might, we lose control and we feel helpless, exposed and fearful.
Thankfully God is in control. God was the one who spoke to the waters of the oceans and seas and said, “This is as far as you go. The rest of the earth shall be land.” We may not understand how God is in control of our lives—bad things still happen and we still experience our trials and tribulations—but we know that we are in God’s hands. As we struggle so hard to regain control, God speaks to us and tells us to relax and to rest in God’s love. We don’t need to be in control because God is.
Powerful Lord, forgive our foolish and feverish attempts at controlling our lives. Embrace us with your love and enable us to rest in that love. Amen.