Devotions for Job 38:25-27; 41:1-8; 42:1-6
July 25-31, 2016
Monday, July 25, 2016
“Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt” (Job 38:25)?
Some people like to watch a power storm sweep through the community. We don’t like the storm fronts with tornadoes, microbursts and damage to life and property. We do like, though, to hear the deep roll of thunder, the firework display of lightning and a hard rain. The strength of these storms is awe inspiring, and while enjoying the cacophony of light and sound it is easy to begin to reflect on God’s power. As disciples of Jesus we serve a powerful God.
During those times when life threatens to overpower us and things get out of control, it is both comforting and encouraging to know that the Lord is a powerful God. We journey through each day in the presence of such a God.
Almighty God, when we are weak and heavily burdened we thank you that we can run into your strong embrace and find rest. Amen.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
“To satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground put forth grass” (Job 38:27).
Binh popped a TV dinner into the microwave and sat down alone to ingest tasteless Salisbury steak, mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes and apple crisp. Things weren’t going well at work; there was conflict with his boss and some of his coworkers. Binh had just broken off a three year relationship that wasn’t going anywhere. Now single, all Binh’s friends were couples and he felt separated from them. To Binh his life was a desolate land.
Like Binh there are times when, for a multitude of reasons, we feel that our lives are desolate lands. They are voids where nothing grows and a hot, dry wind is free to blow. Clouds can cover a wasteland, however, and rain can fall. When it does, lands that appeared empty burst for with life. This is our hope that the Lord who sends clouds and rain to the wastelands of the world will bring rain and new life into our lives. We might not see life, but when the rains come life bursts forth abundantly.
God of Creation, may the refreshing rain fall upon the dryness of our lives and sprout the beauty of new life. Amen.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
“Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook” (Job 41:1)?
Fishermen always are angling for the big catch. No one, though, would want to snag the Leviathan. This mythical sea dragon was gigantic and powerful. Along with the storm waves of the sea the Leviathan represented chaos. No one among us wants to catch chaos and bring it into the boat of our lives. Though unfortunately, this does happen.
The God whom we worship, however, is more powerful than the awful Leviathan. God is able to catch it, fillet it and serve it with a savory sauce—no problem. We can rest easy. The Leviathan will not capsize our boat—though he may give us a frightening ride. Our comfort and strength comes in knowing that God is in the boat with us.
Lord, we praise you that you are a God who walks on water, stills the storm and whispers in our hearts, “Do not be afraid.” Alleluia! Amen.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
“Will it make a covenant with you to be taken as your servant forever” (Job 41:4)?
Control—a master must be able to control his or her servant. That control may be the payment of a salary, the master’s position in society, society’s values and norms or even physical power. Without that control the master can easily become the servant. The Leviathan will never be our servant because we can’t control it.
There is someone who can control the Leviathan, though. The Lord is able to control the beast. Not only can the Lord control the Leviathan, but God can also use the Leviathan as God’s servant. Imagine, chaos can be a servant! Encountering chaos is never a pleasant experience. Still most of us will admit that it is those chaotic times in life that shape us, make us stronger, and even empower us to be the person God wants us to be. The Leviathan will never be our servant, but as God’s servant it can bring us a delicious cup of coffee and a delightful pastry. Yum!
Divine Potter, use the Leviathan of our lives to mold us and shape us into the people you want us to be—to your honor and glory. Amen.
Friday, July 29, 2016
“I know you can do all things” (Job 42:1).
Seven year-old Raul Sanchez idolized his father, Francisco. His father was a firefighter who had served a decade in the city’s fire department. Francisco had helped put out many fires and he had saved several people. Francisco’s bravery was only one reason why he had won the respect of his son. Raul was proud of his father because his father provided everything Raul needed from day to day, was present at all of the important activities in Raul’s life and Francisco loved Raul. Raul truly believed that his dad could do anything.
Most of us have had people in our lives when we were growing up who we thought could do anything. Their powers have diminished as we have grown older, but they still may have a place of honor in our lives. There is one, though, whose power never diminishes—the Lord. Job asserts this truth when he says to God, “I know you can do all things.” It is this truth that empowers us to step boldly into the future and to carry on the ministry of Jesus the Christ.
Powerful Lord, we confess that we can do nothing without you, but with you we can do great things. Empower us, Lord. Move in us and through us to accomplish your will. Amen.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
“Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:5).
Ask a teacher what he or she thinks is the most important thing they can teach a child. They won’t say it is proper English grammar, the multiplication tables, world history, evolution, sex education or even the joy of reading. Teachers will say that their most challenging task is to instill a love of learning in the child. They want to teach their students to journey through life with open eyes and an open mind ready to investigate and to learn new things.
In the story, Job comes to a point where he is quite sure of himself. He doesn’t need to learn anymore because he knows it all. He says that he could approach God like a prince. In that vaulted evaluation of himself, Job pontificates on subjects he knows nothing about. Job realizes his error when God comes to him in a whirlwind and gives Job a glimpse of the mysteries of creation.
Disciples are those who follow and learn. As disciples of Jesus it is a good idea for all of us to cultivate the trait of journeying through life with open hearts and minds. God has much that God can teach us.
Holy Teacher, create within us a love of learning so that we may walk with you with open hearts and teachable minds. Amen.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5).
They teach pastors many things in seminary, but it isn’t until they begin to serve in their first calls that pastors truly understand what it means to be a pastor. College graduates wave diplomas and teaching certificates in the air, but it isn’t until they have taught that first year that they begin to understand what it means to be a teacher. It is one thing to read, but it is something entirely different to do.
We can sing “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” or popular contemporary songs in our congregations’ worship services. We can shout “Amen!” during the preachers’ sermons and offer our opinions in a small group Bible study. These actions are different, though, from living our daily lives trusting in God’s steadfast love, overwhelming grace and unconditional forgiveness. They are different from holding a friend’s hand and sharing the hope of the gospel, or stooping down to help the poor, needy or fallen. In one set of actions we hear. In our daily walk we see; we behold a living and loving God.
Loving Lord, may our walk with you not be confined to hearing about you. Empower us to love and to serve that we may behold your glory. Amen.