The book of Job is believed to be the oldest book in the Bible. It features this man who was blameless and upright. Job feared God and shunned evil. Job and his wife were blessed with ten children and great riches, he was actually considered the greatest of all the men of the east.
It was evident that Job loved his family for he would regularly rise early and offer burnt offerings on their behalf, just in case any of them had cursed God in their hearts.
In the book of Job a veil is drawn back and we see a day when the angels are reporting to God. Apparently this was also a time when Satan checked in. This doesn’t mean in any way that Satan was accepted in God’s sight, or that he dwells in heaven, for we know he’s been cast out and down (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28). It merely means that he’s accountable to the Almighty and periodically presents himself to God. Revelation 12:9-10 informs us that one day Satan will no longer have this type of access.
Satan discusses the fact that he’s been traveling the ends of the earth, or as my pastor used to say, “Cruising up and down.” God brings up Job, sorta “bragging” on him.
Job 1:8 (NKJV) “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?’”
Satan HAD considered Job – and he tells God that the only reason he serves You is because You’ve blessed and protected him. Satan says, if You take down his hedge of protection, he’ll curse You to Your face. God says, go ahead and try him, just don’t touch his body.
The Devil darts out and immediately strips Job of everything – the most devastating of all is the death of his ten children. This is intense. This is extreme. ALL his children dead?
But then the question arrises, “Was Satan right about Job?” No. Amazingly we read Job’s reaction to all this in:
Job 1:20–22 (NKJV) “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.’ 22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”
Another one of those “days” of reporting comes around and God brings up Job again. God is blessed by His son Job, but Satan again challenges his love and commitment. Satan tells the LORD, if You let me touch his body, he’ll curse You to Your face. God grants Satan permission, but doesn’t permit the devil to take Job’s life. So Satan races away swiftly to strike Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot, to the crown of his head. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain Job must have been going through at this point.
Consider this if you would: What if the Devil himself was focused on you?
Job’s wife was hurting. She had lost her children, her finances, and now it looks like she’s losing her husband. She spews forth an emotional outburst that I’m certain was influenced by Satan himself:
Job 2:9 (NKJV) “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!’”
I love Job’s response:
Job 2:10 (NKJV) “But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
That’s a big one.
In our lives, we will experience many painful losses. We live in a fallen world, in fallen bodies, and we fight fallen angels (demons). Job will be lifted up as a testimony of how we can suffer – sometimes even beyond our wildest imagination – and still hold fast to the Lord, still hold fast to our integrity. At the same time we will see that Job is honest, Job shares his heart. He doesn’t wear a superficial smile. We read in Job 3 that he’s honest, he tells his friends how he feels. With so much pain and loss, there’s that part of him that wishes he was never born, that longs for his life to be over. He’s expressing what’s in his heart – BUT – he doesn’t sin. He doesn’t board that emotional roller coaster and let it take him where he doesn’t belong.
It’s okay to tell God what’s in your heart (He knows it anyway) but let’s learn from Job, to keep the faith, to trust the LORD, knowing that His promises are still true, there is purpose in the pain. (Romans 8:28)
1 Corinthians 14:1-17
What a wonderful way to start the chapter – “pursue love…”
Am I doing that?
In the rest of the chapter Paul deals with spiritual gifts, honing-in on prophecy and tongues. Apparently the Corinthian church was out of order; they had elevated the gift of tongues and were misusing and abusing the gift in their church services. Paul writes this chapter to set forth some very important principles.
The gift of tongues is an unknown language to the speaker. It can be a foreign language, maybe even an angelic language (see Acts 2:7-10; 1 Corinthians 13:1). It’s also a prayer language in which we speak the wonderful works of God – but it doesn’t edify the hearers unless they know the foreign language naturally or there is an interpretation supernaturally.
The gift of prophecy, however, is when we speak forth God’s Word – always forthtelling and at times foretelling. Prophecy builds up (edification), stirs up (exhortation), and lifts up (comfort) (1 Corinthians 14:3).
Imagine going into a church service and everyone is speaking in various foreign languages simultaneously, and you can’t understand. You’d think they’re crazy, wouldn’t you? (see 1 Corinthians 14:23). Paul says I would rather speak five words that are understandable than ten-thousand words in a language that people cannot understand.
We should be doing things that build up the church. We are to pursue love. It’s okay to desire spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1) even to be zealous for them, but let it be for the edification of the people. This is why we spend so much time teaching the Word at Calvary Chapel. The Word is able to build us up and make us strong (Acts 20:32).
1 Corinthians 14:12 (NKJV) “Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.”
Don’t look for the dazzling things to be done, or the tingling feelings to be felt, look for the truth to be taught in love that is real…that’s what builds us up and makes us strong.
The wicked plot their plans and swing their swords; they’re sometimes rich by “borrowing and not repaying,” and they attack us in many ways. But, we read here in Psalm 37:13 that his day is coming. Their sword will enter their own heart, their bows shall be broken (Psalm 37:15). We don’t say it arrogantly, but we can say it accurately, one day the wicked will perish:
Psalm 37:20 (NKJV) “But the wicked shall perish; and the enemies of the LORD, like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away.”
The saved, on the other hand, are blessed in many ways. God will protect us; God knows us personally and has an inheritance for us – eternally (Psalm 37:18). God gives us His goodness and is willing to guide us step-by-step, and lift us up when we fall.
Psalm 37:23–24 (NKJV) “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand.”
As I get older and by God’s grace have been walking with him for many, many years, Psalm 37:25 resonates deeply:
Psalm 37:25 (NKJV) “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.”
Indeed God is faithful, He has never, ever forsaken me, or my family. He never will (Hebrews 13:5).
God is good, He will protect, direct, and perfect. May we abide in Him, depart from evil, and have that heart to do good (Psalm 37:27)
Proverbs 21:25-26 (NKJV) “The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. 26 He covets greedily all day long, but the righteous gives and does not spare.
He’s a dreamer, but not a doer; it just kills him, ‘cuz he covets, but isn’t willing work or do what it takes to catch that dream. There are many people in that situation.
They have these desires, but they’re just not inspired enough to sweat to get what they want.
Another Proverb maybe you’ve heard, “Early to bed, early to wise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
We once again see that contrast between the greedy man and the giving man.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.