Devotional 76: The Hired Man’s Rest

Job 14:1-6

14 “Man who is born of woman
Is of few days and full of trouble.
He comes forth like a flower and fades away;
He flees like a shadow and does not continue.
And do You open Your eyes on such a one,
And bring me[a] to judgment with Yourself?
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
No one!
Since his days are determined,
The number of his months is with You;
You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.
Look away from him that he may rest,
Till like a hired man he finishes his day.

 

I think it’s true that it’s when G-d moves in sovereignty, entrusting us with His silence, that we have our crises of faith. But we are encouraged to remember this:

18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.” (Acts 15:18)

Job, in the midst of his affliction, asks G-d to look away so that a man can rest. For him, it would be a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ If He doesn’t look on us, we can rest from the kingdom labor to which we’ve been called as believers.

These days, we’re certainly being tried and tested, as our once-sacred holiday season crumbles into  fits of mass hysteria and greed.

But we are yet called to remain as salt and light, yet to be light on the hill, and yet maintain our peace beyond understanding in circumstances that drive others to act emotionally and make bad decisions.

We are reminded in the Gospel of Luke by our Savior: ” “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

And again: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26)

We now live in prophesied times, where it was said that what was done in the darkness will come into the light, and men who thought they held power forever are being toppled.

Increasingly, we’ve heard major natural disasters being described as ‘unprecedented.’

Our Lord tells us that these are the beginnings of sorrow as we leave the year of the Lord’s favor, and enter into the day of his vengeance.

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24: 4-10)

We know in hindsight that although Job thought it was G-d who afflicted him, it was Satan, and what he saw as the one thing that kept Job connected to G-d was in fact not, although it was a barrier.

In the end, it’s Job who claims:

Job 42:4-6

Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.”

There is nothing left for the enemy to use as a wedge against Job, and so it must be with all of us.

In the aftermath of our own afflictions, can we counted on to keep our integrity in the face of such affliction?

Remember that although He gives us the desires of our hearts, He also gives us over to our sins, should we persist in our willful rebellion.

(Romans 1:24-28)

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.

 

Neither did G-d spare His chosen, whom He handed over to their enemies on multiple occasions as they forgot Him and sold themselves, being brought back to repentance in the lands of their captivity.

Let there be no barriers, no potential weaponry of idolatry to give the enemy. In the days ahead, seek always to be mindful, prayerful, and peaceful.

Therefore I pray:

Father in Heaven,

I would have no barriers between us, though there are times my thoughts and my heart toward you are full of frustrated emotions, and I act out in the short term instead of the eternal perspective.

Daily You examine me, and hold up for me the standard of Your Word, which is higher than Your name, and the words of Your Son, who shed His holy blood to turn Your wrath from me, and reconcile me to You as sinless, that I may enter into His joy in worshiping You eternally, in the light of Your presence shining on the new earth.

Help me to remember that although Your judgment isn’t swift in coming, it is no less terrible for the delay, for you tell us that vengeance is Yours, and You will repay.

We stand in the gap for our brothers and sisters with no voice, and are hated. Embolden our quailing spirits in the face of a secular population that no longer celebrates the season, but litters it with the luxurious garbage of the world, even purging the name of Your Son’s title from its celebration. Let us return to spirit and truth, and purge it also of its pageantry and pagan symbols.

We remember that He told us these days would come, and the love of many would grow cold.

It is a cold season in which we live now, so we ask, Father, for You to rekindle the flame of our first love within us, and like the star of Bethlehem, be an oddity among the things of the world, a one of a kind, unique, and shining wonder, brighter than any hillside lantern, shouting from the rooftops what You’ve whispered to us.

“This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” For faith comes by hearing the Word of the Lord, and one day, we will see You too, as Job did, with no filter between us, as it was meant to be before Adam, asking not, like the prodigal, that You make us as hired men for sinning against You, but as true sons of the kingdom, grafted in by Your mercy and grace.

And we ask that, like Job, our latter days be blessed with more fruit than the former, as new creations to Your glory.

In His name I ask, believing I’ve received. 

Amen.

 

Devotional 11: Job 2:9 Curse God and Die

Devotional 11: Curse God and Die

 

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

10 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.

 

   Job was the target of Satan’s attack to get him to do that which his wife told him to do, but Job, though he endured the attack, would not do it.

But consider the words of his wife; they are so often dismissed, and she’s preached as one who added to his burden, in before his three friends came and began rebuking him.

As Chuck Swindoll once preached on this, I had to agree: she too, lost her children, and her position among the women of Israel.

She too, became a target of Satan’s destruction of their lives.

Job did not suffer alone, though he suffered the brunt of it.

Their enemies probably spoke of them in laughter, to see Job brought low, and the women of Israel who were jealous of his wife doubtless ridiculed her to her face.

We are not told much, because Job and his integrity are the focus of the book, but we shouldn’t be so quick to see the wife as a nag or a burden.

I’ve also heard it preached that Job called his wife foolish, but he did not; he said she speaks as one of the foolish.

He doesn’t strike me as the kind of man who’d marry a foolish woman, given that in his absence she had to deal with the daily matters of issues that accompanied his wealth, as well as raise their many children, and keep track of it all.

While it may be true she didn’t have Job’s integrity, can we truly blame for her falling into despair? She couldn’t lay eyes on her suffering husband, all of their children had been taken in a single stroke, and all of their wealth in the same manner.

Who, not having Job’s integrity, wouldn’t have a broken spirit? We have the book’s outcome and the gift of historical hindsight, but in the moment, in her position, ask yourself honestly, might you have said the same?

In a crucial time, when they should have been pulling together, he sat outside scraping himself, and left her to grieve alone, and he could have ministered to her and soothed her heart as best he could.

Had Job cursed God and died, she would have soon followed, having no hope.

But he actually did something better, because he had the integrity that he did: he strengthened her faith.

As she saw him endure day after day, he probably set an example before her, just as Abraham believed the promise of God when Sarah laughed.

If the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband, then Job’s most extreme testament of faith, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,” had to make a profound impact on her, and imparted to her a stronger and higher faith in the Lord.

As the Father returned a double portion Job, he returned one to her as well, because Job, as her husband, was her covering, just as he had to pray for his friends in order to keep God’s chastising hand from them for rebuking their friend in his hour of need .

Therefore I pray:

Lord, when I fall, impart to me Your declaration of faith in me, and Your wisdom to guide me through the trial.

   Restore me to You by the Power of holy, refining fire, and purge my impurities.

   Make of me your best example, in all things, at all times.

   By the Power of the Name of my King and Savior, Jesus Christ, I ask it, knowing full well what You may do; I only ask that You be with me in it, and let me not lose sight of You, not lose the sense of Your presence, that I may know that You are there, for I don’t have Job’s integrity, and my faith is as the tide, strong at times, weak at others.

   Lord, I don’t ask for a double portion, I only ask that You not let me die, before I’ve completed the assignment You’ve called me to do, old and full of days.

   Amen.