Week Three Devotion: (Download PDF)
As the book of Job comes to a close we see the longest running dialogue of God in all of Scripture in Job 38-42. God enters into the conversation not as an additional contributor but as the One whose address brings finality. For most of the book Job has spent his time arguing that there was no sin in his life that brought about his suffering and his friends have been arguing that he must have sin in his life to bring such suffering about.
But when God enters the conversation they all have to put their hands over their mouths. The debate ends not because God answers all the questions but because He reveals Himself. He doesn’t give Job a deeper understanding of the reasons for suffering, instead He gives Job a deeper understanding of God.
Something to meditate upon…
Every one of us will go through times in life when we do not understand what God is doing. We will face times when we don’t have an answer to the most pressing question in our hearts. We will go through times when we are confused, fearful, and/or hurting and we want to know what God is doing. But more often than not, God doesn’t reveal His will of direction to us except in hindsight.
In other words, we will not fully understand what God was doing until the trial is over and we are able to look back on it with greater wisdom and clearer vision. But what God does want from us in every circumstance is to trust in Him. What God wants for us is a deeper understanding of who He is and how He can be trusted.
What God did for Job was to gradually reveal Himself in deeper ways than He had before. He gave Job a greater vision of God. He showed Job something that brought him to the point of humility, confession and repentance. Job learned that he needed to know God more than he needed to have his questions answered.
Psalm 27:4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
Something to discuss…
We are also getting back into the book of Genesis this week as we pick up our reading in chapter 12. Up to this point the book has been showing us the history of the cosmos at a macro level. It covers creation, fall, the spread of sin, the judgment of God in the flood, and the tower of Babel in just 11 chapters. But from chapter 12 onward the story slows down significantly by focusing on everything that happens in three generations of one family. Why the change of pace?
Genesis 3-11 give us a big picture view of just how extensive is our rebellion against God, but starting in Genesis 12 we see just how amazing is God’s grace to sinners. God singles out one man, Abram, and chooses to make this man the head of a new redeemed humanity. The body of the Biblical story of redemption begins with this man, but the question is, “Why did God choose Abram?”
Was he special? Was he a man of God? Was he more righteous than other men? The answer to these questions is no. In fact, according to Joshua 24:2 Abram was an idolater who worshipped the false pagan gods of the Chaldeans. But God chose this man despite his sin and promised to bring salvation to all the people of the earth through him.
Why did God choose Abram?
Deuteronomy 7:6 The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery,
The reason why God chose Abraham, better yet, the reason why God chose to save anyone is because of His love. It is not because of our worth, nor is it because of our works; it is because God has chosen to love us and therefore He purposed to save us. The foundation of the work of redemption throughout the history of the world is the love of God.
Something to pray about…
In Genesis 22 God tests and deepens Abraham’s faith. For 25 years Abraham waited for God to fulfill His promise to give him a son. Then after Isaac is born and is growing up God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son as an offering to the Lord.
What is going on here? Is God going back on His word? Can you imagine the thoughts running through Abraham’s mind and the emotions running through his heart? I imagine that this was a difficult command for Abraham to face. But in the end he trusted and obeyed the Lord. He trusted that if he obeyed, even when it didn’t seem to make sense, that God would take care of him, his son and the plan of redemption.
In the end, Abraham passed the test because he was willing to do whatever God commanded him and God revealed more of His plan for how he would bring salvation to the world. God provided a substitute to die in Isaac’s place and this scene points forward to the true lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world.
Pray that God would give us grace to pass the tests of faith that He sends our way. Pray that our example of faithfulness in hard times would be a testimony to the next generation. Pray that God would strengthen our trust in Him so that even if our lives are on the line we can trust that He will accomplish His plan.
Next week we will be reading Genesis 27-47 where we continue to see the generations of Abraham’s family grow in their faithfulness to God and we begin to see how God accomplishes His purpose in strange ways.