Day 243 – August 31, 2021
Scripture: Job 15-16, Psalm 69
Day 244 – September 1, 2021
Scripture: Job 17-19, Psalm 102
Psalm 69:29 (TNIV)
29 But as for me, afflicted and in pain— may your salvation, God, protect me.
Psalm 102:1–2 (TNIV)
1 Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you.
2 Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.
God be with us, as we navigate the suffering of the world. Let us turn our hearts and our minds to Christ. Knowing and believing that God is our salvation, we turn to him in our pain and grief.
I have heard it said, and often repeated it myself, “I don’t know how people go through difficult situations without God and the church.” As we go through difficulty, we are surprised by and often met with the mercy, love and grace of the church through the love and Spirit of Christ. God's blessings overwhelm us, and lift us up.
The Psalmist, and even Job seem to know, that there is a redeemer. There is one who is coming to save and deliver us from suffering and death. Let us turn to God, knowing he is our hope! He is our hope!
Day 242 – August 30, 2021
Scriptures – Psalm 25, Job 13-14
Psalm 25:21 ‘May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.”
This is the content of Job’s argument with God. “Show me my sin.” The operable idea here is that Job is blameless and thus, shouldn’t be going through the suffering. He makes his case, “Show me the wrong, and I can understand the punishment. But I have lived an upright life. Why am I going through this?”
We aren’t sure why he is suffering.
But as we turn to Psalm 26, we open our hearts to its counsel and wisdom.
Psalm 25:19–20 - “See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me! 20 Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.”
Let’s take refuge in the Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Day 241 – August 29, 2021
Scriptures - Job 10-12, Psalm 39
Job 12:13 - “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.”
God’s sovereignty comes into view. Job outlines his understanding of God as sovereign over the nations, sovereign over the wind and the rain.
I have read, and I have no way of proving one way or the other, that Job is the oldest book in the Old Testament. A search through Job reveals no mention of Abraham, Noah, Adam, David, Joseph or Israel. This is fascinating. In a book that could certainly draw from the lives of Adam, Noah, and Abraham, there is no mention of them? Not a single mention of Joseph, who could certainly had shed light on God and Job’s difficulty.
I mention all of this, because it is quite remarkable when we read, “If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land.” Time and time again, we see God withholding rain, holding back the waters, and letting them loose as well. He could have mentioned the Exodus, the crossing of the Jordan, but he does not. He could have brought into view Egypt and God’s sovereignty through that situation for Israel. We don’t hear any of it.
I don’t know the timeframe of this, but Job understands something about God and his sovereignty. God reigns and works out his righteous judgment.
Here’s a thought that is unvetted. Just a thought from reading through the scriptures. If Job is in fact the oldest book, it seems that the rest of the Bible is fleshing out and revealing the God of the Bible. Job’s wrestling of God and his identity is fleshed out in all of the Bible. God is the creator and promise making God in Genesis. God is the faithful God, mightier than all other gods in the book of Exodus. God is mighty to save in Joshua. Jesus is the son of God in the Gospel of John. Jesus is God, the sovereign one, over all of creation, and brings a new creation in Revelation. Every page of scripture gives us a new perspective and understanding of the God we see glimpses of in Job. And the misunderstandings among the friends, well the Bible sorts them out. God is one who is sovereign over the nations, and he has set apart one nation, Israel to be his people and witnesses in the world. He will help us see the God in Job, as a God of compassion, faithfulness and lovingkindness.
I don’t know if this is right. But I like it. God is sovereign, as revealed in the truth of his word.
Day 240 – August 28, 2021
Scriptures – Job 7-9, Psalm 38
“Come quickly, my Lord and my Savior.”
As we walk through the book of Job, we are continuing the conversation about suffering, death and the anguish of the soul.
Psalm 38 fleshes out human anguish well. We sometimes reach the point of grief where we can’t hear or can’t even speak. We find ourselves in mere survival mode, there is so much difficulty happening within us and around us.
Job is a discussion of all of this and more. It seeks to answer the why of suffering, through all of the hardship, why it happens and how to process it. It never quite gives us an answer. Thankfully Psalm 38 and the Gospels give us a clue as to what to say and do.
In light of the Gospel, the words, “Come quickly, my Lord and my Savior” becomes the cry of our own hearts to our Lord Jesus Christ. “Lord Jesus! Come!.” That’s the final message, of the final book, “Lord, Come. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”’
Amid all the evil and suffering in this world, the church, her people, say, “Come quickly, my Lord and my Savior!”
Day 239 – August 27, 2021
Scriptures – Job 4-6, Psalm 6
The Conversation of the anguish of Job and his friend begins. Surely he’s done something wrong. That’s the presumption of Eliphaz is that Job has done something wrong, thus deserving of punishment. But in the same accord, Eliphaz is trying to help and be of encouragement to his friend. But he doesn’t really know how.
There is a level of sympathy on our part with the three friends of Job. What would we say to a Job-like situation in our life?
Psalm 6 takes on great power for us as Christians. In our lament, we follow David’s lead, in taking the anguish of our soul to the Lord. May he deliver and heal us! We pray that we would never experience or have to help someone with the loss that Job experiences. But the truth is, we all have had suffering. Psalm 6 gives us the prayer to take to the Lord, “Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.”
Day 238 – August 26, 2021
Scriptures – Psalm 15, Job 1-3
Connection or Contradiction?
Those whose walk is blameless, who do what is righteous, who speak the truth form their hearts…whoever fears the Lord… Whoever does these things will never be shaken. – Psalm 15
In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright, he feared God and shunned evil…He was the greatest man among all the people of the East. – Job 1
Job would go on to lose all that he loved. Family would die, his household would be ravaged. It sure seems like the righteous are shaken here. So what is it, is David wrong? Why did this bad thing happen to this good person? That isn’t fair?!?!?
David isn’t wrong, but there is a need to understand this apparent contradiction. Job was a righteous man. And his friends will spend their time interrogating him, accusing him of wrongdoing and deserving the punishment he received.
But it is assuredly not that he did wrong.
Job is physically and emotionally exhausted. His lament is crying out for his own death. He is at his very worst. He appears to be shaken to his core. But I think David points us in the right direction. While Job is crying out, all appears lost, he is not completely shaken. God is at work, God is faithful. One cannot be shaken when our trust is in the Lord. While the storm is raging, there is always the hope that the storm clouds will run out of rain. We are too early in the story, but more will come.
For now, hold onto this challenge between Psalm 15 and the suffering of Job.
God is faithful,
Day 237 – August 25, 2021
Scriptures – Ezra 9-10, Psalm 32
Psalm 32 is a penitential psalm. It cries out for the forgiveness of God.
In Ezra, the people of God are in desperate need of repentance once again. Ezra laments their falling away. All of the men who have married foreign women are convicted by their error and sin, and repent towards God.
As Christians, we can use Psalm 32 as a guide for our own penitence. God forgive us our sins, “I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32:5
Take time today to turn towards God, confess your sins, and embrace the love and forgiveness of Christ.
Day 236 – August 24, 2021
Scriptures: Psalm 126, Ezra 6-8
Sometimes we wonder the relevance between the Old Testament and New.
Hear this important insight from the Tyndale Commentary that sheds light on a connection:
The two centuries of the Persian empire were among the most formative periods of Jewish history. Out of the ruins of the little kingdom of Judah there had emerged the small community whose concern to be the people of God by pedigree and practice shaped it into the nation which meets us in the New Testament. Already the future prominence of the Temple and its priests, of the law and its scribes, as well as the enmity between Jews and Samaritans, could be seen developing. Throughout this time the Persian regime was given a substantial part to play, both in sending and subsidizing the three expeditions of Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah, and in backing their authority with its own. It was not the first empire, nor the last, to be allotted some such role. (Ezra and Nehemiah, Tyndale OT Commentary, Kindle Edition, Derek Kidner.)
What is happening in Ezra, is taking shape and form in the days of Jesus. The Roman Empire and their relationship with Jews and how the Jews worshiped is informed by the foundation being laid here.
Ezra’s ministry was to preach the word of God. To bring it to the forefront of worship in the temple. There was only one way in which the people of God would return to him, and that was through worship and Word.
We are laying a foundation today for the next generation. Let it also be in worship and Word.
Day 235 – August 23, 2021
Scriptures: Ezra 3-5, Haggai 1-2
The temple project is in full swing in Ezra. God’s people are blessed by and encouraged by King Cyrus to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. It comes to a halt after the surrounding nations realize the threat it posed. The God of this temple is mighty and strong and will oppose the foreign kings and nations around it. The building of this lackluster temple (by comparison to its predecessor) comes to a halt.
Haggai is the perfect companion to the Ezra text. A direct mention of Haggai in the text obviously lends itself to our connection between texts. But it is the onward looking hope of Haggai that I’d like to make mention of, looking for the Christ connection.
A day is coming, the Day of the Lord in which the Kingdom of God will be established. We believe the dawning of the kingdom was brought about in Jesus’ Christ’s life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. The story of the good news breaking into the world is the Kingdom established through Jesus. In Haggai, this is looked at as the future hope of redemption:
20The word of the Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month:
21“Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth.
22I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his comrade.
23“ ‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
A time will come when God will set the world to rights. That world, is the Kingdom of God.
Enter into the kingdom of God through his grace, mercy, hope and love.
Day 234 – August 22, 2021
Scriptures: Ezra 1-2, Psalm 84
Ezra Bible Project
There is joy and blessings in the worship of the Lord in the temple of the Lord. That is the message of Psalm 84. “My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord.”
Ezra begins where 2 Chronicles leaves off. Cyrus sending Israelites back to restore the temple in Jerusalem. No doubt, in the hearts of these believers is a desire once again to worship the Lord there.
Perhaps the words of this Psalm are on the hearts of the people, who have been taken away from their land and finally get to return. Their souls are yearning for worship. It’s been taken away, but now they once again can worship the Lord in the temple. This process is only just beginning in the Ezra account, but there is much for us to learn about our own attitude of worship.
Does my soul yearn for the worship of the Lord?
Have a blessed day,
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.