Category Archives: Job

He is waiting to meet our needs

Job 11: 17-19a

Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning.  You will be secure, because there is hope, you will look about you and take your rest in safety.  You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid.  NIV

Again, these verse follow on from Job 11: 13, which says, “If you will devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him …”

… life will be brighter … darkness  won’t be as dark … you will be secure in you hope of the Lord … you will rest easily because you are not afraid … you’ll sleep peacefully, free from worry and fear.

Change, any change, isn’t easy.  While some change is for the better and some for the worse, it can’t help but feel … different.

When things are different, it isn’t immediately obvious, in my experience, that they are better.  Difference invites comparison, and comparison can kill optimism.

There is quite a bit of change in my little world at the moment.  As near as I can tell, it is all for the good, but, I needed this reminder today.

Today, and all days, I will devote my heart to the Lord.  I will stretch out my hands — full of things that I’m experiencing and thinking about — to Him.

Recently, I was talking with a set of new parents about the challenges of caring for their young son.  They are thrilled with him, but, they cannot escape the obvious realities that he needs absolutely everything done for him.  Their world — for this precious, precious time — revolves around meeting his most basic needs, moment by moment.  It’s an exhausting task.

But, then, we thought about this question, “What is it like for him?”  His every need is met as soon as he makes it known.  He is warm and dry and cuddled and safe and cared for.

In our lives as children of God, we are the baby.  As we grow in Christ, just like the child of my friends, we will be able to accomplish much.  But, no matter how old we are or how mature we are, we are always, always God’s children.

If we will stretch out our hands to him … He is waiting to meet our needs.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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It’s all water under the bridge

Job 11:16

You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.  NIV

As I work my way through these last few weeks of my project, I’ve begun a word search on “hope.”  It strikes me that “hope” is an antonym for worry, and that therefore I might find several reminders this way.  This morning, a phrase on the listings of the word “hope” caught my eye and brought me back here to Job 11, where I’ve been before.

The verses just preceding this one are ones that I looked at back in June of last year.  They read in part, “Yet if you devote your heart to him … you will stand firm without fear.”

It is interesting to me that I stopped at that point in exploring this rich chapter.  Today’s reminder is a truth that I likely would not have recognized at the time.

You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.

My life, like everyone else’s, has had its share of disruptions.  In the thick of a trial, I’ve often been nearly derailed by my circumstances and my propensity to worry over them.  My troubles have seemed like flood waters threatening to carry me away.  That’s where I was last February, when I began this project.

With the perspective gained by a year of time passing, with the love and support of my dear friends and my precious family, and with the knowledge and new skills I’ve gained from a year of diligently scouring God’s word for reminders not to worry, I can see the truth in this verse.

Worry is pointless and fruitless and, like the majority of our troubles here, short-lived.  The vast majority of things that seem horrible at the time are merely part of the ebbs and flows of life.  Having said that, some things here are truly horrible … some things forever re-route the path of the river of your life and the lives of those you love, but, life … moves on.

That is what this verse is saying to me.  Don’t dwell on the past, don’t be too concerned with the events of the present, and don’t even think about the next worry that might come your way … because in time … You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.

Instead, invest your time in others, use the gifts God has given you for the good of the kingdom.  Store up treasures in heaven.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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What do you trust?

Job 31:24 & 28b

If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, “You are my security,” … I would have been unfaithful to God on high. NIV

We must trust in the right things … God’s love for us, His provision for us, His plan for our lives.

We can’t get caught up in things.  Things are not trustworthy.  Things are not permanent.  Money comes and it goes, but God’s love endures forever.

Further, when we put things before God — this second verse is very clear — we are being unfaithful to God on high!

I want to be found faithful.  I will be found faithful.

I trust God.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Throw everything you are into achieving the goal

Job 39:22

He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing, he does not shy away from the sword. NIV

I saw the new Disney movie, Secretariat, yesterday. It was beautifully done.

Mid-way through, my husband remarked, “It’s hard to create suspense around a story that everyone already knows the end to.”  He was right, but Disney managed it.

One of the nicest things about the movie was how it began.  You are watching the horse while Diane Lane reads this passage from Job.  Here, God asks Job in verse 19, “Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with flowing mane?” NIV

The movie is, of course, a celebration of the horse, but, it also makes clear the role God had in creating such a magnificent creature.

And, I love the larger message of this movie … set goals for yourself that seem impossible to achieve … run the race to the best of your ability and put everything you are into achieving what you believe in.

God made the horse without fear.  Not so with me.

But, He’s given me a roadmap for success and gifted me with all the tools to achieve it.

I am not afraid.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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With wisdom comes worry …

Job 39:14-15

She lays her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand, unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal will trample them.  NIV

I found this verse by searching the New Living Translation for the word “worry” on Bible Gateway.com.  There, verse 15 reads, “She doesn’t worry that a foot might crush them or a wild animal might destroy them.” NLT

God is speaking here, to Job.

He’s talking about the animals that he has made.  In this case, the ostrich.  Verse 13 says, “The ostrich flaps her wings futilely — all those beautiful feathers, but useless!” MSG

Verse 17 says, “For God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense.” NIV

I love the way The Message translates that verse and the last part of the one just before it, “she cares nothing about anything.  She wasn’t created very smart, that’s for sure, wasn’t given her share of good sense.” MSG

God goes on to discuss what she IS really good at — running.  I think that is why he created her.

But, I’m most interested in the part that comes before the running, where God is pointing out that the ostrich makes very poor decisions without worrying about them.  I think that is so interesting.

In contrast, humans spend a great deal of time caring for their little ones.  There’s a movie out that I want to see.  It’s called “Babies.”  It follows four children in four different countries for the first year of their lives.  People that I know who have seen it, have said that they gained a new perspective.  Regardless of the culture or circumstances into which it is born, a baby does certain things in its first year, and its parents do, too.

We were created with knowledge and we were given a measure of good sense … and we worry … about our children and about the decisions that we make.

I think that is so interesting.  Because we were given the ability to contemplate the consequences of our actions, we do.  For some of us, that leads to worry, which we are called not to do.

God knows that we will worry.  He created us that way.  But, He also gave us the remedy … trust.  We must trust God, day by day, moment by moment.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Look around … what needs doing?

Job 19:28-29
“If you say, ‘How we will hound him, since the root of the trouble lies in him,’ you should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, and then you will know that there is judgment.” NIV

I found this verse yesterday morning, and began this post then, but, I was out of town, and the connectivity to the Internet was too challenging for me to complete the task.

The Message translates this verse, “If you’re thinking, ‘How can we get through to him, get him to see that his trouble is all his own fault?’  Forget it.  Start worrying about yourselves.  Worry about your own sins and God’s coming judgment, for judgment is most certainly on the way.” MSG

Here, Job is speaking to his friends, who all seem to be saying that if Job will just admit whatever it is that he has done wrong — whatever it is that has so incredibly offended God as to cause all of the hardships he is facing — Job will have a chance at redemption.

Job knows that he has not sinned against God.  And yet, he still finds himself in unbelievably difficult circumstances.

This verse, I think, is one of the most important of the entire book of Job.  And, it still rings true today.

We cannot spend our time worrying about the sins of others.  They are none of our business.  Instead, we have to focus on ourselves, on our own relationship to God.  What are we doing that we could do better?  What are we not doing that needs to be done in order to better advance the kingdom?

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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It’s none of your business

Job 36:17

But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked; judgement and justice have taken hold of you.  NIV

So, here’s another reminder not to worry.  I found it in the New Living translation, which says, “But you are obsessed with whether the godless will be judged.  Don’t worry, judgment and justice will be upheld.” NLT

As I think about it, this verse ties to yesterday’s:  A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. Psalm 34:19 NIV

There have certainly been times in my life when I’ve worried about the seeming unfairness of things.  At those times, when people that I knew were good and loving were undergoing hard knocks, and others (who were not so nice) were experiencing tremendous gain, I’ve been guilty of “being laden with the judgement due the wicked.”

The truth is, it’s none of my business.  My business is my life, my relationship to God and my ability to help others.

I continue to take comfort in Psalm 34:19.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Reach out to God

Job 11:13-15

“Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.” NIV

The book of Job has always been a hard study for me.  All of the things that happen to this poor man make me sad, and, it scares me a bit that so much of the Bible is devoted to his story.  In the Bible that I’m using for this project, the book of Job runs for 56 pages — 2.7% of the entire Bible.  In my chronological Bible, which takes all of the stories and puts them in order on a timeline and then splits them up into 365 daily readings, the story of Job takes almost all of February.

Granted, February is a short month, but, when it is miserably cold outside, and inside, the story of Job is greeting you each morning for days on end, it is not a happy circumstance.  And, things were even less pleasant for our poor friend Job, who had to live it.

Each time I finish the book, I wonder exactly what it is that I am supposed to learn from it.  I fully recognize that Job’s ultimate reward was in heaven and that God loved him and richly blessed him, but, it still disturbs me that he and his wife had to suffer so much.

But, as I look at the story of Job through the lens of this project, I can see that he perhaps had a lot to worry about, and that there is something to be gained from looking at the book, yet again.

These words from his friend Zophar were not particularly helpful to Job, but, they certainly ring true for me.  Perhaps that is part of the reason for the book.  Job was blameless before God … he hadn’t done anything to deserve the punishment that he received.  But, for the rest of us, Zophar’s words are actually quite comforting.

I looked at these verses in the message, “Still if you set your heart on God and reach out to him, If you scrub your hands of sin and refuse to entertain evil in your home, You’ll be able to face the world unashamed and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless.” MSG

Today, I will set my heart on God and reach out to Him!

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