September 14, 2019

Today you should read: Job 2:1-13

The story of Job is a familiar one. So familiar, in fact, that as we read through chapter 1, we might casually summarize, “God let Satan test Job and destroy everything he had and wipe out his children… blah, blah, blah, so on and so forth.” 

The speed with which you read chapter 1, and the heartache that you feel is going to reveal something about you—that is, empathy. Can you put yourself in the shoes of another person? If so, if we can imagine losing our jobs, our resources, every prized possession and opportunity for livelihood, then we practice empathy. Likewise, look at the pictures of your children, or kids you love, and imagine them being ripped from your life. Some of you don’t have to imagine that at all because you lived it, and I am so so terribly sorry. But before we step into chapter 2, we need to read chapter 1 with the sorrow, heartache, and terrible hatred for suffering that it deserves. Job has had more than a bad day—his whole world is ruined. 

We’re not sure of the timeline between chapters 1 and 2. The text simply says that it’s another day (maybe the next day, we can’t tell). However, in what seems like a short time, Satan is in the heavenly court and the same scenario as chapter 1 repeats. This time, however, Satan challenges God that if he would bring sickness and physical suffering, then Job would surely curse God.

Satan is given permission with one restriction—you can’t kill him (6). Job is inflicted with sores covering his entire body. At this point, his “loving” wife utters her famous words, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die” (9).  

It is easy to criticize Job’s wife for her foolishness. In fact, Job does. However, we must remember as above, literally all the suffering that Job experienced in chapter 1 hit her too. It was her children that died. It was also her livelihood and provision that was destroyed. The only thing she had heading into chapter 2 was her husband and her health; and now her husband appeared on the verge of death. So how would we respond in her shoes?

Finally, in verses 11–13 we see Job joined by three friends. In these few verses, the friends respond exactly right. They came, they wept, they mourned, and they sat—this is a great recipe for helping friends in suffering. Once the friends open their mouths in the next chapters, they will insert their feet, but for now, they act in a way that is commendable. 

The problem of suffering is the number one difficulty that many people face, leading them to reject God. It’s a difficult philosophical problem, but many people are dealing with the emotions of experience. Suffering isn’t philosophical for them, it’s personal. And, so they say, “If God were good, he wouldn’t allow that.” 

God is not the author of evil. However, He allows suffering. Why? One reason is that many times suffering happens that leads to a greater outcome (Rom. 5:3–5). Secondly, the day is coming when sin will be judged and God will right every wrong. So, while suffering exists, we also have opportunity to share the Gospel and turn people away from an eternal suffering in Hell. When the gavel falls, and sin is no more, there is no more time to see people repent. 

As much as we might understand the “why” of suffering. Let’s follow the example of Job’s friends as we encounter it. Don’t rationalize someone’s suffering, instead: come, weep, mourn, and sit. 

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

September 13, 2019

Today you should read: Job 1:13-22

As we spend time in the book of Job, my fear is that it is too easy to treat Job as a “story” instead of a reality. Job was a real man, a blameless man, a man who had a wife, kids, livestock, servants, land, and more and in a moment he lost everything and was left with a choice. This makes this account of Job that much more heavy to our hearts because for many of us the book of Job and specifically Job 1:13-22 hits way too close to home. We may have not had everything suddenly stripped from our lives such as Job did with his family, land, servants, and livestock… but many of us have felt as if our life has fallen a part in a moment.

Think back to the lowest part in your life. The part that still makes your stomach curl. The part that you still don’t have an answer or understand why it happened. Think back to that. Think back to the emotional, physical, relational, and spiritual toll that it took on your life. How did you respond? What choice did you make?

Now put yourself in Job’s shoes and try to understand this real man of Scripture. He doesn’t know about the conversation that was just had in heaven (v. 6-12). Everything seems normal and good to him in his life. In a moment everything changed. Too many of us know what that feels like. In the matter of 4 conversations Job lost everything (v. 13-19). He lost his livestock. He lost his family. He lost his land. He lost his servants. So, Job arose and worshipped.

So, Job arose and worshipped. This man of God understood that God and His faithfulness was bigger than his situation. He understood that he deserved nothing but God deserves total, unadulterated worship. If we are honest, this seems like such a crazy response to us. Many times, myself included, we have not made this choice but made the choice to run from God in these times. This, if we really think about it, stems from our view of God. We must see God as Job did:

  • Sovereign Ruler
  • Holy
  • Good
  • Loving
  • Faithful
  • Worthy
  • Trustworthy
  • Worthy of Fear and Worship

Job had a heavenly perspective. He feared God. He worshipped God no matter the circumstance. He understood that this life was temporary, that God was good and that He was worthy to be praised. And “In all of this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” (v.22)

Job had a heavenly perspective but this did not make worship any less of a choice. Job, in this tragic time still made a choice to fix his eyes on his God when he did not understand and worship Him. I pray this is how we respond, not only when things are good but also when we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Questions:

  1. In hard times, do you have a hard time worshipping God? Why?
  2. How can you choose to worship God in hard times?
  3. What did you learn most from Job’s response?

By: Nick Parsons — Pastoral Ministry Associate – College

September 12, 2019

Today you should read: Job 1:1-12

Today we’re starting one of the most well known books in the Bible, although most Christians are familiar with the beginning and skip over the important dialogue between God, Job and his friends that makes up the majority of the book.

The book of Job is troubling to a lot of people. Some don’t understand how God can allow such hardships and tests in one’s life and are confused with the interaction between Satan and God in the first place. After all, if God is holy and cannot  be in the presence of sin in heaven, how did Satan get there? In this scene, Lucifer asks God if he can take away all of Job’s earthly gifts from God including his possessions, health and family. He tells God that this “righteous” man only loves and obeys God because of these gifts and that he would surely curse him once they were taken away. God takes this bet. (God in His sovereignty doesn’t gamble and if anything this is a beautiful picture of Him being in control of such trials and tests while giving purpose in suffering.) We’ll see this even more as the story unfolds over our time in the book. For those who are troubled with God and Satan’s interaction in the first place, notice that two things happen when God is around sin or Satan.

  1. He allows the event to somehow glorify Himself & reveal Jesus as Savior.
  2. He shows His wrath against the sin.

(1) He gives Satan permission to tempt us, knowing that it’s going to go against Satan’s agenda because it’s going to point back to Jesus as their saving faith from it. 

Or 

(2) He casts it out from His presence showing His lack of tolerance for it and ultimate authority to destroy it so He can be back with His beloved creation, us.

You also see either of these two things happening in every other interaction between God and Satan whether it’s in the original fall of Satan, Peter being attacked by Satan in Luke 22 or in the Last Judgment.

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

September 11, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Peter 3:1-18

Jesus is coming back – and I believe it will be soon.  People have always doubted that He would (v.3-4). He says He’s coming – but nothing has changed since the beginning of time – where is He?  The problem is, they forgot that God – who created the world – always has a plan, and that He does things in His time.  His time is different from ours – to Him, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day.  That’s how it is when you live outside of time.  But make no mistake – Jesus is coming back for His church.  Jesus will come like a thief does – when no when expects it.  

How will that happen?

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Since we know this is going to happen – emanate – at any moment – this should effect how we live (v.11).  We should live our days like we will see Jesus tonight.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 2 Peter 3:14

Why hasn’t Jesus come back already?  He’s giving people time to be saved. (v.15).  It’s so important for us to make getting that message to our friends and family our top priority.  Time is running out.

So… thinking all of this through should motivate us to:

  • Live holy
    • Think heavenly (Philippians 3:20-21)
  • Witness hastily

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor