Category Archives: Old Testament

Job 20:12-24:12 

There were some interesting comments made between Eliphaz and Job.

Here is the first portion that I read. With a hand towards revenge, towards being ungodly, God still wants to spare the sinner and yet they treat His grace in an unworthy and ungrateful manner and they do not turn from their ways.

In the second portion I read, the world gets an opportunity to see God’s power and goodness, and we rather look at the short term value of the end of our life and our own happiness. This kind of thinking is so tight minded that there is no room for the Holy Spirit to even breathe. They cannot see that if they took their Will and placed it in the purposes of God, at their end, they would be free.

In this third portion, I put more attention. I see it most days I am sharing my faith. When I go from the route of the Law, or if I chose to go the route of Grace, the person I am talking to runs from God’s presence. What is worse is when God pursues them, they turn and tell Him to leave them alone. Just in case there is any presence of light in their soul, they completely drown themselves in the prison of unrighteous living. I have met these men – there is no desire to be crucified to worldly delights and are rather intoxicated by them. I look for a breath of goodness knowing there must be something there, but there is not. Creature comforts is all that matters. It is like they are trying to thrust themselves out of God’s presence. Their choice and delight is their damnation.

If you can believe it, this is where Eliphaz goes with Job and accuses Job of being such a person who has driven God out of his life. He accuses Job of thinking that God owed him something because he thought he had integrity and was complaining that God was afflicting him when He should have been beholden to him for his holiness and righteousness. Honours and happiness should have been his. The conversation is now getting messy.

I love this dialogue – on God alone is the only place to place the foundation of my life. It is with Him and only Him that I can say that God is my treasure.

My purpose is all of the sudden as clear as can be – when I set God as my foundation. Even in the middle of trouble and danger, I can have an abundance of joy and hope. So much so that I can give it away! God will save the humble and the humble will be exalted, not only in honour, but in comfort.

Father, may my pride not get in the way of our relationship and may I be found to walk before You with a humble heart.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover, Job, Old Testament, reading plan

Job 5:17-8:22

My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle. They end without hope. O God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again feel happiness. You see me now, but not for long. You will look for me, but I will be gone.” Job 7:6-8 NLT

I can learn a lot from Job’s vulnerability with his emotions towards the Lord. But, his hopelessness made him question God’s goodness. When has my view of God been so limited that I feel like His intentions towards me are not good? I know how easy it is to slip down into that despair.

What are people, that you should make so much of us, that you should think of us so often? For you examine us every morning and test us every moment. Why won’t you leave me alone, at least long enough for me to swallow! If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watched of humanity? Why make me your target? Am I a burden to you? Why not just forgive my sin and take away my guilt? For soon I will lie down in the dust and die. When you look for me, I will be gone.” Job 7:17-21 NLT

Job was sure that sin must have been the cause for his suffering. He was trying to figure out what didn’t make sense. Don’t I do the same thing when I say things like, “How could a good God let bad things happen?” I’ve come to realize that some things I will never understand this side of Heaven.

Does God twist justice? Does the Almighty twist what is right? Your children must have sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved.” Job 9:3 NLT

It seems like Job knew deep down that he hadn’t sinned against God. He was going through such intense suffering that he was trying to figure out why God would ”pick on him.” His friends didn’t help, by making Job question himself. Which caused Job to question God’s heart. I am thankful for a God that can handle my doubts.

Dear Father, thank you that I can cry out to you when I don’t understand. Thank you that you are a God of justice, but your mercy triumphs over judgement. I pray that I would give Godly advice and wisdom that reflects your heart. You are a big God and Your ways are higher than mine. I pray that I would rest in your sovereignty. I trust You Lord, Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Job

Job 1:1-5:16

~Grief~

Grief overwhelms and exposes. It cuts deep within and shows what we truly think and believe. In times of grief and trial, I have found God intimately close, and Job would eventually find the same, after a bit of a roller coaster to get there.

The story of Job’s life as told in the book of Job does not sugar coat anything. We see Satan’s plan to take Job down as presented to God himself. God placed limits, but let the plan continue.

 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”

Job 2:6 ESV

Job at times responded wisely, and yet the full story demonstrates the internal struggle. When he first met with unfathomable tragedy, he responded without sin or blaming God. He lost everything. Everything! And he continued to trust God’s sovereignty.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

Job 1:20-22 ESV

He actually worshiped. He surrendered his heart, his circumstances, his all to the will of the God of the universe. I imagine in those moments he felt a rush of God’s presence. God is near to the broken hearted, and the words he spoke show us that he felt that proximity. But more was to come. He responds similarly as his health breaks down.

“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Job 2:10b ESV

He did not sin with his lips. Is this to distinguish from the first time when it says he did not sin, period? Or is it just a repetition of his heart condition? We cannot know for sure, but we know out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, so again Job surrenders his life to the Almighty.

When Job’s friends show up, we see the result of Job’s emotional battle. He curses the day he was born and mourns. They mourn with him for a whole week. What committed friends to just sit with Job in his pain! Of course, when they open their mouths what comes out is a mixed bag of judgment, discouraging comments, sound wisdom, and twisted logic. Isn’t that the way people still behave today when trying to comfort a friend in deep grief? I wish I could roll back some of the comments I have made when I was searching for the right words, or those I have heard others make. Perhaps Job’s friends came with the best of intentions. Perhaps they really did have a decent theological understanding, on a better day. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, although their muddled attempts are recorded for all of history to replay and cringe.

I am thankful that God can accept our raw life-tainted responses and love us anyway. He might challenge us to rethink some of our conclusions, but He stays close by as we wrestle through to the outcome.

I am thankful for friends that are willing to sit with me through the awkward times of verbally processing the craziness and pain of life. And, those that put up with me and my misspeaks when they find themselves on the receiving end of grief.

I am thankful for a faith that God has slowly grown in me over the years that keeps calling me back to Him even when life does not make sense, even when the pain runs deep. I might not respond with the fortitude that Job exhibited, but I pray I continue to move that direction.

Precious Shepherd, my perspective is so warped by my everyday experience, and yet, you continue to teach and shape and mold me and my thinking. Thank you for holding my hand even when it closes into a fist of frustration. Thank you for reteaching my wayward thoughts. Thank you for being present in the darkest of seasons. Thank you for friends that try their best to walk with me. Help me to be that friend as well. Help me trust your plan and wisdom completely. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

Leave a comment

Filed under Job

Nehemiah 13:23-31; Esther 1-4

I enter the story that introduces Esther to me with a king, King Ahasuerus, who was parading his magnificence for 180 days before everyone. His glory and honour were on full display and there must have been a lot of oohing and awing.

 For six months he put on exhibit the huge wealth of his empire and its stunningly beautiful royal splendors. At the conclusion of the exhibit, the king threw a weeklong party for everyone living in Susa, the capital—important and unimportant alike. – Esther 1:4 MSG

There was no end to his extravagant generosity towards those in attendance as he must have felt proud being the top person in the kingdom, a place of absolute honour.

The king did something next that he would not have done if he was not drunk. He dishonoured himself as a husband (called to protect the modesty of his wife). He diminished himself as a king when he asked her to do something that she would refuse because of her own virtuous honour. What he would ask her to do was against the custom of the Persians for women to appear in public.

 On the seventh day of the party, the king, high on the wine, ordered the seven eunuchs who were his personal servants (Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas) to bring him Queen Vashti resplendent in her royal crown. He wanted to show off her beauty to the guests and officials. She was extremely good-looking. – Esther 1:10-11 MSG

Bad news for the queen for there was a law, as opposed to a custom, for not honouring the king. I am amazed at the brazen advice the king received on how to deal with her.

Lot’s of words describing what honour and dishonour looks like. They did not get the idea of what real honour looked like. In fact, it was the wrong way to gain honour – laws do not promote honour, relationships do.

The king and the princes liked this. The king did what Memucan proposed. He sent bulletins to every part of the kingdom, to each province in its own script, to each people in their own language: “Every man is master of his own house; whatever he says, goes.” – Esther 1:21-22

While I learned a lot about how not to treat my wife and a lot of what it would look like to honour her – the story sets up the most dramatic events of honour that put this book in the Bible even though God’s name was not mentioned once. Honouring God was deemed the same as mentioning His name.

I love the reminder that when I honour God, am bold in the tasks that I have been called to do, in the positions I have been placed, then God is honoured and His deeds remembered for eternity.

Father, thank You for the kind reminders of what honour does not look like. Thank You for the kind reminders that You control the destiny of the world. Thank You for the kind reminders that Your plan is constantly unfolding. Thank You for the kind reminders that I need to seek to do Your will and follow Your plan.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Cover to cover, Esther, Nehemiah, Old Testament, reading plan, Uncategorized

2 Chronicles 35:20-36:23; Ezra 1-3

Before I read about how Israel returns to the promised land, I want to make sure I understand what caused them to leave in the first place. Then, if I can apply that to my life, I will not have to worry about having to leave at all, when it comes to the presence of God in my life.

I start with King Josiah. It was a simple life – he came to cleanse the land and then he died. I am not too sure why his journey to death is so detailed in 2 Chronicles 35:20-27 I can only imagine that it was the method of his death that mattered. For a king to die of sickness or disease or to be murdered by a servant or family member would not be honourable, but to die, with honour on the battlefield, there is some glory in that for them.

Lastly and most significant is the last chapter leading up to the exile and so descriptive of God’s perspective and I read those words here in 2 Chronicles 36:11-21

Right now I just want to preach at myself, to get it out of my voice box. There is only one claim of God on me and that is simply this – to worship and glorify Him. The honoured word “worship” is too often dishonoured when I do not keep in my vivid memory what it is. This is what it is – “to love supremely, to obey perfectly, to serve perpetually, to express praise and render homage intelligently, and to say without a reserve that all this is the simple due of the object adored.”

There is something to the word “eternity.” I think the word to best describe it is “immortality.” There is immortality to honour and there is honour of immortality itself. My lesson, my takeaway, is along those those lines – Judah never learned that she was not her own. I need to ensure that I do not forget this lost lesson.

I rarely define what happiness is, but I know that I am happy when I am full of life, patience, strength, and confidence knowing that when I am on my journey in this life that I am not my own. I do not belong to sin or Satan either, but rather am the property of God and I am loved, adored, and prized by that God! The only time that is not true is when my gift of free-will becomes infatuated will, perverse will, self-will – there is no glory there.

It is my turn to do what Judah could not – I will be studious in remembering that I am God’s and belong to Jesus – I am not my own, to do with myself, my lifetime, my powers, my heart and my tongue whatever I like.

Father, thank You for these powerful words and expressions of what it means to be walking with You. No confusion here.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

1 Comment

Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover, Ezra, Old Testament, reading plan