Category Archives: 1 – Old Testament

Questioning God


Daily Bible Reading – Job 37,38; 1 Corinthians 12

Today’s Key Passage – Job 38:1-18

 

In much of the Book of Job, Job discussed what had happened to him with his friends.  Job spent most of his time wondering why he was made to suffer.  Job’s friends spent most of their time putting words in God’s mouth, and most of those words were wrong.  In chapter 38, God finally spoke to Job.  Instead of simply answering Job’s questions, God decided to ask Job a series of questions of his own.  Job (or any other human) could not possibly answer the questions God asked, and that was the point.  God was making the point to Job and his friends that He was completely sovereign and all-powerful.  God created the heavens and the earth without any help from anyone.  The earth and everything in it belongs to God.  Job could not understand all of the inner workings of God’s creation, because he was not there when God created the world.  If Job was unable to understand the creation itself, how could Job possibly understand God’s motives or what He was thinking?

We are all tempted to question God.  There are many times when we simply cannot understand why things are happening as they are.  In these times, we as humans tend to do one of two things.  Either we question God by asking Him why He is allowing this to happen, or we put words in God’s mouth by trying to explain His motives.  Sometimes, we try to do both.  God, however, does not need our help.  God does not need or want us to try to run the world.  God’s moral purposes are so complex that they are beyond human understanding.  How can we question God when we cannot understand things like His creation or the forces of nature?

The next time you feel tempted to question God or to try to explain His actions, remember this passage.  Remember that we were not there for creation.  Remember that we cannot explain the intricacies of this world.  Remember that we cannot explain how the wind blows or how storms move.  Most importantly, remember to trust God.  He has a plan.  He is in control.  He loves you and will always do what is best for you.  When we submit to God’s authority in our lives, we can rest in the knowledge that He will care for us completely.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

True Wisdom Comes Only From God


Daily Bible Reading – Job 28, 29; Galatians 1, 2

Today’s Key Passage – Job 28:20-28

People look for wisdom in strange places.  Some people seek wisdom from listening to people they respect.  Some seek wisdom from reading ancient philosophers. Others read self-help books or go to self-help seminars.  The problem with all of these things is the source.  Every leader, philosopher, author (myself included), and speaker have one thing in common – they are human.

After listening intently to his friends opinions about his current plight, Job understood the problem with human knowledge.  He understood that, though his friends meant well, they did not really have the wisdom they thought they had.  Because they were human, their wisdom was inherently flawed.

No single person or group of people can gain enough experience, knowledge, or insight to understand the totality of the human race.  A true understanding of everyone and everything, also known as wisdom, can only come from one source – God.  God’s wisdom is revealed to us through His Word and through prayer.  We can certainly gain some insight and knowledge by reading and having conversations with other people, but to truly gain wisdom we must seek it from God alone.  Ask Him for wisdom today, and He will surely provide.

 

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Are We Worthy?


Daily Bible Reading – Job 23, 24; Mark 11, 12

Today’s Key Passage – Job 23:1-10

 

For most of the Book of Job, Job’s “friends” accuse him of being a sinful man.  They argue repeatedly that God is punishing Job for his sins.  Job, however, knows that he is righteous before God.  In today’s key passage, Job wishes that he could only stand before God to defend himself, because he is confident that God would find him blameless.  He knows that given the opportunity, he would be, “delivered forever from [his] judge” (23:7) and would, “come forth as gold” (23:10).

We will all face God someday.  I recently read somewhere that the mortality rate in the world is currently 100%.  Everyone will die at some point, and everyone will have to face God to answer for all of the things they have done in their lives.  The hope is that when we stand before God on our final judgment day, He will say to us “Well done, good and faithful servant”, but I think a lot of people have doubts.

I have spent much of my life constantly facing these doubts.  I always worried that I was not worthy.  I worried that on the Day of Judgment, God would take one look at me and remember all of the bad things I had done in my life.  I worried that He would see me as a terrible sinner, and would proceed to name every one of the sinful things I ever thought, said, or did.  I worried that at the end of the list (which I am quite sure would take a while to get through) He would say to me, “I am sorry, but you just were not good enough and I cannot let you into Heaven”.  I feared this day, and I repeatedly begged God to have mercy on me.

Then I realized that my thinking was seriously flawed.  In fact, my thinking was downright unfaithful.  I was calling God a liar.  See, God makes it very clear in His Divine Word that this is not the way it works.  My salvation has nothing to do with my works on Earth.  The moment I declared Jesus as the Lord of my life and invited Him into my heart, I was saved.  From that second on, my salvation was secured.  I no longer had to worry about “if” I would go to Heaven.  God’s Word says that is guaranteed!  While I certainly deserve for God to look at me as a terrible sinner, instead when He looks at me all He sees is the perfection of Jesus.  He sees me through the “rose-colored glasses” of the blood of Christ.  I am saved by His grace.  I am saved by what He did.  It has nothing to do with what I have done or not done.

We are all tempted at one time or another to feel guilty for what we have done in the past.  We are all tempted to feel that we are not worthy.  The simple truth is that none of us are actually worthy on our own, but by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, He has declared us as worthy.  When we come to the realization that we can absolutely believe what God has said and we have complete faith and trust in Him, we can finally leave all of our doubts about our worthiness at the Cross of Christ and feel secure in our salvation.  What a wonderful day that is indeed.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Weathering the Storm


Daily Bible Reading – Job 1, 2; Acts 6, 7

Today’s Key Passage – Job 2:1-10 

Stories of bad things happening to good people constantly bombard us.  Many people believe that God should shield good people from the bad things in life, and that if He really loved us He would not allow these bad things to happen.  We must realize, however, that the bad things that happen today are all due to a series of events that began in the Garden of Eden when Eve ate the apple.  Man’s rebellion from God changed a perfect world into an imperfect one.  While God is more than capable from putting an end to all of the suffering in the world today, that is not His plan.  It is difficult for our human minds to understand God’s plan sometimes, but that is because a human mind can never fully comprehend God.

God knew that Job was a good man.  He viewed Job as “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil”. (2:3)  Satan argued that Job was only faithful to God because God had been so good to him and had never given Job a reason to lose his faith. (2:4-5)  God, fully knowing what the outcome would ultimately be, allowed Satan to test Job. (2:6)  In the first test (1:6-22), Job lost his possessions and his family.  In the second test (2:7), Satan inflicted physical pain on Job.  Throughout the tests, Job remained faithful to God.  Even when Job’s wife chided him for staying faithful to God, he continued to be blameless.  Job told his wife “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (2:10)  Job knew that while it is easy to be faithful to God during good times, it is the mark of a truly good man to be faithful during bad times.

In the face of adversity, clinging to God is the only way to weather the storm.  Do not give up on Him.  The enemy uses these bad times as the perfect opportunity to try to test our faith.  We learn from the story of Job that Satan is only allowed to do what God lets him do, and God will never let him give us more than we can handle.  Stay faithful to God in the good times and the bad, and live a life blameless and upright in His sight.

 During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Giving Our Best to God


Daily Bible Reading – Nehemiah 13; Malachi 1, 2; Acts 4

Today’s Key Passage – Malachi 1:6-14

In the Old Testament, offering animals as a sacrifice to God was an important ritual.  In the days of Malachi, the people in Jerusalem had started to deviate from God’s plan.  They were doing many sinful things, one of which is described in our key passage today.  The spirit of the original Old Testament offering was to bring God the best animals to be sacrificed, but the people of Jerusalem began bringing the crippled and diseased animals to God instead of their very best. (1:7-8)  God was not happy with the people for this, and refused to accept their offerings.

In the New Testament Jesus was the Lamb of God who offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice to God to take away the sins of the entire world.  His sacrifice put an end to the need for sacrificing animals, but even today, we are still called to make offerings to God.  We make offerings to God today in the form of our time, our talents, and our money.  We do this as a way to glorify God and to put him first in our lives and as a demonstration of our love and faith in Him.  Just as it was in Malachi’s day, it is important to give God our very best.

It is easy today to get off-course and to forget to give God our very best.  Sometimes due to other commitments that take up our time, talents, and money, we can have the tendency to try to give God what is “left over”.  This is not God’s desire for us.  When we have a guest over to our house for dinner, we would never offer them leftovers from a previous dinner.  We would make them a feast!  This is the same way we should treat God.  When we give God our best every day, we can be sure that our offerings will always be pleasing to Him.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

 

Gifts from God


Daily Bible Reading – Nehemiah 1, 2; Psalms 133, 134; Luke 22

Today’s Key Passage – Nehemiah 2:1-9

 

Nehemiah was distraught when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem had not yet been rebuilt.  Walls were very important in Nehemiah’s time as they offered a city protection and security.  When he heard about these things, he spent days fasting and praying and by the end he knew what he had to do – he needed to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and restore the city.  Nehemiah knew that God had given him a great gift in life – the gift of leadership.  He wanted to use this gift to help rebuild the city both physically and spiritually.  At the time, Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king, which meant he was in charge of the safety and quality of the king’s meals and drinks.  Nehemiah knew that God had placed him in this position for exactly this time, and he used this gift of God to ask the king for permission to rebuild the city and to ask the king for help.

Every single person on this earth has been given gifts from God.  That gift may be a talent like speaking or leading, or it may be that God has placed a person in a specific environment or position for a reason.  God gives us gifts to serve Him and to further His kingdom, but not everyone uses his or her gifts for these purposes.  Others spend years trying to determine what their gifts are and how to use them for God.

If you have found your gifts, use them for God’s work.  Find an outlet to serve Him and then take action.  If you are not sure of your gifts yet, keep praying and God will show you how you can help and what you can do for His Kingdom.  As long as we always keep our eyes on Him, we can use our individual gifts to bring Him glory and honor in everything we do.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

The Guilt of Sin


Daily Bible Reading – Ezra 9, 10; Psalm 131; Luke 21

Today’s Key Passage – Ezra 9:1-9

 

Ezra knew the seriousness of sin, and he knew that no one sins without affecting others.  Ezra was so overcome with guilt and sorrow over the sins of his people that he “tore [his] tunic and cloak, [and] pulled hair from [his] head and beard” (9:5).  Ezra also knew that despite his sins and the sins of his people, God’s love and mercy had spared the nation when they did nothing to deserve it.

For many people, religion and guilt go hand in hand.  Sometimes we can all feel like religion or church puts an unwanted spotlight on our sin, and it causes us to feel guilty for what we have done, but this is not what God wants.  God loves each of us so much that he made the ultimate sacrifice – he gave his one and only Son to take away all of our sin and our guilt.  We can live guilt-free knowing that through Jesus Christ we are saved – not by what we have done or not done in our past, but by what He did for us.  God saved us by His grace and mercy alone.  It is a free gift and all we have to do is receive it.  When we do sin, the freedom of Christ allows us to go to God, confess this sin to Him, and ask for his help in repentance.

Instead of trying to run away from God out of guilt or shame, we can run TO God for help in restoring our relationship with Him.  God will always accept us and love us just as we are.  While it is true that He abhors sin, He truly loves us unconditionally just as we love our own children. When you sin and are truly sorry, confess this to God, ask for His forgiveness, and then accept his grace and mercy.  Accept that your sin has been washed away and that God has forgotten it.  Then, turn from that sin and run toward God by making the necessary corrections and walking in step with Him.  Never let the guilt of sin weigh you down.  Instead, focus on the wonderful grace and mercy of God.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

The Dangerous Journey


Daily Bible Reading – Ezra 7, 8; Luke 20

Today’s Key Passage – Ezra 8:21-23

 

Ezra’s journey to Jerusalem would take him and his people about 900 miles on foot through dangerous territory, and would eventually take four months to complete.  Before heading out on this journey, Ezra took the time to fast and pray that God would protect them. (8:23)  Even before making all of the physical preparations for this trip, Ezra understood the importance of making spiritual preparations.  Ezra knew that he and his people could not make this journey alone – they needed God to help them along the way.

Like Ezra, we cannot make our journeys in life alone either.  Most of our journeys in life are not as hard and dangerous as a 900-mile walk through the desert, and maybe that is why we sometimes neglect to spend the proper amount of time making our spiritual preparations before we begin.  When we take the time to seek out God’s help, however, we can prepare ourselves for whatever might lie ahead.  Every time we put Him first in what we do, we get closer to Him.  God is at work in everything that we do on a daily basis, and if we take the time to ask Him for guidance and protection, we become better prepared to handle all of the ups and downs along the way.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

No Coincidence


Daily Bible Reading – Esther 3-8; Luke 18

Today’s Key Passage – Esther 4:1-17

 

Have you ever noticed how sometimes the perfect song comes on the radio right when you need to hear it?  Have you ever gotten the phone call from a friend or loved one right when you needed to hear his or her voice the most?  Have you ever received a financial blessing right when you were feeling overwhelmed by bills?  The world would call these things coincidence.  If you look deeper, though, you can clearly see that examples like these are evidence of something much more.  They are, in fact, evidence of God’s sovereignty and providence.

In our readings yesterday and today from the book of Esther, we find many examples of God’s care in action.  It was no coincidence that Esther became queen of Persia (2:17), or that it happened shortly before Haman convinced King Xerxes to issue a decree to kill all of the Jews. (3:5-15)  It was no coincidence that when Esther went to speak with the king uninvited, he welcomed her instead of having her killed, which was his custom. (5:1-2)  It was no coincidence that King Xerxes had the history of his reign read to him, was reminded that Mordecai saved his life, and decided to honor him on the same night that Haman came to convince the king to have Mordecai killed. (6:1-11)  It was no coincidence that the evil Haman was hanged on the very same gallows he had built to hang Mordecai. (7:1-10)  While God’s name is never actually mentioned anywhere in the book of Esther, it is clear that Esther’s entire story is one great testimony to God’s love and power.

Never underestimate God’s ability to provide you with just what you need at exactly the right time, and to use you right when He needs you the most.  He can use any means to bring about His plans.  When you begin to wonder why He has you in a certain place or why you are facing certain circumstances, be open to His direction and His will, and realize that He may have you there “for such a time as this“. (4:14)

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Being Grateful


Daily Bible Reading – Ezra 5, 6; Psalm 138; Luke 16

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 138

 

There are many recurring themes in the book of Psalms, and one of these themes is gratefulness.  King David was certainly grateful to God, and that spirit of thanksgiving shines through in our key passage today.  David praised God for His love and faithfulness (138:2), and for making him bold and stouthearted (138:3).  He was grateful for being saved during all of his times of trouble (138:7), and knew that God would never abandon him. (138:8)  David understood an important truth about God.  Our proper response to Him should always be one of gratefulness, because He will always fulfill His purposes for us (138:8) and will always answer when we call on Him. (138:3)

Most of us cry out to God in our times of need.  We go to Him with our requests and we ask Him to help us in our most dire situations.  There is obviously nothing wrong with this, as God wants us to take our most sincere needs to Him in prayer, but we can all have a tendency to be one-sided in our prayers.  Spending time with God and having a relationship with Him should be about more than just asking Him for a laundry-list of needs, wants, and desires.  It is important that we not forget to be grateful for all that He has provided.  When we forget about this important piece, we are more likely to get frustrated when we have to wait for God’s answer to our prayers, and we are more likely to question whether He is listening to us in our times of need.  When we focus first on being grateful to Him for the prayers He has already answered, it becomes much easier to wait for His timing and to trust that He will come through for us again.  Spend some time today thanking God for the prayers He has answered.  Thank Him for the big prayers and the small ones in which He has been faithful to you, and praise Him for all the prayers He will answer for you in the future.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

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