Daily Reflections March 10, 2017
Job has desired to hear from God for many, many chapters now. And in chapter 38 God begins to speak. But it is not how Job expected. God did not begin with consoling, Hallmark-card statements nor did he give the answers to why Job has been going through this trial. Instead, he questions Job and tells him to give an answer. Here in chapter 39, God continues his interrogation of Job with queries about wild animals.
Wild mountain goats, donkeys, oxen, ostriches, horses, and hawks are all quickly mentioned. A casual reader might skim through these quickly but doing so might cause important truths to be missed. God wants to bring to Job’s attention his character and nature. Even though these creatures seem to be untamed and inferior, God uses them to demonstrate his divine providence. A slower look will show that these questions of animals reveal a few things about God in this chapter:
1. God gives and sustains life as well as nurtures his creatures to maturity. The mountain goats produce offspring which mature at the right times and phases because God intimately brings it about. He protects and sustains the life of the baby ostrich against numerous threats. All life and its stages are in the hand of God.
2. God has sovereignty over the condition and situations of his creation. Some like the wild donkey he frees and others like the ox he bounds to labor. It is not man that makes them useful for use by humankind. God gives the oxen the strength to plow and the war-horse the bold discipline to go into battle. God has the right to either have his creatures live a life of ease or live a hard life of submission.
3. God lovingly provides for and loves his creation. Job cannot understand the birds of prey nor command the hawk to hunt for food. But God directs this for the hawks and for other animals that never catch the eye of a human. God does not wind this world up and leave it to spin on its own. He personally attends to it and takes care of it out of great grace.
These things are astounding to meditate upon and are just as needed for Job to hear as they are for us. When our bodies fail or we suffer to the point where we don’t want to continue, we need to remember that God is the only author and sustainer of life. In a world where it seems like some have it all and some must scramble to get anything, we need to remember that God ordains our lives and has placed us in our position to bring him glory. When the stress to pay this month’s rent or put food on the table overcomes us with fear and worry, we need to remember that God provides and cares for his people. Jesus gave the disciples a reason not to be anxious about things in this life in Luke 24:12: “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” (Luke 24:12). You are more valued than all the wild animals that God has made yet he is lovingly providential over them. So, calm your heart and trust him.
Yours in Christ,
Associate Pastor Evan Webster
2 Corinthians 9
Yesterday Pastor Paul dealt with principles on Christian giving out of 2 Corinthians 8. In the first five verses of chapter nine, we see the end of the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in regards to the promised gift. The Apostle encourages the Corinthians to follow through on their commitments. Paul plainly states that he has been bragging to the Macedonians about the Corinthians generosity. Now, after a year they need to have the gift ready so that they aren’t ashamed when some of the Macedonian church traveling with Paul arrive.
That leads us into the second half of the chapter where I would like to focus. This passage has often been used by televangelists in their effort to abscond with people’s hard earned money so that they can afford a new jet. With smiles on their faces, they tell people that if they give to this or that ministry “sacrificially” then God will bless them financially. However, the Apostle Paul makes a direct link between money and the true condition of our hearts. For a Christian, the object of our affection must be God Himself. We need to see money and possessions as tools in the arsenal that God has given for the advancement of the gospel. Cheerful and liberal giving aids in the sowing of the gospel. God blesses the cheerful giver with the opportunity to see the kingdom of God spread on the earth. There is no blessing that can be received by a begrudging heart. So, here are three principles that can be easily taken from this passage.
1. Take time to assess.
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV)
Using the principle that Pastor Paul gave yesterday, namely the “How Much More” principle, we need to assess what we are spending on, and what luxuries we can do without so that we can give more. Not to go too far down a bunny trail, but I think that maybe as a western Christian, I forget that this is not supposed to be my best life now. There is coming a time that I will live my best life, and I will get to enjoy all that God has created….in perfection…..on the new earth. Now is not that time.
2. Get excited!
Giving to God’s work should bring a certain level of excitement and happiness. Remember, we are joining God in His work! When people come to saving faith in Jesus due to a work that you have given to that should result in joy!
3. Praise God!!!
This is the end result in all that we give and do. Cheerful giving results in the praise of our God!
For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! (2 Corinthians 9:12-15 ESV)
Associate Pastor Jonathan Welch