Saturday, April 1, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - April 1, 2017

Today's Reading:

Matthew 25:1-30

Numbers 30-31

Job 1

Listen to the Bible







Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

From today's reading, we are entering the Book of Job. Job is a noteworthy person in the Kingdom Hall of Faith. He was faithful to God, with or without the "goodies". Even when he lost everything and it appeared that God might not bless him ever again, Job didn't complain or lose his faith in God. 

 Very few people on earth have had a day as difficult as Job's, recorded in Job Chapter 1. In a single day he lost his wealth, his livestock, his servants, and - worst of all - he lost his children. In a matter of a few earth-shattering, breath-taking hours, Job's world came crashing down about him.

How does Job react to such total devastation?

Job 1:20-22 "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly."

Wow! It is amazing to see how graciously - and faithfully - Job handled this tragedy. Such mature faith is noteworthy and uncommon.

How would most people handle a day like Job's? Most get angry with God if He dare to stop the endless supply of "goodies". Unless God blesses us, we are tempted to leave Him behind. What do we need God for, if He isn't blessing us? Think about it - be honest - how would you have spoken to God, after a day like Job's?

I've always thought it was interesting that although the devil touched everything else in Job's life - even his health - the devil didn't take away Job's wife. I think this is because the devil already had her. He thought he could hurt Job more by leaving her than taking her away. 

She came to Job, when he was miserable, grief-stricken, and suffering, and told him to just "curse God and die." Wow! Poor guy!

Yet, are we much better? How do we handle those moments when the blessings of God seem to disappear, and tragedy strikes us? Are we faithful to God, loving Him for Him - and not for the goodies He gives - like Job? Or are we more like Job's wife, in effect saying, "Well, God, you aren't worth worshiping unless you are going to bless me. Where are my blessings? You didn't send them! What kind of a God are you anyway? I don't want any part of serving You!"

Consider the following parable. John is a regular guy. He works hard and struggles to make ends meet. Sometimes things are tough - especially when an unexpected expense shows up.  

One day a wealthy man, whom John had never met, showed up at his door. When John answered the knock, he got the shock of his life. There stood a well-dressed man holding out a check for a thousand dollars! 

"Is this a joke?" John finally asked, staring at the man.

"No sir. I've come here today to give you a thousand dollars. I want you to have it."

John thanked the man and closed the door. He stared at the check in amazement, half expecting it to bounce when he cashed it. But it didn't. The check was good. The man had really come and had inexplicably given John $1000.00 out of the blue!

The next morning, over breakfast, John was amazed to look out the front window and see the same well-dressed man walking up his driveway once again. When he opened the front door, once again the man presented him with a check for a thousand dollars. 

"Why are you giving me this money?" John asked the man in amazement.

"Well, it's mine to give. And I really wanted to give it to you." 

John hardly knew what to say. But he thanked the man profusely and cashed the second check.

On the third day, the man came back and repeated the amazing and generous gift. In fact, the man returned and presented John with a $1000.00 check every single day for a whole month! 

John's bank account now had $30,000.00 in it which he had done nothing to merit or earn!

About the third day in, John had started watching for the man's car. But now, as John watched for the car and ate his breakfast on the 31st day, the man didn't come. Soon, John had to go to work and couldn't wait for the man to come any longer. Disappointed, he left his wife with instructions to watch for the kind benefactor to arrive. Maybe he would come late.   

He didn't come at all. And what's more, he didn't come the next day, or the next. On the morning of the fourth day, John noticed the wealthy man's car driving past his house and continuing on up the street. John ran outside his eyes tracking the man's vehicle. Where was the guy going?

The car stopped in front of one of John's neighbor's homes. The familiar man got out of his car and approached the neighbor's front door.

 "What is he doing?" John wondered aloud. In shock and disgust, John saw the man hand his neighbor a check. "Hey!" John protested, growing more indignant by the minute. "That's my $1000.00! What are you giving it to him for?"

Hearing John's outcry, the man turned to look at him. After a brief moment of eye-contact, the man turned back to the neighbor, said his goodbyes and started to return to his car. By this time, John was running up the street towards him.

"That's my $1000.00! What did you give it to him for?" John loudly demanded.

"I'm sorry you feel that way. But I don't see how $1000.00 of my money can be considered yours."

"It is mine! You've been bringing it to me every day for 30 days."

"Yes, I did. But did you do anything to earn that money?"

"Well, no..." John suddenly felt like his collar was getting too tight.

"So, since you didn't earn it, you must admit that I gave it to you out of the goodness of my heart and not because I owed it to you."    

With that, the wealthy man got into his car and drove away, leaving one very unhappy man named John behind in is wake.

What do you think of John? Probably you're saying something like, "Wow, John really has entitlement issues if he thinks the guy has to give him anything. He owes John absolutely nothing - nothing at all.    

As ludicrous as this story would be - if it really happened - the reality is that we treat God like John treated the wealthy gifter. When God gives us blessings, we beam and promise to serve Him. But if He stops giving the blessings - if indeed tragedy strikes - we demand to know how a loving God can stop giving us our thousand dollars. 

But where did we get the idea that God owes us?  Truth be told, if God gave us what we deserve, we'd be dead! This is because Scripture teaches that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and "the wages of sin is death." God doesn't give us what we deserve - aren't we thankful

Instead of making demands upon God, like John did with his wealthy benefactor, let's respond to a "lack of blessings" meekly and in trust, just like Job. 

Job 1:20-22 "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly."