I decided this morning to spend some time in God's Word and in prayer every day. One of the great things about writing Today in the Word devotionals from time to time is that studying the Bible becomes part of my job, which is a silly crazy good thing. The downside is, eventually I start to blur the lines between my work and my own personal time with God (and by "eventually" I mean right away). It seems I've developed a subconscious policy that I won't study the Bible unless I'm being paid to do it.
That changes officially today. To keep me honest (or at least accountable in this regard) I decided to post some devotional thoughts each day. If I don't post anything, that's because I didn't read anything.
Today I started in Job, Chapter 1:1-11. The sad fact is, I picked the book of Job because I thought, I don't want what happened to him to happen to me. Honestly, I don't put nearly enough thought into my choices, because from the very first verse I realized a proper reason would have been, I want to be the kind of man he was.
Job feared God, turned away from evil, and (here's the kicker) prayed for his family. Actually, he didn't just pray, he offered up burnt sacrifices on behalf of his family members on the off chance that one of them had cursed God.
Internal skeptic says: Yeah, but doesn't Christ's role as the highest of High Priests negate that responsibility now? Old Testament laws don't apply anymore, so you don't have to do that.
No. I don't have to do it. But here's a little thing to remember: neither did Job. This was all pre-Mosaic Law. God never issued Job or any of his ancestors an order to burn sacrifices on his own behalf or anyone else's behalf. Job made those sacrifices because he knew what pleased God, and that's all he wanted to do, and all he wanted his family to do. So I realized, I need to pray on my family's behalf. Not because I'm commanded to, but because I want my heart to long to please God, and I want to train it to do so. (Aside: Addison just jumped in my lap, looked at what I have typed so far, and said, "Who's the kicker?") Another realization: I don't have to sin. Job was blameless, and while I wouldn't take that to mean he was eternally sinless, the fact remains, he was good. There's no excuse for sinning repeatedly.
Next I read the part about the angels (or sons of God), Satan included, presenting themselves before the Lord. Some things that strike me: 1) Satan just waltzed in, but the Lord didn't greet him as though his presence were expected or welcome. 2) God drew Satan's attention to Job and his faithfulness. Was it to provoke Satan? I doubt it. I think He was showing Satan the truth: that the people He created in His image really are capable of staying true to God. 3) Satan didn't buy it. Satan's perspective was, look, I know from experience that being true to You is an exercise in foolishness. Job isn't true to God, he's true to the comfy-cozy life God gave him. Satan is House. 4) Satan's perspective is all too often my perspective.
I decided I want to have Job's perspective. I want to "fear God for nothing" other than God Himself. I want it to be said of me that if everything I held dear were taken away, I would still love and follow God. I commit to that today with fear, knowing I need serious help to reach that place.