Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 3/25/10

Job's Tormentors, William Blake, 1793

“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
James 5:11

“What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10)

It’s a wonder at times how Job endured all that was thrust upon him amidst his life. Righteous and humble, he honoured the Lord in all that he was and all that he did, careful in every step that he took to not only live by the commands that the Lord had handed down, but to respect them and cherish them in his heart as well.

Yet none of it could stop the worst from coming into his life as he looked upon the ruin that had surrounded him. He lost everything... fortune, family, and now even the esteem of his wife as she told him to just curse God and die. His health would soon fail, and even those he trusted and needed in his hour of deepest need provided no comfort to him as it had to feel as if they just didn’t understand. But then how could they? During the long course of their lives none of them had come face to face with the challenges and the adversity that Job now stood before as darkness and despair threatened to swallow him whole.

It had to be a wonder how he could face life at all as he was left destitute, the victim of a spiritual war between good and evil that had been waged generations, lifetimes before he was even conceived. It all had to seem like it was just too much, like the load was too heavy, the burden too great for him to bear. It had to seem as if fate and time had played some sort of cruel joke on him as he was given everything, only to watch it slip through his grasp as it seemed to all fade off into the distance, far from his sight.

Hope was fleeting, peace had abandoned him and he was left with nothing more than what had to seem like nothing more than the depression and the longing that cried out from his spirit for some sort of answer for the soul.

Yet, despite it all he found a knowledge and a wisdom even in those darkest days of his life that transcended the temporal understanding to offer unto him some sort of solace, some sort of comfort even as anguish and agony were so near at hand...

Yes, God did love him, and in his final days he knew that, in faith, he would see the full measure of his devotion to His Lord as he would look upon His face, standing before His throne in the flesh. Redemption would come as his righteousness would receive the full measure of that heavenly reward that came but by the grace of God unto His children. Still, despite that love, he lived amidst a world so often prone to sin and iniquity as men, in malice and pain, transgressed against man, and where little seemed fair or right. It would be in that truth that he would find his endurance and his strength as he was given the ability to persevere even as his world seemed to crumble beneath him, casting him to a pit of despair.

This was the endurance of Job...

This was the strength of that righteous man of Uz through all of the trials and the tribulation that this world could foist upon him as it sought to rob him of everything of the spirit and the soul, the body and the mind, leaving him destitute and broken, the shattered frame of the man he once was.

Unto all of us God gives that same strength, He gives that same courage as He promises us that His grace will forever and always be sufficient for us, as He promises us that where we are weak there He will be strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Unto all of us God gives that same authority, He gives that same power to overcome as He promises to shelter us from the storms of this world and uplift us in His transcending, encompassing love.

At times it may seem as if we are cast to the depth of despair as captivity and bondage, slavery and persecution wage that war of tyranny over the hearts of the people, seeking to destroy them with the terror and the horror and the evil that it brings. Yet, at these times, God’s mercy, it shines through in ways we had never expected, in ways we could have never imagined, that our path may be made clear and our direction lit, knowing that we are being carried forward by Him who loved us. This is the promise of His Word given in even the most ancient of days, in even the most ancient of trials and carried forward from generation to generation to encompass our lives.

We may not understand the true nature or the true measure of the evil or of the wickedness and unrighteousness that is heaped upon the people. But then how could we? Why would we? Our old Adversary wants to keep that carefully hidden, knowing that to expose the truth of it is to expose his presence and his weaknesses in our lives. Yet God sees through all of it as if it was crystal clear in its transparency so that He can show unto us the true face of that which stands before us. All that we can, like Job before us, endure as we accept the good while living with the evil, knowing that it is fleeting from our lives amidst the hope that God gives unto us in His blessed assurance.

Find then that endurance in your life, and pray for others to find it in theirs, regardless of the trial or the tribulation that they are forced to endure. Let God uplift you in all that you are and uplift others, edifying and nourishing them, remembering them in your intercessions to the Lord, knowing that He will forever and always be the guiding light that gives hope on to this lost and fallen world even as the moments of turmoil and hurt are upon us.

It is then that you will find the capacity to rejoice even as it seems as if everything around you is fading, for you will know the full measure of God’s love and the full measure of His reward for you as you find the strength and the capacity to carry on even when you least suspect that you had that ability within Your life. For it is here that you will find the endurance of Job amidst that deeper compassion, mercy and grace that comes from the hand of the Lord in your life.

Lord, grant this strength and endurance unto us all...

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen....

First Prayer:

The calling of Your Word compels us O Lord, hear our prayers...

The assurances of Your Promises gives us hope O Lord, hear our prayers...

The faithfulness of Your devotion shows us Your love O Lord, hear our prayers and have mercy upon Your children.

Guide them through this temporal existence, showing forth Your compassion in the lives of those who are in need. Be the rock of refuge in the lives of Your people, showing unto them that whatever the storm, whatever the adversity, there is an ever-vigilant God contending with their cause, giving the full measure of His commitment to the protection of their lives.

Throughout the world there is grim bondage and brutal captivity as life, that precious gift given by You as a deep and abiding blessing that we are to cherish, is held cheap and with contempt. Oppression and tyranny, persecution and slavery burden the hearts and the minds, the spirits and the souls as they wage their horrific war against the peace and the comfort of those promises of liberty, freedom, justice and equality that are poured forth from Your lips to the generations of saints and martyrs who have given all in the sacred trust that You held with them.

Show unto the unrighteousness of this age, the unrighteousness of all ages, that You stand firm in Your virtue and Your uprightness, bringing hope to the hopeless, and solace to those who find peace so fleeting. Show unto the wicked of this world that You are a righteous judge whose will stands opposed to the evil that can be inflicted against the weak and the innocent, the needy and destitute. Show unto the bringers of pain and sorrow, suffering and anguish that they stand opposed to Your divine hand and that, when they do, there is no place where they can hide from Your divine justice as it comes to bear in the lives of Your people.

Then shall freedom come to the captives and the slaves, then shall hope be restored to the hostages and the prisoners and all shall rejoice in the blessed hope that can and does only come by You and through You amidst the deeper calling of Your Spirit as it leads us to the places where hope does dwell and liberty shall forever reign as we rest in the green pastures of Your divine love.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Second Prayer:

In the quiet of the moment O Lord do we hear the cries and the calls of the poor and the afflicted, the captives and the slaves, the hostages and the prisoners, the afflicted and the destitute who draw breath but find that life has been robbed from them. They yearn for freedom, they desire nothing more than hope, they long for something, for anything to encompass their lives that finally liberty will carry them from these places they now find themselves to the places of Your promises, where hope forever shall dwell.

In the quiet of the moment O Lord, do we hear their tears as they ask “For how long?” In these instances we wonder the same, “For how long will they be left to the wickedness and the transgressions of this age? For how long will they be left to the sin and the iniquity of this world? For how long will they suffer amidst the pain and the sorrow that they now feel encompass their lives, devouring them whole?”

It is then Lord that we raise our voices to You in the promises You have given, in the promises of those assurances that You have given unto Your people, unto all people as You proclaimed Yourself the God of Deliverance and the God of the poor and needy, the God of the captives and the slaves.

Let not them suffer, them not then languish in such grim estate and such brutal darkness, let them not fall by the spiritual or the temporal sword that would seek to rob them of all that they are and all that they hope to be. Gird them with Your strength and give them Your endurance that they might persevere in all trials and all tribulation. Give them the sword of Your righteousness that they may slay all fear and doubt, all anguish and agony that comes upon them in these, the days of chaos and pain that so engulf them. Then, in Your time, in Your way, set them free from all that so inflicts them amidst the affliction and the sorrow that they feel.

It is then that we will know the truth of Your Word has come to bear in this lost and fallen world and hope shall be found, even as it seems that this world is set ablaze as wickedness and unrighteousness is set to flight by Your divine and holy hand in the promises You have made unto Your people, even in the most ancient of days, in the love and the compassion, the mercy and the grace that You have for them.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

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