Read: Lamentations 3-5
Marked: Lamentations 5:7, Our fathers sinned and are no more, But we bear their iniquities.
We may think that my sin is my sin and that, generally, it doesn’t affect anyone else. But that’s not true.
Our sin does affect others and, sometimes, in terrible ways. The Bible speaks of sin affecting even to the third generation. Even if I think the consequences of my sin doesn’t impact anyone else, sin always affects my relationship with God.
If my relationship with God is broken it will also affect my relationship with others. Perhaps I won’t love others as God has commanded. Or perhaps I will love them according to my will instead of loving them according to God’s will.
Read: Lamentations 1-2
Marked: Lamentations 2:17, The LORD has done what He purposed; He has fulfilled His word Which He commanded in days of old. He has thrown down and has not pitied, And He has caused an enemy to rejoice over you; He has exalted the horn of your adversaries.
Life brings both trial and triumph. We rejoice in the triumphs and sorrow through the trials. But if we experience trials due to poor choices or decisions we’ve made do we consider the reasons we did what we did?
Israel had been brought to the edge of destruction. It’s not like they hadn’t been warned. They were specifically told by God the consequences of disobedience if they wandered from the truth and went after false idols and the world.
Really, my instruction in the word is the same. I can either do things God’s way or my way. After many years I am seeing that God’s ways are better by far. Does this mean I will never experience trials? No. But it does mean the trials don’t have to bring me to the edge of destruction.
Instead, I can come to Jesus and learn at His feet how to overcome. Jesus calls all who labour and are heavy laden to come and find rest (Matthew 11:28-30).
Read: Ruth 1-4
Marked: Ruth 2:1, There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz.
During a famine in Israel, the family of Elimelech went to Moab. There he died and shortly after his two sons died leaving their wives widows.
Naomi, the widow of Elimelech, decided to return to Israel and encouraged her daughter’s-in-law to return to their own families. However, one of them, Ruth, chose to stay with Naomi and return with her to Israel.
Welcomed into the family Ruth immediately sets out to care and support Naomi and herself by gleaning in the fields of grain of a near relative named Boaz. Boaz takes note of Ruth and inquires about her, V11, and learns of her kindness to Naomi.
Boaz, who is a man of great wealth, helps Ruth. That he cares about Ruth and Naomi speaks to his character. He is a good example of a man of God through the witness he shows Ruth.
How we treat others, especially new believers, as members of God’s family is important in their acceptance, faith, and trust in the Lord.
Am I an encourager like Boaz? Do I speak words of comfort and teach others to trust in the Lord?
Read: Song of Songs 1-8
Marked: Song of Songs 8:14, The Shulamite Make haste, my beloved, And be like a gazelle Or a young stag On the mountains of spices.
In spite of the world and its ways, life is good and is to be enjoyed. Life lived for Jesus makes it all the more enjoyable.
Yet, Christians should have a strong desire to see Jesus, to be with Jesus, both now and in the kingdom to come.
Am I in love with Jesus in the same sense the Shulamite desires her beloved? Am I longing for the return of my Lord, my beloved? Can I pray alongside the apostle John and say, “Even so, come (make haste) Lord Jesus”.
Read: Job 39-42
Marked: Job 40:2, “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”
Some people desire to contend with God; Job did, but once God revealed Himself Job realized the futility of it.
How does one contend with a Being of such power and wisdom? It would be like an ant contending with a man. Would we put up with an ant trying to contend with us?
But God, with infinite love and mercy, corrects Job’s misunderstanding and restores Job’s health and prosperity. What a marvellous God we serve.
Read: Job 35-38
Marked: Job 36:5, Behold, God is mighty, but despises no one; He is mighty in strength of understanding.
God is not so mighty that He despises the weakness of man. The mighty of the world rarely have time for the weak of the world, but not God.
He is mighty in strength of understanding. He knows our weaknesses and helps us. This speaks to God’s character.
A powerful almighty being might not be too concerned with frail humanity, but He is and cares for us and respects us in spite of our weaknesses.
This Almighty God took on the form of a bondservants and came in the likeness of man to be tempted in every way we are and humbled Himself even unto death. That’s our God. That’s Jesus.
Read: Job 32-34
Marked: Job 32:9, Great men are not always wise, Nor do the aged always understand justice.
We see people as great because of education, power, or prestige and by these think them wise. But God’s word says, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:18a.
When wise men of the world contradict, or dismiss, the word of God they show themselves fools. “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom” (Job 28:28).
Wisdom has nothing to do with education, power, prestige, or age. It is given by God and learned at His feet through hearing the word of God and acting upon it. Want to be wise? Fear the Lord.
Read: Job 29-31
Marked: Job 30:20, I cry out to You, but You do not answer me; I stand up, and You regard me.
In his suffering Job felt alone and as if God had forsaken him. In chapter 29 he recalls the days he served God, “When the friendly counsel of God was over my tent (29:4)”, when he was respected and life was good.
But it all changed in a heartbeat and he doesn’t know why. Where is God? Now he is being mocked by those who once respected him.
Their taunting song. Their byword. He is afflicted physically, “My bones are pierced, my gnawing pains take no rest”. He is afflicted spiritually, “He has cast me into the mire, like dust and ashes. You have become cruel to me. With your hand you oppose me”.
I may not always understand the cause of my suffering. I may even blame God. But it is at times like that that I would do well to remember what Job said in chapter 2:10, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”
Read: Job 24-28
Marked: Job 26:14, Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, And how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?”
Job, in this chapter, briefly reflects on the creative power of God. Imagine, this power at work, stretching out the North over empty space, or hanging the earth on nothing, or to bind up water in a thick cloud.
As marvellous as that is, Job says these are the mere edges of God’s ways. What we see is the least we can know of Him; a small whisper.
If I knew God as He is, His power, like thunder, would be incomprehensible. How great is our God? I delight myself in Him.
Read: Job 21-23
Marked: Job 21:7, Why do the wicked live and become old, Yes, become mighty in power?
Life is hard enough, but when the wicked seem to prosper more than honest people, we can question the fairness of God.
But, perhaps, another perspective is that God is patient and kind and has given the righteous and unrighteous every opportunity to know Him and change.
The real truth is that there are none righteous, just varying degrees of wickedness.