September 20

Job 23:10-12 (NIV) 10But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.

Job's friends continued to insist that he was being punished for his sin. They kept telling him that the wicked are always punished and the righteous are always blessed. Job told them that this was just not true. Many wicked live in prosperity and die in peace. Many righteous suffer without a cause that can be determined. He told them their counsel was not true. We'd like to think that judgment for the wicked is always swift and observable, but God often reserves judgment for the Day of Judgment.

Job had a firm conviction that he had not intentionally committed anything for which the Lord would deal with him like this. He had retraced his actions, thought through his life, and not been able to find anything for which God would be disciplining him. How few of us can make the same statement! Of course he had sinned, but he had not intentionally rebelled against God's will.

Instead of punishment, he now saw this as a refining process, just as gold is refined by fire. We will see this idea again throughout the Scriptures, but this is the first mention of it chronologically. What words is Job referring to when he speaks of 'the words of God's mouth'? He may have had an oral report of Adam to Abraham but as yet there were no written accounts that we know of, with the possible exception of the Book of Enoch. Did Job once hear the still small voice of God? He complained that no matter which direction he turned God was not to be found. Perhaps he had found God in the past in that voice within his heart, but now the heavens were silent. He treasured the words of God more than his daily food. That was what led to such a righteous life. There will be times in our life when we are walking with God and yet we do not hear His voice. We must proceed by faith, knowing He is refining and teaching the child upon whom He has fixed His love.

Encouragement: You will come out as refined gold.

September 20

Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV) 26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

What makes a person a child of God? Paul clearly says that it is through faith in Christ Jesus. Immersed (baptized) in Christ, we become clothed in Christ. When the world sees us, it should see Christ. This transformation does not come about by trying to be good. Certainly we need to cooperate with the Spirit, and that is sometimes a battle between our flesh and spirit. If we are in Christ, the spirit in us, where Christ is enthroned, should rule our flesh. When that is the case, the world sees Jesus in our words and actions.

It doesn't matter what our gender, nationality, or status in life are. We express the life of Christ. That is the only way the early church was so successful at converting the world and standing against persecution. They were indwelt by Christ, and they were clothed in Christ. That is what made them one. That is what makes us one. The same nature, character and expression of that character show a unity. That is what makes the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit One.

Just as you look back to the work of Christ, the patriarchs looked forward to the work that God promised them. As Abraham placed his faith in God's ability to provide a son, and the Son, God counted his faith as righteousness. God made specific promises about a descendant. You and I become recipients of the promises when we place our faith in Christ. Being in Christ makes you the seed of Abraham. It makes you an heir of the promise.

God didn't have a plan that didn't work and then have to improvise. He has known from the beginning exactly what He would do to bring mankind to Himself. Don't neglect the Old Testament. In it we find shadows, pictures, and promises that reveal the nature of God and His plan for us.

Remember: As you get dressed each morning, clothe yourself with Christ.