North Side Daily Devotional

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Regardless

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. "For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place.  Isaiah 43:2-3

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines regardless as despite everything.  I was thinking about this word the other day and I decided that it is a powerful word.  I was thinking about God’s plan for our lives and the adversity, heartache, illness and troubles that constantly plague us and try to keep us from His will.  He wants us to follow His will regardless.  He wants us to weather the storms.  He wants us to withstand the hardships and follow his path, no matter how hard it is – despite everything
One of the most mesmerizing, puzzling, and unpopular passages in the Bible is, no doubt, the story of Job. Job was a moral, wealthy, and godly man. As the story unfolds, his life was a bad movie script, his children were like extras that died in the first scene, and the plot that followed the first scene were all dialogue and little action – two chapters on tragedy and forty chapters on philosophy. Scholars largely agree that Job was a contemporary of Abraham and lived before the Jewish nation was founded. Therefore, Job’s account is the only biblical account of an individual stripped of cultural and national or even Jewish ties. Job is a universal and personal story, too, a story too close to home. It is easy to cry for Job, sympathize and identify with him, because you may have gone through unspeakable pain or know of someone who has gone through or is going through extreme suffering.
Job is a profile of courage in the face of adversity, because Job did not give up on his character, give in to his pain, and give way to Satan.  There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still MAINTAINS HIS INTEGRITY, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.  (Job 1:20-2:3)
First Things First  (Adapted from a sermon by Victor Yap When Life Seems Unfair)
The first thing Job did when life seemed unfair was to stay true to his character. He remained true to himself, true to form, and true to the end. God defended Job’s innocence, praised his integrity, and flaunted Job’s determination, feistiness and toughness to Satan.  Job was as good as 24K solid gold. He did not bend in his character, deviate from his character or part with his character.  He maintained – regardless.  Job’s determination to “maintain” his integrity is translated as “holding on” (2:9).
Job demonstrated remarkable courage under the circumstances, under the weather, and under the onslaught.  Job cried out in his pain, but he did not give in to the pain. He was alone in his pain, yet he refused to buckle or break. He was discouraged with things but not despondent of life. He was not bitter to the end or devoid of hope. He clung on to life and hope even though he longed for death. He stared at death in the face, but he did not blink. He cringed, but he did not cry. He fought back tears of rage, pity, or shame. That’s the essence of courage –an uprising against fear, pain, and suffering. Courage is a virtue that faces its sternest test against evil, injustice, or grievances.
Job did not consider God his true enemy, or blame Him for innocent suffering, or fault Him for not helping. He did not consider God’s ways cruel, offensive, or irresponsible. He did not blame God for taking away what he had. In fact, he thanked God for giving him the opportunity to have had something before; Job’s emphasis was on God’s gifts before God’s repossession. Job asked, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
God called Job, who passed the sternest test, “my servant” six times (Job 1:8, 2:3, 42:7, 42:8, 42:8, 42:8). God gave Job the highest honor: “There is none like him in all the earth” (1:8), a statement reserved for God alone (Ex 9:14). Job was sorely tested like no other but he remained faithful regardless of everything raging around him, his life falling down right before his eyes.  
Satan’s accusations have not changed much since: “Do people fear God for no reason? I don’t think so! What if godly people are not wealthy, if wealth no longer increases, and if natural disasters leave them penniless, their enemies won’t leave them alone, and they lose almost all who are dear to them and the money they have so painstakingly saved up? What if they lose the biggest wealth of all- their health? Will they still love You?”  Will you?  God has called us to be faithful, to love Him, to serve Him, regardless of the cost or the storm raging around us.  Will you?

Scripture to Claim:Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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