AUGUST 28 READING FROM THE ONE YEAR BIBLE
Job 28-30:31; 2 Corinthians 2:12-17; Psalm 42:1-11; Proverbs 22:7
Job is making his final defense to his friends. He recognizes God’s sovereign power but does not understand ‘why’ this suffering has come into his life.
Job gives his personal analysis of the storm he is currently weathering:
“He (God) decided how hard the winds should blow and how much the rain should fall” (Job 28:26, New Living Translation)
Job recognizes that God ultimately rules over all, even if His intentions are hidden from our understanding. Nothing escapes His attention.
At the end of the chapter, we are reminded that it is better to focus on what we do understand instead of what we don’t understand.
“The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.”
This is God’s wisdom message to mankind. It is echoed in all the Wisdom/Poetry Books of the Old Testament: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.
Job 28:12-14 (NASB) 12 “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? 13 “Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. 14 “The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
Proverbs 9:10 (NASB) 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
What is the fear of the Lord? It is supreme reverence towards God. Out of love for God, we respect who He is, what He has done, what He is doing, what He says, and what He wants. Reverential awe inspires our obedience, loyalty, and service. It is not a fear that paralyzes or brings torment. It is a fear that generates a consciousness of His powerful, loving, holy presence. The fear of God conquers all other fears. If you fear God, you need fear nothing or no one else.
In Job 29, we see what kind of reputation Job had prior to his trial. He was wealthy, generous, and well-respected. He tried to be as helpful to others as possible.
Yet he reports in Job 30:15: “My honor has blown away in the wind and my prosperity has vanished like a cloud.”
Job complains: “You throw me into the whirlwind and destroy me in the storm.” (Job 30:22)
There are times that we feel like that. However, in Job’s case, the storm will not destroy him but lead him to a place of enlarged understanding and greater blessing.
NEW TESTAMENT READING 2 Cor 2:12-17
Did you ever have days when you felt that all your plans were going down the drain? Paul experienced some setbacks in ministry, but they did not dampen his victorious spirit. His confidence was not in his planning, his budget, his staff, his finances, or his own abilities. His confidence was in God, who called him, appointed, and anointed him for ministry. God did not promise that our lives would be smooth sailing and that our plans would be executed without a hitch.
When Paul and Timothy set out on their missionary journey to Asia Minor, it seemed that their plans were falling apart. God opened doors and then closed them. The Holy Spirit who called him to preach would also forbid him to preach (Acts 16:6). God opened the door for him to preach at Troas, yet Paul had no rest in his spirit because Titus was not there (2 Cor 2:13). I don’t think that Paul was using as an excuse the fact that Titus did not show up when expected. I think this unrest he experienced in his spirit indicates how much we need one another’s fellowship in ministry. Paul was very dependent upon his team, and his teammates were dependent upon him. And they all were dependent upon the Lord.
It might have looked like Satan had the upper hand on these days. Yet Paul would not let that happen. He remained victorious. He thanked God by faith. He cited the facts about God’s perfect victory over Satan at the cross.
Notice, Paul was certain God was leading him and that God was actively turning defeat into victory. We minister from a position of victory. Paul uses the image of a Roman victory procession.
2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NASB) 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?
A “Roman triumph” victory parade was offered to Roman generals who were victorious in battle, who killed at least 5,000 in battle and gained territory for the Roman Empire. The processional would involve the general riding a golden chariot through the city of Rome surrounded by his officers. In the entourage were the spoils of their battle, those captives taken in battle who would be taken to the Circus Maximus and forced to fight wild beasts. Priests would release the fragrance of incense on the parade route.
Jesus Christ is our greater general who achieved a greater victory, defeating Satan. The spoils of his battle is that he has set the captives free, those who were once in bondage to Satan, sin, and death, and we now parade as legal sons in the victory march. Like the priests, we bring the fragrance of Christ. It will be appreciated by some and despised by others. It will speak of the greatness of Christ’s victory, our new life, and liberty in Him, but to non-believers, it will remind them that they are headed for a different destination, the circus maximus facing death with no hope, being fed to the beasts that devour.
We rely on Christ’s sufficiency. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.
In PSALM 42, We hear the heart cry of the Psalmist- a hunger and thirst after a greater knowledge of God.
PROVERBS 22:7– Here is an important call to break free from debt and help others gain their financial freedom.
“The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.”
PRAY FOR THE WORLD (from the Prayer Guide “Operation World.” More info available at operationworld.org)
MAURITIUS and MAYOTTE
One larger and three smaller islands east of Madagascar in the western Indian Ocean. One of these, Rodrigues Island, is 500 km to the east of the others. Mauritius also claims the Chagos archipelago, including Diego Garcia, which comprise the British Indian Ocean Territory.
Population: 1,294,569 Annual Growth: 0.70%
Capital: Port Loius
HDI Rank: 81 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)
Challenges for Prayer
This complex multi-ethnic and multi-religious society makes evangelism a challenge; pray for great wisdom and discernment among Christians. The Hinduization of government and culture, as well as strong ancestral and ethnic ties, make it difficult for Indians to become believers. However, large numbers of Hindus are coming to Jesus through the bold witness of evangelical/Pentecostal churches.
Most older churches face slow decline and are nominal in faith. Roman Catholics are seeing Hindu beliefs and practices make their way into churches in some places. But the charismatic movement is making a big impact on Catholics, with many coming to personal faith in Christ. Many of those impacted formed their own independent groups. The Roman Catholic Church is experiencing a move back to Bible reading and now runs several active ministries on the island. Pray for a greater spread of this spiritual vitality among traditional churches in Mauritius.
Departmental Collectivity of Mayotte
Area: 373 sq km
One larger island, Grande Terre, and one smaller, Petite Terre.
Population: 199,065 Annual Growth: 2.67%
Challenges for Prayer
Pray for the Muslim majority. The indigenous people of Mayotte are 99.9% Muslim. Although there is religious freedom and direct, open-air evangelism is permitted (and practiced by the AoG), response has been very slow, and most converts have returned to Islam. Maore folk Islam is heavily shaped by magic and cults practicing spirit possession. Despite this, a spirit of complacency rests upon the people, exacerbated greatly by the increased economic assistance from France and the EU. Pray for a spiritual breakthrough. The name Mayotte means “place of death”; pray that it may become a place of spiritual life in Christ.
There is some very small responsiveness to the good news, generally expressed as curiosity more than receptivity. Students and youth impacted by French/Western social influences demonstrate the greatest openness. Children who have demonstrated responsiveness to the gospel have been known to be punished for such interest or even taken to live elsewhere in the islands. Illegal immigrants from the Comoran island of Anjouan are also surprisingly responsive. Pray for a harvest among these groups.
PRAYER: Lord, You are the One and Only; The Holy One. You inspire our devotion, love, and service. Thank You for Your Word. We thank You for calling us, for appointing us and anointing us for ministry as members of the corporate body of Christ. You have given to us Your Son, whom You have made head over all things to the church. We trust You to continue to open doors, to provide team members, to equip and guide us in our ministries. Lord, help us to labor FROM victory rather than FOR victory, recognizing that You have won the day for us on the cross. Now thanks be to You! We trust that You are leading us in triumph. May your powerful graces be at work in us, in our spirits, souls and bodies, and may the triumphant procession of Your church be calling others out of darkness. May the fragrance of Jesus fill this place. May we put on display Your virtues and proclaim Your great Victory! In Jesus Name. Amen