We may not understand the circumstances…but You do Lord. We may be overwhelmed by what we see…but we have faith that You remain in control…for we are the work of Your loving hands. We thank You that You are a righteous and holy God…full of kindness and faithfulness towards Your people. And so we will be still and put all our trust in You today.
Eliphaz was one of Job’s three friends that had come to comfort him after the devastating loss of his children and all his livestock. In this Scripture he is telling Job trouble is part of life. When everything is going along smoothly in our lives…Life is good. We’re happy, healthy, and prone to take God for granted. But when trouble hits…when we’re stricken with illness, or touched by loss…we change. We become frustrated and weary when illness strikes. We become bewildered and fearful of our lack of control during times of loss. It’s our attitude that changes…not God. For God remains the same…whether in good times or in bad. He’s right there beside you…offering comfort and hope no matter what you’re going through today.
The Jewish leaders thought they had the upper hand…that they were in control of the situation. But little did they realize just who they were up against. And there were many times that angry crowds threatened to stone Jesus…but He slipped away from their grasp. (John 11:8, John 10:31, John 8:59) In the human mind, the Crucifixion was the Lord at His lowest point of defenselessness and helplessness…but it was quite the opposite. Jesus Christ came to earth with one mission…to atone for our sins on the Cross. And during those three years of His ministry…He was in complete control of every situation…every moment…for He was in control of time. Several times He told His disciples, “My time has not yet come.” But later, He told them, “My time has come.” Whatever you may be going through today, remember, Jesus is in complete control of the situation…including time.
The king of the Moabites, Balak, had attempted to hire Balaam, (a soothsayer who used divination and sorcery for personal gain), to pronounce a curse on the tribes of Israel. But every time Balaam tried, out came a blessing instead. Try as he might, Balaam was forced to conform to God’s will and he realized that nothing he did would change that…no matter how much King Balak offered him. We may think evil is running amuck on the earth…unimpeded by anything. But God is still in control, ruling and reigning over every situation, every detail, every person.
Earlier in the day, Paul and Silas had been stripped, severely flogged and then thrown into prison. So we now find them hours later holding their own praise and worship service to a rather captive audience of fellow prisoners and guards. They could have wallowed in their sorrow and pain, but instead chose to worship God. When we praise God in the midst of impossible situations, the atmosphere changes and with it, our attitude. Our eyes are taken off the incurable, the grief-stricken, the hopeless dilemma…and allows God to work in miraculous ways. It says here that the earthquake caused all the prison doors to open…not just the one to Paul and Silas’s cell, and that everybody’s chains came off…not just theirs. When our focus is on praise rather than on self-pity, everyone around us will be blessed.
For many, life has been hard. Years have been lost to bad choices, addictions, and the consequences caused by other people’s decisions. We can’t but feel that our life has been robbed of time. But the Lord is telling us in this Scripture that He will completely fulfill those lost years…allowing us to reclaim the happiness and contentment…the peace and security that we thought we’d never have again. For He is the God of redemption – accomplishing the impossible, and bringing to pass the unimaginable in our lives.
If you get nothing else from this devotional today…please grasp this concept – nothing is too hard for the Lord. Job’s personal relationship with God helped him understand that nothing could hinder or stop God’s plan and purpose. Ephesians 1:11 says, “According to the plan of Him Who works everything in conformity with the purpose of His Will.” There is nothing that can prevent God’s Will from being fulfilled, for all power and might are in His hands. So if you’re facing impossible challenges today…take heart, nothing is too hard for the Lord.
We look at the chaos today and we think the world is totally out of control. But Proverbs 21:1 reminds us, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases.” Pharaoh foolishly thought he was the most powerful man in the world…arrogantly thinking that no one could usurp his authority. But Pharaoh wasn’t aware that the Lord was directing him and that he was just a pawn in God’s bigger picture. For God tells Moses in Exodus 7:3, “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart…” And in Romans 9: 17 Paul goes on to explain, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘ I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ ” So as we see the turmoil around us, we need to remember that the mighty hand of the Lord hasn’t changed…He still rules and reigns over all…He’s still in control.
As we learned from the Devotional yesterday, we have this great and wonderful treasure in jars of clay. But just like those breakable vessels, our mortal body can be stronger than we can imagine. You see, those clay jars withstood outside pressure and remained durable and lasting for hundreds of years…and so can we. This verse promises us that we can be troubled but not overwhelmed by it…confused but not to the point of hopelessness…harassed and bullied but never forsaken by our Heavenly Father. You are a jar of clay, but one tough, resilient, and tenacious jar – holding an unspeakable treasure within.
We’ve spent several days constructing a retaining wall in the back yard…and I don’t mind saying that strenuous manual labor in the oppressive heat of a Illinois Summer is hard! But now that it’s done, it was well worth all the sweat. Genesis 1:1 tells us that, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Where we had cement pavers to build with, God called the universe into being…creating everything we see, smell, and hear out of nothing. For He is the author and architect of it all…bringing into existence that which was not.