August 21 “Ease, distraction & poverty”


Trying to find relief or distraction through entertainment, over-indulgence, and ease will all lead to poverty, not just physical poverty, but often, poverty of the soul.

Today’s Readings:
Job 33 & 34
Psalm 98.4-9
Proverbs 23.19-21
1 Corinthians 3.1-23

Job 33 & 34:

Even evil can result in good

Elihu, the fifth person in this scene, continues with his observations. He has patiently waited while Job and his other three friends have debated the issue of Job’s sufferings and his integrity or lack of it and now he wades in.

While Elihu makes some good observations (we will see in a few chapters that even God did not rebuke him as He did the others), his understanding was still limited. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13.12:

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

There will always be things which we don’t fully understand. We see only a small portion of the tapestry of our lives, our families’ lives, and the events playing out around us. And even what we do see, we don’t see clearly. So when we go through a test or a trial or we read about some tragedy, we must filter it all through the goodness of God, the sovereignty of God, and the absolute holiness of God.

We hear of a child being molested, for instance, and we think “Why would God allow such a horrible thing?” But what if, as a result, that child got saved, and then she married a Christian man, and his life was impacted by her testimony, causing him to draw closer to God. Then when they had children, they raised them in a godly home and, as a result, their children were saved and many of the next generation and the next. Maybe a whole line of people was ultimately impacted by that horrible act, changing the eternal destiny of many. From an eternal perspective, would it be worth it?

But, too often, when it has happened to us, we get hung up on the initial circumstance. We get focused on the unfairness of it all, and refuse to trust God and allow Him to do through our trials what only He can do.

Take Job’s sufferings—if we focus on how unfair it was to Job, we will miss so much of what was accomplished here. Although Job probably never understood everything God accomplished, thousands and hundreds of thousands of us who’ve read God’s Word have the benefit of witnessing a scene in heaven and gaining greater understanding about our sufferings and the sufferings of others.

In the meantime Job’s godly children (assuming they were) went straight to heaven, and Job though he suffered greatly for a number of months, has been in heaven for several thousand years rejoicing, worshipping and fellowshipping with all of his children. I wonder how much thought he gives to those few months, except perhaps to reflect on how it deepened his relationship with God!

waves & billowsPsalm 98.4-9:

How the rivers clap their hands

The psalmist said in this passage “let the sea roar… let the rivers clap their hands … let the hills be joyful.” In Psalm 19 the psalmist said, “the heavens declare the glory of God” and in Psalm 50, “the heavens declare His righteousness.”

How can creation declare, clap, roar or be joyful? Perhaps it does so as it fills our senses with the wonder and the reality of God!

Proverbs 23.19-21:

Ease, entertainment, food, & fun

Verse 21, “For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”

Proverbs warns us that a desire for relief, distraction and fun (drunkenness), indulgence (gluttony) and laziness (drowsiness) will all lead to poverty, not just physical poverty, but often, poverty of the soul.

Proverbs 27.20 says, “… the eyes of man are never satisfied.” We can never get enough of the things the flesh craves including ease, entertainment, food and enjoyment. We end up being left empty and devoid of any peace, joy or satisfaction.

Instead, if we will allow God to fill us spirit, soul and body, we will find that the things of this world pale in comparison. And we are free to enjoy God’s blessings in their proper place and amount.

1 Corinthians 3.1-23:

Followers of Christ not men

There was great division in the Corinthian church. Many of its members were more focused on the men who led and taught than on Christ Himself. How easy it is for all of us, with our favorite teachers and pastors and speakers to get our eyes on them, rather than on God and His Word.

Encourage yourself in the LordWhile it’s not wrong to have favorite teachers, we don’t want to end up following men instead of God. And we must be good Bereans who search the Scriptures diligently and make sure that what we are being taught is the truth (Acts 17.11). Sometimes those we enjoy hearing are great Bible teachers, men and women who teach the Word of God in a balanced, accurate way, but if we’re not careful we can seek to hear those who tell us what we want to believe or hear, rather than the truth.

Paul, in writing to his disciple, Timothy, said in 2 Timothy 4:

1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom. 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

We need to pray for our leaders that they will stay faithful to preach the truth, not to please us, but to be faithful to the One who has called them. And we need to pray for ourselves that we would not be like many of the Corinthians who could only handle milk and not solid food from God’s Word!


For further study:

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