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Reflections – December 3, 2009

To You I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! I begin this new day, Lord praising Your magnificence and your power! My eyes look to You Lord my God, and I thank You for the mercy You have upon me! Though I suffer contempt and scorn from those who do not love you, I will honor You with my lips and my heart and all my being!

Today’s Readings: Psalm 123; Job 8; Isaiah 28; 1John 2:7-17

In today’s reading from Job, we have Bildad’s strong rebuke. He refers to his friends answer to Eliphaz and his complaints to God as “”a great wind.” Tough love,” as we sometimes term it, does call for us to sternly rebuke those we love at times (1 Timothy 5:20; James 4:11-12; 5:19-20) but speaking evil of a brother and judging a brother when we do not have all the facts is condemned by God. Most of what Bildad says is true and, in another situation, we would priase him for his strong defence of God. In this situation, however, what he says is not helpful to his hearer because it does not deal with the root of his friend’s pain. I can be guilty of the same, when I encounter those who are hurting and those who are struggling to find their way. Lord, help me to seek your wisdom in such situations, to rightly handle your word (2 Timothy 2:15) to bring healing and timely intervention to such circumstances!

In today’s third reading, the prophet sends forth more of his warning. In today’s reading against his own people. The prophet begins by referring to Israel’s “proud crown” that is steadily moving toward becoming “the fading flower of its glorious beauty.” That crown will soon be “trodden underfoot.” Isaiah’s clear message was rejected by many of the people so God will soon speak to them through a “foreign tongue.” Though they prided themselves in the alliance with Egypt for protection from Assyria , Isaiah warns Jerusalem’s leaders that their trust has been misplaced. He likens it to sleeping in a bed that is too short and covering with a blanket that is too narrow. As I read this message of warning, I am see in my own life areas of application. Sometimes I pride myself in alliances I have made to protect me from the evil one. I pride myself in all of the good things that I am doing to be an influence in the lives of young people, and at that very moment Satan is diligently looking for ways to bring me down. I pride myself in my concern that my boys receive “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) and at that very moment Satan presents temptations to draw me away from spending time with them and from communicating with them in a kind and loving way. But I am also encouraged by the message of hope in Isaiah’s message as he talks about the sure foundation in Zion that annuls these alliances. If I take action after receiving this warning, I can replace “sheer terror” (28:19) with the “honor” that is reserved for believers to “not be put to shame (1 Peter 2:2-8).” He indeed is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom!

Today’s final reading presents John’s challenge to live out Christ’s message and thereby bring light into a world of darkness. The challenge is: Do not love the world! The message is: You have overcome the evil one and will maintain that status as long as the word of God abides in you! What a wonderful message of hope has been delivered to me and entrusted to me to take to the rest of the world! Lord help me to be faithful in that stewardship!

Have a blessed day, dear reader!

–Randy Sexton

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