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Devotional by Ray Stedman – A God Of Purpose – A daily devotion for December 28

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Topic:A God Of Purpose

Then Job replied to the LORD: I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:1-2

The greatest theme in this book of Job is that it reveals to us the character of God Himself. God often appears to us as a cold, impersonal Being, distant from us, uncaring, even ruthless and vindictive, demanding many things from us–a powerful Being but without compassion. I am sure if you conducted a poll you would find that to be the most common view of God in the world today. The average people on the street, if they think of God at all, think of Him as being a rather cold and distant Being who is powerful and just, hard and demanding, an angry God. This God is commonly called the Old Testament God, as though God were two kinds of beings, one in the Old Testament and one in the New.

But what the book of Job shows is that behind that appearance (and even Job saw Him that way for a while), God is always exactly what He is, not ruthless and cold, but actually deeply aware of our problems. He is concerned about us, carefully controlling everything that touches us, limiting the power of Satan and allowing certain expressions, according to His knowledge of how much we can bear. He is patient, forgiving, and ultimately responsible for all that happens.

In the beginning of this book, the reader’s attention is focused on three beings: God, Satan, and Job. By the end of the book, Satan has completely disappeared. All you have left is God standing before Job, saying to him, All right, Job, I’m responsible. Any questions? When Job begins to see what God is working out in His vast, cosmic purposes and what He is making possible by means of Job’s sufferings, he has no questions to ask whatsoever. The final view of God in this book is of a Being of incredible wisdom who puts things together far beyond human dreams and imaginations, who is working out incredible plans of infinite delight and joy that He will give to us if we wait for His purposes to be fully resolved.

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The Lord mentions a time when all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7 RSV) at the creation of the world, but other Scriptures tell us about a future time when the sons of God will be revealed (Romans 8:19), when all creation will shout in a greater glory than was ever hailed at the first creation in the new creation that God has brought into being by means of the sufferings, the trials, and the tribulations of this present scene. That is why Scripture speaks in numerous passages about our light and momentary troubles that are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4:17). When that day breaks, the one thing for which we will be infinitely thankful, the one thing above all others that will thrill us and cheer us and cause us to glory, is the fact that out of all the created universe, we were chosen to be the ones who bore the name of God in the hour of danger and affliction, problem and trial. There is no higher honor than that.

Our Father, I do count it indeed a mighty privilege to bear reproach for Your name’s sake. I know that the day is coming when that will be my chief joy.

Life Application
Pain is often God’s megaphone to re-focus our attention on our gracious Lord. Are we so caught up in worldly minutia that we miss seeing the vast plan of God’s love?

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