To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
November/December 2015 Issue – Bright Morning Star, ‘… for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’ Acts 4:12
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Job 21:1-16 (NIVUK): “Then Job replied: ‘Listen carefully to my words; let this be the consolation you give me. Bear with me while I speak, and after I have spoken, mock on.
Is my complaint directed to a human being? Why should I not be impatient? Look at me and be appalled; clap your hand over your mouth. When I think about this, I am terrified; trembling seizes my body.
Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not on them. Their bulls never fail to breed; their cows calve and do not miscarry. They send forth their children as a flock; their little ones dance about.
They sing to the music of tambourine and lyre; they make merry to the sound of the pipe. They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace.
Yet they say to God, “Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?”
But their prosperity is not in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked.”
In today’s reading, Job is perplexed about the apparent prosperity of the wicked; yet, he recognises that this prosperity is not due to their own hands. In Matthew 5:45, we read: “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” The rewards we will get are safely stored for us, in heaven; the wicked will suffer eternal loss on the day of judgment, we should never lose sight of this final outcome.
Selwyn starts by saying: “Yesterday we saw how many observers of human nature have noticed that troubles tend to come together – but no one can really tell why.” The further on, he asks this question: “What are some of the answers that men and women give to this particular problem?”
He then outlines one method of dealing with the issue of personal problems is to try to anticipate them – they have an expectation that the good things of life will be snatched away from them, at some point in time. Selwyn calls this attitude – disillusioned cynicism – an attitude that attempts to get some consolation from the observation that happiness does not appear to be lasting.
Selwyn’s final comment, is: “This is not a solution to the problem but a device to get around it. Jesus, however, is not a device for getting around problems, but a dynamic to deal with them.”
I think, if we just concentrate on today, and hand over all our fears about the future to Jesus, we insulate ourselves from the attitude of disillusioned cynicism. In Matthew 6:34, we hear Jesus say: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” By looking at the here and now, we will spend less time worrying about the bad things that may happen in the future.
In Matthew 6:8-13, we read this famous prayer: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” It is a prayer which focuses on our needs for this day, and we lay – in His hands – our fears about the future.