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Monday, September 15, 2008
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"The Perishing Hope Of The Godless"
"Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider's web. He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold" (Job 8:11-15).
The other day I was doing some yard work along the side of our house and walked right into a big spider web. I even felt the bump of the spider as I quickly drew back and flailed about attempting to shake off the nearly invisible tangles of silk that clung to me. I really wasn't worried about getting tangled in the web or being eaten by the spider, but spider webs are yucky and creepy and I didn't want a spider bite, poisonous or not!
We have a row of sedum planted along the walkway leading up to our front door. Sedum is a perennial flowering plant that attracts bees like a magnet especially in late summer; also wasps, butterflies and other flying insects. On a hot sunny afternoon the entire row of these plants is swarming with flying critters.
Interestingly the spider also builds its home on the sedum. It makes its web and becomes another type of "magnet" that other flying creatures sure don't want to get tangled in!
Job is a remarkable book. Probably when most of us consider Job we recall the tremendous trial he endured, but there are so many gems of wisdom throughout the book. Today's portion is from a discourse by Bildad the Shuhite, one of Job's friends.
The Scripture begins with a timeless observation from nature: "Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass."
This is immediately followed by the statement in the daily text, "Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless."
A truth is then developed based on the observation of a spider's web: "What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider's web."
God's intended purpose for the web is very efficient for its inhabitant. Spend some time observing nature and you will see the tiny creatures resting comfortably for hours on end in their customized webs patiently awaiting their hapless prey. But it would be absolutely foolish for me, as a human, to count on a spider web to provide hope for my eternal destiny! Such absurd thinking is described by Bildad in V. 15: "He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold."
Job's friend illustrates what the majority of people do rather than put their hope, trust and reliance in the Lord. Today let us hide this important truth deep within our hearts: "Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord" (Psalm 31:23,24).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: God, You are the only source of eternal life to whom I can cling. I am confident that You will be with me to the end of my life here on this earth. I am grateful for the many people who bring me support, encouragement and companionship from day to day. They are a source of joy as they enrich my life daily. But as I grow older I'm recognizing that nothing stays the same and much of what I came to rely on is no longer accessible. Losses of people very dear to me and things once considered important no longer hold importance. I find great comfort as I cling to the words of the 73rd Psalm, "Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none that I desire on earth beside Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Brooksyne's note: Today's text regarding the person who clings to the fragile things of life reminds me of Jonah's attitude in Jonah 4. When the vine God provided for temporary shade died overnight, Jonah had relied so much on its temporary comfort, that he was "angry enough to die" upon discovering the vine had died. Talk about misplaced hope!
2 Peter 3:18
So many of the Scriptures I have memorized through the years were aided by music. There are verses I can say to this day that I hid in my heart in my younger years because I sang them. In the early 90's Intergrity had a great series with Scripture verses set to music and well produced, no longer available.
Special note: On Friday I shared a message about Jimmy. He's been in Colorado Springs all week visiting with Don and Carole. Don just called form the airport in Denver and told us Jimmy is coming back today. The mayor's husband Claire Ginder is picking him up at the airport in Baltimore! It warms my heart as I think about caring communities where people look out for each other and express care in multiple ways.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
In Christ Alone/On Christ The Solid Rock This is posted by a local church and they do a great job but the video does not match the music! I found it while looking for an online version of "On Christ The Solid Rock"
Mighty To Save Yesterday Mike (pictured above) along with his daughter Rochelle, sang this song as an offertory and I always find it uplifting. It speaks of our only hope that is in Jesus who "conquered the grave!"
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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