"King David" painting by Rae Chichilnitsky

Today: Psalms 18:43-50; Matthew 25:14-46; Job 40:3-24; Job 41 & 42

Psalms 18

In Psalms 18 we see how David gives God the glory for his battlefield victories. David was a skillful warrior. I’m sure he spent countless hours training his body and honing his fighting skills. Mastering swordsmanship requires intense discipline and practice. Yet David still credits God for his victories.

David had great power. He and his army conquered many other nations. How the Israelites must have revered their mighty king. I’m sure many people even worshipped him. Still he remains humble. He never says, “I deserve this victory because I’ve worked so hard.” Even after he has amassed great wealth and power he continues to give God the glory for all of it. I love his attitude.

Consider the “kings” of our own times — our elites: the movie stars, pop music stars, tech giant ceo’s, political leaders. Do we observe anyone among those who demonstrate such humility? How rare it is for anyone with great earthly power to remain uncorrupted by the snares of pride and greed. How difficult it would be to remain humble when one is worshipped by millions of people. It would be very tempting to think of yourself as a god. But David remained humble. Even when he stumbles, he quickly recognizes his sin and repents when he is confronted. I am amazed by David’s humility.

Let’s pull our focus down from the heights for a minute and examine our own hearts. Do I thank God for my successes? For my job? My money? Not always. But I should. My very life was created and is sustained by the God who created the Universe. Nothing I’ve ever accomplished would have been possible without God’s mighty hand.

"Parable of the Talents" painting by Nelly Bube

Matthew 25 – Parable of the Talents

At first glance it might seem unfair that the employer in the parable of the talents gives one servant five talents but only two to another and a measly one talent to the third servant. But there is more to the story. Do you think maybe the man knew which of his servants would manage his money the most wisely? I believe so. Jesus says that the man distributed the talents to “each according to his own ability.” (v.15) To me, it sounds more like maybe he is rewarding the more responsible servants and generously giving the irresponsible one yet another chance.

Nicky Gumbel tells us that a talent was a huge sum of money, about 20 years worth of wages. So even the poor chap who was given only one still received an enormous gift. This is true of ALL of us. We have ALL been given so much, especially those of us born into this time of wealth and convenience. Regardless of the gloom and doom the news peddles, we enjoy more prosperity and comfort now than most people have in the history of humanity. We should be so thankful.

But instead I see so many people constantly complaining, feeling sorry for themselves because they feel somehow slighted. Our incessant blathering media screams at us that we need more. But it is never enough. We haven’t gotten all that we think we’re entitled to and it’s everybody else’s fault. How seductive it is to covet our neighbor’s ‘talents.’ But envy is a prison. People who fixate on what they don’t have create their own hell of “outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (v.30) Don’t go there!

The servant who received two talents didn’t sit around bellyaching about how unfair it was that he only got two. He went out and worked his butt off with what he had. When we focus on what we already have and work hard with whatever that is, we will be happier and more successful. We are ALL blessed in one way or another. Reflect on your many blessings and thank God for them!

"The Job Painting" by Matthew Clark

Job 40-42 – God’s Reply

God again tells Job to put on his big boy pants and buckle up, “Now tighten the belt on your waist like a man…” What a great intro!

But Job knows what’s up. “I’m gonna shut my mouth now,” he wisely responds.

Then God asks Job if he can “look at everyone who is arrogant and humble him?” Job keeps silent but the answer is no. Only God can do that. Just look no further at his amazing creation to witness God’s ultimate power. How dare any one of us be arrogant in the face of such awesome might?

In Job 42 God finally rebukes Job’s worthless friends. But they make good in the end and do as God instructs them. We never hear what happens to Elihu though. Hmmmmm….

I do love Job’s happily ever after ending. After feeling really bad for Job in the first 41 chapters, I’m so happy that God restored his fortune and family and gave him another 140 years to enjoy it!

And so we complete the book of Job. This book reminds us that we all go through seasons of troubles. But Job shows us that it is possible to hold onto our faith and even to continue praising God through those rough times.

(Interesting trivia! Sci fi fans, read Job 41 and tell me God isn’t describing a DRAGON… scales, fire breathing and all. How cool is that?!)