Down to the Foundation

Scripture Focus: Job 19.19-20, 25-27
19 All my intimate friends detest me; 
those I love have turned against me. 
20 I am nothing but skin and bones; 
I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.

25 I know that my redeemer lives, 
and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 
26 And after my skin has been destroyed, 
yet in my flesh I will see God; 
27 I myself will see him 
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

Reflection: Down to the Foundation
By John Tillman

Few are truly prepared for disaster when it comes. Though some try.

“Prepping” has boomed culturally and economically. More stores stock specialized bulk food storage solutions. Panic room and storm shelter installations are up. Many have invested heavily in solar panels and emergency generators.

A prominent example is Ford’s new hybrid truck. In 2021, the gas-electric trucks were primarily marketed as mobile power sources for job sites. (Not to save the environment or any of that mushy stuff.) However, last year’s Texas power grid failure provided an unplanned testing ground. Stories of the trucks helping keep their owners’ homes warm soared in the news.

During the crisis, Ford CEO Jim Farley tweeted, “The situation in the SW US is so difficult. Wish everyone in Texas had a new F150 with PowerBoost onboard generator….” Well, the crisis certainly didn’t hurt truck sales. This year, Ford has an all-electric truck that leans hard into those stories and can automatically act as a battery backup for one’s entire home.

While prepping for disaster is wise, it more often measures income than insight. Outlays of cash in case of future crises are out of reach for most people. It is no surprise that the most well-prepared for a crisis are the most wealthy.

Job was as wealthy and secure as a person could be. It wasn’t enough. It was Job’s spiritual preparedness that got him through the crisis—not financial wisdom or disaster prepping. “Wealth builds security,” is a truism similar to some quoted by Job’s friends. It is under attack in the narrative of Job. 

Some disasters we can only prepare for by reexamining and reinvesting in our faith. We can’t generate enough power, pile up enough grain (Luke 12.16-20), or carry enough water (John 4.13-14) to survive. God, however, supplies the needy without cost. He is a never-failing spring and an eternal source of power that will not fail. We short out our faith when we plug in to other sources.

Job did everything right and everything still went wrong. He held onto his faith in God but scraped off everything else, like pus from a sore. Job deconstructed his faith in his wealth, his family, and the friends sitting with him. He stripped his faith to its foundation. From there, God helped Job rebuild. 

Whatever we face, he will help us too. Prepare for disaster. Invest in a foundation of faith.

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “Whoever holds my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him.” — John 14.21

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Job 19 (Listen – 2:58)
Psalm 28-29 (Listen – 2:41)

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Read more about Well Equipped for Good or Bad
Job shows us that…his spiritual practice prepared him to experience tragedy differently than his wife or his friends.

Well Equipped for Good or Bad

Scripture Focus: Job 19.25
I know that my redeemer lives…

Hebrews 13:20-21
Now may the God of peace…equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.

Reflection: Well Equipped for Good or Bad
By John Tillman

Whether it is students going to school, business professionals walking in to a presentation, or tourists going on vacation, no one willingly goes ill-equipped. 

A student may be ill-equipped due to economic disadvantagement. A business professional may be ill-equipped due to faulty research or poor preparation. A vacationer may be ill-equipped due to negligence or ignorance. But they aren’t ill-equipped on purpose and each of them would admit embarrassment at the outcomes of their situations that resulted from being poorly equipped.

We typically put a lot of thought and emotional and financial investment into equipment we rely on. This is true of our mobile devices—the most ubiquitous equipment that modern urbanites carry—but it is also true of any item we use frequently. However, being spiritually ill-equipped is common and our investment in our spiritual equipment—prayer and other spiritual disciplines—is often lacking. 

When a disaster hits our lives, it is often a wakeup call to our spiritual life. We pray when we’ve never prayed before. We read the Bible when we’ve never read it before. We seek godly counsel through the community of the church when we had been going it alone.

Job shows us that spiritual practice does not prevent tragedies of any kind, but we can see that his spiritual practice prepared him to experience tragedy differently than his wife or his friends. Even in his most bitter and painful moments, Job sees the truth of his situation and his desperate cries give us some of the greatest insights and prophecies of Christ’s role as our mediator.

“I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19.25-27

Spiritual disciplines allow the Holy Spirit to equip us for good and prepare us for bad. He prepares our hearts for the joys, the trials, the successes, and the failures that are and will be a part of our walk with Christ. He gracefully walks with us and will supply our needs when we call on him.

Don’t wait for tragedy to seek God or to serve humanity in his name. Engage in spiritual disciplines today that will empower you to do good now and strengthen you for evil days to come.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Send forth your strength, O God; establish, O God, what you have wrought for us. — Psalm 68.28

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Job 19 (Listen -2:48)
1 Corinthians 6 (Listen -3:03)

Read more from Meditation in Spiritual Rhythm
Meditation is a breathing apparatus to help us survive in a poisonous atmosphere polluted by anxiety and fear.

Read more about Cultivating Daily Bread
Daily bread refers to a daily need for God and purposely highlights the need for spiritual disciplines that are required for us to grow in faith.