Daily Bible Reading: Job 23 (Whole Chapter)
Job was a wealthy, powerful man. He had everything – according to this world’s standards. Character, respect, possessions, lots of children… Job was truly blessed.
Satan came before God, and God asked him whether he had considered Job, His faithful servant. It was then that Satan attacked Job’s character, saying that his love of God was only because of all the blessings God had bestowed upon him. Satan said that Job would curse God if everything he had been given was taken away. As a response to this, God put everything Job had, except for Job himself, into the power of Satan.
In one day, Job lost absolutely everything. All of his possessions, gone. All of his children, killed. Job went through all that, and still came out saying, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
So, Satan comes back to God, and God shows him that Job had remained faithful despite losing everything. Satan comes back at God and says that Job would curse God if he himself were harmed. Once again, God allowed Satan to have power over Job, but he could not take Job’s life. Satan strikes Job with horribly painful boils, but never once does Job curse God. (Even though his wife lost her faith and told him to curse God and just die.)
A few of Job’s friends come along and try to convince Job that he must deserve everything that’s happening to him. There has to be something he has done that would cause God to curse him. In chapter 22, this is exactly what his friend Eliphaz is doing.
Throughout chapter 23, Job is convinced that he has done nothing wrong. He maintains his innocence, but he is pleading for God to hear him.
Do you ever get to the point in your life where you feel like God just isn’t there? I have been there, and it is a horrible feeling. I can’t say I would be like Job. I would probably have been listening to my friends and my spouse and been wallowing in self pity.
Before I first started trying to lose weight, I wallowed in a lot of self pity. Woe is me. I’m fat, depressed, and nothing in my life is going right. But I was drinking SIXTEEN cans of Pepsi PER DAY. I wasn’t exercising. I was sitting around the house with the kids, watching them play and enjoy life, and stuffing my face with candy, chips, and anything I could fit in my mouth.
And then I got contacted by DietBet, and they asked me to join in a weight loss challenge. I would be put up against 7 other Mom Bloggers, and we would all compete for the pot of $5,000. (We had to pick a charity to give at least 25% of our winnings.) I had no idea how heavy I was or how tough it would be until I took my “before” picture for that challenge. Gene took the pictures for me, and I just cried. I cried more when I sent them to the owners of the DietBet website. And I cried more the first few days of that challenge. To show you just where I was at that point, I will post the day one pictures for you again here:
And then, a few days into that challenge, I happened across Job chapter 23. I couldn’t get myself past verse 12: “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”
I must have read that verse a thousand times that first day I came across it. Where was my desire? It certainly wasn’t in the Word of God. It was in Pepsi. And chips. And brownies. And cookies. And anything I could fit in my mouth.
That verse changed everything. It became my mantra for weight loss. I no longer cried all day every day. I got up, and I went on with life. If I wanted a cookie, I pulled out my phone and read my Bible. Just one verse. If I craved a soda, I pulled out my phone and read another verse. I wanted to get to the point where I “cherished” the Word of God more than any food I could ever want.
I wish I could say this was my magic cure all, but, unfortunately, old habits die hard. With each subsequent pregnancy, I started out with the best intentions, only to eat my way back to 200+ pounds. Now, I’m trying to form this habit again. My phone is on me all day long, and when I want to eat something I know I shouldn’t, I pull out my phone and read my Bible, no matter what I’m doing. If I make Carly and Sawyer chocolate chip cookies during the day, I will read my Bible while they sit there and eat them. I have to. Otherwise, I will eat the whole batch.
Go back to verse 10 in the chapter: “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” I claim this as victory over those temptations. When I can say no to the cookies, and choose God instead, I will see the results in a smaller waist, smaller clothing size, and a smaller number on the scale. To me, that’s better than gold. That’s getting me to the healthy woman God desires me to be, someone HE can go to Satan and say, “Have you seen my daughter, Angie? How she can turn down those sugary sweets and pick up her Bible instead?” Someone HE can be proud of. That’s my desire more than anything, to have God say, “You did it. I’m so, so proud of you.”
1. When hard times come, how do you react? Do you get angry? Do you seek control? Do you get depressed and eat everything in sight?
2. How do you want this challenge to change that? What reaction would you rather have when something stressful comes along?
Workout at least 30 minutes and drink at least 8 glasses of water.
To print out today’s copy of the God Before Goodies Challenge, click here.