WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 9, 2021
TOPIC: BETTER DAYS ARE AHEAD OF YOU
BY T. O. BANSO
“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13 New Heart English Bible).
Every day is some people’s birthday. Today could be yours. It could have passed or you’re looking forward to it. If yours is today, I rejoice with you and congratulate you. I pray that you’ll enjoy many more years on earth, and God’s purpose for your life shall be fulfilled.
People have different attitudes on their birthday. Some feel satisfied with what they have achieved in life and aspire for more. They could celebrate their birthday in a colourful ceremony. There are also those who have made substantial progress in life but don’t feel they’re yet where they think they should be. Nevertheless, they don’t see themselves as a failure. They may or may not celebrate their birthdays.
There are others who are overwhelmed or besieged by the troubles of life. Life has been like a trap for them. They are wondering why they were actually born. Life is meaningless to them. Sometimes they entertain suicidal thoughts. They could be so frustrated about life and living that they behave like Job and Jeremiah.
Job was a man whom God testified that there was none like him on the earth. God described him as a perfect and upright man, one that feared God, and turned away from evil (Job 1:8; 2:3). However, in his travails, the troubles of life weighed him down so much that he cursed the day he was born.
Job lamented, “Cursed be the day of my birth, and cursed be the night when I was conceived. Let that day be turned to darkness. Let it be lost even to God on high, and let it be shrouded in darkness. Yes, let the darkness and utter gloom claim it for its own. Let a black cloud overshadow it, and let the darkness terrify it. Let that night be blotted off the calendar, never again to be counted among the days of the year, never again to appear among the months” (Job 3:3-5 New Living Translation).
He continued, “Let that night be barren. Let it have no joy. Let those who are experts at cursing — those who are ready to rouse the sea monster — curse that day. Let its morning stars remain dark. Let it hope for light, but in vain; may it never see the morning light. Curse it for its failure to shut my mother’s womb, for letting me be born to all this trouble” (verses 6-10 New Living Translation).
Would you believe that a man that God testified there was none like him on earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God, and turned away from evil would say such a thing? But Job did and said even more. “Why didn’t I die at birth as I came from the womb? Why did my mother let me live? Why did she nurse me at her breasts? For if I had died at birth, I would be at peace now, asleep and at rest. I would rest with the world’s kings and prime ministers, famous for their great construction projects. I would rest with wealthy princes whose palaces were filled with gold and silver” (verses 7-15 New Living Translation).
Job further said, “Why was I not buried like a stillborn child, like a baby who never lives to see the light? For in death the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. Even prisoners are at ease in death, with no guards to curse them” (verses 16-18 New Living Translation).
If Job could say these words, it tells us that nobody is a superman. Life’s challenges could, sometimes, make a strong man act like a weakling. Don’t blame Job. You have not experienced what he went through. I pray you will never. But you’ll only learn from his life. You’re not qualified to criticize him. There is a difference between the theory and the practicals! Job lost his property and children; he was afflicted with sickness. In spite of his woes, he still held fast to his integrity.
Job 2:9-10 says, “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips” (New King James Version).
Unfortunately, Job’s three friends, who came to comfort him, only condemned him when they began to talk. They were miserable comforters. It was better they didn’t come or talk. Their focus was on making Job to admit that his sin was responsible for his trials. They were wrong, though Job’s attitude to his trials could not be said to be entirely right. The silence of God during almost throughout the period of his troubles affected him more than the pain of his losses.
The prophet Jeremiah, a great servant of God whose ministry caused him to be hated, rejected, humiliated, and imprisoned suffered depression. He also spoke as Job did when he was undergoing the excruciating pain of life’s troubles.
Jeremiah said, “Yet I curse the day I was born! May the day of my birth not be blessed. I curse the messenger who told my father, ‘Good news — you have a son!’ Let him be destroyed like the cities of old that the LORD overthrew without mercy. Terrify him all day long with battle shouts, for he did not kill me at birth. Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb, that her body had been my grave! Why was I ever born? My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame” (Jeremiah 20:14-18 new Living Translation).
Depression is a terrible thing. You won’t suffer it in Jesus’ name. and if you’re in that condition now, the Lord will deliver you. That great prophet, Elijah, afflicted by depression, not because of failure in the ministry, prayed that he might die. He said, “It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:4 New King James Version).
Troubles of life are real but they are not permanent. They have an expiry date. With faith in God, we could always overcome. We must never think or talk hopelessly under the weight of life’s troubles. As children of God, we have an advantage over Job, Jeremiah, and Elijah. We have a living relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We have the right and access to the benefits of the works of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. We have the Holy Spirit. And we have the Bible.
They were under the old covenant, which is inferior to the new covenant. 2 Corinthians 3:9-11 says, “If the old covenant, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new covenant, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new covenant. So if the old covenant, which has been set aside, was full of glory, then the new covenant, which remains forever, has far greater glory” (New Living Translation).
Despite the fact that Job, Jeremiah, and Elijah, were under the old covenant, God didn’t fail them. He vindicated them. Job and Jeremiah experienced what would have made them eaten back the words they spoke, cursing the day of their birth and saying all the things they said, in their sincerity, about how they felt.
Concerning the turnaround Job experienced, the Bible says, “Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers” (Job 42:12-15 New King James Version).
I am sure that, after Job’s restoration, if anyone jokingly reminded him that he cursed the day of his birth, and since he was tired of living, it was time for him to die so that he could go and rest, he would reply that the person wasn’t serious! Job wasn’t the one speaking then; it was the pain of the troubles. God knew that.
The Bible says after this, Job lived one hundred and forty years and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. Job died, old and full of days (Job 42:16-17). Don’t entertain suicidal thoughts because of the troubles of life. Don’t wish you were not born. Don’t think your troubles would continue forever. Don’t think you’ll not recover from your loss of property, business, employment, position, children, spouse, or health.
The life of Job teaches us that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). It further teaches us that God can restore the years that the swarming locust, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust have eaten (Joel 2:25).
Jeremiah’s ministry lasted forty years and all his prophecies came to pass. The people of Judah suffered for their sin and disobedience to God. They were punished because they refused to heed the warnings of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was exonerated as it were. He was set free while his tormentors were tormented!
Jeremiah 39:11-14 says, “Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, ‘Take him and look after him, and do him no harm; but do to him just as he says to you.’ So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent Nebushasban, Rabsaris, Nergal-Sharezer, Rabmag, and all the king of Babylon’s chief officers; then they sent someone to take Jeremiah from the court of the prison, and committed him to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, that he should take him home. So he dwelt among the people” (New King James Version).
The Lord didn’t answer Elijah’s prayer; he knew it wasn’t yet time for him to die. In fact, he was not meant to die; he was meant to be carried into heaven in a chariot of fire with horses of fire by a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11). Before then, God sent him back to continue his ministry. “Go back the way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha!” (1 Kings 19:15-17 New Living Translation).
Have faith in God (Mark 11:22). No matter the challenges you’re going through at the moment. God is a God of restoration. Trust Him to restore what you have lost and do much more for you. He can do it. He will do it.
If you’re going through serious challenges of life, your birthday shouldn’t be a day to wish you were not born; don’t let it be a day that suicide becomes attractive to you. Let it be a day to reflect on your life and thank God for what He has seen you through and for keeping you alive for your best days that are ahead. Let every day, not your birthday alone, be a day you expect the Lord’s visitation.
If Hannah, Rachael, Elizabeth and Zechariah, David, Jephthah, etc. had taken their lives, they wouldn’t have seen the better days they eventually experienced. Expect the Lord’s visitation.
David said, “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13 New Heart English Bible). The New King James Version puts it this way: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” This should be your attitude. be confident. Don’t faint; don’t lose heart. Believe to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. You will see the end of your present troubles.
Psalm 126:1-3 says, “When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion (Jerusalem), we were like those who dream [it seemed so unreal]. Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad!” (Amplified Bible). My prayer is that this shall be your song this year. What the Lord will do for you shall seem so unreal; it will seem like a dream; it will appear too good to be true.
If you’re enjoying the best season ever in your life at the moment, I rejoice with you and thank God for your life. However, I encourage you to live your life to the glory of God. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). It doesn’t profit you anything if you gain the whole world and lose your soul (Mark 8:36; Matthew 16:26). As Paul said, “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News” (Acts 20:24 New Living Translation). Discover, pursue, and fulfil God’s assignment (s) for you.
Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom (New Living Translation). Life is short. You must, therefore, be very careful how you live. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17 New International Version).
May the Lord do for you awesome things beyond your highest expectations. Better days are ahead of you.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I thank you for all You have done for me and more You still have in store for me. Better days are ahead of me. My tomorrow shall be better than today and yesterday. I am not a failure; I am a success. I shall not suffer depression because of the challenges of life in Jesus’ name. Father, deliver everyone who is currently suffering depression; set them free.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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