1284.) Job 14

April 3, 2014
"Job's Despair,"  by William Blake.

“Job’s Despair,” by William Blake.

Job 14   (NLT)

Job muses on the frailty of man:

“How frail is humanity!
    How short is life, how full of trouble!
We blossom like a flower and then wither.
    Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear.

Job14 life is hard

Every man dies.  Not every man really lives.
~Braveheart

Dream as if you will live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today.
~James Dean

We are always getting ready to live but never living.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Must you keep an eye on such a frail creature
    and demand an accounting from me?
Who can bring purity out of an impure person?
    No one!
You have decided the length of our lives.
    You know how many months we will live,
    and we are not given a minute longer.
So leave us alone and let us rest!
    We are like hired hands, so let us finish our work in peace.

Job’s meditation of what lies beyond this life:

“Even a tree has more hope!
    If it is cut down, it will sprout again
    and grow new branches.
Though its roots have grown old in the earth
    and its stump decays,
at the scent of water it will bud
    and sprout again like a new seedling.

10 “But when people die, their strength is gone.
    They breathe their last, and then where are they?
11 As water evaporates from a lake
    and a river disappears in drought,
12 people are laid to rest and do not rise again.
    Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up
    nor be roused from their sleep.

Job14 cemetery angel

We can explain Job’s lack of knowledge of the afterlife by understanding the principle of 2 Timothy 2:10: that Jesus Christ brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The understanding of immortality was at best cloudy in the Old Testament, but is much clearer in the New Testament. For example, we can say that Jesus knew fully what He was talking about when He described hell and judgment (such as in Matthew 25:41-46). We therefore rely on the New Testament for our understanding of the afterlife, much more than the Old.

–David Guzik

13 “I wish you would hide me in the grave
    and forget me there until your anger has passed.
    But mark your calendar to think of me again!
14 Can the dead live again?
    If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle,
    and I would eagerly await the release of death.
15 You would call and I would answer,
    and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.
16 For then you would guard my steps,
    instead of watching for my sins.
17 My sins would be sealed in a pouch,
    and you would cover my guilt.

Job considers the limitless power of God – and despairs:

18 “But instead, as mountains fall and crumble
    and as rocks fall from a cliff,
19 as water wears away the stones
    and floods wash away the soil,
    so you destroy people’s hope.
20 You always overpower them, and they pass from the scene.
    You disfigure them in death and send them away.
21 They never know if their children grow up in honor
    or sink to insignificance.
22 They suffer painfully;
    their life is full of trouble.”

Job14 Jesus-on-the-cross

We are somewhat reminded of Jesus’ words at Mark 15:34: My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

On the one hand, those words were a true and accurate description of how Jesus felt; He rightly felt forsaken by God the Father at that moment. Jesus, the substitute for sinful humanity, felt the withdrawal of the Father’s fellowship. At the same time, we cannot say that the separation between the Father and the Son at the cross was complete, because as 2 Corinthians 5:19 says, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself at the cross.

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

“. . . reconciling the world to Himself” — at the cross.  So life has purpose and we have hope.  HERE  is Terry Butler’s worshipful “At the Cross.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blake.    http://img.wikinut.com/img/1u6xzik8_4ntfq-3/jpeg/0/Job-s-Depair%2C-by-William-Blake.jpeg
Life is hard.  Then you die.   http://www.rottenecards.com/ecards/rottenecard_11326514_xnyq7mdhx2.png
cemetery angel.    http://api.ning.com/files/Kl65yB*BBcJmsFRcWNDi83WLBtaT0yQpn6lMxM6-Bf2uhord*d5ihRKV8EeTgRooAmYwqIzLnrfIfkzK4Td3phCURcqm3gop/cemetery3.jpg
Jesus on the cross.    http://www.cocorioko.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/jesus-on-the-cross.jpg

1283.) Job 13

April 2, 2014

Job13 v15

Job 13   (NLT)

Job Wants to Argue His Case with God

Here Job shows himself to be a more honest observer, a more exuberant thinker, than the friends.  The mind reels at the immensity of his conception of God.  The little deity in the theology of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar is easily thought and easily believed.  But a faith like Job’s puts the human spirit to strenuous work.

–Francis Anderson

Job’s strong rebuke to his friends:

“Look, I have seen all this with my own eyes
    and heard it with my own ears, and now I understand.
I know as much as you do.
    You are no better than I am.
As for me, I would speak directly to the Almighty.
    I want to argue my case with God himself.
As for you, you smear me with lies.
    As physicians, you are worthless quacks.
If only you could be silent!
    That’s the wisest thing you could do.
Listen to my charge;
    pay attention to my arguments.

“Are you defending God with lies?
    Do you make your dishonest arguments for his sake?
Will you slant your testimony in his favor?
    Will you argue God’s case for him?
What will happen when he finds out what you are doing?
    Can you fool him as easily as you fool people?
10 No, you will be in trouble with him
    if you secretly slant your testimony in his favor.
11 Doesn’t his majesty terrify you?
    Doesn’t your fear of him overwhelm you?
12 Your platitudes are as valuable as ashes.
    Your defense is as fragile as a clay pot.

Job’s confidence in God and his own integrity:

13 “Be silent now and leave me alone.
    Let me speak, and I will face the consequences.
14 Yes, I will take my life in my hands
    and say what I really think.

JOB mind-your-language

Job enriches our language. 

Here is a quotation which has become a part of our everyday speech:  take my life in my hands.

15 God might kill me, but I have no other hope.

Job 13:15  (KJV)

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.

Writing fictionally in the voice of a senior demon instructing a junior demon in his popular book The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis stated – from a demon’s perspective – this dynamic of trial in the life of the believer: “He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

John 6:68   (KJV)

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

    I am going to argue my case with him.
16 But this is what will save me—I am not godless.
    If I were, I could not stand before him.

17 “Listen closely to what I am about to say.
    Hear me out.
18 I have prepared my case;
    I will be proved innocent.
19 Who can argue with me over this?
    And if you prove me wrong, I will remain silent and die.

Job Asks How He Has Sinned

Job asks God to tell him if sin is indeed the cause of his suffering:

20 “O God, grant me these two things,
    and then I will be able to face you.
21 Remove your heavy hand from me,
    and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence.
22 Now summon me, and I will answer!
    Or let me speak to you, and you reply.
23 Tell me, what have I done wrong?
    Show me my rebellion and my sin.

Job13 search me
24 
Why do you turn away from me?

    Why do you treat me as your enemy?
25 Would you terrify a leaf blown by the wind?
    Would you chase dry straw?

26 “You write bitter accusations against me
    and bring up all the sins of my youth.
27 You put my feet in stocks.
    You examine all my paths.
    You trace all my footprints.

Job laments the frailty of man:

28 I waste away like rotting wood,
    like a moth-eaten coat.

_________________________

Music:

Verse 15 – “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” — the ultimate expression of faith.  HERE is MercyMe and “Bring the Rain.”  “Forever singing,” the song says, which means I can be joyfully singing today, with its sunshine and rain . . .

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Though he slay me.    http://redeemingmoments.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/job13-15.jpg
Search me, O God.    http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/79/5b/e1/795be1ea1a71562a7888da79db7ba641.jpg

1282.) Job 12

April 1, 2014

Job12 frog

Job 12   (NLT)

Job’s Fourth Speech: A Response to Zophar

Job complains about his friends:

Then Job spoke again:

Job12 sarcasm“You people really know everything, don’t you?
    And when you die, wisdom will die with you!

Well, I know a few things myself—
    and you’re no better than I am.
    Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying?
Yet my friends laugh at me,
    for I call on God and expect an answer.
I am a just and blameless man,
    yet they laugh at me.
People who are at ease mock those in trouble.
    They give a push to people who are stumbling.
But robbers are left in peace,
    and those who provoke God live in safety—
    though God keeps them in his power.

Job explains his understanding of God’s ways:

“Just ask the animals, and they will teach you.
    Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.
Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you.
    Let the fish in the sea speak to you.
For they all know
    that my disaster has come from the hand of the Lord.
10 For the life of every living thing is in his hand,
    and the breath of every human being.

Acts 17:28   (Good News Translation)

‘In him we live and move and exist.’

Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving
To God the Creator triumphantly raise,
Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us,
Who guideth us on to the end of our days.
His banners are o’er us,
His light goes before us,
A pillar of fire shining forth in the night,
‘Til shadows have vanished and darkness is banished,
As forward we travel from light into light.
.
His law He enforces: the stars in their courses,
The sun in His orbit, obediently shine;
The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains,
The deeps of the ocean proclaim Him divine,
We too should be voicing
Our love and rejoicing,
With glad adoration a song let us raise,
‘Til all things now living unite in thanksgiving
To God in the highest, hosanna and praise.

–Katherine Davis

11 The ear tests the words it hears
    just as the mouth distinguishes between foods.
12 Wisdom belongs to the aged,
    and understanding to the old.

Job describes the great power of God:

13 “But true wisdom and power are found in God;
    counsel and understanding are his.
14 What he destroys cannot be rebuilt.
    When he puts someone in prison, there is no escape.
15 If he holds back the rain, the earth becomes a desert.
    If he releases the waters, they flood the earth.
16 Yes, strength and wisdom are his;
    deceivers and deceived are both in his power.
17 He leads counselors away, stripped of good judgment;
    wise judges become fools.
18 He removes the royal robe of kings.
    They are led away with ropes around their waist.
19 He leads priests away, stripped of status;
    he overthrows those with long years in power.
20 He silences the trusted adviser
    and removes the insight of the elders.
21 He pours disgrace upon princes
    and disarms the strong.

22 “He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness;
    he brings light to the deepest gloom.
23 He builds up nations, and he destroys them.
    He expands nations, and he abandons them.
24 He strips kings of understanding
    and leaves them wandering in a pathless wasteland.
25 They grope in the darkness without a light.
    He makes them stagger like drunkards.

Perhaps here Job is describing himself — a formerly prominent man now stripped of understanding, wandering in a wasteland, groping in the darkness, staggering like a drunk.

_________________________

Music:

In verse 10 Job tells us that the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.  Creation speaks to us of the power and glory of God!  HERE  is the St. Philips Boys Choir with John Rutter’s beautiful arrangement of “For the Beauty of the Earth.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
frog.    http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/ecards/scripture-cards/job-12-10-frog-550×320.jpg
sarcasm.    http://rlv.zcache.com/sarcasm_just_one_of_the_services_i_offer_postcard-rd3b22e8c5fae46e0a1469719ec99af1b_vgbaq_8byvr_324.jpg

1281.) Job 11

March 31, 2014

Job11 v7

Job 11   (NLT)

Zophar’s First Response to Job

Zophar criticizes Job for his complaining:

Then Zophar the Naamathite replied to Job:

Zophar wastes little time boring straight to the heart of the matter (as he interprets it).  By comparison with Eliphaz and Bildad, he is almost brutal in his bluntness.  “Should thy lies make men hold their peace? . . . But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee . . . God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth” (verses 3, 5-6).  He appeals to God’s great wisdom and control, which dwarfs that of vain and ignorant men, and urges Job to return to God, where he will find both security and hope.

–Walk Thru the Bible Ministries

“Shouldn’t someone answer this torrent of words?
    Is a person proved innocent just by a lot of talking?
Should I remain silent while you babble on?
    When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed?
You claim, ‘My beliefs are pure,’
    and ‘I am clean in the sight of God.’
If only God would speak;
    if only he would tell you what he thinks!
If only he would tell you the secrets of wisdom,
    for true wisdom is not a simple matter.
Listen! God is doubtless punishing you
    far less than you deserve!

Job11 Romans_11-33
“Can you solve the mysteries of God?

    Can you discover everything about the Almighty?
Such knowledge is higher than the heavens—
    and who are you?

It is deeper than the underworld—
    what do you know?
It is broader than the earth
    and wider than the sea.
10 If God comes and puts a person in prison
    or calls the court to order, who can stop him?
11 For he knows those who are false,
    and he takes note of all their sins.
12 An empty-headed person won’t become wise
    any more than a wild donkey can bear a human child.

Zophar’s advice to Job:

13 “If only you would prepare your heart
    and lift up your hands to him in prayer!
14 Get rid of your sins,
    and leave all iniquity behind you.
15 Then your face will brighten with innocence.
    You will be strong and free of fear.

It is arrogance on the part of Zophar to think that he knows why Job is suffering.  We know from the prologue that it was not because Job had sinned.  Job was called by God to join that grand company of innocent sufferers for the glory of the Lord.  (The Reformation Bible)

1 Peter 4:13   (ESV)

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

16 You will forget your misery;
    it will be like water flowing away.
17 Your life will be brighter than the noonday.
    Even darkness will be as bright as morning.
18 Having hope will give you courage.
    You will be protected and will rest in safety.
19 You will lie down unafraid,
    and many will look to you for help.
20 But the wicked will be blinded.
    They will have no escape.
    Their only hope is death.”

_________________________

Music:

James tells us, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, and purify your thoughts.”  In our suffering, too often I am guilty of just wanting it to stop!  Enough already!  But do I pause and ask God to perfect His purposes in me through the suffering?  HERE  is a Lenten hymn to help us “purify our thoughts” and draw closer to Christ.   Isaac Watts’ “Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed”  is sung by the Sharon Singers of the Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute in Pennsylvania.  The tune they use is unfamiliar to me but fits the hymn quite well, I think.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Can you fathom the mysteries of God.    http://wallpaper4god.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Job11_7.jpg
Romans 11:33.    http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Inspirational-Images/large/Romans_11-33.jpg

1280.) Job 10

March 28, 2014

“Job,” by Jan (the Elder) Lievens, 1631 (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa)

Job 10   (NLT)

Job Frames His Plea to God

What Job would say to God if he could:

“I am disgusted with my life.
Let me complain freely.
My bitter soul must complain.

Pity Party. 

A way of experiencing grief, in which you spend your time feeling sorry for yourself and whining endlessly about how crappy your life is.
Pity Parties can be just for one or for many people, such as your friends, who will try to comfort you or just be there for you while you keep asking yourself what did you do to deserve whatever it is that made you so sad in the first place.
Pity Parties require the proper outfit, which is usually pajamas because you don’t get all dressed up during those feeling-sorry-for-myself moments. Also you should have no make up on or just what remains from the night before; hair undone as well.
They also involve tissues — and comfort food such as ice cream, chocolate, potato chips, cookies, cake, and candy. Low fat food is banned.

–urbandictionary.com

2 I will say to God, ‘Don’t simply condemn me—
tell me the charge you are bringing against me.
3 What do you gain by oppressing me?
Why do you reject me, the work of your own hands,
while smiling on the schemes of the wicked?
4 Are your eyes like those of a human?
Do you see things only as people see them?
5 Is your lifetime only as long as ours?
Is your life so short
6 that you must quickly probe for my guilt
and search for my sin?
7 Although you know I am not guilty,
no one can rescue me from your hands.

Now Job reminds God that in creating humankind He has assumed responsibilities from which He cannot honorably escape!

–Harold St. John

8 “‘You formed me with your hands; you made me,
yet now you completely destroy me.
9 Remember that you made me from dust—
will you turn me back to dust so soon?

Genesis 2:7 (New International Version)

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

10 You guided my conception
and formed me in the womb.
11 You clothed me with skin and flesh,
and you knit my bones and sinews together.
12 You gave me life and showed me your unfailing love.
My life was preserved by your care.

Psalm 139:14 (New International Version)

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.

Job’s agonized question: “Why, God?”

13 “‘Yet your real motive—
your true intent—
14 was to watch me, and if I sinned,
you would not forgive my guilt.
15 If I am guilty, too bad for me;
and even if I’m innocent, I can’t hold my head high,
because I am filled with shame and misery.
16 And if I hold my head high, you hunt me like a lion
and display your awesome power against me.
17 Again and again you witness against me.
You pour out your growing anger on me
and bring fresh armies against me.

Job is searching for an answer to his suffering, an answer to the question of why bad things happen to good people.  His answer:  if it isn’t my fault, it must be God’s fault.  He claims God is out to get him.  If that is the case, then, what is the point of living?  What is life all about?

Job asks God to leave him alone:

18 “‘Why, then, did you deliver me from my mother’s womb?
Why didn’t you let me die at birth?
19 It would be as though I had never existed,
going directly from the womb to the grave.
20 I have only a few days left, so leave me alone,
that I may have a moment of comfort
21 before I leave—never to return—
for the land of darkness and utter gloom.
22 It is a land as dark as midnight,
a land of gloom and confusion,
where even the light is dark as midnight.’”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a modern-day rendering of the same question:  Why do we live?  “Alfie”  by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and sung by Dionne Warwick.

What’s it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie,
then I guess it’s wise to be cruel.
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie,
what will you lend on an old golden rule?
As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, Alfie,
I know there’s something much more,
something even non-believers can believe in.
I believe in love, Alfie.
Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, Alfie.
When you walk let your heart lead the way
and you’ll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Lievens.  http://popartmachine.com/artwork/NGC-NGC_.4093/0/Jan-%28the-Elder%29-Lievens-Job-1631-painting-artwork-print.jpg
pity party.  http://s2.hubimg.com/u/4593989_f496.jpg
first man Adam and perfect man Christ.  http://heavenlytours.us/images/creating_adam.jpg
newborn baby.  http://www.newbornbabyzone.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/newborn-baby-needs.jpg
question marks.  http://www.freeimagesarchive.com/data/media/34/10_question-mark.jpg

1279.) Job 9

March 27, 2014

Job — pen, ink, and wash, by Chuck Berk, 2011.

Job 9   (NLT)

Job’s Third Speech: A Response to Bildad

Job praises the wisdom and strength of God, though it means that God is beyond his ability to know:

Then Job spoke again:

2 “Yes, I know all this is true in principle.
But how can a person be declared innocent in God’s sight?
3 If someone wanted to take God to court,
would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times?
4 For God is so wise and so mighty.
Who has ever challenged him successfully?

Romans 3:19-20 (New Century Version)

We know that the law’s commands are for those who have the law. This stops all excuses and brings the whole world under God’s judgment, because no one can be made right with God by following the law. The law only shows us our sin.

So Job begins to describe the powerful God he is up against:

5 “Without warning, he moves the mountains,
overturning them in his anger.
6 He shakes the earth from its place,
and its foundations tremble.
7 If he commands it, the sun won’t rise
and the stars won’t shine.
8 He alone has spread out the heavens
and marches on the waves of the sea.

9 He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky.

10 He does great things too marvelous to understand.
He performs countless miracles.

11 “Yet when he comes near, I cannot see him.
When he moves by, I do not see him go.
12 If he snatches someone in death, who can stop him?
Who dares to ask, ‘What are you doing?’
13 And God does not restrain his anger.
Even the monsters of the sea are crushed beneath his feet.

There are many thoughts in this passage that connect with Jesus.

  • We read that God treads on the waves of the sea; Jesus walks on the water.
  • We read that God made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and star was made to announce the birth of Jesus.
  • We read that God does great things past finding out, yes wonders without number and Jesus did uncountable miracles and great things.
  • We read that God moves past, and I do not perceive Him, and Jesus could pass through an angry crowd as if He were invisible (John 8:59).
  • We read that no one can say to God, “What are You doing?” and in the life of Jesus it would come to pass that no one dared ask Him any more questions (Mark 12:34).
  • We read that God will not withdraw His anger, so we are not surprised that sometimes Jesus showed anger.
  • We read it is said of God, the allies of the proud lie prostrate beneath him, and so also evil spirits fell prostrate at the feet of Jesus (Mark 3:11).

“What wonderful irony there is in seeing Job set out to describe the immortal and invisible God, and in the process paint a stunningly accurate portrayal of the earthly Jesus!” (Mason)

–David Guzik

Job wonders how to answer such a mighty God:

14 “So who am I, that I should try to answer God
or even reason with him?
15 Even if I were right, I would have no defense.
I could only plead for mercy.
16 And even if I summoned him and he responded,
I’m not sure he would listen to me.
17 For he attacks me with a storm
and repeatedly wounds me without cause.
18 He will not let me catch my breath,
but fills me instead with bitter sorrows.
19 If it’s a question of strength, he’s the strong one.
If it’s a matter of justice, who dares to summon him to court?
20 Though I am innocent, my own mouth would pronounce me guilty.
Though I am blameless, it would prove me wicked.

Why does a good God let bad things happen to good people?  Eliphaz had one explanation:  Job is not good.  We know that isn’t right because in chapter 1 both the author and God affirm Job as a good man.  So here in chapter 9 Job is flirting with a different opinion — that God is not so good because he is not fair, overwhelming mere mortals, sending punishment on both the righteous and the wicked.  But the resurrection of Jesus Christ proves irrevocably that power and goodness are united forever.  As the old saying goes:  God is good, all the time.  All the time, God is good.

He explains his own inability to defend himself before God:

21 “I am innocent,
but it makes no difference to me—
I despise my life.
22 Innocent or wicked, it is all the same to God.
That’s why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
23 When a plague sweeps through,
he laughs at the death of the innocent.
24 The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked,
and God blinds the eyes of the judges.
If he’s not the one who does it, who is?

25 “My life passes more swiftly than a runner.
It flees away without a glimpse of happiness.
26 It disappears like a swift papyrus boat,
like an eagle swooping down on its prey.
27 If I decided to forget my complaints,
to put away my sad face and be cheerful,
28 I would still dread all the pain,
for I know you will not find me innocent, O God.
29 Whatever happens, I will be found guilty.
So what’s the use of trying?
30 Even if I were to wash myself with soap
and clean my hands with lye,
31 you would plunge me into a muddy ditch,
and my own filthy clothing would hate me.

Psalm 51:7 (New International Version)

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Job longs for a mediator to help:

32 “God is not a mortal like me,
so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial.
33 If only there were a mediator between us,
someone who could bring us together.

If only!

1 Timothy 2:5-6 (New Living Translation)

For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.  He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.

34 The mediator could make God stop beating me,
and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment.
35 Then I could speak to him without fear,
but I cannot do that in my own strength.”

_________________________

Music:

“If only!”  Such lovely pictures of Jesus in this Old Testament chapter!  “You are my all-in-all,”  sung  HERE  by Nicole Nordeman.  I hear it anew in the context of Job and his struggles.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Berk.  http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-nWTExPIUKF0/TY6hil_IR1I/AAAAAAAABeM/C5y0GcoThdM/s1600/Job_98.jpg
Jesus walks on water.   http://raynoah.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/jesus-walking-on-water.jpg
star of Bethlehem.   http://images.hellokids.com/_uploads/_tiny_galerie/20091250/star-of-bethlehem-wallpaper-source_bff.jpg
Jesus heals Jairus’ daughter.     http://blissphil.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/jesus_heals_jairus_daughter.jpg
not fair.  http://www.kathyhoward.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/its-not-fair.jpg
snow.   http://shoulderingmycross.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/shuksan-03-04-84-91.jpg
Jesus.  http://www.jehova.net/prayer/jesus-mediator.jpg

1278.) Job 8

March 26, 2014

Job8 v21
Job 8   (NLT)

Bildad’s First Response to Job

Bildad rebukes Job:

Then Bildad the Shuhite replied to Job:

This reply presents Bildad as a blunt and unfeeling man.  He had failed to hear Job’s cry for compassion (Job 6:13, 14, 26).  His message to Job is forthright:  He and his family have gotten what they deserve.  If only now he will repent of the shameless deeds that brought on this disaster, he can be restored to even greater prosperity and happiness than he had before.  (The Reformation Bible)

Bildad sees it all in black and white.  He prides himself on his no-nonsense manner.  Save us from Bildads when we are suffering!

“How long will you go on like this?
    You sound like a blustering wind.
Does God twist justice?
    Does the Almighty twist what is right?
Your children must have sinned against him,
    so their punishment was well deserved.

There is no indication that Job’s children were destroyed because of their transgressions, and even had there been, it was a cruel thing to say to a man in great sorrow and suffering.

–William MacDonald

But if you pray to God
    and seek the favor of the Almighty,
and if you are pure and live with integrity,
    he will surely rise up and restore your happy home.

Job8 mercy

So in Bildad’s view, God has mercy only when human beings deserve it by being pure and upright.   But by definition mercy is never deserved!  The Lord is not unwilling to be merciful!

Isaiah 30:18   (ESV)

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.

And though you started with little,
    you will end with much.

“Just ask the previous generation.
    Pay attention to the experience of our ancestors.

Eliphaz had appealed to revelation as his authority, even though that revelation came in a hair-raising dream (Job 4:12-17).  Bildad appeals to human tradition.   (The Reformation Bible)

For we were born but yesterday and know nothing.
    Our days on earth are as fleeting as a shadow.
10 But those who came before us will teach you.
    They will teach you the wisdom of old.

Bildad applies his common-sense wisdom to Job’s situation:

Job8 papyrus
11 
“Can papyrus reeds grow tall without a marsh?

Job8 lowcountry marsh
    Can marsh grass flourish without water?

12 While they are still flowering, not ready to be cut,
    they begin to wither more quickly than grass.
13 The same happens to all who forget God.
    The hopes of the godless evaporate.

Orb spider web; J Schmidt; 1977
14 Their confidence hangs by a thread.
    They are leaning on a spider’s web.

15 They cling to their home for security, but it won’t last.
    They try to hold it tight, but it will not endure.

Job8 rock_garden_yellow_flowers
16 The godless seem like a lush plant growing in the sunshine,
    its branches spreading across the garden.
17 Its roots grow down through a pile of stones;
    it takes hold on a bed of rocks.

18 But when it is uprooted,
    it’s as though it never existed!
19 That’s the end of its life,
    and others spring up from the earth to replace it.

20 “But look, God will not reject a person of integrity,
    nor will he lend a hand to the wicked.
21 He will once again fill your mouth with laughter
    and your lips with shouts of joy.
22 Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,
    and the home of the wicked will be destroyed.”

_________________________

Music:

Papyrus plants, marsh grasses, spider webs, lush plants — nature pictures to show truth!  HERE  is Rebecca St. James and “God of Wonders.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
He will yet fill your mouth.    http://www.motivationalquotes.com/postcards/cards/Job8_21.jpg
God’s mercy.   http://thecrackeddoor.com/Main/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/mercy3.jpe
papyrus.    http://www.egyptgiftshop.com/images/cyperus_papyrus.jpg
marsh.    http://festivaresorts.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/marsh_picture-33395413.png
spider web.    http://www.nps.gov/features/yell/slidefile/arthropods/spiders/Images/06644.jpg
yellow flowers.    http://www.mnn.com/sites/default/files/user/132046/rock_garden_yellow_flowers.jpg

1277.) Job 7

March 25, 2014

Job7 knitting

Job 7   (NLT)

The comfortless suffering of Job:

“Is not all human life a struggle?

Struggle.  The word in Hebrew is descriptive of military service, hard service.  The Latin Vulgate translates, The life of man is a warfare upon earth.  The early English Coverdale translation has it, Is not the life of man upon earth a very battle?  The Complete Jewish Bible puts it, Human life on earth is like serving in the army.  With this Job communicated both the struggle of life, together with the idea that he has been drafted unwillingly into this battle.

–David Guzik

    Our lives are like that of a hired hand,
like a worker who longs for the shade,
    like a servant waiting to be paid.
I, too, have been assigned months of futility,
    long and weary nights of misery.
Lying in bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning?’
    But the night drags on, and I toss till dawn.
My body is covered with maggots and scabs.
    My skin breaks open, oozing with pus.

Job Cries Out to God

“My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle.
    They end without hope.
O God, remember that my life is but a breath,
    and I will never again feel happiness.

JOB mind-your-language

Job enriches our language. 

Here is a quotation which has become a part of our everyday speech: My life is but a breath.

You see me now, but not for long.
    You will look for me, but I will be gone.
Just as a cloud dissipates and vanishes,
    those who die will not come back.
10 They are gone forever from their home—
    never to be seen again.

Job’s complaint to God:

11 “I cannot keep from speaking.
    I must express my anguish.
    My bitter soul must complain.

Job7 v11

12 Am I a sea monster or a dragon
    that you must place me under guard?
13 I think, ‘My bed will comfort me,
    and sleep will ease my misery,’
14 but then you shatter me with dreams
    and terrify me with visions.
15 I would rather be strangled—
    rather die than suffer like this.
16 I hate my life and don’t want to go on living.
    Oh, leave me alone for my few remaining days.

17 “What are people, that you should make so much of us,
    that you should think of us so often?

Job, in his distress, wishes that God would leave him alone.  But the psalmist is not suffering, so his thoughts on this subject are positive.  He marvels that God cares so much for the creature He has made to reflect His own image.
(The Reformation Bible)

Psalm 144:1-4  (ESV)

Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    and my fingers for battle; (see verse 1 above)
he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
    who subdues peoples under me.

O Lord, what is man that you regard him,
    or the son of man that you think of him?
Man is like a breath;
    his days are like a passing shadow.

18 For you examine us every morning
    and test us every moment.
19 Why won’t you leave me alone,
    at least long enough for me to swallow!
20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you,
    O watcher of all humanity?
Why make me your target?
    Am I a burden to you?
21 Why not just forgive my sin
    and take away my guilt?
For soon I will lie down in the dust and die.
    When you look for me, I will be gone.”

_________________________

Music:

Job’s story gives courage and illumination to us as readers.  We know that his questions and complaints are not out of line, and that God is able to answer every one in a perfect way.  So when we, centuries after Job, find ourselves in those moments when so much seems dark and confused and lost — when life is so not what we had hoped for — I remind myself that Job found God to be faithful and so will I.  Then I turn to this song, one of my favorites by the wonderful Twila Paris.  HERE  is “I Will Listen.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
knitting.    http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j3/kempfyre21/knitting-1.jpg
Therefore I will not keep silent.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/job7_11.jpg

1276.) Job 6

March 24, 2014

Job6 Job

Job 6   (NLT)

Job’s Second Speech: A Response to Eliphaz

Job laments his affliction:

Then Job spoke again:

Job’s friends were kind enough to sit with him in sympathetic silence for some seven days (Job 2:13). Job broke the silence with an anguished rant (Job 3), and Eliphaz responded with a poetic call to repentance (Job 4-5). Now Job will answer the words of Eliphaz the Temanite.

–David Guzik

“If my misery could be weighed
    and my troubles be put on the scales,
they would outweigh all the sands of the sea.
    That is why I spoke impulsively.
For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows.
    Their poison infects my spirit.
    God’s terrors are lined up against me.
Don’t I have a right to complain?
    Don’t wild donkeys bray when they find no grass,
    and oxen bellow when they have no food?
Don’t people complain about unsalted food?
    Does anyone want the tasteless white of an egg?
My appetite disappears when I look at it;
    I gag at the thought of eating it!

Job6 egg whites

Job explains that there is a reason for his grief and complaint.  Eliphaz has offered him no real, tasty food, i.e., words of comfort.  (The Reformation Bible)

Job longs for God to grant the escape of death:

“Oh, that I might have my request,
    that God would grant my desire.
I wish he would crush me.
    I wish he would reach out his hand and kill me.
10 At least I can take comfort in this:
    Despite the pain,
    I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

Job laments his weakness:

11 But I don’t have the strength to endure.
    I have nothing to live for.
12 Do I have the strength of a stone?
    Is my body made of bronze?
13 No, I am utterly helpless,
    without any chance of success.

Job challenges Eliphaz:

14 “One should be kind to a fainting friend,
    but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty.
15 My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook
    that overflows its banks in the spring
16     when it is swollen with ice and melting snow.
17 But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears.
    The brook vanishes in the heat.
18 The caravans turn aside to be refreshed,
    but there is nothing to drink, so they die.
19 The caravans from Tema search for this water;
    the travelers from Sheba hope to find it.
20 They count on it but are disappointed.
    When they arrive, their hopes are dashed.
21 You, too, have given no help.
    You have seen my calamity, and you are afraid.

Job4 friend Snoopy

Here is the heart of Job’s complaint against his friend:  you have given no help; you are afraid.    So often I have seen this, even within the church!  We hit a hard time in our life, and certain friends disappear.  They stay away because they don’t know what to say or do.  Example:  A friend of mine lost her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren in a terrible accident.  She says people do not mention her family to her, because they don’t want to “remind” her of what has happened — “as if I could ever forget it,” she told me.  So she gets no sympathy or encouragement in her troubles . . . 

When people around us are in pain, let us be bringers of comfort and hope.  Let us pay attention to the stories of the loved ones who are now gone.  Let us offer the simple gifts of listening and friendship.  It is not our job to fix the problem or the person; our job is just show we care.  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God” (1 John 4:7).

22 But why? Have I ever asked you for a gift?
    Have I begged for anything of yours for myself?
23 Have I asked you to rescue me from my enemies,
    or to save me from ruthless people?
24 Teach me, and I will keep quiet.
    Show me what I have done wrong.
25 Honest words can be painful,
    but what do your criticisms amount to?
26 Do you think your words are convincing
    when you disregard my cry of desperation?
27 You would even send an orphan into slavery
    or sell a friend.
28 Look at me!
    Would I lie to your face?
29 Stop assuming my guilt,
    for I have done no wrong.
30 Do you think I am lying?
    Don’t I know the difference between right and wrong?

The words “teach me,” “cause me,” “what does your arguing prove,” and “concede” are all demands for evidence and proof. He turns to Eliphaz and says, ‘You say that I’m suffering because of sin, but you’ve never pointed anything out specifically. Teach me and tell me what my sin is. But until you do, there’s no proof of your argument.”

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

What a treasure we have in a good friend!  HERE  is James Taylor in “You’ve Got a Friend.”

(Note to self:  Who can count on me to be a true friend?)

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Job’s misery.    http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k27/jakyl32/1-365%20Rosaries-%20FEBRUARY/job6.jpg
egg whites.    http://mightydelighty.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Spinach-egg-white-salad-8.jpg
Snoopy.    http://ringlesswife.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/n4fb189fc06f24.gif

1275.) Job 5

March 21, 2014

Job5 v10

Job 5   (NLT)

Eliphaz’s Response Continues

“Cry for help, but will anyone answer you?
Which of the angels will help you?
2 Surely resentment destroys the fool,
and jealousy kills the simple.
3 I have seen that fools may be successful for the moment,
but then comes sudden disaster.
4 Their children are abandoned far from help;
they are crushed in court with no one to defend them.
5 The hungry devour their harvest,
even when it is guarded by brambles.
The thirsty pant after their wealth.
6 But evil does not spring from the soil,
and trouble does not sprout from the earth.
7 People are born for trouble
as readily as sparks fly up from a fire.

As the Sparks Fly Upward

The little babe I held upon my knee
Had not yet banished from his sleeping eyes
The dreams of some lost world from which he came,
Nor missed some angel-choirèd paradise.
Strange little soul that claimed me not his own
By glance or smile, but with no seeing gaze
Looked to me who, all timid, dared to call
This wonder mine, and held it in amaze.
I prayed, ‘When comes the light of consciousness
Of things that be to hold him so he seek
To know what place life now had set him in,
And at whose mercy left, so young and weak,
‘Let it be mine, the face he first shall see
Bent on him, full of welcome and of joy,
So that his smile, on thus beholding love,
The pain of coming tears shall half destroy.
‘Or if some day he looks to learn, and I
Am not beside, oh! let it be the sun
Or some fair thing shall greet his seeing eyes,
So he shall find life good and well begun.’
Beside the fire I held him close, and sang
Some sweet child ditty, bidding him to sleep,
And broke the log to make it flame and glow;
Then in his eyes I saw a wonder creep.
Now peeped the soul from out his startled gaze.
‘Look first on me,’ I cried, ‘my little child!’
But from my kiss he held his face away,
And as the sparks flew up he saw and smiled.

 – Dora Sigerson Shorter, Irish poet (1866-1918)

8 “If I were you, I would go to God
and present my case to him.

3)   Here is the third false assumption Eliphaz bases his argument on:  that Job, because he was suffering, must have done something wrong in God’s eyes.  Job must repent.

9 He does great things too marvelous to understand.
He performs countless miracles.
10 He gives rain for the earth
and water for the fields.
11 He gives prosperity to the poor
and protects those who suffer.
12 He frustrates the plans of schemers
so the work of their hands will not succeed.
13 He traps the wise in their own cleverness
so their cunning schemes are thwarted.
14 They find it is dark in the daytime,
and they grope at noon as if it were night.
15 He rescues the poor from the cutting words of the strong,
and rescues them from the clutches of the powerful.
16 And so at last the poor have hope,
and the snapping jaws of the wicked are shut.

17 “But consider the joy of those corrected by God!
Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.

Eliphaz reminds Job that God will graciously restore those who repent of their sins and turn to him.  This, of course, is absolutely true.

Psalm 91:9-10 (New Living Translation)

If you make the Lord your refuge,
      if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
      no plague will come near your home.

 18 For though he wounds, he also bandages.
He strikes, but his hands also heal.
19 From six disasters he will rescue you;
even in the seventh, he will keep you from evil.
20 He will save you from death in time of famine,
from the power of the sword in time of war.
21 You will be safe from slander
and have no fear when destruction comes.
22 You will laugh at destruction and famine;
wild animals will not terrify you.
23 You will be at peace with the stones of the field,
and its wild animals will be at peace with you.
24 You will know that your home is safe.
When you survey your possessions, nothing will be missing.
25 You will have many children;
your descendants will be as plentiful as grass!

Ouch!  Eliphaz, this seems cruel, given that Job has just lost most of his possessions and all of his ten children.

26 You will go to the grave at a ripe old age,
like a sheaf of grain harvested at the proper time!

Spurgeon preached a sermon on the words “You shall come to the grave at a full age, as a sheaf of grain ripens in its season.” These were his points of development regarding the death of a Christian: 

~Death is inevitable (You shall come) 
~Death is acceptable (You shall come)  
~Death is timely (at a full age)  
~Death is honorable (as a sheaf of grain ripens in its season)

27 “We have studied life and found all this to be true.
Listen to my counsel, and apply it to yourself.”

Again, the implication is clear. Eliphaz believed that the justice of God, at this present time, worked against Job because Job was in sin and refused to see it. If Job would only see this and repent! — perhaps the justice of God would once again work on his behalf.  Yes, Eliphaz had the answer to Job’s crisis, or at least in his arrogance he thought he did.

_________________________

Music:

For all his misunderstandings, Eliphaz knew that God disciplines us when we do wrong for the sake of bringing us back to the right, and that God kindly restores us.  And we know, because of Christ and his gift to us on the cross, that God does this through LOVE that is marvelous and wonderful.  “I Stand Amazed”  sung by Christ Tomlin.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
HE provides rain.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-kqjgpZyrukg/TZ0G9XF3JVI/AAAAAAAAAkM/xvgU6ZBdKDo/s1600/Job-5-10-Rain-800-x-600.jpg
“as sparks fly upward.”  http://williambradford.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/sparksinfire.jpg
“Create in me a clean heart”   http://rlv.zcache.com/create_in_me_a_clean_heart_poster-r9bc68f2058984b4e90a69963af9be999_wvq_400.jpg

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