1307.) Job 32

May 6, 2014
"Elihu teaches Job" by William Blake, 1805 (Morgan Library, New York)

“Elihu teaches Job” by William Blake, 1805 (Morgan Library, New York)

Job 32   (NLT)

Elihu Responds to Job’s Friends

Job’s three friends refused to reply further to him because he kept insisting on his innocence.

Elihu and his dissatisfaction with the answers of Job’s friends:

Then Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the clan of Ram, became angry.

Job’s three friends have been insisting that Job is suffering because of some past sins, while Job has insisted that his personal and public life is an open book before God. The debate has reached a dead end. Now a new speaker comes, a young man, and introduces a new viewpoint.  He does believe, with the others, that suffering is always related to sin; he says in 34:10-11 —

Listen to me, you who have understanding.
      Everyone knows that God doesn’t sin!
      The Almighty can do no wrong.
He repays people according to their deeds.
      He treats people as they deserve.

But Elihu also says that suffering has another purpose:  to correct and restore us, and keep us on the right path.

He was angry because Job refused to admit that he had sinned and that God was right in punishing him. He was also angry with Job’s three friends, for they made God appear to be wrong by their inability to answer Job’s arguments. Elihu had waited for the others to speak to Job because they were older than he. But when he saw that they had no further reply, he spoke out angrily.

Why Elihu overcame his hesitancy to speak:

Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said,

“I am young and you are old,
    so I held back from telling you what I think.
I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak,
    for wisdom comes with age.’
But there is a spirit within people,
    the breath of the Almighty within them,
    that makes them intelligent.
Sometimes the elders are not wise.
    Sometimes the aged do not understand justice.
10 So listen to me,
    and let me tell you what I think.

Elihu criticizes Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar as ineffective:

11 “I have waited all this time,
    listening very carefully to your arguments,
    listening to you grope for words.
12 I have listened,
    but not one of you has refuted Job
    or answered his arguments.
13 And don’t tell me, ‘He is too wise for us.
    Only God can convince him.’
14 If Job had been arguing with me,
    I would not answer with your kind of logic!

Elihu’s inner compulsion to speak:

15 You sit there baffled,
    with nothing more to say.
16 Should I continue to wait, now that you are silent?
    Must I also remain silent?
17 No, I will say my piece.
    I will speak my mind.
18 For I am full of pent-up words,
    and the spirit within me urges me on.
19 I am like a cask of wine without a vent,
    like a new wineskin ready to burst!
20 I must speak to find relief,
    so let me give my answers.
21 I won’t play favorites
    or try to flatter anyone.
22 For if I tried flattery,
    my Creator would soon destroy me.

The English teacher part of me finds Elihu to be insufferably wordy and repetitive. Really, it takes him twenty-four verses to say, ‘Look! I’m going to speak!’” 

_________________________

Music:

So many words — blah, blah, blah.  So:  an instrumental piece for our music today!  Let the Holy Spirit speak to you with the Lord’s words as you listen.  HERE  is “Blessed Assurance” with Paul Burney on the alto sax.

_________________________

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://davidanthonyporter.typepad.com/.a/6a00e55043abd08834012876ca9e0c970c-pi

1306.) Job 31

May 5, 2014

Job31 godly-lives

Job 31   (NLT)

Job’s Final Protest of Innocence

“This whole chapter is occupied with Job’s solemn oath of innocence. It was his final and explicit answer to the line of argument adopted by his three friends.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

We are clearly told in Job 1 that Job was a blameless and upright man; this is the chapter that most clearly explains what that godly life looked like.

–David Guzik

He was not guilty of lust:

“I made a covenant with my eyes
    not to look with lust at a young woman.

Matthew 5:28 (NIV)

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

For what has God above chosen for us?
    What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high?
Isn’t it calamity for the wicked
    and misfortune for those who do evil?
Doesn’t he see everything I do
    and every step I take?

He was not guilty of falsehood:

“Have I lied to anyone
    or deceived anyone?

Matthew 5:37 (NKJV)

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

Let God weigh me on the scales of justice,
    for he knows my integrity.
If I have strayed from his pathway,
    or if my heart has lusted for what my eyes have seen,
    or if I am guilty of any other sin,
then let someone else eat the crops I have planted.
    Let all that I have planted be uprooted.

He was not an adulterer:

“If my heart has been seduced by a woman,
    or if I have lusted for my neighbor’s wife,
10 then let my wife belong to another man;
    let other men sleep with her.
11 For lust is a shameful sin,
    a crime that should be punished.

Proverbs 5:15 (TLB)

Drink from your own well, my son—be faithful and true to your wife.

12 It is a fire that burns all the way to hell.
    It would wipe out everything I own.

He did not treat his servants cruelly:

13 “If I have been unfair to my male or female servants
    when they brought their complaints to me,

Ephesians 4:32  (KJV)

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

14 how could I face God?
    What could I say when he questioned me?
15 For God created both me and my servants.
    He created us both in the womb.

He did not victimize the poor or the weak:

16 “Have I refused to help the poor,
    or crushed the hopes of widows?
17 Have I been stingy with my food
    and refused to share it with orphans?
18 No, from childhood I have cared for orphans like a father,
    and all my life I have cared for widows.

James 1:27  (NIV)

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

19 Whenever I saw the homeless without clothes
    and the needy with nothing to wear,
20 did they not praise me
    for providing wool clothing to keep them warm?

He was not greedy or a seeker of false gods:

21 “If I raised my hand against an orphan,
    knowing the judges would take my side,
22 then let my shoulder be wrenched out of place!
    Let my arm be torn from its socket!
23 That would be better than facing God’s judgment.
    For if the majesty of God opposes me, what hope is there?

24 “Have I put my trust in money
    or felt secure because of my gold?
25 Have I gloated about my wealth
    and all that I own?

1 Timothy 6:17 (NET)

Command those who are rich in this world’s goods not to be haughty or to set their hope on riches, which are uncertain, but on God who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment.

26 “Have I looked at the sun shining in the skies,
    or the moon walking down its silver pathway,
27 and been secretly enticed in my heart
    to throw kisses at them in worship?
28 If so, I should be punished by the judges,
    for it would mean I had denied the God of heaven.

He was generally without blame:

29 “Have I ever rejoiced when disaster struck my enemies,
    or become excited when harm came their way?
30 No, I have never sinned by cursing anyone
    or by asking for revenge.

Ezekiel 33:11 (NIV)

I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!

31 “My servants have never said,
    ‘He let others go hungry.’
32 I have never turned away a stranger
    but have opened my doors to everyone.

Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

33 “Have I tried to hide my sins like other people do,
    concealing my guilt in my heart?
34 Have I feared the crowd
    or the contempt of the masses,
    so that I kept quiet and stayed indoors?

Job concludes his plea:

35 “If only someone would listen to me!

Psalm 116:1 (NIV)

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.

    Look, I will sign my name to my defense.
Let the Almighty answer me.
    Let my accuser write out the charges against me.
36 I would face the accusation proudly.
    I would wear it like a crown.
37 For I would tell him exactly what I have done.
    I would come before him like a prince.

38 “If my land accuses me
    and all its furrows cry out together,
39 or if I have stolen its crops
    or murdered its owners,
40 then let thistles grow on that land instead of wheat,
    and weeds instead of barley.”

Job’s words are ended.

It isn’t that there are no more words from Job in this Book of Job; he will speak again briefly in later chapters. Yet Job is definitely done arguing his case. He is finished; one more man will try in vain to fix the problem; and then God will appear. We might rightly say that God – silent to this point – could not (or would not) appear and speak until all the arguments of man were exhausted.

–David Guzik

“At this point, then, we have reached the end of Job’s expressions of pain. The end is silence. That is God’s opportunity for speech. He often waits until we have said everything: and then, in the silence prepared for such speech, He answers.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

_________________________

Music:

Like Job, I want to live a godly life and be blameless in God’s eyes.  I know I cannot do that in my own power; this will happen only with the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ living in me.  HERE  is a profound statement of commitment:  Fernando Ortega sings “Come Down, O Love Divine.”  The words of this hymn were written by Bianco da Siena, an Italian mystic poet of the Middle Ages.

_________________________

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:
holy and godly lives.    http://www.epm.org/static/uploads/images/blog/eternal-life-godly-lives.jpg

1305.) Job 30

May 2, 2014

Job28 with friends
Job 30   (NLT)

Job Speaks of His Anguish

Job’s loss of respect in the community:

“But now I am mocked by people younger than I,
    by young men whose fathers are not worthy to run with my sheepdogs.
A lot of good they are to me—
    those worn-out wretches!
They are gaunt with hunger
    and flee to the deserts,
    to desolate and gloomy wastelands.
They pluck wild greens from among the bushes
    and eat from the roots of broom trees.
They are driven from human society,
    and people shout at them as if they were thieves.
So now they live in frightening ravines,
    in caves and among the rocks.
They sound like animals howling among the bushes,
    huddled together beneath the nettles.
They are nameless fools,
    outcasts from society.

“And now they mock me with vulgar songs!
    They taunt me!
10 They despise me and won’t come near me,
    except to spit in my face.

JOB mind-your-language

Job enriches our language. 

Here is a quotation which has become a part of our everyday speech:  spit in my face.  In current American usage the phrase is metaphorical and involves no saliva!  The expression is used to indicate an insult.

11 For God has cut my bowstring.
    He has humbled me,
    so they have thrown off all restraint.
12 These outcasts oppose me to my face.
    They send me sprawling
    and lay traps in my path.
13 They block my road
    and do everything they can to destroy me.
They know I have no one to help me.
14     They come at me from all directions.
They jump on me when I am down.
15     I live in terror now.
My honor has blown away in the wind,
    and my prosperity has vanished like a cloud.

The misery of his present pain, both spiritual and physical:

16 “And now my life seeps away.
    Depression haunts my days.
17 At night my bones are filled with pain,
    which gnaws at me relentlessly.
18 With a strong hand, God grabs my shirt.
    He grips me by the collar of my coat.
19 He has thrown me into the mud.
    I’m nothing more than dust and ashes.

Mason commented on the long and intense struggle Job had with God, and on the ultimate outcome for Job: “Classically there are two ways of soliciting the favor of God. One way is by trying very hard to be very very good and hoping that God will take notice. The other way is to beg God for His blessing and to refuse to let Him off the hook until He comes through. . . . It is those who refuse to give up on God who end up with His blessing.”

–David Guzik

20 “I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer.
    I stand before you, but you don’t even look.
21 You have become cruel toward me.
    You use your power to persecute me.
22 You throw me into the whirlwind
    and destroy me in the storm.
23 And I know you are sending me to my death—
    the destination of all who live.

The misery of the injustice done to Job:

24 “Surely no one would turn against the needy
    when they cry for help in their trouble.
25 Did I not weep for those in trouble?
    Was I not deeply grieved for the needy?

“It is impossible to read this section without feeling that protest was approaching revolt in the soul of this man. He did definitely charge God with cruelty (see verse 21), and his questions, ‘Did I not weep for him that was in trouble? Was not my soul grieved for the needy?’ (verse 25), he was contrasting God’s attitude toward him with his own attitude toward suffering men in the days of his prosperity and strength.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

26 So I looked for good, but evil came instead.
    I waited for the light, but darkness fell.
27 My heart is troubled and restless.
    Days of suffering torment me.
28 I walk in gloom, without sunlight.
    I stand in the public square and cry for help.
29 Instead, I am considered a brother to jackals
    and a companion to owls.
30 My skin has turned dark,
    and my bones burn with fever.
31 My harp plays sad music,
    and my flute accompanies those who weep.

_________________________

Music:

Something to cheer you up (?) –  HERE  is “Gloom, Despair, and Agony” from the old television show Hee Haw.

_________________________

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 with friends.    http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/4j9cPLYVuQs/hqdefault.jpg

1304.) Job 29

May 1, 2014

Job29 greatly-blessed

Job 29   (NLT)

Job Speaks of His Former Blessings

Job continued speaking:

Job was blessed in his relationship with God:

“I long for the years gone by
    when God took care of me,
when he lit up the way before me
    and I walked safely through the darkness.

Job28 God's promise

Psalm 18:28 (ESV)

For it is you who light my lamp;
    the Lord my God lightens my darkness.

When I was in my prime,
    God’s friendship was felt in my home.
The Almighty was still with me,
    and my children were around me.
My cows produced milk in abundance,
    and my groves poured out streams of olive oil.

Job was blessed in the relationships with people:

“Those were the days when I went to the city gate
    and took my place among the honored leaders.
The young stepped aside when they saw me,
    and even the aged rose in respect at my coming.
The princes stood in silence
    and put their hands over their mouths.
10 The highest officials of the city stood quietly,
    holding their tongues in respect.

11 “All who heard me praised me.
    All who saw me spoke well of me.
12 For I assisted the poor in their need
    and the orphans who required help.

Job28 God's promise

James 1:27   (ESV)

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

13 I helped those without hope, and they blessed me.
    And I caused the widows’ hearts to sing for joy.
14 Everything I did was honest.
    Righteousness covered me like a robe,
    and I wore justice like a turban.
15 I served as eyes for the blind
    and feet for the lame.
16 I was a father to the poor
    and assisted strangers who needed help.

Job28 God's promise

Proverbs 29:7   (ESV)

A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;
    a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.

17 I broke the jaws of godless oppressors
    and plucked their victims from their teeth.

Job’s former sense of security and confidence:

18 “I thought, ‘Surely I will die surrounded by my family
    after a long, good life.
19 For I am like a tree whose roots reach the water,
    whose branches are refreshed with the dew.

Job28 God's promise

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV)

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

20 New honors are constantly bestowed on me,
    and my strength is continually renewed.’

Job’s former authority and leadership in the community:

21 “Everyone listened to my advice.
    They were silent as they waited for me to speak.
22 And after I spoke, they had nothing to add,
    for my counsel satisfied them.
23 They longed for me to speak as people long for rain.
    They drank my words like a refreshing spring rain.
24 When they were discouraged, I smiled at them.
    My look of approval was precious to them.
25 Like a chief, I told them what to do.
    I lived like a king among his troops
    and comforted those who mourned.

_________________________

Music:

In good times, like those Job has described, and in bad times — I’m “Never Gonna Stop” praising You!  HERE  is the song; the words and music are by Tommy Walker.

_________________________

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:
I am greatly blessed.    http://aviesplace.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/greatly-blessed.jpg

1303.) Job 28

April 30, 2014

Job28 depart-from-evil

Job 28   (NLT)

Job Speaks of Wisdom and Understanding

Man seeks after treasure in the earth:

“People know where to mine silver
    and how to refine gold.
They know where to dig iron from the earth
    and how to smelt copper from rock.
They know how to shine light in the darkness
    and explore the farthest regions of the earth
    as they search in the dark for ore.
They sink a mine shaft into the earth
    far from where anyone lives.
    They descend on ropes, swinging back and forth.

The hidden nature of earth’s treasure:

Food is grown on the earth above,
    but down below, the earth is melted as by fire.

Nevada silver mine

Nevada silver mine

Mining in the ancient Near East

C.S. Lewis once spoke of the arrogance of each age. What he meant is that in any given age, there is a tendency to look back upon previous ages as being much less ingenious than our own age.

For example, we might suppose that mining technologies have only been perfected during the period of the Industrial Revolution. Yet mining engineers and metallurgists during the time of Job were quite adept at extracting valuable ore and gems from the earth. Job 28 uses the mining technology of that day to make the point succinctly stated by Robert L. Alden in the New American Commentary: vol. 11, Job, “Wisdom is precious like silver and needs refining like gold.”

Walton, Matthews and Chavalas’s The IVP Bible Commentary: Old Testament explains that mining in the ancient Near East was called pitting. Shafts, some quite deep, were dug straight down into the ore, or dug horizontally into the sides of mountains. Workers were lowered down into these shafts in baskets, and these baskets were filled with ore which were pulled to the surface with ropes.

Job 28:5 says, “As for the earth, out of it comes bread,/but underneath it is turned up by fire.” This is a reference to the ancient practice of fracturing ore-laced rock through heating it with intense fires and then dousing the rock with cold water mixed with vinegar.

(For more of this interesting article from the Colson Center, click  HERE.)

Here the rocks contain precious lapis lazuli,
    and the dust contains gold.
These are treasures no bird of prey can see,
    no falcon’s eye observe.
No wild animal has walked upon these treasures;
    no lion has ever set his paw there.
People know how to tear apart flinty rocks
    and overturn the roots of mountains.
10 They cut tunnels in the rocks
    and uncover precious stones.
11 They dam up the trickling streams
    and bring to light the hidden treasures.

True wisdom is rare:

Job28 wisdom-sign

12 “But do people know where to find wisdom?
    Where can they find understanding?
13 No one knows where to find it,
    for it is not found among the living.
14 ‘It is not here,’ says the ocean.
    ‘Nor is it here,’ says the sea.
15 It cannot be bought with gold.
    It cannot be purchased with silver.
16 It’s worth more than all the gold of Ophir,
    greater than precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17 Wisdom is more valuable than gold and crystal.
    It cannot be purchased with jewels mounted in fine gold.
18 Coral and jasper are worthless in trying to get it.
    The price of wisdom is far above rubies.
19 Precious peridot from Ethiopia cannot be exchanged for it.
    It’s worth more than the purest gold.

The source and summary of wisdom:

20 “But do people know where to find wisdom?
    Where can they find understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all humanity.
    Even the sharp-eyed birds in the sky cannot discover it.
22 Destruction and Death say,
    ‘We’ve heard only rumors of where wisdom can be found.’

23 “God alone understands the way to wisdom;
    he knows where it can be found,
24 for he looks throughout the whole earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.

Job28 God knows

“This is, indeed, at once our confidence and our comfort – ‘God understandeth.’ The things that perplex us, do not perplex Him; the mysteries by which we are surrounded, are no mysteries to Him.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

25 He decided how hard the winds should blow
    and how much rain should fall.
26 He made the laws for the rain
    and laid out a path for the lightning.
27 Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it.
    He set it in place and examined it thoroughly.
28 And this is what he says to all humanity:
‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom;
    to forsake evil is real understanding.’”

Job28 Proverbs9_10
_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a beautiful song wonderfully suited for our text today — “The Perfect Wisdom of Our God”  by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, sung by Kristen Getty.

_________________________

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:
The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom.    http://ibibleverses.christianpost.com//data/uploads/2013/12/depart-from-evil_thumb.jpg
Nevada silver mine.    http://www.greatmining.com/mining_images/Nevada_Silver_Mine2.jpg
wisdom sign.    http://pastorerickson.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/wisdom-green-sign.jpeg
God knows.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tqVJvnuncrU/UbNhRm7k1JI/AAAAAAAADF4/Me-Dl8OzTA8/s1600/IMG_3979.JPG
Proverbs 9:10.    http://biblestudyoutlines.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/proverbs9_10.jpg

1302.) Job 27

April 29, 2014

Job27 faithful

Job 27   (NLT)

Job’s Final Speech

Job continued speaking:

Job’s commitment to the truth:

“I vow by the living God, who has taken away my rights,
    by the Almighty who has embittered my soul—
As long as I live,
    while I have breath from God,
my lips will speak no evil,
    and my tongue will speak no lies.
I will never concede that you are right;
    I will defend my integrity until I die.
I will maintain my innocence without wavering.
    My conscience is clear for as long as I live.

The vain hope of the hypocrite:

“May my enemy be punished like the wicked,
    my adversary like those who do evil.
For what hope do the godless have when God cuts them off
    and takes away their life?

Job28 candle

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.

— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5)

Macbeth at the beginning of Shakespeare’s play is a noble man, respected and honorable.  But at its end he is a toppled ruin—a murderer whose first murder has led him to kill again and again, one who is friendless, dehumanized, whose only comment when he hears of his wife’s suicide is that she should have found a more convenient time.  His life is utterly without hope.

Our great temptation and trials are likely less traumatic than those of either Job or Macbeth.  But in our lives, too, come the time when we have to choose what or whom to trust.  Job’s faith and hope held fast (“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” Job 13:15).  For Macbeth, hope was gone, once God was forgotten.

–J. Ruth Stenerson

Will God listen to their cry
    when trouble comes upon them?
10 Can they take delight in the Almighty?
    Can they call to God at any time?
11 I will teach you about God’s power.
    I will not conceal anything concerning the Almighty.
12 But you have seen all this,
    yet you say all these useless things to me.

God will judge the wicked:

13 “This is what the wicked will receive from God;
    this is their inheritance from the Almighty.
14 They may have many children,
    but the children will die in war or starve to death.
15 Those who survive will die of a plague,
    and not even their widows will mourn them.

16 “Evil people may have piles of money
    and may store away mounds of clothing.
17 But the righteous will wear that clothing,
    and the innocent will divide that money.
18 The wicked build houses as fragile as a spider’s web,
    as flimsy as a shelter made of branches.
19 The wicked go to bed rich
    but wake to find that all their wealth is gone.
20 Terror overwhelms them like a flood,
    and they are blown away in the storms of the night.

Job27 two houses

Matthew 7:24-27   (GNT)

The Two House Builders (like Job and Macbeth)

“So then, anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, and the wind blew hard against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock.

“But anyone who hears these words of mine and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, the wind blew hard against that house, and it fell. And what a terrible fall that was!”

21 The east wind carries them away, and they are gone.
    It sweeps them away.
22 It whirls down on them without mercy.
    They struggle to flee from its power.
23 But everyone jeers at them
    and mocks them.

_________________________

Music:

I love how Job keeps saying he will be faithful even when his circumstances would speak against it!  HERE   is a song that Job would like, and I like it, too — it gets in my mind and stays there all day!  “I Walk By Faith”  — written by Chris Falson and sung by the Maranatha Singers.

_________________________

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:
faithful.    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-fdVpmX22LIc/T5t7aZbE0gI/AAAAAAAABQI/pvmC6l1uo2w/s1600/faithful.jpg
candle.    http://s3.amazonaws.com/rapgenius/candle.jpg
two houses.    http://joyellen.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/12.jpg

1301.) Job 25 and 26

April 28, 2014

Job25 moon in sky
Job 25   (NLT)

Bildad’s Final Response to Job

Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

Bildad muses upon the greatness of God:

“God is powerful and dreadful.
    He enforces peace in the heavens.
Who is able to count his heavenly army?
    Doesn’t his light shine on all the earth?
How can a mortal be innocent before God?
    Can anyone born of a woman be pure?
God is more glorious than the moon;
    he shines brighter than the stars.
In comparison, people are maggots;
    we mortals are mere worms.”

To encourage you to continue reading Job!

“Beginning at Chapter 25, the formal structure of the book would dictate two more chapter-long rebuttals, one from Bildad and one from Zophar, to complete the third round of the dialogue. But this is not what happens. Instead Zophar has no final speech at all, and Bildad’s speech is drastically cut short. So the formal debate is never finished. At Chapter 26 the dialogue grinds to a halt, and from there to the end of Chapter 31 Job holds forth alone in a long and loose-jointed presentation. . . . Finally in this list of textual problems, there is the odd case of Elihu, the brand-new character introduced near the end of the book, who delivers what many readers feel to be the most long-winded, boring, and irrelevant discourse of all.”

–Mike Mason

Job 26   (NLT)

Job’s Ninth Speech: A Response to Bildad

Then Job spoke again:

Job challenges his friends:

“How you have helped the powerless!
    How you have saved the weak!
How you have enlightened my stupidity!
    What wise advice you have offered!
Where have you gotten all these wise sayings?
    Whose spirit speaks through you?

Job praises God and His awesome power in creation:

“The dead tremble—
    those who live beneath the waters.
The underworld is naked in God’s presence.
    The place of destruction is uncovered.
God stretches the northern sky over empty space
    and hangs the earth on nothing.

Job26 earth-from-outer-space

He wraps the rain in his thick clouds,
    and the clouds don’t burst with the weight.
He covers the face of the moon,
    shrouding it with his clouds.

Job26 moon and clouds
10 He created the horizon when he separated the waters;
    he set the boundary between day and night.
11 The foundations of heaven tremble;
    they shudder at his rebuke.
12 By his power the sea grew calm.

Job25 calm sea
    By his skill he crushed the great sea monster.
13 His Spirit made the heavens beautiful,

Job26 clouds-sky-rainbow
    and his power pierced the gliding serpent.
14 These are just the beginning of all that he does,
    merely a whisper of his power.
    Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power?”

_________________________

Music:

Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”  Let us joyfully raise our voices to our powerful God, our Creator, as Job described — HERE  is Matt Redman and “Let Everything that Has Breath.”

_________________________

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:
half-moon in the sky with Job 25:5.    http://wallpaper4god.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/job25_5.jpg
earth hanging in outer space.    http://terawallpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/earth-from-outer-space.jpg
moon in night sky.    http://www.listofimages.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/night-moon-wolf-clouds-dark-nature.jpg
calm sea photograph by Bobby Bong.    http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/painting-the-sky
rainbow.   http://www.listofimages.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/clouds-sky-rainbow-nature.jpg

1294.) Job 24

April 17, 2014

Job24 Job complains

Job 24   (NLT)

Job Asks Why the Wicked Are Not Punished

Job explains the conduct of the wicked:

Why doesn’t the Almighty bring the wicked to judgment?
    Why must the godly wait for him in vain?

I think you will have no trouble applying recent news stories to each upcoming verse:  war in Syria, famine in North Korea, wholesale corruption in governments, banking and real estate fraud, ongoing unemployment, children pushed into slavery and pornography, and so on and so on — Job is describing our world today.  So much in need of Jesus.

Job24 Ukraine-
Evil people steal land by moving the boundary markers.
    They steal livestock and put them in their own pastures.
.

Job24 foreclosure-sign

Millions (!) of homes lost to foreclosure.

They take the orphan’s donkey
    and demand the widow’s ox as security for a loan.
.

Job24 Syria-child-refugees

a refugee camp for Syrians in Iraq

The poor are pushed off the path;
    the needy must hide together for safety.

.

dumpster diving in NYC

dumpster diving in NYC

Like wild donkeys in the wilderness,
    the poor must spend all their time looking for food,
    searching even in the desert for food for their children.
.

Job24 workers N Korea

workers harvesting grain in North Korea

They harvest a field they do not own,
    and they glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
.

Job24 DC homeless

homeless in Washington, D.C.

All night they lie naked in the cold,
    without clothing or covering.

.

Iowa Tornado

tornado damage in Mapleton, IA

They are soaked by mountain showers,
    and they huddle against the rocks for want of a home.
.

“The wicked snatch a widow’s child from her breast,
    taking the baby as security for a loan.
10 The poor must go about naked, without any clothing.
    They harvest food for others while they themselves are starving.
11 They press out olive oil without being allowed to taste it,
    and they tread in the winepress as they suffer from thirst.

Job24 TentCity, Nashville, TN
12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
    and the wounded cry for help,
    yet God ignores their moaning.
.

The seeming security of the wicked:

13 “Wicked people rebel against the light.
    They refuse to acknowledge its ways
    or stay in its paths.
14 The murderer rises in the early dawn
    to kill the poor and needy;
    at night he is a thief.
15 The adulterer waits for the twilight,
    saying, ‘No one will see me then.’
    He hides his face so no one will know him.
16 Thieves break into houses at night
    and sleep in the daytime.
    They are not acquainted with the light.
17 The black night is their morning.
    They ally themselves with the terrors of the darkness.

Job24 walk in light

Romans 13:12-14   (NIV)

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

18 “But they disappear like foam down a river.
    Everything they own is cursed,
    and they are afraid to enter their own vineyards.
19 The grave consumes sinners
    just as drought and heat consume snow.
20 Their own mothers will forget them.
    Maggots will find them sweet to eat.
No one will remember them.
    Wicked people are broken like a tree in the storm.
21 They cheat the woman who has no son to help her.
    They refuse to help the needy widow.

22 “God, in his power, drags away the rich.
    They may rise high, but they have no assurance of life.
23 They may be allowed to live in security,
    but God is always watching them.
24 And though they are great now,
    in a moment they will be gone like all others,
    cut off like heads of grain.
25 Can anyone claim otherwise?
    Who can prove me wrong?”

_________________________

Music:

We are called to be the arms and legs of Jesus on earth.  So I must ask myself, What am I doing, in my own sphere of influence, to resist the power of the wicked?  What more can I do to walk in the light?  HERE  is further inspiration to be about the hands-on work of the Kingdom — “Cannot Keep You,” by Gungor (an American musical group led by Michael Gungor, who currently lives in Denver).

_________________________

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 complains.    http://gorepent.com/wp-content/uploads/posts18/job-complain.jpg
Conflict in Ukraine.    http://www.kutv.com/news/features/world/stories//images/Conflict-In-Ukraine-Facebook_1309.jpg
Syrian children in a refugee camp in Iraq.    http://vipmedia.globalnews.ca/2013/08/syria-child-refugees5.jpg?w=672&h=448&crop=1
dumpster diving.    http://noimpactman.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/08/26/freegan_picture.jpg
workers in a field in North Korea.    http://www.abc.net.au/news/image/732456-3×2-940×627.jpg
DC homeless person sleeping on a bench.  http://lh6.ggpht.com/monty.qcetech/RuNDFojgQKI/AAAAAAAAAWg/6XEHddP55Ls/s800/homeless1.jpg
tornado damage in Mapleton, IA.    http://www.vosizneias.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/tor11.jpg
Tent City, Nashville, TN.    http://ioneglobalgrind.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/tent_city_10_large_0.jpeg
we walk in the light.    http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Inspirational-Images/large/1-John_1-7.jpg

1293.) Job 23

April 16, 2014

“Job,” by Leon Bonnat, 1880

 

Job 23 (NLT)

Job’s Eighth Speech: A Response to Eliphaz

1Then Job spoke again:

Job’s bitter complaint and his inability to connect with God:

2 “My complaint today is still a bitter one,
and I try hard not to groan aloud.
3 If only I knew where to find God,
I would go to his court.
4 I would lay out my case
and present my arguments.
5 Then I would listen to his reply
and understand what he says to me.
6 Would he use his great power to argue with me?
No, he would give me a fair hearing.
7 Honest people can reason with him,
so I would be forever acquitted by my judge.

Job confesses his lack of understanding and need of divine revelation:

8 I go east, but he is not there.
I go west, but I cannot find him.
9 I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden.
I look to the south, but he is concealed.

An old Puritan writer quaintly observed, in commenting on this, “Job, you have gone forward and backward, and you have looked to the left and you have looked to the right. Why don’t you try looking up?”

Job’s confidence in God and in his own integrity:

10 “But he knows where I am going.
And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.

Job23 lighthouse

from Streams in the Desert,
by L. B. Cowman

Faith grows during storms.  These are just four little words, but what significance they have to someone who has endured life-threatening storms!

Faith is that God given ability that, when exercised, brings the unseen into plain view.  It deals with the supernatural and makes impossible things possible.  And yes, it grows during storms–that is, it grows through disturbances in the spiritual atmosphere.  Storms are caused by conflicts between physical elements, and the storms of the spiritual world are conflicts with supernatural, hostile elements.  And it is in this atmosphere of conflict that faith finds its most fertile soil and grows most rapidly to maturity.

The strongest trees are found not in the thick shelter of the forest but out in the open, where winds from every direction bear down upon them.  The fierce winds bend and twist them until they become giant in stature.  These are the trees that tool-makers seek for handles for their tools, because of the wood’s great strength.

It is the same in the spiritual world.  Remember, when you see a person of great spiritual stature, the road you must travel to walk with him is not one where the sun always shines and wildflowers always bloom.  Instead, the way is a steep, rocky, and narrow path, where the winds of hell will try to knock you off your feet, and where sharp rocks will cut you, prickly thorns will scratch your face, and poisonous snakes will slither and hiss all around you.

The path of faith is one of sorrow and joy, suffering and healing comfort, tears and smiles, trials and victories, conflicts and triumphs, and also hardships, dangers, beatings, persecutions, misunderstanding, trouble, and distress.  Yet “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

11 For I have stayed on God’s paths;
I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from his commands,
but have treasured his words more than daily food.

In the previous chapter, Eliphaz tried to condemn Job by listing some secret sins that Job may have committed.  Job insists here that the Lord understands his heart and his ways.  Can we ever be sure that we are entirely free from sin?  God’s standard of holiness is far beyond our reach.  But — glorious “but” — Christ on the cross did all that was was required to forgive all our sins!

Romans 5:1 (New International Version)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:1-2 (New International Version)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

And when our thoughts and emotions cause us to doubt the truth of this, we have God’s kind assurance that we can be confident in his promises and in his goodness towards us.

1 John 3:19-20 (New International Version)

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:  If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.  

Job wonders at God’s power and sovereignty:

13 But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind?
Whatever he wants to do, he does.
14 So he will do to me whatever he has planned.
He controls my destiny.
15 No wonder I am so terrified in his presence.
When I think of it, terror grips me.
16 God has made me sick at heart;
the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Darkness is all around me;
thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere.

John 1:4-5 (New International Version)

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

_________________________

Music:

This song  HERE,  “Refiner’s Fire,” by Brian Doerksen, invites the Lord to do whatever it takes so that we, like Job, shall come forth like gold.

Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold
Refiner’s fire
My heart’s one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
And make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within

_________________________

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:
Bonnat.  http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ZoBU_40yxL4/S8SnX4EGTTI/AAAAAAAAAE0/EdhveFv5Kbo/s1600/Job.jpg
He knows the path that I take.  http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uirPCL7oJYc/Tlp6a0Qjs4I/AAAAAAAAB48/rSqNYXvS_AU/s1600/job_23-10_1.png
Nahum 1:7.   http://oneyearbibleimages.com/nahum_god.jpg
cross in the light.   http://inspiretomorrow.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/cross-light.jpg

1292.) Job 22

April 15, 2014

Job22 succeed

Job 22   (NLT)

Eliphaz’s Third Response to Job

Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:

Eliphaz attacks Job’s character:

“Can a person do anything to help God?
    Can even a wise person be helpful to him?
3 Is it any advantage to the Almighty if you are righteous?
    Would it be any gain to him if you were perfect?

Two responses:

“Is he not simply arguing the case for the self-sufficiency of God? God needs nothing; God lacks nothing. Since God is already absolutely perfect, He did not create man out of any personal deficiency or compulsion, and therefore man cannot give anything to God. This is standard orthodox doctrine.”

–Mike Mason

and

In one aspect Eliphaz certainly had correct theology—God does not “need” Job in the way Job needed God. Nevertheless Eliphaz’s application of this principle was wrong in this context, because it was indeed a pleasure to the Almighty that Job was righteous (as seen in Job 1-2). According to those first two chapters, it was indeed a gain to Him that Job made his ways blameless.

–David Guzik

Is it because you’re so pious that he accuses you
    and brings judgment against you?
No, it’s because of your wickedness!
    There’s no limit to your sins.

“For example, you must have lent money to your friend
    and demanded clothing as security.
    Yes, you stripped him to the bone.

Job22 not fair

This begins a remarkable list of groundless accusations against Job. Eliphaz accuses Job mainly of greed and cruelty for the sake of riches.

You must have refused water for the thirsty
    and food for the hungry.
You probably think the land belongs to the powerful
    and only the privileged have a right to it!
You must have sent widows away empty-handed
    and crushed the hopes of orphans.
10 That is why you are surrounded by traps
    and tremble from sudden fears.
11 That is why you cannot see in the darkness,
    and waves of water cover you.

Eliphaz attacks Job’s theology:

12 “God is so great—higher than the heavens,
    higher than the farthest stars.
13 But you reply, ‘That’s why God can’t see what I am doing!
    How can he judge through the thick darkness?
14 For thick clouds swirl about him, and he cannot see us.
    He is way up there, walking on the vault of heaven.’

15 “Will you continue on the old paths
    where evil people have walked?
16 They were snatched away in the prime of life,
    the foundations of their lives washed away.

Job22 Noah's ark

“Sarcastically, he asks Job if he plans to continue going in the wrong direction – along the path of the wicked. He says this same path that Job is now traveling led to the drowning of an entire generation in Noah’s day, a reference to the Flood.”

–Steven Lawson

17 For they said to God, ‘Leave us alone!
    What can the Almighty do to us?’
18 Yet he was the one who filled their homes with good things,
    so I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.

19 “The righteous will be happy to see the wicked destroyed,
    and the innocent will laugh in contempt.
20 They will say, ‘See how our enemies have been destroyed.
    The last of them have been consumed in the fire.’

Eliphaz counsels Job to make himself right with God:

21 “Submit to God, and you will have peace;
    then things will go well for you.
22 Listen to his instructions,
    and store them in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored—
    so clean up your life.
24 If you give up your lust for money
    and throw your precious gold into the river,
25 the Almighty himself will be your treasure.
    He will be your precious silver!

26 “Then you will take delight in the Almighty
    and look up to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
    and you will fulfill your vows to him.
28 You will succeed in whatever you choose to do,
    and light will shine on the road ahead of you.
29 If people are in trouble and you say, ‘Help them,’
    God will save them.
30 Even sinners will be rescued;
    they will be rescued because your hands are pure.”

“Great and wonderful words are these. Had Eliphaz applied them to himself he would have found that his own imperfect acquaintance with God was the reason why he was not able to bring any real comfort to his suffering friend.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

_________________________

Music:

I love the word-picture in verse 28 —  and light will shine on the road ahead of you.  And we remember that Christ is the light of the world as well as the salvation of the world.  Which takes us to Psalm 27, “The Lord is my light and my salvation,” sung  HERE  by the Cambridge Singers (written and directed by John Rutter).

_________________________

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:
You will succeed.    http://www.dailylifeverse.com/posts/images/2013/03/job-22-28.jpg?s=full
It’s not fair.    http://theworkplacetherapist.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/notfair_graphic317.jpg
Noah’s ark.    http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Basics/noah_ark_people_drowing.jpg

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