1296.) Resurrection Joy!

April 21, 2014

Resur J and Mary weeping

John 20:11-18   (NIV)

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

.

Resur Rose Grove

When I was a child our family went to Rose Grove Lutheran, pictured here — a small church and cemetery out in the farmland of Hamilton County, Iowa.  (My parents were married there in 1946; my mother was buried there in 1999.)  The picture behind the altar was from the passage above — Mary reaching for the risen Lord just outside the tomb — similar to the picture above, but Mary was facing the Lord with such joy on her face.

I have never forgotten that picture.  Now, half a century later, I realize it has continued to impact my life in several ways:

1)  a fervent interest in the women of the Bible;

2)  a grateful heart because Jesus knows my name, just as He knew Mary’s;

3)  a strong belief that the death and resurrection of Christ is the foundation of a life of significance;

4)   a deep confidence that the Lord is the source of true joy; and

5)  a bold proclamation which I learned from Mary and from Job — “I know that my Redeemer lives!”

.

Res lilies

“Never let anything so fill you with sorrow
that you forget the joy of the Christ risen.”

–Mother Teresa

.

With faith and thanksgiving, then, I wish you a grace-filled Easter season
and the joy of the Risen Lord down deep in your heart, forever!
Love in Jesus,
Rebecca

.

Music:

Such a beautiful hymn!  HERE  is “This Joyful Eastertide” sung by St. Mark’s Church Choir.  Turn up the volume and lift your hands in joy!


1295.) Good Friday

April 18, 2014
Permutation Crucifix, by Peter Schmidt

Permutation Crucifix, by Peter Schmidt

Five Good Readings for Good Friday

Dear Reader,

May the Lord bless you with His dear presence as today you remember Him on the cross.

Love in Jesus,

Rebecca

Mark 15:33-41 (NLT)

The Death of Jesus

33 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 34 Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

35 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 36 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!”

37 Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

39 When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

40 Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome. 41 They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there.

*

GF Jesus coloring

The God on whom we rely knows what suffering is all about, not merely in the way that God knows everything, but by experience. In the darkest night of the soul Christians have something to hold onto that Job never knew. We know Christ crucified. Christians have learned that when there seems to be no other evidence of God’s love, they cannot escape the cross. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). When we suffer, there will sometimes be mystery. Will there also be faith? Yes, if our attention is focused more on the cross, and on the God of the cross, than on the suffering itself.

–D. A. Carson

*

GF empty cross 2

Christ is the Son of God.
He died for the redemption of sinners
and after three days rose again.
This is the most important fact in the universe.
I die believing in Christ.

–Watchman Nee
(note found under his pillow, in prison, at his death)

*
GF bandw
O Sacred Head Now Wounded

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

*

gf-heart

“Fix your mind on the mercy of God,
His love for us,
and all that He suffered for our sake.”

–Teresa of Avila

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a piano-cello rendition of “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.”

_________________________

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:
Schmidt.    http://www.peterschmidtweb.com/PermutationCrucifix.html
Jesus on the cross sketch.    http://www.cbssmm.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/jesus-on-the-cross-coloring-page-super.gif
empty cross.    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rv_J-ek_Dxs/TbOf6Pe2EFI/AAAAAAAAAaI/eZEQVpZExuk/s1600/MP900435912%255B1%255D.jpg
O sacred head (black and white).    http://revtucher.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/good-friday1.jpg
heart.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/gf-heart.jpg?w=300&h=300

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

1291.) Job 21

April 14, 2014

Job21 Psalm37

Job 21   (NLT)

Job’s Seventh Speech: A Response to Zophar

The problem of the prosperity of the wicked:

Then Job spoke again:

“Listen closely to what I am saying.
    That’s one consolation you can give me.
Bear with me, and let me speak.
    After I have spoken, you may resume mocking me.

“My complaint is with God, not with people.
    I have good reason to be so impatient.
Look at me and be stunned.
    Put your hand over your mouth in shock.

JOB mind-your-language

Job enriches our language. 

Here is a quotation which has become a part of our everyday speech: put your hand over your mouth.

This gesture can be both threatening or playful, depending on the context. Rescuers may sometimes use this if they have to sneak up on a friend from behind and don’t want them alerting nearby foes by yelling in surprise.

When I think about what I am saying, I shudder.
    My body trembles.

These opening verses demonstrate again that Job’s real point of crisis was his conflict with God, not with man (especially with his friends). His crisis was fundamentally spiritual in nature, much more than being a medical crisis, an economic crisis, a social crisis, or a family crisis. His struggle was against God, and he wondered where God was in the midst of this very dark time.

–David Guzik

“Why do the wicked prosper,
    growing old and powerful?
They live to see their children grow up and settle down,
    and they enjoy their grandchildren.
Their homes are safe from every fear,
    and God does not punish them.
10 Their bulls never fail to breed.
    Their cows bear calves and never miscarry.
11 They let their children frisk about like lambs.
    Their little ones skip and dance.
12 They sing with tambourine and harp.
    They celebrate to the sound of the flute.
13 They spend their days in prosperity,
    then go down to the grave in peace.

Job21 JB play

A pair of ringmasters, Messrs. Nickles or “Satan” (Bruce Alan Rauscher) and Zuss or “God” (Steve Lebens) enter the circus area and wax philosophical and theological. (American Community Theater, Arlington, VA, 2012)

Archibald MacLeish wrote J.B. — A Play in Verse and won the Pulitzer Prize for it in 1959.  The play is based on the story of Job and set in a modern world circus context (as in the picture above).  In the “Foreward,” the author compares J.B./Job to mid-century American businessmen, and the description is not unlike Job’s description of the wicked who prosper:

“My hero, called J.B. after the current fashion in business address, bears little relation, perhaps, to that ancient owner of camels and oxen and sheep.  He is not a particularly devout man.  But he is, at the beginning of the play, prosperous, powerful, possessed of a lovely wife, fine children—everything the heart of man can desire—and he is aware, as he could hardly help being, that God has made “an hedge about him and about his house and about all that he hath on every side.”  Not that the name of God is often in his mouth.  He is one of those vastly successful American businessmen—not as numerous now as they were before the Great Depression—who, having everything, believe as a matter of course that they have a right to have everything. 

“They do not believe this out of vulgarity; on the contrary, they are most often men of exuberance, of high animal spirits, of force and warmth.  They believe it because they possess in large measure that characteristically American courage, which has so often entertained Asian and European visitors, the courage to believe in themselves.  Which means to believe in their lives.  Which means, if their tongues can shape the words, to believe in God’s goodness to them.  They are not hypocritical.  They do not think that they deserve more at God’s hands than others.  They merely think that they have more—and that they have a right to have it.”

This play always makes me think.  I highly recommend you go to your local library for a copy and read it for yourself!

14 And yet they say to God, ‘Go away.
    We want no part of you and your ways.
15 Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey him?
    What good will it do us to pray?’
16 (They think their prosperity is of their own doing,
    but I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.)

The wisdom of God and the prosperity of the wicked:

17 “Yet the light of the wicked never seems to be extinguished.
    Do they ever have trouble?
    Does God distribute sorrows to them in anger?
18 Are they driven before the wind like straw?
    Are they carried away by the storm like chaff?
    Not at all!

19 “‘Well,’ you say, ‘at least God will punish their children!’
    But I say he should punish the ones who sin,
    so that they understand his judgment.
20 Let them see their destruction with their own eyes.
    Let them drink deeply of the anger of the Almighty.
21 For they will not care what happens to their family
    after they are dead.

22 “But who can teach a lesson to God,
    since he judges even the most powerful?

Job21 AllTruth

Romans 11:34   (NIV)

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”

23 One person dies in prosperity,
    completely comfortable and secure,
24 the picture of good health,
    vigorous and fit.
25 Another person dies in bitter poverty,
    never having tasted the good life.
26 But both are buried in the same dust,
    both eaten by the same maggots.

Job challenges the empty words of his friends:

27 “Look, I know what you’re thinking.
    I know the schemes you plot against me.
28 You will tell me of rich and wicked people
    whose houses have vanished because of their sins.
29 But ask those who have been around,
    and they will tell you the truth.
30 Evil people are spared in times of calamity
    and are allowed to escape disaster.
31 No one criticizes them openly
    or pays them back for what they have done.
32 When they are carried to the grave,
    an honor guard keeps watch at their tomb.
33 A great funeral procession goes to the cemetery.
    Many pay their respects as the body is laid to rest,
    and the earth gives sweet repose.

34 “How can your empty clichés comfort me?
    All your explanations are lies!”

_________________________

Music:

Job21 stop-shopping

Yes, I know we all measure success by the amount of stuff acquired.  And it seems irksome that jerks get more nice things than the good people.  But when you come right down to it, what are all those acquisitions worth at the end?  HERE  is L. L. Fleming’s haunting arrangement of “Give Me Jesus,” sung by the Chamber Choir of California State University, Long Beach.  Just to remind us of what is really, truly, absolutely important.

_________________________

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:
Do not fret because of evil men.    http://www.1journey.net/stdavids/SW/BibleVerses/support/psalm37_1-2.jpg
scene from the play J.B.     http://dctheatrescene.com/2012/09/26/j-b/
All truth is God’s truth.    http://cdn.theresurgence.com/files/2012/11/09/AllTruth.jpg
Stop shopping.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_0uS60mKYDmY/TUMU45SU72I/AAAAAAAAATg/mBYgWK8mM_8/s1600/20081119-stop-shopping-sticker%255B1%255D.jpg

1290.) Job 20

April 11, 2014

Job20 Zophar-talking

Job 20   (NLT)

Zophar’s Second Response to Job

Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

Zophar describes his turmoil:

“I must reply
    because I am greatly disturbed.
I’ve had to endure your insults,
    but now my spirit prompts me to reply.

The short triumph of the wicked man:

“Don’t you realize that from the beginning of time,
    ever since people were first placed on the earth,
the triumph of the wicked has been short lived
    and the joy of the godless has been only temporary?

Apparently Job’s confession of faith fell on deaf ears.  Zophar was not listening.

Though the pride of the godless reaches to the heavens
    and their heads touch the clouds,
yet they will vanish forever,
    thrown away like their own dung.
Those who knew them will ask,
    ‘Where are they?’
They will fade like a dream and not be found.
    They will vanish like a vision in the night.

Job20 dont-count-the-days

Psalm 103:15-17   (NIV)

The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children.

May we spend our time sharing the Lord’s love!

Those who once saw them will see them no more.
    Their families will never see them again.
10 Their children will beg from the poor,
    for they must give back their stolen riches.
11 Though they are young,
    their bones will lie in the dust.

The frustrated life of the wicked man:

12 “They enjoyed the sweet taste of wickedness,
    letting it melt under their tongue.
13 They savored it,
    holding it long in their mouths.

Job20 Open-Mouth

Psalm 10:7  (NIV)

His mouth is full of lies and threats;
    trouble and evil are under his tongue.

May our mouths be filled with truth and love and praises of the Lord!

14 But suddenly the food in their bellies turns sour,
    a poisonous venom in their stomach.
15 They will vomit the wealth they swallowed.
    God won’t let them keep it down.
16 They will suck the poison of cobras.
    The viper will kill them.
17 They will never again enjoy streams of olive oil
    or rivers of milk and honey.
18 They will give back everything they worked for.
    Their wealth will bring them no joy.
19 For they oppressed the poor and left them destitute.
    They foreclosed on their homes.
20 They were always greedy and never satisfied.
    Nothing remains of all the things they dreamed about.

Job20 gratitude

Proverbs 17:1 (NIV)

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
    than a house full of feasting, with strife. 

May we be content with God’s bountiful goodness!

21 Nothing is left after they finish gorging themselves.
    Therefore, their prosperity will not endure.

The dark destiny of the wicked man:

22 “In the midst of plenty, they will run into trouble
    and be overcome by misery.
23 May God give them a bellyful of trouble.
    May God rain down his anger upon them.
24 When they try to escape an iron weapon,
    a bronze-tipped arrow will pierce them.
25 The arrow is pulled from their back,
    and the arrowhead glistens with blood.
The terrors of death are upon them.
26 Their treasures will be thrown into deepest darkness.
A wildfire will devour their goods,
    consuming all they have left.
27 The heavens will reveal their guilt,
    and the earth will testify against them.
28 A flood will sweep away their house.
    God’s anger will descend on them in torrents.
29 This is the reward that God gives the wicked.
    It is the inheritance decreed by God.”

This was Zophar’s firm conclusion (he speaks no more in the Book of Job). He made the clear connection between the wrath that the wicked man reaps and Job’s own situation. Zophar—as with the rest of Job’s friends—left little room for grace. “It is worth pointing out, as a sign of the narrowness of Zophar’s beliefs, that his speech contains no hint that the wicked might repent, make amends, and regain the favour of God. Zophar has no compassion and his god has no mercy.” (Andersen)

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

Zophar’s thinking is that we get God’s mercy and blessing only by earning it.  But that is not what the whole of Scripture teaches.  Isaiah 30:18 says — Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!  HERE  is Terry Butler and “Deep, Deep Love.” 

Let your heart rest today in God’s deep and abiding love.

_________________________

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:
Zophar talking.   http://gorepent.com/wp-content/uploads/posts18/zophar-talking.jpg
don’t count the days.    http://booandboy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/dont-count-the-days.jpg
open mouth.    http://pxv0jal6vyucmm5q.zippykid.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/BLOG-Chap-5-Open-Mouth.jpg
gratitude.    http://www.netcastchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/gratitude.jpg