2630.) Job 24

May 31, 2019

“Job and his friends” by Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky, 1810 (Nizhny Tagil Municipal Museum of Fine Arts, Nizhniy Tagil, Russia)

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 these upcoming verses:  wars and threats of wars, terrible drought and also terrible wild fires, wholesale corruption in governments, banking and real estate fraud, dishonesty in institutions of higher learning, floods and tornadoes, children pushed into slavery and pornography, and so on and so on — Job is describing our world today. People feeling lost and alone and persecuted. So much in need of Jesus.

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

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

Job24 foreclosure-sign

Millions (!) of homes lost to foreclosure. Many folks are still trying to recover financially.

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

Some 80,000 Syrians, displaced by the war, still live in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan; nearly half are under age 25.

.

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.

dumpster diving in NYC

dumpster diving in NYC

.

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

A North Korean soldier watches farmers working in a field in North Korea, as seen from a boat on the Yalu river, opposite Hekou, in China’s northeast Liaoning province on February 24, 2019.

.

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

Job24 DC homeless

homeless in Washington, D.C.

.

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

tornado damage in Franklin, Texas

.

A railroad crossing is flooded with water from the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Nebraska.

.

“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.

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

Job24 TentCity, Nashville, TN
.

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:
Bororvikovsky.      https://arthive.com/vladimirborovikovsky/works/519853~Job_and_his_friends
Zaatari refugee camp.  https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/syria-war-jordan-zaatari-refugee-camp-180326115809170.html
dumpster diving.    http://noimpactman.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/08/26/freegan_picture.jpg
workers in a field in North Korea.    https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/north-korea-drought.jpg
DC homeless person sleeping on a bench.  http://lh6.ggpht.com/monty.qcetech/RuNDFojgQKI/AAAAAAAAAWg/6XEHddP55Ls/s800/homeless1.jpg
tornado damage in Texas.   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/04/17/weather-forecast-storms-tornadoes-threaten-south-oklahoma-arkansas-texas/3494468002/
flooding damage in Nebraska.   https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2019-03-19/historic-midwest-flooding-destroys-homes-blamed-for-3-deaths
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

2629.) Job 23

May 30, 2019

“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.

Job felt separated from God. Surely, this was not the first crisis in his life (though of course it was far beyond any previous suffering). He had found comfort and solace in God in prior times, but in this catastrophe he felt he could not find God.

In a way almost infinitely less, yet nevertheless real, Job experienced what Jesus experienced on the cross: A man who had previously been in the fellowship and favor of God now felt utterly forsaken. This was the greatest source of torment in Job’s life.

This not only tells us of Job’s sense of the loss of the presence of God, but of his longing to have it back. “Good men are washed towards God even by the rough waves of their grief; and when their sorrows are deepest, their highest desire is not to escape from them, but to get at their God.” (Spurgeon)

–David Guzik

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 (NIV)

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

Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)

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 (NIV)

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 (NIV)

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 after the testing, 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.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/job.jpg
He knows the path that I take.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/27fb8-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

2628.) Job 22

May 29, 2019

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.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/job22-succeed.gif
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
verse 21.   https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Job-22-21_Inspirational_Image/

2627.) Job 21

May 28, 2019

“Job and His Friends,” by Ilya Yefimovich-Repin, 1869

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 to a friend  and don’t want him/her 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 Wheaton College Concert Choir, in Illinois. 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:
Repin.   https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Job_and_his_friends.jpg
scene from the play J.B.     http://dctheatrescene.com/2012/09/26/j-b/
All truth is God’s truth.    http://theresurgencereport.com/resurgence/2012/11/10/all-truth-is-gods-truth
Stop shopping.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/b7196-20081119-stop-shopping-sticker255b1255d.jpg

2626.) Job 20

May 27, 2019

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.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/job20-zophar-talking.jpg
don’t count the days.    http://booandboy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/dont-count-the-days.jpg
open mouth.    https://thedevotioncafe.org/2017/03/05/your-mouth-can-block-your-blessing/
gratitude.    https://educationsvoice.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/mindfulness-in-the-classroom-gratitude/

2625.) Job 19

May 24, 2019

Job 19   (NLT)

Job’s Sixth Speech: A Response to Bildad

1Then Job spoke again:

Job complains that his friends have not understood him at all:

2 “How long will you torture me?
How long will you try to crush me with your words?
3 You have already insulted me ten times.
You should be ashamed of treating me so badly.

“They struck at him with their hard words, as if they were breaking stones on the roadside. We ought to be very careful what we say to those who are suffering affliction and trial, for a word, though it seems to be a very little thing, will often cut far more deeply and wound far more terribly than a razor would.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

4 Even if I have sinned,
that is my concern, not yours.
5 You think you’re better than I am,
using my humiliation as evidence of my sin.

Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV)

“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

6 But it is God who has wronged me,
capturing me in his net.

Job describes how God has attacked him:

7 “I cry out, ‘Help!’ but no one answers me.
I protest, but there is no justice.
8 God has blocked my way so I cannot move.
He has plunged my path into darkness.

“Nothing is more natural and usual than for men in misery to cry out for help. Job’s great grief was, that neither God nor man would regard his moans or deliver him out of the net.”

–John Trapp

9 He has stripped me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head.
10 He has demolished me on every side, and I am finished.
He has uprooted my hope like a fallen tree.
11 His fury burns against me;
he counts me as an enemy.
12 His troops advance.
They build up roads to attack me.
They camp all around my tent.

In Job 19:8-12, Job recounts the reverse progression of an ancient siege and conquering of a city; yet the irony was that Job was not like a mighty city, but only like a humble tent.

 We can see the reverse progress starting at Job 19:8:

  • Captivity (I cannot pass; and He has set darkness in my paths).
  • Dethronement (taken the crown from my head)
  • Being like a wall torn down (He breaks me down on every side)
  • Being like an uprooted tree (my hope He has uprooted like a tree)
  • Having a siege set against him (build up their road against me)
  • Being surrounded (they encamp all around my tent)

–David Guzik

Job describes the bitter results of God’s attack upon him:

13 “My relatives stay far away,
and my friends have turned against me.
14 My family is gone,
and my close friends have forgotten me.
15 My servants and maids consider me a stranger.
I am like a foreigner to them.
16 When I call my servant, he doesn’t come;
I have to plead with him!
17 My breath is repulsive to my wife.
I am rejected by my own family.

If it were not enough that he has lost so much, now even the friends and family remaining to him are distancing themselves from him. This rejection is even a heavier burden to bear!  As the little poem goes:

Sticks and stones are hard on bones.
Aimed with cruel art,
Words can sting like anything.
But silence breaks the heart.

18 Even young children despise me.
When I stand to speak, they turn their backs on me.
19 My close friends detest me.
Those I loved have turned against me.
20 I have been reduced to skin and bones
and have escaped death by the skin of my teeth.

JOB mind-your-language

Job enriches our language. 

Here is a quotation which has become a part of our everyday speech: by the skin of my teeth.

The expression by (or with) the skin of one’s teeth, which means ‘by an extremely narrow margin; just barely; scarcely’ is an example of a literal translation of a phrase in another language. It’s also another example of a Biblical expression gaining currency in mainstream usage.

The phrase, which first appears in English in a mid-sixteenth-century translation of the Bible, does not appear to become common until the nineteenth century. At this point by the skin of one’s teeth is the usual form, as if the teeth actually have skin that is so fine you can barely tell. (An interesting parallel is the nineteenth-century Americanism fine as frog’s hair, meaning ‘very fine’, based on a similar assumption.)

–randomhouse.com

Job pleads for pity from his friends:

21 “Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy,
for the hand of God has struck me.
22 Must you also persecute me, like God does?
Haven’t you chewed me up enough?

Job’s triumphant proclamation of faith:

This Christian affirmation radically changed the relationship between the living and the dead as Greeks and Romans understood it.“The Resurrection is an enormous answer to the problem of death,” says Notre Dame theologian John Dunne. ”The idea is that the Christian goes with Christ through death to everlasting life. Death becomes an event, like birth, that is lived through.”

23 “Oh, that my words could be recorded.
Oh, that they could be inscribed on a monument,
24 carved with an iron chisel and filled with lead,
engraved forever in the rock.

25 “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
and he will stand upon the earth at last.
26 And after my body has decayed,
yet in my body I will see God!
27 I will see him for myself.
Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.
I am overwhelmed at the thought!

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Job 19:26-27 — In my flesh shall I see God:  whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.

I shall see God for myself, and not another; not a stranger is the KJV margin.  I shall not have to learn to know and love Him, for it will be the God who has led me all my life long — and not another.

No stranger’s face will meet us on the day we die. We shall be awakened by the vision of His face — only His.

A little girl was slowly dying in her home in India. A Christian doctor who was called to see her told her of our Lord Jesus. After a little while she began to understand and love Him. One day she said:  “I don’t know anyone in heaven. I shall feel very shy there.”

“But you know our Lord Jesus,” said the doctor. “You won’t be shy with Him.” She was comforted. Soon after that she saw Him — not another, not a stranger, but the Lord who loved her and gave Himself for her.

28 “How dare you go on persecuting me,
saying, ‘It’s his own fault’?
29 You should fear punishment yourselves,
for your attitude deserves punishment.
Then you will know that there is indeed a judgment.”

_________________________

Music:

“I Know that My Redeemer Liveth”  from Messiah, by George Frederich Handel, 1741.   HERE  is Lynne Dawson with the Choir of King’s College and the Brandenburg Consort, conducted by Stephen Cleobury in 1993.

_________________________

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 19:25.   https://walkingonsunshinerecipes.com/i-know-my-redeemer-lives-free-printable/
logs.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/logging1.jpg
tent.  http://www.clipartpal.com/_thumbs/pd/buildings/blue_festive_tent.png
My Redeemer lives.   http://blog.peacebewithu.com/our-redeemer-lives/
Jesus.  http://www.prlog.org/11425991-faceofjesus.jpg

2624.) Job 18

May 23, 2019

Job18 wages of sin

Job 18   (NLT)

Bildad’s Second Response to Job

Bildad rebukes Job:

Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

Bildad rebukes Job for his words and low opinion of his friends.

“How long before you stop talking?
    Speak sense if you want us to answer!
Do you think we are mere animals?
    Do you think we are stupid?
You may tear out your hair in anger,
    but will that destroy the earth?
    Will it make the rocks tremble?

Bildad describes the afflictions of the wicked:

“Surely the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
    The sparks of their fire will not glow.
The light in their tent will grow dark.
    The lamp hanging above them will be quenched.
The confident stride of the wicked will be shortened.
    Their own schemes will be their downfall.
The wicked walk into a net.
    They fall into a pit.
A trap grabs them by the heel.
    A snare holds them tight.
10 A noose lies hidden on the ground.
    A rope is stretched across their path.

havahart humane live animal trap

A net, a pit, a trap, a snare, a noose, a rope — Bildad is certainly thorough! The wicked are on a dangerous path; their doom is sure! 

11 “Terrors surround the wicked
    and trouble them at every step.
12 Hunger depletes their strength,
    and calamity waits for them to stumble.
13 Disease eats their skin;
    death devours their limbs.
14 They are torn from the security of their homes
    and are brought down to the king of terrors.

Job18 Grim_reaper

“The king of terrors” — a marvelously poetic description of death itself. We speak of the “Grim Reaper” and, from the 15th century onwards, it came to be shown as a skeletal figure carrying a large scythe and clothed in a black cloak with a hood. The Bible itself refers to “The Angel of Death” when he reaps Egypt’s firstborns. Incidentally, in English, death is personified as male, but in some other languages, death is portrayed as female.

15 The homes of the wicked will burn down;
    burning sulfur rains on their houses.
16 Their roots will dry up,
    and their branches will wither.
17 All memory of their existence will fade from the earth,
    no one will remember their names.
18 They will be thrust from light into darkness,
    driven from the world.
19 They will have neither children nor grandchildren,
    nor any survivor in the place where they lived.

This was an especially cruel statement to one who had lost all ten of his children (included seven sons) in a tragic accident, as we remember from chapter 1. Bildad felt that such cruelty was necessary to wake Job up from his self-deception.

20 People in the west are appalled at their fate;
    people in the east are horrified.
21 They will say, ‘This was the home of a wicked person,
    the place of one who rejected God.’”

“It is not Job’s wickedness but his faithfulness that the Lord is disclosing through this ordeal. In fact there may be nothing our God wants more than to bring each one of us to the point where He can do with us exactly what He did with Job: hand us over with perfect confidence into the clutches of Satan, knowing that even then our faith will hold.”

–Mike Mason

_________________________

Music:

Bildad makes very clear what the destiny of the wicked will be. And wicked ones and righteous ones alike must face the end of their lives. Yet what a difference! Death is the last enemy a believer must face, and even then, Jesus is with us! Goodness and mercy will follow us. So there is no need to fear, now or then.   HERE  is Chris Tomlin and “All the Way My Savior Leads Me.”  It is a peaceful joy to let these words sink in and soothe the soul.

_________________________

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 wages of sin.    http://m1.behance.net/rendition/modules/17151334/disp/4cbcf5ee270172aae2c547fe8866b4ff.jpg
animal trap.    http://grow.ars-informatica.ca/images/havahart_humane_trap.jpg
Grim Reaper.    http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090507165214/monster/images/5/55/Grim_reaper.jpg