2640.) Job 34

June 14, 2019

Job34 v29

Job 34   (NLT)

Elihu Denounces Job

Then Elihu said:

He again inaccurately summarizes Job’s argument:

“Listen to me, you wise men.
    Pay attention, you who have knowledge.
Job said, ‘The ear tests the words it hears
    just as the mouth distinguishes between foods.’
So let us discern for ourselves what is right;
    let us learn together what is good.
For Job also said, ‘I am innocent,
    but God has taken away my rights.
I am innocent, but they call me a liar.
    My suffering is incurable, though I have not sinned.’

Job never claimed to be sinless. He only claimed that there was not some special sin that made him the target of this special catastrophe.

“Tell me, has there ever been a man like Job,
    with his thirst for irreverent talk?

“What most alarmed Elihu about Job was that somehow this man had the cheek to blame God for his problems, and yet still to consider himself righteous and faithful.”

–Mike Mason

8 He chooses evil people as companions.
    He spends his time with wicked men.
He has even said, ‘Why waste time
    trying to please God?’

Elihu describes the righteousness of God and His moral order:

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

Many people today believe the idea of Elihu (and Eliphaz), and believe it as an absolute spiritual law instead of a general principle. Some take the passage from Galatians 6:7:  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Yet it is important to understand the context of Paul’s statement, which was encouragement and exhortation for Christians to give materially for the support of their ministers. It is true that the principle of Galatians 6:7 has application beyond giving and supporting teachers and ministers. It has a general application in life; what we get out is often what we put in. Yet Paul did not promote some law of spiritual karma that ensures we will get good when we do good things or always get bad when we do bad things. If there were such an absolute spiritual law it would surely damn us all. Instead, Paul simply related the principle of sowing and reaping to the way we manage our resources before the Lord. He used the same picture in 1 Corinthians 9:11 and 2 Corinthians 9:6-10.

–David Guzik

12 Truly, God will not do wrong.
    The Almighty will not twist justice.

Elihu was correct, and this was an idea agreed upon by Job and his three friends. Yet the problem was that Elihu and Job’s three friends also seemed to assume that God would never do mysteriously, and were too confident in their ability to understand God and His ways.

–David Guzik

13 Did someone else put the world in his care?
    Who set the whole world in place?
14 If God were to take back his spirit
    and withdraw his breath,
15 all life would cease,
    and humanity would turn again to dust.

God preserves His moral order:

16 “Now listen to me if you are wise.
    Pay attention to what I say.
17 Could God govern if he hated justice?
    Are you going to condemn the almighty judge?

Elihu has confused two kinds of cries. Job is not condemning God. Rather, he is calling out in agony to God, asking to see the love and justice that Job knows are an integral part of God.

18 For he says to kings, ‘You are wicked,’
    and to nobles, ‘You are unjust.’
19 He doesn’t care how great a person may be,
    and he pays no more attention to the rich than to the poor.
    He made them all.
20 In a moment they die.
    In the middle of the night they pass away;
    the mighty are removed without human hand.

The perfection of God’s judgments:

21 “For God watches how people live;
    he sees everything they do.
22 No darkness is thick enough
    to hide the wicked from his eyes.
23 We don’t set the time
    when we will come before God in judgment.
24 He brings the mighty to ruin without asking anyone,
    and he sets up others in their place.
25 He knows what they do,
    and in the night he overturns and destroys them.
26 He strikes them down because they are wicked,
    doing it openly for all to see.
27 For they turned away from following him.
    They have no respect for any of his ways.
28 They cause the poor to cry out, catching God’s attention.
    He hears the cries of the needy.

Job34 Scotland

Adam Clarke had an interesting story to tell on the observation of Elihu that God would avenge the cry of the poor to come to Him when the rich and influence oppressed them:

“In times of little liberality, when some men thought they did God service by persecuting those who did not exactly receive their creed, nor worship God in their way, a certain great man in Scotland grievously persecuted his tenants, because they had religious meetings in private houses out of the order of the establishment; though he never molested them when they spent their time and their money in the alehouse.

A holy, simple woman, one of those people, went one morning to the house of the great persecutor, and desired to speak with him. The servant desired to know her message, and he would deliver it, for she could not be admitted. She told him she could deliver her message to none but his master; said it was a matter of great importance, and concerned himself intimately, and alone. The servant having delivered this message, and stated that the woman appeared to have something particular on her mind, his worship condescended to see her.

‘What is your business with me?’ said he, in a haughty, overbearing tone.

To which she answered, ‘Sir, we are a hantle o’ puir folk at—, who are strivin’ to sairve God accordin’ to our ain conscience, and to get our sauls sav’d: yee persecute us; and I am come to beg yee to let us alane; and in ye dinna, we’ll pray yee dead.’

This rhetoric was irresistible, His lordship did not know what influence such people might have in heaven; he did not like to put such prayers to the proof; wisely took the old woman’s advice, and e’en let them alane. He was safe; they were satisfied; and God had the glory. When the poor refer their cause to God, he is a terrible avenger. Let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of the earth, but woe to the man that contendeth with his Maker.”

–David Guzik

29 But if he chooses to remain quiet,
    who can criticize him?
When he hides his face, no one can find him,
    whether an individual or a nation.
30 He prevents the godless from ruling
    so they cannot be a snare to the people.

Elihu thought it was important to emphasize these points because without them, the moral order of society would be overturned. If these things were shaken, then the hypocrite would reign and the common people would be ensnared.

–David Guzik

The message of Elihu to Job was clear: God always does right. Yet the way he developed and applied that thought to Job’s situation was wrong and even dangerous. “If everything God does is right, by definition, and if, because He is Sovereign, God does everything that happens, it follows that everything that happens is right, and the category of evil disappears.”

–Francis I. Andersen

Elihu advises Job on what he should have said:

31 “Why don’t people say to God, ‘I have sinned,
    but I will sin no more’?
32 Or ‘I don’t know what evil I have done—tell me.
    If I have done wrong, I will stop at once’?

33 “Must God tailor his justice to your demands?
    But you have rejected him!
The choice is yours, not mine.
    Go ahead, share your wisdom with us.
34 After all, bright people will tell me,
    and wise people will hear me say,
35 ‘Job speaks out of ignorance;
    his words lack insight.’
36 Job, you deserve the maximum penalty
    for the wicked way you have talked.
37 For you have added rebellion to your sin;
    you show no respect,
    and you speak many angry words against God.”

Ouch! That is a blunt accusation! Where is any kindness and compassion for a man who has suffered greatly? Adam Clarke wrote:   “This is a very harsh wish: but the whole chapter is in the same spirit; nearly destitute of mildness and compassion. Who could suppose that such arguings could come out of the mouth of the loving Saviour of mankind?” 

_________________________

Music :

What we fail to realize is how desperately we want and need a judge, because without judgment — without someone establishing an authoritative standard, then evil and injustice never get answered. And all the things in this life that have been unjust — all the greed, all the human suffering and poverty, all the evil that has been visited upon us in a variety of ways — it runs on forever, unchecked, as if it does not matter — no one ever stops it — no one ever steps in and demands restitution. God’s standard of holiness expressed in His Word does two things: it stops evil in its tracks and demands consequences — and then it provides for us the very thing it demands.

–David Swanson

Elihu is right. I have often rejected God, I regret to say, and have acted in ways contrary to his love. But in Jesus, my sins are washed away and I am forgiven. God is the perfect combination of justice and mercy, for me and for the whole world.  HERE  is “Wonderful, Merciful Savior” sung by Selah.

_________________________

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:
verse 29.    http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/Pictures/Treasures%20of%20the%20Bible%20%28Illustrated%20Passages%29/images/scan0003-1.jpg
sowing and reaping.   https://garyrohrmayer.typepad.com/yourjourneyblog/2014/06/the-principle-of-sowing-reaping-in-evangelism.html
scene in Scotland.    http://media64.transat.com/images.aspx?imageid=50719&imagetype=image
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2639.) Job 33

June 13, 2019

Job33 v28

Job 33 (NLT)

Elihu Presents His Case against Job

“I am your spokesman before God,” Elihu says to Job:

1 “Listen to my words, Job;
pay attention to what I have to say.
2 Now that I have begun to speak,
let me continue.
3 I speak with all sincerity;
I speak the truth.
4 For the Spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
5 Answer me, if you can;
make your case and take your stand.
6 Look, you and I both belong to God.
I, too, was formed from clay.
7 So you don’t need to be afraid of me.
I won’t come down hard on you.

So it is clear from just these few lines that Elihu is wordy, he repeats himself, he is conceited.  One commentator has said, “Now he joins in with a combination of deference and cocksureness that captures the pose of youth that sees a little, but sees it clearly.”

“You think you are without sin,” Elihu says to Job:

8 “You have spoken in my hearing,
and I have heard your very words.
9 You said, ‘I am pure; I am without sin;
I am innocent; I have no guilt.
10 God is picking a quarrel with me,
and he considers me his enemy.
11 He puts my feet in the stocks
and watches my every move.’

This means that young Elihu had not heard Job carefully. Job certainly knew that he was a sinner in a general sense and could not be considered righteous compared to God.

  • Therefore my words have been rash (Job 6:3)
  • Why then do You not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? (Job 7:21)
  • How can a man be righteous before God? (Job 9:2)
  • I know that You will not hold me innocent (Job 9:28)
  • For You write bitter things against me, and make me inherit the iniquities of my youth (Job 13:26)
  • Though I were righteous, my own mouth would condemn me; though I were blameless, it would prove me perverse (Job 19:2)

–David Guzik

“God speaks to you, perhaps in a dream?” Elihu says to Job:

12 “But you are wrong, and I will show you why.
For God is greater than any human being.

“His reason for this conclusion is the first big disappointment in his speech. The truth that God is greater than man is so obvious as to be banal. No one denies this.”

–Francis I. Andersen

13 So why are you bringing a charge against him?
Why say he does not respond to people’s complaints?
14 For God speaks again and again,
though people do not recognize it.
15 He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night,
when deep sleep falls on people
as they lie in their beds.
16 He whispers in their ears
and terrifies them with warnings.
17 He makes them turn from doing wrong;
he keeps them from pride.
18 He protects them from the grave,
from crossing over the river of death.

“God spoke to you in your sufferings, to save your soul from death,” Elihu says to Job:

19 “Or God disciplines people with pain on their sickbeds,
with ceaseless aching in their bones.
20 They lose their appetite
for even the most delicious food.
21 Their flesh wastes away,
and their bones stick out.
22 They are at death’s door;
the angels of death wait for them.

23 “But if an angel from heaven appears—
a special messenger to intercede for a person
and declare that he is upright—
24 he will be gracious and say,
‘Rescue him from the grave,
for I have found a ransom for his life.’

Mark 10:45 (ESV)

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

25 Then his body will become as healthy as a child’s,
firm and youthful again.
26 When he prays to God,
he will be accepted.
And God will receive him with joy
and restore him to good standing.
27 He will declare to his friends,
‘I sinned and twisted the truth,
but it was not worth it.
28 God rescued me from the grave,
and now my life is filled with light.’

So, according to Elihu, suffering is the Lord’s way of correcting and healing those whom he is saving.  Suffering is helpful when we turn to God for patience and understanding, or when we learn a deeper dependence on God, or when we become more gentle towards others in their difficulties, thereby showing God’s light to the world.

Elihu pleads with Job to listen to him:

29 “Yes, God does these things
again and again for people.

At last! Someone is talking about God’s grace!

30 He rescues them from the grave
so they may enjoy the light of life.

Psalm 56:13 (ESV)

For you have delivered my soul from death,
   yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.

31 Mark this well, Job. Listen to me,
for I have more to say.
32 But if you have anything to say, go ahead.
Speak, for I am anxious to see you justified.
33 But if not, then listen to me.
Keep silent and I will teach you wisdom!”

“More than any of the other friends, Elihu develops the idea of suffering as a form of spiritual discipline or chastening. While the other friends do touch on this theme, there is a subtle difference in the way Elihu approaches it. Where the others view suffering as punishment for sinners, Elihu sees it as the Lord’s way of correcting and healing the lives of those He is already committed to saving.”

–Mike Mason

_________________________

Music:

Note verse 30:  He rescues them from the grave so they may enjoy the light of life.  Thank you, Lord Jesus!  HERE  is “Your Precious Blood Has Ransomed Me” with Allen Froese.

_________________________

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:
verse 28.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/job33-v28.jpg
big deal.  https://www.personalityperfect.com/7-secrets-of-the-estj-personality-type/
I am a sinner.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/i-am-a-sinner-t.jpg
cross on black.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/cross-dark-background.jpg
Romans 8:28.  https://divinewalls.com/romans-8-28

2638.) Job 32

June 12, 2019
"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.

“Elihu is angry with everybody. He is the classic angry young man, and from the outset what we need to notice about this kind of anger is that it puts him in a class by himself. The fact that he is angry at both sides of the debate separates him from Job, on the one hand, but also from the other three friends.”

–Mike Mason

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.


“We have been trying to know God by the intellect, by reading the Bible intellectually, by endeavouring to apprehend human systems. There is, however, a deeper and truer method. ‘There is a spirit in man!’ Open your spirit to the divine Spirit as you open a window to the sunny air.”

–Mike Meyer

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. Bible commentator Elmer Smick agrees: “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
verse 8.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/299489443940953578/?autologin=true

2637.) Job 31

June 11, 2019

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; the music was written by the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Both words and music are beautiful.

_________________________

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
Listen to me.    https://veritusgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/listentome-2014-Jan13.png

2636.) Job 30

June 10, 2019

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.

Job thought of what worthless men were now his loud critics, and how unjust it all was.

“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.

The NIV has it:  They advance as through a gaping breach; amid the ruins they come rolling in.

“Verse 14 is very vivid. Job thought of himself as a city with a wide, gaping breach in its wall. The stones come crashing down, and amid the rubble the instruments of siege warfare roll through. The tranquility and dignity he had so enjoyed have vanished like a cloud.”

–Elmer Smick

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 (KJV has — to dragons)
    and a companion to owls.

“Brother to dragons and companion to owls” drawing by Peter Parnell.

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. Just one!

_________________________

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
Parnell.   https://www.etsy.com/listing/564194351/brother-to-dragons-and-companion-to-owls

2634.) Job 29

June 6, 2019

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.

Job painted a beautiful (if exaggerated) picture of his former happy life. He genuinely felt that he was in fellowship with God and the blessing flowed in to every area of his life.

–David Guzik

5 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.

Though Job was a man of great wealth and influence (Job 1:1-3), he used his wealth and influence to do good instead of simply being greedy and selfish with his wealth.

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
God’s promise.   https://steemkr.com/god/@gaetano23/god-always-keeps-his-promises-1

2633.) Job 28

June 5, 2019

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 point is that man’s intelligence and determination enable him to accomplish amazing feats of technological ingenuity, but left to himself he cannot find wisdom. Wisdom is a treasure rarer than any other.”

–Elmer Smick

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.

(This is from a longer article from the Colson Center which I cannot find online now.)

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.

Job continued to paint the picture of the earth as treasure house of value and riches for those who are willing to work hard and search diligently for these riches.

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.

Job here makes the point he had built up to in the previous verses. Men search hard and are willing to endure danger for the sake of the riches of this earth; but all of that is easy compared to the search for wisdom.

–David Guzik

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.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/job28-depart-from-evil.jpg
Nevada silver mine.    http://www.greatmining.com/mining_images/Nevada_Silver_Mine2.jpg
wisdom sign.    http://bibleoutlines.com/blog/woe-3-think-smarter-god/
God knows.    https://www.capturingsunrise.com/blog/making-life-count/only_whats_done_for_jesus_will_last
Proverbs 9:10.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/job28-proverbs9_10.jpg