"God's Word is Living & Active!" ~ Hebrews 4:12
Job 1:1-3:26 ~ 1 Corinthians 14:1-17 ~ Psalm 37:12-29 ~ Proverbs 21:25-26
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Old Testament – Yesterday we wrapped up Esther and today we begin Job! We are jumping back in time from 5th century B.C. (Esther) to 10th century B.C. (Job).
Below is an image of Job with his friends by artist Guy Rowe:
~ Job ~
Date: Tenth century B.C.
Content: This long narrative poem deals with one of the deepest problems of man: How do we explain sin and suffering, if there exists a God powerful enough to do something about them? The book begins with the suffering of Job being given three sets of speeches by some friends of his: Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, each of whom tries to explain Job’s misery in a different way. A fourth man, Elihu, tries to summarize the situation, offering yet another explanation of why Job was suffering. Finally, the Lord himself speaks to Job, and Job recognizes that we do not so much need “answers” to life’s problems, as we need God himself. Job is then healed and given material and spiritual blessings far beyond his former state.
Theme: The mystery that surrounds human existence and the need to trust in God runs throughout the book. Mankind simply does not have enough knowledge to explain why things happen the way they do. It is possible to rise above our limitations by faith in God, however, because God does know why everything happens and will work good for those who love him. We may thus learn the profound truth that when we have nothing left but God, God is enough. Below is an image from 15th century German artist Mittelalter of Job being smitten by sores by Satan from today’s readings and Job’s wife saying to him in chapter 2 verse 9: “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.”
Today Job has a very interesting chapter 1 discussion between God and Satan. Do you believe in the existence of Satan? Demons? Evil? In the introduction to the wonderful book, “The Screwtape Letters,” C.S. Lewis writes: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which the human race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” I’ll be honest – in my early Christian walk, I did not really believe in the existence of Satan, demons, evil. I believed in God and Christ and Love, and thought that was enough – evil didn’t need to exist in my universe. 🙂 Unfortunately, I’ve heard another quote that: “Satan’s greatest trick is to convince a person that Satan does not exist.” I now could not agree more. If you don’t believe in Satan or evil’s existence then you are left open to subtle attacks, without even realizing it. God is so much more powerful than anything Satan can throw at you. But, keep in mind, Satan is throwing temptations at you. How do you combat the devil’s temptations? Read Ephesians chapter 6 verses 10-18 at this link.
New Testament – First Corinthians chapter 14 is an interesting chapter. I do think Paul makes it clear in this chapter that both speaking in tongues and prophecy are gifts. I do think we do well to pay attention to Paul’s conclusion to today’s readings in verses 15 through 17: “Well then, what shall I do? I will do both. I will pray in the spirit, and I will pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will sing in words I understand. For if you praise God only in the spirit, how can those who don’t understand you praise God along with you? How can they join you in giving thanks when they don’t understand what you are saying? You will be giving thanks very nicely, no doubt, but it doesn’t help the other people present.”
Psalms – Psalm 37 verse 16 is powerful today – “It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and possess much.” I don’t know what I can add to this…. I think you probably get it. 🙂
Verse 23 is so amazing… “The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives.” I don’t mean to infer that I am godly here… but, I will admit that there are times in my life where I really sense that God is directing my steps – and taking care of every detail. And basically, it feels like I am sort of just going with God’s flow. Things are just happening beautifully. And I do sense the Spirit often during these times. I pray you and I will come to a greater awareness of this in our lives each and every moment: “The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives.”
Proverbs – Proverbs 21 verses 25 & 26 are fantastic – “The desires of lazy people will be their ruin, for their hands refuse to work. They are always greedy for more, while the godly love to give!” What an interesting juxtaposition of how the lazy are greedy and they have strong desires, while the godly love to give! Beautiful.
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: “Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked.” Psalm 37:16 (NIV)
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