~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Job 8:1-11:20 ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-28
Psalm 38:1-22 ~ Proverbs 21:28-29
Old Testament - Okay, so I am sure that most of us have heard the old adage "patience of Job." (As in, "she has the patience of Job." etc.) Well, today's chapters 9 & 10 are probably not where this adage came from! :) Job is not showing a lot of patience in these chapters. Can you blame him? Would you be different in Job's situation? Or perhaps worse in your language? It is important to note that Job does not curse God directly, as Satan said Job would do in the beginning of the book. Job is certainly complaining about his situation - and, well, not to spoil the book of Job here for you... but Job will repent of what he says to God later in the book. In Job chapter 10 today we read Job's plea to God, including this in verses 18 through 22 - "`Why, then, did you bring me out of my mother's womb? Why didn't you let me die at birth? Then I would have been spared this miserable existence. I would have gone directly from the womb to the grave. I have only a little time left, so leave me alone--that I may have a little moment of comfort before I leave for the land of darkness and utter gloom, never to return. It is a land as dark as midnight, a land of utter gloom where confusion reigns and the light is as dark as midnight.'"
The other adage, in addition to "patience of Job", that I was thinking about in today's readings is "with friends like these, who needs enemies?" :) Zophar in chapter 11 seems to really have compassion-deficiency! I do think that Zophar and Bildad in chapter 8 were trying to say the things they thought Job needed to hear. But they overstated the case I think in a few places. I don't agree w/ Zophar saying in chapter 11 verse 3 that Job mocked God: "When you mock God, shouldn't someone make you ashamed?" Here's my question for us today. Are we sometimes like Zophar and Bildad? Do we jump to conclusions about maybe why bad things are happening to our friends? Do we offer up our big advice and big words and big bluster before really listening to our friends and understanding their situation? I am afraid that sometimes we jump to conclusions far too quickly. I always try to remember the old Stephen Covey adage (wow, 3 adages here in 1 post! :) from the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People": "Seek first to understand, and then to be understood." Let us seek first to really understand our friends or family members issues before we start our prescriptions for them. Let us first try walking a mile in their shoes!
New Testament - Beautifully true words from Paul today in First Corinthians chapter 15 verses 3 & 4 - "I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me--that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said." And then there are some interesting words from Paul in verses 17 through 19 - "And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless, and you are still under condemnation for your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ have perished! And if we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world." He immediately follows up these verses with this statement in verse 20 - "But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again." This is quite a chapter from Paul about the Resurrection of Jesus and the Resurrection of the dead. I think the key question we each need to ask ourselves is: do you believe that Jesus was born on this earth 2,000 years ago, is the Son of God, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for your sins, and on the third day rose from the dead? This is the question on which all of Christianity - and your personal faith in Jesus - hinges. So, what say you?
In verses 5 through 8 today six resurrection appearances of Jesus' are mentioned. Below is a full list of Jesus' resurrection appearances from Zondervan's NIV Study Bible:
1. The empty tomb (not an appearance per se - but no body was in the tomb - the first indication of the resurrection)
2. To Mary Magdalene in the garden
3. To the other women
4. To two people going to Emmaus
5. To Peter
6. To the ten disciples in the upper room
7. To the 11 disciples in the upper room (Thomas - see painting below)
8. To seven disciples fishing on the Sea of Galilee
9. To the 11 disciples on a mountain
10. To more than 500
11. To James
12. To the disciples at His ascension
13. To Paul
One of my favorite paintings of a resurrection appearance of Jesus' is by the Italian artist Caravaggio from the year 1603 titled "Doubting Thomas":
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians 15 titled "A Refresher Course on the Resurrection of the Dead" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 38 is powerful. Verses 4 & 5 speak so much to our human condition - "My guilt overwhelms me--it is a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins." Does this verse speak to you in any way, shape or form? If so, please consider then verse 18 - "But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done." Will you confess your sins to God today? Will you admit that you are truly sorry for your sins? Will you pray for healing from your sins? Will you make confession of your sins to God a regular practice?
Proverbs - Proverb chapter 21 verse 29 today is subtle but powerful - "The wicked put up a bold front, but the upright proceed with care." Have you ever seen folks that put up a bold front, but don't have much behind it all? And then seen those that are so humble and maybe even seem quiet, but then deliver incredible fruits? As Jesus said - you'll know a tree by its fruit. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit and a good tree cannot produce bad fruit. This Proverb is a great reminder that the front / the sales pitch / the first impression is not the fruit. It's what comes next and what is delivered with quality and consistency that comes next. Do you put up a bold front at times? Or do you make it a habit to instead proceed with caution?
Comments from you - What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!