~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Job 20:1-22:30 ~ 2 Corinthians 1:1-11
Psalm 40:11-17 ~ Proverbs 22:2-4
Old Testament - Today in Job chapter 21 verses 7 through 13 we read these words of Job - ""The truth is that the wicked live to a good old age. They grow old and wealthy. They live to see their children grow to maturity, and they enjoy their grandchildren. Their homes are safe from every fear, and God does not punish them. Their bulls never fail to breed. Their cows bear calves without miscarriage. Their children skip about like lambs in a flock of sheep. They sing with tambourine and harp. They make merry to the sound of the flute. They spend their days in prosperity; then they go down to the grave in peace." How do these words of Job speak to you? Is there truth in these words? If the wicked go to the grave in peace, what happens to them after the grave? Honestly, I'm not so sure about the wicked living to a good old age and going to the grave in peace... I personally would not take this chance. I think living a wicked life leads to inner conflict and an unhealthy life and potentially an early grave. I understand why Job said these words in his circumstances (he was experiencing suffering without committing the great sins his friends accused him of), but I personally would not bet on a wicked life delivering a long lifetime of wealth or peace...
New Testament - Today we begin Paul's Second Letter to the church in Corinth! Corinth was a city known in the 1st century for its wealth and lust. It was a trade center with thousands of sailors who disembarked there. Its pagan temples encouraged the practice of sexual immorality along with idol worship. Thus, this was not an easy place for the early church! But clearly a place where the church was so needed! Below is a map of where Corinth is in Greece - it is about 48 miles west of Athens. And below that is a modern day photo of ancient remains of the pagan temple to Apollo from ancient Corinth:
~ Second Corinthians ~
Author: Paul the apostle
Date: A.D. 57
Content: Paul’s earlier letter to the Corinthians had not settled all of the problems. It had some good effect upon them but much more remained to be done. In particular, Paul had to settle the problem concerning his own authority. Deep suspicions had been aroused concerning him, for what reasons we do not fully understand. But in great anguish Paul writes to reestablish his own apostolic authority. He also attempts to deal with some more practical matters, like supporting the poor believers elsewhere.
Theme: Triumph over adversity is seen throughout this letter. It is a very personal one, written by one who loved his people but had been deeply wronged by them. As Paul catalogs the experiences of his life and the nature of the Christian ministry, it is possible to see the grace of God at work bringing good from evil. Satan is active, seeking to destroy God’s work, but God is greater still, establishing those who trust in him. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 25) More commentary on Second Corinthians is at this link: http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=1203
Below is "The Apostle Paul", by the artist Rembrandt in the year 1657:
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Second Corinthians chapter 1 titled "Why Bad things happen to God's people" is at this link.
Psalms - Today Psalm 40 verse 16 stood out to me for it's pure joy and praise - "But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, "The LORD is great!"" Does this verse resonate with you today? Have you searched for God in your life? Are you filled with joy and gladness because of that search? Do you love God's salvation? Do you shout praises to God for all he has done for you?
Maybe if verse 16 does not resonate for you today, hopefully verse 17 can encourage you - "As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord is thinking about me right now. You are my helper and my savior. Do not delay, O my God." Do you believe that Jesus is thinking about you right now? Do you believe that Jesus is your helper and your savior?
Proverbs - Proverbs 22 verse 2 is a great reminder that our wealth or status does not affect who we are in God's eyes or in God's very hands - "The rich and the poor have this in common: The LORD made them both." As we are all created by God, we should not ever consider ourselves better than anyone - nor lesser than anyone - because someone else has a different set of finances than we do. If you think about it, every single person you meet has a different set of finances than you do. Some are richer, some are poorer. And yet we all have this in common - God made us. How might this affect how you view others in this world? Do you literally and consciously realize that God made each and every one of us? Below is Michelangelo's "Creation" from the Sistine Chapel in Rome, circa 1505-1513:
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!