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Job 28:1-30:31 ~ 2 Corinthians 2:12-17
Psalm 42:1-11 ~ Proverbs 22:7
Old Testament - Job chapter 28 is incredible! Could be my favorite chapter of Job so far this year. I kind of forgot about this chapter from my previous readings of this book. It seems to me to a large degree this chapter builds up and gets at one of the most important points in the Old Testament Wisdom / Poetry Books (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon) in the closing verse 28 of this chapter - "And this is what God says to all humanity: `The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.'" Beautiful! We do hear this theme over and over again in the other Wisdom / Poetry books of the Old Testament. It is a powerful and true point. I love the way Job builds up to this point early on in this chapter 28. Verses 12 through 14 I found to be particularly great - ""But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? No one knows where to find it, for it is not found among the living. `It is not here,' says the ocean. `Nor is it here,' says the sea." So, how about for you? Where do you find wisdom? Where do you find understanding? What does it mean to you that the fear of the Lord is true wisdom? Do you believe this is true? Do you believe that forsaking evil is real understanding?
In Job chapter 29 today we read about his former blessings, including these in verses 7 through 10 - "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. The highest officials of the city stood quietly, holding their tongues in respect."
New Testament - I absolutely love and appreciate Paul's words today in Second Corinthians chapter 2 verses 14 through 16 - "But thanks be to God, who made us his captives and leads us along in Christ's triumphal procession. Now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing. To those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume." What great imagery! Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God! I love it. It does get sad - but true - in verse 16 when Paul says that to those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom. Why do you suppose this is? I think it because when someone is living their life completely enslaved to sin and they encounter the light - the fragrance - of the Gospel, they either will embrace it or push it away. Unfortunately I am afraid some folks - perhaps even us in our past - are so enslaved to sin that the sin literally makes us fear / flee from the light and fragrance of the Gospel. Unfortunately sin can ensnare someone such that the Gospel is the fragrance of death and gloom because that is where the sin is leading someone who is enslaved to it - to death and gloom. Sad... and this reminds us of how urgent it is for us to pray for others who are enslaved to sin. Let us pray the fragrance of the Gospel and the grace of God will turn them back toward the Savior of the World who can free them forever - Jesus Christ. Jesus - is there a name more fragrant?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Second Corinthians titled "The Sufficiency of God Through his Spirit" is at this link.
Psalms - Today we read Psalm 42 verse 1, which is one of my favorite verses in the Bible! "As the deer pants for streams of water, so I long for you, O God." That is so right on. Lately these days I have been longing for God more than ever - and I love that. I am thankful for that. There have been seasons in my life - which can certainly be called "dry" seasons - where I have not longed for God. Where I have not longed for the true Living Water. I just love the picture this Psalm verse paints in my mind - a deer in the wilderness is fleeing from hunters. It is literally dying of thirst as it runs. It is tired. It is weary. It is running from death. And it needs water. It pants for streams of water. Like this deer, I pray that I long for God in the same way. As I flee from sin. As I am tired. As I am weary. As I run from death. I need God. I long for God. How about you? Do you long for God these days as a deer longs for water? Are you consistently drinking from the true Living Water?
Proverbs - Great wisdom in Proverbs 22 verse 7 today - "Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender." This Proverb reminds me of some of the "Get Out of Debt" seminars and books that are out there. I haven't read any of the books, but I did run sound for a half day seminar a while back, and I found it to be really good. It is true that we are so caught up in a cycle of debt here in the U.S. - and I imagine in other countries too. The thing I remember from the half day seminar is that we will never get out of debt if we cannot control our "appetites." If we cannot stop buying and spending and consuming beyond what we really need, we'll continue to be in debt. And once we are in debt, we are indeed slaves to the lender. Slaves to our credit card companies. Pretty scary when you think about it. I pray that if you are struggling with debt, you do check out a seminar or book - don't buy the book if you can help it! :) Get it from the library. We need to stop our impulses to "BUY NOW" or "DON"T MISS OUT" on x, y or z. Let's get out of debt and get out of slavery to our lenders. Literally cut up that credit card if that's what you need to do to control your out-of-control spending...
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!