~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Job 37:1-39:30 ~ 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:10
Psalm 44:9-26 ~ Proverbs 22:13
Old Testament - Today we begin reading four amazing chapters in the book of Job when God speaks to Job! We’ve been reading a lot so far about what Job would like to say to God. Well, stay tuned for chapters 38 through 41 in Job starting today... it appears God was indeed listening to Job and has some things to say to him! (and perhaps to us...?) I love the opening words of chapter 38 verses 1 through 3 - "Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind: "Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them." Below is English poet and artist William Blake's engraving below from the year 1825 titled "The Lord answering Job out of the whirlwind":
Below is an amazing painting by modern day artist Rina Coetzee for God's words in Job chapter 38 verses 4 through 6! "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Do you know how its dimensions were determined and who did the surveying? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?"
And one more fantastic painting below from Rina for verses 8 through 11: ""Who defined the boundaries of the sea as it burst from the womb, and as I clothed it with clouds and thick darkness? For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. I said, `Thus far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!'"
New Testament - Paul's words in Second Corinthians chapter 4 verses 16 through 18 are incredible for each of us to take to heart - "That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever." I don't know about you, but I confess that I all too often get caught up in the troubles we can see right now. I forget about the joys to come that will last forever. It's sad when I forget about the joys to come. There is so much hurt and disaster in our world that I am afraid all too often I focus only on these negative things and forget that this is a world where bad things happen. Through our faith and relationship with Jesus we will one day be in heaven where there will be no more tears. No more crying. No more suffering. But, this side of heaven, we will suffer. Each of our bodies will deteriorate and these earthly bodies will die. But, as Paul says in these verses above, though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day! I pray this is the case for you. I pray this is the case for me. Are you experiencing renewal in your spirit every day? Let us pray for renewal!
Bible.org's commentary on today's Second Corinthians readings titled "Death: No Longer a Foe, but a Friend" is at this link.
Psalms - Every time I read Psalm 44 verse 23 it reminds me of one of the amazing aspects of the Psalms - that the Psalms are people like us speaking to God - and in all sorts of emotional ways: "Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Get up! Do not reject us forever." This type of verse reminds me that it's okay for us to not always talk to God in our "church voice." It's okay to get a little bit passionate in our prayers to God. I think God would prefer us to be real with him - where we are right now or at any given moment - rather than try to put on any special facades for God. If ever you feel like you are at a loss for words for what you might want to say to God - how you might be needing to pray to God - surf through the Psalms... you'll very likely find voice for what you are trying to say.
Proverbs - Today we read in Proverbs chapter 22 verse 13 – “The sluggard says, "There is a lion outside!" or, "I will be murdered in the streets!" How does this Proverb speak to you? To me it is a reminder of all of the excuses I can make for not participating in God’s will for my life. I strongly believe that God has an amazing purpose and an amazing plan for each of our lives. I also believe that we can often do a very good job of refusing to participate in God’s plan for our life. We either think that God’s plan really isn’t all that good, so we’ll do things our own way. Or we are simply lazy or afraid or cowardly or who knows what. We make a million excuses for why we won’t get on with God’s plan for our life! How about you? Do you believe that God has an amazing purpose and plan for your life? Do you know what it is? If not, will you seek it? In either case, are you actively working on Kingdom things in your life these days? Are you living out in your life the call of the Gospel to actively love and serve others each and every day? Or are you making excuses?
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!