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. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pp. 9-10) More commentary on Job titled “The Ideal of Submission” is at this link. 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. Do you believe in the existence of Satan? Demons? Evil?
New Testament - First Corinthians chapter 14 is an interesting chapter. I personally have not spoken in tongues - nor heard it as far as I know. But, I do know many people that have both spoken in tongues and heard it and have heard interpretations. 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." Bible.org's commentary on speaking in tongues is at this link.
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "The Measure of a Gift" is at this link.
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. :) Do you live 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. My sadness in this area is that I don't realize that God is directing my steps all of the time. And that he is delighting in every detail of my life - most of the time... :) 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. Do you love to give? What was the last intentional (not random) act of kindness you performed? Do you perform intentional acts of kindness regularly?
Worship God: Yep, as we're starting the book of Job it seems the most appropriate time to share with you Matt Redman's "Blessed Be Your Name". Matt wrote this song just after September 11th when the world was in mourning for the U.S. (Matt lives in England) The song includes the line: "Blessed Be Your name, When I'm found in the desert place, Though I walk through the wilderness, Blessed Be Your name." I think we'll find Job singing a similar song to God when we get to the very end of this powerful book we're embarking on today...
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on our readings in First Corinthians chapter 14 today, I'm wondering if anyone has experiences with speaking in tongues that you'd be willing to share in the Comments section below? Feel free to post up anonymously without using your name or email if you'd like. Maybe you've experienced tongues yourself or have heard others speaking in tongues? I definitely don't want to create any debates with this question. I'm just genuinely interested in hearing others thoughts or experiences regarding speaking in tongues? Thanks. Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!