Saturday, August 26, 2017

August 26: Job 20 – 22; Psalm 40:11-17; Proverbs 22:2-4; 2 Corinthians 1:1-11



Overview

            Job: Zophar answers again. He says that his thoughts and inner spirit tells him that what Job is saying insults him. He appeals to what everyone knows from old that wicked people get punished and have short lives. He speaks about many things that happen to them even if they are great people or lowly. They lose it all. They like evil but it will turn on them. they won’t profit from their business. They will not be content and God’s anger will burn against them.
            Job answers and tells them to keep on mocking him. He reminds them that his complaint is against man. He asks why he shouldn’t be impatient. He asks them to look at him and be appalled. He then explains that wicked people also prosper. They don’t fear God and God doesn’t strike them. They have happy families, prosper, and ignore God. He quotes his friends as saying that God pays their iniquity to their children. Why doesn’t God strike them so they can see it, he asks. They don’t really care what happens to their progeny. They live to old age and die happy. Ask travelers and they will tell them the same thing all over the world, that evil men are spared from calamity. With all this how can Job’s friends comfort him with empty sayings and lies.
            Eliphaz answers and asks if God gets pleasure if Job is right. He tells Job that his fear of God proves he is evil. He then lists all of Job’s evil deeds. He says God is high in the heavens but claims that Job says God can’t see what is happening on the earth. He reiterates that God does cut off the wicked and the righteous rejoice when they see it. He calls Job to repentance and then he will prosper again. He says God will then save those Job ask God to help because Job has become pure.
            Psalm: After David’s jubilation in his deliverance in the first half of the Psalm, David affirms God’s faithfulness as he admits his multiple sins. He asks again for deliverance and asks for those who seek his life to be ashamed and dishonored. He asks for those who seek God to rejoice and praise the Lord. He again admits his need and that the Lord takes care of him.
            Proverbs: God has made rich and poor we are all together his. Sensible people will hide from danger but a fool will ignore it and suffer. Having humility and fearing the Lord is rewarded with riches, honor, and long life.
            2 Corinthians: Paul identifies himself as an apostle by God’s will. He and Timothy are writing to the church at Corinth and all Achaia. He announces grace and peace from the Father and Jesus.
            He praises God who is God and Father of Jesus. He is the Father of mercy and comfort. He comforts us so we can comfort others. When we share in Christ’s suffering we are comforted in Christ. Paul’s afflictions are to comfort and save them when they patiently endure those sufferings. Paul’s hope is secure knowing that they share in that suffering and comfort.
            Paul wants to make sure they know how he and Timothy have been afflicted. It was so much that they almost lost hope of their lives. What they felt like was a death sentence made them rely on God instead of themselves and God did deliver them. They have set their hope on God to keep on delivering them. He asks the Corinthians to help them by praying for them. This will give many the opportunity to give thanks for the blessings brought about by prayer.

What Stood Out

            Job: “Therefore my thoughts answer me, because of my haste within me. I hear censure that insults me, and out of my understanding a spirit answers me” (Job 20:2-3).           
            Psalm: “For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me” (Ps 40:12).
            Proverbs: “The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all” (Prov 22:2).
            2 Corinthians: “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Cor 1:9).

Insight

            Job: Zophar makes a statement that is really at the heart of his and his friends accusations against Job. He says, “Out of my understand a spirit answers me” (Job 20:2-3). He is doing exactly what the world continues to do even today. He is putting his reasoning powers above God’s Word. Sure, he doesn’t have the Bible so he may be excused. But we have the Bible. We don’t have the luxury of judging Scripture by our own reasoning. That is what everyone does who becomes a false teacher. It is what people do when they want to do what they want and when they sin to get what they want. What happens? It advances to the point of slander in Eliphaz’s next argument.
            In Job 22:5, Eliphaz finally pulls off his gloves and smacks Job without mincing his words, “Job, you are evil and you haven’t stopped being evil.” His reasoning is simple. Job is suffering, wicked people suffer, therefore Job is wicked. However, he then lists many things that Job has never done and claims that this is what Job has really done.
            When we decide what Scripture means according to our own reasoning, which is reading into Scripture what we want it to say, we have reversed what God wants. He wants us to learn from Scripture and apply it to our lives. When we get it reversed, we usually end up sinning, as did Eliphaz, and even causing others to sin.
            Psalm: Have you ever confessed to God that your sins are so many that you can’t see and they are more than the hair on your head (Ps 40:12 That is something to stop and think about)? Sure, David murdered and committed adultery, but I don’t tend to think of David as being a sinner of millions of sins. If we were really good and only sinned three times a day, that would be 1,095 sins a year. If I were that good all my life, that would be 78,840 sins not counting leap years. Our sins do pile up. We can’t excuse then in any way. But we do have the promise through Jesus Christ that all our sins are forgiven (Rom 6:10 and Heb 7:27). The implication of Hebrews 7:27 is not just that he died for everyone’s sins, but all of our sins. Since he died even before I lived, then his sacrifice for my sins includes my future ones. We don’t need to be burdened by the guilt of all those sins but can live godly lives knowing that as we recognize our sins, we can confess them and be cleansed from our unrighteousness (1 John 1:0).
            Proverbs: God has made each us and we all “meet together” in one way or another. He hasn’t just make us, but has determined when and where we were to be born (Acts 17:26). Job and his friends have reiterated that we all end up dying. We are all together in that aspect of our humanness. We are all sinners in respect to our position before God if we don’t know Christ and that is eternal death (Rom 6:23). However, in Christ, we are all one regardless of our social position, sex, ethnicity, or anything else (Gal 3:28) and in Christ our sins are forgiven giving us eternal life (Rom 6:23).
            2 Corinthians: When we are afflicted, there are two major reasons for it. The first Paul mentions is so we can then comfort others in the same way that God has comforted us in the affliction. The second reason is to help us depend on God instead of ourselves.
            After reading so much in Job, you would think that Paul would say that afflictions also come as discipline for our sins. But he totally ignores that aspect at this time. He is more interested in making sure that the we look at afflictions as a way of helping others and also maturing our dependence on ourselves.
            When we recognize God’s sovereignty over our lives, we don’t have to look at our struggles in life as something bad. Paul was despairing of life and then realized that it was there to help him depend on God even more than he already was doing. So, if this apostle by the will of God needed something to help him depend more on God, what makes us think we are depending on God so much that we no longer need to grow? Whatever suffering, trouble, trials, or difficulties we face, we know that they always have at least two purposes. We can comfort other when we’ve gone through problems. We can learn to depend on God more.

Application

             I want to recognize God’s sovereignty more. I want to be able to depend on him when things are good or bad. I also need to remember that my sins are forgiven in Jesus so that I don’t get distracted by them, but move forward.

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