Tuesday, August 29, 2017

August 29: Job 31 – 33; Psalm 43; Proverbs 22:8-9; 2 Corinthians 3



Overview

            Job: Job continues his defense. He says he promised not to look lustfully at a woman because God sees all and brings calamity on sinners. If he has lied or lusted for what he sees, then let calamity come upon him.
            If he has lusted after women, then let his wife be taken by others because his sin would be grievous. If he has been unfair to his servants, who were made by God just as he, he would not be able to defend himself before God. Job goes on to list various evils and that punishment should fall on him if he had committed them. If he trusted in wealth or worshiped the sun or his own strength, he should be punished.
            Job has not even cursed his enemies or in any other ways concealed his sins. He wishes God would write his indictment so that he could see it and acknowledge it. He would then be able to answer it and come before God like a prince. He again asks for punishment if he has done anything wrong.
            His three friends stop talking because Job was self-righteous. Then Elihu was angry because Job didn’t justify God and his three friends couldn’t refute Job though they accused Job of being wrong. Elihu was younger so he had waited for the older men to stop talking.
            Elihu says that God’s Spirit gives understanding, not how old a person becomes. He paid attention to all their talking and told them they couldn’t refute Job. He rebukes Job’s friends for not finding a way to answer Job and then they gave up by saying God will convince him. Since they have given up, Elihu will speak to get relief at holding his tongue as his answers have built up within him. He says he won’t play favorite and flatter; God would not like that.
            Elihu says God’s Spirit has made him and given him life so he challenges them to answer him. Since he is a man like Job, he doesn’t need to fear him. He has heard what Job has said about being innocent and God has become his enemy. He tells Job he is wrong because God is greater than all and God does answer. He speaks in dreams terrifying men with his warnings. God also rebukes man with pain and suffering, just like what Job is suffering. If a mediator from heaven comes and says he will be rescued from the grave, and the person asks God, he will be spared. That man would then tell everyone he was a sinner but God redeemed him. God would restore him.
            Elihu then tells Job to answer or continue listening while he teaches Job wisdom.
            Psalm: David asks God to vindicate him against ungodly people. He took refuge in God and then asks why he is still depressed about these people. He asks for God’s light and truth so he can worship with joy and praise. He again asks why he is so depressed and tells himself to hope in God, and again praise him for his salvation.
            Proverbs: People who have no regard for justice will come to ruin. Generous people ae blessed because they share with the poor.
            2 Corinthians: Paul says he doesn’t need to commend himself and his companions to the Corinthians with letters of recommendation as some require. The work that he did among them and their receiving the Holy Spirit is Paul’s letter written on their hearts.
            Paul and his companions’ confidence comes through Christ. Christ is sufficient to make them competent minister of the new covenant by the Spirit, not of the old which was by the written code which killed. The new covenant give life.
            The old covenant, which brought death, came with glory and the Israelites couldn’t view Moses’ face. It is ended but the new, ministered by the Spirit brings even more glory. The new, which brings righteousness, surpasses the old which brought condemnation and the new has more glory.
            Paul is very bold because of this hope, not like Moses who veiled his face so people couldn’t see the glory on his face and then see it fade, like the covenant, which is brought to an end. Israelites are hardened and have a veil over their minds so that when they read the old covenant, they can’t understand until Christ takes it away when they turn to the Lord.
            The Lord is the Spirit and when we have the Spirit, we have freedom. Now, we have unveiled faces and can see the Lord’s glory as we are being transformed into the same image of the Lord. It is done through the Lord who is the Spirit.

What Stood Out

            Job: “Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God” (Job 32:2).
            Psalm: “Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God” (Ps 43:4).
            Proverbs: “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor” (Prov 22:8).
            2 Corinthians: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18).

Insight

            Job: Elihu is not mentioned until this time. However, it appears that a group of people have gathered around Job to listen to this debate and Elihu is one of them. He enters the picture because he is disturbed that the three friends could not prove Job wrong and that Job is being self-righteous. The name Elihu means, “He is my God” (The Online Bible Thayer's Greek Lexicon and Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, OT:453). Some have argued that he is actually a preincarnate representation of Jesus Christ (Adam Clarke's Commentary Job 32:2) and therefore he speaks correctly. This is not a good evaluation as Clarke points out in his commentary. We should be careful understanding what Elihu says just as with Job’s three friends.
            We know only what the Bible says about him, which isn’t much, but we can determine his character by what he says. The first thing we see is that he patient in waiting his turn to speak. His motivation is to make sure God is not vilified by Job and that is a noteworthy endeavor. He is also egotistical in that he thinks he will be able to teach them wisdom and that his words will be more effective than the others (Job 32:17-22, 33:33). In the first two chapters of his discourse, he hasn’t said anything different than Job’s friends. He only says them in a different way.
            It makes me think about how I write and why. Do I come across like Elihu? Do I think I can present a better case for theological arguments than others? I can certainly identify with Elihu on wanting to make sure God’s character is not maligned. That is something we should all want. How we do that and our motivation can be revealed to be self-serving instead of God glorifying.
            Psalm: David asks God to vindicate, rescue, and guide him then he will praise God. Did David get this backwards? Paul tells us to always rejoice in the Lord (Phil 4:4) and then he tells us to go to God in prayer asking with thanksgiving (Phil 4:6). This all takes place before the answer has been received.
            I once had lunch with a practicing Jew who was very religious. After the meal, he gave thanks for God’s provision. I wondered, if the meal was not up to his expectations, would he give thanks for it? I think we need to always give God praise and thanks whether or not we get our prayers answered in the way we want. We don’t want to wait to praise God who we know is worthy of all praise only after we see things are going our way.
            Proverbs: Just how is a person blessed when he shares with the poor? Is this something we should expect to reap like material blessings? While there are promises of material blessing in the Bible for being generous, we should be hasty to add that our motivation is more important. Jesus made it clear that we shouldn’t give alms just to be seen or rewarded by people (Matt 6:2). If we are giving with the motivation to get back more, that doesn’t sound like something the Lord rewards, but I can’t find that specifically mentioned in the Bible. What I can find is Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians. The blessings he lists for generosity is a harvest of righteousness, thanksgiving to God, glory to God, and the recipient’s prayers for us (2 Cor 9:10-14). We should also have inner joy just knowing that people are helped.
            2 Corinthians: The Israelites could see the glory of the Lord in the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. They saw it on Moses’ face when he came down from the mountain. But we don’t see the glory of the Lord in these majestic demonstrations of his presence. Jesus came and he is the exact radiance of God’s glory (Heb 1:3). When we want to see the glory of the Lord, we should be looking at those in whom Jesus lives. When we see people changed by the Lord who is the Spirit, we are seeing God’s glory up close and personal. When we see our own lives changed we are showing others that God is real and is among us. We are Christ’s letter written on our hearts to those who are around us, Christians and non-Christians alike.
            When unbelievers look at us they should see us changing and becoming more Christ-like. It has been said many times that we are the only letter from God that many people will ever read. Even if the Bible is veiled to them, God can use us to open the doors for them to see Jesus.

Application

             I need to be careful about the way I present things when I write or speak. I need to be careful to make sure my exegesis of the Bible is not putting me first, but the Word of God. For those who don’t know the Lord, it is very important not to come across as a know-it-all and live a life that reflects Jesus.

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