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Showing posts from February, 2021

bible reading mar 1-2

Bible reading for March 1--2 Mar 1 -- Job 30 and 1 Corinthians 16 Mar 2 -- Job 31 and 2 Corinthians 1 "I would give him an account of all my steps; like a prince I would approach him." (Job 31:37)  JOB'S SUMMATION (ch 30) . In chapter 29 Job tells of his past sense of blessedness in his walk with the Lord. In chapter 30 he describes his life as a social pariah. Even the outcasts of the community consider him an outcast of outcasts, and sing disparaging songs about him. His prosperity has passed away like a cloud in the sky. His health is broken; he cannot sleep without pain; the few friends that remain are of no help. We must ask ourselves, how do we respond when we see others suffering, and suffering in a way that we might presume that they are under God's judgment? Do we stay away, stand far off, and avoid contact? Do we just think how thankful we are that it is not us suffering that way? Or, do we like Jesus see and have compassion upon others in their misery and l

bible reading feb 26-28

Bible reading for weekend February 26 -- 28 Feb 26 -- Job 27 and 1 Corinthians 13 Feb 27 -- Job 28 and 1 Corinthians 14 Feb 28 -- Job 29 and 1 Corinthians 15 "From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? ... 'God understands the way to it, and he knows its place.'" (Job 28:20, 23)  GOD WILL JUDGE (ch 27). In this chapter Job affirms God's judgment upon the wicked. But he will not, as his friends seem to be urging him to do, call upon the Lord (and confess some sin) to get out from under his judgment. God's plan for redemption is not merely to bring people to call upon the Lord in their troubles, but rather to call upon the Lord at all times and to delight in him: "For what is the hope of the godless when God cuts him off, when God takes away his life? Will God hear his cry when distress comes upon him? Will he take delight in the Almighty? Will he call upon God at all times?" (vv 8-10) This has been the pattern of Job

bible reading feb 24-25

Bible reading for February 24 -- 25 Feb 24 -- Job 24 and 1 Corinthians 11 Feb 25 -- Job 25-26 and 1 Corinthians 12 "Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?" (Job 26:14) TO A MAN WITH A HAMMER (ch 24). Job's friends have one paradigm they're working with: if you are suffering, then you are being judged and need to repent. This is a case of the popular saying, "to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail." Job's friends are locked into a worldview, a narrative, about the reason for suffering. Job raises the question of the silence and seeming inactivity of God to bring judgment against evil. In other words, the problem is not just, why do the innocent suffer, but also why do the guilty not suffer (24:1, 12)? As we read Job's examples and descriptions of injustice, take time to ponder. This has been a question that has bothered believers and unb

bible reading feb 22-23

Bible reading for February 22 -- 23 Feb 22 -- Job 22 and 1 Corinthians 9 Feb 23 -- Job 23 and 1 Corinthians 10 "But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.  My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside." (Job 23:10-11)  "SO WHAT YOU'RE SAYING IS..." (ch 22) Don't you hate it when you're trying to explain something and a listener jumps in to say, "What you're saying, then, is this..." and runs with your statement to arrive at some bizarre conclusion? (No, that's not what I'm saying!) If it hasn't happened to you, just read a few social media posts to see how that works! That's what Eliphaz is doing in his third speech to Job (chapter 22). First, he agrees with Zophar that Job must surely be mistreating the poor, though there's no evidence of that. Then he says, "But you say, 'What does God know? Can he judge through the deep darkness?'

his word is life

"The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." (John 6:63 ESV)  So, why do I read the Bible daily? Why is it important for my life and growth in the Lord? Why are we Christians to be "people of the Book"?   Here's the short answer : God created the universe by his spoken word, and by his word he sustains it. He created us to know and relate to him through language. God reveals his mind and will to us through words. This revelation is used by the Spirit to enlighten, give life, produce faith, revive, and purify his people. Jesus, God's Son, is called the Word, and he came into the world to give us life. He spoke words of eternal life. His word is living and active.  God's people are sustained by his word.  God's word -- heard and understood, believed and applied, trusted and acted upon -- brings sanctifying life to us. At the end of earth's history he will speak the new creation into existence by his word. Our salvation, our sanctific

bible reading feb 19-21

Bible reading for weekend February 19 -- 21 Feb 19 -- Job 19 and 1 Corinthians 6 Feb 20 -- Job 20 and 1 Corinthians 7 Feb 21 -- Job 21 and 1 Corinthians 8 "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth." (Job 19:25)  EARTHLY HOPE DASHED (ch 19) . Job continues his lament (19:1-12), and expresses how painful is the isolation that he experiences because of his suffering (19:13-19). Family and friends stand at a distance. Not only do they avoid him, but they too most likely doubt his integrity before God. Pain isolates us, and even today, chronic pain can cause others to view us as "problem people" to be avoided. Job feels that his earthly hope has been pulled up like an uprooted tree (v 10).  Amazingly, however, he proclaims a hope beyond this world (vv 25-26). His hope is in the Lord, who is righteous, and it is the Lord himself who will redeem Job. He feels cursed, and others view him as cursed, but he is actually blessed by the Lor

bible reading feb 17-18

Bible reading for February 17 -- 18 Feb 17 -- Job 16-17 and 1 Corinthians 4 Feb 18 -- Job 18 and 1 Corinthians 5 "Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high. My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God, that he would argue the case of a man with God, as a son of man does with his neighbor." (Job 16:19-21)  CAN I GET A WITNESS?  (ch 16-17) Job's friends are insisting on a simple and straightforward explanation for his suffering. Job does not buy it. But he is perplexed by what seems to him to be a serious contradiction.  His life circumstances testify (give witness) to Job's being under severe judgment from God (16:8). But he is also confident that God is his witness and the only one who can testify to Job's upright walk (16:19).  At heart, Job believes that God is just. But he wonders who could mediate between a man and God in a human, neighborly way? Hint: only God will be able to do that (1 Tim 2:5).    BILDAD PART T

bible reading feb 15-16

Bible reading for February 15 -- 16 Feb 15 -- Job 14 and 1 Corinthians 2 Feb 16 -- Job 15 and 1 Corinthians 3 "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one." (Job 14:4)  IS THERE HOPE? (ch 14). Job fully believes the truth about the depravity of man, as well as about human mortality. But he wonders, what lasting good can come from such extreme suffering? As you read, take time to ponder the metaphors and images he uses . At the end of this speech, he feels his hope is being washed away like the rocks of mountains are undercut and worn down by the relentless action of water. But he also raises a question, "If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal should come. You would call, and I would answer you; you would long for the work of your hands." (14:14-15)  Is there a resurrection? Can relationship with God be restored? Can something clean come out of the unclean? The OT writers do not say a lot abo

bible reading feb 12-14

Bible reading for weekend February 12-14 Feb 12 -- Job 11 and Romans 15 Feb 13 -- Job 12 and Romans 16 Feb 14 -- Job 13 and 1 Corinthians 1 "With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding." (Job 12:13)  ZOPHAR ZOGOOD? Sorry, I couldn't resist the word play! Zophar, the third of Job's counselors, now answers Job, with the same harshness as the others speak to Job (11:1-3). There is no "gentle and lowly of heart" here in Job's friends (Matt 11:29). Zophar's angle is that Job should admit that he has not truly suffered in the degree that human guilt deserves (11:4-11). Job in chapters 12 and 13 agrees in principle with what Zophar and the others are saying. Namely, God's wisdom is infinitely beyond us, and the wicked will most certainly be judged. Job's contention is that he wants to hear from God (who is silent at this point) as to the reason for his extreme suffering at this time and place, especially when he is not aware of

bible reading feb 10-11

Bible reading for February 10 -- 11 Feb 10 -- Job 9 and Romans 13 Feb 11 -- Job 10 and Romans 14 "Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God?  If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times." (Job 9:2-3) OVERWHELMED. In chapters nine and ten Job is overwhelmed by the thought of the immensity and power of the God to whom he is complaining. If he were to have a righteous cause, as he feels he does (9:2, 15, 20-21; 10:15), how could he ever defend himself before an all-powerful God? Or should he appeal to God's mercy (9:15) or fake happiness (9:27)? Who can argue with such a God? But Job wants to be heard, to be understood, to know that God knows the injustice that Job feels. He is so aware of the great gulf between himself and God, but he remembers God's kindness and love toward him, which now seem only a memory (10:11-13). Job again wonders why he was born only to end life in such a miserable way (10:

bible reading feb 8-9

Bible reading for weekend February 8 -- 9 Feb 8 -- Job 7 and Romans 11 Feb 9 -- Job 8 and Romans 12 "Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert the right? If your children have sinned against him, he has delivered them into the hand of their transgression." (Job 8:3-4) THE MISERY OF LIFE (ch 7) . Job continues his lament. All of humanity shares suffering in common. We are all fragile. "Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good. The eye of him who sees me will behold me no more; while your eyes are on me, I shall be gone" (7:7-8). Job's case is extreme, but he knows that his suffering is not due to some serious unconfessed sin, as his friends imply .  BILDAD'S FIRST SPEECH (ch 8) . Job's second friend now speaks, more harshly than did Eliphaz (8:2; cf 4:1). But the same argument is being made: God is just and punishes the wicked; you and your children have suffered greatly; therefore, you have much wickedness to confe

Christ is himself Christianity

"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."  (Mark 10:45) "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6)  I've just finished reading B. B. Warfield's classic article, "Christless Christianity" (1912) available online here . This long journal article is worth the time invested in reading. Warfield's research influenced his own student, J. Gresham Machen, especially as reflected in Machen's Christianity and Liberalism (1923) and What Is Faith? (1925).  What makes this relevant to us today is that orthodox (by that I mean, historic) Christianity has always needed to defend the unique position of our Lord Jesus to Christian faith itself. Ever since the Enlightenment skeptics have sought to separate Jesus Christ (or the Jesus of history) from Christianity. This is done a number of ways, for example,

bible reading feb 5-7

Bible reading for weekend February 5 -- 7 Feb 5 -- Job 4 and Romans 8 Feb 6 -- Job 5 and Romans 9 Feb 7 -- Job 6 and Romans 10 "For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward." (Job 5:6-7)  ELIPHAZ SPEAKS UP. Job's friend Eliphaz has kept silent for too long, or so he thinks.  He accuses Job of impatience and pride, and claiming supernatural insight (4:12), he rebukes Job of sin. He's saying that what's happening to Job is happening in order to humble him so that he might confess his guilt. Many points of Eliphaz's counsel are seemingly biblical and true. It's true that God is just and that we are sinful. It's true that we should humble ourselves and confess sin. But here are a few of Eliphaz's unexamined assumptions about life: a) this world is the arena where all justice is settled; b) we can know the reasons why we suffer in this life; and c) if you walk u