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 confess. Again, there is partial truth here, or at least, truths misapplied to Job's situation. Job's friends, wise as they may have been, were speaking neither in wisdom nor as friends.
MERCY TRIUMPHS. "Show your piety by your pity," wrote Thomas Watson many generations ago. Job's friends have not felt the depth of his pain, nor have they realized the severe limitation of their own understanding. The Scripture says, "Mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13). Or, as the NLT translates it, "But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you." May we remember this as we seek to help others in their suffering.
"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:33-36)
ISRAEL'S FUTURE (ch 11). A remnant of Israel has received their Messiah, and the rest of the nation has been hardened for a period of time (vv 1-14). Meanwhile, the gospel is going forth to all the nations. Gentiles should not view themselves as being better than the Jews, however, for all who do not receive Christ will be destroyed, no matter their ethnicity (vv 17-25; cf John 15:1-6). Verses 28-29 demonstrate that there is still a place and future for ethnic Israel. The very ones who are enemies (unbelieving Jews) are also the ones beloved for the sake of the patriarchs of Israel. My understanding here is that Paul is teaching that the unbelief of Israel is partial and temporary, for that season of the gospel advance among the nations. In the end there will be a great awakening among the Jews, with many, many Jews receiving Jesus in the last days.
DOCTRINE TO DOXOLOGY. Sometimes people set doctrine and worship at odds. Some are interested only in theology, while others are mainly drawn to praise and worship. The Bible never sets these in opposition. We must know the truth about God before we can worship him truly. And knowing truth about God is incomplete without adoration and love for God. In verses 33-36, Paul concludes his teaching (doctrine) with worship (devotion), and now he will turn to applications (duty).
REAL WORSHIP (ch 12). In the original text there were no chapter or verse divisions. So, "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever..." (11:36) is followed immediately by "I appeal to you therefore, brothers..." (12:1). The Apostle Paul has written about God's great mercies toward them (and to us, chapters 1 through 11) so that, acting in God's grace rather than in a sense of self-righteousness or personal piety, we might love and serve God freely with all of our hearts. We should make sure that our minds are being transformed by truth (12:2), and also our bodies (attitudes, actions, habits, deeds) are surrendered to the Lord for his service. When we think of worship we may think primarily of singing, which is one activity of worship, but real worship involves a whole-life response to God's grace and mercy given to us in his Son Jesus. Chapter 12 begins a section where Paul makes real-life applications to the things taught in chapters one through eleven.
About this newsletter: I post three times a week on my Bible reading, following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Another resource I recommend is the NET Bible with its excellent notes at netbible.org.