The Story of Job. – Day 26
As I looked at where I am in my reading plan I realized I was at the halfway mark. I always find it interesting how when my mind jumps to playing a song when phrases are thought, said, or heard. Today I thought to myself “I’m halfway there” and all I could here was “Wooah, Livin’ on a prayer“. No matter if we are that the beginning of the journey, nearing the end of the journey, or in the middle of the journey, the key is to keep close to God and keep praying and depending on Him. We don’t need to and we shouldn’t be trying to go it alone. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us! He sent the Holy Spirit to be with us as our comforter and our guide and so we need to try to go it alone. So when we need counsel and advice we just need to pray and ask Jesus. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us through it all. Resisting the devil and his temptations and lies that are attempting to rob us of God’s promises, kill us from getting to our destination, and destroy us and any hope or faith we have in order to get us to give up and turn our backs on God. No matter how stormy life is looking or feeling, call to God and allow Him to calm the storm or you so that you can make it thru the storm and come out the other side stronger in faith and courage and boldness to be able to complete the work God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish. It isn’t about what people are saying but rather what God is saying. Consider the source of your advice, what do they believe, are they aligned with you spiritually, shouldn’t they be before you take it all at face value, so ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern what parts of what is being spoken to receive and what to ignore or throw out. God’s plan is to give you a hope and a future. God’s purpose is that you will have life to the full. Sometimes to get there it requires that we have trials and troubles. In trials though, we can consider it pure joy because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance and we need to let perseverance finish its work so that we can be mature and complete, not lacking anything. In times of trouble in this world we can take heart because Jesus has already overcome the world.
So as we get ready for what is yet to come and we are looking for answers and direction for the days ahead, we need to go to God and His Word. We need to take hold of His promises and truth and not allow the lies of the devil to confuse or frustrate us. We need to put on the full armor of God and stand firm and when he comes again continue to stand firm.
10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. 13 Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. 14 So stand firm and hold your ground, having [a]tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), 15 and having [b]strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16 Above all, lift up the [protective] [c]shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
18 With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all [d]God’s people. 19 And pray for me, that words may be given to me when I open my mouth, to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news [of salvation], 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. And pray that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly and courageously, as I should.— Ephesians 6:10-20
Today’s reading from God’s Word comes from Job 21:
‘Then Job answered and said, “Listen carefully to my speech, And let this be the consolation. Bear with me, and I also will speak; And after I have spoken, you may [continue to] mock [me]. As for me, is my complaint to man or about him? And why should I not be impatient and my spirit troubled? Look at me and be astonished and appalled; And put your hand over your mouth. Even when I remember, I am troubled and afraid; Horror and trembling take hold of my flesh. Why do the wicked still live, Become old, and become mighty in power? Their children and descendants are established with them in their sight, And their offspring before their eyes. Their houses are safe from fear; And the rod of God is not on them. His bull breeds and does not fail; His cow calves and does not miscarry. They send forth their little ones like a flock, And their children skip about. They lift up their voices and sing to the tambourine and the lyre And rejoice to the sound of the flute. They fully enjoy their days in prosperity, And so go down to Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) in a [peaceful] moment. Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us, For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways. Who [and what] is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what would we gain if we plead with Him?’ But notice, the prosperity of the wicked is not in their hand (in their power); The counsel of the wicked [and the mystery of God’s dealings with the ungodly] is far from my comprehension. “How often [then] is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out, And that their disaster falls on them? Does God distribute pain and destruction and sorrow [to them] in His anger? Are they like straw before the wind, And like chaff that the storm steals and carries away? You say, ‘God stores away [the punishment of] man’s wickedness for his children.’ Let God repay him so that he may know and experience it. Let his own eyes see his destruction, And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty. For what pleasure does he have in his house and family after he is dead, When the number of his months [of life] is cut off? Can anyone teach God knowledge, Seeing that He judges those on high? One dies in his full strength, Being wholly at ease and quiet and satisfied; His pails are full of milk [his sides are filled out with fat], And the marrow of his bones is moist, Whereas another dies with a bitter soul, Never even tasting pleasure or good fortune. Together they lie down in the dust, And the worms cover them. “Behold, I know your thoughts, And the plots by which you would wrong me. For you say, ‘Where is the house of the noble man? And where is the tent, the dwelling place of the wicked?’ Have you not asked those who travel this way, And do you not recognize their witness? That evil men are [now] reserved for the day of disaster and destruction, They will be led away on the day of [God’s] wrath? But who will confront him with his actions and rebuke him face to face, And who will repay him for what he has done? When he is carried to his grave, A guard will keep watch over his tomb. The [dirt] clods of the valley are sweet to him [and gently cover him], Moreover, all men will follow after him [to a grave], While countless ones go before him. How then can you vainly comfort me with empty words, Since your answers remain untrue?”’— Job 21:1-34
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Verses 1-34: Job strikes at the heart of his friends’ assumption that the wicked are judged and the righteous are blessed. Job claims that this simply is not true, if one looks at life objectively: the wicked’s children are established (verse 8), his house is safe (verse 9), his cattle reproduce (verse 10), and so on. He even receives an honorable burial (verses 32-33).
Jobs reply to Zophar’s last speech, ending the second cycle of speeches, refuted the simplistic set of laws by which the mockers lived. He showed that the wicked prosper, and since it is clear that they do (they had argued that the wicked only suffer), then by inference, perhaps the righteous suffer. This presented serious problems for their supposed open and shut case against Job.
This is Jobs reply to Zophar’s second speech: the dogma of retributive judgment fails when one observes truly “wicked” people seeming to prosper. The outcomes of personal fortunes in this life are not the standards of eternity.
Job called for his friends to be quiet and to listen to some amazing and terrifying truth (verses 1-6), namely that the wicked do prosper (verses 7-13), though they deny God (verses 14-15), and they prosper not by their doing, but God’s (verse 16).
Verses 2-5: Job desired to “speak” without being interrupted or subjected to incredulous groans from his friends.
Verses 13-15: Zophar had claimed that longevity and prosperity in this life are linked to one’s wickedness or righteousness (20:4-8). Job countered, emphasizing that the godless and the wicked often enjoy life and go to their deaths in peace (21:32-33; Eccl. 8:10). In fact, Job could not understand why the wicked seemingly live on in their unrighteousness while, as a righteous man, he was dying. The godless are those who say to God, “Depart from us”.
Verses 17-22: Playing off Bildad’s sentiment (see 18:5-6; 18-19), this whole section repeats the assertions of Job’s friends regarding the judgment of sinners. To refute that perspective, Job suggested that his friends were guilty of telling God how He must deal with people (verse 22).
Verses 22-24: Job concluded that in the end, no connection exists between how one lives and the prosperity or poverty a person experiences, and so trying to sort out the life based on observation is futile. Job could see not justice in the world or with God, yet he could clearly recognize “falsehood” in his friend’s “answers”. They had based their assumptions in their own intellect and pride.
Verses 23-26: Some of the wicked live and die in prosperity, but some don’t, canceling the absolutist nature of his counselor’s argument.
Verses 27-28: Again, Job referred to the statements of his friends, Zophar in this case (see 20:7), who were trying to prove their “sin equals suffering” idea.
Verses 29-33: Job knew they would not listen to him, so he suggested they ask travelers, any of whom would tell them that wicked people prosper sometimes in this life, but there will be a day of doom for them when they die.— Book of Job Explained – Chapter 21
So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.