Tag Archives: Job

A great overview of the Book of Job

The Book of Job can be challenging to read, but it contains many timeless truths.  Having God come on the scene and turning the questioning on Job is worth reading the whole book.

This article at Pyromaniacs: The Patience of Job was the best overview I’ve ever read on Job.

Human emotions don’t help us make sense of these things. If you want to sort through the problem of evil, you have to think sensibly, and theologically, and biblically, and not let your emotions rule your mind.

Job was a wise enough man than to know better than to respond by reflex on the basis of his feelings. If he had responded according to what he felt like, he might have cursed God. If he had just given vent to his feelings, he could easily been consumed with bitterness, self-pity, anger, and frustration—and he might have been tempted to take his wife’s advice: “Curse God and die!”

But Job’s very first response was the response of someone who knows something about God: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

Job had filtered his feelings through his theology. It still did not make sense to him why he had to suffer like this (and that is why Job is 42 chapters long; because it records the dialogue Job had with his friends as he tried to sort this out). But even though it made no sense to him, even though he was overwhelmed with painful feelings, his immediate response made no mention of those feelings.

. . .

This cannot be stressed too much: It was sound theology, not his feelings, that enabled Job to weather the immediate shock of the news that his children and everything he owned were gone forever. This is why sound theology is so important—and so intensely practical.

Notice what truths Job clung to. These were the things Job knew for sure about God. These were the truths that became his anchor. And throughout the book of Job, amid all his complaints and pleading, he never once let go of these principles. Here are three truths Job clung to in order to see him through his grief:

I encourage you to read it all.  I agree that Job was a staunch Calvinist and it made a big difference to him.

Why you can’t trust PolitiFact

Via “What liberal media?” (Texas edition) — The math was clear: Texas could rightly make this claim:

“In the last five years, we’ve created more jobs than all other states combined.”

It was based on the right data: Net jobs added.  But instead of acknowledging what an amazing accomplishment it was, PolitiFact tried to spin it as some sort of half-truth.  Shouldn’t the energy be put into assessing what Texas has done right rather than making a lame attempt to discredit its accomplishments?  It isn’t like there aren’t tens of millions of people on food stamps and/or unemployed.

This is, in fact, objectively true, and you may verify it yourself at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data page. (We posted the graph and numbers here.) Suffice it to say that when the commercial was filmed, the latest confirmed BLS employment data was January 2011’s. Going back five years through January 2006 revealed that only ten states saw a net increase in jobs in that period — Texas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Alaska, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Montana. Texas’s total was 545,900 new jobs. The other nine states combined came to 183,700 new jobs. Call this what you will — we call it a resounding vindication of the Texas model of low taxes and small government — but don’t call it inaccurate.

Let’s review something for a moment. To use “created more jobs,” or any of its variants — “job creation,” “created jobs,” et al. — to signify a net increase in jobs is a de facto universal rhetorical standard. It’s so common as to be assumed, and no reasonable person reads or hears otherwise. To pick just a few examples: Here’s President Barack Obama doing it. Here’s Gallup doing it. Here’s Michael Powell of the New York Times doing it. Here’s Dennis Cauchon of USA Today doing it. Here’s Pietro Garibaldi and Paolo Mauro of the International Monetary Fund doing it. Here’s Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke doing it. Here’s Peter Cohan of Forbes doing it. Here’s Reuters and CNBC doing it. Here’s Peter Boyer of Newsweek doing it.

The idea that Brooke Rollins would mean anything but net jobs created in her quote defies credulity. News-savvy readers may recall the White House’s own rhetorical dodge on this count from late 2009, when the chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors invoked the phrase “jobs saved or created” to concoct a net-positive figure on employment resulting from the federal stimulus. The widely derided lexical formulation was swiftly discarded, and with good reason: touting job creation in the absence of net job creation is rightly regarded as insulting or deceptive.

If you trust the liberal media you aren’t using good critical thinking skills.

Important job hunting tips

Some excellent job-hunting tips from The Ladder.  No, I’m not looking.  I’m quite happy where I am, but I like to keep up on the market and thought that others might benefit from these.

 1. Computers can’t read – here’s how to make your resume computer–friendly.
2. Age discrimination – it exists. Now what are we going to do about it?
3. The taxman cometh, your job goeth. How to make the job hunt tax-efficient.
4. Dude, lose the sweatpants while you’re unemployed, OK?
5. What you absolutely must know about headhunters.
6. “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” – how to stop job–loss anger from stopping you.
7. What naughty things are your future employers reading about you right now?
8. Yes, tie clips are out of style – try not to look like you’re past the expiration date, OK?
9. Job Hunt 101 – you think you know this stuff. You don’t. Please read.
10. Who moved my industry? What do you do when your industry evaporates?

Job 40-42

job40.jpgGreetings!  This brings us to the end of Job, where God is speaking and Job responds.

40     The Lord said to Job:

2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?

Let him who accuses God answer him!”

So many of us are quick to judge God using our man-made reasoning. 

3 Then Job answered the Lord:

4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?

I put my hand over my mouth.

5 I spoke once, but I have no answer—

twice, but I will say no more.”

6 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm:

7 “Brace yourself like a man;

I will question you,

and you shall answer me.

8 “Would you discredit my justice?

Would you condemn me to justify yourself?

9 Do you have an arm like God’s,

and can your voice thunder like his?

10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,

and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.

11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,

look at every proud man and bring him low,

12 look at every proud man and humble him,

crush the wicked where they stand.

13 Bury them all in the dust together;

shroud their faces in the grave.

14 Then I myself will admit to you

that your own right hand can save you.

Only God can save us.  We can’t save ourselves, and we can’t forgive ourselves for our sins against God.

15 “Look at the behemoth,

which I made along with you

and which feeds on grass like an ox.

My study Bible software said that this is probably a hippopotamus.  They look friendly, but are incredibly fierce.  They can even take on crocodiles!  I’ve seen them up close and personal on mission trips to Kenya.  They are fast and they are strong, inside the water and outside.  They kill more humans than any other animal.

16 What strength he has in his loins,

what power in the muscles of his belly!

17 His tail sways like a cedar;

the sinews of his thighs are close-knit.

18 His bones are tubes of bronze,

his limbs like rods of iron.

19 He ranks first among the works of God,

yet his Maker can approach him with his sword.

20 The hills bring him their produce,

and all the wild animals play nearby.

21 Under the lotus plants he lies,

hidden among the reeds in the marsh.

22 The lotuses conceal him in their shadow;

the poplars by the stream surround him.

23 When the river rages, he is not alarmed;

he is secure, though the Jordan should surge against his mouth.

24 Can anyone capture him by the eyes,

or trap him and pierce his nose?

41     “Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook

or tie down his tongue with a rope?

The Leviathan is probably a giant crocodile.

2 Can you put a cord through his nose

or pierce his jaw with a hook?

3 Will he keep begging you for mercy?

Will he speak to you with gentle words?

4 Will he make an agreement with you

for you to take him as your slave for life?

5 Can you make a pet of him like a bird

or put him on a leash for your girls?

6 Will traders barter for him?

Will they divide him up among the merchants?

7 Can you fill his hide with harpoons

or his head with fishing spears?

8 If you lay a hand on him,

you will remember the struggle and never do it again!

9 Any hope of subduing him is false;

the mere sight of him is overpowering.

10 No one is fierce enough to rouse him.

Who then is able to stand against me?

11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay?

Everything under heaven belongs to me.

God owes us nothing.  We owe everything to him.

12 “I will not fail to speak of his limbs,

his strength and his graceful form.

13 Who can strip off his outer coat?

Who would approach him with a bridle?

14 Who dares open the doors of his mouth,

ringed about with his fearsome teeth?

15 His back has rows of shields

tightly sealed together;

16 each is so close to the next

that no air can pass between.

17 They are joined fast to one another;

they cling together and cannot be parted.

18 His snorting throws out flashes of light;

his eyes are like the rays of dawn.

19 Firebrands stream from his mouth;

sparks of fire shoot out.

20 Smoke pours from his nostrils

as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds.

21 His breath sets coals ablaze,

and flames dart from his mouth.

22 Strength resides in his neck;

dismay goes before him.

23 The folds of his flesh are tightly joined;

they are firm and immovable.

24 His chest is hard as rock,

hard as a lower millstone.

25 When he rises up, the mighty are terrified;

they retreat before his thrashing.

26 The sword that reaches him has no effect,

nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.

27 Iron he treats like straw

and bronze like rotten wood.

28 Arrows do not make him flee;

slingstones are like chaff to him.

29 A club seems to him but a piece of straw;

he laughs at the rattling of the lance.

30 His undersides are jagged potsherds,

leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.

31 He makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron

and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.

32 Behind him he leaves a glistening wake;

one would think the deep had white hair.

33 Nothing on earth is his equal—

a creature without fear.

34 He looks down on all that are haughty;

he is king over all that are proud.”

Job

42     Then Job replied to the Lord:

2 “I know that you can do all things;

no plan of yours can be thwarted.

3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’

Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,

things too wonderful for me to know.

4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;

I will question you,

and you shall answer me.’

5 My ears had heard of you

but now my eyes have seen you.

6 Therefore I despise myself

and repent in dust and ashes.”

Job has regained a right understanding of God and his relation to God.  I pray that we all do the same! 

Epilogue

7 After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.

10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.

12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so he died, old and full of years.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

What an amazing man!  Christians will meet him some day in Heaven.

Job 37-39

job37.jpgGreetings!  Elihu wraps up his speech, then God speaks!

37     “At this my heart pounds

and leaps from its place.

2 Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,

to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.

3 He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven

and sends it to the ends of the earth.

4 After that comes the sound of his roar;

he thunders with his majestic voice.

When his voice resounds,

he holds nothing back.

5 God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;

he does great things beyond our understanding.

6 He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’

and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’

7 So that all men he has made may know his work,

he stops every man from his labor.

8 The animals take cover;

they remain in their dens.

9 The tempest comes out from its chamber,

the cold from the driving winds.

10 The breath of God produces ice,

and the broad waters become frozen.

11 He loads the clouds with moisture;

he scatters his lightning through them.

12 At his direction they swirl around

over the face of the whole earth

to do whatever he commands them.

13 He brings the clouds to punish men,

or to water his earth and show his love.

14 “Listen to this, Job;

stop and consider God’s wonders.

15 Do you know how God controls the clouds

and makes his lightning flash?

16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised,

those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?

17 You who swelter in your clothes

when the land lies hushed under the south wind,

18 can you join him in spreading out the skies,

hard as a mirror of cast bronze?

19 “Tell us what we should say to him;

we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.

20 Should he be told that I want to speak?

Would any man ask to be swallowed up?

21 Now no one can look at the sun,

bright as it is in the skies

after the wind has swept them clean.

22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor;

God comes in awesome majesty.

23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;

in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.

24 Therefore, men revere him,

for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?”

The Lord Speaks

38     Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said:

2 “Who is this that darkens my counsel

with words without knowledge?

3 Brace yourself like a man;

I will question you,

and you shall answer me.

4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?

Tell me, if you understand.

Instead of answering Job’s questions, God asks questions that put Job – and us! – in our places.  He has revealed so many things to us that we can know, but some things are beyond our comprehension or our need to know.  We should learn more of God through the Bible, and we can learn about how He put the universe together by proper scientific study. 

5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

Who stretched a measuring line across it?

6 On what were its footings set,

or who laid its cornerstone—

7 while the morning stars sang together

and all the angels shouted for joy?

8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors

when it burst forth from the womb,

9 when I made the clouds its garment

and wrapped it in thick darkness,

10 when I fixed limits for it

and set its doors and bars in place,

11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;

here is where your proud waves halt’?

12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,

or shown the dawn its place,

13 that it might take the earth by the edges

and shake the wicked out of it?

14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;

its features stand out like those of a garment.

15 The wicked are denied their light,

and their upraised arm is broken.

16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea

or walked in the recesses of the deep?

17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?

Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death?

18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?

Tell me, if you know all this.

19 “What is the way to the abode of light?

And where does darkness reside?

20 Can you take them to their places?

Do you know the paths to their dwellings?

21 Surely you know, for you were already born!

You have lived so many years!

22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow

or seen the storehouses of the hail,

23 which I reserve for times of trouble,

for days of war and battle?

24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,

or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?

25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,

and a path for the thunderstorm,

26 to water a land where no man lives,

a desert with no one in it,

27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland

and make it sprout with grass?

28 Does the rain have a father?

Who fathers the drops of dew?

29 From whose womb comes the ice?

Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens

30 when the waters become hard as stone,

when the surface of the deep is frozen?

31 “Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades?

Can you loose the cords of Orion?

32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons

or lead out the Bear with its cubs?

33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?

Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds

and cover yourself with a flood of water?

35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?

Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?

36 Who endowed the heart with wisdom

or gave understanding to the mind?

37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?

Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens

38 when the dust becomes hard

and the clods of earth stick together?

39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness

and satisfy the hunger of the lions

40 when they crouch in their dens

or lie in wait in a thicket?

41 Who provides food for the raven

when its young cry out to God

and wander about for lack of food?

39     “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?

Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?

2 Do you count the months till they bear?

Do you know the time they give birth?

3 They crouch down and bring forth their young;

their labor pains are ended.

4 Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds;

they leave and do not return.

5 “Who let the wild donkey go free?

Who untied his ropes?

6 I gave him the wasteland as his home,

the salt flats as his habitat.

7 He laughs at the commotion in the town;

he does not hear a driver’s shout.

8 He ranges the hills for his pasture

and searches for any green thing.

9 “Will the wild ox consent to serve you?

Will he stay by your manger at night?

10 Can you hold him to the furrow with a harness?

Will he till the valleys behind you?

11 Will you rely on him for his great strength?

Will you leave your heavy work to him?

12 Can you trust him to bring in your grain

and gather it to your threshing floor?

13 “The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully,

but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork.

14 She lays her eggs on the ground

and lets them warm in the sand,

15 unmindful that a foot may crush them,

that some wild animal may trample them.

16 She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers;

she cares not that her labor was in vain,

17 for God did not endow her with wisdom

or give her a share of good sense.

18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run,

she laughs at horse and rider.

19 “Do you give the horse his strength

or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?

20 Do you make him leap like a locust,

striking terror with his proud snorting?

21 He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength,

and charges into the fray.

22 He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing;

he does not shy away from the sword.

23 The quiver rattles against his side,

along with the flashing spear and lance.

24 In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground;

he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.

25 At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, ‘Aha!’

He catches the scent of battle from afar,

the shout of commanders and the battle cry.

26 “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom

and spread his wings toward the south?

27 Does the eagle soar at your command

and build his nest on high?

28 He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night;

a rocky crag is his stronghold.

29 From there he seeks out his food;

his eyes detect it from afar.

30 His young ones feast on blood,

and where the slain are, there is he.”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

God created the universe and all of life with such amazing precision.  There are over one hundred things such as gravity that are so spectaculary fine-tuned that if they were the tiniest bit different then life could not exist in the universe.  God created all of this from nothing.  Who are we to put the creator on trial?

Job 34-36

job2.jpgGreetings!  The young man, Elihu, continues to speak. 

34     Then Elihu said:

2 “Hear my words, you wise men;

listen to me, you men of learning.

3 For the ear tests words

as the tongue tastes food.

4 Let us discern for ourselves what is right;

let us learn together what is good.

5 “Job says, ‘I am innocent,

but God denies me justice.

6 Although I am right, I am considered a liar;

although I am guiltless, his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.’

7 What man is like Job,

who drinks scorn like water?

8 He keeps company with evildoers;

he associates with wicked men.

9 For he says, ‘It profits a man nothing

when he tries to please God.’

10 “So listen to me, you men of understanding.

Far be it from God to do evil,

from the Almighty to do wrong.

11 He repays a man for what he has done;

he brings upon him what his conduct deserves.

12 It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,

that the Almighty would pervert justice.

13 Who appointed him over the earth?

Who put him in charge of the whole world?

14 If it were his intention

and he withdrew his spirit and breath,

15 all mankind would perish together

and man would return to the dust.

16 “If you have understanding, hear this;

listen to what I say.

17 Can he who hates justice govern?

Will you condemn the just and mighty One?

18 Is he not the One who says to kings, ‘You are worthless,’

and to nobles, ‘You are wicked,’

19 who shows no partiality to princes

and does not favor the rich over the poor,

for they are all the work of his hands?

20 They die in an instant, in the middle of the night;

the people are shaken and they pass away;

the mighty are removed without human hand.

21 “His eyes are on the ways of men;

he sees their every step.

22 There is no dark place, no deep shadow,

where evildoers can hide.

23 God has no need to examine men further,

that they should come before him for judgment.

24 Without inquiry he shatters the mighty

and sets up others in their place.

25 Because he takes note of their deeds,

he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed.

26 He punishes them for their wickedness

where everyone can see them,

27 because they turned from following him

and had no regard for any of his ways.

28 They caused the cry of the poor to come before him,

so that he heard the cry of the needy.

29 But if he remains silent, who can condemn him?

If he hides his face, who can see him?

Yet he is over man and nation alike,

30 to keep a godless man from ruling,

from laying snares for the people.

31 “Suppose a man says to God,

‘I am guilty but will offend no more.

32 Teach me what I cannot see;

if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.’

That is a good way to look at repentence, which technically means to change one’s mind.  We turn away from our thinking and see things – namely our sins – from God’s point of view.

33 Should God then reward you on your terms,

when you refuse to repent?

You must decide, not I;

so tell me what you know.

34 “Men of understanding declare,

wise men who hear me say to me,

35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge;

his words lack insight.’

36 Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost

for answering like a wicked man!

37 To his sin he adds rebellion;

scornfully he claps his hands among us

and multiplies his words against God.”

35     Then Elihu said:

2 “Do you think this is just?

You say, ‘I will be cleared by God.’

3 Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me,

and what do I gain by not sinning?’

4 “I would like to reply to you

and to your friends with you.

5 Look up at the heavens and see;

gaze at the clouds so high above you.

6 If you sin, how does that affect him?

If your sins are many, what does that do to him?

7 If you are righteous, what do you give to him,

or what does he receive from your hand?

8 Your wickedness affects only a man like yourself,

and your righteousness only the sons of men.

9 “Men cry out under a load of oppression;

they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.

10 But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker,

who gives songs in the night,

11 who teaches more to us than to the beasts of the earth

and makes us wiser than the birds of the air?’

12 He does not answer when men cry out

because of the arrogance of the wicked.

13 Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea;

the Almighty pays no attention to it.

14 How much less, then, will he listen

when you say that you do not see him,

that your case is before him

and you must wait for him,

15 and further, that his anger never punishes

and he does not take the least notice of wickedness.

16 So Job opens his mouth with empty talk;

without knowledge he multiplies words.”

 Elihu gets somes things right and some things wrong, just as the rest have done.  He does counter the man-centered worldview of pagan and apostate Christians. 

36     Elihu continued:

2 “Bear with me a little longer and I will show you

that there is more to be said in God’s behalf.

3 I get my knowledge from afar;

I will ascribe justice to my Maker.

4 Be assured that my words are not false;

one perfect in knowledge is with you.

That is a rather bold claim.

5 “God is mighty, but does not despise men;

he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.

6 He does not keep the wicked alive

but gives the afflicted their rights.

7 He does not take his eyes off the righteous;

he enthrones them with kings

and exalts them forever.

8 But if men are bound in chains,

held fast by cords of affliction,

9 he tells them what they have done—

that they have sinned arrogantly.

10 He makes them listen to correction

and commands them to repent of their evil.

11 If they obey and serve him,

they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity

and their years in contentment.

12 But if they do not listen,

they will perish by the sword

and die without knowledge.

Elihu over-generalizes as the rest have done.  The wicked will ultimately be punished, but not necessarily immediately, and the righteous may not have immediate rewards.

13 “The godless in heart harbor resentment;

even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.

14 They die in their youth,

among male prostitutes of the shrines.

15 But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;

he speaks to them in their affliction.

16 “He is wooing you from the jaws of distress

to a spacious place free from restriction,

to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.

17 But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked;

judgment and justice have taken hold of you.

18 Be careful that no one entices you by riches;

do not let a large bribe turn you aside.

19 Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts

sustain you so you would not be in distress?

20 Do not long for the night,

to drag people away from their homes.

21 Beware of turning to evil,

which you seem to prefer to affliction.

22 “God is exalted in his power.

Who is a teacher like him?

23 Who has prescribed his ways for him,

or said to him, ‘You have done wrong’?

Actually, many liberal theologians ascribe wrongdoing to God, claiming that the Bible describes him as doing evil and that He should prevent suffering.

24 Remember to extol his work,

which men have praised in song.

25 All mankind has seen it;

men gaze on it from afar.

26 How great is God—beyond our understanding!

The number of his years is past finding out.

27 “He draws up the drops of water,

which distill as rain to the streams;

28 the clouds pour down their moisture

and abundant showers fall on mankind.

29 Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds,

how he thunders from his pavilion?

30 See how he scatters his lightning about him,

bathing the depths of the sea.

31 This is the way he governs the nations

and provides food in abundance.

32 He fills his hands with lightning

and commands it to strike its mark.

33 His thunder announces the coming storm;

even the cattle make known its approach.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Job 31-33

job31.jpgGreetings!

31     “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.

There’s a wealth of wisdom and practicality in verse 1 alone.  Job made a conscious effort not to sin.  We often get into habits and think we can’t control ourselves.  But we get to choose what we think about.  When temptations come with our eyes or anything else, we can stop right then and choose to think about something else.  In the book Every Man’s Battlethe authors have some good exercises about “bouncing” your eyes when you see something you shouldn’t dwell on and “corralling your mind” when you are tempted to let your thoughts wander.

Do I succeed at that all the time?  No, but it is still highly effective. 

What do you need to make a covenant with yourself about?

2 For what is man’s lot from God above,

his heritage from the Almighty on high?

3 Is it not ruin for the wicked,

disaster for those who do wrong?

4 Does he not see my ways

and count my every step?

5 “If I have walked in falsehood

or my foot has hurried after deceit—

6 let God weigh me in honest scales

and he will know that I am blameless—

7 if my steps have turned from the path,

if my heart has been led by my eyes,

or if my hands have been defiled,

8 then may others eat what I have sown,

and may my crops be uprooted.

9 “If my heart has been enticed by a woman,

or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door,

10 then may my wife grind another man’s grain,

and may other men sleep with her.

11 For that would have been shameful,

a sin to be judged.

12 It is a fire that burns to Destruction;

it would have uprooted my harvest.

13 “If I have denied justice to my menservants and maidservants

when they had a grievance against me,

14 what will I do when God confronts me?

What will I answer when called to account?

15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them?

Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?

Those are strong words about the value of all people.  We owe justice to all people, rich and poor, because they have value and are made in God’s image.

16 “If I have denied the desires of the poor

or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,

17 if I have kept my bread to myself,

not sharing it with the fatherless—

18 but from my youth I reared him as would a father,

and from my birth I guided the widow—

19 if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing,

or a needy man without a garment,

20 and his heart did not bless me

for warming him with the fleece from my sheep,

21 if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,

knowing that I had influence in court,

22 then let my arm fall from the shoulder,

let it be broken off at the joint.

23 For I dreaded destruction from God,

and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.

24 “If I have put my trust in gold

or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’

25 if I have rejoiced over my great wealth,

the fortune my hands had gained,

26 if I have regarded the sun in its radiance

or the moon moving in splendor,

27 so that my heart was secretly enticed

and my hand offered them a kiss of homage,

28 then these also would be sins to be judged,

for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.

29 “If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune

or gloated over the trouble that came to him—

30 I have not allowed my mouth to sin

by invoking a curse against his life—

31 if the men of my household have never said,

‘Who has not had his fill of Job’s meat?’—

32 but no stranger had to spend the night in the street,

for my door was always open to the traveler—

33 if I have concealed my sin as men do,

by hiding my guilt in my heart

34 because I so feared the crowd

and so dreaded the contempt of the clans

that I kept silent and would not go outside

35 (“Oh, that I had someone to hear me!

I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me;

let my accuser put his indictment in writing.

36 Surely I would wear it on my shoulder,

I would put it on like a crown.

37 I would give him an account of my every step;

like a prince I would approach him.)—

38 “if my land cries out against me

and all its furrows are wet with tears,

39 if I have devoured its yield without payment

or broken the spirit of its tenants,

40 then let briers come up instead of wheat

and weeds instead of barley.”

The words of Job are ended.

Elihu

32     So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. 3 He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him. 4 Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. 5 But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.

6 So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said:

“I am young in years,

and you are old;

that is why I was fearful,

not daring to tell you what I know.

7 I thought, ‘Age should speak;

advanced years should teach wisdom.’

8 But it is the spirit in a man,

the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.

9 It is not only the old who are

wise, not only the aged who understand what is right.

10 “Therefore I say: Listen to me;

I too will tell you what I know.

11 I waited while you spoke,

I listened to your reasoning;

while you were searching for words,

12 I gave you my full attention.

But not one of you has proved Job wrong;

none of you has answered his arguments.

13 Do not say, ‘We have found wisdom;

let God refute him, not man.’

14 But Job has not marshaled his words against me,

and I will not answer him with your arguments.

15 “They are dismayed and have no more to say;

words have failed them.

16 Must I wait, now that they are silent,

now that they stand there with no reply?

17 I too will have my say;

I too will tell what I know.

18 For I am full of words,

and the spirit within me compels me;

19 inside I am like bottled-up wine,

like new wineskins ready to burst.

20 I must speak and find relief;

I must open my lips and reply.

21 I will show partiality to no one,

nor will I flatter any man;

22 for if I were skilled in flattery,

my Maker would soon take me away.

33     “But now, Job, listen to my words;

pay attention to everything I say.

2 I am about to open my mouth;

my words are on the tip of my tongue.

3 My words come from an upright heart;

my lips sincerely speak what I know.

4 The Spirit of God has made me;

the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

5 Answer me then, if you can;

prepare yourself and confront me.

6 I am just like you before God;

I too have been taken from clay.

7 No fear of me should alarm you,

nor should my hand be heavy upon you.

8 “But you have said in my hearing—

I heard the very words—

9 ‘I am pure and without sin;

I am clean and free from guilt.

10 Yet God has found fault with me;

he considers me his enemy.

11 He fastens my feet in shackles;

he keeps close watch on all my paths.’

12 “But I tell you, in this you are not right,

for God is greater than man.

13 Why do you complain to him

that he answers none of man’s words?

14 For God does speak—now one way, now another—

though man may not perceive it.

15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,

when deep sleep falls on men

as they slumber in their beds,

16 he may speak in their ears

and terrify them with warnings,

17 to turn man from wrongdoing

and keep him from pride,

18 to preserve his soul from the pit,

his life from perishing by the sword.

19 Or a man may be chastened on a bed of pain

with constant distress in his bones,

20 so that his very being finds food repulsive

and his soul loathes the choicest meal.

21 His flesh wastes away to nothing,

and his bones, once hidden, now stick out.

22 His soul draws near to the pit,

and his life to the messengers of death.

23 “Yet if there is an angel on his side

as a mediator, one out of a thousand,

to tell a man what is right for him,

24 to be gracious to him and say,

‘Spare him from going down to the pit;

I have found a ransom for him’—

25 then his flesh is renewed like a child’s;

it is restored as in the days of his youth.

26 He prays to God and finds favor with him,

he sees God’s face and shouts for joy;

he is restored by God to his righteous state.

27 Then he comes to men and says,

‘I sinned, and perverted what was right,

but I did not get what I deserved.

28 He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit,

and I will live to enjoy the light.’

29 “God does all these things to a man—

twice, even three times—

30 to turn back his soul from the pit,

that the light of life may shine on him.

31 “Pay attention, Job, and listen to me;

be silent, and I will speak.

32 If you have anything to say, answer me;

speak up, for I want you to be cleared.

33 But if not, then listen to me;

be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.