But the Lord Upholds the Righteous

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JOB 1:1-3:26 | 1 CORINTHIANS 14:1-17 | PSALM 37:12-29 | PROVERBS 21:25-26

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We enter another fascinating book today: a book titled Job that is essentially the story of the life and times of a man by that very name.  Job was considered one of the richest men of his time, and one of the most God-fearing men as well. 

The story goes that one day when Satan challenges God to test Job’s faith, God accedes to this and allows for calamity and misfortune to befall Job.  Before you know it, Job begins to lose everything he possesses, starting with his most valuable possessions—his children.  Without doubt, Job must have been devastated, and yet, all he says is:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.

Next, Job is afflicted with ill-health, a further test that Satan brings about hoping to prove to God that the reason for Job’s faithfulness is tied into his health being intact.  But even in this, Job does not waver in his utter trust and faith in God.  Job’s three friends come to console him, and mourn with him at his losses. 

In the meantime, Job’s wife has had enough, and openly says that it is high time that Job curse God and die—so great is the loss and devastation.  And yet, Job refuses to do so.  When he finally does speak, Job doesn’t curse God, but he does say this:

23 Why is life given to a man
whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
For sighing has become my daily food;
my groans pour out like water.
25 What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.
26 I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

These are the words of a beaten man, but not one without hope.  We shall have to wait and see how Job’s life unfolds.

Next, we come to our continued reading in the first book of Corinthians.  Paul is continuing in his exhortation to use the gifts of the spirits wisely, and takes care to make the point regarding the gift of prophecy.  He says to use it with caution, if at all, and always with the aid of an interpreter. 

More specifically, he says, 13 For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. 16 say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.

Turning now to our reading in the psalms, we find David, the psalmist, offering choice words of encouragement in these verses:

16 Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the LORD upholds the righteous.

And for all those who might doubt the provision of the Almighty, he says this:

25 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.

And then, some direct words of advice:

27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the LORD loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.

Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs that is worthy of record and rumination:

25 The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him,
because his hands refuse to work.
All day long he craves for more,
but the righteous give without sparing.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.

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