JOB 4:1-7:21 | 1 CORINTHIANS 14:18-40 | PSALM 37:30-40 | PROVERBS 21:27
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We continue with the story of Job, and find that Job is in a sorry state indeed. Having lost all his worldly wealth, his children, and even his health, he is pondering the meaning of this utter devastation when his three friends come to visit him in order to console him. They must all mean well, but there is a self-righteous undertone to their observations. One of the friends asks Job this:
6 Should not your piety be your confidence
and your blameless ways your hope?
Job is dejected and can only say:
11 “What strength do I have, that I should still hope?
What prospects, that I should be patient?
12 Do I have the strength of stone?
Is my flesh bronze?
13 Do I have any power to help myself,
now that success has been driven from me?
Job’s friends might mean well, but their words aren’t truly comforting. If anything, they make Job question himself and his integrity. And although Job isn’t anywhere near cursing God, his desperation is palpable. This is what he is saying, half to himself, and half to the Almighty when he says:
13 When I think my bed will comfort me
and my couch will ease my complaint,
14 even then you frighten me with dreams
and terrify me with visions,
15 so that I prefer strangling and death,
rather than this body of mine.
16 I despise my life; I would not live forever.
Let me alone; my days have no meaning.
Turning now to our reading in the first book of Corinthians, we find Paul continuing with more observations on the gifts of the Spirit, and the speaking of tongues, in particular. He continues to preach caution concerning the exhibition of this one gift, and says this: I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Hopefully, this impressed the Corinthian Christians to likewise exercise restraint in speaking and preaching in tongues.
Paul also wishes to make a point about the better order of these gifts of tongues and prophecy, and shares his views on the matter as follows: 22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
Turning now to our reading in the psalms, we find several beautiful verses that are timeless in their ability to encourage, comfort, and give praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Some examples are:
34 Hope in the LORD
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs that would hopefully serve to remind one of the importance of the right intent when bringing forth a sacrifice to God:
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable—
how much more so when brought with evil intent!
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.