JOB 16:1-19:29 | 1 CORINTHIANS 16:1-24 | PSALM 40:1-10 | PROVERBS 22:1
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After having heard the wisdom from all three of his friends, Job has had enough. Well-meaning as they might be, his friends are anything but comforting. May it be that we might be cautious to never become like Job’s friends, but rather emulate Job in how he handles his misfortunes throughout. Job says these words to them in response:
2 “I have heard many things like these;
you are miserable comforters, all of you!
3 Will your long-winded speeches never end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing?
4 I also could speak like you,
if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
and shake my head at you.
5 But my mouth would encourage you;
comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
Job’s misery is indeed great, and if there be any loss of memory on what exactly his state of affairs are, he gives a summary of his misfortunes here:
13 “He has alienated my family from me;
my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
14 My relatives have gone away;
my closest friends have forgotten me.
15 My guests and my female servants count me a foreigner;
they look on me as on a stranger.
16 I summon my servant, but he does not answer,
though I beg him with my own mouth.
17 My breath is offensive to my wife;
I am loathsome to my own family.
18 Even the little boys scorn me;
when I appear, they ridicule me.
19 All my intimate friends detest me;
those I love have turned against me.
20 I am nothing but skin and bones;
I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.
And yet, the great hope that lies within him is a remarkable one. Despite the odds, Job knows that his misfortune is only for a season, and that this too shall pass. He refuses to give up hope, and continues to trust in the Lord for deliverance. These words of his makes this quite clear:
25 I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
Turning now to our reading in the first book of Corinthians, we arrive at the last chapter of the book wherein Paul is attending to a few personal requests concerning those who may visit them, i.e., the church during his absence, and gives an indication of his own travel plans.
And before he wraps up the letter, he gives one small but very clear exhortation which would behoove us all to emulate: 13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.
Next, we turn to our psalm for the day, and find a psalm filled with praise, hope, and thanksgiving to the Almighty. One cannot help but draw parallels to the story of Job in how we will soon find Job also giving similar praise. I quote the psalm in its entirety here, in the view that reflection on it will serve us well in our own times of distress and darkness:
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
and put their trust in him.
4 Blessed is the one
who trusts in the LORD,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
5 Many, LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened—
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.
8 I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.
9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, LORD,
as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs that would do us well to have it invisibly inscribed on our hearts and heads:
1 A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.