Today’s Bible Reading: Job 1-3:26; 1 Corinthians 14:1-17; Psalm 37:12-29; Proverbs 21:25-26
Today we start Job which is both a historic and poetic book. Hence it is placed between the last of the historic books of the Bible and the first of the poetic books. From the Hebrew language used in this book scholars believe that this was the first book of the Bible ever written. The events in it took place sometime during Genesis, perhaps around the time of Abraham or even before.
The book of Job is all about one man (named Job) and the way he handles the experiences he faces in life. Job was blameless (Job 1:1). This does not mean that Job was perfect. It means that Job’s offenses had been wiped clean by God because of Job’s faith.
While Job is living on earth, some angels, including Satan, approach God (Job 1:6). Notice that Satan is not a god – he is a created being. He is not the “bad” version of God. He is not God’s peer. God created Satan. Notice that Satan is an accuser. He constantly tries to bring charges against us before God, our judge.
Satan is quite cynical of Job, as many atheists are of believers today (Job 1:8). They think that the only reason we worship God is because our lives a wonderful. Actually, we worship God for just the opposite reason – and because we know that despite our circumstances, God still loves us and is worthy of our praise.
Notice that God gives Satan permission to test us (Job 1:12). But He puts limits on Satan. Everything that happens to us in this life happens because God allows it. Not necessarily because He wants it. But because He can use it, good or bad, to accomplish His plans (Romans 8:28). Satan can’t do more to us that God permits.
Satan is quite cruel, as we read in Job 1: 14-19). Notice, too, that God allows Satan to have at least some control over the weather.
Job’s reaction to his losses are telling. His first reaction is to worship God and to recognize that all he had did not belong to him anyway. It was all a gift from God (Job 1:21). Job didn’t whine, sulk, complain, or blame God. He had the right perspective on his life.
Satan’s second attack in Job 2 shows that God allows Satan to attack us physically. Satan believes his first attempts at getting Job to curse God failed because he (Job) still had his health. Yet even when his health is taken away, Job maintains his integrity, despite a lack of encouragement from his wife (Job 2:9-10). Both good and bad things happen in this life. There is no reason to expect anything different. But through it all we should never turn away from God who will see us through everything.
Job’s reaction to losing his health is recorded in Job 3. In this chapter Job laments not only the day he was born, but the night he was conceived (Job 3:3). He goes on to say that death would be better than life. Obviously Job was tormented both physically and spiritually by this testing from Satan. But notice that being emotional is not a sin.
God doesn’t ask us to “tough it out” when times get hard. He wants us to come to Him and talk to Him – even complain or cry. God wants us to be real with Him. He already knows exactly what we are thinking anyway, so there is no reason to pretend otherwise. To do so would simply be lying, and that is a sin.
In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul explains to the Corinthians the difference between speaking in tongues and prophesying. Speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift given to some so they can speak to God without anyone else understanding them. Some people believe that speaking in tongues is for human-to-human communication, but 1 Corinthians 14:2 clearly refutes that. I personally have never met anyone who can speak in tongues.
In contrast, prophecies are meant to be spoken to another human being (1 Corinthians 14:3). Prophecy also edifies others, rather than edifying the speaker, as is the case with tongues (1 Corinthians 14:4). For this reason it is better to prophesy than it is to speak in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:12).
David wrote Psalm 37 when we was old (Psalm 37:25). Apparently the things he wrote about in this psalm are the lessons he learned in life. Being older should mean being wiser, if we learn from our experiences rather than fighting against them. David learned that riches don’t matter (Psalm 37:16. He learned that God delights in those who love Him and holds each of us by His hand (Psalm 37:23-24).
Nor will He ever abandon us (Psalm 37:28). This Psalm started out warning us against envying those who do evil and seem to get away with it. They may be gaining worldly treasures – money, fame, power. But the godly have God. And His presence in our lives is infinitely more valuable.
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