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A Game Of Telephone

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Today’s Bible Reading: Job 12-15:35; 1 Corinthians 15:29-58; Psalm 39:1-13; Proverbs 21:30-31

Job was a godly man who had to endure not only the emotional and physical pain he was going through, but also the mocking of his so-called friends (Job 12:4). Those of us who follow Christ are often mocked by people in our lives including our own family. That is how it goes. Even Jesus’ own family and friends from Nazareth did not believe in Him.

Its always frustrating when people who don’t read their Bible or have any relationship with God explain God to me (Job 13:7-8). Always consider the qualifications of the source when you receive such information. The best source of information about God is the Bible, prayer, and through fellow believers.

Despite his circumstances, Job continues to trust God (Job 13:15). Job knew the truth about himself (Job 13:18) and also about God because he had an understanding of Him before this crisis began. Job learned truth in the calm so he could cling to it in the storm. This is always the best way to go. When the storm comes we can use it to become better people rather than letting it get the best of us. God sends us into storms for this exact reason.

After dismissing the reasoning of his friends, Job goes to God in prayer, which is always the best course of action (Job 13:20-28). Notice that Job knows that he is not perfect (Job 13:26) yet he doesn’t understand why all this is happening to him (Job 13:23). So many non-believers point to the fact that bad things happen to good people as justification for their non-belief. But that is just how life goes.

Whether good things happen to bad people or bad things happen to good people has nothing to do with God’s existence. There are plenty of good people in the Bible who had bad things happen to them. Job is one. Abel was another. Life happens. And not everything that happens proves or disproves God.

People who lived during the Old Testament did not have a clear understanding of life after death. It was not until Jesus was resurrected that this truth became known. So Job’s observation in Job 14:10-12 presents an accurate picture of people’s understanding back then. Job’s statements are not a mistruth in the Bible. While Job believed something that turned out to be wrong, the Bible truthfully portrays Job’s understanding of this issue. Hence, the Bible’s truthfulness is not blemished by these verses.

Eliphaz dismisses Job’s comments because they contradict human tradition. (Job 15:10,18). His understanding was handed down from generation to generation from one more ignorant than the one before, like a game of telephone. Truth is independent of tradition.  Nor is it decided by a majority vote. Truth comes from God and no place else.

Paul continues his discussion of life after death, including a confusing verse in 1 Corinthians 15:29. Exactly what Paul means by “baptized for those who are dead” is unknown. It seems that he is referring to a pagan practice and references it simply to show the Corinthians that even pagans believed in life after death (something the Corinthians were doubting). The Mormon practice of baptism for the dead is based on this verse but it is not affirmed by Scripture.

Paul lived life in such a way that spoke of his complete conviction that he would live after he died (1 Corinthians 15:30-32). So many of us live on earth as if this life is all there is. We seek the highest standard of living for ourselves rather than giving it all up like Paul did for the sake of other people’s eternal lives.

As we learned in Job today, we cannot get our truth about God from those who don’t know him. Paul essentially tells the Corinthians the same thing in 1 Corinthians 15:33. They had received bad information about life after death from people who didn’t know what they were talking about.

One of the most encouraging passages in all of Scripture is 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 53 in which Paul teaches us that we will receive new bodies in the next life. These bodies will be glorious, strong, and can never die. I am looking forward to that! Keep in mind that even those who go to hell will have bodies that cannot die. This will not be a blessing to them but a curse as they will desperately want to die.

Not everyone who is ever born will die. At some point God will, in an instant, take living believers from this earth in an event known as the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). The Rapture is the next major event on God’s timetable and it could happen at any moment.

Because of the truth of life after death, everything we do should be for the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). There is no reason to live selfishly. Our lives should be lived serving Him.

David gives us great advice in Psalm 38. When we go through a trial we should learn to keep our mouth shut (Psalm 38:1) because the internal turmoil we are going through can cause us to say things we will regret. In these situations we can say sinful things that will be a bad witness to the non-believers who may be around us. Instead we should do what David did – he spoke to God directly (Psalm 38:4-13).

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post

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