Today’s Bible Reading: Job 31-33:33; 2 Corinthians 3:1-18; Psalm 43:1-5; Proverbs 22:8-9
In Job 31 Job describes his life in terms of the things he has not done, one of which was to look lustfully at women who were not his wife (Job 1:1). Lust is one of those sins that our world dismisses because it seemingly hurts no one. But lust is a form of both stealing and greed. A woman’s nakedness is a gift to her husband (and vice-versa). It is wrong for a man who is not her husband to steal it as it does not belong to him. What God has given a man should be enough for him (Job 1:2). When we lust we are saying that what God has given us is not adequate.
One measure of a person’s character is how well they treat those who are subordinate to them, as opposed to how they treat their peers. Job treated his servants well (Job 31:13). In Job’s day it would have been acceptable for a man to mistreat his servants. God calls us to not act like the world but to live in a way that exposes the ways of the world for what they are – sin. God’s way was radical back then. And compared to our modern way of thinking, it is still radical.
Job believed his servants were human beings and were therefore worthy of dignity (Job 31:15). Even as recently as Civil War America slaves were not considered a person. But 4,000 years ago God made it clear that we are all His creation and are all equal before Him no matter what our status in life is.
Just because the world condones a certain behavior doesn’t mean we should engage in it (Job 31:21). The law may be on our side but that is not the measure of proper conduct. The government tells us what is allowed. God tells us what is right. Before doing, saying, or thinking anything we should evaluate it against God’s design for us. This would mean slowing down our lives – something very difficult to do. In fact the fast pace of life is one reason why sin is increasing in our world. The faster life goes the less time we take to consider our actions and the more likely we will give in to sin (usually without even realizing it).
In Job 32 a young man named Elihu speaks up. Age is not a factor when it comes to wisdom (Job 31:9). Wisdom is achieved through experience. Some young people have been through a lot and have as a result gained much wisdom. Some old people have also been through a lot but have not learned from their experiences so they lack wisdom.
While its true that young people can be wise, we see that this does not apply to Elihu. He is long-winded (he’s going to talk for 5 chapters!) but actually doesn’t say much at all. What he does say is often wrong (Job 33:9) or obvious (Job 33:12b). Elihu was a little too overconfident in himself and his wisdom. This is a common trait of younger people.
Paul’s confidence came not from himself but from his trust in God. Likewise, his qualifications came from God too (2 Corinthians 3:4-5). So often we think we cannot serve God because we are not ready. By waiting to be ready we are putting our sufficiency in ourselves instead of on God where it should be. So it is true we are not ready. But we will never be ready.
The first contract God made with man (aka Old Testament or Old Covenant) led to death (2 Corinthians 3:7). The laws handed down by God to Moses told us what to do and not to do but these laws could not grant life. They could only condemn. Like the people it governed, this contract was destined to die, which it did when God ushered in a new, more amazing, contract (aka New Testament) through Jesus.
The Old Testament separated us from God. But the New Testament bring us into God’s presence. When someone turns to God their hearts are liberated – they are set free from the law and are filled with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:16-17).
This gives us the freedom to boldly approach God because such people are now cleansed from their sins. This also begins the process of God changing us to be more like Him, which is God’s real goal for us (2 Corinthians 3:18).
In Psalm 43 David starts out focused on his problems (Psalm 43:1-2). But he soon realizes that he needs to get his focus off what other people have done to him and onto God (Psalm 43:3). He had a choice. He could be held hostage to the past or he could move forward to be with God. It understandable, but not acceptable, to be discouraged by the raw deal we sometimes get in life. We can move past discouragement by resting in God (Psalm 43:5).
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