October 22, 2019

Today you should read: Job 32

Every great story has a twist. The twist in the book of Job is that there has been another person listening to the conversation between Job and his friends the whole time! In chapter 32, Elihu comes on the scene, and what we know about him is that he is the youngest person in the conversation and he is basically going to call out both Job and his friends at the same time. We will see Elihu from chapter 32-37.

We will look more at Elihu in the next few days, but a principle to take away from today is that Elihu shows wisdom in being slow to speak. The content of what he says is actually never explicitly confirmed or denied by God at the end of the book:

“Interpreters have differed on how to understand the function of Elihu’s speeches in light of this lack of explicit reference or evaluation. While the Lord’s response to Job will include some vocabulary and references that are similar to portions of Elihu’s speeches, he does not commend either Elihu’s suggested reasons for Job’s suffering or his anger against Job.” (ESV Study Bible)

But what we do know is that a mark of wisdom is being quick to hear and slow to speak (James 1:19).

How often do we quickly react without thinking about our actions? How many problems could be avoided if we were slower to speak and react, and quicker to listen and understand? It is certainly possible that you might still come to the same conclusion about a situation, but at least you would know that you did your due diligence in knowing what the situation truly is.

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate

October 21, 2019

Today you should read: Job 31

In the ESV, they label Job 31 as his “Final Appeal”, and that is exactly what it is. Job is trying to show that his life has been a righteous one and that he has followed God. The passage is broken up into sections, and in each section, Job is trying to show how his life is not what is described. The sections are broken up like this: stealing and coveting (v. 5-12), neglecting needs of people (13-23), worshiping an idol (v. 24-28), hiding sin (v. 29-30, 33-34), and improper oversight of land (v. 38-40). 

The problem for Job is that he does not realize that God is testing him. If you remember, the opening of the book of Job says, “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” If that is the case, then Job probably did not commit the sins that are listed in our chapter. Instead, Job has lost trust in God and His plan, and only wants righteousness because of all the good that he has done in his life. 

We often think like Job. We think if we do good and do not sin then God should give us good things. If that were the case, why do missionaries become martyrs? Why are missionaries in countries where Christianity is illegal put into prison? Sin is the reason why wicked things happen in this world. Sometimes, don’t you think God might be testing us and trying to get our attention? Maybe God is trying to tell us to stop trusting in all the good we do, and instead, trust in Him and His righteousness.

By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice

October 19, 2019

Today you should read: Job 30

Job 30 contrasts Job’s former life with his present circumstances. In Job 29, as we read yesterday, Job harkens back to the good ol’ days:

Verse 4: He enjoyed God’s intimate friendship.

Verse 6: He had abundance, “paths of cream & rocks of olive oil.”

Verse 8: He had the deference of younger men.

Verses 11–17: He was a defender of the downtrodden.

Verses 19–20: He was prosperous.

Verses 21–25: He was respected and sought after, like a chief, a king, and a comforter.

In Job 30, we see just how far he has fallen. Younger men mock Job. He is taunted and mocked by the lowliest of society—the destitute spit on Job. God is distant and brought calamity upon Job (his view). Job is disrespected and his fortunes have passed. He suffers pain and agony. God does not seem to hear his cries. Despite the good things Job had done, he is suffering and mourning. “Therefore,” Job concludes, “my harp is turned to mourning and my flute to the sound of those who weep.” 

Job was a great man. His greatness was not only based on wealth, but the richness of love and mercy he bestowed on those around him. Chapter 29 illustrates a man who lived the heart of God among the destitute and downtrodden. Not only that, he enjoyed prosperity and respect. In chapter 30 we see brokenness. There is no one lower than him on any scale—he has less fortune than anyone, his emotional and physical pain are greater, and in a theology of suffering-because-of-sin, it is assumed that he is reaping the consequences of sins greater than anyone could imagine. He is a man poured out. 

Job’s relative status and wealth was greater than probably anyone reading this. The same is true for his suffering. That means Job’s fall was greater than anything any of us can imagine. And yet, there is One greater who fell further than even Job could imagine.

We cannot even begin to imagine the richness, beauty, and splendor that the preincarnate Christ enjoyed. As the second person of the Trinity, Jesus experienced love, joy, peace, etc. to an unfathomable degree. He was whole and complete. Then, “he emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7–8). 

We refer to this passage in Philippians as the great kenosis passage (based on the Greek word for “emptying” himself). When Christ took on flesh, he “fell” further than we can comprehend—leaving behind the glory that only God is due. What He left behind boggles the mind. Not only that, the mission of Christ’s first advent was to suffer and die in one of the most painful and publicly shameful ways humanity has ever devised to kill itself. 

In no way can we relate to the immense gap between the glory of the preincarnate Christ, and the emptying of that power and glory as He hung upon the cross. However, in many ways we can relate to Job and the heights from which he fell. In Job we get a glimpse of the shame and humiliation of Christ. And let us ponder today the reason that Christ would do such a thing—He did it for you and for me. Without emptying himself, taking on flesh, and suffering on the cross, we would be left on our own to face the consequences of sin.

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

October 18, 2019

Today you should read: Job 29

Summary: As we read the story of Job our hearts  break. We see ourselves in Job, his friends, the agony of the hearts involved and much more. Job is no different, he was a man just like us. He is struggling. It doesn’t make any sense. He was “on top of the world” and now he has seemingly been brought below it for no known reason. He lost his family, his wife turned on him, he lost his possessions, he lost his health, and on top of it all his friends are against him. 

In Job 29, Job starts down his final defense of himself. And in chapter 29 he is reminiscing on his former life and all that he had. He feels that God has abandoned him. This is not true but he feels it. In chapter 29 and 30 we see Job compare and contrast his former life with his current reality. It is weighing down his heart; the weight of it is becoming too much to handle for Job.

I wish I could go back and tell him that what he is going through shows us Jesus. I wish I could tell him that one day, the Savior of the world, would come to earth, leaving perfection, and suffer the loss of social dignity, family, friends, and suffer for our sins. I wish I could encourage him and tell him that what he is suffering is a pale reflection of the suffering of Jesus. I wish I could sit down with him and read Philippians 2:1-11 and show that when we suffer well it brings glory to God the Father. Long story short, I wish I could show him that the Messiah, Jesus, (1) understands and (2) cares and that (3) God will use your story to show people Jesus for the rest of time. That would be quite an encouragement.

Maybe you need the same encouragement. Maybe you are going through some suffering.  Jesus (1) understands, (2) cares, and (3) will use it if you let Him. We can trust God. When we suffer well we are identifying with Jesus, sharing in His sufferings, and growing in our understanding of the gospel. You are not alone. Suffering affects us all. 

Response: Read what Peter has to say about suffering in 1 Peter 4:12-19 and pray for strength to “entrust your soul to a faithful creator while doing good.”

By: Nick Parsons — Pastoral Ministry Associate: College