Thursday, April 13, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Job 29-30

Do you remember the “Good Old Days”?   You know, the days when you were young, strong, carefree and naïve?   Remember what life was like before you learned how much life could hurt?

In today’s scripture reading (Job 29-30), Job continues his argument against the insinuations of his “friend” Bildad (Job 25) that the losses he has suffered are a result of a hidden, unconfessed sin he is harboring in his soul.   Job began his defense in chapter 27 and continues his sad monologue through chapters 29, 30 and 31.

Preacher and author Warren Wiersbe writes of Job’s defense:   Job “climaxed his speech with sixteen ‘if I have…’ statements and put himself under oath, challenging God either to condemn him or vindicate him.  It was as though Job were saying, “We’ve talked long enough!  I really don’t care what you three men think, because God is my Judge; and I rest my case with Him.  Now, let Him settle the matter one way or another, once and for all.” [The Bible Exposition Commentary – Wisdom and Poetry].

Like many elderly I have known in my lifetime, Job began reflecting on what many call “the good old days”.  He recollected the blessings and joys he took for granted before trials and troubles robbed him of everything…his family, possessions and health.  He remembered the days of his youth and how God had favored him (29:2-4a).   He remembered the sweetness of fellowship he had with God and the joy his children brought to his life (29:4b-5).  He looked back on the standing he once had in the city; how young men retired from his presence, old men stood to honor him (29:5-8), and nobles weighed his counsel with gravity (29:9-11, 20-25).  He cherished with joy the opportunities he had to bless those less fortunate (29:12-16).

Job 30 marks a decided turn from cherished reflections of the past to the horrid reality of Job’s present condition.  Though his character had remained unaltered, he had lost everything that once defined his outward man.   Facing the challenge we all invariably face, Job made a wise choice; he refused to dwell on past memories and honestly assessed his present condition.  He faced the derision of the very men who once honored him (30:1-15).  He had been charitable to others, but now faced his own poverty and helplessness (30:16-25).  He had ministered to others, but was now in need of pity and help (39:26-31).   Job’s life had become fodder for fools and sorrows threatened to drown his soul in tears (30:27-29).

The state of hopelessness is a miserable place to abide for when hope is lost, all seems lost.  Such should never be the case for believers!   Paul challenged believers living in Rome to be “fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope” (Romans 12:11-12a).  To believers in Corinth, Paul wrote, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:19-20).

Those who put their faith in Christ and trust His promises have the potential of enduring, abiding hope.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith