OT: Job 40:1-42:17
God continues His...is it a diatribe?...against Job today. Shortly into today's portion, He asks,
"Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?" (40:8).
To highlight the ridiculousness of such a presumption, He challenges Job to study the power and might of the creatures around him, creatures that God created. Of His examples, God is particularly verbose in discussing the leviathan, which is apparently a fire-breathing dragon. After describing the incredible might of the animal, God directly describes its appearance:
"His back has rows of shields
tightly sealed together;
each is so close to the next
that no air can pass between...
His snorting throws out flashes of light;
his eyes are like the rays of the dawn.
Firebrands stream from his mouth;
sparks of fire shoot out.
Smoke pours from his nostrils
as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds.
His breath sets coals ablaze,
and flames dart from his mouth" (15-21).
I quote that section at length b/c I want to highlight the degree to which God conveys that this creature breathes fire. My question is, why haven't I ever heard of this? Apparently, my brain skipped over it when I read through the Bible the first time, but I would think that something as sensational as a fire-breathing animal would have been brought up before. So...is that what the leviathan is? Do we believe in fire-breathing dragons? Can anyone help me here? I'm pretty confused....
Anyway, at the end of his speech, Job repents, and God turns to fuss at his friends. He tells Eliphaz and co. that they have been speaking false things but that Job has spoken what is right. I'm not sure whether to take this as an endorsement of all of Job's speech, or simply a response to his recent repentance. Regardless, he has the friends offer sacrifices and Job pray for them, and He forgives them. He also restores Job and blesses him with more than he had lost. Even though I'm sure you can't replace children, the Bible makes sure to emphasize that his new children were great, especially his three daughters, who were quite beautiful. Plus, God gave Job 140 years to enjoy this good fortune.
There is a lot to take away from Job, but tonight, I am specifically taking too short reminders:
God is God, and I am not, and
This, too, shall pass.
The second, especially, was a good reminder to me. No matter how stressful things get, I have to remember that they are temporary. Nothing on this earth is permanent, though I can vouch from my brief experiences that physical pain does seem to slow time down immensely. But...it's all passing. That is such a relief. And even if our circumstances aren't relieved in this present life, they will certainly be in the life to come.
NT: 2 Cor. 5:11-21
I love verses 15-21 in this passage. First of all, verse 15 resonates with me b/c of my interest in the concept of "dying to self" (full disclosure: I don't want to give the impression that I am a master at dying to myself. More and more, I see myself as a fairly spoiled, weak person. But I am pursuing the idea, and asking God to help me). Anyhow, in light of that interest, verse 15 was particularly relevant to me: "And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live from themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again."
I also love the first part of the next verse: "S0 from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view." I love that. It is such a good reminder. To me, a worldly point of view regards people in terms of what they can do for oneself. Are they pleasant to be around? Funny? Entertaining? Smart? Capable? Hard working? In short, what do they have to offer me? That's the worldly way of looking at people. The biblical way of looking at people, I would think, is to see them as Christ sees them. Christ looks at people with love; He sees them as precious creations of God, in need of a redeemer; He seeks to meet their needs. As Christians, our job is to see people like that and to thus try to reconcile them to God. I like that word, reconcile. I like how Paul uses it in his description of the gospel: "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation" (18-19). Like I said, I love that way of looking at it.
Plus, I could seriously just type out this whole passage. I love verse 17, about us being new creations in Christ, and I love verse 20, about how we are "Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." That's an important reminder. Wherever I am and whatever I'm doing, I cannot lose sight of the fact that I am a representative for Christ at all times.
Psalm 45: 1-17
A wedding psalm. Like last time, I enjoyed the imagery of the "all glorious princess" (13).
"The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit;
he who is under the Lord's wrath will fall into it."
I had to read this twice b/c it seemed like the second part should say, "He who falls into it will be under the Lord's wrath." The fact that the Lord's wrath is a cause and not an effect seemed strange to me.