Tuesday after the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Job 22-24 (NKJV)
22:1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:
2 “Can a man be profitable to God, though he who is wise may be profitable to himself? 3 Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous? Or is it gain to Him that you make your ways blameless?
4 “Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you, and enters into judgment with you? 5 Is not your wickedness great, and your iniquity without end? 6 For you have taken pledges from your brother for no reason, and stripped the naked of their clothing. 7 You have not given the weary water to drink, and you have withheld bread from the hungry. 8 But the mighty man possessed the land, and the honorable man dwelt in it. 9 You have sent widows away empty, and the strength of the fatherless was crushed. 10 Therefore snares are all around you, and sudden fear troubles you, 11 Or darkness so that you cannot see; And an abundance of water covers you.
12 “Is not God in the height of heaven? And see the highest stars, how lofty they are! 13 And you say, ‘What does God know? Can He judge through the deep darkness? 14 Thick clouds cover Him, so that He cannot see, and He walks above the circle of heaven.’ 15 Will you keep to the old way which wicked men have trod, 16 who were cut down before their time, whose foundations were swept away by a flood? 17 They said to God, ‘Depart from us! What can the Almighty do to them?’ 18 Yet He filled their houses with good things; But the counsel of the wicked is far from me. 19 The righteous see it and are glad, and the innocent laugh at them: 20 ‘Surely our adversaries are cut down, and the fire consumes their remnant.’
21 “Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. 22 Receive, please, instruction from His mouth, and lay up His words in your heart. 23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; You will remove iniquity far from your tents. 24 Then you will lay your gold in the dust, and the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks. 25 Yes, the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver; 26 For then you will have your delight in the Almighty, and lift up your face to God. 27 You will make your prayer to Him, He will hear you, And you will pay your vows. 28 You will also declare a thing, and it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways. 29 When they cast you down, and you say, ‘Exaltation will come!’ Then He will save the humble person. 30 He will even deliver one who is not innocent; Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”
23:1 Then Job answered and said:
2 “Even today my complaint is bitter; My hand is listless because of my groaning. 3 Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat! 4 I would present my case before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments. 5 I would know the words which He would answer me, and understand what He would say to me. 6 Would He contend with me in His great power? No! But He would take note of me. 7 There the upright could reason with Him, and I would be delivered forever from my Judge.
8 “Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; 9 When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. 10 But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. 11 My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. 12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food.
13 “But He is unique, and who can make Him change? And whatever His soul desires, that He does. 14 For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him. 15 Therefore I am terrified at His presence; When I consider this, I am afraid of Him. 16 For God made my heart weak, and the Almighty terrifies me; 17 Because I was not cut off from the presence of darkness, and He did not hide deep darkness from my face.
24:1 “Since times are not hidden from the Almighty, why do those who know Him see not His days? 2 Some remove landmarks; They seize flocks violently and feed on them; 3 They drive away the donkey of the fatherless; They take the widow’s ox as a pledge. 4 They push the needy off the road; All the poor of the land are forced to hide. 5 Indeed, like wild donkeys in the desert, they go out to their work, searching for food. The wilderness yields food for them and for their children. 6 They gather their fodder in the field and glean in the vineyard of the wicked. 7 They spend the night naked, without clothing, and have no covering in the cold. 8 They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and huddle around the rock for want of shelter. 9 Some snatch the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge from the poor. 10 They cause the poor to go naked, without clothing; And they take away the sheaves from the hungry. 11 They press out oil within their walls, and tread winepresses, yet suffer thirst. 12 The dying groan in the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out; Yet God does not charge them with wrong.
13 “There are those who rebel against the light; They do not know its ways nor abide in its paths. 14 The murderer rises with the light; He kills the poor and needy; And in the night he is like a thief. 15 The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, ‘No eye will see me’; And he disguises his face. 16 In the dark they break into houses which they marked for themselves in the daytime; They do not know the light. 17 For the morning is the same to them as the shadow of death; If someone recognizes them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.
18 “They should be swift on the face of the waters, their portion should be cursed in the earth, so that no one would turn into the way of their vineyards. 19 As drought and heat consume the snow waters, so the grave consumes those who have sinned. 20 The womb should forget him, the worm should feed sweetly on him; He should be remembered no more, and wickedness should be broken like a tree. 21 For he preys on the barren who do not bear, and does no good for the widow. 22 But God draws the mighty away with His power; He rises up, but no man is sure of life. 23 He gives them security, and they rely on it; Yet His eyes are on their ways. 24 They are exalted for a little while, then they are gone. They are brought low; They are taken out of the way like all others; They dry out like the heads of grain.
25 “Now if it is not so, who will prove me a liar, and make my speech worth nothing?”
During the terrible struggles of Job, he found himself on a seemingly endless roller coaster between belief and doubt. Soon after his victorious confession in chapter 19, he once again found himself struggling with his faith. Chapter 23 records the inner struggles of Job: “Even today my complaint is bitter; my hand is listless because of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat! I would present my case before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments” (23:2-4).
Since Job was getting nowhere with his friends, he longed to plead his case directly with God. He’s confident that he’s innocent of his friend’s charges, and that God should not only hear his side but clear him of any wrongdoing. But in spite of his confidence, Job doesn’t know how to arrange a meeting with God: “Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; when He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him” (23:8-9).
Though Job is convinced of his innocence, he fears the meeting to come: “Therefore I am terrified at His presence; when I consider this, I am afraid of Him” (23:15). Regardless of all Job has suffered, he is most concerned about his relationship with God. Job knows that his troubles are confined to the earthly realm, and therefore have limits in both scope and time. God knows no such bounds. Spiritual judgment, and the eternity over which such judgment presides, should be our ultimate concern.
We pray: Dear God, we thank You for calling us to faith. Direct our hearts and minds to jealously guard this great gift , lest it be wrested from us through the wiles of the devil; In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.