Welcome back to “Read Through the Bible.”
We started our journey through the Bible in March, and I’ve watched more and more people decide to travel through God’s Word with us. How exciting! We’re approaching the half-way point in our trip through the Bible; but, up to this point, we’ve devoted every Thursday to reading a part of the book of Job.
What have you been thinking about as you’ve walked through the book of Job?
The Bible tells us that Job was “blameless and upright” (Job 1:1); and yet, for some weird reason, God allowed Satan to push Job to the wall to see if he (Satan) could push Job hard enough to make him curse God to His face (Job 1:11). We’ve read stories about how Job’s three friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) tried to “comfort” Job – but often in unhelpful ways. Eliphaz begins by pointing-out that the innocent always prosper; and that, since Job isn’t prospering, he must have done something wrong. Bildad then steps up to the plate and tells Job “if you seek God earnestly and plead with the Almighty, and if you are pure and upright…He will rouse Himself and restore your prosperous state.” (Job 8-5-6) And, then, Zophar steps forward and clearly tells Job that he’s lucky that he didn’t receive even worse: “Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.” (Job 11:6) And the rest of the book of Job is devoted to working through these three different and widely divergent understandings of human suffering.
What do you think about when you’re facing times of adversity? Do you believe that you are facing a tough time in life because of something you’ve done wrong? We can, indeed, suffer for doing wrong – but, many times, we place an increased weight upon our backs when we blame ourselves for what’s going wrong. Do you believe that, if you simply try to live your life in the right way and plead with God, God will be roused and decide to pour rich prosperity into your life? Or, maybe, you’re a pessimist who believes that life could always be worse? What does that say about the God you worship?
This week, I’d like to encourage you to think about adversity and about how you face times of struggle as a person of faith. Where is God when you’ve traveling through a tough time? What promises of God are most important to you when life isn’t what you think it should be? How can the fact that God restored Job’s fortunes encourage you as you’re moving through a tough time – knowing that better days are ahead?
Here are next week’s readings:
Sunday: 2 Corinthians 11-13 – Monday: Exodus 29-32 – Tuesday: 2 Samuel 20-24 – Wednesday: Psalms 60-62 – Thursday: Job 41-42 – Friday: Jeremiah 42-46 – Saturday: Luke 5-6