Job 10: Listen to my bitter complaint! (11 February 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Read

Read

The Missing Cup

1Joseph commanded the servant in charge of his house, “Fill the men's sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man's money in the top of his sack. 2Put my silver cup in the top of the youngest brother's sack, together with the money for his corn.” He did as he was told. 3Early in the morning the brothers were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4When they had gone only a short distance from the city, Joseph said to the servant in charge of his house, “Hurry after those men. When you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you paid back evil for good? 5Why did you steal my master's silver cup? It is the one he drinks from, the one he uses for divination. You have committed a serious crime!’ ”

6When the servant caught up with them, he repeated these words. 7They answered him, “What do you mean, sir, by talking like this? We swear that we have done no such thing. 8You know that we brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money we found in the top of our sacks. Why then should we steal silver or gold from your master's house? 9Sir, if any one of us is found to have it, he will be put to death, and the rest of us will become your slaves.”

10He said, “I agree; but only the one who has taken the cup will become my slave, and the rest of you can go free.” 11So they quickly lowered their sacks to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12Joseph's servant searched carefully, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. 13The brothers tore their clothes in sorrow, loaded their donkeys, and returned to the city.

14When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, he was still there. They bowed down before him, 15and Joseph said, “What have you done? Didn't you know that a man in my position could find you out by practising divination?”

16“What can we say to you, sir?” Judah answered. “How can we argue? How can we clear ourselves? God has uncovered our guilt. All of us are now your slaves and not just the one with whom the cup was found.”

17Joseph said, “Oh, no! I would never do that! Only the one who had the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go back safe and sound to your father.”

Judah Pleads for Benjamin

18Judah went up to Joseph and said, “Please, sir, allow me to speak with you freely. Don't be angry with me; you are like the king himself. 19Sir, you asked us, ‘Have you got a father or another brother?’ 20We answered, ‘We have a father who is old and a younger brother, born to him in his old age. The boy's brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother's children still alive; his father loves him very much.’ 21Sir, you told us to bring him here, so that you could see him, 22and we answered that the boy could not leave his father; if he did, his father would die. 23Then you said, ‘You will not be admitted to my presence again unless your youngest brother comes with you.’

24“When we went back to our father, we told him what you had said. 25Then he told us to return and buy a little food. 26We answered, ‘We cannot go; we will not be admitted to the man's presence unless our youngest brother is with us. We can go only if our youngest brother goes also.’ 27Our father said to us, ‘You know that my wife Rachel bore me only two sons. 28One of them has already left me. He must have been torn to pieces by wild animals, because I have not seen him since he left. 29If you take this one from me now and something happens to him, the sorrow you would cause me would kill me, old as I am.’

30-31“And now, sir,” Judah continued, “if I go back to my father without the boy, as soon as he sees that the boy is not with me, he will die. His life is wrapped up with the life of the boy, and he is so old that the sorrow we would cause him would kill him. 32What is more, I pledged my life to my father for the boy. I told him that if I did not bring the boy back to him, I would bear the blame all my life. 33And now, sir, I will stay here as your slave in place of the boy; let him go back with his brothers. 34How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I cannot bear to see this disaster come upon my father.”

The Plot against Jesus

1It was now two days before the Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the teachers of the Law were looking for a way to arrest Jesus secretly and put him to death. 2“We must not do it during the festival,” they said, “or the people might riot.”

Jesus is Anointed at Bethany

3Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, a man who had suffered from a dreaded skin disease. While Jesus was eating, a woman came in with an alabaster jar full of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus' head. 4Some of the people there became angry and said to one another, “What was the use of wasting the perfume? 5It could have been sold for more than 300 silver coins and the money given to the poor!” And they criticized her harshly.

6But Jesus said, “Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a fine and beautiful thing for me. 7You will always have poor people with you, and any time you want to, you can help them. But you will not always have me. 8She did what she could; she poured perfume on my body to prepare it ahead of time for burial. 9Now, I assure you that wherever the gospel is preached all over the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

10Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Jesus to them. 11They were pleased to hear what he had to say, and promised to give him money. So Judas started looking for a good chance to hand Jesus over to them.

Jesus Eats the Passover Meal with his Disciples

12On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the day the lambs for the Passover meal were killed, Jesus' disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and get the Passover meal ready for you?”

13Then Jesus sent two of them with these instructions: “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him 14to the house he enters, and say to the owner of the house: ‘The Teacher says, Where is the room where my disciples and I will eat the Passover meal?’ 15Then he will show you a large upstairs room, prepared and furnished, where you will get everything ready for us.”

16The disciples left, went to the city, and found everything just as Jesus had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

17When it was evening, Jesus came with the twelve disciples. 18While they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you that one of you will betray me — one who is eating with me.”

19The disciples were upset and began to ask him, one after the other, “Surely you don't mean me, do you?”

20Jesus answered, “It will be one of you twelve, one who dips his bread in the dish with me. 21The Son of Man will die as the Scriptures say he will; but how terrible for that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would have been better for that man if he had never been born!”

The Lord's Supper

22While they were eating, Jesus took a piece of bread, gave a prayer of thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples. “Take it,” he said, “this is my body.”

23Then he took a cup, gave thanks to God, and handed it to them; and they all drank from it. 24Jesus said, “This is my blood which is poured out for many, my blood which seals God's covenant. 25I tell you, I will never again drink this wine until the day I drink the new wine in the Kingdom of God.”

26Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial

27Jesus said to them, “All of you will run away and leave me, for the scripture says, ‘God will kill the shepherd, and the sheep will all be scattered.’ 28But after I am raised to life, I will go to Galilee ahead of you.”

29Peter answered, “I will never leave you, even though all the rest do!”

30Jesus said to Peter, “I tell you that before the cock crows twice tonight, you will say three times that you do not know me.”

31Peter answered even more strongly, “I will never say that, even if I have to die with you!”

And all the other disciples said the same thing.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

32They came to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33He took Peter, James, and John with him. Distress and anguish came over him, 34and he said to them, “The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me. Stay here and keep watch.”

35He went a little farther on, threw himself on the ground, and prayed that, if possible, he might not have to go through that time of suffering. 36“Father,” he prayed, “my Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet not what I want, but what you want.”

37Then he returned and found the three disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Weren't you able to stay awake even for one hour?” 38And he said to them, “Keep watch, and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39He went away once more and prayed, saying the same words. 40Then he came back to the disciples and found them asleep; they could not keep their eyes open. And they did not know what to say to him.

41When he came back the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come! Look, the Son of Man is now being handed over to the power of sinners. 42Get up, let us go. Look, here is the man who is betraying me!”

The Arrest of Jesus

43Jesus was still speaking when Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, and sent by the chief priests, the teachers of the Law, and the elders. 44The traitor had given the crowd a signal: “The man I kiss is the one you want. Arrest him and take him away under guard.”

45As soon as Judas arrived, he went up to Jesus and said, “Teacher!” and kissed him. 46So they arrested Jesus and held him tight. 47But one of those standing there drew his sword and struck at the High Priest's slave, cutting off his ear. 48Then Jesus spoke up and said to them, “Did you have to come with swords and clubs to capture me, as though I were an outlaw? 49Day after day I was with you teaching in the Temple, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must come true.”

50Then all the disciples left him and ran away.

51A certain young man, dressed only in a linen cloth, was following Jesus. They tried to arrest him, 52but he ran away naked, leaving the cloth behind.

Jesus before the Council

53Then Jesus was taken to the High Priest's house, where all the chief priests, the elders, and the teachers of the Law were gathering. 54Peter followed from a distance and went into the courtyard of the High Priest's house. There he sat down with the guards, keeping himself warm by the fire. 55The chief priests and the whole Council tried to find some evidence against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they could not find any. 56Many witnesses told lies against Jesus, but their stories did not agree.

57Then some men stood up and told this lie against Jesus: 58“We heard him say, ‘I will tear down this Temple which men have made, and after three days I will build one that is not made by men.’ ” 59Not even they, however, could make their stories agree.

60The High Priest stood up in front of them all and questioned Jesus, “Have you no answer to the accusation they bring against you?”

61But Jesus kept quiet and would not say a word. Again the High Priest questioned him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed God?”

62“I am,” answered Jesus, “and you will all see the Son of Man seated on the right of the Almighty and coming with the clouds of heaven!”

63The High Priest tore his robes and said, “We don't need any more witnesses! 64You heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?”

They all voted against him: he was guilty and should be put to death.

65Some of them began to spit on Jesus, and they blindfolded him and hit him. “Guess who hit you!” they said. And the guards took him and slapped him.

Peter Denies Jesus

66Peter was still down in the courtyard when one of the High Priest's servant women came by. 67When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked straight at him and said, “You, too, were with Jesus of Nazareth.”

68But he denied it. “I don't know… I don't understand what you are talking about,” he answered, and went out into the passage. Just then a cock crowed.

69The servant woman saw him there and began to repeat to the bystanders, “He is one of them!” 70But Peter denied it again.

A little while later the bystanders accused Peter again, “You can't deny that you are one of them, because you, too, are from Galilee.”

71Then Peter said, “I swear that I am telling the truth! May God punish me if I am not! I do not know the man you are talking about!”

72Just then a cock crowed a second time, and Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will say three times that you do not know me.” And he broke down and cried.

1I am tired of living.

Listen to my bitter complaint.

2Don't condemn me, God.

Tell me! What is the charge against me?

3Is it right for you to be so cruel?

To despise what you yourself have made?

And then to smile on the schemes of wicked people?

4Do you see things as we do?

5Is your life as short as ours?

6Then why do you track down all my sins

and hunt down every fault I have?

7You know that I am not guilty,

that no one can save me from you.

 

8Your hands formed and shaped me,

and now those same hands destroy me.

9Remember that you made me from clay;

are you going to crush me back to dust?

10You gave my father strength to beget me;

you made me grow in my mother's womb.

11You formed my body with bones and sinews

and covered the bones with muscles and skin.

12You have given me life and constant love,

and your care has kept me alive.

13But now I know that all that time

you were secretly planning to harm me.

14You were watching to see if I would sin,

so that you could refuse to forgive me.

15As soon as I sin, I'm in trouble with you,

but when I do right, I get no credit.

I am miserable and covered with shame.

16If I have any success at all,

you hunt me down like a lion;

to hurt me you even work miracles.

17You always have some witness against me;

your anger towards me grows and grows;

you always plan some new attack.

 

18Why, God, did you let me be born?

I should have died before anyone saw me.

19To go from the womb straight to the grave

would have been as good as never existing.

20Isn't my life almost over? Leave me alone!

Let me enjoy the time I have left.

21I am going soon and will never come back —

going to a land that is dark and gloomy,

22a land of darkness, shadows, and confusion,

where the light itself is darkness.

Do not Judge One Another

1Welcome those who are weak in faith, but do not argue with them about their personal opinions. 2Some people's faith allows them to eat anything, but the person who is weak in the faith eats only vegetables. 3Those who will eat anything are not to despise those who don't; while those who eat only vegetables are not to pass judgement on those who will eat anything; for God has accepted them. 4Who are you to judge someone else's servants? It is their own Master who will decide whether they succeed or fail. And they will succeed, because the Lord is able to make them succeed.

5Some people think that a certain day is more important than other days, while others think that all days are the same. We should each firmly make up our own minds. 6Those who think highly of a certain day do so in honour of the Lord; those who will eat anything do so in honour of the Lord, because they give thanks to God for the food. Those who refuse to eat certain things do so in honour of the Lord, and they give thanks to God. 7None of us lives for himself only, none of us dies for himself only. 8If we live, it is for the Lord that we live, and if we die, it is for the Lord that we die. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9For Christ died and rose to life in order to be the Lord of the living and of the dead. 10You then, who eat only vegetables — why do you pass judgement on others? And you who eat anything — why do you despise other believers? All of us will stand before God to be judged by him. 11For the scripture says:

“As surely as I am the living God, says the Lord,

everyone will kneel before me,

and everyone will confess that I am God.”

12Every one of us, then, will have to give an account of ourselves to God.

Do not Make One Another Fall

13So then, let us stop judging one another. Instead, you should decide never to do anything that would make another stumble or fall into sin. 14My union with the Lord Jesus makes me certain that no food is of itself ritually unclean; but if a person believes that some food is unclean, then it becomes unclean for that person. 15If you hurt your brother or sister because of something you eat, then you are no longer acting from love. Do not let the food that you eat ruin the person for whom Christ died! 16Do not let what you regard as good get a bad name. 17For God's Kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives. 18And when people serve Christ in this way, they please God and are approved by others.

19So then, we must always aim at those things that bring peace and that help to strengthen one another. 20Do not, because of food, destroy what God has done. All foods may be eaten, but it is wrong to eat anything that will cause someone else to fall into sin. 21The right thing to do is to keep from eating meat, drinking wine, or doing anything else that will make your brother or sister fall. 22Keep what you believe about this matter, then, between yourself and God. Happy are those who do not feel guilty when they do something they judge is right! 23But if they have doubts about what they eat, God condemns them when they eat it, because their action is not based on faith. And anything that is not based on faith is sin.

Reflect

Daily Reflection: Job 10

Job 10 makes interesting reading alongside Psalm 139. There’s a striking similarity in what the writers say about the God who ‘knit [them] together’ in their mothers’ wombs – he is all powerful, all knowing and present everywhere – but a stark contrast in the way they respond. Where the psalmist is full of awe, Job – in his suffering – pours out bitter complaint.

The psalmist feels protected: ‘You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me’ (verse 5). No matter where he goes, God’s Spirit and presence is with him (verse 7) and God’s hand seems gentle – it leads and holds (verse 10). In contrast, Job feels hunted, imagining God as a lion in relentless pursuit (verses 16–17). It seems God watches him not to protect, but to collect damning evidence against him (verse 14).

The psalmist eagerly invites, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart!’ (verse 23a) whereas Job cries out, ‘Are not my days few? Then cease, and leave me alone…’ (verse 20). Job expects oblivion in ‘the land of gloom like thick darkness' (verse 22), but as the psalmist points out, ‘even the darkness is not dark to you’ (verse 12).

In the midst of suffering, a previously encouraging truth about God can ring hollow. Hearing that God has a plan for your life that will happen according to his timing can sound like a meaningless platitude when you’re in pain. Like Job, you may begin to question God’s love and goodness. Perhaps Satan edged forward in his seat, sure that Job was about to curse God…

But when Satan tries to twist the truth and confuse us about God, the best thing to do is to follow Job’s example. Yes, he makes bitter complaint, but he appeals directly to God, the ultimate source of truth. We can do the same, knowing that he sent his son not to condemn but to save.

Pray

Pray

God, thank you that I can speak to you, even in the bitterness of my soul. Thank you that you hear my prayers even when I am hurt and confused. Lord, protect me from Satan’s attempts to mislead me, and draw me to you as the only source of comfort and truth.

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