Job 12: I have understanding as well as you! (13 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

Jacob and his Family Go to Egypt

1Jacob packed up all he had and went to Beersheba, where he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2God spoke to him in a vision at night and called, “Jacob, Jacob!”

“Yes, here I am,” he answered.

3“I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go to Egypt; I will make your descendants a great nation there. 4I will go with you to Egypt, and I will bring your descendants back to this land. Joseph will be with you when you die.”

5Jacob set out from Beersheba. His sons put him, their small children, and their wives in the wagons which the king of Egypt had sent. 6They took their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan and went to Egypt. Jacob took all his descendants with him: 7his sons, his grandsons, his daughters, and his granddaughters.

8The members of Jacob's family who went to Egypt with him were his eldest son Reuben 9and Reuben's sons: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 10Simeon and his sons: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman. 11Levi and his sons: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12Judah and his sons: Shelah, Perez, and Zerah. (Judah's other sons, Er and Onan, had died in Canaan.) Perez' sons were Hezron and Hamul. 13Issachar and his sons: Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron. 14Zebulun and his sons: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. 15These are the sons that Leah had borne to Jacob in Mesopotamia, besides his daughter Dinah. In all, his descendants by Leah numbered 33.

16Gad and his sons: Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arod, and Areli. 17Asher and his sons: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah. Beriah's sons were Heber and Malchiel. 18These sixteen are the descendants of Jacob by Zilpah, the slave woman whom Laban gave to his daughter Leah.

19Jacob's wife Rachel bore him two sons: Joseph and Benjamin. 20In Egypt Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, by Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in Heliopolis. 21Benjamin's sons were Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. 22These fourteen are the descendants of Jacob by Rachel.

23Dan and his son Hushim. 24Naphtali and his sons: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. 25These seven are the descendants of Jacob by Bilhah, the slave woman whom Laban gave to his daughter Rachel.

26The total number of the direct descendants of Jacob who went to Egypt was 66, not including his sons' wives. 27Two sons were born to Joseph in Egypt, bringing to seventy the total number of Jacob's family who went there.

Jacob and his Family in Egypt

28Jacob sent Judah ahead to ask Joseph to meet them in Goshen. When they arrived, 29Joseph got in his chariot and went to Goshen to meet his father. When they met, Joseph threw his arms round his father's neck and cried for a long time. 30Jacob said to Joseph, “I am ready to die, now that I have seen you and know that you are still alive.”

31Then Joseph said to his brothers and the rest of his father's family, “I must go and tell the king that my brothers and all my father's family, who were living in Canaan, have come to me. 32I will tell him that you are shepherds and take care of livestock and that you have brought your flocks and herds and everything else that belongs to you. 33When the king calls for you and asks what your occupation is, 34be sure to tell him that you have taken care of livestock all your lives, just as your ancestors did. In this way he will let you live in the region of Goshen.” Joseph said this because Egyptians will have nothing to do with shepherds.

The Resurrection

1After the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices to go and anoint the body of Jesus. 2Very early on Sunday morning, at sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3-4On the way they said to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” (It was a very large stone.) Then they looked up and saw that the stone had already been rolled back. 5So they entered the tomb, where they saw a young man sitting on the right, wearing a white robe — and they were alarmed.

6“Don't be alarmed,” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is not here — he has been raised! Look, here is the place where they put him. 7Now go and give this message to his disciples, including Peter: ‘He is going to Galilee ahead of you; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”

8So they went out and ran from the tomb, distressed and terrified. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

An Old Ending to the Gospel

16.9–20

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

[ 9After Jesus rose from death early on Sunday, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had driven out seven demons. 10She went and told his companions. They were mourning and crying; 11and when they heard her say that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe her.

Jesus Appears to Two Disciples

12After this, Jesus appeared in a different manner to two of them while they were on their way to the country. 13They returned and told the others, but they would not believe it.

Jesus Appears to the Eleven

14Last of all, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating. He scolded them, because they did not have faith and because they were too stubborn to believe those who had seen him alive. 15He said to them, “Go throughout the whole world and preach the gospel to the whole human race. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17Believers will be given the power to perform miracles: they will drive out demons in my name; they will speak in strange tongues; 18if they pick up snakes or drink any poison, they will not be harmed; they will place their hands on sick people, who will get well.”

Jesus is Taken Up to Heaven

19After the Lord Jesus had talked with them, he was taken up to heaven and sat at the right side of God. 20The disciples went and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and proved that their preaching was true by the miracles that were performed.]

Another Old Ending

16.9–10

[ 9The women went to Peter and his friends and gave them a brief account of all they had been told. 10After this, Jesus himself sent out through his disciples from the east to the west the sacred and ever-living message of eternal salvation.]

Job

1-2Yes, you are the voice of the people.

When you die, wisdom will die with you.

3But I have as much sense as you have;

I am in no way inferior to you;

everyone knows all that you have said.

4Even my friends laugh at me now;

they laugh, although I am righteous and blameless;

but there was a time when God answered my prayers.

5You have no troubles, and yet you make fun of me;

you hit someone who is about to fall.

6But thieves and godless people live in peace,

though their only god is their own strength.

 

7Even birds and animals have much they could teach you;

8ask the creatures of earth and sea for their wisdom.

9All of them know that the LORD's hand made them.

10It is God who directs the lives of his creatures;

everyone's life is in his power.

11But just as your tongue enjoys tasting food,

your ears enjoy hearing words.

 

12-13Old people have wisdom,

but God has wisdom and power.

Old people have insight;

God has insight and power to act.

14When God tears down, who can rebuild,

and who can free those God imprisons?

15Drought comes when God withholds rain;

floods come when he turns water loose.

 

16God is strong and always victorious;

both deceived and deceiver are in his power.

17He takes away the wisdom of rulers

and makes leaders act like fools.

18He dethrones kings and makes them prisoners;

19he humbles priests and men of power.

20He silences those who are trusted,

and takes the wisdom of old people away.

21He disgraces those in power

and puts an end to the strength of rulers.

22He sends light to places dark as death.

23He makes nations strong and great,

but then he defeats and destroys them.

24He makes their leaders foolish

and lets them wander confused and lost;

25they grope in the dark and stagger like drunkards.

Personal Greetings

1I recommend to you our sister Phoebe, who serves the church at Cenchreae. 2Receive her in the Lord's name, as God's people should, and give her any help she may need from you; for she herself has been a good friend to many people and also to me.

3I send greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow-workers in the service of Christ Jesus; 4they risked their lives for me. I am grateful to them — not only I, but all the Gentile churches as well. 5Greetings also to the church that meets in their house.

Greetings to my dear friend Epaenetus, who was the first in the province of Asia to believe in Christ. 6Greetings to Mary, who has worked so hard for you. 7Greetings also to Andronicus and Junia, fellow-Jews who were in prison with me; they are well known among the apostles, and they became Christians before I did.

8My greetings to Ampliatus, my dear friend in the fellowship of the Lord. 9Greetings also to Urbanus, our fellow-worker in Christ's service, and to Stachys, my dear friend. 10Greetings to Apelles, whose loyalty to Christ has been proved. Greetings to those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. 11Greetings to Herodion, a fellow-Jew, and to the Christians in the family of Narcissus.

12My greetings to Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who work in the Lord's service, and to my dear friend Persis, who has done so much work for the Lord. 13I send greetings to Rufus, that outstanding worker in the Lord's service, and to his mother, who has always treated me like a son. 14My greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and all the other Christian brothers and sisters with them. 15Greetings to Philologus and Julia, to Nereus and his sister, to Olympas and to all of God's people who are with them.

16Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send you their greetings.

Final Instructions

17I urge you, my brothers and sisters: watch out for those who cause divisions and upset people's faith and go against the teaching which you have received. Keep away from them! 18For those who do such things are not serving Christ our Lord, but their own appetites. By their fine words and flattering speech they deceive innocent people. 19Everyone has heard of your loyalty to the gospel, and for this reason I am happy about you. I want you to be wise about what is good, but innocent in what is evil. 20And God, our source of peace, will soon crush Satan under your feet.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

21Timothy, my fellow-worker, sends you his greetings; and so do Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, fellow-Jews.

22I, Tertius, the writer of this letter, send you Christian greetings.

23My host Gaius, in whose house the church meets, sends you his greetings; Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.

Concluding Prayer of Praise

25Let us give glory to God! He is able to make you stand firm in your faith, according to the Good News I preach about Jesus Christ and according to the revelation of the secret truth which was hidden for long ages in the past. 26Now, however, that truth has been brought out into the open through the writings of the prophets; and by the command of the eternal God it is made known to all nations, so that all may believe and obey.

27To the only God, who alone is all-wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever! Amen.

Reflect

Daily Reflection: Job 12

How do you feel when people refuse to listen to and believe you, no matter the arguments or evidence supplied in your defence? In today’s chapter, Job – feeling misjudged and patronised – lets his frustration show and delivers a withering assessment of his friends’ advice.

Do they think they know more of God’s greatness, power and wisdom than he does? ‘I am not inferior to you,’ he says (verse 3) and sets out to prove it. Their so-called profound understanding of God’s sovereignty is common knowledge. ‘In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind’ (verse 10). Even the beasts, birds, fish and plant life know that God is in control (verses 7–9)!

What kind of friends are they to treat Job like a joke and kick him whilst he’s down (verses 4–5)? They’ve become fixated on his presumed guilt, refusing to consider any other explanation for his suffering. He challenges them to put his words to a proper test (verse 11). If suffering is only for the wicked, why do criminals live in peace and security (verse 6)? Why does God see fit to bring low so many esteemed counsellors, kings, judges and priests (verses 13–25)? Might God’s ways be more complex than they imagine?

If prosperity and health are no indication of righteousness in God’s sight, how can Job know that he is acceptable to God? The only one who can answer this question and declare Job innocent is God and that’s why Job wants to bring his case before him.

Have you ever been misrepresented by others? Thankfully, our accusers don’t get the final say. God has given the authority to judge to Jesus (John 5.22) and he's not only our judge but our saviour. ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8.1). This is incredibly good news!

Pray

Pray

Lord Jesus, I come to you as my judge and saviour. Thank you for dying in my place and extending grace instead of condemnation.

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