Job 13: Still I will hope in God (14 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

1So Joseph took five of his brothers and went to the king. He said, “My father and my brothers have come from Canaan with their flocks, their herds, and all that they own. They are now in the region of Goshen.” 2He then presented his brothers to the king. 3The king asked them, “What is your occupation?”

“We are shepherds, sir, just as our ancestors were,” they answered. 4“We have come to live in this country, because in the land of Canaan the famine is so severe that there is no pasture for our flocks. Please give us permission to live in the region of Goshen.” 5The king said to Joseph, “Now that your father and your brothers have arrived, 6the land of Egypt is theirs. Let them settle in the region of Goshen, the best part of the land. And if there are any capable men among them, put them in charge of my own livestock.”

7Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to the king. Jacob gave the king his blessing, 8and the king asked him, “How old are you?”

9Jacob answered, “My life of wandering has lasted 130 years. Those years have been few and difficult, unlike the long years of my ancestors in their wanderings.” 10Jacob gave the king a farewell blessing and left. 11Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt, giving them property in the best of the land near the city of Rameses, as the king had commanded. 12Joseph provided food for his father, his brothers, and all the rest of his father's family, including the very youngest.

The Famine

13The famine was so severe that there was no food anywhere, and the people of Egypt and Canaan became weak with hunger. 14As they bought corn, Joseph collected all the money and took it to the palace. 15When all the money in Egypt and Canaan was spent, the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food! Don't let us die. Do something! Our money is all gone.”

16Joseph answered, “Bring your livestock; I will give you food in exchange for it if your money is all gone.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. That year he supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock.

18The following year they came to him and said, “We will not hide the fact from you, sir, that our money is all gone and our livestock belongs to you. There is nothing left to give you except our bodies and our lands. 19Don't let us die. Do something! Don't let our fields be deserted. Buy us and our land in exchange for food. We will be the king's slaves, and he will own our land. Give us corn to keep us alive and seed to sow in our fields.”

20Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for the king. Every Egyptian was forced to sell his land, because the famine was so severe; and all the land became the king's property. 21Joseph made slaves of the people from one end of Egypt to the other. 22The only land he did not buy was the land that belonged to the priests. They did not have to sell their lands, because the king gave them an allowance to live on. 23Joseph said to the people, “You see, I have now bought you and your lands for the king. Here is seed for you to sow in your fields. 24At the time of harvest you must give a fifth to the king. You can use the rest for seed and for food for yourselves and your families.”

25They answered, “You have saved our lives; you have been good to us, sir, and we will be the king's slaves.” 26So Joseph made it a law for the land of Egypt that a fifth of the harvest should belong to the king. This law still remains in force today. Only the lands of the priests did not become the king's property.

Jacob's Last Request

27The Israelites lived in Egypt in the region of Goshen, where they became rich and had many children. 28Jacob lived in Egypt for seventeen years, until he was 147 years old. 29When the time drew near for him to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “Place your hand between my thighs and make a solemn vow that you will not bury me in Egypt. 30I want to be buried where my fathers are; carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.”

Joseph answered, “I will do as you say.”

31Jacob said, “Make a vow that you will.” Joseph made the vow, and Jacob gave thanks there on his bed.

1Dear Theophilus:

Many people have done their best to write a report of the things that have taken place among us. 2They wrote what we have been told by those who saw these things from the beginning and who proclaimed the message. 3And so, your Excellency, because I have carefully studied all these matters from their beginning, I thought it would be good to write an orderly account for you. 4I do this so that you will know the full truth about everything which you have been taught.

The Birth of John the Baptist is Announced

5During the time when Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife's name was Elizabeth; she also belonged to a priestly family. 6They both lived good lives in God's sight and obeyed fully all the Lord's laws and commands. 7They had no children because Elizabeth could not have any, and she and Zechariah were both very old.

8One day Zechariah was doing his work as a priest in the Temple, taking his turn in the daily service. 9According to the custom followed by the priests, he was chosen by lot to burn incense on the altar. So he went into the Temple of the Lord, 10while the crowd of people outside prayed during the hour when the incense was burnt.

11An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right of the altar where the incense was burnt. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was alarmed and felt afraid. 13But the angel said to him, “Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. You are to name him John. 14How glad and happy you will be, and how happy many others will be when he is born! 15He will be a great man in the Lord's sight. He must not drink any wine or strong drink. From his very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, 16and he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17He will go ahead of the Lord, strong and mighty like the prophet Elijah. He will bring fathers and children together again; he will turn disobedient people back to the way of thinking of the righteous; he will get the Lord's people ready for him.”

18Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know if this is so? I am an old man, and my wife is old also.”

19“I am Gabriel,” the angel answered. “I stand in the presence of God, who sent me to speak to you and tell you this good news. 20But you have not believed my message, which will come true at the right time. Because you have not believed, you will be unable to speak; you will remain silent until the day my promise to you comes true.”

21In the meantime the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he was spending such a long time in the Temple. 22When he came out, he could not speak to them, and so they knew that he had seen a vision in the Temple. Unable to say a word, he made signs to them with his hands.

23When his period of service in the Temple was over, Zechariah went back home. 24Some time later his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and did not leave the house for five months. 25“Now at last the Lord has helped me,” she said. “He has taken away my public disgrace!”

The Birth of Jesus is Announced

26In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee named Nazareth. 27He had a message for a young woman promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David. Her name was Mary. 28The angel came to her and said, “Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!”

29Mary was deeply troubled by the angel's message, and she wondered what his words meant. 30The angel said to her, “Don't be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you. 31You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king, as his ancestor David was, 33and he will be the king of the descendants of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end!”

34Mary said to the angel, “I am a virgin. How, then, can this be?”

35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and God's power will rest upon you. For this reason the holy child will be called the Son of God. 36Remember your relative Elizabeth. It is said that she cannot have children, but she herself is now six months pregnant, even though she is very old. 37For there is nothing that God cannot do.”

38“I am the Lord's servant,” said Mary; “may it happen to me as you have said.” And the angel left her.

1-2Everything you say, I have heard before.

I understand it all; I know as much as you do.

I'm not your inferior.

3But my dispute is with God, not you;

I want to argue my case with him.

4You cover up your ignorance with lies;

you are like doctors who can't heal anyone.

5Say nothing, and someone may think you are wise!

 

6Listen while I state my case.

7Why are you lying?

Do you think your lies will benefit God?

8Are you trying to defend him?

Are you going to argue his case in court?

9If God looks at you closely, will he find anything good?

Do you think you can fool God as you fool others?

10Even though your prejudice is hidden,

he will reprimand you,

11and his power will fill you with terror.

12Your proverbs are as useless as ashes;

your arguments crumble like clay.

13Be quiet and give me a chance to speak,

and let the results be what they will.

 

14I am ready to risk my life.

15I've lost all hope, so what if God kills me?

I am going to state my case to him.

16It may even be that my boldness will save me,

since no wicked person would dare to face God.

17Now listen to my words of explanation.

18I am ready to state my case,

because I know I am in the right.

 

19Are you coming to accuse me, God?

If you do, I am ready to be silent and die.

20Let me ask for two things; agree to them,

and I will not try to hide from you;

21stop punishing me, and don't crush me with terror.

 

22Speak first, O God, and I will answer.

Or let me speak, and you answer me.

23What are my sins? What wrongs have I done?

What crimes am I charged with?

 

24Why do you avoid me?

Why do you treat me like an enemy?

25Are you trying to frighten me? I'm nothing but a leaf;

you are attacking a piece of dry straw.

 

26You bring bitter charges against me,

even for what I did when I was young.

27You bind chains on my feet;

you watch every step I take,

and even examine my footprints.

28As a result, I crumble like rotten wood,

like a moth-eaten coat.

1From Paul, who was called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes —

2To the church of God which is in Corinth, to all who are called to be God's holy people, who belong to him in union with Christ Jesus, together with all people everywhere who worship our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

3May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Blessings in Christ

4I always give thanks to my God for you because of the grace he has given you through Christ Jesus. 5For in union with Christ you have become rich in all things, including all speech and all knowledge. 6The message about Christ has become so firmly established in you 7that you have not failed to receive a single blessing, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be faultless on the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is to be trusted, the God who called you to have fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Divisions in the Church

10By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my brothers and sisters, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose. 11For some people from Chloe's family have told me quite plainly, my friends, that there are quarrels among you. 12Let me put it this way: each one of you says something different. One says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Peter”; and another, “I follow Christ”. 13Christ has been divided into groups! Was it Paul who died on the cross for you? Were you baptized as Paul's disciples?

14I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. 15No one can say, then, that you were baptized as my disciples. 16(Oh yes, I also baptized Stephanas and his family; but I can't remember whether I baptized anyone else.) 17Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the Good News, and to tell it without using the language of human wisdom, in order to make sure that Christ's death on the cross is not robbed of its power.

Christ the Power and the Wisdom of God

18For the message about Christ's death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost; but for us who are being saved it is God's power. 19The scripture says:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise

and set aside the understanding of the scholars.”

20So then, where does that leave the wise? or the scholars? or the skilful debaters of this world? God has shown that this world's wisdom is foolishness!

21For God in his wisdom made it impossible for people to know him by means of their own wisdom. Instead, by means of the so-called “foolish” message we preach, God decided to save those who believe. 22Jews want miracles for proof, and Greeks look for wisdom. 23As for us, we proclaim the crucified Christ, a message that is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles; 24but for those whom God has called, both Jews and Gentiles, this message is Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For what seems to be God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and what seems to be God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

26Now remember what you were, my brothers and sisters, when God called you. From the human point of view few of you were wise or powerful or of high social standing. 27God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. 28He chose what the world looks down on and despises, and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. 29This means that no one can boast in God's presence. 30But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God's holy people and are set free. 31So then, as the scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast must boast of what the Lord has done.”

Reflect

Daily Reflection: Job 13

Job’s friends supposedly came to comfort him but they haven’t done anything to ease his pain. They seem to have lost sight of his suffering in their desire to win the theological argument at hand. Whether they can’t or won’t help, Job brands them ‘worthless physicians’ (verse 4) and turns his attention back to his appeal before God.

‘Though he slay me, I will hope in him,’ Job declares (verse 15). What is the nature of this hope? It seems to be that Job trusts God to be just and – confident that he is ‘in the right’ – believes he will be acquitted (verse 18). But in the meantime, whilst his friends can forget his suffering, Job cannot.

It’s worth reminding ourselves that Job is grieving, destitute and covered ‘with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head’ (Job 2.7). Alongside his request for an answer from God he pleads, ‘withdraw your hand far from me, and let not dread of you terrify me’ (verse 21). Comparing himself to ‘a driven leaf’ and ‘dry chaff’, he can’t take much more; will God really ‘frighten’ and ‘pursue’ someone so weak (verse 25)?

The picture of God the Bible reveals shows that he does care for the weak and needy. Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 42.3 – which Jesus relates to himself (Matthew 12.20) – says, ‘He will not break off a bent reed or put out a flickering lamp...’ Isaiah 40.31 says, ‘But those who trust in the LORD for help will find their strength renewed...’ And 2 Peter 3.9 makes it clear that God is not out to crush us: ‘He is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed…’

Job’s faith in God is not misplaced and neither is ours. We really can trust and hope in him.

Pray

Pray

Thank you God that you love, redeem and restore broken people. I put my trust and hope in you. Fill me with your compassion for others and make me quick to offer real help and comfort to those in pain.

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