Job 9: How can a human being be right before God? (10 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

Joseph's Brothers Return to Egypt with Benjamin

1The famine in Canaan got worse, 2and when the family of Jacob had eaten all the corn which had been brought from Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, “Go back and buy a little food for us.”

3Judah said to him, “The man sternly warned us that we would not be admitted to his presence unless we had our brother with us. 4If you are willing to send our brother with us, we will go and buy food for you. 5If you are not willing, we will not go, because the man told us we would not be admitted to his presence unless our brother was with us.”

6Jacob said, “Why did you cause me so much trouble by telling the man that you had another brother?”

7They answered, “The man kept asking about us and our family, ‘Is your father still living? Have you got another brother?’ We had to answer his questions. How could we know that he would tell us to bring our brother with us?”

8Judah said to his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will leave at once. Then none of us will starve to death. 9I will pledge my own life, and you can hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you safe and sound, I will always bear the blame. 10If we had not waited so long, we could have been there and back twice by now.”

11Their father said to them, “If that is how it has to be, then take the best products of the land in your packs as a present for the governor: a little resin, a little honey, spices, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12Take with you also twice as much money, because you must take back the money that was returned in the top of your sacks. Maybe it was a mistake. 13Take your brother and return at once. 14May Almighty God cause the man to have pity on you, so that he will give Benjamin and your other brother back to you. As for me, if I must lose my children, I must lose them.”

15So the brothers took the gifts and twice as much money, and set out for Egypt with Benjamin. There they presented themselves to Joseph. 16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the servant in charge of his house, “Take these men to my house. They are going to eat with me at noon, so kill an animal and prepare it.” 17The servant did as he was commanded and took the brothers to Joseph's house.

18As they were being brought to the house, they were afraid and thought, “We are being brought here because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time. They will suddenly attack us, take our donkeys, and make us his slaves.” 19So at the door of the house, they said to the servant in charge, 20“If you please, sir, we came here once before to buy food. 21When we set up camp on the way home, we opened our sacks, and each man found his money in the top of his sack — every bit of it. We have brought it back to you. 22We have also brought some more money with us to buy more food. We do not know who put our money back in our sacks.”

23The servant said, “Don't worry. Don't be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, must have put the money in your sacks for you. I received your payment.” Then he brought Simeon to them.

24The servant took the brothers into the house. He gave them water so that they could wash their feet, and he fed their donkeys. 25They got their gifts ready to present to Joseph when he arrived at noon, because they had been told that they were to eat with him. 26When Joseph got home, they took the gifts into the house to him and bowed down to the ground before him. 27He asked about their health and then said, “You told me about your old father — how is he? Is he still alive and well?”

28They answered, “Your humble servant, our father, is still alive and well.” And they knelt and bowed down before him.

29When Joseph saw his brother Benjamin, he said, “So this is your youngest brother, the one you told me about. God bless you, my son.” 30Then Joseph left suddenly, because his heart was full of tender feelings for his brother. He was about to break down, so he went to his room and cried. 31After he had washed his face, he came out, and controlling himself, he ordered the meal to be served. 32Joseph was served at one table and his brothers at another. The Egyptians who were eating there were served separately, because they considered it beneath their dignity to eat with Hebrews. 33The brothers had been seated at table, facing Joseph, in the order of their age from the eldest to the youngest. When they saw how they had been seated, they looked at one another in amazement. 34Food was served to them from Joseph's table, and Benjamin was served five times as much as the rest of them. So they ate and drank with Joseph until they were drunk.

Jesus Speaks of the Destruction of the Temple

1As Jesus was leaving the Temple, one of his disciples said, “Look, Teacher! What wonderful stones and buildings!”

2Jesus answered, “You see these great buildings? Not a single stone here will be left in its place; every one of them will be thrown down.”

Troubles and Persecutions

3Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, across from the Temple, when Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him in private. 4“Tell us when this will be,” they said, “and tell us what will happen to show that the time has come for all these things to take place.”

5Jesus said to them, “Be on guard, and don't let anyone deceive you. 6Many men, claiming to speak for me, will come and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will deceive many people. 7And don't be troubled when you hear the noise of battles close by and news of battles far away. Such things must happen, but they do not mean that the end has come. 8Countries will fight each other; kingdoms will attack one another. There will be earthquakes everywhere, and there will be famines. These things are like the first pains of childbirth.

9“You yourselves must be on guard. You will be arrested and taken to court. You will be beaten in the synagogues; you will stand before rulers and kings for my sake to tell them the Good News. 10But before the end comes, the gospel must be preached to all peoples. 11And when you are arrested and taken to court, do not worry beforehand about what you are going to say; when the time comes, say whatever is then given to you. For the words you speak will not be yours; they will come from the Holy Spirit. 12Men will hand over their own brothers to be put to death, and fathers will do the same to their children. Children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. 13Everyone will hate you because of me. But whoever holds out to the end will be saved.

The Awful Horror

14“You will see ‘The Awful Horror’ standing in the place where he should not be.” (Note to the reader: be sure to understand what this means!) “Then those who are in Judea must run away to the hills. 15Someone who is on the roof of his house must not lose time by going down into the house to get anything to take with him. 16Someone who is in the field must not go back to the house for his cloak. 17How terrible it will be in those days for women who are pregnant and for mothers with little babies! 18Pray to God that these things will not happen in the winter! 19For the trouble of those days will be far worse than any the world has ever known from the very beginning when God created the world until the present time. Nor will there ever be anything like it again. 20But the Lord has reduced the number of those days; if he had not, nobody would survive. For the sake of his chosen people, however, he has reduced those days.

21“Then, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ — do not believe him. 22For false Messiahs and false prophets will appear. They will perform miracles and wonders in order to deceive even God's chosen people, if possible. 23Be on your guard! I have told you everything before the time comes.

The Coming of the Son of Man

24“In the days after that time of trouble the sun will grow dark, the moon will no longer shine, 25the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers in space will be driven from their courses. 26Then the Son of Man will appear, coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27He will send the angels out to the four corners of the earth to gather God's chosen people from one end of the world to the other.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

28“Let the fig tree teach you a lesson. When its branches become green and tender and it starts putting out leaves, you know that summer is near. 29In the same way, when you see these things happening, you will know that the time is near, ready to begin. 30Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

No one Knows the Day or Hour

32“No one knows, however, when that day or hour will come — neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son; only the Father knows. 33Be on watch, be alert, for you do not know when the time will come. 34It will be like a man who goes away from home on a journey and leaves his servants in charge, after giving to each one his own work to do and after telling the doorkeeper to keep watch. 35Be on guard, then, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming — it might be in the evening or at midnight or before dawn or at sunrise. 36If he comes suddenly, he must not find you asleep. 37What I say to you, then, I say to all: watch!”

Job

1-2Yes, I've heard all that before.

But how can a human being win a case against God?

3How can anyone argue with him?

He can ask a thousand questions

that no one could ever answer.

4God is so wise and powerful;

no one can stand up against him.

5Without warning he moves mountains

and in anger he destroys them.

6God sends earthquakes and shakes the ground;

he rocks the pillars that support the earth.

7He can keep the sun from rising,

and the stars from shining at night.

8No one helped God spread out the heavens

or trample the sea monster's back.

9God hung the stars in the sky — the Great Bear,

Orion, the Pleiades, and the stars of the south.

10We cannot understand the great things he does,

and to his miracles there is no end.

 

11God passes by, but I cannot see him.

12He takes what he wants, and no one can stop him;

no one dares ask him, “What are you doing?”

13God's anger is constant. He crushed his enemies

who helped Rahab, the sea monster, oppose him.

14So how can I find words to answer God?

15Though I am innocent, all I can do

is beg for mercy from God my judge.

16Yet even then, if he lets me speak,

I can't believe he would listen to me.

17He sends storms to batter and bruise me

without any reason at all.

18He won't let me get my breath;

he has filled my life with bitterness.

19Should I try force? Try force on God?

Should I take him to court? Could anyone make him go?

20I am innocent and faithful, but my words sound guilty,

and everything I say seems to condemn me.

21-22I am innocent, but I no longer care.

I am sick of living. Nothing matters;

innocent or guilty, God will destroy us.

23When an innocent person suddenly dies,

God laughs.

24God gave the world to the wicked.

He made all the judges blind.

And if God didn't do it, who did?

 

25My days race by, not one of them good.

26My life passes like the swiftest boat,

as fast as an eagle swooping down on a rabbit.

27-28If I smile and try to forget my pain,

all my suffering comes back to haunt me;

I know that God does hold me guilty.

29Since I am held guilty, why should I bother?

30No soap can wash away my sins.

31God throws me into a pit of filth,

and even my clothes are ashamed of me.

32If God were human, I could answer him;

we could go to court to decide our quarrel.

33But there is no one to step between us —

no one to judge both God and me.

34Stop punishing me, God!

Keep your terrors away!

35I am not afraid. I am going to talk

because I know my own heart.

Duties towards the State Authorities

1Everyone must obey the state authorities, because no authority exists without God's permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God. 2Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered; and anyone who does so will bring judgement on himself. 3For rulers are not to be feared by those who do good, but by those who do evil. Would you like to be unafraid of those in authority? Then do what is good, and they will praise you, 4because they are God's servants working for your own good. But if you do evil, then be afraid of them, because their power to punish is real. They are God's servants and carry out God's punishment on those who do evil. 5For this reason you must obey the authorities — not just because of God's punishment, but also as a matter of conscience.

6That is also why you pay taxes, because the authorities are working for God when they fulfil their duties. 7Pay, then, what you owe them; pay them your personal and property taxes, and show respect and honour for them all.

Duties towards One Another

8Be under obligation to no one — the only obligation you have is to love one another. Whoever does this has obeyed the Law. 9The commandments, “Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not desire what belongs to someone else” — all these, and any others besides, are summed up in the one command, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” 10If you love someone, you will never do them wrong; to love, then, is to obey the whole Law.

11You must do this, because you know that the time has come for you to wake up from your sleep. For the moment when we will be saved is closer now than it was when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over, day is almost here. Let us stop doing the things that belong to the dark, and let us take up weapons for fighting in the light. 13Let us conduct ourselves properly, as people who live in the light of day — no orgies or drunkenness, no immorality or indecency, no fighting or jealousy. 14But take up the weapons of the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop paying attention to your sinful nature and satisfying its desires.

Reflect

Daily Reflection: Job 9

Will Job’s faithfulness to God survive terrible suffering? Satan doesn’t think so. Surely Job only worships God because of the blessings of family, wealth and health he’s received? It’s not just an accusation against the genuineness of Job’s faith, but an assault on God and his worthiness to be honoured and glorified simply because he is God, rather than for the benefits he brings us.

God allows Satan to test Job’s faith and take everything except his life from him. Job does not curse God as Satan predicted; instead he begins a long, heart-rending struggle to understand what is happening to him and what this reveals about the sovereign and just God he worships. Perhaps you can identify with Job’s struggle?

Believing that God is both in control and just, Job’s friends are convinced he must be guilty of sin. Meanwhile, Job knows he’s innocent, so why is this happening? In chapter 9, Job grapples with his questions: the only one who is capable of vindicating him is God. But it’s God who is allowing him to suffer, ‘…if it is not he, who then is it?’ he reasons (verse 24).

However strong his case, he knows it would be no contest against God in his supreme power and majesty (verses 5–10). All he can do is ‘appeal for mercy’ (verse 15). If only there were someone who could intercede for him (verse 33)…

In our suffering, as we bring God our questions, we can take comfort in the amazing knowledge that God has sent his one and only son to intercede for us. Jesus suffered willingly and undeservedly, dying in our place so that we can stand before God and be counted righteous. The same God who allows undeserved suffering, pours out undeserved grace and promises us eternal life with him.

Pray

Pray

God, thank you that I can come to you when I am suffering. You are the only true source of comfort. Thank you for the hope I have in Jesus and the grace you’ve lavished on me. Help me to stand firm in the face of suffering and praise you because you are infinitely worthy.

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