Saturday, October 19, 2013

Psalm 19


This psalm extols the majestic glory of the LORD.

David calls our attention to the skies as they manifest the existence of LORD as the creator. The skies do not have to speak any language and still people from all nations can understand the presence of LORD.

LORD made the sun, to bring light to the world and made it move from east to west so that the entire world will experience that light at varying intervals.

The laws of LORD are perfect and those who abide them will have everlasting life. LORD's wisdom is priceless.
Psalm 19:10 They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.
David understood his flaws and is pleading LORD to keep him from evil ways, as he is not a perfect man. He prayed that he is able to meditate LORD and carry out His commandments all throughout his life. He needs this relationship with LORD as He is a rock and redeemer to those who trust in Him and follow his paths.


Psalm 18



David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

We can hear David crying out to the LORD from a desperate situation. The LORD heard his prayers and delivered him from his enemies. The wrath of LORD upon his enemies can be described using words such as earthquake, thunder, lightning, hailstorm, cherubim soaring on their wings, smoke rising from His nostrils, and fire emerging from His mouth.

LORD supported and rescued David from his powerful enemies as He was delighted in his ways.
Psalm 18:16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
He felt being rewarded according to his righteousness and the deeds of his hands. LORD always rewards His faithful by and punishes those who disobey Him. He also exalts the humble and brings destruction to those who remain arrogant. With the help of LORD, David is confident of conquering his enemies.

Only LORD's ways are perfect and His word is the truth. For those who take refuge in Him, LORD is a shield. David then explains how LORD delivered him from his enemies and helped him emerge victorious because he walked in the ways of the LORD. Other nations now stay fearful and obey his commands. David was able to avenge his enemies and he praised LORD for making him king of many nations. He praised LORD and served as a testimony to many.


Psalm 17


David appeals to the LORD to be a judge against his ungodly foes.

In this psalm, David is begging LORD for attention. He believes that his cause is just and wants to talk to LORD about his troubles honestly, without exaggerating them.

If LORD examines his heart, David is sure that He would not find any evil plans in them and neither has his mouth uttered sin. He has been walking righteously, following LORD's commandments.

Next, David called upon the LORD for justice and to save him from his enemies like how LORD has done in the past. He is reaching out to the LORD and seeking protection.
Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings
In his current situation, David is surrounded by enemies who are almost ready to tear him down. He is asking LORD to rise and confront his enemies. David is hopeful that he will see LORD's face and loves the thought.

Psalm 16


This is a prayer for safekeeping. In this psalm, David shares his secret of contentment and gladness that he found during pressing times.

Some great danger may have occasioned to David and he is petitioning for LORD's protection. He knows that there is only one LORD and therefore he is taking refuge in Him. Others who seek and run after other gods will be disappointed in the end.

David acknowledges that he will never follow pagan practices and idolatry, because he knows they are futile. He then acknowledges LORD for his portion of inheritance, though he was the youngest in his family.

For the guidance and good counsel, David is praising the LORD. He has put LORD first in his life and he attributes the blessings only because of the first priority given to LORD. If David continues to put LORD in the first place, he has hope that his soul will settle ultimately in the heaven. The right path in life is to follow LORD and to walk faithfully in His commands.




Psalm 15


An instruction regarding who can have access to LORD's temple.

David is asking figuratively who is eligible to live in LORD's sanctuary.

He then lists those qualifications. The ones who can access to LORD's temple are those who:

- Walk in moral righteousness,
- Speak the truth from their heart,
- Have no slander on their tongue,
- Does no harm to his neighbor,
- Cast no slur to on his fellowman,
- Who despises a vile man,
- Who honors those who fear the LORD,
- Who keeps his oath even if it hurts,
- Who lends money at a reasonable interest rate, and
- Who do not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Those who follow this road-map faithfully will never be shaken and be led into His presence. They can expect blessings from the LORD.



Psalm 14


This is a testimony of those wicked men who live as atheists and do not hesitate to commit evil.

David narrates the sad condition of human heart which rejects the LORD. David calls them fools - much in a moral sense than intellectual. Such fools are rebelliously unwilling to submit to the LORD, or to LORD's law. Therefore, they become corrupt, their deeds are vile and none of their deeds are good.

Even while men reject LORD, He looks down from heaven hopefully that someone seeking Him.
Psalm 14:2 The LORD looks down from heaven
    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God.
LORD is hoping to see men seeking him morally. It seems almost everyone has become corrupted and turned away from Him. They are now afraid and frustrated because LORD is among those who are righteous.

David anticipates the deliverance of Israel and calls his people to be joyful.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Psalm 13


Composed as a cry to the LORD for deliverance from a serious illness which threatened David's life.

In an intense desire for deliverance, and great anguish of heart, David cries out that he feels distanced from the LORD. In His absence, David thinks his enemies will conquer him if the LORD takes too long to answer his prayers.

He then prayed to LORD to enlighten him so that his face will brighten. That will keep him awake from spiritual death. David does not wish his enemies to gloat over his failure.

When David looks back into his own life, he can see that LORD has been good to him. David trusts in the unfailing love of the LORD.
Psalm 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
He has faith in the LORD to show him mercy.


Psalm 12


This is David's prayer seeking LORD's help, when it appeared that everyone around him was faithless and everyone spoke nothing but lies.

David is asking LORD why those godly people seem to be disappearing. He found those around him to have no faith in the LORD. David wished the LORD mutilated those flattering lips and boastful tongues.

LORD had promised to protect his people from these deceptive talkers. Further, LORD's promises are reassuring.
Psalm 12:6 And the words of the LORD are flawless,
    like silver purified in a crucible,
    like gold refined seven times. 
David is requesting LORD to help the helpless. Unfortunately, everyone prefers to do evil, and many think evil deeds need to be honored.

Psalm 11


Written during a time when those wicked adversaries had an upper hand.

At first, David reacts to his fears. He is confident in God's wisdom, and trusts in it. As an example, he quotes that the wicked may secretly plot to harm you but God will always protect you if you walk in his ways.

God is constantly examining the righteous to ensure that their conscience is clear. God is also keeping an eye over those wicked and their evil deeds will be punished either during their life time or later.

God who is righteous and Holy loves justice. The one who walks upright and always keeps the commandments of God will see Him.
Psalm 11:7 For the LORD is righteous,
    he loves justice;
    the upright will see his face.
In olden days, not everyone had access to the king; only those who were fortunate and the ones whom he appointed as royal advisers could even meet him. "See his face" meant "see the face of the king" and only those who had special access to the king would be able to meet him.

In this short psalm, David is referring to that special access towards LORD and those who would be able to stand in His presence.

God's own son, Jesus Christ, gave us a testimony in Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Psalm 10


As this psalm has no title, many consider this to be the continuation of the previous psalm.

If this was a single psalm, then David wrote this at a time he thought that LORD was not rescuing him fast enough from his enemies.

David then explains the ways of the wicked - how they do not seek the LORD, how they think that LORD is not watching their deeds and how they get caught in their own schemes.

He then cries out to the LORD.
Psalm 10:12 Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God.
    Do not forget the helpless.

He knows that the LORD will hear the cry of those who are afflicted and needy.

Psalm 9



Many view psalms 9 and 10 as a single psalm. This was written to celebrate the goodness of God.

With all his heart, David is praising the LORD He is so excited that he wants to tell everyone the wonders of the LORD.

God has upheld his enemies by crushing them by sitting on His mighty throne and judging righteously. He continues to rule and govern the world in righteousness. For those who are oppressed, LORD, is a refuge and stronghold during troubled times. LORD never forsake those who seek Him.

David urges everyone to sing praises and he wants to extend the LORD'S kingdom by sharing testimonies about LORD. He adds that LORD is always listening to the people and never ignored their cries.

The enemies of David are persecuting him and he is pleading to save him from death so that he can glorify the name of LORD in Jerusalem. LORD is judging righteously by punishing the evil and taking care of the needy. He then asks LORD to strike down his enemies so that they won't triumph.




Psalm 8


David speaks praise for the glory of God. David mentions how the glory of man and his destiny reflects upon God. The title Gitthth either refers to a winepress or a Philistine city of Gath.

At first David praises the LORD as to how majestic His name is, in the entire earth. Children and infants ordain praise to the LORD, to silence those dark powers.

All of God's work in the universe is adorable. David is wondering why God created all these wonderful things for man - whom he crowned just below angels. God then made man the ruler over everything God created, including those animals, birds, and fish in the sea.

David finally shouts praise for the LORD.
Psalms 8:9 LORD, our LORD,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 7



This is an appeal to God when David's enemies were attacking him.

Here David is afraid of his strong enemies and is taking refuge in God. He is asking God to punish him, in case he has done evil, or robbed his enemies without any cause.

Next, he pleads God to carry out justice and to show his wrath upon his enemies. He is asking to be vindicated according to his righteousness and integrity.

David knows that God hates evil and will put an end to wickedness. God is a just judge and the sinners should be afraid of their punishment when God is the Judge.

Those wicked will sow and reap evil - a wicked heart will display wicked deeds within.
Psalm 7:14 Whoever is pregnant with evil
    conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
The next verse is a simple and very common way in which God's wisdom operates. God often brings the same calamity upon the wicked - which they were planning to bring upon the righteous.
Psalm 7:15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
    falls into the pit they have made.
A recent example is what we saw in the book of Ruth - the end of Haman.

David acknowledged his realization about God's righteousness, and will sing praises to the LORD.


Psalm 6


This psalm was written during a time of severe illness.

Here, David is begging God to be merciful to him. He knew that God was angry at him for his sins and he is being pursued by his enemies.

David pleads to God to deliver him. He is confident that God loves him and will certainly hear his prayers. Now he has become weak and his eyes are worn out by crying so much.

Then David realized that God heard his prayers and has accepted them.
Psalms 6:9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
    the LORD accepts my prayer.
He is now confident that God will deliver him from his enemies.


Psalm 5



This is a morning prayer in the form of a cry for help, when his enemies are trying to spread malicious lies to destroy him.

David is pleading to God and sharing the heaviness of his heart.  He is anticipating God to turn around his problems.

As he drew closer to God, he became aware of God's nature. Sinners are separated from God and He takes no pleasure in wickedness. David is confident about God's mercy and he is expecting to be near God.
Psalm 5:7 But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.
David is doing his best to stay away from sins. He is accusing his enemies and sharing with God not trust a word of his adversaries. He hopes God will punish them.

He knows that those who take refuge in the LORD are safe, glad and will rejoice with joy. He requests God to spread His safety net of protection over those who take refuge in Him. David has great confidence in God about how He treats those who are righteous.
Psalm 5:12 Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Psalm 4


During a time of distress and at a time of threat from slanderers, this psalm was composed by king David. It was composed during some calamity, most likely during the time of a drought.

King David pleaded with God for mercy and to answer his prayers. He rebukes those who turn to false Gods and is proud about his living God - who answers his prayers.

He talks to himself and tries to calm down. He is saying he can be angry, but he needs to be careful so that his anger is not leading him to sin. Next, he reminds himself to 'meditate within his heart'. Finally, he makes note to offer sacrifices of righteousness by placing his trust in the LORD.

Several voices echo in King David's ears - especially that of those ungodly who ask, “Who will bring us prosperity?” King David is requesting God to shine His light upon his face, so that his heart may rejoice at times of prosperity.

At night he can sleep well - King David says.
Psalms 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, LORD,
    make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 3



King David composed this psalm when he fled Jerusalem. It was the time when his son Absalom tried to overpower the kingdom. While composing this psalm, King David lamented for having so many enemies.

Many people discouraged King David saying, "God will not deliver him." However, King David trusted in God to be a shield around him who would deliver him from his enemies.
Psalms 3:3 But you, LORD, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
King David says he can have a comfortable sleep. He is not afraid of tens of thousands of people attacking him from every side. He pleaded with God to deliver him from the hands of his son, Absalom. And he knew God will come to his rescue.


Psalm 2


Nations rage against God because they do not want to obey God's commandments. People oppose God and the one who is anointed - Jesus Christ.

God, who is enthroned in the heaven laughs at the ways men plot schemes against Him.
Psalm 2:4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
    the LORD scoffs at them.
The laughter of God is a comfort for those who are righteous. God then proclaims His decree to the nations:
Psalm 2:7 I will proclaim the LORD'S decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
    today I have become your father.
8 Ask me,
    and I will make the nations your inheritance,
    the ends of the earth your possession
God has handed over the authority of the earth to Jesus Christ and this is Jesus speaking. He will punish those who disobey Him. Those who abide in His commandments and take refuge in Him will be blessed.






Begotten is a concept which contrast with created. Jesus was not created; rather He created everything that was created (Colossians 1:16-17).


Psalm 1



This is the introductory psalm.

The message of this psalm is about righteousness. It portrays what a righteous man does not do and what he does. A righteous man always delights in the presence of the LORD.

It conveys the message that God abides in those who abide in Him. He blesses those who walks in His ways and thinks about Him all the time. He provides for the righteous and they will always prosper.

On the contrary, He punishes those ungodly sinners who disobey Him and follow a wicked path.

For the righteous, He is a stronghold.
Psalms 1:6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.



My Thoughts
The reason why this is the introductory psalm is because God wants to bless His creation - especially those who want to be with Him, near Him. His Holy Spirit leads those who seek Him.

For some reason, my mother made me memorize this very psalm when I was young. At that time, I did not know why I was doing it. Now, after several years, the pieces of the puzzle take shape.
:-) 

Psalms - An Executive Summary


Introduction
When God reveals Himself to the human heart, it creates certain responses. A collection of such sacred Hebrew responses, compiled in the form of poems are called Psalms.

We can use these Psalms anytime, to show how a man feels, thinks, speaks and acts when he is conscious about God - at times of sorrow, times of joy, times of darkness, during insight of wisdom, etc.

Division
At a high level, there are five divisions for the book of Psalms"

  1. Psalms 1 - 41 ,
  2. Psalms 42 - 72, 
  3. Psalms 73 - 89, 
  4. Psalms 90 - 106, 
  5. Psalms 107 - 150. 

Authors
Most of the psalms are written by David. Other authors who contributed include:
Asaph - 50, 73 - 83,
Solomon - 72 & 127,
Sons of Korah 42 - 49, 84 - 85, 87 - 88,
Ethan - 89,
Moses - 90.

Types of Psalms
Seven psalms are considered penitential psalms as they refer to confession of sins. They are 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130 and 143.

Few of them call for God's wrath upon their enemies and they are called imprecatory psalms. They are 35, 37, 69, 79, 109, 139, and 143.

Jesus in Psalms
In Luke 24:44, Jesus said that the psalms spoke about Him. Somehow, Psalms happen to be the most read book in the Bible.

Learn about Psalms
To appreciate the beauty of psalms, one should know how they are composed. Western poetry is mostly based on rhyme, while Hebrew poetry uses parallelism - relationship of one line to another. There are several types of parallelisms as well.

Synonymous parallelism
Often, the second line restates the first.
Example:
Psalms 15:1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
    Who may live on your holy mountain?
Antithetic parallelism
Lines are in contrast with one another.
Example:
Psalms 37:99 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
Synthetic parallelism
When each successive line expands the meaning.
Example:
Psalm 19:8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.
Psalm 23
By far, this is the most popular psalm. It is quite commonly used during funerals and at widely perceived tragic events such as 9/11.

Closing Remarks on Job



Here are few closing remarks on the Book of Job, based on few questions received.

God rebuked Eliphaz because he was the eldest and held him responsible.

God asked Job to pray on behalf of his friends while they were offering sacrifices. At that time, his body was healed and he became clean.

Job was a humble servant and God saw it. Therefore, God doubled his wealth. However, God did not give him fourteen children. Job had earlier 7 sons and 3 daughters. When they died, their sould went to heaven. Then God gave him the same 7 sons and 3 daughters.

Of courses, Job's daughters were extremely beautiful. Their names mean it as well
Jemima means 'dove'
Keiza means 'cinnamon'
Keren-Happuch means 'cosmetic box'

When God doubled everything Job had, his life was given another 140 years. The events mentioned here in the Bible may have taken place when Job was 70 years of age.

The lesson from the book of Job is that God has a purpose why people suffer. Nobody can thwart that purpose. If we try to understand God, we may understand the reason for that suffering. Also note that even Satan has to bow down to God and report to Him.

And no - not everyone who endures sufferings will find their wealth doubled!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Job 42

Job restored to prosperity

After listening to God, and seeing part of his glory, Job humbled himself and repented all his sins, including the curse he placed upon the day he was born.

Epilogue
God was angry with Job's friends who gave wrong counsel to Job. He asked them to make sacrifices and Job would pray on behalf of them. They did as God asked them to do.

God then blessed Job with twice the portion of his possessions he used to have. He now had
- 14,000 sheep,
- 6,000 camels,
- 1,000 oxen,
- 1,000 donkeys.

He was also blessed with another 10 children including 7 sons and 3 daughters.
Job 42:14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.
Notice that in this passage, the names of his daughters are mentioned and not his sons. This is an exception made in the scripture. He also gave his daughters an inheritance - unusual in those days. He treated his daughters equally as his sons - no wonder they call Job righteous.

Job lived another 140 years and he saw his great-grandchildren up to the 4th generation

A happy ending for a depressing story.
:-)


Crossed few more milestones

Job and his daughters

Whoa! We crossed the half-way mark in Old Testament (both in terms of chapters and verses).

Can you believe, that with the completion of the Book of Job, it puts us at

51.45 % of Chapters
60.22% of Verses

Let us set our eyes at the LORD and He will enable us to see the end. With His help, we also completed the 100 day mark of 'guided tour' quietly. I did not publicize it because I know deep inside we are actually one day behind schedule.

By the way, let me introduce you to the Bible Q&A blog by Patsy. Patsy has listed numerous questions and answers on her site: http://patty-patcards.blogspot.com/ Bookmark it as it will come handy for those who teach Sunday School. Good work, Patsy! Keep it going.

Next, we will be moving on to the Book of Psalms - which is a long one. Thank you for your prayers.






Job 41


In this chapter, God is talking about Leviathan.

Many believe Leviathan is a sea monster, or as Prophet Isaiah presents it - a twisted serpent that lives in the sea.

Here God is making a statement that men do not know how to subdue a Leviathan, but he certainly does.

Then God explains Leviathan as a strong creature who is equipped with strong defense -
Job 41:12 “I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs,
    its strength and its graceful form.
13 Who can strip off its outer coat?
    Who can penetrate its double coat of armor?
We learn that Leviathan is not not sympathetic, threatening, and prideful.
Job 41:21 Its breath sets coals ablaze,
    and flames dart from its mouth.
Maybe we have not heard about it, or it could be that ones who have seen it choose to remain tight lipped. It seems sailors in earlier days were so frightened at the sight of Leviathan, that they cursed their day of birth - like how Job did.    

Job 40


Once God starts speaking, nobody can utter a word. Job, who challenged God, has now opted to stay quiet.
Job 40:3 Then Job answered the LORD:
4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
    I put my hand over my mouth.
5 I spoke once, but I have no answer—
    twice, but I will say no more.”
He felt guilty of speaking against God earlier.

In a series of questions, God reminded Job that the two of them are not at the same level to have a conversation. If you pay close attention to what God is saying, we can (attempt to) understand His mind.

God attacked Job's integrity quite harshly. Job was reminded about his inability to perform any of those tasks which God can perform. Two creatures were mentioned by God - Behemoth and Leviathan.

Quite honestly, any accurate information related to Behemoth and Levithan is debated. Who knows, it might take us a while to understand what God meant. Many think Behemoth is same as hippopotamus.

Job 39


God then reduced the complexity of His questions. He asked questions that were applicable in Job's life.

- Whether Job knew when those mountain goats and deer gave birth,
- Who let those donkeys move around freely in the wilderness,
- If the wild ox gave consent to stay in the manger during night,
- Whether Job knew about the behavior of the ostrich,
- If Job understood the mindset of a horse,
- Whether the mystery of a hawk was known to Job.


Job 38



The LORD Speaks

Dear Readers, this is one of the powerful sections in the Bible. The questions which God asks, see if you can answer any.

God spoke out from a storm to Job, and asked him to answer like a man. The first question itself was a blow:


Job found himself unfit to answer those questions. He was overwhelmed by those mysteries and paradoxes to which he was speechless.

God asked a series of questions to Job, such as:

- Where he was, when God created the sky and sea,
- If he was able to call morning over the whole world,
- Whether he knew the abode of either light or darkness,
- If he was aware of the storehouse of snow, hail, lightning, or east wind,
- How God brought the constellation together to it's seasons,
- If Job had any authority over those clouds, rain, or lightening,
- Whether Job knew how god provided food for wild animals and birds.



Note: Once in a lifetime, it is worth reading those original questions which God asked Job.

My Thoughts
OMG - These ARE some questions! And they do have answers!

But ho really can answer any of them? This is just one part - the next chapter is the continuation of these questions.

Someone out there knows the answers to all these - and that someone is whom we should entrust our lives to. He knows the past, present and the future.

Can we be on best-friend terms with Him? You think it is possible?




Job 37


While Job and his friends were listening, Elihu continued his speech describing the majesty of God - how he created lightning, rain, shower, snow etc. Then he goes on to explain the greatness of God's works - the one who created everything with perfect knowledge.

Here Elihu explains why God is so far away from us - due to His magnanimity and Holiness. He is pointing this out because Job requested an audience with God to explain his innocence.
Job 37:23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;
    in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.





My Thoughts
All of Job's friends seem to be speaking eloquently about God. The area in which all of them consistently fail is when it comes to application to Job's case. They are unable to see why Job is facing this calamity. Their words are beaming with love and respect for God.

Something I discovered recently is that I get bored easily by reading fiction, watching movies, etc. Whatever I see, there is that 'little something' which is missing. The movie which I saw seems to be lacking something, the book which I read appears to be missing some ingredient. That emptiness gets carried into other aspects of relationships as well - something seems to be missing somewhere.

When it comes to matters related to God, it is an awesome world, filled with excitement and I am always eager to learn and experience more. It is quite fulfilling and there exists this brilliance which radiates brightness with dazzling luminosity which attracts one magically towards it.

.  

Job 36


In this chapter, Elihu is teaching Job about the righteousness and justice of God. At this point, the audience was probably impatient, and Elihu is therefore requesting Job and his friends to listen to him.

Talking about God,
Job 36:7 He does not take his eyes off the righteous;
    he enthrones them with kings
    and exalts them forever.
This is a wonderful chapter which explains the awesomeness of our God. Elihu is loquacious in narrating those positive attributes of God.

11 If they obey and serve him,
    they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity
    and their years in contentment.

Those who are obedient will be rightly rewarded and the ones who lead a sinful life are bound to be punished accordingly .

When people refused to confess their sins to God and repent, they were attracting the wrath of God. Elihu hinted that Job was talking righteously and maintaining his integrity, therefore he was a good candidate in receiving God's wrath. If Job repented, there was a good chance of God restoring him.

Elihu seems to be a non-stop chatter and somehow he maintained his silence all this while. Given a chance, he is making the best use of it. He drew everyone's attention towards God's majesty and His greatness.
Job 36:26 How great is God—beyond our understanding!
    The number of his years is past finding out.
Then Elihu narrates what an awesome creator God is, providing for all his creation.





My Thoughts
Elihu seems to be a brave young man. His love for God is evident in his eloquent speech. I am not singling him out - all of Job's friends seem to be godly men. What a blessing it is, to surround ourselves with truly god-fearing people; those who see the magnanimity of the LORD, those who share their awesome and positive experiences with the creator.

Don't we encounter people like these (rarely) in our lives too - those who can speak on and on and on. If we are lucky to have their time and availability, shortly into the conversation, they will turn into wonderful musical instruments. Words come gushing out of their mouths and we can hear their excitement in their tone. Aren't such words music to our ears?

Don't such people serve as a beacon in our lives?


Job 35


In continuation, Elihu confronted the idea that Job presented - which said the wicked have a safe harbor and God blessed them. He attacked the premise that Job was blameless and God punished him for no cause.

In these, Elihu pointed out that God was superior and he wanted Job to realize it. God was not going to benefit regardless of a person was wicked or righteous.
Job 35:7 If you are righteous, what do you give to him,
    or what does he receive from your hand?
8 Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself,
    and your righteousness only other people.
He wanted Job to show some fear and respect to God. He pronounced that God was least interested in listening to Job's empty pleas.



Job 34

Elihu continued talking and now he aimed at Jobs self justification. He accused Job's company.
Job 34:8 He keeps company with evildoers;
    he associates with the wicked.
God, in His righteousness will reward us according to our deeds.
Job 34:12 It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,
    that the Almighty would pervert justice.
Elihu praised God's judgement as fair and He knew everything. He shows no partiality to anyone regardless of their social or financial status, as they are all His creation. God is watching everything humans are doing.
Job 34:21 His eyes are on the ways of mortals;
    he sees their every step.
22 There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness,
    where evildoers can hide.
Further, God can do what He likes to do, and no humans can challenge it.

Elihu went on to say that Job was speaking without knowledge. To him, Job was answering like a wicked man. He implied that if Job had further sufferings, he probably would speak in a humble manner.




My Thoughts
Elihu blamed Job for the company he kept - evildoers and wicked. In today's world, majority of whom we meet are under the influence of evil deeds. Very few even think of walking a straight path. If you belong to that minority who wishes to live righteously, be prepared to be secluded from the society. It is quite a challenge to find individuals who uphold justice and walk upright. How fashionable it is today, to belong to the society and walk in their ways - pleasing other humans, while ignoring and denouncing God. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Job 33


Here in this chapter, Elihu asked Job to pay attention to his words as they were sincere, spiritual and wise:
- He said he won't be harsh like Job's other three friends,
- He then re-iterated those points which Job listed,
- Went on to rebuke Job for complaining to the all powerful God,
- Pointed out the necessity of a mediator between God and humans to educate the right path for humans,
- Said that God will keep on punishing people until they turn towards Him,
- He then encouraged Job to speak up, and if he did not have anything to say, Elihu wanted Job to listen to him.



Job 32


Elihu, a fourth counselor who was younger than the rest of them remained silent so far - respecting his elders. He now spoke up.

- He had been listening to the entire conversation,
- He was angry that Job justified himself, before God,
- Elihu was angry at Job's three friends as they could not get Job to confess and repent his sins,
- He hoped that his words would not show any partiality.

Elihu's conversation is bit lengthy and stretches 6 chapters long.


Job 31



This chapter lists Job's innocence he presented before his friends as part of his final argument.

Job said that he had made a covenant with his eyes not to lust over other girls except his wife. He had kept that covenant and God knew about this.

He was willing to let God check whether he walked in falsehood. If so, he was okay with others eating his crops.

As far as his faithfulness to his wife goes, Job said he was faithful to her. If God saw him not to be faithful, Job was ready to receive the punishment - may God take her and give her to a different person. He was willing to face the consequence if his heart was enticed towards another woman.

Job never denied justice to his male or female servants.

He was always generous and kind to those in need.

He was willing to accept punishment if he confided in riches or wealth. Further, he never worshiped any idols and was always loyal to God.

Job never delighted in the failures of his enemies, or never even cursed them. Whenever Job knew about his own sins, he confessed them rather than hiding them.

Job was ready to face any accusations against him and was willing to account every detail of such accusations. He wished he had a chance to present his case in front of the God, so that he could be vindicated.

He concluded his words by testifying his own integrity and righteousness. He then pronounced curses upon himself if he had sinned. He called his land as his witness.



My Thoughts
Take a look at Job's faith and his integrity. How confident he is, to face the Lord. No doubt he had been arguing so strongly with his friends saying, "I did not sin."

Where we meet men like this today?



Job 30


Job is now looking at his current state and contrasting with the sufferings and dishonor he is enduring. He is speaking out of rage that the younger generation is mocking him. He is not used to this sort of treatment - to be ridiculed by people.

Apart from this, he is also enduring physical pain. Then there is the spiritual pain - he started to feel that God is not listening to his prayers. He accused God of not responding to his pleas.

Job is anticipating that God will not bring any further disaster upon him - who is already devastated. He is unable to comprehend why God is not showing the kindness he exhibited towards those poor and needy. He is seeing everything upside down.
Job 30:26 Yet when I hoped for good, evil came;
    when I looked for light, then came darkness.
 The sensitive soul of Job is reaching out to God for mercy.

Job 29



Continuing with his discourse, Job is getting nostalgic in this chapter. He recalls all those glory days which he enjoyed during his prime time, when God was with him. During the days of intimate friendship with God, the memories of his children remain sweet in his mind.

The community respected him and those in need approved him - they viewed him as a role model. At that time, Job thought he would live a long life and die peacefully. In those days, everyone listened to Job and his word was final.

Those days, Job was the one who comforted those who mourned. Today, tables have turned. He is stuck with calamity, his friends are criticizing him, and he is the one who is mourning.




Job 28


This is a key chapter in the book of Job. Here Job conveys a three part message to his friends:

1. Earth contains numerous precious metals and stones, and humans find them by digging deep into the bowels of earth.
Job 28:10 They tunnel through the rock;
    their eyes see all its treasures.
2. Wisdom, the dearest treasure of all, is not to be found there and cannot be bought with those precious metals or stones dug up from earth. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it true value.
Job 28:21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
    concealed even from the birds in the sky.
3. Wisdom can be attained by fearing God and walking in the ways of God, and living a life that shuns evil. 
Job 28:28 And he said to the human race,
    “The fear of the LORD - that is wisdom,
    and to shun evil is understanding.”

My Thoughts
I like this chapter very much. Though it is summarized in three simple parts, it essentially says it all. Certainly, earth is a treasure-house and majority of people see only those treasures contained in it. Men are willing to endure so much danger to acquire those earthly treasures - which he can take nowhere. Men fail to see the true treasure - it could be that it is hidden from their sight. This is my favorite topic of discussion. The more I think about it, the more it fascinates me :-)




Job 27


In his final words to his friends, Job maintained his integrity.
Job 27:6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it;
    my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.
Job continued his discourse:
- No matter what, he disagreed with his friends who said, all these happened due to his sins,

- His friends charged that Job was acting like a hypocrite,

- So Job narrated the vain hope of a hypocrite,

- He now charged his friends to be hypocrites,

- Prayed to God to punish his friends.

- Agreed that God will punish those who are wicked,

- Job explained the portion of a wicked man with God.

Job 26




Here Job is challenging his friends. He felt as though his friends who are supposed to strengthen him are in fact hurting him. He questioned what spirit is speaking from their mouth.

Then he went on to describe all those wonders God has provided on earth and in the clouds. This was to show how feeble man is, when compared to the all powerful God.

He understood that there was yet lot more that he did not understand about God.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Job 25


A very small chapter with just 6 verses.

Bildad, in his final speech said that God is mighty and has a very large army.

He said that nobody born of a woman is completely righteous - when compared to God.

He said that some of the most glorious creations such as moon and starts fall short; hence man will fall short too.


Job 24


Job is continuing his dialogue by explaining that God is the one who determines the future, and sets a time for judgement at His convenience.

Next, Job went on to explain the conduct of the wicked that they do as they please and seldom get punished.

The wicked neither acknowledge the ways of God nor walk in them. They then go on and oppress the weak.
Job 24:9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast;
    the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.
10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked;
    they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry.
It is unclear to Job why God does not punish the wicked. The wicked seem to have security. He then goes on and says what should happen to the wicked. The chapter narrates several examples that Job has seen. He believed that the punishment for the wicked will follow in their afterlife. He argued that nobody can prove him incorrect.
Job 24:25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false
    and reduce my words to nothing?”


Job 23


This is a relatively shorter chapter, where Job is replying to Eliphaz. Job is not satisfied at the counsel of his friends. In fact, their presence has made his situation even bitter.

He wished to bring his case in front of God, who would judge him fairly. He is confident about the outcome.
Job 23:6 Would he vigorously oppose me?
    No, he would not press charges against me.
Job is seeking out God. He does not know where to find God. He believed that these are times of testing and he will emerge victoriously as his ways are clean.
Job 23:10 But he knows the way that I take;
    when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
Job has fear that God may inflict more disaster upon him. This is because Job is terrified at God's power and sovereignty.



.

Job 22


It was Eliphaz's turn now. He thought Job was thinking too highly of himself. According to him, a human being cannot be of any good to God - regardless of whether he was wise or foolish.

He accused Job of numerous sins, being a powerful man. He had no evidence to prove his accusations. To him, the evidence of it is that Job has lost everything and now he is in poor health.
Job 22:5 Is not your wickedness great?
    Are not your sins endless?
He then went on to rebuke Job saying that Job knew of all those evil deeds he committed in the past. He used the Great Flood during the time of Noah as a proof to drive his point that the wicked will be wiped out. His reasoning was that God will bless the righteous and punish those sinners.

The advice Eliphaz gave Job was to repent about his sins and God will bless him and lift him up.
 Job 22:21 Submit to God and be at peace with him;
    in this way prosperity will come to you.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Job 21


Maintaining his integrity, Job asked his friends to pay attention to what he had to say. Here he is blaming God for the calamity he is in. He is pointing out to his friends that God is unfair. To prove this, Job used the example of those who are wicked and prosper.
Job 21:7 Why do the wicked live on,
    growing old and increasing in power?
8 They see their children established around them,
    their offspring before their eyes.
9 Their homes are safe and free from fear;
    the rod of God is not on them.
The section narrates several examples of the wicked prospering and the righteous suffering. Job is confused at God's principle. He is saying this to disprove the negative counsel that's been argued by his friends.

He laments why the wicked go unpunished while their children are the ones who undergo punishment. He cannot understand why some die in full vigor while some die in bitterness of soul.

Job said that the wicked are not punished while they are alive in this world - only in the next world. Still nobody hates the wicked or repays them according to their deeds. Job is asking his friends not to judge him based on this principle.


Job 20


After hearing Job's response, Zophar felt insulted. He was greatly disturbed.

According to Zophar, the wicked may experience a temporary success in this world, but will be punished in the end.
Job 20:5 that the mirth of the wicked is brief,
    the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.
God punishes those who sin and eventually those who are evil will be under God's wrath. In this chapter, Zophar gives a detailed description of those evil minded. He adds:
Job 20:27 The heavens will expose his guilt;
    the earth will rise up against him.
28 A flood will carry off his house,
    rushing waters[b] on the day of God’s wrath.
29 Such is the fate God allots the wicked,
    the heritage appointed for them by God.”
Here, Zophar is implying that Job had done evil in his life and hence he has to endure such agony and distress.



Job 19


Now it is Job's chance to respond and he is pointing the fact that his friends are wrong. Over and over, Job states that he did not do anything wrong and it was God who struck these disasters by blocking all his paths.
Job 19:13 He has alienated my family from me;
    my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
14 My relatives have gone away;
    my closest friends have forgotten me.
Job is completely disappointed and felt the rejection from his family and friends. He begged his friends to show some sympathy.
Job 19:21 “Have pity on me, my friends, have pity,
    for the hand of God has struck me.
He has another request - someone to record his words so that anyone going through such sufferings in the future would get some insight.

Job shared his faith that he would meet God after his life on earth. He warned his friends for those false accusations and judgement which they made against him.


Job 18


Bildad asked Job to be sensible.
Job 18:3 Why are we regarded as cattle
    and considered stupid in your sight?
He then rebuked Job for his self justification and wasting time presenting evidence for being sinless. Job was tearing himself into pieces by being angry over his situation.

Bildad did not hesitate to point out that Job had a gloomy future, given the present circumstance.
Job 18:5 The lamp of a wicked man is snuffed out;
    the flame of his fire stops burning.
Further, trouble from every direction would hunt down a sinful man. He is trying hard to prove a point that all these troubles are caused by Job's own sin. He used the example of fire raining down at Sodom and Gomorrah to destroy those who were sinful.

Nobody in the future would remember a sinner's name and he would be left with no descendants. The fate of those evil men who do not remember God is always the same.
Job 18:17 The memory of him perishes from the earth;
    he has no name in the land.
18 He is driven from light into the realm of darkness
    and is banished from the world.
19 He has no offspring or descendants among his people,
    no survivor where once he lived.
Bildad is pointing out the sad destiny of the wicked - unfortunately to a man who shunned evil and walked in the ways of the God.


Job 17



Here we can see Job admitting his spirit being broken, and he was waiting to die. Next, he requested God to reconcile with him and to restore him. His friends had failed to understand the situation he was in. He was unwilling to approve the counsel of his friends.

He felt as though he was an object of scorn and thought God was responsible for that.
Job 17:6 “God has made me a byword to everyone,
    a man in whose face people spit.
Those who are righteous would now view him as a hypocrite. Job has immense faith that he had not committed anything wrong and had hope in God. In fact, the only Job has, is in the God.

Sarcastically, Job is challenging his friends to find fault with him.
Job 17:13 If the only home I hope for is the grave,
    if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness,
14 if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’
    and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’
15 where then is my hope -
    who can see any hope for me?
Here the hope for a grave was grim, but Job really wanted a resolution with God.