My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Job 33

Everyone dies without grace

Elihu assured Job that he was sure of what he was saying. He said that he was a man like Job, and quoted Job's claim of purity, and God's punishment. Elihu thought Job's questions to God were pointless - who is God to answer a mere man. God speaks in his own, mysterious ways.

All men go to destruction, unless an angel mediates for them. Then they accept that they have been sinful, but that they have undeservedly received life.

Elihu gave Job the opportunity to speak, which he didn't.

Key verse:
24. Spare him from going down to the pit;
I have found a ransom for him

My thoughts:
Wow, now this is intriguing. I suggest you definitely read verses 22-28 of this chapter. Think of this in the light of Christian confession.

This is the exact Christian/protestant view of soteriology/salvation. Except it is an angel interceding, not Christ.

This has interesting implications. Firstly, Elihu, the baddy, said it. Secondly, it promotes a view that angels, like Christ, can mediate for people. If this were true, then Jesus' death would only be significant in magnitude, not in nature.

All the same. It's very interesting.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Job 32

Elihu speaks up

Job's friends didn't reply, but a younger man, Elihu, who had until now just listened to the older, apparently wiser, men, decided to speak up. He was disgusted that Job had defended himself and not God.

Firstly, he defended his right to speak as a younger man. He then attacked Job's friends for having no good arguments, and said he had to speak his mind.

Key verse:
6. I am young in years,
and you are old;
that is why I was fearful,
not daring to tell you what I know.

My thoughts:
So here we have Elihu, the young person who thinks he knows it all. At least the old men knew they couldn't win against Job, but Elihu thinks too much of himself for that.

He's gonna talk for ages now, until God shows up, and he does say different things to Job's older companions.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Job 31

Job's rant ends

Job made a deal not to check hot chicks out, cos he knew God knew his thoughts. Job declared that if he had done anything wrong - be it sexual sin or denying justice or been greedy - then he deserves any punishment he gets.

That was the end of Job's speech.

Key verse:
1. I made a covenant with my eyes
not to look lustfully at a girl.

My thoughts:
Job has been speaking for ages now. Earlier we had constant interactions between Job and his friends, but for the last many chapters we have had a monologue from Job. This has now finished, and Job will not speak again until God speaks. We now reach a hiatus in the text, and Elihu comes on the stage and speaks until God turns up later.

This is the end of Job's rant, and he basically has a massive list, full of emotion, of all the things he hasn't done wrong.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Job 30

Even retards now mock Job

But now Job lives in mockery. The bottom of society laugh at him. Kids of absolute retards mock him. He can be attacked by the weakest of people. God has afflicted him, and thrown him into the mud. Job then called out to God, asking why he hadn't done anything.

Life sucks.

Key verse:
19. He throws me into the mud,

and I am reduced to dust and ashes.

My thoughts:
Job is getting a long time to speak his mind here, and he hasn't been interrupted by companions for a while.

I quite like this image of God picking up Job and pummeling him into the ashes. It's not nice, but it's a powerful image of how Job feels.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Job 29

Job's life used to be so... creamy

Job yearned for his happy days, when things were sweet, and God was good. He was respected, and had to wade through cream. People were nice to him. He helped the invalid and needy. Yea... in those days Job hoped for a very promising future. His life rocked.

Key verse:
6. when my path was drenched with cream

and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.

My thoughts:
This verse just caught my imagination.

Man, this guy was respected! He did have a sweet life.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Job 28

Hidden wisdom

Job continued talking. There is a deep and dark place where precious stones are found. People ventures where men have never been to mine these things. The earth is different underneath. It is shaped by fire. No animals go there, but man attacks it.

But people don't go where wisdom is. Wisdom can't be bought. Wisdom is hidden. The animals don't know it, and Death does not know it, but God does. Wisdom is to fear God.

Key verse:
28. The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,

and to shun evil is understanding.

My thoughts:
Well, obviously caving was well and truly happening at the time Job was written.

This is quite a cool image comparing wisdom to precious stones which are hidden under the earth. It subscribes to the wisdom literature understanding of wisdom as a God-given constant of the cosmos.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Job 27

Job stays righteous

Job declared that he would not say anything wicked as long a God chose to oppress him. He will stay righteous, because he doesn't want to lose any hope he had. The wicked have it hard, and though they may have many kids, they all die in battle. He may be rich, but he lives in fear, and he will ultimately fail.

Key verse:
5. I will never admit you are in the right;
till I die, I will not deny my integrity.

My thoughts:
Good on Job! It's hard to stay righteous when live sucks. This is where he finds his hope, and in God's time (not Job's time) it will reward him.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Job 26

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty...

Job mocked his friends, sarcastically saying that they have saved the poor and given good advice to a fool.

Death is a horrible thing. Death cannot hide from the God who keeps the Earth aloft. He controls the sea, and all these things are just a glimpse of what he can do.

Key verse:
6. Death is naked before God;
Destruction lies uncovered.

My thoughts:
Interesting that this chapter depicts the Earth as suspended in a vast nothingness. Sounds pretty scientifically accurate to me!

The word used for death here is Sheol, which also means the grave, or 'hell'. Hell is a stupid word, and often our understanding of the word hell is quite different to the Greek and Hebrew words Hades and Sheol.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Job 25

Bildad 'stands up for God'

Bildad said that no-one can be righteous compared to God, because even the moon and stars are dull compared to him. For goodness sake - he's God!

Key verse:
4. How then can a man be righteous before God?
How can one born of woman be pure?

My thoughts:
This is probably one of the shortest chapters in the Bible. I think Bildad makes a good point, to be honest. I had a philosophical discussion with a young lady last night. She had had a bit to drink, and I'd had a bit too, but this was basically what I was saying. She couldn't appreciate that good people didn't go to heaven. I was saying "How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure?". Somehow, however, Bildad is proven wrong, and Job right. It makes no sense to me.

I had a few philosophical discussions last night. I think one girl became a Christian, which deserves a w00t.

Luke 15:7 - "I tell you that in the same way there will be more w00ting in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." NPV (New Pete's Version)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Job 24

Job describes the evil people

Job didn't understand why he had to aimlessly wait for judgement. People are evil, and exploit the poor, who can't even clothe themselves. They cry out, but God does nothing. Murderers and rapists have their way in the night, but they are not remembered, and they die. But God gets rid of the mighty.

Key verse:
25. If this is not so, who can prove me false
and reduce my words to nothing

My thoughts:
Job can be quite confusing. Here he seems to be going against his previous statements that God lets the evil people be. I need more time to look at Job and do some proper research.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Job 23

Job seeks, but cannot find

Job wished he could go to God and make his case, just to hear what God would say. He was confident that God would know his innocence and set him free. But he could not find God. He had followed God all his life. But God has chosen to punish Job, and Job fears him.

Key verse:
8. But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.

My thoughts:
We've all had times when God is unfindable. We just think that if we hear his opinion, then it'll all be sweet, but we just can't find him! Ah... the dilemmas of following an invisible God.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Job 22

Eliphaz accused Job

Eliphaz mocked Job, saying that men cannot help God - he doesn't need it. He accused Job of great wickedness. He accused him of exploiting his brothers, and being greedy. He said that Job called God stupid. Evil people like Job get swept away. So Job needs to turns from his wickedness, and rejects his wealth, and God will lift them up.

Key verse:
27. You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
and you will fulfill your vows.

My thoughts:
Again I think a lot of what Eliphaz says is right, except that he assumes that sin can be the only cause of suffering. This chapter has the most blatant accusations against Job so far.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Job 21

Job envies the wicked

Job asked his friends to listen, then they could mock afterwards if they wanted. He said that the wicked get sweet lives. They ignore God, and God ignores them, and they have security. Some people say that their punishment is saved up for their sons, but why?

One man may be healthy. One may be weak. But as they lie together in the ground, they still both rot.

But the wicked people get it sweet.

Key verse:
26. Side by side they lie in the dust,
and worms cover them both.

My thoughts:
Job makes some exaggeration here in his despair, but his observations are mostly true. There is not a clear relationship between success and righteousness. I think this is partly due to the fact that God doesn't judge success like we do, but also because God doesn't promise a sweet life generally, but promises rewards in heaven.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Job 20

Zophar speaks up again

As per normal, Zophar feels it necessary to speak up. He challenged Job to realise that the wicked perish, and that that's always been the case. The wicked lose everything and are forgotten. They hide their wickedness, but it destroys them like poison, and takes the good stuff with it.

Basically, the wicked are screwed.

Key verse:
12-13. Though evil is sweet in his mouth
and he hides it under his tongue,
though he cannot bear to let it go

and keeps it in his mouth

My thoughts:
This is the same mantra of the friends. The wicked perish - not the righteous - therefore, you Job, must be wicked.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Job 19

Job asks for pity

Job comaplained about the harsh words from his friends. If he was stuck in sin, then that's no their problem, otherwise they know that God has wronged Job. He can't see any way out. He is being hunted out, and has been marked for misery. He has no friends or family anymore.

Job asked for pity from his friends. He doesn't need their scorn in addition to God's. He wished his words were written forever.

Job then declares that he knows that God lives, and that he will see him. He warns his friends not to harm him for his troubles, because God will brng judgement.

Key verses:
25-27. I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;

I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

My thoughts:
Well Job, you got your wish. Your words are being remembered.

I think it's funny that today's key verses are very well quoted out of Job. We just like to pick the parts that sound good don't we?

"in the end he will stand upon the earth" - Jesus perhaps? Just a thought.

I'm not sure if I quite understand the last little bit of this chapter. My summary might be vastly inaccurate. Read it yourself and let me know what you think.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Job 18

Bildad speaks up

Bildad took his chance to speak, and told Job that they weren't stupid. He told Job that the world doesn't revolve around him, and that traps are set for the wicked. The wicked have no peace.

Key verse:
4. You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger,
is the earth to be abandoned for your sake?
Or must the rocks be moved from their place?

My thoughts:
I love the hyperbole and sarcasm in some of these passages. It's very mocking. Which is cool.

I've noticed that all the 'friends' have the same little speech before they start rebutting Job. They tell him to stop talking foolishness, and seem to be unable to keep silent give the blasphemies which are coming out of Job's mouth.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Job 17

Job keeps talking...

He's broken and awaiting death. He calls on God, the only one who could protect him if he chose. Though God has made Job's name a swear word.

Job challenged his friends to find some wisdom. They see light where there is only darkness. But corruption is Job's father, and a worm his mother. There is no hope.

Key verse:
12. These men turn night into day;
in the face of darkness they say, 'Light is near.'

My thoughts:
I think many modern Christians do this. We pretend that things are sweet when they're not, and wonder why we don't relate to people. Sometimes we need a reality check.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Job 16

Job prays his suffering is not forgotten

Job said that he'd heard it all before, and could go and give the same speeches his friends were making in their position. But Job would bring comfort. No matter what Job does, he suffers. He has been turned over to evil people. He prayed that his suffering would not be forgotten

Key verse:
5. But my mouth would encourage you;
comfort from my lips would bring you relief.

My thoughts:
I've noticed how Job isn't really negating his friends here. He's more just saying 'shut up and let me moan'. Moaning and depression don't make sense to outsiders.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Job 15

Eliphaz gets a chance to talk

Eliphaz thought he better respond. He said that Job was condemning himself by complaining against God. Job doesn't know it all! How could a man be righteous, as Job suggests? God doesn't even trust his angels!

The wicked man has an awful life, because he argues against God. His wealth disappears.

Key verse:
6. Your own mouth condemns you, not mine;
your own lips testify against you.

My thoughts:
Job's friends really don't trust him. They don't understand the free conversation one can have with God. They have mistaken God's holiness for distance. God is holy, but accessible; supreme but approachable.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Job 14

Job continues moaning

Men's lives are short. Unlike a tree, when a man dies, he's gone forever. Job wanted God to let him sleep until the day of his death. Then maybe his sins could be forgotten. But no, God has a way of torturing people.

Key verse:
7. At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.

My thoughts:
Again, I encourage to to really read the text. My paraphrases are very very inaccurate. I just say what I think the point is.

We, as Christians, are taught about the afterlife, and eternal life etc. But we have some interesting stuff here in Job and also in Ecclesiastes which seems to bemoan the fact that we have nothing to hope for but death, when it all ends. In the past I have stated that this is the state of man without Christ, and I think I still agree with this. It deserves place in the Bible as and observation that needs to be noted, but in Christ we have a hope that Solomon or Job could not see.

So Hooray for Jesus then, I guess.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Job 13

Job partially agrees with his friends

Job said that he did want to take his case to God, but they were covering him with lies. If only they'd shut up! Why do they lie for "God's" sake. Can they trick even God? Job will defend his case, because he is sure of it, even though he is risking going against God face to face. His boldness would be his deliverance.

Job called out for an audience with God. He asked God to list his sins.

Key verse:
5. If only you would be altogether silent!
For you, that would be wisdom.

My thoughts:
Yea... silence can be pretty smart sometimes.

Here we have Job who is confident in his righeousness. He will come before God regarding it. I like it how the accuser (Satan) has really just fallen out of the picture. It's all God and Job. God could easily blame it all on Satan, but God wouldn't want to give Satan so much credit - so much power.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Job 12

Job gets all sarcastic

Job's all like "Well aren't you the geniuses then!". How can it be fair that he's become a righeous fool? Those with fake gods are safe. Everyone knows that it is God who did this to Job. God can do what he likes! He can humble the strongest men - even nations.

Key verse:
2. Doubtless you are the people,
and wisdom will die with you!

My thoughts:
I don't think Job's happy with his position.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Job 11

Zophar speaks up

Zophar couldn't sit there and just accept what Job was saying. He accused Job of declaring himself blameless. He wished God would talk to him and show him the two sides of wisdom. God is massive and you can't stand against him. If you get rid of your sin, then you stand firm before God, and be sweet. It's the evil people whose lives suck.

Key verse:
5-6. Oh, how I wish that God would speak,
that he would open his lips against you

and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom,
for true wisdom has two sides.
Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.

My thoughts:

Zophar says some weird stuff. What are the two sides of wisdom? I have no idea what's he's referring to there.

Zophar's fallen into the same trap as the rest. He accuses Job of secret sin, that he needs to deal with before God will relieve him. But sin is not usually directly related with suffering. On this earth, the wicked prosper, and the righteous are persecuted.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Job 10

Job turns his complaint to God

Job wondered whether God enjoyed hurting him. He wondered why God had to punish him, when God knows that Job is sinless. God is not a man who has to find out someone's righteousness. Why did God even allow Job to be born just to punish him, though he's righteous? Maybe he shouldn't just died straight away.

Job just wants God to leave him alone just for a moment, so he can have some relief before he dies.

Key verse:
12-14. You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit.

"But this is what you concealed in your heart,
and I know that this was in your mind:

If I sinned, you would be watching me
and would not let my offense go unpunished.

My thoughts:
This description of God by Job is almost amusing. A God who creates us for the secret purpose of watching us just in case we screw up.

Job just doesn't get what God's doing, and just wants him to leave. Sound familiar at all?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Job 9

Job replies to Bildad

Job agreed with Bildad. How can we pretend to stand on our own without God? God controls the earth, sky and sun. He made the constellations.

Even if Job was completed innocent, he could not talk back to God, but just beg for mercy. He did not expect God to have time to hear Job.

God punishes the righteous and wicked, according to Job. No matter what he does, Job will be punished. There's no point in pretending to smile. If God were just a man, then they could settle their differences in court of something.

Key verse:
15. Though I were innocent, I could not answer him;
I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.

My thoughts:
Man, Job is depressed. He just sees no hope. God is afflicting him, and there's no point arguing with God. Sometimes unlike Job we like to ignore how insignificant we are compared to God, and Job is a good reminder.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Job 8

Bildad gets his say

Bildad told Job that God is just, and if Job is truely righteous and makes his case to God, then God will restore him to his position.

He told Job to trust what their ancestors had said. People cannot rely on themselves and forget God, because God is so much bigger.

Key verse:
6. if you are pure and upright,
even now he will rouse himself on your behalf
and restore you to your rightful place.

My thoughts:
In a strange way Bildad is ultimately right, but just not in the timeframe that is implied. God does hear Job's plea at the end of this book, and in God's bizarre way he teaches Job a lesson, but then gives him all his stuff and health back.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Job 7

Job tells God how hard life is

Job told God that people are pretty much slaves to labour, and that his days continue unhappily with no hope. One day he will die, and no-one will be able to find him. Therefore, he won't shut up and stop complaining.

He despised God watching him, and wondered why God paid so much attention. If he has sinned, why does God not just forgive. Why does Job bother God so much?

Key verse:
17. What is man that you make so much of him,
that you give him so much attention

My thoughts:
Job seems to feel pestered by God. He talks of dreams and visions. It appears that behind this dialogue between Job and his friends, more is going on. God is somehow, be it through dreams or vision, communicating with Job whilst he is in his torment.

Job raises some interesting points about mankinds insignificance. He wonders why God bothers to test us at all. And that, I guess, is one of the most amazing things about God. He does want something to do with us - to know us - and he does love us. It's weird and unnecessary, but God does it anyway.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Job 6

Job justifies his complaints

Job complained of the weight of his pain, and how God had afflicted him. He defends his right to complain, and reject the advice of his peers. He wished that God would just crush him. Why wait?

He told his friends that they were useless and that he had never asked for their help. Their arguments proove nothing. He challenged them to find any wickedness within him.

Key verse:
30. Is there any wickedness on my lips? Can my mouth not discern malice?

My thoughts:
The gist of his friends comments is that Job must have some sin in him for God to afflict him so. Job takes offence at this, and challenges it in this chapter.

Sometimes advice is not the best idea when talking to someone who has lost everything. A solution isn't normally what they are seeking.