Job 24-26

Job (continuing): Why does God not have specific times of judgement? Look! There are people who steal or oppress the poor. The suffering of the poor is great as a result. And there are murderers and adultuerers who are truly dark. You say they are punished and suffer, yet for a while they prosper! With God’s blessings even! If this is wrong, prove it!

Bildad: God is great. Who could hope to be right before Him? Everything else is lowly.

Job: Well, aren’t you helpful to those who need insight? [sarcastically. He then takes three times as long as Bildad to explain how awesome God is, with far more apt language].

Job 21-23

Job: Let’s continue. I’ll speak, then you can mock me.

Why do the wicked live to an old age? See their children prosper? Celebrate? Die while still prosperous? Shun God? I’m not prosperous, so the logical conclusion is that I’m not wicked.

How often do you actually see the wicked destroyed? I know you plot to harm me: you know you never see any of that, and are trying to comfort me with empty words.

Eliphaz: It’s not because of good behavior that God is doing this to you. It’s because you oppress the poor, the widows, and the orphans. Learn from God, return to Him, and you will be restored to goodness (which is being a blessing to others).

Job: I wish I knew where God was, so I could discuss with Him. I can find Him nowhere. And I would pass any test of His: I am blameless. Nevertheless, He will do what He will with me, and for that I fear Him.

Job 17 – 20

Job: I have absolutely no hope, not even in help or wisdom from you, my friends.

Bildad: Why do you say we are unwise? Indeed, it is true, the wicked suffer.

Job: Again you accuse me! If I’ve erred, it’s MY error. And if you’re accusing me because of my circumstances, God did this to me! My friends, have mercy on me! Isn’t it enough that God opposes me? I wish my words were recorded*. I know my Redeemer lives, and will do so until the end. And I will see God myself.

Zophar: You insult me, but know this: God opposes the wicked, because of the things they do.**

*If I’m reading this right, it’s a reference to Sumerian-style clay tablets. This book is very very old.

** He makes a specific list of accusations,things they would have known Job was guilty of, but had never mentioned before. So likely not true. Also noteworthy is that this list is mostly about oppressing the poor. If I recall, oppression of the poor being among the greatest of evils will be a scriptural theme.

Job 14-16

Job (continued): Man is born lowly, what can You really expect from one? Also, we do not restore ourselves like plants who can live as long as the root survives. Your wrath consumes us completely.

Eliphaz: Don’t speak empty foolishness! Who are you to speak of wisdom and knowledge, especially before God? The heavens are foolish compared to Him, let alone a sinful one like you. Let me teach you known wisdom: the wicked man is completely destroyed because of his wickedness.

Job: Easy for all of you to say, you’re not suffering. Whether I speak my words or not, I suffer. God has done all of these horrible things to me. But all of this is witnessed before Him, even as you scorn me for wanting to discuss with Him as I would do with any other man who had wronged me.

Job 10-13

Continuing in Job:

 

Job: I hate my life, so I’ll speak freely: don’t just condemn me, tell me why! You don’t see things the same as we do, Your standards are different. Why do you seek to destroy something You fashioned? Wouldn’t it have been better to never have made me?

Zophar: This kind of talk must be answered! You are so unwise compared to God. You should humble yourself, and things will turn around. In contrast, the wicked will be destroyed.

Job: (Sarcastically) Wow, you really are wise! (/sarcasm) But I’m wise too. Those who aren’t suffering don’t understand suffering. And the unjust thrive. Nature itself cries out that God did this to me, it is not karma. What God does is ultimate, no-one can resist.

I’ve seen God do great things, I am not less than you. I just want to discuss my circumstances with Him. As for you, it’d be better if you were silent. If you misrepresent God, He will rebuke you. As for me, I hope to come before god, even if it destroys me. The ungodly can’t even hope for that much. I only ask two things: remove Your hand from me, and tell me what I have done to deserve this.

Job 6-9

Continuing in Job:

  • Job: I can’t express how bad things are; God is against me. I wish He’d just finish me off. And friends who refuse kindness are not doing God’s will. It’s not like I’ve asked any material benefit from you. Teach me and I’ll listen, but you don’t know what you’re talking about. Life is hard and short, so I’m not going to keep silent. God, why do you make things so hard on me? I’m just a man, why should I have Your attention? And if I do sin, why do you punish so harshly, why can’t You just forgive it?
  • Bildad: Woah, stop! God is just. If your kids sinned, they got what they deserved. And you should repent, surely God will restore you. Those apart from God don’t last, but God supports the blameless.
  • Job: True, but blameless before God? We are impossibly less smart, less wise, and less powerful. I’m right, but how could I answer Him? If I tried, He’d just argue circles around me. If only there was a arbiter between God and I, then I could make my case.

Job 1-5

Hey, it’s the first time this chronological reading plan has jumped me around. Exciting! So, I’m moving to the book of Job.

As it starts, we learn that Job is a righteous man, and is fantastically wealthy. But God gives Satan permission to test him, and Job loses everything: his livestock, his servants, even his children. When he didn’t curse God, Satan then got permission to take his health too. Job’s wife tells him to curse God, Job tells her she’s foolish. Job’s friends come to comfort him, and he was in such shape that they didn’t recognize him at first, and they sit in shock for a week.

Now, the rest of this book is a philosophical discourse between Job and his friends. The poetic style is amazing, but it’s really easy to lose track of the points being made. So I’m going to try and summarize those. There’s an off chance I might come back and comment, but for now, I’m just planning to summarize.

  • Job:It would be better if I had died at birth than to suffer like I am doing.
  • Eliphaz: The innocent prosper, the guilty are punished. And all are guilty before God. You should seek Him. He might be disciplining you, but He’ll restore and protect you.

Genesis 9:18-11:26

We finish the story of Noah with the implication (translations seem uncertain) that he first discovered alcohol. And drunkenness. This abuse of a good thing shows we’re back to sin pretty quickly. And Canaan used the opportunity of his father’s sin to apparently invent gossip. Noah curses him (perhaps unfairly, especially because it affects Canaan’s descendants), and millenia later others use that curse to justify reprehensible behavior.

After that it’s genealogy stuff until Babel. Again, this is a familiar story. But it seems most tellings editorialize in a lot of motivations that aren’t actually stated. I really hate when they do that. Anyways, the people want to build a city with some great works in it so they aren’t dispersed. And it seems God wanted to prevent those great works. Or just to disperse the people. Hmm…given the command to Adam and Eve to multiply and subdue the Earth, I’d guess the latter was a greater motive than to destroy great works. In any case, there’s no mention of the morality of them building a city, or a tower, or a ziggurat (I’ve hear that archeology suggests a ziggurat is more likely than a tower). See, this is why it’s good to read the Bible for yourself; you notice details other leave out or add in.

After that, there’s more genealogy to the end of the chapter. Or nearly to the end.

Genesis 6-9:17

So, I had some former notes on Genesis 6, but I didn’t like them. So after a bit of a break, I’m rereading and rewriting.

Genesis 6:1-8 is just full of theological debate bait. Exactly what were the Nephilim? How can God apparently change His mind? How did Noah find favor with God? I feel like I’ve seen too many debates on these, so I’ll just move on.

So, the story of the flood is pretty well known. But I have a few stray thoughts. First, in verse 18 is (I think) the first covenant mentioned in the Bible. And it’s an all-God one, He has no conditions on Noah. In chapter 8, I find the phrase “But God remembered Noah” striking and I don’t know why. Then in 8:20 is the first sacrifice mentioned since Cain and Abel. And it immediately precedes God’s promise to not reflood the Earth. That’s cool timing!

Genesis 4-5

Chapter four begins with Cain killing Abel over sacrifices being accepted. One generation from the fall and we’ve already got murder. Sin is brutal.

Then we’ve some genealogical bits, which I tend to not find interesting. But check out the last sentence: ‘At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.’ That’s interesting to me, and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. The origins of petitionary prayer, perhaps? I’m gonna check to see what Matthew Henry has to say about this.

He points out that Adam and Eve had lost both sons in a day, and this is the first time we see them in this chapter. We see God restoring them, first by giving them a new son (followed later by more children), then restoring their worship of Him. Also, the sins of Cain and later of Lamech may have driven people back to God.

Chapter five has more genealogy. Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. Enoch is recorded to have walked with God. That’s cool, I’d like to be remembered that way. And that we end with Noah signifies the next chapter will be interesting.

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