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Repent in dust and ashes

Job 42:1-7 From the first verse of the book, Job is presented as a blameless and upright man. The LORD is proud of Job’s matchless virtue (1:8; 2:3).  Job fears God and shuns evil.  And even when calamity falls he does not sin by cursing God (1:22; 2:10).  Instead, through all his laments and complaints, […]

Gird up thy loins

Job 38:1-41 “Brace yourself.” “Get ready to take it like a man.” “Roll up your sleeves, there’s work to be done.” These are all rough modern equivalents to “gird up thy loins.”  Essentially it’s a command to gather up your loose hanging robes (etc!), in a belt because action is called for. But perhaps we’re […]

I know that my Redeemer liveth

Job 19:21-29 What phrases do you use in consolation?  Imagine that you have some bad news to tell: “My credit cards have been stolen, they’ve cleared out my bank account…” How do you finish that sentence? …still, worse things happen at sea … serves me right for being so careless … I suppose I’m just […]

Escaped by the skin of my teeth

Job 19:1-20 Here’s one of the more famous phrases in the Bible.  We’ve probably all used it.  And we’ve probably used it in its biblical sense –to describe an extremely narrow escape.  But if we were asked to explain it, perhaps we’d struggle.  Why “skin of my teeth”?  Why not “hair of my kidneys”?  Or […]

Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward

Job 5:1-7; 6:1-10 When two massive egos clash we say that “sparks fly.”  But in Job, when “man” meets “world”   that’s when the sparks fly. As we’ve been reading, the book of Job is the story of man.  And at its heart is the question of innocent suffering.  Is there such a thing?  His miserable comforters say […]

Miserable comforters

Job 2:1-3:10 The world cannot abide innocent suffering.  It unnerves us, to put it mildly.  Some of this is compassion.  But much of it is fear and selfishness. Our (unconscious) thought processes go something like this:  If tragedy really is indiscriminate, then the world is an unsafe place in which to make my home.  If my […]

The LORD gave and the LORD hath taken away

Job 1:1-22 Job is a very old book.  Many scholars consider him to be a rough contemporary of Abraham.  That’s almost 2000 years before Jesus took flesh.  It might even have been the first biblical book to be written down.  Yet it appears fairly much in the middle of our Bibles.  This is because of […]

Carried away

2 Chronicles 36:1-23 Usually when we get “carried away” it’s not so serious.  Perhaps we’re a little overcome by a bout of silliness.  Or we lose track of the time in conversation.  Or we go a bit far as we rant about some pet topic. But getting “carried away” in the Bible was very serious.  […]

Put your house in order

2 Kings 20:1-21 The beginning of Solomon’s reign was far more illustrious than its end.  As with David his father, his downfall was a matter of the heart.  He should have been a man after the LORD’s heart.  And as christ he should surely have demonstrated faithful love for his bride, “But king Solomon loved many strange women” (1 […]

The Queen of Sheba

1 Kings 4:29-34; 10:1-13 We love to tell jokes about stupid politicians.  Here’s one: The President’s aide briefs him about international affairs: “‘Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed.” “Please no!  How terrible!” exclaims the President, aghast.  His staff are amazed at such emotion.  He continues: “Tell me again, how many is a brazillion?” Such jokes […]