Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Thursday, September 30, 2021

Job and His Friends

The Daily Bible Readings
Thursday, September 30, 2021
Psalm 26; Job 2:11—3:26; Galatians 3:23-29
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

In today’s lectionary readings, the psalmist apparently has been accused of some covenant violation. The best guess is idolatry. In our reading in Job, Job’s three friends came to console him, but so great was his affliction that they could not even recognize him from a distance. When Job broke his silence, he spoke from his emotional and physical agony and wished aloud that he had never been born. In our epistle reading, Paul is trying to draw the Galatians back to faith in Christ and not faith in the law for righteousness, for the law was given to reveal man’s sinfulness and guilt; to live under the law is bondage but to live by faith is the law does not bind freedom and Christians but Christ has set us free. In our verse of the day, Paul prays for knowledge and discernment.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Philippians 1:9-10

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.
Love is not merely a feeling—it is Jesus living in and through us (John 13:34, 35; 15:9–17; 1 John 4:7–21). If we say we believe in God and are maturing in our relationship with Him, but we are not growing in our unconditional love for others, something is wrong with our walk (1 Cor. 13). This is because as Jesus increases in us and we decrease, His loving nature should intensify within us as the evidence of His lordship in our life (Gal. 5:22, 23; 2 Pet. 1:3–8).

Once we accept Christ as our Savior, we are justified—declared not guilty of our transgressions (Rom. 5:1). Through His justification we are blameless in the legal sense—we no longer bear the penalty of our sins. Then He begins His work of sanctification. He transforms us into His image and trains us to make right choices— choices “that are excellent.” We not only refrain from the behaviors that harm our relationship with the Lord, but we live in a manner that brings Him great glory.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter

Psalm 26
Your Love is Before My Eyes

1 Vindicate me, Lord,
     for I have led a blameless life;
  I have trusted in the Lord
     and have not faltered.
2 Test me, Lord, and try me,
     examine my heart and my mind;
3 for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
     and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

4 I do not sit with the deceitful,
     nor do I associate with hypocrites.
5 I abhor the assembly of evildoers
     and refuse to sit with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands in innocence,
     and go about your altar, Lord,
7 proclaiming aloud your praise
     and telling of all your wonderful deeds.

8 Lord, I love the house where you live,
     the place where your glory dwells.
9 Do not take away my soul along with sinners,
     my life with those who are bloodthirsty,
10 in whose hands are wicked schemes,
      whose right hands are full of bribes.
11 I lead a blameless life;
      deliver me and be merciful to me.

12 My feet stand on level ground;
      in the great congregation I will praise the Lord.

Verses 1-5: David appeals to God to support him against those who plot evil against him. God has done a work of grace in his life, and this causes him to hate the company of worthless people and make every effort to live the sort of life that pleases God.

Verses 6-8: He desires righteousness, delights in worship, loves to spend hours in the house of God and enjoys telling others about God.

Verses 11-12: He therefore asks that he will not suffer the same end as the wicked (9-10). Though determined to do right, he knows that he will not succeed without God’s help.

From the Books of Wisdom
Job 2:11—3:26
Job and His Friends

1 When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

1 After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 He said:

3 “May the day of my birth perish,
     and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’
4 That day—may it turn to darkness;
     may God above not care about it;
     may no light shine on it.
5 May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more;
     may a cloud settle over it;
     may blackness overwhelm it.
6 That night—may thick darkness seize it;
     may it not be included among the days of the year
     nor be entered in any of the months.
7 May that night be barren;
     may no shout of joy be heard in it.
8 May those who curse days curse that day,
     those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.
9 May its morning stars become dark;
     may it wait for daylight in vain
     and not see the first rays of dawn,
10 for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me
      to hide trouble from my eyes.

11 “Why did I not perish at birth,
      and die as I came from the womb?
12 Why were there knees to receive me
      and breasts that I might be nursed?
13 For now I would be lying down in peace;
      I would be asleep and at rest
14 with kings and rulers of the earth,
      who built for themselves places now lying in ruins,
15 with princes who had gold,
      who filled their houses with silver.
16 Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child,
      like an infant who never saw the light of day?
17 There the wicked cease from turmoil,
      and there the weary are at rest.
18 Captives also enjoy their ease;
      they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout.
19 The small and the great are there,
      and the slaves are freed from their owners.

20 “Why is light given to those in misery,
      and life to the bitter of soul,
21 to those who long for death that does not come,
      who search for it more than for hidden treasure,
22 who are filled with gladness
      and rejoice when they reach the grave?
23 Why is life given to a man
      whose way is hidden,
      whom God has hedged in?
24 For sighing has become my daily food;
      my groans pour out like water.
25 What I feared has come upon me;
      what I dreaded has happened to me.
26 I have no peace, no quietness;
      I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

Verses 2:11-13: The friends of Job seem noted for their rank, as well as for wisdom and piety. Much of the comfort of this life lies in friendship with the prudent and virtuous. Coming to mourn with him, they vented grief which they really felt. Coming to comfort him, they sat down with him. It would appear that they suspected his unexampled troubles were judgments for some crimes, which he had vailed under his professions of godliness. Many look upon it only as a compliment to visit their friends in sorrow; we must look life. And if the example of Job's friends is not enough to lead us to pity the afflicted, let us seek the mind that was in Christ.

Verses 3:1-10: For seven days Job's friends sat by him in silence, without offering consolidation: at the same time Satan assaulted his mind to shake his confidence, and to fill him with hard thoughts of God. The permission seems to have extended to this, as well as to torturing the body. Job was an especial type of Christ, whose inward sufferings, both in the garden and on the cross, were the most dreadful; and arose in a great degree from the assaults of Satan in that hour of darkness. These inward trials show the reason of the change that took place in Job's conduct, from entire submission to the will of God, to the impatience which appears here, and in other parts of the book. The believer, who knows that a few drops of this bitter cup are more dreadful than the sharpest outward afflictions, while he is favored with a sweet sense of the love and presence of God, will not be surprised to find that Job proved a man of like passions with others; but will rejoice that Satan was disappointed, and could not prove him a hypocrite; for though he cursed the day of his birth, he did not curse his God. Job doubtless was afterwards ashamed of these wishes, and we may suppose what must be his judgment of them now he is in everlasting happiness.

Verses 3:11-19: Job complained of those present at his birth, for their tender attention to him. No creature comes into the world so helpless as man. God's power and providence upheld our frail lives, and his pity and patience spared our forfeited lives. Natural affection is put into parents' hearts by God. To desire to die that we may be with Christ, that we may be free from sin, is the effect and evidence of grace; but to desire to die, only that we may be delivered from the troubles of this life, savors of corruption. It is our wisdom and duty to make the best of that which is, be it living or dying; and so to live to the Lord, and die to the Lord, as in both to be his, Romans 14:8. Observe how Job describes the repose of the grave; There the wicked cease from troubling. When persecutors die, they can no longer persecute. There the weary are at rest: in the grave they rest from all their labors. And a rest from sin, temptation, conflict, sorrows, and labors, remains in the presence and enjoyment of God. There believers rest in Jesus, nay, as far as we trust in the Lord Jesus and obey him, we here find rest to our souls, though in the world we have tribulation.

Verses 3:20-26: Job was like a man who had lost his way, and had no prospect of escape, or hope of better times. But surely he was in an ill frame for death when so unwilling to live. Let it be our constant care to get ready for another world, and then leave it to God to order our removal thither as he thinks fit. Grace teaches us in the midst of life's greatest comforts, to be willing to die, and in the midst of its greatest crosses, to be willing to live. Job's way was hid; he knew not wherefore God contended with him. The afflicted and tempted Christian knows something of this heaviness; when he has been looking too much at the things that are seen, some chastisement of his heavenly Father will give him a taste of this disgust of life, and a glance at these dark regions of despair. Nor is there any help until God shall restore to him the joys of his salvation. Blessed be God, the earth is full of his goodness, though full of man's wickedness. This life may be made tolerable if we attend to our duty. We look for eternal mercy, if willing to receive Christ as our Savior.

From the Epistles
Galatians 3:23-29
Children of God in Christ

23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Verses 23-25: The law did not teach a living, saving knowledge; but, by its rites and ceremonies, especially by its sacrifices, it pointed to Christ, that they might be justified by faith. And thus it was, as the word properly signifies, a servant, to lead to Christ, as children are led to school by servants who have the care of them, that they might be more fully taught by Him the true way of justification and salvation, which is only by faith in Christ. And the vastly greater advantage of the gospel state is shown, under which we enjoy a clearer discovery of Divine grace and mercy than the Jews of old. Most men continue shut up as in a dark dungeon, in love with their sins, being blinded and lulled asleep by Satan, through wordly pleasures, interests, and pursuits. But the awakened sinner discovers his dreadful condition. Then he feels that the mercy and grace of God form his only hope. And the terrors of the law are often used by the convincing Spirit, to show the sinner his need of Christ, to bring him to rely on his sufferings and merits, that he may be justified by faith. Then the law, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, becomes his loved rule of duty, and his standard for daily self-examination. In this use of it he learns to depend more simply on the Savior.

Verses 26-29: Real Christians enjoy great privileges under the gospel; and are no longer accounted servants, but sons; not now kept at such a distance, and under such restraints as the Jews were. Having accepted Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and relying on him alone for justification and salvation, they become the sons of God. But no outward forms or profession can secure these blessings; for if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. In baptism we put on Christ; therein we profess to be his disciples. Being baptized into Christ, we are baptized into his death, that as he died and rose again, so we should die unto sin, and walk in newness and holiness of life. The putting on of Christ according to the gospel, consists not in outward imitation, but in a new birth, an entire change. He who makes believers to be heirs, will provide for them. Therefore our care must be to do the duties that belong to us, and all other cares we must cast upon God. And our special care must be for heaven; the things of this life are but trifles. The city of God in heaven, is the portion or child's part. Seek to be sure of that above all things.

Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

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