+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Opening – (Northumbria Community)
One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.
Full Reading: Job 7-9 (NLT) –
Job 7 (NLT) – “Is not all human life a struggle? Our lives are like that of a hired hand, like a worker who longs for the shade, like a servant waiting to be paid. I, too, have been assigned months of futility, long and weary nights of misery. Lying in bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning?’ But the night drags on, and I toss till dawn. My body is covered with maggots and scabs. My skin breaks open, oozing with pus.
Job Cries Out to God
+ Time flies by – “My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle. They end without hope. O God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again feel happiness. You see me now, but not for long. You will look for me, but I will be gone. Just as a cloud dissipates and vanishes, those who die will not come back. They are gone forever from their home—never to be seen again.
+ I hate my life – “I cannot keep from speaking. I must express my anguish. My bitter soul must complain. Am I a sea monster or a dragon that you must place me under guard? I think, ‘My bed will comfort me, and sleep will ease my misery,’ but then you shatter me with dreams and terrify me with visions. I would rather be strangled—rather die than suffer like this. I hate my life and don’t want to go on living. Oh, leave me alone for my few remaining days.
+ Why me? – “What are people, that you should make so much of us, that you should think of us so often? For you examine us every morning and test us every moment. Why won’t you leave me alone, at least long enough for me to swallow! If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of all humanity? Why make me your target? Am I a burden to you? Why not just forgive my sin and take away my guilt? For soon I will lie down in the dust and die. When you look for me, I will be gone.”
Job 8 (NLT) – Then Bildad the Shuhite replied to Job:
+ Stop whining – “How long will you go on like this? You sound like a blustering wind. Does God twist justice? Does the Almighty twist what is right? Your children must have sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved. But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, he will surely rise up and restore your happy home. And though you started with little, you will end with much.
+ You’re getting what you deserve – “Just ask the previous generation. Pay attention to the experience of our ancestors. For we were born but yesterday and know nothing. Our days on earth are as fleeting as a shadow. But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you the wisdom of old.
“Can papyrus reeds grow tall without a marsh? Can marsh grass flourish without water? While they are still flowering, not ready to be cut, they begin to wither more quickly than grass. The same happens to all who forget God. The hopes of the godless evaporate. Their confidence hangs by a thread. They are leaning on a spider’s web. They cling to their home for security, but it won’t last. They try to hold it tight, but it will not endure. The godless seem like a lush plant growing in the sunshine, its branches spreading across the garden. Its roots grow down through a pile of stones; it takes hold on a bed of rocks. But when it is uprooted, it’s as though it never existed! That’s the end of its life, and others spring up from the earth to replace it.
+ Repent and return to God – “But look, God will not reject a person of integrity, nor will he lend a hand to the wicked. He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, and the home of the wicked will be destroyed.”
Job’s Confession of Faith
Job 9 (NLT) – Then Job spoke again:
+ God is wise and mighty – “Yes, I know all this is true in principle. But how can a person be declared innocent in God’s sight? If someone wanted to take God to court, would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times? For God is so wise and so mighty. Who has ever challenged him successfully?
“Without warning, he moves the mountains, overturning them in his anger. He shakes the earth from its place, and its foundations tremble. If he commands it, the sun won’t rise and the stars won’t shine. He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea. He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky. He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles.
“Yet when he comes near, I cannot see him. When he moves by, I do not see him go. If he snatches someone in death, who can stop him? Who dares to ask, ‘What are you doing?’ And God does not restrain his anger. Even the monsters of the sea are crushed beneath his feet.
+ God is strong and just – “So who am I, that I should try to answer God or even reason with him? Even if I were right, I would have no defense. I could only plead for mercy. And even if I summoned him and he responded, I’m not sure he would listen to me. For he attacks me with a storm and repeatedly wounds me without cause. He will not let me catch my breath, but fills me instead with bitter sorrows. If it’s a question of strength, he’s the strong one. If it’s a matter of justice, who dares to summon him to court? Though I am innocent, my own mouth would pronounce me guilty. Though I am blameless, it would prove me wicked.
+ I am innocent and defenseless – “I am innocent, but it makes no difference to me—I despise my life. Innocent or wicked, it is all the same to God. That’s why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ When a plague sweeps through, he laughs at the death of the innocent. The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked, and God blinds the eyes of the judges. If he’s not the one who does it, who is?
+ I am under God’s judgement – “My life passes more swiftly than a runner. It flees away without a glimpse of happiness. It disappears like a swift papyrus boat, like an eagle swooping down on its prey. If I decided to forget my complaints, to put away my sad face and be cheerful, I would still dread all the pain, for I know you will not find me innocent, O God. Whatever happens, I will be found guilty. So what’s the use of trying? Even if I were to wash myself with soap and clean my hands with lye, you would plunge me into a muddy ditch, and my own filthy clothing would hate me.
+ I need a mediator – “God is not a mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial. If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together. The mediator could make God stop beating me, and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment. Then I could speak to him without fear, but I cannot do that in my own strength.
“I Lay it All “ – Prayers of the Saints Live
Blessing – (Northumbrian Community)
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Categories: Life in Christ