Reading 1 - Job 13:15
"Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him" (Job 13:15).
"Though He slay me, I will trust Him,"
Said the sainted Job of old;
'Though He try me in the furnace,
I shall then come forth as gold.
Though the "worms of deep affliction"
Cause this body to decay,
In my flesh I shall behold Him --
My Redeemer -- some glad day.
Though He slay me -- can I say it
When I feel the searing fire,
When my fondest dreams lie shattered --
Gone my hope and fond desire?
Though He slay me, I will trust Him,
For He knows just how to mold,
How to melt and shape my spirit --
I shall then come forth as gold!
Reading 2 - Nah 3
"Nineveh is doomed! So came the voice of the second prophet who was required to set his face against the northern oppressor. About 250 years earlier, Jonah was sent with a message of repentance, and was received by the people of this Gentile city in gratitude. The judgment of Yahweh waited in the days of Jonah, but was unleashed in those of Nahum. Nineveh had deteriorated in morality, and had returned to its former wickedness. Its history was stained with blood, and it became the focus of divine judgment. The voice of Nahum (whose name means 'Consolation' or 'Comfort' and is found in the name of Capernaum), reflected the abhorrence of Yahweh. He spoke of:
The cause of the overthrow: vv 1-5.
The lesson of the overthrow: vv 6-13.
The certainty of the overthrow: vv 14-19.
"Nineveh represents the world of today, which captures and destroys the spirit of the Truth for those who involve themselves in worldliness. The prophet ironically bids the Ninevites to prepare for a long siege, and to anticipate their destruction. The prophecy is most appropriate for today, as we live on the eve of the ultimate judgment of God. Nahum joins with Jonah to represent the two advents of Christ: the first to reveal the ministry of reconciliation; the second advent to bring judgment against an evil world" (GE Mansfield).
Reading 3 - 1Pe 1:13
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1Pe 1:13).
The first phrase in the NIV replaces the KJV's literal translation "Gird up the loins of your mind." The figure is of a man gathering the folds of his long garment and tucking it into his belt so that he can move freely and quickly (cf 1Ki 18:46; Jer 1:17; Luk 17:8). This was especially true at Passover (Exo 12:11). Related uses of the figure occur in Luke 12:35 and Eph 6:14. "Pull yourselves together" is a comparable English idiom.
"Discipline yourself. Keep bringing yourself back very frequently to the basic purpose of your life. As far as practical, pause very briefly every hour on the hour for reorientation of your thoughts and activities. Put aside all passing problems for a moment alone with God and with His eternal peace. Our greatest problem is distraction and forgetfulness. The whole weight of the natural mind is toward low and present things. We must keep pulling the mind upward. It is not merely for man's convenience that God has caused the day to be divided into hours. They should be points of reference, compass settings, memory markers. Like the year and the month and the day and the seven-day cycle, they are measuring milestones to remind us to pause, review and refresh ourselves. We mean well, we plan well, and we determine well: but remembering and staying consistently on course are our besetting problems. Set yourself up periodic memory points, course-checking points. Of course the ideal is constant unwavering awareness; a perfect, undeviating, arrow-straight course toward the eternal goal. But we are weak creatures. Life is an endless, painful (though joyful and glorious) struggle to keep bringing ourselves back to being what we ought to be and doing what we ought to do" (GV Growcott).
"Be self-controlled": The Greek present participle is "nephontes" and implies another figure. The original meaning of "nepho" related to abstaining from excessive use of wine. In the New Testament its sense broadens to "live soberly" -- a meaning that embraces sound judgment in all areas of life.
"Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed": Now we are God's children, John wrote, but when Christ returns, we will be like him (1Jo 3:2,3). This longing for the Second Coming permeates the New Testament writings (cf Act 1:11; Rom 11:26; 1Co 15:51; 1Th 4:13-17; Heb 9:28; Jam 5:8; 2Pe 3:12,13; Rev 1:7; 19:11; 22:7-20).