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Dec 13: Job 15 | Hab 2 | 1 Pet 3-5

Reading 1 - Job 15

Job 15-21: In this second cycle, the 3 friends merely restate their arguments from a different angle -- growing more harsh. They do not mention hope for the repentant, and instead describe more fully the fate of the wicked.

Job 15: "Having gone through the first series of trials (3 accusations from his friends, as the Lord Jesus faced three trials at the hand of the Jews, and three from the Gentiles), Job now faces a second series (Job 15-21). Eliphaz opens the trial, claiming that Job's words condemn divine law and are contrary to experience. He first alleges that:

  1. Job's argument are impious: vv 1-6; then

  2. claims that Job is conceited and arrogant: vv 7-16, and

  3. that teaching and experience proves Job a sinner: vv 17-35.

"Eliphaz is the most argumentative of the three friends, appearing calm and reasonable in his claims. He rebukes Job for the alleged impiety of his arguments (vv 2-16), and again urges that Job only suffered as a sinner on the grounds of experience: what he had seen and learned (vv 17-35). In this speech, his tone is much severer, as he has become exasperated with Job. It is also much shorter as he runs out of arguments. His rigid theory is epitomised in the statement: 'Remember I pray thee, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright cut off?' (Job 4:7).

"Of course, Job stands as a type of the Lord Yahshua, who was certainly 'cut off out of the land of the living' (Isa 53) though having done no sin. Thus the illustrations of Eliphaz (vv 20-35) are but thinly disguised allusions to Job, which must have cut the patriarch to the quick, and increased his sufferings. In this speech, Eliphaz claims that it is only the wicked who suffer. As such he rejects the principle of 'sacrifice that redemption might be obtained' " (GE Mansfield).

Reading 2 - Hab 2:4

"The righteous will live by his faith" (Hab 2:4).

The central affirmation of Habakkuk is the last part of Hab 2:4: 'the righteous will live by his faith.' There are three key words in this affirmation: righteous, live, and faith. It is interesting that in the three places where this verse is quoted in the New Testament, in each case a different word receives the emphasis:

  • In Rom 1:17, the emphasis is on 'righteous.' Paul's concern in Romans was with the righteousness of God and how people can obtain it.

  • In Gal 3:11, the emphasis is on 'faith.' Paul contrasted salvation by works and salvation by faith in Galatians.

  • And in Heb 10:38, the emphasis is on 'live.' The writer to the Hebrews stressed the importance of living by faith as a way of life rather than turning back to Judaism and living by the Law.

Thus we can see that this statement is packed with meaning. In fact, many people believe that this verse expresses the central theme of the entire Bible.

This verse may be amplified thusly: "The righteous (those who are justified and declared righteous by God -- being absolved of their sins) shall live (NOW, in their daily lives of faith, and in the FUTURE, in the day of resurrection and glory) by their faith (by acknowledging their utter dependence upon the LORD)."

Reading 3 - 1Pe 5:6

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time" (1Pe 5:6).

"Be humble, and then God will not need to humble you. Having to be humbled is very unpleasant (though wholesome). With wisdom, it can largely be avoided, by getting there first voluntarily. Of course, if you are not God's, He may not bother to humble you, He may just let you run out your animal course in your pride. But if you are His, humbling must come, one way or the other. Christ was humble -- 'Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.' He towered infinitely above everyone on earth. How then could he be sincerely humble? Because he realized that he was nothing, and God was everything. He did not (like so many) compare himself with those around him, but with God. He knew that all he ever did or was or understood was of God: the gift of God, the love of God. He had no illusions of his own innate strength or goodness or wisdom. He emptied himself -- his own natural, fleshly self -- and filled himself totally with God: or, rather, he submitted to God totally filling him, to perfectly direct every thought, word and deed. He was the perfect vessel for the Divine use. Let us try to follow him.

"A word of caution: we are not to sit supinely waiting for this to happen to us -- and then assume our own fleshly thoughts are God's. We are expected to strain to the limit to prepare ourselves for divine use by study of the Word and meditation and prayer and constant self-searching. We can be sure that that is the wise and scriptural course that Christ followed. Psa 119, and other psalms, tell us that" (GV Growcott).


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