Dec 25: Job 34 | Zec 10 | Rev 10, 11

Reading 1 - Job 34:5-9

Elihu is speaking: "Job says, 'I am innocent, but God denies me justice. Although I am right, I am considered a liar; although I am guiltless, his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.' What man is like Job, who drinks scorn like water? He keeps company with evildoers; he associates with wicked men. For he says, 'It profits a man nothing when he tries to please God' " (Job 34:5-9).

"It was natural that, with all his reverence for Job, Elihu should be offended by the heat and passion of his words, by the absence of moderation and self-restraint, and tell him that 'this strained passion did him wrong.' No doubt it is easier for a friend on the bank to maintain his composure, than it is for the man who has been swept away by the stream of calamity, and is doing instant battle with its fierce currents and driving waves. Job is not to be overmuch blamed if, under the stress of calamity, and stung by the baseless calumnies of the friends, he now and then lost composure, and grew immoderate both in his resentments and his retorts. Remembering the keen agony he had to endure, we may well pardon an offence for which it is so easy to account; we may cheerfully admit, as the LORD Himself admitted, that in the main he spoke of God aright; we may even admire the constancy and patience with which, on the whole, he met the provocations and insults of the friends; and yet we cannot but feel that he often pushed his inferences against the Divine justice and providence much too far: as, indeed, he himself confessed that he had, when at last he saw the LORD face to face, and carried his just resentment against the friends to excess. There are points in the progress of the story where he seems to revel in his sense of wrong, and to lash out wildly against both God and man. With fine moral tact, Elihu had detected this fault in his tone and bearing, and had discovered whither it was leading him" (Samuel Cox).

Reading 2 - Zec 10:2

"The idols speak deceit, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd" (Zec 10:2).

"In Zechariah's days the leaders of the people led them in any direction they could, as long as they did not lead them in the direction of God... It is exactly the same for the people of our day. Governments allow us free speech to speak out for any cause we like -- we can take up the cause for witchcraft, homosexuality, abortion or any other topic we fancy -- unless it happens to be Christianity. If we speak about Christ or try to turn people back to God we are labelled as brainwashing and trying to influence people against their will. No longer is the Bible read at school or prayers offered as governments prepare to discuss legislation. God has been kicked out of the lives of the people. So it is up to us, who still know God, to be leaders -- even against the opposition -- to lead people to God. In doing so we will save ourselves and, with God's blessing, those who follow us" (Robert Prins).

Reading 3 - Rev 10:10

"I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour" (Rev 10:10).

"While the reception of Yahweh's truth is itself a source of pure sweetness and peace, it makes us the subject of great bitterness afterwards in the feelings with which we view the state of the world and the wickedness of men around us on every hand. John, having eaten the book, was told, 'Thou must prophecy again before many peoples and nations and tongues and kings' (v 11). This shows that the book stood for divine knowledge: the eating for the act of acquiring that knowledge: and the purpose of its imparting that it might be communicated to others. We may take this as affording a hint to ourselves even now, for John is our brother if we be brethren of Christ" (Robert Roberts).


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