26 August 2010

Aug 26

Reference links:
Old Testament

At this point, things are starting to get a little repetitive. Repetition is good for reinforcing a point, but it's somewhat unfortunate when you have to blog about it every day. =)

Zophar once again declares the success and joys of the wicked temporary. He continues to acknowledge that the wicked do prosper and enjoy their lives. However, Zophar believes that they eventually will taste bitterness and ruin. All they have will be destroyed.

Job points out that this is false. The wicked live full lives without regret or punishment. They seem to receive all of the good fortune God has to give. External success cannot be taken as a sign of God's pleasure or displeasure. It is as invalid to conclude that the wicked are actually righteous because they are successful as it is to conclude that the righteous are actually wicked because they experience misfortune.

One part of Job's speech reminds me of how many people deal with the problem of evil and the problem of injustice:
Look, I know what you’re thinking.
I know the schemes you plot against me.
You will tell me of rich and wicked people
whose houses have vanished because of their sins.
But ask those who have been around,
and they will tell you the truth.
Evil people are spared in times of calamity
and are allowed to escape disaster.
Job points out that those who defend a simplistic view of God and his relationship to humanity can always find some examples to support their view. However, if they would fairly consider all of the data, they would see that their simplistic views just do not hold up to reality.

Eliphaz continues to be the most annoying of the three companions. He seems to be trying to throw out different accusations to Job to see which one makes Job flinch. He is fully convinced that Job must have sinned to deserve this punishment. He also brings up the always repulsive idea that the righteous will rejoice at the punishment of the wicked. To me, Eliphaz stands as an obvious example of the self-righteous person. He is so convinced that his world view is correct that he freely condemns others.

New Testament

We start Paul's second letter to the Corinthians today. What does Understanding the Bible have to say about it:
A composite work consisting of several letters or letter fragments, 2 Corinthians shows Paul defending his apostolic authority (Chs. 10-13); the first nine chapters, apparently written after Chapters 10-13, describe Paul's reconciliation with the church at Corinth. ...
Many scholars believe that Chapters 10-13 represent the "painful letter" alluded to in 2 Corinthians 2:3-4, making this part necessary older than Chapters 1-9. Some authorities find as many as six or more remnants of different letters in 2 Corinthians
In short, things are probably going to seem a bit confusing and disjoint at times.

After greeting the members of the church in Corinth, Paul discusses the comfort that God provides to sufferers. Right near the beginning we have a verse that Job may have wished his three companions had known about,
[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
 Paul then goes on to talk about how trouble has taught him to rely more fully on God's help.

Psalms and Proverbs

Today's third proverb seems to reflect the overly simplistic views that the book of Job warns us against:
True humility and fear of the Lord
lead to riches, honor, and long life.