Job 38:1-11: The book of Job deals with the suffering of an innocent person. Job, even though a good and faithful man, experiences terrible suffering, and the loss of everything he has, including his health. His situation is so bad even his wife tells him to curse God and die (which he will not do). In the midst of his suffering three friends come to be with him. They begin to accuse him of unknown, yet horrible sins because they believe that sin is punished by horrible suffering, such as Job is experiencing. Through it all, Job continues to protest his innocence. The book of Job counters the idea that the righteous only receive good, and the suffering are getting their deserved punishment – Job is righteous, but suffers. Be very careful when you read the speeches of Job’s three friends – the book of Job counters their thinking.
Finally, near the end of the book, Job cries out for God Himself to come and vindicate him; his only hope for vindication is in God. God does come, out of a terrifying storm (a tornado?), and confronts Job’s hubris – how dare Job call on God for vindication and how dare Job question what God does? God puts Job in his place, reminding him that he (Job) does not have all the answers, and that there are some things Job (and all of humanity) will not know, including the answer to the question of why good people suffer. At the end of God’s speech, Job does humble himself before God. God does vindicate Job to Job’s three friends, and Job must intercede to God for them because they have acted unjustly toward Job. At the end of the book, God restores Job.
In the face of suffering that we cannot understand, let us trust in God’s sovereignty, let us keep in mind what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28, that God works all things for good for those who love God, for those called according to His purpose.
Psalm 124: Today’s Psalm is another of the psalms that a pilgrim would pray as they ascended up to the Temple to worship. Notice how the psalmist proclaims that the rescue and salvation of the people of God is in God alone. If it were not for God, they would have been destroyed.
Throughout history the message of God and the people of God have met with terrible resistance, persecution, and even death; yet, God’s Word continues to thrive and grow, purely by His grace and protection. Like the psalmist and the pilgrims who faced marauders and persecutors, let us trust in God and proclaim His ultimate protection.
2 Corinthians 6:1-13: In the Second Reading, we catch a glimpse of one of the problems going on in the church at Corinth – a group of people have come to Corinth and are tearing down the apostle Paul, his teaching, and ministry; and unfortunately the people of Corinth are listening to these lying slanderers. Paul must again defend himself, but more importantly, he must again defend the Gospel he has taught and proclaimed.
There is nothing new under the sun, today there are those who tear down the teachings of the Bible, the apostolic teachings handed down through the centuries, and substitute man-made ideas for the Gospel; many which sound so good, but which lead people away from Christ. Check out new and novel spiritual ideas in the light of the Bible, the whole Bible, not just a verse here and there.
Mark 4:35-41: We face all kinds of storms in life, the storms of weather, and the storms of life turned upside down and inside out. In the Gospel for today, the disciples faced a terrible storm on the sea of Galilee, the storm was so bad they thought the boat would sink and they would drown. In their fear they woke Jesus and cried out: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Of course He cares! He cares when we face terrifying weather, and He cares when the heartaches and hardships of life come crashing down on us. Like the disciples, call to Him; He is with us to rebuke the storms and to give us peace. The greatest peace we have is reconciliation with God and each other through Jesus, our Redeemer and Mediator.