20 August 2018

Today's Readings and Stuff --- Monday, 20 August, 2018

Up at dawn.  Out of the house by 07:30 for an 08:15 doctor appointment for Yours Truly.  Except that I was wrong, it was for 08:30.  Finally saw the doc at 09:00.  Out of there shortly after, no Biggie, just a semi-annual check.  Back by 10:00, and got to eat a bite and have coffee, breaking the fast from last night.
Looked forward to an easy day.  Until panic call from Niece next door.  Has appointment for Great-Niece to have the stitches removed from her finger, my sister-in-law had promised to "watch" the great-nephew during the visit, but cancelled via text messages to husband and thence to niece, rather than a simple phone call.  So Wife (and I) ended up  with a very active 1-year old until after 2 p.m., totally unexpectedly.

But the day had started worse.  Shortly before I left for the doc, Wife had a call from an honorary great aunt.  (see below).  Great-Uncle Bob had passed away.  We'd been expecting it, we'd had a call about eight weeks ago to the effect that it wouldn't be long.  They've been living in South Carolina, FAR from here.  While his (current) wife is a Believer (or was:  I've not spoken with her in more than 25 years), he was not.  At all.  His health problems and his demise were in part because of age, around 79, but also from a veritable lifetime of heavy drinking.  It's a shame of course.  Under the circumstances, there will be a cremation and no ceremony, no "celebration of life", and no one has suggested that he's chanting with the angels.
What makes it worse is that he was an identical twin.  His brother, still living, lived right next door, as had been the case for most of their lives.  The fact that the (current) wives hated each other didn't help.  But now, the new widow is far from family, and the remaining twin is alone for the first time in his life.  Won't be easy.
Now, an explanation of family structure oddities in Wife's side.  The deceased was at one time married to Wife's late great aunt, her mother's sister.  Divorce and remarriage was long before I was on the scene so I don't know all the issues, or even all of the players:  the game of "serial monogamy" seems to have been a favorite, as is increasingly the case in many other regions.  So even describing the relationships gets downright weird.

We continue in the book of Job with chapters 21 and 22
Job is hard.  Very hard.  Job is described as a good man, a devout worshiper of the true Lord, about every good thing that can be said.  And catastrophe fell upon him, aggravated by the so-called help from his so-called friends.
During it all, he never gets an answer to the obvious question "WHY????".  Nor do we always.  When we truly surrender to the Lord, we like to think flowers and butterflies will follow.  Not always.  Job reminds us of that.  We are committed to trusting Him, no matter what, and that sort of blank check is hard for us, certainly for me.  Job conducted himself pretty well, better than I would have done.
I have, in my family tree (back a while) the names of those who were hideously and grotesquely killed and martyred for their faith.  Generally, by so-called "Christians".  Christians who were devotees of the Roman Catholic cult (generally no Greek or Coptic or Syrian Orthodox types, though likely from some Russian Orthodox types), and also the "Reform" types, meaning Lutherans, and Calvinists, generally meaning Presbyterians.  They died and suffered terribly.  I am one of their heirs, a product of that faith and that faithfulness unto death.  They were willing, and did, give all for the Lord.
It is important to remember that we are promised an eternal victory, not necessarily worldly success.  Many churches ignore that.  Many of those in the pews ignore it too, choosing -- as did Job's "friends" -- that worldly happiness is a mark of right living, and trouble is obviously a mark of the Lord's disfavor.  Not necessarily.  Tell Job, or Paul, John, or, for that matter, tell it to Jesus.
And there is some "splash" effect as well.  Job suffered, terribly.  So did his children.  Why??  I don't know, never have.

Job 21
1But Job answered and said,
2Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations.
3Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on.
4As for me, is my complaint to man? and if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled?troubled: Heb. shortened?
5Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth.Mark…: Heb. Look unto me
6Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh.
7Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?
8Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.
9Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.safe…: Heb. peace from
10Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.
11They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.
12They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.
13They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.in wealth: or, in mirth
14Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.
15What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?
16Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
17How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger.candle: or, lamp
18They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away.carrieth: Heb. stealeth
19God layeth up his iniquity for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know it.his iniquity: that is, the punishment of his iniquity
20His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst?
22Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high.
23One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet.his…: Heb. his very, or, the strength of, his perfection
24His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow.breasts: or, milk pails
25And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure.
26They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.
27Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me.
28For ye say, Where is the house of the prince? and where are the dwelling places of the wicked?the dwelling…: Heb. the tent of the tabernacles
29Have ye not asked them that go by the way? and do ye not know their tokens,
30That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.wrath: Heb. wraths
31Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him what he hath done?
32Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.grave: Heb. gravesremain…: Heb. watch in the heap
33The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, and every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before him.
34How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?

Job 22

1Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,
2Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself?as he…: or, if he may be profitable, doth his good success depend thereon?
3Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect?
4Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?
5Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?
6For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.the naked…: Heb. the clothes of the naked
7Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.
8But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it.mighty…: Heb. man of armhonourable…: Heb. eminent, or, accepted for countenance
9Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.
10Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee;
11Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee.
12Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!height of the stars: Heb. head of the stars
13And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?How: or, What
14Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.
15Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?
16Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood:whose…: Heb. a flood was poured upon their foundation
17Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?for: or, to
18Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
19The righteous see it, and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn.
20Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth.substance: or, estatethe remnant…: or, their excellency
21Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.him: that is, God
22Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.
23If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.
24Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.as dust: or, on the dust
25Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.defence: or, goldplenty…: Heb. silver of strength
26For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.
27Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.
28Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.
29When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.the humble…: Heb. him that hath low eyes
30He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.


Psalm 145

David's Psalm of praise.
1I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.
2Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.
3Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.and his…: Heb. and of his greatness there is no search
4One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
5I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.works: Heb. things, or, words
6And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.declare: Heb. declare it
7They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.
8The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.of great…: Heb. great in mercy
9The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
10All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.
11They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;
12To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
13Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.an…: Heb. a kingdom of all ages
14The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
15The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.wait…: or, look unto
16Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
17The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.holy: or, merciful, or, bountiful
18The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
19He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
21My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.


Galatians 3

1O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
16Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
17And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
18For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
19Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
20Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
21Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
22But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.