Good Saturday to all.
This morning's reading is chapters 10, 11, and 12 of Job. Ever have the roof fall in and you don't understand why? Probably you have. You are not the first, and won't be the last: you are in good company. The 'WHY' of life, actually the multiple, are part of the human condition. Job found out. So do the rest of us, but we usually don't handle it even as well as he did. I will say this: it is a terrible feeling when you believe that even the Lord has abandoned you. He hasn't, if you are one of His, I can testify to that. But there are times you can't sense His presence and it's an awful feeling.
Job 101 My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
2 I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.
3 Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?
4 Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?
5 Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man's days,
6 That thou enquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?
7 Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand.
8 Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.
9 Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?
10 Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?
11 Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.
12 Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.
13 And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.
14 If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.
15 If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;
16 For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me.
17 Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.
18 Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!
19 I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.
20 Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,
21 Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;
22 A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.Job 111 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,
2 Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?
3 Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?
4 For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.
5 But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;
6 And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.
7 Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
8 It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?
9 The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.
10 If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?
11 For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?
12 For vain men would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.
13 If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;
14 If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.
15 For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:
16 Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:
17 And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday: thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.
18 And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.
19 Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee.
20 But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.Job 121 And Job answered and said,
2 No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.
3 But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?
4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.
5 He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.
6 The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.
7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:
8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?
10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
11 Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?
12 With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.
13 With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.
14 Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.
15 Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.
16 With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his.
17 He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.
18 He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle.
19 He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty.
20 He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged.
21 He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.
22 He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.
23 He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.
24 He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.
25 They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.
This evening's reading is verses 1-25 of the 8th chapter of the Acts. What happened next, after the martyrdom of Stephen. The believers did not slink off and hide. As a result of what happened, the Gospel spread all over, much more than would have been the case without the persecution that caused them to flee for their lives.
Acts 8:1-251 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
8 And there was great joy in that city.
9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the LORD for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.