Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.
Job’s friend has accused him of great wickedness–of overextending credit to people beyond what they can pay back and then stripping them of their remaining assets” (22:1-11). The friend then counsels Job to try to get closer to God and to do what God wants, “If you pray, God will listen” (22:21-30).
Job responds “If, only. I’ve been praying. I’ve been asking God why that I have been punished this way. but I can’t seem to find him. He’s not anywhere that I’ve looked.” Job further responds to his friend’s attack by asserting, “I’ve done what God wants. I’ve never sinned.” (10-12).
Job is ready to give up, “I’d just like to vanish.”
Yet, even in this, Job says, “Still I’m not annihilated by darkness; he has hidden deep darkness from me.”
After reading Job 24, look at your daily newspaper (that is, if you are an old person like me and still read the printed paper; otherwise, read it online or catch the news on TV or radio.) How timely this chapter seems. We still have violence–by other people and by nature. We still have wealthy, powerful people who are able to protect themselves in ways the rest of us cannot.
Job says to Bildad, and to us, “Well, what are you doing to help?”
2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11
Paul explains that he has delayed returning to Corinth because of an earlier troubled visit. He asks them to forgive the trouble maker that had caused Paul the trouble there.
Boring and Craddock in their People’s New Testament Commentary sum it up for us:
Paul regards the church to be in a struggle with hostile demonic powers that resist its mission. Discord within the congregation is more than a problem of interpersonal relationships. Internal conflicts hinder the mission of the church and are thus a strategy of Satan.
A prayer for forgiveness. An assertion of God’s care.
Whosoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of anger will fail.
Those who are generous are blessed,
for they share their bread with the poor.
Prayer for Today: God, we turn to you for healing, both for our bodies but also for our congregations. Amen.