October 26, 2015

Job 35-37
Elihu lit into Job again:  
“First you say, ‘I’m perfectly innocent before God,’ And then you say ‘It doesn’t matter a bit of difference whether I’ve sinned or not.’ ... Do you think He’s dependent on your accomplishments?...God’s not dependent on you behavior.  When times get bad, people cry out for help.  They cry for relief from being kicked around.  But never give God a thought when things go well...People are arrogantly indifferent to God--until of course, they’re in trouble...Job, you talk sheer nonsense-- nonstop nonsense!”  

Here Elihu took a deep breath, but kept going:..  
“It’s true that God is all-powerful, but he doesn’t bully innocent people...When things go badly, when afflictions and suffering descend, God tells them where they’ve gone wrong, shows them how their pride has caused their trouble...Angry people without God pile grievance upon grievance...But those who learn from their sufferings, God delivers from their suffering.  Oh, Job, don’t you see how God’s wooing you from the jaws of danger?  How he’s drawing you into wide open places--inviting you to feast at a table laden with blessings?...Above all, don’t make things worse with more evil---that’s what’s behind your suffering as it is!...

Remember then to praise his workmanship...Take a long, hard look.  See how great he is--infinite, greater than anything you could ever imagine or figure out!....Whether for discipline or grace or extravagant love, he makes sure they make their mark.  

Job, are you listening?  Have you noticed all this?  Stop in your tracks!  Take in God’s miracle-wonders!...Mighty God!  Far beyond our reach!  Unsurpassable in power and justice!  It’s unthinkable that he’d treat anyone unfairly.  So bow to him in deep reverence, one and all!  If you’re wise, you’ll certainly worship him. 

Matthew 21:23-21:46
Jesus then went back in the Temple and began teaching when some of the religious leaders demanded....”show us your credentials.  Who authorized you to teach here/”  

Jesus responded, “First let me ask you a question.  You answer my question and I’ll answer yours.  About the baptism of John-- who authorized it:  heaven or humans?”  They were on the spot and knew it... They decided to concede the round to Jesus.  “We don’t know,” they answered.  Jesus said, “Then neither will I answer your question.”

Jesus then told a story of a man who had two sons.  He told the first son to go out for the day and work in the vineyard.  The son answered, “I don’t want to.” Later on he thought better and went.  The father gave the same command to the second son.  He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ but never went.  “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?”  They said the first.   

Jesus said , “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom.  John came to you showing you the right road.  You turned your noses at him, but crooks and whores believed him.  Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change & believe him...            

He then told another story of the wealthy farmer who turned it over to the farmhands & in their greed killed the farmer’s son so that the owner got rid of the farmhands and gave the farmland to those who would work for him....

The stone the masons threw out is now the cornerstone.  This is God’s work; we rub our eyes, we can hardly believe it.