October 18, 2016

Job 15-17 - 
Eliphaz spoke a second time: “If you were truly    wise, would you sound so much like a windbag, belching out hot air?...Look at you!  You trivialize religion, turn spiritual conversation into empty gossip.  It’s your sin that taught you to talk this way... Do you think you’re the first person to have to deal with these things?...  Do yo think you’re the only one who knows anything?...Are God’s promises not enough for you, spoken so gently and tenderly?  Why do you let your emotions take over, lashing out and spitting fire,...I’ve a thing or two to tell you so listen up!  It’s what wise men and women have always taught, holding nothing back from what they were taught...Those who live by their own rules, not God’s can expect nothing but trouble...They live in constant terror, always with their backs up against the wall because they insist on shaking their fists at God, defying God Almighty to his face...They’ll never get ahead...There is a lesson here:  Whoever invests in lies, gets lies for interest....The godless are fruitless...
Then Job defended himself:  “I’ve had all I can take of your talk.      What a bunch of miserable comforters!...If you were in my shoes, I could talk just like you.  I could put together a terrific harangue & really let you have it.  But I’d never do that.  I’d console and comfort, make things better, not worse!  

When I speak up, I feel no better; if I say nothing, that doesn’t help either; I feel worn down...People take one look at me and gasp.  Contemptuous, they slap me around and gang up against me...I was contentedly minding my business when God beat me up...I sewed myself a shroud and wore it like a shirt; I lay facedown in the dirt.  Now my face is blotched red from weeping; look at the dark shadows under my eyes, even though I’ve never hurt a soul and my prayers are sincere.... I appeal to the one who represents mortals before God.     

My spirit is broken....Decent people can’t believe what they’re seeing;  the good-hearted wake up and insist I’ve given up on God.  But principled people hold tight, keep a firm grip on life, sure that their clean, pure hands will get stronger and stronger!...

So far I haven’t come across one scrap of wisdom in anything you’ve said.  My life’s about over...all my hopes are snuffed out...If all I have to look forward to is a home in a graveyard, if my only hope for comfort is a well-built coffin... Do you call that hope?...  No.  If hope and I are to be buried together, I suppose you’ll all come to the double funeral.

Matthew 16 - 
Some Pharisees and Sadducees were on him again, pressing him to prove himself to them.. Why can’t you read the signs of the time?  An evil and wanton generation is always wanting sign & wonders. “The only sign you’ll get is the Jonah sign.”  Then he turned on his heels and walked away.  On their way to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring along bread.    
In the meantime, Jesus said to them, “Keep an eye out for the Pharisee-Sadducee yeast.”  Thinking he was scolding them for forgetting the bread, they discussed in whispers what to do.  Jesus knew what they were doing and said, “Why all these worried whispers about forgetting bread?  Runt believers!  Haven’t you caught on yet?  Don’t u remember the five loaves of bread and the 5000... or the seven loaves that feed 4000 and how many baskets of leftovers you collected?  Haven’t you realized yet that the bread isn’t the problem? The problem is the yeast, Pharisee-Sadducee yeast.” Then they got it: that He wasn’t concerned about eating, but teaching, the Pharisee-Sadducee kind of teaching....

In Caesarea Phillipi, Jesus asked his disciples “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?”... “And how about you?  Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus came back, “God bless you Simon, son of Jonah!...God himself let you in on this secret of who I really am.  And now I am going to tell you who you really are.  You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out...He swore the disciples to secrecy.  He made them promise they would tell no one that he was the Messiah.  

Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, and then on the third day be raised up alive.  Peter took him in hand, protesting, “Impossible, Master!  That can never be!”  But Jesus did not swerve.  “Peter, get out of my way.  Satan, get lost.  You have no idea how God works.”   Then Jesus went to work on his disciples.  “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead.  You’re not in the driver’s seat. I am.  Don’t run from suffering, embrace it.  Follow me and I’ll show you how.  Self-help is no help at all.  Self-sacrifice is the way, to finding yourself, your true self.  What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself?  What could you ever trade your soul for?