October 24, 2016

Job 29-31 -  
Job now resumed his response: 
Oh how I long for the good old days...Oh how I miss those golden years when God’s friendship graced my home....when everything was going my way and nothing seemed too difficult...

Young and old treated me with respect;  I was honored by everyone in town.  When I spoke, everyone listened; they hung on my every word...I was known for helping people in trouble and standing up for those who were down on their luck...All my dealings with people were good.  I was known for being fair to everyone I met...A life deep-rooted and well-watered...After I spoke, they’d be quiet, taking it all in...I was their leader, establishing the mood and setting the pace by which they lived.  Where I led, they followed.  

But no longer.  Now I’m the butt of their jokes---But now I’m the one they’re after - mistreating me, taunting and mocking... Now that God has undone me and left me in a heap, they hold nothing back.  Anything goes...And now my life drains out, as suffering seizes and grips me hard...

”I shout for help, God, and get nothing, no answer!...What did I do to deserve this?... Haven’t I wept for those who live a hard life, been heartsick over the lot of the poor?  But where did it get me? I expected good but evil showed up.  I looked for light but darkness fell...

Weigh me on a set of honest scales so God has proof of my integrity.  if I’ve strayed off the straight and narrow...If I’ve let myself be seduced by a woman... Have I’ve ever been unfair to my employees...have I ignored the needs of the poor, ...If I’ve ever used my strength and influence to take advantage of the unfortunate...The fear of God has kept me from these things--how else could I ever face him?  Did I set my heart on making big money or worship at the bank?... Did I ever crow over my enemy’s ruin?  Did I hide my sin the way Adam did, or conceal my guilt behind closed doors?...Oh, if only someone would give me a hearing!....

The words of Job to his 3 friends were finished. 

Matthew 20 - 
“God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.  They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work...At 9 am, he told some others to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage.  They went.  He did the same thing at noon and again at 3 and 5 pm.  When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages.  Start with the last hired first and go on to the first.  When those who were hired first got the same wage as those who were hired at 5 pm, they groused angrily to the manager, “these last workers put in only an easy hour and you just paid them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.”  “Friend, I haven’t been unfair.  We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we?  So take it and go.  I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you.  Can’t I do what I want with my own money?  Are you going to get stingy because I am generous? Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.

Jesus, on the way to Jerusalem, took the 12 off to the side of the road and said, “Listen carefully to me...When we get to Jerusalem, the Son of Man will be betrayed by the religious leaders and scholars They will sentence him to death...

It was about that time that the mother of the Zebedee brothers came with her 2 sons and knelt before Jesus with a request.  “What do you want?” Jesus asked.  She said “ give your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest places of honor in your kingdom, one on your right hand, and one at your left hand.”  Jesus responded, “You have no idea what you’re asking.”  And he said to James and John, “Are you capable of drinking the cup that I am about to drink?”  They said, “Sure, why not?” Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you are going to drink my cup.  But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business.  My father is taking care of that.”  

When the 10 others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers.  So Jesus got them together to settle things down.  He said.....Whoever wants to be great must become a servant.  Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.  That is what the Son of Man has done:  He came to serve, not to be served---and then give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage....  

To the two blind men on the road after leaving Jericho who cried out for mercy, deeply moved, Jesus touched their eyes.  They had their sight back that very instant.