29:1 And Job again took up his discourse, and said:
2 “Oh, that I were as in the months of old,
as in the days when God watched over me,
3 when his lamp shone upon my head,
and by his light I walked through darkness,
4 as I was in my prime,
when the friendship of God was upon my tent,
5 when the Almighty was yet with me,
when my children were all around me,
6 when my steps were washed with butter,
and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!
7 When I went out to the gate of the city,
when I prepared my seat in the square,
8 the young men saw me and withdrew,
and the aged rose and stood;
9 the princes refrained from talking
and laid their hand on their mouth;
10 the voice of the nobles was hushed,
and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.
11 When the ear heard, it called me blessed,
and when the eye saw, it approved,
12 because I delivered the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to help him.
13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,
and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
my justice was like a robe and a turban.
15 I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
16 I was a father to the needy,
and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.
17 I broke the fangs of the unrighteous
and made him drop his prey from his teeth.
18 Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,
and I shall multiply my days as the sand,
19 my roots spread out to the waters,
with the dew all night on my branches,
20 my glory fresh with me,
and my bow ever new in my hand.’
21 “Men listened to me and waited
and kept silence for my counsel.
22 After I spoke they did not speak again,
and my word dropped upon them.
23 They waited for me as for the rain,
and they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.
24 I smiled on them when they had no confidence,
and the light of my face they did not cast down.
25 I chose their way and sat as chief,
and I lived like a king among his troops,
like one who comforts mourners.
Still answerless, Job recalls lost days of old, just months ago. Notice where he begins: his relation to the Lord, when God "watched over" him, lit up his life, was "friend."
With his children near, Job was a legend in his home & community. His counsel was sought from the simple and the wise. Everyone called him "blessed." He delivered the burdened, fatherless & poor, upheld justice for the mistreated, cared for widows, comforted mourners, and directed the way of strangers.
He was respected, loved, sought & admired. But now? Now those who once sought him, mock him, chide & rebuke him. His status has diminished, popularity plummeted. His comforts are few. His friends... Who? God? Such has become the life of this "blameless, upright," elect man of the Most High.
Dare we pray: Father, for Your glory and our dependence upon & joy in You, make us more like Job, more like Jesus: a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, loved of the Father.
18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! 8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
Master-Servant has manifested the Kingdom way, yet His followers inquire not of how to serve, but "Who will be greatest?" Ugh.
A child has little-to-nothing to offer, but everything to receive. The ministry of Jesus changes the "great" into dependent, humble, receiving children. What a mistake it would be to hinder such salvation.
Rather than ignore the sin of a brother, disciples seek reconciliation. After much effort to bring it about, regard the repentless as unbelievers. Hatred? Disdain? No! Compassion, sorrow, supper with tax collectors, effort to win the lost to Christ, to persuade men to trade all sin for the Pearl of Great Price. With the Forgiver indwelling, forgiveness from the heart must abide in His Church 70 x 7.
How has the mercy you have been shown tempered the way you see others trapped in sin? Tempted to levy harsh sentences?
Remember and pray.