June 5 — Temptations — Job 30-32. Most men tend to be drawn into sin by their eyes. It was apparently also true for Job, and he guarded against it: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (31:1). This verse has been a good reminder to me for many years about trying to keep my mind and heart free from lust. Job later mentioned the sinful potential that “… my heart has gone after my eyes” (31:7) or that “… my heart has been enticed toward a woman” (31:9). So much for men. What is it that tends to draw women into sin? (I will leave that up to you ladies to decide!) All of us have weaknesses that have trapped us in the past. We need to recognize and admit those tendencies and find some way to guard against letting them ensnare us again.
June 6 — Youthful Pride — Job 33-35. When I was a young man and a new Christian, I warmly identified with Elihu, probably because of his youth. I remember thinking that he was wiser than Job’s other three friends and probably wiser than Job as well. I see him differently now. He reeked with pride. When we were introduced to Elihu yesterday, it said four times in the first five verses (32:1-5) that “he burned with anger” as he looked down on the arguments of Job and the three older friends (32:9). Today’s reading is filled with evidence of his critical pride: “Answer me, if you can …” (33:5), “… no fear of me need terrify you” (33:7), “Pay attention, O Job, listen to me … I will teach you wisdom” (33:31, 33), “Job speaks without knowledge” (34:35), and “Job opens his mouth with empty talk” (35:16). Whether we are young or old, we need to check ourselves for evidence of pride. If we compare ourselves to God rather than to people, we will have a humbler understanding of who we are.
June 7 — Still Human — Job 36-38. At the beginning of this book, God said that Job was “a blameless and upright man” (1:8). However, in chapter 38, God shows that there is still something lacking in Job: he is not divine and he does not know everything. A good look at the wonders of creation should remind all of us how far above us are the wisdom and power of God. That is a humbling consideration. We are all called to live a righteous life and we try our best but we are still human and we still have a sinful nature. Our humanness reminds us of our limitations and our sinfulness reminds us of our need for a Savior.
June 8 — Awesome God — Job 39-42. God’s response to Job emphasized the vast difference between human and divine understanding. God first showed Job his lack of understanding regarding the creation of the universe: “…when I laid the foundation of the earth” (38:4 ESV). Secondly, God pointed out Job’s ignorance regarding many created animals, like his ignorance about “when the mountain goats give birth” (39:1). Job’s response showed an overwhelming recognition of the awesome gap between his knowledge and that of God: “I lay my hand on my mouth” (40:4). God is infinite in wisdom, power, and love. What a privilege to have a personal relationship with such an awesome God! Now, let’s take our hand off our mouth and praise Him!
June 9 — Hebrew Poetry — Psalms 1-7. We were introduced to a large block of Hebrew poetry in the book of Job. Now, we will see all the Psalms couched in that form. What is Hebrew poetry? It does not rhyme like much of our English poetry, but it does use a lot of figurative language, like “He is like a tree planted by the streams of water …” (1:3). It also uses many couplets—two lines that have one of three different forms of relationship to each other. Probably the most common could be called “restated,” in which the second line says essentially the same as the first line but in different words:
“He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision” (2:4).
The second form might be named “expanded.” Here, the second line adds something to what the first line says:
“Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (1:5).
The third form could be termed “contrasted,” where the second line says something opposed to the first line:
“… for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish” (1:6).
June 10 — Too Busy for God? — Psalms 8-15. All of today’s psalms were written by David (Ps. 10 is really an addition to Ps. 9). David wrote 73 of these 150 psalms—almost half. Can you imagine a king who rules over a nation of several million, having time to write poetry?! He was not too busy to put God first. Are you? Even when he was being threatened with death from his enemies, he remembered God’s history of past victories and turned to Him in trust: “I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me” (13:5-6).
June 11 — My Strength — Psalms 16-19. When my older daughter was in 2nd or 3rd grade, we began a project of memorizing one verse of each book of the Bible. I don’t remember how far we got, but I know we got as far as the Psalms because Ps. 18:1 was her memory verse for that book: “I love you, O LORD, my strength.” It is simple but powerful. It expresses our feelings toward God, and it recognizes His ability and willingness to give us all that we need for living a life pleasing to Him. You might take this as your prayer for the day. Say it often, every time you think about Him, then you can say, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight” (Ps. 19:14).