Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background

First Reading: Job Chapter 24 and 25

Job 24

"Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? 2 Men move boundary stones; they pasture flocks they have stolen. 3 They drive away the orphan's donkey and take the widow's ox in pledge. 4 They thrust the needy from the path and force all the poor of the land into hiding. 5 Like wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go about their labor of foraging food; the wasteland provides food for their children. 6 They gather fodder in the fields and glean in the vineyards of the wicked. 7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked; they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold. 8 They are drenched by mountain rains and hug the rocks for lack of shelter. 9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt. 10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked; they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry. 11 They crush olives among the terraces; they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst. 12 The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out for help. But God charges no one with wrongdoing.
13 "There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths. 14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up and kills the poor and needy; in the night he steals forth like a thief. 15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, 'No eye will see me,' and he keeps his face concealed. 16 In the dark, men break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they want nothing to do with the light. 17 For all of them, deep darkness is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness.
18 "Yet they are foam on the surface of the water; their portion of the land is cursed, so that no one goes to the vineyards. 19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow, so the grave snatches away those who have sinned. 20 The womb forgets them, the worm feasts on them; evil men are no longer remembered but are broken like a tree. 21 They prey on the barren and childless woman, and to the widow show no kindness. 22 But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. 23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. 24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain.
25 "If this is not so, who can prove me false and reduce my words to nothing?"

Job 25

25:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2 "Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven. 3 Can his forces be numbered? Upon whom does his light not rise? 4 How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? 5 If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes, 6 how much less man, who is but a maggot- a son of man, who is only a worm!"

Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 57

Psalms 57

57:1 For the director of music. [To the tune of] "Do Not Destroy." Of David. A miktam. When he had fled from Saul into the cave.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,for in you my soul takes refuge.I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High,to God, who fulfills [his purpose] for me. 3 He sends from heaven and saves me,rebuking those who hotly pursue me;SelahGod sends his love and his faithfulness.
4 I am in the midst of lions;I lie among ravenous beasts — men whose teeth are spears and arrows,whose tongues are sharp swords.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;let your glory be over all the earth.
6 They spread a net for my feet — I was bowed down in distress.They dug a pit in my path — but they have fallen into it themselves.Selah
7 My heart is steadfast, O God,my heart is steadfast;I will sing and make music. 8 Awake, my soul!Awake, harp and lyre!I will awaken the dawn.
9 I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;I will sing of you among the peoples. 10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;let your glory be over all the earth.

Bible Background


Part 7 of 7


We are told in the first chapters of Genesis that death was the ultimate punishment for sin. In Romans 6 we are told that the wages of sin is death. Sin--that which is in opposition to God-- cannot survive. The original pronouncement against sin is found in Genesis 3:17-19:

"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Death came because of sin. God could have killed Adam and Eve immediately. Instead he allowed them to live for a time. That time of living though included suffering and pain. As with any pain, there is a purpose. Pain tells us that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. If we did not have pain, when we cut ourselves we may not be aware of the injury. An untreated injury can cause premature death. Untreated sin can lead to eternal death. Suffering and pain is God's warning system.

Why do the righteous suffer? Consider these verses:


Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background