The Living Word for Sunday, October 24, 2021, is a non-denominational Bible study which relies on the Bible explaining the Bible, uninfluenced by any church’s traditions or preferences, and following the Bible’s sequence of progressive revelation. Read the whole passage first and let the Holy Spirit begin speaking to you through it, then go deeper with the verse by verse commentary and reflections. The week’s readings are as set by the Revised Common Lectionary, an inter-denominational resource shared by many different churches and chapels. The Bible version, widely used in contemporary churches, is the NIV © Biblica. Ref TLW42B
Job 42:1-6, 10-17 —Job’s encounter with God opens his eyes
Mark 10:46-52 – Blind Bartimaeus implores Jesus to heal him
Hebrews 7:23-28 – Only Jesus can save from sins completely
And also read: Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22
Theme: God and His purposes are good, all the time
• See also the linked article, Encountering God for Ourselves
• And a short video Encountering God for Ourselves
Job 42:1-6, 10-17 – Job’s encounter with God opens his eyes
He repents of his earlier poor understanding of God and His ways
1-2 Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that You can do all things; no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
“I know…” Job has realised two things from what the Lord has said to all of them, in His summing-up speech: (1) how unlike God he is, and (2) the message that God is both loving and all-powerful.
3 “You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures My plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
“You asked…You said” —Job quotes, with humility, what God had said at the beginning of His first speech. He is seeing God in a new way.
“Things I did not understand” — Job has spoken about God with accuracy and integrity, even if his understanding was now shown to have been limited. His friends had not, and their spokesman Eliphaz, Job 4:12-16, 42:7, had implied that his advice came from prophetic insight. God affirmed Job but not Eliphaz and his friends in their superficial doctrine about God who they clearly did not know.
5 “My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You.
“My eyes have seen You” — a deep encounter with God. Up until now, Job and his friends had heard about God but not seen or known God, Job 23:8, but now, like Isaiah, he had come to know God’s close presence and holiness, a massive leap in his relationship with God.
6 “Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
“I despise myself…I repent…” — Job is saying that he recognises the ignorance behind his words earlier and he repents of having such a weak understanding of God; not as his friends had urged, of moral issues.
10-11 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.
“The Lord restored… him” — the last words we heard from Job are repentance (v.6). Now we hear of Job’s restoration and the extent to which God blessed him. The two are linked.
12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.
13-15 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.
“The Lord blessed…” — wealth was counted in head of livestock as much if not more than possession of silver. The daughters’ names are all descriptive of beauty. Job’s restitution is twice the number of animals, but not children – Job already had seven sons and three daughters waiting for him in heaven.
16-17 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years.
“Full of years” — ripe old age, like Abraham and Isaac, Gen. 25:8; 35:29, being a sign of God’s blessing.
SUMMARY Job made mistakes in his attitude to God while he suffered. However, he was honest in his attempts to challenge God, while his counsellors gave him impressive-sounding statements that fell short of showing that they actually knew God. Job admitted that his relationship was more knowledge than heart, He was commended by God for this, while his opinionated counsellors were rebuked.
APPLICATION God wants us to go deeper with Him. He wants our hearts, not our lip-service, and sometimes He allows setbacks in which He gets our attention — and seeks to grow us through them. Job’s unpretentious honesty before God open the way to blessing, while the pompous statements of his friends who did not actually know God serve as a warning to us to teach others out of our personal relationship, not a theological viewpoint.
QUESTION What in this study suggests that God want our hearts more than our church attendance or money?
Mark 10:46-52 – Blind Bartimaeus implores Jesus to heal him
A man without sight perceives Jesus and His kingdom better than the disciples
46-47 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and His disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
“Jericho” — the new city built by Herod the Great, to the south of the ancient and abandoned one. Bartimaeus was “by the roadside begging” outside the city on the pilgrim route to Jerusalem, where Jesus and the crowd were going.
“Bartimaeus” — he was branded ‘son of impurity’, reflecting Jewish tradition that blindness resulted from sin, John 9:1-3.
“Jesus, Son of David” — prepares hearers or readers for the “Hosanna” shouts of the crowd at Jerusalem.
“Mercy” — undeserved kindness, which Scripture repeatedly shows to be God’s character. The unseeing Bartimaeus is seeing how Jesus is the Messiah and personifies God’s merciful character in bringing the kingdom to poor people with disabilities like him, Luke 4:18-19.
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
“Many rebuked him” —regarding him of no status and no account, as they had earlier with children, Mark 10:13-14.
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“What do you want…” — Jesus’ ‘unnecessary’ question drew out the blind man’s faith as he then spoke out his expectation. Jesus gives the blind man what he asks for in faith. Mark draws a parallel with the spiritual blindness and slow learning of James and John earlier, to whom He put the same question.
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
“Your faith has healed you” – and this time without touch, unlike the previous occasion when a blind man was healed, Mark 8:22-26.
• For further study on faith and healing (sozo, literally ‘saved’) see Mark 5:23, 28, 34; Mark 6:56, Matt. 9:22, Luke 8:48.
SUMMARY The blind man’s humble acclamation of who Jesus is — Son of David, the embodiment of God’s mercy without condition – leads to an astounding healing miracle. At the same time the disciples, who in another way were somewhat blind to who Jesus was and what His earthly life was about, start to see their world through God’s eyes.
APPLICATION God’s higher purpose starts to become reality with Jesus, who embodies God’s kingdom purpose and order. We view our world, wrongly, with us at the centre, God somewhere on the edge and a lack of overall perspective. God invites us to join Him by putting what He is doing at the centre of our picture, even if it continually challenges our understanding.
QUESTION How might God do this kind of saving today? What might He require of us?
Hebrews 7:23-28 – Only Jesus can save from sins completely
The old priesthood is obsolete with the Lord the only intermediary we need
22b-25 Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant. Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.
“Permanent priesthood” – the language is that of something which cannot be changed. Now people will (1) never be without a priest to represent them to God, and (2) one who lives forever and therefore saves forever, (3) in a way which is now fully effective, unlike the old order of priests, explained more in Hebrews 10:1-4;10-14.
26 Such a high priest truly meets our need — One who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
“Holy, blameless, pure, set apart” — the high priesthood of Jesus, who had no sin nature, is incomparably superior to the former Levitical priesthood which was weak and earthly with the flaws of unredeemed human nature.
27 Unlike the other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself.
“He does not need to offer sacrifices” – from a different starting point, Jesus represents a completely different order of priesthood “unlike the other high priests” who sacrificed only animals, an imperfect substitute. Our high priest offered Himself.
28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.
“The oath… after the law” – a verse which echoes Hebrews 5:1-3 and sums up the whole discussion of Hebr. 5:1-10; 7:1-28 of Christ’s appointment from perfect (complete) qualification, to a far superior high priesthood that the Levitical priesthood could never achieve. The oath refers to Psalm 110:4, a declaration of God’s promise of an eternal priest, over and above the earlier giving of the law and establishment of temporal priests and high priests.
SUMMARY Jews who were now part of the Christian church, worshipping God through their own relationship with Jesus, were confused. Although rendered obsolete by Jesus’ death and resurrection, the temple priesthood carried on until the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD. But now they have become aware, as 1 Peter 2:9, Rev 1:6 teaches, that every believer is a priest with royal privileges, as sons and daughters of the king! The writer of Hebrews seeks to explain this transition in terms these Jewish believers, including many former priests, could relate to.
APPLICATION Like the superseded temple worship that carried on regardless, we are prone to keep doing in our own strength what God is no longer blessing. In some parts of the more formal Christian church there is more form than faith, in seeking to re-create something like the temple institution with its orders of priesthood. Hebrews makes the folly of this clear. The only intermediary any of us need is our Lord Jesus Christ. He has identified with our world and our sin, before paying the price for it and ascending into heaven to take up a role for which He, alone, is qualified. This is an important part of the Good News. We will never be qualified to have fellowship with the Father, but Jesus has, and He is the Way for every one of us.
QUESTION If you know Jesus, how confident are you about representing before God someone else with a need — especially the need of salvation and new life?
PRAYER Father God, so many things that we think we see clearly, turn out to have a greater purpose or heavenly timescale or a different way of working out than we know at first.
Help us to be of “earthly use by being heavenly minded” as we grow in faith.
Teach us this from Your word in these passages, where the story starts one way and ends — Your way! For the glory of Jesus, Amen.
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