My dad accompanied me to get my first-ever car loan at his bank. I was a college student with a part-time job and little money. The interview went like this: “Are you Bill’s son?” “Yes sir.” “Bill always pays his debts on time. How much do you need?” That was it—no paperwork, no background check. My father’s integrity opened the door; I got the loan.
Today’s scripture introduces us to Job, one of the Bible’s amazing characters who journeys through life’s ups and downs. From this one verse we learn Job has a nontraditional Israelite name and resides outside of Israel in the land of Uz. The verse further informs us that Job lives out his beliefs. He is a person of integrity, who seeks God and resists evil.
Life is full of decisions. In our baptismal vows my church asks candidates for baptism to make decisions: Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin? Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves? Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races?” (UMH, no. 34). We expect people to live out their responses.
Job’s story invites us to ask big questions of God and of ourselves. Can we live with integrity in the midst of chaos? Where is God in the midst of suffering? How does our definition of blessing differ from that of the world’s?
God, I want my life to have integrity. Help me make sure that my walk and my talk match. Amen.
This month we read about Job, an upright man who faces severe trials but never loses his faith. Job’s story brings us face-to-face with the fact that living a godly life does not make us immune to suffering. Like Job, the psalmist wonders why he suffers, even though he lives according to God’s standards. Hebrews presents Jesus as the ultimate example of unwarranted suffering, yet because of his perseverance he is ultimately glorified. In Mark, some Pharisees test Jesus on the interpretation of the law concerning divorce. Jesus makes strong statements about marriage, but his larger concern is that their hearts have become hard. He contrasts them with little children, who model faith by receiving God with an open heart.
• Read Job 1:1; 2:1-10. How do you live with integrity?
• Read Psalm 26. When have you turned to God, fully expecting divine intervention in a tough situation? What happened?
• Read Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12. When has your reaction to God’s showing up in unexpected ways resulted in a face-plant?
• Read Mark 10:2-16. How questioning a person are you? When have your questions helped you move below the surface of an issue to see the supporting understanding?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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