Prayer Psalm: 51
Prayer Point: Is there any way of approaching God after you have sinned terribly? Psalm 51 is the prayer of a man who has committed adultery and murdered to cover it up. Read this psalm carefully and use it to confess your sins to God.
How do you think Mary’s question hit Jesus? Why do you think Jesus weeps when he knows that he is about to raise Lazarus from the dead?
What are the crowd’s two interpretations of Jesus’ weeping? Remember that Jesus pointed to his miracles as evidence that he was not a blasphemous, demon-possessed sinner, but truly the Son of God.
What is revealed about Jesus in his raising of Lazarus? What does this miracle tell us about his relationship with God the Father?
James, the brother of Jesus and widely recognized as a respected leader of the church in Jerusalem, gets up to help the church come to their final decision. How does he convince the church not to lay the burden of circumcision and the Mosaic Law on these new Gentile believers? What, in the end, are the Gentile believers required to do? How do you think the church makes it difficult today for people who are turning to God (Acts 15:19)?
Job 31:24-40 – Job Continues …
What two grave sins does Job describe in verses 31:24-25? (“If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’” (Job 31:24 NIV) clearly describes an idol. The history of Job occurs long before Moses had received the Ten Commandments. It is rather clear from this response that Job could already grasp that trusting in gold was sinning against God. Next: “… if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained…” (Job 32:25 NIV) This sounds like a sin of vanity – “I did this!” type of attitude.)
What is the next sin Job looks at? (Job 31:26-27) Remember, Job did not have the Ten Commandments as we do. (“If I had regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendor, so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage, then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.” (Job 31:26-27 NIV) Job describes what many people do even today. Some people become so enraptured by nature that they treat it as a god. This is also worship of a false god. Today there are people who value trees and animals more than human beings: we call them “tree-huggers” and PETA. Juxtapose this attitude against the laissez-faire attitude of abortion.)
Where does Job recognize that he has an obligation to his “neighbor”? (“If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune or gloated over the trouble that came to him – I have not allowed my mouth to sin by invoking a curse against his life…” (Job 31-29 NIV) Job recognizes something here “without the Law” which is commanded by the Law: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18 NIV) Jesus told us that this is the second of two commandments to observe. (See Matthew 22:34-40))
What virtue does Job claim he has practiced regarding the traveler (or stranger)? (Job was hospitable to the traveler or stranger. This was a cultural observance – considered a very important one.)
What does Job suggest we do which he charges that men do not do? (“… if I have concealed my sin as men do, by hiding my guilt in my heart because I so feared the crowd and so dreaded the contempt of the clans that I kept silent and would not go outside…” (Job 31:33-34 NIV) Job appears to believe that unconfessed sin (and apparently Job thought that the sin should be confessed to another person) can only lead to ruin.)
What does Job promise to do if God can accuse him of sin? (“…let my accuser put his indictment in writing. Surely I would wear it on my shoulder, I would put it on like a crown.” (Job 31:36 NIV) This tells me that Job was pretty sure of himself – that he believed he had not offended God in any way. – j.t.)
What does this chapter say about tending the land? (Job believed that he had a responsibility to the land too. “…if my land cries out against me and all its furrows are wet with tears, if I have devoured its yield without payment or broken the spirit of its tenants, then let briers come up instead of wheat and weeds instead of barley.” (Job 31:39-40 NIV) Many years later Moses would outline what the LORD had commanded regarding “rest” for the land: “The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. For six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.”’” (Leviticus 25:1-5 NIV) It is worthy of note that the people of Israel never observed this year of rest for the land. So, in this instance, Job was ahead of the curve.)