Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Job 10:1
Job speaks out of his sufferings: "I loathe my very life;
therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness
of my soul" (Job 10:1).
"In a charming essay on music, a recent writer has gathered up
a great deal in one telling sentence. He speaks of the various moods of the
world's masterpieces of music -- the romance, the sorrow, the aspiration, the
joy, the sublimity expressed in them, and he adds that there is only one mood
forever unrepresented, for, 'Great music never complains.' At first, this seems
too sweeping. We remember so many minor keys, so many tragic chords, in the best
music. But, as we think over it longer, it becomes truer and truer. Great music
has its minor keys, its pathetic passages, its longing, yearning notes; but they
always lead on to aspiration, to hope, or to resignation and peace. Mere
complaint is not in them. The reason, after all, is simple. Complaint is
selfish, and high music, like any other great art, forgets self in larger
things. The complaining note has no possible place in noble harmonies, even
though they be sad. So, if we want to make music out of our lives, we must learn
to omit complaint.
"Some young people think it rather fine and noble to be
discontented, to complain of narrow surroundings, to dwell on the minor notes.
But it is well to remember that the one thing to avoid in singing is a whine in
the voice; and whining is perilously close to any form of pathos. 'Great music
never complains.' That is a good motto to hang up on the wall of one's mind,
over our keyboard of feeling, so to speak. The harmonies of our lives will be
braver and sweeter the more we follow this thought. Without it, fret and discord
will come, and mar the music that might be, and that is meant to be" (Biblical
Reading 2 - Mic 6:8
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the
LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with
your God" (Mic 6:8).
"When we are not thinking of God, the flesh is in control.
When we are thinking of God, the Spirit is in control. Our success is, and will
be, measured by how much of the time we are thinking of God. His Word is the
material of which spiritual thought is made. His law is our life-line. His
commandments are a light to our feet. His love is the fire that lights our
heart. Man is made to be part of God. There is no true life for man outside of
God. Man is made in God's image: a glorious beginning, a glorious foreshadowing
of what may be in the eternal beauty of its fulfillment. Blessed are they who
get closer and closer, and are finally absorbed forever into God" (GV
What God does want, Micah now tells us. He does so in a verse
justly regarded as one of the memorable and timeless expressions of Old
Testament ethical religion (cf Jam 1:27). It is the heart's response to God
demonstrated in the basic elements of true religion. This was shown to Israel in
the social concerns reflected in the Mosaic legislation.
God has told the people what is good. The Mosaic law
differentiated between good and bad and reflected God's will in many areas of
their religious and social lives. It indicated what God required of them. They
were to act justly (lit, 'do justice', or mispat). The word 'justly' has here
the sense of 'true religion', ie, the ethical response to God that has a
manifestation in social concerns as well (cf Mic 3:8). 'To love mercy' is to
freely and willingly show kindness to others. The expression 'to walk humbly
with your God' means to live in conscious fellowship with God, exercising a
spirit of humility before him. These great words recall similar words of our
Lord in Mat 23:23.
The prophet was not indicating that sacrifice was completely
ineffectual and that simply a proper heart attitude to God would suffice. In the
preceding verse he painted a caricature, a purposefully exaggerated picture, of
the sacrificial system to indicate that God has no interest in the
multiplication of empty religious acts. Jer 7:22,23 is often appealed to as
evidence that the prophets rejected the Levitical system; yet Jeremiah promised
that the offerings would be acceptable if the people were obedient (Jer
17:24-26). A similar attitude toward sacrifice is expressed in Psa 51:16,17, but
the succeeding verses show the author to be indicating that the Levitical
sacrifices are acceptable to God only when accompanied by a proper heart
attitude toward him (Psa 51:18,19).
The ethical requirements of v 8 here do not comprise the way
of salvation. Forgiveness of sin was received through the sacrifices. The
standards of this verse are for those who are members of God's family and
demonstrate the ethical response that God wants to see in those are under His
covenant. These standards have not been lessened for Christians, for the NT
affirms their continuing validity. We are still called to the exercise of true
religion, to kindness, and to humility (1Co 13:4; 2Co 6:6; Col 3:12; Jam 1:27;
1Pe 1:2; 5:5). Believers are in a covenant relationship with God in which the
law has been placed within their hearts (Jer 31:33; cf Heb 10:14-17); there it
lives and guides their actions -- so that the family likeness to their Heavenly
Father will be shown to all men.
Reading 3 - James 2:22
"You see that his faith and his actions were working together,
and his faith was made complete by what he did" (James 2:22).
"An old Scotsman operated a little rowboat for transporting
passengers. One day a passenger noticed that the good old man had carved on one
oar the word 'Faith', and on the other oar the word 'Works'. Curiosity led him
to ask the meaning of this. The old man, being a well-balanced believer in
Christ, and glad of the opportunity for testimony, said, 'I will show you.' So
saying, he dropped one oar and plied the other called Works, and they just went
around in circles. Then he dropped that oar and began to use the oar called
Faith, and the little boat just went around in circles again -- this time the
other way around, but still in a circle. After this demonstration the old man
picked up Faith and Works and wielding both oars together, sped swiftly over the
water, explaining to his inquiring passenger, 'You see, that is the way it is in
the believer's life. Works without faith are useless, and faith without works is
dead also, getting you nowhere. But faith and works pulling together make for
safety, progress, and blessing' " (Maritta Terrell).