Scripture Focus: Job 22.23-30
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored:
If you remove wickedness far from your tent
24 and assign your nuggets to the dust,
your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines,
25 then the Almighty will be your gold,
the choicest silver for you.
26 Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty
and will lift up your face to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
and you will fulfill your vows.
28 What you decide on will be done,
and light will shine on your ways.
29 When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’
then he will save the downcast.
30 He will deliver even one who is not innocent,
who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
Reflection: Return From Financial Sins
By John Tillman
In 2008 the subprime mortgage crash caused the loss of $30 trillion dollars of wealth. Millions of people were affected, losing homes, jobs, and savings. Some committed suicide in the aftermath. In some ways, we still feel its effects today. Some even fear our economy is heading towards a repeat performance.
Perhaps this is because, for most of those who caused the crisis, the only punishment was the inconvenience of a government bailout or a corporate bankruptcy. Only one person went to prison, serving a thirty month sentence.
“Greed is good,” is still the mantra of our culture. Financial sins have to be outlandish before anyone cares, yet the poor are often sentenced to life in prison for non-violent offenses that harm no one.
One rarely hears sermons on financial sins that approach the passion and zeal of sermons about sex or drugs or pornography…unless one reads the Bible. We may consider them frivolous but when it comes to financial sins, God means business.
Eliphaz accuses Job of a litany of financial sins: taking financial advantage of the poor, leaving widows empty-handed, withholding water and food from the needy, crushing the orphan…
Eliphaz is wrong about Job committing these sins. However, it is notable that these sins are the ones for which Eliphaz assumes Job is receiving just punishment. His sores, his lost family members, his lost wealth…all because of financial sins.
Eliphaz is right about something. Eliphaz believes Job has sinned greatly but he also believes that anyone can be forgiven. After his false accusations, Eliphaz launches into a beautiful section describing the mercy of God for those who repent.
Most Christians believe that “sin is sin,” but we each probably consider some sins greater than others. We must remember that whether violent offender, venal embezzler, or vain powerbroker, any sinner can turn to God and be forgiven. Our justice system may be unbalanced, but Jesus calls both the corrupt tax collector in the tree and the thief on the cross to be with him where he is. (Luke 19.5; 23.43) Who are we to stand in their way?
May we gently and honestly tell sinners the truth about sin. (Not just the sins we most despise, but all sin.) May we also energetically and enthusiastically tell them the greater truth about forgiveness.
Our bones will waste away if we keep silent, but God will forgive any who approach him in humble confession. (Psalm 32.3-5)
Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Righteousness shall go before him, and peace shall be a pathway for his feet. — Psalm 85.13
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Job 22 (Listen – 2:54)
Psalm 32 (Listen – 1:34)
This Weekend’s Readings
Job 23 (Listen – 1:43), Psalm 33 (Listen – 2:08)
Job 24 (Listen – 2:56), Psalm 34 (Listen – 2:14)
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Read more about Incest, Greed, and Idolatry
Paul would have us as uncomfortable with greed and idolatry as we are with incest and other sexual sins. But are we?