Job 23 & 1 Corinthians 10

Job 23

    Then Job answered and said:

    “Today also my complaint is bitter;
        my hand is heavy on account of my groaning.
    Oh, that I knew where I might find him,
        that I might come even to his seat!
    I would lay my case before him
        and fill my mouth with arguments.
    I would know what he would answer me
        and understand what he would say to me.
    Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?
        No; he would pay attention to me.
    There an upright man could argue with him,
        and I would be acquitted forever by my judge.
    “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,
        and backward, but I do not perceive him;
    on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
        he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.
    But he knows the way that I take;
        when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
    My foot has held fast to his steps;
        I have kept his way and have not turned aside.
    I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
        I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.
    But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?
        What he desires, that he does.
    For he will complete what he appoints for me,
        and many such things are in his mind.
    Therefore I am terrified at his presence;
        when I consider, I am in dread of him.
    God has made my heart faint;
        the Almighty has terrified me;
    yet I am not silenced because of the darkness,
        nor because thick darkness covers my face.

(Job 23 ESV)

1 Corinthians 10

    For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

    Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

    Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

    “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.” If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience—I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

    So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

(1 Corinthians 10 ESV)

1 Corinthians 10: So many of us get so caught up in the nuances of external behaviors that we overlook the internal motivations of the heart that God truly values the most. Paul uses imagery and a reference from Israel’s journey in the wilderness in order to show that simply being externally associated with Christianity is not enough. Paul encourages a heart of sincere and serious devotion to God that avoids the assumption that mixing worldly practices into the Christian life is completely harmless. 

Paul quoting Exodus writes, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” How many of us put on our spiritual suit and cap every Sunday morning before returning to our worldly ways less than twenty-four hours later? How many of us assume that associating ourselves with Christianity sets us free to then go indulge ourselves with the idols of this world?

As Christians, everything we do ought to be done with the motivation and focus of representing the name of God with honor. Everything we say ought to be considered and said in a manner that upholds true Christ-like integrity. And every thought and way in which we view this world ought to be considered and viewed through the lens of promoting God’s glory and the greatness of His name. 

As we examine our own lives, may we look beyond the external uniform of Christianity and find an internal heart full of devotion to God, love for God and a serious concern about the glory of God. May every action be a manifestation of our heart’s pure motivation to promote the glory of our God.