Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Jun 8, Job 24-28

Today's readings are Job 24-28.

In Job 24:1-12, Job laments his lot and that of those who are victims of injustice. He clings to the hope for justice for the righteous but wishes it was more apparent and visible. Ironically, Job seems to be speaking to the air while acting as a representative for himself and for other righteous people. Does he see himself as the wished-for arbiter/advocate for the downtrodden? This most recent complaint exposes yet another facet of Job's struggle, the idea that justice comes in a manner perceived and approved by him. Job assumes that the lack of visible justice is a shortcoming of God's plan. Even as Job acknowledges God's sovereignty, his self-righteousness is beginning to break the surface. 

We hear the last statement from Job's friends when Bildad speaks in Job 25:1-6. Bildad's reasoning is the same as his two friends. They've seen their duty as having to decide whether Job was wrong about his situation...or God was. They rightly take God's side. But, they labor under the misperceptions of who God is and how He operates. They think only two options exist between Job and his friends. Either Job is right or they are.  It never occurs to them that they all may be wrong, both in their defense of God (as if He needs defending) and their condemnation of each other. It is now clear that the counselors’ self-righteousness far surpasses Job's. They are unjustly condemning Job and severely limiting God at the same time!

This is the danger of trying to figure out what God is doing by using our own sense of reason. We're too self-centered to be objective. We have too difficult a time thinking outside of the boxes we create for ourselves in an attempt to make the things of God neat and tidy, easily understandable and explained.

Job literally interrupts Bildad with sarcastic remarks in Job 26:1-4. This will be the last time he addresses his friends in this dialogue. He asserts God’s sovereignty and acknowledges His fearsome power (Job 26:5-14). He goes on to assert his innocence and hold jealously to his integrity (Job 27:1-6).

Job turns the tables on his counselors, claiming that their judgment of him is wicked and deserving of punishment. They have been speaking to him about the wrath of God; they should be careful His wrath does not fall on them (Job 27:7-23)! With this, he turns away from his friends until the end of the book.

Job 28 is a hymn. His life has been shattered. All he had is gone. Job’s faith is being tested and everything he knows about God and himself is being challenged. The hymn rises out of a broken heart that is looking for answers to questions that Job never pondered prior to his ordeal. He maintains that man can effectively mine precious metals but is incapable of mining the depths of godly wisdom. Job's conclusion is profound (Job 28:28), "...the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom and to turn away from evil is understanding."

Job is getting just a glimmer of the idea that God is doing something extraordinary in him. Yet, his struggle is monumental and ongoing.

God doesn't always give us the big picture. He frequently reveals Himself and His plan to us a little at a time, asking us to trust Him, even though we don't know the outcome or reasoning behind His actions. In all of it, God intends to show His glory and put our transformation on display as a witness to His glory. Job's story is a shadow of what that transformation will be like when the Messiah comes.  

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