Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bible In a Year - Job 17 to 19 (#8)

*Based on ESV.com's Chronological Bible In a Year schedule. If anyone would like to join in, this blog's comments sections would be a good forum in which to share insights from the text.

Hopeless: 'My Spirit Is Broken, My Days Are Extinguished'
[Job 17.] So I'm reading this chapter, and it's about hopelessness - and sometimes I feel like I can relate. I know Job has more serious issues than I do; he lost his ten children, all of his riches, and his medical health all in one day. He has reasons to wail. At some point though, we all get a chance to say "My spirit is broken." You might have cancer and have to watch as your body deteriorates and you lose your ability to care for your family. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you have a wife (or husband) who never lets up and treats you more like a dull child than a spouse, and you thought they would change, but it's been five years and nothing has changed at all. Can you relate to that? Job says he's given up on seeing good. As Christians we know that we will eventually see something better after we have moved on from this life, but during this life things can seem hard, frustrating, discouraging, and... well... downright hopeless.

Special Case: 'For Your Sake Is the Earth To Be Abandoned?'
[Job 18.] Bildad's frustrated line at Job got me thinking: "O you who tear yourself in anger - for your sake is the earth to be abandoned, or the rock to be moved from its place?" Like a lot of things that come out of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar's mouths, I can imagine myself asking this question (and I don't think it's a bad question either, even when someone is suffering). A lot of people demand special treatment in life. Because of their riches, success, abilities, celebrity status, poverty, bad circumstances, disabilities, or marginalization, they demand to be treated differently - to be noticed, to be paid attention to, to be a priority. This creates a society where every person is fighting to have their voice heard for some reason or another, and no person is taking the time to listen. It's sad. And whether or not Job is guilty of this, it's on the list of legitimate complaints that Bildad -who loves the Lord, by the way- has of people.

Iron Stylus: What If Our Words and Stories Were Written?
[Job 19.] Ironically, one of Job's rants (the one found here) contains the words "Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! That with an iron stylus and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!" Well Job, you're in luck. Book deal granted. No word on whether inscribing this on a rock was ever carried out. But imagine that our lives were also written down, like movie films and art novels, that the words we spoke and the lives we experienced were all written down or recorded at the end of our lives and put on the market for people to purchase. If we had good lives, people would buy hardcover copies and make movies with Denzel Washington as you. If our lives were unimpressive we'd be played by Tom Green. That really would make you want to change the way your life looked, wouldn't it? Job's life got written down and he became an example of endurance in suffering. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be an example of. High Halo 3 scores? A big bookshelf? Those don't seem like great stories.


  1. I think that our stories would revolve around the day we met Jesus. Although Job's story is about Job... I think it's more about God! Likewise, if your story were written down, it would involve Jesus' eagle-eyed perspective, no?

    Maybe that's just an 'easy-out' of doing right for some people... but to those who were pursued by God, and saved through faith, it becomes the reason why we want to change the micro-narrative (Halo 3 scores and a large bookshelf) and become increasingly aware of the macro-narrative. At least, this has been my short short experience =] Thanks for the post brother Rice.

  2. Hey Laura, good observation. If the "meta-narrative" is about God, then 1 John 3.6 could be a good verse to keep in mind: "No one who abides in God keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him." So if NOT SEEING God results in a life-story full of sin, then SEEING God (or "becoming increasingly aware of the micro-narrative") results in a totally different life story. We change because our vision of who God is changes or becomes clearer.

  3. I'm not sure whether or not that was clear. Let me know if it wasn't.


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