Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Finally Getting the Book of Job

Most of the Bible is pretty clear on its face. Romans and Revelation require, at least for me, help from folks who know a lot more than me. Understanding things like end-time theories are also beyond my personal ability to “see” or “get” God’s intentions without smart guys explaining things.

But after 10 readings of Job, countless sermons and teachings by great commentators, I just couldn’t get beyond the obvious main story line. I was confused by the arguments of Job and his four friends. It wasn’t very clear as to what lessons to take away from Job, and when to ignore the advice of the friends.

Every Tuesday night a group of us gather to discuss the Bible. We started at Genesis and 3 years later we are just about to complete Job. We take turns leading the study, and everyone provides their own take on what blesses them or raises new questions in their minds. It is in this setting, and through the insights of the group that I think I might get the really BIG point in Job.

One of the friends argues from the point of view of facts and “science.” He would be a secularist today, I suppose.

Another of the friends argues from his own perception of how things are. He isn’t very interested in facts, as such, but rather in his feelings and observations about truth.

The third friend is interested in history, tradition, and social norms. He is the guy in the room who always wants to do things the way they’ve always been done.

Job is completely confused by his circumstances and the attacks of his friends. He hasn’t given up on God, but he believes life should be fair.

The young man comes in at the end and offers that they are all wrong. The answers to all truth are spiritual. When we seek answers to life's problems, we need to turn to the Creator. And while it is entirely human to question God, become angry over our circumstances, and even to wonder where God is, as Job and David both did, ultimately we are to trust God for the outcome and recognize that rough times are designed to teach us and toughen us for future battles.

I could certainly see myself in this. I am very quick to trust the facts (read other articles in my blog, and you’ll see what I mean.) I certainly often fall back on history, laws, culture, and tradition. And while I’m not too much into trusting feelings, if I’m going to trust any body's feelings, it will be mine.

Tomorrow, applications to real life.

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