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Pastor Nelda’s Notes

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This Weeks Notes ~ October17, 2021

Job responds to his troubles by wishing he had never been born (Job 3). But at the end of the book, the one who appears to Job  is the Creator of the universe, the Most High God. God doesn’t come to give comfort to Job. Instead God lectures Job from the center of a cyclone. 

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements– surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?” (38:2-7)

Job’s situation is not addressed by God nor are Job’s questions about justice. Job’s suffering is not even acknowledged by God. What God does is takes Job on a whirlwind tour beginning with the foundation of the earth, and the birth of the Sea. 
God’s speeches at the end of the book of Job leave many of us dissatisfied. We want God to apologize for all of Job’s suffering. We want God to tell Job about the wager with the Satan. We want God to be gentle, comforting, encouraging. 

This is not the answer that Job (or we) expected from God. These speeches cannot easily be dismissed. Like a summer thunderstorm, they are beautiful, fascinating, and more than a little terrifying. The images and creatures described in the divine speeches grip our imaginations and introduce us to a world much, much bigger than ourselves.
“What is the way to the place where the light is distributed, or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth? Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain, and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no one lives, on the desert, which is empty of human life, to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground put forth grass?? (38:24-27)

In this speech one thing is missing, human beings. Human beings have almost no place in these divine speeches. The world God describes in these divine speeches, is not made for human beings. It is also not safe for human beings. In the divine speeches, God re-establishes order and celebrates the beauty and freedom of creation: stars, lion and raven, sea monsters,  antelope and ostrich, horse and hawk.

But what does all this have to do with Job’s situation or with Job’s suffering?

In  his life, Job was the center of his universe, Job is surrounded by family and possessions and admired by one and all, sitting in judgment at the city gate, Job believed that the world run by a strict system of retributive justice. The righteous are always rewarded and the wicked are always punished. And Job was the most righteous person of all, as God himself acknowledges (1:8).

After Job has all the troubles, his friends continue to hold to the doctrine of retributive justice. They believe Job suffers because he must have done something to deserve it. Job knows that this isn’t true. His world has descended into chaos, but he still holds to his integrity and calls on God to answer him.

For all God’s silence concerning human beings, God gives humanity, in Job, a singular place in creation. Job is the only passenger on this grand tour of the universe, and through it, God invites him (and us) to see the world from a God’s-eye point of view and to delight in its beauty and freedom as God does.

This is a God who would probably fail a pastoral care class. These speeches of accomplish something for Job. They move Job out of his endless cycle of grief into life again. They allow him to live freely in a world full of heartbreaking suffering and heart-stopping beauty. This reflects God’s own care for the world.

Join us Sunday as we explore Job 38:1-7; 34-41.

May be an image of one or more people and text that says 'I pray that the next time I'm standing in church listening to the voices of praise and taking communion that I take a moment to thank God for the gift of congregation. FORGIVEN'

“I don’t know how but I know WHO!”
Grace and Peace, Pastor Nelda

Dr. Nelda Barrett Murraine is pastor at First United Methodist Church of Kennedale PO Box 146 – 229 W 4th St. – Kennedale, TX 76060

Please follow us on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/KennedaleFUMC

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