Testing Texts. If you'd like to help us out of a morning. 07729056452
Jb1-2 Job, more than the right response to every prosperity theology, but to every way in which we think we can make God's agenda fit our own in virtue of doing it right. Noticing for the first time 1v5 Job the parent, as I think a little on a theology of parenting. We should offer sacrifices for our children we are to play a part in raising, because they are given to us to be responsible for. Parenting together so that no-one parents alone, an unconditional love for children involves a radical Levinisian asymmetry of responsibility, let us learn better the cost of this, the sacrifice to be brought. So anyway, God and Satan and that.. why do we love God? For the sake of fear or pride or intellectual apathy? For the sake of an easy label? For a superstitious reward? If community & marriage & children & friendships were taken from you. If your happy home & your good health fell apart. If all hope of good work were denied you. If your mission proved to be a dead end, if all your gifts went to waste. Would we still love God? Would we? Let us try to glimpse out of the corner of one eye what it means to say that we have no rights and that grace is sufficient. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.
Jb3-4 ESVSB: Job is not suicidal. And neither am I, only let all of reality be different.. We do laments an injustice if we psychologise them, or as The Matrix's Cypher program an ignorance for them. The case Melancholia makes for the sanity of those who recognise the futility of things almost has mileage, and yet, and yet.. The image of being hedged in here 3v23 should be recognised as God's good greenery 1v10, and as we walk this path it is less The Shining's maze as it is a labyrinth prayerfully walked towards God and step by step scripturally illuminated by God. .. As a correction to our use of irony, which we employ to talk around hard and painful things, let us learn to lament, and so let our oh no be oh no. First rue what might have been in order to hope that it might yet be. Let us be lament-able, so to heal, so then to weep well with those who weep.
Jb5-6 Distilling a three point sermon from an anguished stream of consciousness is possible only up to a point, much of this text is to be entered as a poem, I think, let us dance a little. There is a conversation here, a dialogue, an exchange of worldviews: unabstracted because it is Job's own reality in question, his frame of reference, the meaning of his meaning. Are all dialogues about what God is like, really? This is a conversation about justice, about salvation, about whether God is a God who answers. When circumstances challenge our world view, which they will, what gets transformed and what remains? This is the way of a difficult I-Thou wisdom. Some conversations will not be life-giving, let us not believe we've found streams of living water where we haven't. But let us continue to ask, examine, speak, listen, in the hope of seeing God's face. What did we learn?
Jb7-8 Is it problematic that Job is 'blameless' 1v1? So for us who sinfully sin, where all sin is infinitely deserving of judgement separating us from an infinitely pure God, then no suffering is undeserved. In which case, the rebuke of these so cold so-called-comforters is right, we are in the v4 'hands of our transgressions'. But. But what if we are blameless? Eph1v4, Rm8v1.. Then Job's words can be ours? On this basis we can confidently go forward against systems of suffering which stake a claim to our lives (or claim a stake in our lives. Tangents..) When accused by voices within, when despondent, when called to account, we can give an account of the way Christ bought our blamelessness. In this he strengthens us Rm16v25. Let us Live today in all that we already are. Blameless and beloved. Blameless and beloved. Blameless and beloved. Overcome with gratitude, we will overcome.
Jb9-10 God the other, God the wholly other, God the holy other. Ranting and reality, with perspectivism's permission: I know my heart and will speak my mind before this God, knowing that my heart is not the measure of all things, God's otherness not reducible to my small epistemology. So 9v35 returns to v3 in a virtuous circle. & in this form let us return to remember our belovedness, formed in the womb with care and intent 10v8-12 (Is45v9-10) and our blamelessness transformed by Jesus 9v31 becoming Rev19v8. Blamelessness & belovedness speaks the end of 10v22's despair, there is no no-way-out, no inescapable darkness, rather: Jn1v9 inescapable light.
Jb11-12 Why is Job in the bible and as long as this? Is it a measure of our resistance to God's sovereignty? Is it a measure of our presumption on God's sovereignty? Either way it will not let us rest. We see in Job's comforters unmercy justice taken to its logical conclusion. This is a position it is possible to hold by omission, that is, in not feeding the hungry we express a Zopharian conviction that they deserve to go hungry; in not preaching the gospel we express that they deserve to go on in ignorance.. Rom1v14 Unto the gift of grace we are obliged. If we only know how undeserved our life is it would render inaction impermissible. Let us fight our own proclivity to passivity which would have us laze in a because-i'm-worth-it cheap grace. Undeservedly blameless, undeservedly beloved. For the joy. x
Jb13-14 The lines between fruitful dialogue and unhelpful argument can be easily blurred aye, this is something I need wisdom for. 14v1 We are all born weak and helpless – so I have been reading this week, with an academic analyst's spin..all these questions, incredulously probed mysteries of birth and death, these belong to us all, we are surrounded by people asking these. And we believe with Job 14v15-17 that we have found the place to ask these questions, a God who transforms them. Forgiveness changes everything.
Jb15-16 Do you fight 'injustice'? Do you protest your 'plight'? Do you defend your conduct and their consequences based on your understanding? Do you claim to understand? Do you know anything, let alone enough to claim that the balance is misweighted? Do you presume to pray? What are you praying against, as if you had not received, by breathing, more than you could possibly repay? You do not know the half of your shame, you do not know your debt. How much of my talk is v3 unprofitable, and my fat is v27 the defence of a proud God-disregarder, and my pre-ruins are v28 the habitations of the postmodern wicked. On shame and the over emphasis of total depravity: it is easy to caricature Job's comforters, their language of shaming is powerplay, however, without an unpayable debt there is no Christ-shaped-hole. We should heed the tutting of the v10 grey-haired, but then out-Live them. Uncondemned Blameless Beloved. You are.
Jb17-18 Thinking about 17v6 the use of proverbs, soundbites and tidy theological formulations as weapons. These ostracise those whose experience falls outside their prescription. God is the God of the real so doctrine without experience is empty, (experience without doctrine is blind). This is why we listen. Oh and 18v4? God might just move mountains for us, actually. Grace comes extravagantly.
Jb19-20 v3 The shame of shamers is their presuming the right to judge, this presumption invariably leads to false accusation. ESVSB links this with Dt19v19 which decrees false accusers should themselves serve the sentence which they pronounce on the other, so obv Mt7v1. If our lives are false gospels, false witnesses and presumption manifested in unsympathy, apathy and social disengagement, then we will be visited on by unhappy judgement? v23 Publish when you are damned, when you are at your lowest point, when faith is needed most. The faithful write their biographies before they are triumphantly concluded because they know already that their story ends well, because they know these things will be resolved, because they Know their redeemer lives. Our redeemer lives. 20V27-8 In this way, by living these stories, by writing them, we integrate seen and unseen realities, making true on earth that which is true in heaven.
Jb21-22 Sort of that sadness here, of different people all seeking God and yet concluding differently. .. There is so much truth in Bildad's accusation. .. 22v25-7. So I like the honesty & complexity of this book. Knowing as we do, how this story end, the thing to do when in disagreement with holy people is to keep seeking, keep praying, keep talking, keep listening, as we do things, even to the end of time. 21v21 when our lives are over do we really care whether are children are happy? Phrased as cynical rhetoric we might transform it into one benchmark for our attitude towards stewardship & all we leave to the next generation, how we parent, how we cultivate life and Life.
Jb23-24 v8 God on mute. Is he ever? Or has our Jesus film just been poorly dubbed? Or are we simply hard of hearing? .. 24v3 “They” [who put angels in the electric chair..] - Who are 'they'? Why do they persist in history? 24v18-20 “You say..” - Who is 'you'? This is the 'you' of the them-and-us of all church pain. The Jobic dimension of church pain is: graceless comforters confronting the problem of evil in the face of suffering. 24V13-8 Those who dwell in darkness have likely been on a night-shift. The question of what is done at night and the morality (/sustainability) of a 24hr society is a current one for one here roused at 3am to arbitrate just such a dispute. We are silly men. .. Though the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will sing: v10 God knows. Our blamerless belover, he knows. Our redeemer, he knows you, he sees your best, you are the apple of his eye.
Jb25-26 Inescapable light 25v3 there is no place where God's light does not shine. As James told us last night, Jm1v17 God is the creator of lights, God does not cause darkness. And Jn3v18-21 the light has come into the world but people love the darkness..we fear light because we fear our evil deeds will show up. We fear shame. Shame is exposure, vulnerability, pain. Shame is an experience of our v6 worthlessness. But back to John we are blameless and beloved, because, here, of Jesus. Jesus is shame's healing, before Jesus we can be exposured, vulnerable and loved into freedom. It is the tone of Bildad's words that are not truthful, rather than their content .. They have a 'you can run but you can't hide' God as a Hollywood villain. But rather: you can't hide, as shame would have you do, you can't hide, but the light inescapable is all love. Seen & loved. Seen & loved. Seen & loved.
Jb27-28 The wicked wicked are to get their comeupance? This Bildadic 27 is perhaps hyperbolic-ironic, perhaps intended to emphasise the wickedness of self-righteousness, perhaps to be framed in terms of v8 judgement after death? .. Now, 28, slowly sumptuously. Wisdom is. The whole bodily experience of mining bears some meditation. The intrepid, in far flung places, beneath the surface, with strength for faith to risk for a reward. Dig deeper gold diggers, treasurehunters, London our rockface, Oval our seam of: localist wisdom, natural knowledge, experience, persons saving persons saved. // The bible our rockface, and early mornings are dark places we go to find rich things: doctrine to see by, doctrine to sow with, we mine the iron here with which we form a plough to turn the soil above? Wisdom out there, wisdom in here. And what is wisdom The particulate and the precious. Let us make our home an NHM rock room.
Jb29-30 Injustice will befall us, at some scale at some time. Why do we think that a good week will be followed by a bad week? Not because God is like karma, and not because God is not to be trusted. Rather, God is to be trusted, without condition, when bad follows good follows bad, which it will, in some way. Let us not dwell in the past as 29 but turn to God in the present, 30. If only sometimes to weep. God is here.
Jb31-32 To covenant with my eyes: the theology of thought-crime and self-covenance in one. Guard the ports of your mind, rigorously, accountably. There are sins we admit, commit and omit: sins that we let in, let out and let go: be sure to let the right ships in. .. If. If I have not filled every minute with 60 seconds of distance run, I repent. .. Elihu: don't self-justify, for it is God who justifies. You cannot but protest too much. Oh holy fools and Elihus, come, and call us to account, call us out of our self-deception. .. v22 “I do not know how to flatter..” One day, God-willing, I will forget how.
Jb33-34 Found in here, imperfectly, adoration 33v26, v30, confession v27, thankfulness v28, and supplication (ish) 33v1, 34v31. So prayerfully and more prayerfully to 33v14 listen, v15 dream dreams, vision visions and v17 be so radically transformed. Prayerfully today.
Jb35-36 ESVSB: “Again, he seems more arrogant than he realises, as young men sometimes do.” Elihu's wisdom has limits, and what truths he does manage unsympathetically to express are invalidated by Job's blamelessness. But. Helpfully these: 36v5 God's sovereignty, which is ultimate power of infinite knowledge of power: God knows, he know the backstage of the backstage, he knows the context's context, he knows and alone justifies. So rest. 36v15. The disciplinary function of suffering: true even for we saved. I want to insert a discomfort vs 'suffering' clause in this discussion. In love God opens our ears, uncomfortably? 35v12 The proud oppressee and the problem of feminism: isms predicated on the unjustice of victimhood go awry by pride? This can only be uttered internally, because one can only call oneself to radical meekness. We compound our sin by the pride of claims to deserve a wage other than death. .. And yet and yet. In Christ we have that wage paid. This whole Job problem of blamelessness should be our daily amazement. No suffering the suffering of meaningless blind suffering, only refining, only hoping, only reforming. Everything we ache now is God drawing us into his likeness. There is nothing to run from. On this basis, as we have strength, let us look to bear another's pain. Love my love to love this Tuesday, be eyes wide open.
Jb37-38 37v7 Bring me to a stop. v14 to pause. Prayerfulness is a stopping constantly, within a doing and a going about. My prayerfulness is a fumbling because I have not let this now-platitude about pausing soak deeply into my being, for I am still ugly noisy clatter chatter. v21-22 sky sky sky and the glory of the God who is real. For 38v12 it is God who commands the day to dawn, the sky to splendour light and colour. And here is the God who is real, who speaks, before whome there is shivering smiling silence at this mystery. God the imaginer, creator, sustainer, lover and sharer of all that is good and true and beautiful. God who walks in beauty. I submit surrender soak. God of mysteries we love you.
Jb39-40 The problem of extinction, domestication and the David Attenbrisation of our encounter with a wild God from the comfort of our settee. Let us strive against over-familiarity with nature by seeking unmediated encounter. .. The colours of the winds and the limits of pantheism's natural wisdom. There are somethings to be learnt from the bird who do not sow (and the lilies who do not sew) chiefly in the area of unanxiety. We as behemoths before turbulent waters, but not because we are strong, but because he is. .. Shall a faultfinder contend with God? Am I, do I? What an occupation it is critical we lay down. Critical. Not a tame lion, aye, can we build our epistemologies on that. For the fun, for the joy, for the wonder.
Jb41-42 Would I write more poems, on present mysteries, to the glory of God. Divine conclusions... This book offers little from a detatched third personal perspective, it only works as an engaged first person meditation in discovery of a second personal God. Job only works if God is real and if God speaks. But see hear.. 42v5 in the past I only know what others had told me about God,not God is closer than breathing, not I have seen for myself. A God who shows himself amidst evil & suffering's reality with his own sufficiency and the capacity to bring new life. This hope changes everything: restoration.