Job 1:1-3:26, 1 Corinthians 14:1-17, Psalms 37:12-29, Proverbs 21:25-26
Today is the 21st day of August. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It’s great to be here with you today as we continue our journey through this week and as we continue the steps that take us through the entire Bible in a year. And, so, here we are at the threshold of a brand-new book in the Old Testament and we’re kind of gonna change complexions here now for the next little bit. We’re going to be exploring some of some of the darker parts of our lives, some of the pain of our lives and we’ll begin that journey with the next book that we’re moving into, the book of Job.
Introduction to the book of Job:
And Job, you know, and for that matter Ecclesiastes, which comes next, these…these books are about the difficulties of…of life. And, so, they kind of have a reputation. And so, when we get to this point in the Bible, this is some of my favorite parts of the Bible because the Bible becomes a friend and a companion in these kinds of seasons and normally when we’re in these kinds of seasons we go to the Bible to find the verses that will tell us that that it’s gonna be over soon and it’s going to be awesome, right? We’re looking for words of comfort, which is totally fine, but normally we’re trying to escape what’s happening instead of actually staying in it and being in it and inviting God into it without having any need to be false, without having any need to put frosting on top…like…to allow it to be what it is. And, so we’re about to begin the book of Job. So, let’s just get kind of get our bearings. So, Job is, I mean, historically, one of the most beautiful pieces of literature in the Bible and for that matter in all of history. And it’s a work that very poetically deals with the problem of evil and of suffering. It’s as if Job is ultimately asking, “why me? Like, why is this happening to me?” And then…and then wrestling for an answer to that question. So, when scholars try to figure out like, where did this story, where did Job come from, who was Job, then there’s a lot of dispute because there’s really not any historical context, and the book doesn’t really name anything that’s historical or any kind of historical figures that are known, like that could be searched from other directions. And, so, when you don’t have context then you have conjecture, you have to guess, which makes lots of people guess in lots of directions. And, so, you have disputes despite this. Scholars have come to a lot of consensus that Job may be of the most ancient books in the Bible and this happens for a lot of reasons. Even Jewish tradition has disparities, but some scholars believe that because the Hebrew is archaic in the original manuscripts and because there’s a uniqueness of words, like Job uses Hebrew words that are nowhere else in the whole Bible, that Job may have been contemporary with a patriarch like Abraham, or maybe Jacob. And then others believe that Job was written by maybe a scribe that was coming back from exile whose native tongue, even though they were Hebrew, they had been exiled, so their native language wasn’t Hebrew. And then many follow tradition that Job was written or at least collected by Moses. And if Moses wrote this book then he would be like writing an oral tradition that had been passed down for millennia or maybe…maybe he was writing theology on dealing with suffering and pain as a parable. So, you see like there’s…it’s so old and there’s so few clues that it cannot be pinned down. This isn’t the only book in the Bible that’s like that and we’ll talk about that as we go forward. But as we moved to through this book we’ll be dealing with the question of basically undeserved suffering and we’ll see that Job feels very, very much like he is experiencing undeserved suffering. And his friends are gonna come around him and they’re gonna help…they’re gonna try to help Job find the answers. And the interesting thing is that Job’s friends, as they’re giving advice to their friend who’s hurting, it’s not bad advice, like it’s valid advice. It’s the kind of advice we might be giving to a friend who’s suffering as well only to find out in the end that all of their good advice, as good as it might’ve been, they did not know at all what they were talking about. And, so, we’ll discover that as we’re shaking our fist at the sky, we’re demanding our answers for our suffering and then contrast that with…with the glory of God…that words fail…like…there’s nothing to say. God’s glory is infinite. His…His power is unknowable. His…His beauty is indescribable. It’s only God who can sustain our lives, but when we’re suffering, we’re usually asking why and we can’t always find an answer to that question, at least not immediately. And, so, the more that we demand the answers the more we become aware that we’ve…we’ve kind of put ourselves in a position of the highest judge, even to the point that we get angry and judge God, which is an incredibly scary thing to say and an even more scary thing to do even though we’re all guilty of it. So ultimately we’ll find that we can spend our whole lives looking for these answers. And I’ve spent lots of my life looking for these answers. But life has this way of leading us back to this same place, a precipice, where we have to take a deep of faith. Like at some point we can spend our whole life trying to find answers or we can spend our whole life trying to find God, which is what Job is trying to do and that distinction makes a huge difference in the outcomes of things and our understandings of things. And, so, with that, let’s begin. We’re reading from the Christian Standard Bible this week and we will read the first three chapters of the book of Job.
Okay. So, we began the book of Job, we read the first three chapters. So, we’re kind of launched into the predicament, right, so the situation that Job found himself in, which will be the theme of all the exploration and conversation that happens next. So, Job has a day like no other day, like no other day I have ever heard of in anyone’s life, right? So, systematically…and Job was a highly influential, highly respected, highly prosperous person, highly visible person. And, so, he had a lot of things going on and in one day, systematically, it all fell apart, right, from his flocks being raided and his servants being killed all the way to the wind that came out of the desert and blew on the four corners of his oldest son’s house, killing all of his children. It’s like one thing after the other and we all have probably said that, “like it’s one thing after the other” but not like Job, right? So, that puts some things into context because one thing after the other happened to him until by the end of the day everything is gone. What’s riveting, and this is one of the most riveting things in the Bible to me. Like when we get here every year, I stand in awe of a couple of things that happen in Job but one of them today because…because it’s the worst day imaginable…like I literally do not even know how to imagine that kind of day that Job had…I mean with…with the culmination being the death of his children. So yeah, I mean it's…it’s like…if anybody had any right at all to be bitter at this point its Job. Like, he has every right to be angry and confused and upset and just ranging but he doesn’t. He does tear his clothes. He does through ashes and dirt on his head and up in the air. He does all of that and that that’s customary. We do different things, but he has every right to do what he’s doing, but after he did all of the rituals that showed that he was grieving and morning he…he sat down and worshiped God. “Naked I came into this world, naked I will return. The Lord gave the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” What’s so riveting about that is just, I mean, when I face disruption, I might be able to stay in that place for five minutes and I have a faced anything like Job faced. So, like, we can all say that. Like we should all stand around this global campfire thinking of this predicament that Job’s in in awe because of his response, because of the posture of his heart. And Job’s gonna want to know why God’s letting this happen to him or for that matter he thinks God is doing this to him and he wants to know that. But where Job begins that journey, like where he begins to explore that question is in worship and that is striking. So, we met some of Job’s friends today. They came after they heard about the tragedy. And, so, they came and we’re gonna be…they’re gonna be with him the rest of this journey. And so, we’ll get to know them, we’ll get to know their voices but it’s really interesting what they did when they came, right? So, they came and they saw Job and they saw, wow, it may even be worse than we’ve heard and they wept aloud and they all tore their clothes and they threw dust in the air and on their heads. And then they sat down. They sat down with Job who was sitting down, and they sat down with him for seven days and nights and nobody said anything because they saw how bad he was suffering. And this is Shiva, this is the sitting Shiva, this is an an ancient Hebrew tradition, this is how you grieve. And it’s such a different practice then the way that we mostly grieve, right? So, if we’re grieving and our friends come over to us, then they’re gonna sit with us and they’re gonna try to say things that will make us feel better, “it’s gonna be okay, I’m sorry for your loss” or like these kind of things, try to engage in allowing the person to emote, “get it out” right? Whereas Shiva is a little different. Shiva is when you offer your presence, not your words. Like, you offer yourself, not how you can, you know, say something to make it all go away. You’re acknowledging, this horrible, this is unspeakable, this is…there are no words. And, so, you offer your presence and you sit and when the grieving one wants to speak then you speak. And when the grieving one wants to be silent then you be silent. You just are simply physically making your presence there. They are not alone. They are surrounded but they are not expected to deal with you or to agree with you or all the things that you’re saying because we enter grief really in an uncomfortable situation. And, so, we don’t really know what to say, when very very ancient practice is that you don’t have to say anything. You just have to be together, offer presence. Your words aren’t going to fix it. You don’t have the magic words that are gonna take the loss away or the pain away, but being willing to enter into it and be in it with the one you love, that means more than words. So, we’re just out of the gate but there’s already a lot for us to consider. There’s already so much there that’s just sitting there for us to ponder.
Father we invite You into this next season, this next section of the Scriptures that we are entering into because we have come to this point in the Bible and You’re about to force us to get really honest about a lot of things and we need that because we mask just about everything and we’re hiding in so many ways and You are giving us permission to be honest. So, come Holy Spirit into these next weeks as we move through this territory we pray. In the mighty name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
Blessed Be the Name of the Lord – Brent Bourgeois
May the day perish on which i was
born, may the stars of its morning be dimmed.
Why is life given to the bitterness of souls, and to those who stand in anger of HIM?
Oh HE pierce my heart, and HE does not pitty HE rakes me with wound upon wound.
Remember I pray, that
YOU have made me out of clay, and YOU will return me to dust again soon.
Oh naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I shall return.
All the LORD gave, the LORD has taken away, Blessed be the name of the LORD!
He commands the sun and it does not rise, HE treads on the waves of the sea