Reformation Sunday (text from The Bible in 90 Days) 10/25/2009

The Patience (?) of Job

Lessons:     Jeremiah 31:31-34     Psalm 46 (7)     Romans 3:19-28     John 8:31-36   Prayer of the Day     Almighty God, gracious Lord, we thank you that your Holy Spirit renews the church in every age. Pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people. Keep them steadfast in your word, protect and comfort them in times of trial, defend them against all enemies of the gospel, and bestow on the church your saving peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Text from "The Bible in 90 Days"

38:1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: 2 "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. 4 "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements-surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beingsa shouted for joy? 8 "Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?- 9 when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, 10 and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, 11 and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped'?

Job 38:1-11 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Many people, even people who know little or nothing about the Hebrew Bible we've been reading these past weeks, have heard of the "patience of Job." The image that comes to mind is of a person who suffers great difficulty, but quietly and peacefully takes it all in stride. The reader of Job is left with a different image, though. Job indeed suffers patiently, but through it all he maintains his innocence. While Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar speculate as to what offense Job must have committed in order to deserve such suffering, he demands that it isn’t so. Insisting that he has done nothing wrong, he rails at his friends, he rails at God, he rails at life itself, he curses the day he was born, he cries out for God to kill him – to put him out of his misery.

It is hard to fault him. Job is living a charmed life. The first verse of Job describes him as “…blameless and upright, one who fears God and turns away from evil.” He has seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and many servants. Job was wealthy and successful beyond any of his time. He is living a charmed life.

But following a strange agreement between God and Satan, Job loses his children, his servants and his livestock. Job himself is covered from head to toe with painful blisters. Through all of this, Job does not blame God, or speak in sinful ways.

That is until his three friends show up. The visit starts off well. They see how great his suffering is, so they sit with him for seven days and seven nights without saying a word. It is hard to even imagine someone caring that much. But it doesn’t last. As soon as they open their mouths, they assume that his suffering is deserved, and accuse him of some wrong doing. Chapter after chapter details their accusations and speculations. No wonder Job becomes feisty.

It takes the voice of God to turn him around. Out of the whirlwind God speaks, and Job is awestruck with God’s power and majesty and wisdom and might. God challenges Job, reminding him that he knows only a fraction of what God knows. And in humility, Job replies. 

42:1  Then Job answered the Lord: 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.’ 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

Job 42:1 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Faced with the majesty of God, Job admits that he was wrong . Never receiving an explanation for the suffering he endured, he humbles himself in God’s sight, and repents of his rebellious response. “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see you.” It is the presence of God that turns Job’s heart around, and after repenting of his sin, he is restored to his former good fortune.

It is hard to understand just what -- or just how much -- we should learn from the book of Job. But at its heart is the example of one who responds in humility to the magnificent presence of God. May we learn from his example. May we too turn to God in humility, that our hearts and lives might be restored.

David J. Risendal Pastor

Exploring This Week’s Text:

  1. What is troubling about the story of Job?
  2. What is inspiring about the story of Job?
  3. Why must Ancient Israel have rememberd this story? What did it mean to them?

Connecting with This Week’s Text:

  1. When have I struggled with why the world is filled with so much pain?
  2. How does Job's honesty about his situation help me be honest about my own frustrations?
  3. What can I learn from Job's humility, and willingness to acknowledge that God is wiser than he is?

  Scheduled Readings for "The Bible in 90 Days" 9/13/2009 - 12/12/2009


Begin Reading At Sermon Based On
9/13 Genesis 1:1 Genesis 1:1-19
9/20 Leviticus 1:1 Exodus  16:2-15
9/27 Deuteronomy 23:12 Deuteronomy 6:1-9
10/4 1 Samuel 28:20 Joshua 24:1-3, 14-18
10/11 1 Chronicles 1:1 1 Kings 3:5-12
10/18 Nehemiah 13:15 Nehemiah 1:4-11a
10/25 Psalm 89:14 Job 38:1-11
11/1 Isaiah 14:1 Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
11/8 Jeremiah 33:23 Isaiah 25:6-9
11/15 Daniel 9:1 Ezekiel 2:1-5
11/22 Matthew 26:57 Micah 6:1-8
11/29 Acts 6:8 John 20:19-31
12/6 Hebrews 1:1 Romans 5:1-11