“Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another. (NIV)
Once again, the lectionary committee is in the doghouse with me. I am not the least bit happy with them right now. Why?
Why do they give us such a small snippet of a text? Why do they give us a bit of a story and none of the context of the text? It makes me a little nuts!
And I cannot begin to sort it all out for you. The best thing I can do is recommend you read the commentary on this passage by Brian C Jones on the Working Preacher website (http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=4292). It is excellent. His commentary also explains how and why the translators should be in the doghouse right along with the lectionary committee. Neither have really helped us make sense of this text.
What I can say is that Job wants his audience with God. Ever since his life has been turned inside out and upside down by one disaster after another, he wants to cross-examine God to find out why all this is happening to him. He is certain it isn’t right and he doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment. He is CERTAIN of it. (He is right of course. The reader knows this because God has told us so in the beginning of the story.) We don’t know it from this text, but Job is also pretty certain he will die without knowing why. Most of us die without knowing why things happened the way they did in life. Most of us have to make peace with not knowing. Job wishes his life experiences and all that he has done would be written down so his ‘redeemer’ could argue his case after he is gone. (A kinsmen redeemer’s purpose is to get justice on your behalf when you are unable to.) But even so, he wishes he could see God face to face. He still wants to take God on.
I know that in the end of the story, well after today’s text, Job gets that opportunity after all. God comes to him and all of his righteous indignation falls away. Job realizes he has no complaint against God that holds up. God’s wisdom is everything. And that is a humbling message for us to take note of. We all think we know what would be good for us. We think we know what would make sense for us. But the more honest I get, the more I have to admit that I don’t know much of anything and simply offer myself, my time, my life and all that happens to me for the glory of God. It is my practice. I am not consistently good at it yet. I will continue to practice until I either get it or I see God ‘face to face’. (I’m betting I will see God ‘face to face’ at the time of my death much before I ever understand why everything happens the way it does.) And that is totally OK with me.
I don’t have to understand. I will simply accept. I will trust. Because God is love.
Blessings to you,
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.