Thursday, January 20, 2011

110120 Job 07-08

S: “Remember that my life is a breath;
my eye will never again see good.
The eye of him who sees me will behold me no more;
while your eyes are on me, I shall be gone.
As the cloud fades and vanishes,
so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up;
he returns no more to his house,
nor does his place know him anymore.

“Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
Am I the sea, or a sea monster,
that you set a guard over me?
When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,
my couch will ease my complaint,’
then you scare me with dreams
and terrify me with visions,
so that I would choose strangling
and death rather than my bones.
I loathe my life; I would not live forever.
Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.
What is man, that you make so much of him,
and that you set your heart on him,
visit him every morning
and test him every moment?
How long will you not look away from me,
nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit?
If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind?
Why have you made me your mark?
Why have I become a burden to you?
Why do you not pardon my transgression
and take away my iniquity?
For now I shall lie in the earth;
you will seek me, but I shall not be.”
(Job 7:7-21 ESV)

O: Job's thoughts here are as resentful as they are profound. Who hasn't thought, "why is my sin such a big deal to God? What does it really matter to him?" Even in what should be his rest, Job is experiencing terrifying dreams and visions. What is the purpose of testing man, Job thinks. Far from rejoicing in the hope of eternal life and fellowship with God, to Job, God's concentrated attention on him is too much for him to bear. It ends with what might seem like a petulant child's whine, "then you'll be sorry." Remembering "Ralphie's" "soap poisoning" blindness story from "A Christmas Story," here. A bitter "victory" to be missed after he's gone, but even while he questions the intense focus of his Watcher upon his "mark" or "burden," he imagines God "seeking" him after he's gone and not coming up again from Sheol.

A: In the course of the discussion, Job has flashes of supernatural insight, such as when he expresses his confidence that he'll see God in his flesh even after the worms destroy his body---and how he knows of the existence of his Redeemer. But here, he seems to have abandoned this confidence momentarily. What's the point of being with his Redeemer if the intensity of God's focus is so great? And in fact, one picture of the Lake of Fire is the wine of the wrath of God, (Rev. 14:10), kindled with the breath of the LORD (Isaiah 30:33), fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (Although it's also called "everlasting destruction FROM the presence of the Lord." (2 Th. 1:9)) Apart from being in the cleft of the rock, Moses could not experience God. (Ex. 33:22) It seems that the intense scrutiny of God in his awesome holiness is far too great to withstand apart from being hidden in the wounds of Christ, and, in fact, would be hell itself for the one not covered by his hand. What does this mean for me in my comparably minor trials? Much, for Job's transparency in his complaints reflects my own sulking, my own bitterness and reluctance to come out from behind the trees in my fig-leaf apron when I hear God walking through the Garden. I'm simply not as honest with myself as he is, in being pushed to the breaking point by such unbearable trials. More even than giving me power do do the righteous acts God has set before me to do, consciously putting this self-protection, this aversion to his holy scrutiny, to death by the power of the Holy Spirit and reckoning it to be so, is the primary initial work of the atonement in reconciling me to my God.

P: Father, bring my heart out of its self-protective calcification today and near to you and your examination. Let me run to you in simple and childlike joy, confident of your approval of your Son and of me by virtue of being IN Christ.



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