One to Tell the Tale

Beginning in the Fall of 2014, I commenced a serious personal study of The Book of Job. This ancient biblical account relates the gripping story of Job. Today, we’d say he was highly-privileged and experienced the perks of life few of his contemporaries may have enjoyed.

The book begins with an unremarkable statement: “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job.” The next sentence tells us Job was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” But within just a couple paragraphs, the situation turns bad — really bad — for Job.

Thus begins an ages-old dialogue probing the goodness (or monstrous cruelty) of Almighty God. The question begs to be answered: why must a righteous man endure suffering? If a man is indeed “blameless, upright and God-fearing” (as the narrative proclaims Job was), then doesn’t he have every right to be exempt from humanity’s pain and affliction?

Continue reading “One to Tell the Tale”

He Is Risen!

Resurrection Sunday … Christendom has celebrated this historic event for close to two thousand years. It is the pivotal point of history. After the crucifixion, they laid the dead body of Jesus in a tomb and sealed it with a stone (like the one in this picture).

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Then Sunday came – Resurrection Sunday. But the tomb was empty! Women came to visit the tomb but Jesus wasn’t there! An angel appeared and proclaimed to the women:  “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (Matthew 28:6) Absolutely the best news ever!

Have a wonderful day celebrating the risen Savior!

Hunker-Down Friday

With Covid-19 the prime topic of news lately, reports of suffering and death are constant. We’re hunkered down, wondering when things will return to “normal” (whatever that is).

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This being Holy Week, I couldn’t help thinking the followers of Jesus were in a similar situation.

The week had started out with so much promise! They accompanied Jesus as He rode into the Holy City on the back of a donkey. Crowds welcomed Him amid great celebration.

No doubt, the disciples were elated! Onlookers showered homage on Jesus, laying their garments on the ground (so the donkey would pass over them). The throngs waved palm branches in celebration of the King!

But by Friday, it was a vastly different story. Events overwhelmed, culminating in a horrific scene … Jesus, the Messiah, hanging on a cross. The disciples must have wondered, how had the week gone so terribly wrong? Continue reading “Hunker-Down Friday”

New Year – New Me?

The year is now 2020, a New Year (as well as a new decade) which frequently signifies the proverbial fresh start. This new beginning presents a chance to modify one’s behavior, an opportunity to “turn over a new leaf” or begin again (by establishing new habits, resolving to eat healthier, exercise more, reduce screen time, etc.). Many of us find we’re captive to at least one bad habit and we’re anxious to exchange that bad habit for a new – and preferable habit, am I right?

In this New Year, there’s also a subtle reference to sight. Think about the common term for visual acuity – 20/20 – which widens the opportunity for reflection. In my view, 2020 is more than a particular year on our calendar; it’s an invitation to embrace the year ahead with clear-eyed thinking … and doing. Continue reading “New Year – New Me?”

The Man From Uz

We’ve reached the last verses of the final chapter of The Book of Job. Through poetry and prose, readers have witnessed Job’s catastrophic losses and torments. We’ve also heard from Job’s comforters, offering their point of view on why Job deserved to suffer.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

The book is divided into 42 chapters. In October 2014, I first posted about my plan to compose (and post) a sonnet for each chapter. In early posts, I pared my compositions in order to condense each chapter’s narrative into the sonnet format of fourteen lines. Continue reading “The Man From Uz”

Job’s Confession

Job’s days eventually came to an end. Chapter 42 in The Book of Job presents a concluding narrative of Job’s latter days in seventeen compact verses.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

Seventeen verses … hardly enough to offer the level of detail one might appreciate. We want to believe life is consequential, and I think there’s no argument Job’s life was consequential but seventeen verses seem an inadequate summary.  Continue reading “Job’s Confession”

No One So Fierce

Last week, it was Behemoth. This week, there’s a new image as The Book of Job quickly draws to its close. This image is equally ominous and terrifying.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

From Job chapter 40, the image of Behemoth is God’s first object lesson drawn from the natural world. As follow-up to that magnificent image, Job chapter 41 brings us to God’s discussion of a second created beast, Leviathan. Continue reading “No One So Fierce”

Strength To Save

Throughout the preceding thirty-nine chapters of The Book of Job, we have a poignant picture of a great man brought low through misfortune and physical pain.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

As I contemplate Job’s story, my focus lands on two significant elements. First, I recognize the historic Job as an Everyman, the quintessential character in an ageless tale of humanity and sin. The second element I see (one that provides crucial context) is the behind-the-scenes heavenly drama which occurs outside our human realm. Continue reading “Strength To Save”

God of Wonders

We desperately need to hear God’s voice, to be reassured He cares about us. If we believe He is silent, our tendency is to conclude He doesn’t care. But when the God of Wonders speaks – really speaks! – there’s an opposite effect. We’re the ones who are awestruck to the point of silence. In that sense, we’re very much like our friend Job.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

Looking once again at The Book of Job we’ve entered the final chapters of the book. In Chapter 39, there’s not a peep from Job. He’s been completely silenced as God continues to address his complaint. Continue reading “God of Wonders”