Our readings from scripture this morning have been chosen from The Message, The Bible in Contemporary Language, written by Eugene Peterson and further adapted by our minister for our listening ear this morning.
This week we are introduced to the strange and wonderful story of Job and his wife, as their faith and integrity are severely put to the test.
Thought to have been composed some 400 years before Jesus walked the earth, the book of Job is sometimes described as a reflection on the usefulness of being faithful.
Here in the reading, we are plunged into two imagined conversations connected by a vividly painful description of Job’s situation. Which part of the reading will capture your imagination?
Will It be the first conversation between God and The Devil’s Advocate as they pick up the threads of a former conversation about Job in the context of God’s imaginary throne courtroom ?
Will it be the vividly painful description of how Job’s faith is tested?
Perhaps, it will be the second briefer conversation between Job and his wife as they each respond to Job’s plight from their own unique and individual perspectives.
We begin with these words from Chapter 1: verse 1
Job was A MAN DEVOTED TO GOD
Job was a man who lived in Uz. He was honest inside and out, a man of his word, who was totally devoted to God and hated evil with a passion.
And from The Book of Job, Chapter 2: Verses 2-10
One day when the angels came to report to GOD, The Satan or the Devil’s Advocate, also showed up. God singled out The Satan or The Devil’s Advocate, saying: And what have you been up to?”
The Satan answered God, “Oh, going here and there, checking things out.”
Then God said to him, “Have you seen my friend Job? There is no one quite like him, is there? Honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.
He still has a firm grip on his integrity!
You tried to trick me into destroying him, but it didn’t work.”
The Satan answered, “A human would do anything to save his life.
But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away his health?
He’d curse you to your face, that’s what.”
God said, “All right. Go ahead-you can do what you like with him. But mind you, don’t kill him.”
The Satan left God and struck Job with terrible sores.
Job was ulcers and scabs from head to foot.
They itched and oozed so badly that he took a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself, then went and sat on a trash heap among the ashes.
Job’s wife said, “Still holding on to your precious integrity, are you?
Curse God and be done with it!”
In response, Job said, “You’re talking like an empty headed-fool.
We take the good days from God-why not also the bad days?”
Not once through all this did Job sin. He said nothing against God.”
May this story from the ancient texts offer us food for thought on the challenge of being faithful in our human journeys.
VU#340 Jesus, Friend of Little Children
Here again these words from Mark’s gospel that lift up the importance of welcoming and embracing the vulnerable ones into our midst.
Mark, Chapter 10: Verses 13-16 Jesus blesses children
“The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.”
The word of God for the people of God.
Thanks be to God, amen.