This blog provides a meditation on the Episcopal daily readings along with a headline from world news:
Job Finishes His Defence
29Job again took up his discourse and said:
24 ‘If I have made gold my trust,
or called fine gold my confidence;
25 if I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
or because my hand had acquired much;
26 if I have looked at the sun* when it shone,
or the moon moving in splendour,
27 and my heart has been secretly enticed,
and my mouth has kissed my hand;
28 this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
for I should have been false to God above.
29 ‘If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me,
or exulted when evil overtook them—
30 I have not let my mouth sin
by asking for their lives with a curse—
31 if those of my tent ever said,
“O that we might be sated with his flesh!”*—
32 the stranger has not lodged in the street;
I have opened my doors to the traveller—
33 if I have concealed my transgressions as others do,*
by hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
34 because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
and the contempt of families terrified me,
so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors—
35 O that I had one to hear me!
(Here is my signature! Let the Almighty* answer me!)
O that I had the indictment written by my adversary!
36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
I would bind it on me like a crown;
37 I would give him an account of all my steps;
like a prince I would approach him.
38 ‘If my land has cried out against me,
and its furrows have wept together;
39 if I have eaten its yield without payment,
and caused the death of its owners;
40 let thorns grow instead of wheat,
and foul weeds instead of barley.’
The words of Job are ended.
The “confession” of Job which asserts his own blameless habit of life is a wonderful summary of what his religion expected of him. The justice of his living extends to all with whom he comes in contact, even to the land which was the source of his wealth. At all times he has preserved his soul from arrogance. The reader is made to see what a subtle and searching ethic his religion has given to him.
Because he has kept the commandments of God, he can issue the bold challenge to God, whom he holds responsible for his destitute condition. Let’s see the indictment against me, he says, and I’ll wear it like a crown; for it cannot but testify to my innocence. This sums up Job’s case against God: if God rules the world by justice, then he has made a terrible error in Job”s case, for Job has lived justly. God must answer, Job says; because he is unwilling to abandon either his faith in himself or in a just God.
The author of this drama has prepared his audience for the climax of his invention: will God answer this impertinent mortal, and if so, what will he say? (another thrilling episode tomorrow…don’t miss it…)