Friday, July 5, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 186

The scriptures read are Job 19-21, Psalm 2, 2 Corinthians 11.

Job 19. Job can't figure out why his friends are jumping on him and not listening to him. Everyone has abandoned him and he feels all alone. Oddly enough, he doesn't disbelieve in God. In fact, he longs to see him, if not in this life, then in another. (The very enigmatic verses 25-27 hint at resurrection.)

Why doesn't Job simply give up belief in God? For one thing, that would not change the fact of his suffering. What it would do is take away all hope that his suffering has any real meaning. If there is a God, there is the possibility of discovering a purpose to one's suffering. Not just a personal and subjective meaning but a cosmic, objective purpose. Without that, one suffers for no reason. Job has lost all hope at this point except his hope that he will be able to talk to God about his suffering face-to-face.

Job 20. In his description of how evil people are treated, Zophar echoes what Job says about how he is treated. Again the assumption is that Job is not good and is being punished for some hidden evil.

Job 21. Job confronts Zophar with the fact that a lot of evil people do not suffer in this life but do pretty well for themselves. They die peacefully and have nice funerals. Job wants his "friends" to acknowledge that truth.

Psalm 2. Here is Psalm 2 sung in Hebrew. It was composed and conducted by Leonard Bernstein for his Chichester Psalms: here.

2 Corinthians 11. Paul can't understand why the Corinthians have been seduced by false apostles--who take their money, no less! Paul's mission to the Corinthians was entirely underwritten by the churches in Macedonia. Since these frauds have no problem bragging about themselves, Paul is going try it. He feels silly doing it but his credentials are better. He's suffered more. (The catalog of assaults, pain and deprivations he's suffered are astounding.) He reminds them of the time he had to crawl out a window and be lowered down the outside walls of the city in a basket to avoid the authorities. Can these sham apostles say the same?

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