The Book of Job…An Unlikely Reflection for Thanksgiving

Surreal picture with flying woman

So I’ve been thinking about Job quite a bit and how incredibly encouraging this book is to me.  It has all kinds of strange, mystifying information that we really don’t get anywhere else, and it also has some of the most muscular yet fluid poetry in all of literature.  But there is one particular sequence that is hanging with me this Thanksgiving week.

Adam and Eve, who walked and talked with God, have rejected Him or, at least chosen lesser things in a way that has thrown the whole world into chaos.  And it seems that the vast majority of His image bearers who come after them, reject Him as well.  You’ve got a few highlights…Abel, Enoch, Noah (although he comes to a rather inauspicious end)…but it’s not a long list.

In the midst of this, Satan comes before the Lord after walking the earth (something that God used to do with Adam and Eve).  Satan actually says that he has been ““going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”  It seems like a little bit of an “in your eye!”…he is expressing dominance and control over God’s creation.

First Satan is able to induce a third of the angels to rebel against God and now this new creation seems a loss too.  I don’t know what all went down between the Father and Satan before the later’s great fall, but whatever it was, the very thought of God being honored or loved is repugnant to Satan.

God’s response to Satan’s preening is beautiful and solitary and somber…

“But I’ve got Job.”

What is that like?  Can you imagine that…when opposition comes, you are the name on the lips of God.  This universe…all of God’s creation that He loves…the people created in His image…the whole thing looks to be a loss.  But it’s not, because Job is still in play.  Satan was feeling pretty sure of himself because so much was under His dominance, but he had not considered God’s servant Job.  It’s a cliche (actually so cliche it’s a bumper sticker)to say that God plus one is a majority, but, you know what…it’s totally true.

When we look at places like Somalia, it can seem as though it is an impossibility that God’s kingdom will would come and His will could be done among the 8 million people who live there.  But in Somalia there are 1,000 names on His lips.

He looks at every sphere of influence that you have, and it is your name He has on His lips.  “All is not lost, I’ve got (                 )”.

Clearly His Kingdom will come and His will will be done through the finished work of Christ on the cross and it is by His grace that we accomplish anything, but, for whatever reason, He has chosen to partner with us in the doing.

I can’t think of anything better that my life could produce than for the Father to say, “But I’ve got Rachel.”  I refuse to settle for lesser things.

1 Comment
  1. I commend your imaginative work with the believer’s name on God’s lips. I have been impressed with Job’s characterization, especially his ability to debate his 3 friends who spout the “theology”: The righteous are rewarded and the wicked are punished. The book is structured so that in the dead center of the book it occurs to Job that at least one leg of this argument is false, since he sites a wicked rich rancher he knows about.

    Your insight caused me to remember Isa 44.5 “…yet another will write on the hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and adopt the name of Israel” (NRSV). Isa 49.16 is another powerful communication image: “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands” (NRSV) “Look, on my palms I’ve inscribed you” (Common English Bible–developed and seen through the Abingdon Press by Paul Franklyn, Evangel University alum, 1979). The hand image is powerful throughout Isaiah, in which the left hand of judgment dominates early and then modulates to the right hand of mercy toward the end. My first wife, Twila, taught Bible at EU for 20 years, wrote an MA paper for Dr. Horton on hand imagery in Isaiah. You can see that I am inspired by the literary aspects of the way the Revelation is composed. I was an English prof. at Evangel U for 47 years and sought to inspire my students to read the Bible in literary ways. Your insight on Job implies that you have similar interests. Be encouraged to blog more such insights. I would be willing to interact with you about literary patterns, if you think I could be helpful.

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