New Links

We have added links to the One Year Bible plan and to the blog on the daily readings.  We have not read enough to endorse the reading comments, so you are on your own there.  See 2008 Reading in the right column.

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Job’s Christmas Present

We found a sermon titled “Christmas at Uz” which described the last chapter of Job where his loved ones come and there is an exchange of gifts, as a kind of Yule celebration.  That is interesting, but it seems better to compare those places where Job called out for “someone” to help, and see if he did not find the reply in Bethlehem.

Job 9:32-35; Job 16:19-22 and Job 19:23-27 are three such passages.  Job looked in one for an Arbitrator, in another for an Witness in heaven and in the third for his Redeemer.

If we take the bigger Christmas story, which is the Incarnation of the Son of God into the man Jesus of Nazareth, we find that the scriptures give him these roles.  As Arbitrator, he stands between God and humanity as the g0-between.  As Witness, he is our Advocate and pleads for us in the courts of heaven.  As Redeemer, he has paid the price for our liberty.

Merry Christmas Job.

Fresh Read 2008

Reading the Bible Together  

Starting on January 1, we will be reading the Bible Together.     

This is a GUILT FREE plan.  There are no little boxes to check off.   We will follow a schedule that includes readings from the New and the Old Testament each day.  If you come to a long list of names or a long list of rules or sacrifices, it is ok to skim or skip. 

This is a RE-STARTABLE plan.  If you miss for a day, a week or a month, it is OK.  Just start again when you are able. 

This is a FRESH READ of the Bible.  The best thing is to read the Bible with eager eyes and a heart ready to receive what is in the Scripture.  Don’t take what others say is in the book read it for yourself. 

This is a CONTEMPORARY plan – we will make use of the Web Log at https://freshread.wordpress.com so you can find notes, comments and the schedule of reading wherever you have access to a computer.  

  

Conquering Leviathan

Job 41:1-8  – ESV
     “Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook
        or press down his tongue with a cord?
    [2] Can you put a rope in his nose
        or pierce his jaw with a hook?
    [3] Will he make many pleas to you?
        Will he speak to you soft words?
    [4] Will he make a covenant with you
        to take him for your servant forever?
    [5] Will you play with him as with a bird,
        or will you put him on a leash for your girls?
    [6] Will traders bargain over him?
        Will they divide him up among the merchants?
    [7] Can you fill his skin with harpoons
        or his head with fishing spears?
    [8] Lay your hands on him;
        remember the battle—you will not do it again!

    Now then, Job fell silent before this question.  How to fight the sea monster Leviathan, and how it is hinted can anyone fight the entangling power of evil in the world?  Job can not overcome his own portion of evil.  Is he then going to capture Leviathan with a fish hook?  Will he spear him with harpoons?

   Leviathan was taken on by another Champion.  Not with harpoon.  Not by denying the existence of entangling evil in the world.  The war on Leviathan was begun in a feed trough in Bethlehem.  Power was confronted with weakness.  And Power sought to consume the Child in the form of Herod’s atrocity and in the form of Roman injustice.  but the Child, if we believe the Gospel story, has won.

This is not something you will find among the Christmas cards you receive this year, but it is part of the story.

FRESH READ

Behemoth & Leviathan

These two un-cuddly creatures present a classic case for the need to read the text.  If you read the history of how B and L have been treated in mythology, in prophetic speculation, and in western literature in general, there would be no way to decide what they represent in Job.

We prefer to read the text, knowing that there is some unknown external history, but also seeing what Job does with the critters.

There are two beasts that follow the previous speech where a number of wild animals are mentioned.  So it could be that these are merely poetic descriptions of existing creatures such as the hippo and the crocodile.

Yet there is something more imposing about them, and they are treated separately and more extensively.  Why should these two beasts get special treatment.  Could they be symbolic or mythic?

Or is it a description of dinosaurs?

The text starts with Job 40:7-14, which raises the questions whether Job is able to bring down the mighty – so that he has the ability also to seek an answer from God.  The beasts seem to be illustrations of the Lord’s power to overcome what man can not overcome.

Then again, we have records of the ancients hunting hippos and alligators.

We, for now, tend to think that the two beasts are the hippo and the crocodile, kicked up a notch poetically, so that they can also represent the power of evil.  Behemoth, a bulk that can not be withstood, and Leviathan, with armor and twisting coils that envelop.

Is his sneezing fire or the mist he blows out caught in the sunlight? Is that smoke or just hot breath blowing from his nostrils?  (41:18 ff.)  Either way, he is unassailable to us, but a mere creature to the Almighty.

Leviathan was previously mentioned in Job’s first speech (3:8).  So we come full circle in this answer.

The first speech by the Lord (Ch 38-39) show the extensive knowledge of the Lord.  The second seems to show his power -even over unconquerable force.

Fresh Read