1/30 Reading (Job 13-15; Titus 1)

Job 13: Job starts this chapter with a declaration that he knows everything his friends know and instead wants “to speak to the Almighty; I would gladly present my case to God” (13:3). And ouch…Job flat out tells his friends that they are “plasterers of lies; ineffective healers” (13:4). He urges them to stop talking and actually listen to his arguments. He tells them that they clearly are biased against him. He then presents a compelling argument about his desire to directly speak to God:

Be quiet and I will speak, come what may. For what reason will I take flesh in my teeth, put my life in jeopardy? He will slay me; I’m without hope; I will surely prove my way to his face. Also this will be my vindication, that a godless person won’t come before him. Listen closely to my words so that my remarks will be in your ears. (13:13-17)

I absolutely love this part. This is a really good argument. Job flat out tells his friends that he is willing to put his life on the line by directly speaking with God because he knows that he is right and that this will be his vindication. I mean WOW! Just flat out gutsy and impressive.

Job then is clearly done talking with his friends because he now addresses God directly. He presents two requests to God: don’t threaten to hit him and don’t be angry and terrify him. He then starts to question God, asking questions like “How many are my offenses and sins” (13:23) and “Why hide your face from me and consider me your enemy” (13:24). Again, wow!!!!! Or, HOLY CRAP! Job just flat out questions God. I’m betting that if we were able to see his friends right now, they would be petrified.

Job 14: Now Job argues that humans are too insignificant for God to even worry about that. He points out that when humans die, that’s it. But when trees are cut down, they can be “reborn.” Job shifts tactics and pleads for God to send him to the underworld until his anger passes. He asks God another direct question: If people die, will they live again” (14:14)?  Alas, he realizes that isn’t possible. Job ends this chapter telling God that his destructive tendencies remove all hope from humans.

Job 15: On to the second cycle of chapters. As with the first cycle, each friend speaks and Job responds.

I like the explanation from the notes section in the NRSV study bible:

Eliphaz regards Job’s faults as both intellectual and moral. His intellectual mistake is not to realize that even the most perfect human is tainted in God’s sight (vv. 14–16). His moral fault is not to bear his suffering with bravery and patience. Whatever Job’s original fault, it was minor compared with the sin of his present behavior; it is a sin against himself (v. 6) and against God (v. 13) to speak so onesidedly and bitterly about God. The very passion of Job’s speech is proof that he is in the wrong (vv. 12–13). (p. 740)

Although, the explanation from the CEB study bible is also pretty interesting:

Eliphaz responds sharply, accusing Job of a windyword that has no benefit (15:2-3). It’s just talk! Hot air! In so doing, Job, you are undervaluing the importance of religion and its practices (15:4). Your own speaking condemns you, not I. Your own words argue against you (15:5-6). You act as if you were present at creation and listened to God’s council (15:7-8; see Jer 23:18, 22). Job doesn’t know any more about these matters than his friends. In fact, they’re surrounded by the learned aged in a way that Job isn’t (15:9-10). Eliphaz asks: why are God’s comforts not enough for you or a word that your friends have spoken gently (15:11; see Job 2:11)? Why has your mind so hardened, and why is your anger so evident in those flashing eyes and sharp words? Have you returned your good spirit (breath) to God (15:12-13; see Gen 2:7)? Human beings aren’t innocent! If even God’s angels aren’t pure (see Job 4:18-19), how much less humans (like Job) who drink sin as if were life-giving water (15:14-16).

So…these quotes pretty much point to the same thing that Eliphaz believes that Job is doing this to himself and only make it worse because of his direct challenges to God. Eliphaz then goes on a rant about how the wicked are doomed and that Job is on his way to joining them.

Introduction to Titus: As with 1 Timothy, there is debate over who actually wrote this letter. Some think it was Paul, some think it was one of his followers. Either way, there are some interesting tidbits in the CEB introduction. First, Titus wasn’t mentioned in Acts. However, according to the notes, his importance to Paul is clear in some of the letters that scholars are certain Paul wrote (Galatians and 2 Corinthians). Here’s a cool quote:

Titus was a test case for Paul’s gospel. Paul took Titus with him from Antioch to Jerusalem when Paul presented his gospel to the Gentiles and to the Jerusalem leadership (Gal 2:1-2). When they accepted Titus as a Gentile believer, this indicated their approval of the gospel Paul proclaimed (Gal 2:3). (p. 423 NT)

That’s pretty cool. One final quote about the themes: “The themes of the letter include the need for the Christian community to do good and the importance of respectful behavior among the believers toward each other as well as outsiders” (p. 424 NT). That’s definitely help information.

Titus 1: The letter starts with the typical stuff (a greeting from Paul to Titus and the people of Crete). Paul tells Titus why he was left in Crete: to appoint elders and correct rebellious people. He warns Titus to be ready to combat false teachers, telling Titus that the people “shouldn’t pay attention to Jewish myths and commands from people who reject the truth” (1:14). Damn, how I wish people could hear this and not get angry. I think that we’ve always lived in a world where facts don’t matter, but now that is more prominent. At least the most prominent that I can remember. Facts just don’t seem to matter anymore to people and it amazes me.

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