1/31 Reading (Job 16-18; Titus 2)

Job 16: Job responds to Eliphaz in a pretty mean way. He admonishes his three friends for how they are treating him during this tough time. He actually calls them “sorry comforters” (16:2). Yikes! He tells them that if the roles were reversed, he would focus on trying to comfort them and give them strength instead of tearing them down.

And now we are back to Job’s challenge to God. The subtitle for this part of the chapter is “the innocent are God’s targets” (p. 800 OT). Although he doesn’t explicitly question God (there are no question marks in this part), his statements could be seen as still challenges (similar to questions). Here’s the full part of this section:

7 Now God has surely worn me out.
   You have destroyed my entire group,
8     seized me, which became grounds for an accusation.
My leanness rises to bear witness against me.
9 His anger tears me and afflicts me;
   he slashes at me with his teeth.
   My enemy pierces me with his eyes.
10 They open their mouths at me
   and strike my cheek in a taunt;
       they gang up on me.
11 God delivers me to a criminal
   and forces me into the hands of the wicked.
12 I was at rest, but he shattered me,
   seized me by the back of my neck,
   dashed me into pieces;
       he raised me up for his target.
13 His archers surround me;
   he cuts my kidneys open without pity and doesn’t care,
       pours my gall on the ground,
14     bursts me open over and over,
       runs against me like a strong man.
15 I’ve sewed rough cloth over my skin
   and buried my dignity in the dust.
16 My face is red from crying,
   and dark gloom hangs on my eyelids.
17 But there is no violence in my hands,
   and my prayer is pure.

This is a really intriguing set of statements from Job. He seems to agree that his affliction is because of God, but he is at a loss to why. In fact, I think it’s possible to argue here that even though none of the statements in the above section are written in the form of a question, he is questioning God. I think it would be easy for the author to write “why” at the end of this section.

This chapter ends with Job crying out that he hopes he has an advocate in heaven who could argue in support of him with God.

Job 17: This chapter confused me a bit. I looked at the notes from the NRSV study bible and I like what they say at the beginning: “Job is confident that he is in the right, but he does not expect he will live to see his innocence vindicated” (p. 742). This one sentence helped clear some things up. It did seem that Job pretty much was willing to bet his life that he was right. He was willing to stake everything on the notion that he was right and his friends and God were wrong. He just didn’t think that he would live long enough to be vindicated.

Job 18: Bildad’s second response, which is an overall focus on the fate of those who are wicked. He starts by asking Job how long will he continue talking like this and how long will he continue to treat them poorly. He then gives several examples of what happens to those who are “wicked.” The text itself is interesting. The descriptions of what happens to those who are wicked is actually fascinating. Bildad tells Job that traps wait for the wicked. There is no safe place for them. Their bodies are consumed by disease. All of their possessions are lost. Their descendants are lost too. “The memory of them will perish from the earth; they will achieve no recognition abroad” (18:17).

As I read this chapter I remembered something Pat Robertson said after the 2010 earthquake that destroyed Haiti. He pretty much claimed that the earthquake was God punishing them for their evil ways. Here’s an explanation: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2010/01/pat_robertson_blames_haitian_d.html

Initially I was completely shocked by this statement, but then I remembered that it was Pat Robertson, who has said inflammatory things like this in the past. Now I can see where people like Pat Robertson get strange ideas like this.

Titus 2: Paul tells Titus how to teach people to become godly. His message is pretty clear. He specifically addresses older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and slaves. It was the part to younger women that I want to point out. Paul says that young women need to “love their husbands and children, and to be sensible, morally pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their husbands” (2:4-5). I do feel like Paul has been back and forth on women. Sometimes his message is one thing and sometimes it is another. Here are two articles to possibly explore further on a different day: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29513427 and https://www.franciscanmedia.org/st-paul-and-women-a-mixed-record/

This chapter ends with Paul telling Titus the following: “He (Jesus) gave himself for us in order to rescue us from every kind of lawless behavior, and cleanse a special people for himself who are eager to do good actions” (2:14).

I like that verse. I like that he is stressing the importance of doing good things.

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