Job’s words of optimism amid the words of anguish provides quite the contrast. The context seems to be that Job wants his words of trust in God to be recorded (written on a scroll). Then he goes further and wants them engraved on stone. The implication being that a scroll is not permanent (or significant enough) to encapsulate the mercy and redemption of God.
The Book of Job is often thought of in the context of Job’s trials and misery. It might be that these few words of Job here show the heart of Job that every follower of God should also have. Imagine…if you can…how the church would be known…how the followers of Christ would be known…if they had the same trust as Job.
As people of “the Book” (as Christians are known in the Arab world), we speak as if we believe the Word (the Bible) was engraved in stone. Yet, we often don’t act that same way. The way we live out our lives often seems (and is) in conflict with the Word.
This is Paul’s concern for Timothy and the church in general. While the CEB (the primary translation being used for these devotionals this year) individualizes behavior (e.g., “you”) while other translations are more generic (e.g., “one”). The Greek as neither. Both “you” and “one” are interpretations of the “space” between the words (this really is an English problem).
I see the phrasing as being more like, “this is the knowledge required to live rightly as part of the household of God.” In the Greek, Paul is making clear that all who are known as/by “Christian” have certain rules and expectations to be part of the household of God.
In the current secular culture, the church has found itself in an awkward place. It wants to be welcoming to all (as it should be). On the other hand, it is also called to have expectations of behavior and spiritual growth (which it must be).
The sad reality is that the church may have to suborn the expectations to earn the reputation of being welcoming. Yet, the church cannot keep kicking that can down the road, either.
Ultimately, our hope is that our Redeemer lives, and our Redeemer seeks to redeem all of humanity.
- From your perspective, how does the knowledge of permanent redemption (from Job) affect, influence, and guide your understanding of and living out the obligations of being part of the household of God?
- Do you find yourself to be more “welcoming” or more “conduct” oriented? How is that lived out in the faith community? How is that lived out in the wider (i.e., non-faith) community?
Jesus, guide our actions through your example. Thank you for being our Redeemer. Amen.