Updated: May 20
The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone
when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?
“Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?—
when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?”
This is an optional Old Testament selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 7. If chosen, this will next be read aloud in church by a reader on Sunday, June 24, 2018. This is important because it is God answering the moans and groans of a most righteous man, who had been afflicted by Satan without cause. God allowed that to prove to Satan that Job would not turn away from God due to his sufferings.
This reading is the first eleven verses of a lengthy monologue in response to Job’s prayers to God for an explanation as to what Job had done wrong, to deserve the affliction that befell his body. Job had wracked his brain trying to remember how he could have dishonored God, but could not do more than guess what had caused his plight. At no time did Job make false claims that the LORD had wrongfully brought harm upon Job. Now, in chapter 38, God begins to answer Job, and God will continue to talk for all but two verses of four chapters (125 verses in all).
To select ten verses here makes one focus on the magnitude of the Creation, which only God could achieve. One human being then becomes infinitesimally small in comparison. Still, for God to speak to Job from a storm of high winds, one knows that God had not forsaken Job, and Job had never once turned away from God. The love of God never waned as God was one with Job, throughout all his misery.
As an option to be chosen from two readings from 1 Samuel 17, where David and Saul are the characters of focus, Job shows how little faith Saul had in God, and how David was a model of Job. In a Sunday schedule after Pentecost, where the Gospel reading from Mark focus on a storm that threatened the disciples of Jesus, while he slept on the boat, the disciples moaned and groaned like Job, while Jesus responded like God, asking, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” The lessons all center on the patience of faith, which is why the lesson of Job is the patience he had, always maintaining deep faith and love of God, despite the storm that came upon his flesh.
In this Pentecost season (Ordinary Time), when one’s personal ministry should be underway, it becomes important to see just how small and insignificant oneself is, in the grand scheme of God’s plan. This is why one must die of self-ego and sacrifice all concept of “I,” because “I” will always begin to tremble and shake at the first sign of enormous troubles. When the “I” is removed and God sits upon the throne of one’s heart, there is nothing to fear but that of losing the love of God. Without the “I” limitations, one becomes as great as God.
This means the lesson here is to realize that power is within one’s being, so no matter how hard one’s time on earth might become, it is always a test of one’s patience, knowing Satan is the cause and even if death occurs, the soul will have gained eternal life in Heaven with God. Thus, one can only do what God leads one to do, knowing that if persecution or hardships are along that path, then it is for making one better for the experience.
In ministry to the LORD, Satan will set traps in all the places one least expects to find trouble.
He does that as a test of one’s faith. If Satan will test Jesus, he most certainly will test one who is working towards gaining the love of God and baptism by the Holy Spirit. We are always tested before we gain the right to be in the name of Jesus Christ. The span of forty days demands patience. Becoming a most righteous man or woman is not a sprint, but an endurance race, with twists and turns and hurdles. Faith is what always wins that race and gains one marriage to God.
If God can create the universe and set the earth’s foundation among the morning stars, then God can transform a disciple into an Apostle. God has the ability to change a mortal being’s soul into everlasting happiness, by joining the spirit of Jesus Christ with one’s soul. It will not happen when “I” thinks it should. It will only happen through a test of one’s faith.