Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Job 8-9 and Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians [Introduction through 1]

Job 8 – Now Bildad of Shuah speaks to him, censoring him for talking too much. “Does God twist justice? Does the Almighty twist what is right? Your children must have sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved” (8:1-3).

Bildad’s advice is similar to that of Eliphaz – Job or someone in his family MUST have done something to bring this misery on him, “but “if [he] pray[s] to God and seek[s] the favor of the Almighty. . . if [he is] pure and live[s] with integrity, [God] will surely rise up and restore [his] happy home” (8:5-6).

This is the wisdom that had come from their ancestors. Man’s life is too short to learn all that he needs to know. “[W]e were born but yesterday and know nothing. Our days on earth are as fleeting as a shadow. But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you the wisdom of old” (8:9-10).

The godless may look like they are flourishing, but once they are gone, it is as if they never existed. Job must seek Shaddai, and he will restore him to his favor.

Job 9 – Job responds – he acknowledges the greatness of God and the creation that flowed from His power. Job acknowledges that he as a man cannot hold God to account – God cannot be taken to court, cannot be held accountable. But “I am blameless—I am distraught; I am sick of life” (9:21).

God destroys the innocent with the guilty. There is no hope of being found blameless before God.

Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians
Introduction: Tralles was a prosperous city 17 miles east of Magnesia in Asia Minor, on the road from Laodicea to Ephesus. Like the other churches in the region, they had heard that Ignatius was going to be passing through Smyrna, and the bishop – Polybius - of their church had come to see him. This letter is mostly concerned with the danger Ignatius saw in the teaching of those who came to be called “docetists” – people who believed that the outward, material aspects of Jesus’ identity were mere illusions, that only the spiritual aspects of his nature were “real.”

1 – Ignatius greets the church and notes that its reputation is “beyond all praise” (79). The impeccable “character” of its community was simply its “natural disposition” (79). When bishop Polybius visited him, he “was so full of joy with me in my bonds in Christ Jesus, that in him I had a vision of your whole congregation” (79). He acknowledges and thanks them for the gift they sent as a sign of their regard for him.

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