Sunday, March 3, 2013

Job 16-17 and Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians 11-13

Job 16 – Job continues in anger: “I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are! Won’t you ever stop blowing hot air? What makes you keep on talking? I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off criticism and shake my head at you. But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief” (16:2-5).

Times when people are going through profound suffering and grief are not the times to get philosophical or analytical with others. They are times to stand by others, help them cope, give them support and love. If analysis and self-examination are needed as sometimes they are, THEY must bring that to the task.

It seems to Job that God has showed him no mercy – “My face is red with weeping; darkness covers my eyes for no injustice on my part” (16:16-17).  He begs that earth may not cover his blood so that his “witness” may reach to heaven. (16:19).  And he refers to an advocate he has in heaven: “He who can testify for me is on high . . . Let Him arbitrate between a man and God as between a man and his fellow” (16:19-21).

Job 17 – Job continues: “My spirit is crushed, and my life is nearly snuffed out. The grave is ready to receive me. “I am surrounded by mockers. I watch how bitterly they taunt me. You must defend my innocence, O God, since no one else will stand up for me” (17:1-3).

The graveyard awaits him. Who will stand up for him? Where then is his hope?

Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians
11 – Ignatius believes that these gnostic teachings are “poisonous growths with a deadly fruit” (81). “They are none of the Father’s planting” (81).

“It is by the Cross that through His Passion He calls you, who are parts of His own Body, to Himself. A Head cannot come into being alone, without any limbs; for the promise that we have from God is the promise of unity, which is the essence of Himself” (81). I love these words.

12 – The churches of “Asia” that have come to visit Ignatius join with him in this message to the Trallians.

“These chains, which I wear for Jesus Christ’s sake in my constant entreaty to reach the presence of God, utter their own appeal to you to continue in unity and prayerfulness with one another” (81).

More than anyone else, the clergy of the church should “see that the bishop enjoys peace of mind” (81). He begs that they heed his advice.

13 – He sends love and greetings to them from Smyrna and Ephesus, and asks that they keep him “Syrian church” in their prayers.

“Love one another, all of you, with a heart above all divisions. My spirit offers itself on your behalf, not only now but also which I shall stand in the presence of God. Whether that will happen is still in hazard; but the Father may be trusted in Jesus Christ to grant my supplications and yours. May you be found faultless in Him” (82).

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