Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Job 20-21 and Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans 2-4

Job 20 – Zophar speaks out of an emotional response to the insults he hears from Job. The joy experienced by those who are “wicked” is always brief. “Though evil is sweet to his taste, and he conceals it under his tongue; though he saves it . . . holds it inside his mouth, [t]his food in his bowels turns into asps’ venom within him” (20:13-14). This is what God does to the wicked man.

Job 21 – Job replies: He rebukes Zophar for thinking he is assailing him. Job’s words of anger are directed at God, not man. “My complaint is with God, not with people. I have good reason to be so impatient. Look at me and be stunned” (21:4-5).

The wicked do NOT necessarily suffer these loses; he often prospers in this world and grows wealthy. “Their homes are secure . . .they do not feel the rod of God” (21:9). They are not interested in learning God’s ways. The ugly truth is that people suffer fates that have nothing to do with their moral integrity.

His friends should stop “persecuting” him and telling him it’s all his fault. “You should fear punishment yourselves, for your attitude deserves punishment” (19:29).

Ignatius to the Romans
2 – He says, “I shall never have a better chance than this of getting to God; and you on your part will never have a finer piece of work to your credit, if only you will keep your lips sealed. For by staying silent and letting me alone, you can turn me into an intelligible utterance of God; but if your affections are only concerned with my poor human life, then I become a mere meaningless cry once more” (85). He begs them to permit him to be “a libation poured out to God” (85).

He has come from the east to where the sun sets – west of Syria – and, master of metaphor that he is, he says, “How good it is to be sinking down below the world’s horizon towards God, to rise again later into the dawn of His presence!” (86)

3 – Rome – with its great founders and martyrs Peter and Paul, who died under the early persecutions of Nero and Domitian – has “been a source of instruction to others . . . The only petition I would have you put forward on my behalf is that I may be given sufficient inward and outward strength to be as resolute in will as in words, and a Christian in reality instead of only in repute” (86).

The mission of the church is not to convince the world with “persuasive words” but to “achieve greatness in the face of a world’s hatred” (86).

4 – He writes these letters to all the churches to assure them “that [he is] truly in earnest about dying for God” (86). He begs them to permit him to be made a “meal for the beasts, for it is they who can provide my way to God. I am His wheat, ground fine by the lions’ teeth to be made purest bread for Christ” (86).

He prefers that they pray for the beasts to fully devour him so that “no trace of [his] body [may be] left for the world to see” (86).

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