Job 38-39; Acts 15:1-35; Psalm 50
‘Then God answered Job out of the whirlwind . . .’
In the beginning of his travails, Job had sat in silence before God with his three friends for a week – as it were figure of creation groaning in expectation. In this his friends showed empathy for his great suffering and together they showed wisdom in not trying to explain the inexplicable. But the human mind is restless until it finds its rest in its maker and so the disputation begins as his three friends wheel out three of the ‘contemporary’ explanations – none of which is any comfort to Job, who knows that only God knows – yet it is not enough for him in his trouble and so he enters into the disputation.
Finally God speaks – after all our words – it is His word which endures. There discourse, seemingly so profound, at least to the three friends, is revealed for what it is mere speculation in the face of the profound mystery of God. Note that for Job, none of this is a matter of the existence of God – indeed throughout, it is the very Existence of God that is the root of his trouble in one sense or another. His wife at the outset, suggests that he curse God and die – in effect suggest that God is not God. But Job will have none of it.
Always and everywhere, our will to understand is to do with our need for control – not to let God be God. And once more this is revealed in the infant church as the disputation over circumcision raises its head. Peter’s response is rooted in humble apprehension of what we are as creatures. The yoke of the Law, which circumcision represents was one none had been able to bear. Yet that deep desire to have some form of control over our lives, which comes finally to be a way in which we seek to control God comes to the surface ‘It is necessary for them to be circumcised and to keep the law of Moses’. What is more, this is those who would themselves take control, laying down the law, playing God.
They cannot accept that this life is ‘through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ’. It is in the end a repudiation of the Infinite goodness and mercy of God – of his Love. A Love which we cannot fathom for the only measure we have is the flickering candle of our own wayward affections.
In surrendering ourselves to the mystery of this Love, we lose our lives and so find them, as Gift.