четверг, 21 сентября 2017 г.

Some thoughts on a preaching series in Job

At church we are doing a preaching series in the book of Job.

Job is one of those books more or less everyone knows in general, many people have read through, but few have studied in depth. The 'Cliff notes' one-liner on Job is both helpful and simplistic. A more nuanced reading of the whole text promises to yield a more nuanced answer to the problem of unjust suffering raised.

Two important motifs throughout the book are that of a legal frame (Job wants to put his case before the Lord) and creation (eg in the Lord's reply to Job in chapters 38-39).

A particular challenge is the section from chapter 3 to 27 where Job is engaged in debate with his 'friends'. This section begins with Job cursing his day (Job 3). This is followed by three cycles of speeches by Job's friends, to which he responds. In the first three cycles Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar each speak; in the final cycle only the former two speak.

How much of this is simply wrong thinking and what can be learnt from it?

One of the ideas suggested in one article was to identify some of the poignant questions Job asked as a way to identify relevant threads in the debate which may not be tied to a single passage.

In particular I have been looking for suitable passages on which to preach. Having done some research, here are some suggested passages in the first cycle of discourses (chapters 3 to 14) with titles. (I realise this is a somewhat Anglo-Saxon approach, but it does give an idea of the subject matter.)
  • Job 4-6/4-11. "When counselling doesn't help"
  • Job 7. "What I have done to you, O Watcher of men?" 
  • Job 9. "How can a man be justified before God?"
  • Job 11. "False consolation"
  • Job 4; 8:1-19; 11.
  • Job 13:15. "Though He slay me, yet will I praise him." 
  • Job 14:14. "If a man shall die, shall he live again?" 

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