Monday, October 22, 2012

Stop the Press!

For those of you less familiar with the Old Testament - a brief synopsis of the book of Job.

Job, a righteous man, is attacked by Satan (with God's knowledge). He loses all his possessions and wealth, all ten of his children, and eventually even his own health.

See? Brief. 

In all of this, however, Job never cursed God or blamed him for his troubles. Thus the phrase the patience of Job comes into existence.

But, for today's musings, I have little interest in Job - and a good deal of interest in his wife.

She is known by exactly two verses, a brief conversation between she and her husband (exceedingly brief really). When they have lost everything and then Job is struck down by physical ailments, she says, "Are you still holding onto your integrity? Curse God and die!"

And Job replies, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"

I have heard countless sermons on Job, and even a few on his wife. And, I'm going to protest pretty much every single one of them right here in blog. Because I think that every sermon I've ever heard on Job's wife has done her a terrible disservice.

Job is a long book! But we hear the entire story portion in exactly two chapters. And what we learn in those two chapters is that on one day Job loses all his wealth, his seven sons, and his three daughters. What I never hear any one speak of is that Job's wife lost all of that, too!

She lost her security, provided by her husband.

And she lost every single one of her children. In a freak accident!

Then, to add insult to injury, her husband falls physically ill and sits by the roadside scraping his sores while seated in ashes.

At some point she loses faith - and that is the moment we capture in the story of Job. That is the moment they preach on - the moment she faltered. Of course Job is held up as perfect, and what woman can compare? Certainly not his wife!

She crumbled. In despair, and anger, and probably not a little fear - Job's wife crumbled. She faltered. She fell.

 But who among us is truly like Job? And, if we're honest, aren't we sometimes more like his wife?

I know that have faltered. I have lost faith, if only for a second. I have cried out, and shaken my fist at God. Was I right? No...but it happened.

I will contend that we all have those moments. The only difference is that ours is not captured for all of posterity. That is not the only snapshot people have of us.That is only one of the reasons I have for feeling a great sympathy for Job's wife. The others you can perhaps guess at.

My final conclusion is this: Job's wife was human. She hurt, and in her hurt she lashed out. End this! her heart cried. End this now!

It is the cry of a mother's heart, a broken heart. So next time we preach on Job, perhaps we should show her compassion - not scorn. 

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