Just thought we’d switch it up and do a little video action today. Enjoy!
Well, hey guys, how’s it goin? I’m Pastor Jeremy. I’m the Media Pastor here at National Community Church and today I’m on blog duty for FromGardentoCity.com. And I figured I’m just as comfortable in front of the camera as I am behind it, why not do a little video blog?
I’ve gotta be honest though. Job is a tough book for me to get through. The beginning is very interesting to me, it’s very intriguing. You’ve got this Satan character that shows up and this is thousands of years before a theology of the devil has been really developed. And so, maybe it’s the same Satan as the New Testament, maybe it’s this angel that God created to just kinda stir the pot every once in a while, we don’t really know. And so that’s interesting to me.
And then the “what” of the story. You’ve got God basically picks someone to go through hardship for seemingly no reason. And then you see how Job responds to that and all of that is very very interesting to me. The beginning is great.
Then… you hit the middle and the middle of the book basically is Job’s friends being rude. They’re jerks to Job. They’re a little bit of a “Rude Gus,” if you will. You’ve got that going on and then you have all of these chapters where Job just goes completely emo.
(Cut to song “Screaming Infidelities” by Dashboard Confessional)
There’s definitely some nuggets in there but it’s hard to track along and find them. I was looking on the Facebook page which, by the way, love love love the way that you guys have embraced our Facebook page, the blog posts, all the commenting that’s going on. I think it’s awesome. Let’s keep it up, let’s keep it going. We’ve got so much momentum going right now with this whole From Garden to City thing. I could not be more excited. I’m so proud of the way that you guys have really rallied around this and are starting to forge this into a community.
I was on there and I saw someone, I think it might’ve been Sara Kruger, was saying that she felt like Job was just like reading Shakespeare. That you read an entire chapter and then are completely unable to summarize it at the end of it and I can totally relate to that. Now, there are some nuggets in there from time to time, but it’s hard to kind of pick ‘em out. Though, I’ve gotta say, I totally lucked out today because I got chapters 25-27. That’s the reading today. And 25 and 26 are fantastic, love ‘em.
In 25, Bildad, one of Job’s buddies, he really puts a lot in perspective. He basically comes out and says, “Look, God is amazing and he’s done all of these things and human beings are… maggots. That’s the word that it uses in the NRSV. Maggots and worms are what he calls human beings. And then Job answers in 26.
He starts his response with basically, “Hey, finally someone has said something useful here.” He starts to describe the qualities of God. So, Job describes all of these things that God does, but then he uses this phrase. It’s “the outskirts of his ways,” is the way it gets rendered in the NRSV. He basically explains, God has created the water cycle, he makes it rain, he controls the weather and this is just the fringe of what he’s done. That is awesome to me. If that’s what God has done, he can do so much more. So cool.
I think a lot of times the question that we ask in calamity is “Why?” “Why did this happen?” The problem though, is that question’s not really useful. Even if you had an answer to the why; if Job has an answer to the why in this scenario, it’s not really going to change the fact his kids are still dead and his wealth is still gone and he’s left with nothing. Especially in this case, if he got the why, the why is just kind of, “eh you were sort’ve a righteous dude and God thought that we could test you.” And that’s it. There’s no comfort in the why.
I wonder if the answers that we should be looking for are ones of perspective. And not necessarily in the “well, I guess people in Third World countries have it so much worse than I do” sort of way. But in the “I am a maggot, I am a worm, I am a pixel in this grand story that God is telling” sort of way.
Maybe we need to be looking at God and examining who he is. Reminding ourselves of his character and the things that he’s done. And not the things that he’s done for us but the things that he’s done that are so much bigger than us. And I don’t mean bigger than us in the way that it’s a miracle that National Community Church has Ebenezers, that my office right now sits on top of a coffee bar that is trafficked, apparently, daily by Wolf Blitzer, if you read Twitter at all. We’ve found a way to intersect the community and the church and it’s been fantastic and that whole scenario is a miracle. But I don’t mean those sorts of miracles.
I mean miracles like we sitting on a rock that is flying through outer space at 67,000 miles per hour. We look up and see stars that we take for granted as dots of light, but are nuclear explosions that are continuously happening billions of miles away from us. That is crazy! Creation is ridiculous!
That doesn’t give you any solutions to your problems. That doesn’t answer the questions that you might be asking. But what it does do is put things in perspective. Maybe the next time we go through a situation, instead of looking at our situation we need to step back and look at God and how big he is. Maybe that’s the way to work through some of that. And now, spoiler alert, this will come back at the end of Job. He will come back and talk and God will come back and talk at great length of his majesty.
Perhaps the lesson that we should be getting from this is: we are very small. We are very insignificant and God cares deeply about our problems, but at the end of the day, he is God and he is amazing and we are lucky to even be a part in the story that he is telling.