Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 24- Arguing The Case and Trying to Find Hope

August 24, 2011

Scripture Readings:
Job 12:1-15:35; 1 Corinthians 15:29-58;
Psalm 39:1-13; Proverbs 21:30-31

A lawyer's dream of heaven: every man reclaims his property at the resurrection, 
and each tries to recover it from all of his forefathers.  
~Samuel Butler

Job 12:1-15:35

You and I are in a privileged position.  We get to approach the larger questions that haunt humanity with the benefit of having a book, written by the inspiration of God, that explains God's purposes on earth.  These are large looming questions like "Why do we suffer?", "How can I know God?" , "What is my purpose on earth?", "What is the point of all of this?", and "What happens to us when we die?"  These questions can be answered by reading the Bible.  Job and his friends do not have the benefit of Scripture.  We can see that their relationship to God is more tortured and murky.

Job is ready to answer Zophar.  His words are dripping with sarcasm as he proposes that all wisdom will die when Zophar dies.  Job is prepared to give Zophar a verbal smack down. Job tells Zophar that he (Job) is righteous and a man to whom God listens.  But Job acknowledges that if God closes in on you, there is no where to escape. Job acknowledges that God raises up nations and can destroy them.  Job even prophesies about a future king who will have his understanding taken away and will wander in the wasteland, staggering like a drunkard.  This actually happens to King Nebuchadnezzar!

Job yearns to argue his case before the Almighty. Job claims that his friends are like doctors who are really quacks.  They are fake in their spirituality.  He says that the smartest thing they can do in this intellectual battle is be quiet!  KA-POW!

Job states that they are trying to argue God's position in this legal trial, but they are not equipped to do so.  Job is right, by the way. Job declares that he is NOT godless.  He is confident that he can be proved innocent.  Remember, these men have accused him of some secret sin.  Job is arguing that he has no secret sin.

Job asks God to please show him what his sin and rebellion have been. He does not understand why he is being put in a position of being God's enemy.  We see here that Job is approaching God from a wrong perspective, but we cannot blame him.  He has no other way of knowing any different. He feels that God is doing this to him from an antagonistic position.  God is not. 

Job then argues that he cannot be blamed for being sinful.  All humans are frail.  Purity cannot come from that which is impure.  How right Job is!!!  He gets it, folks.  Job acknowledges that God knows the number of days that we will live, but that a tree has the hope of new life because of seedlings.  Job wants to know why human beings don't have the hope of new life!!  Do you see how God has put innate wisdom in this man?  Without the help of Scriptures, Job is using the pictures in nature to understand that man must have the capacity for resurrected life.  Job asks, "If mortals die, can they live again?" Job 14:14  Job then has a very profound thought.  Here it is.  If I had the hope that I could live again, I would be able to endure my suffering and await my release (in death).  People, Job has just given us a key to how to handle suffering.  We humbly wait for our release and future resurrection!!!  Job adds that it would be nice to have his sins sealed in a pouch!  Jesus did that for you and me.  He did it for Job, too.  Job is pining for a future Messiah.  God knows this.

May I say that Job's idiot friend, Eliphaz, opens his big mouth, again.  This time, he officially calls Job a windbag.  He claims that Job's hopes are foolish. Eliphaz claims to be more mature and able to discern wisdom because of his age. He then claims that wicked people suffer.  His premise is that wicked people get their punishment in this life, not in an after life.  Eliphaz is wrong. Also, he is implying that Job is godless and wicked.  He thinks Job needs to 'fess up.

What do you think of the fact that suffering has led Job to desire resurrection?  He says that the hope of eternal life would help him endure his present suffering.  Have you ever thought about the reality of a resurrection of your body helping you to get through tough times in this earthly body?  Job is wise. We can learn from his spiritual journey.

1 Corinthians 15:29-58

Well, what do ya know...Paul is talking about resurrection.  I wish this had been written during Job's lifetime.  He would have known some of the answers to the questions he was asking. He would have had that "hope" that he so desperately needed.

Paul says that there is no reason to participate in baptism if there is no resurrection.  By the way, Paul is arguing this case for hope to some of the Corinthians who are tempted to not believe in life after death.  Baptism pictures going down into death with Jesus and then being raised up to new life with Him.

Paul argues that he is willing to risk his life for the faith and for Christ precisely because he has the hope of resurrection.   Here are some lessons about resurrection from Paul.  Listen closely:
  • Seeds go into the ground and a new plant emerges after the seed is buried and dies. vs. 36
  • You put a seed, not the plant, into the ground.  It does not look like what it will become. vs. 37
  • Each seed is different and will produce a different type of plant. vs. 38
  • Heavenly bodies are different from earthly bodies. vs. 40
  • Heavenly bodies come forth after earthly bodies die and are planted in the ground. vs. 42
  • Resurrected bodies can never die. vs. 42
  • Resurrected bodies will be powerful and glorious.  vs. 43
  • They will be spiritual bodies, not natural bodies. vs. 44
  • Adam was made of dust.  Christ has come from heaven. vs. 47
  • Our earthly bodies come from Adam. Our heavenly bodies come from Christ. vs. 48-49
  • Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. vs. 50
  • Some people will not die, but will be transformed into this heavenly body. vs. 51
  • Any Christian living at the last trumpet will be transformed, while Christians who have died will be raised from death to receive their new bodies. vs. 52
  • It is at Christ's last call that death will finally be defeated.vs. 54
Paul concludes by saying that sin brings death.  The law brings awareness of sin and gives sin its power. But Jesus gives us victory over sin and death!  Paul then tells us something very encouraging.  This would have helped Job...because of this victory over death and sin, because of resurrection and the ability to enter heaven with immortal bodies, it makes everything you go through on earth worthwhile.

Oh, the beauty and continuity of God's Truth!!

Psalm 39:1-13

Think of Job, again, as you read these words.

Proverbs 21:30-31

"Human plans, no matter how wise or well advised, cannot stand against the Lord."  Job knows something about this!

What did you learn today?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton
© 2011

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