October 6, 2021
Retired Elder from Holston Conference
Job 15 NRSV15 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered:
2 “Should the wise answer with windy knowledge,
and fill themselves with the east wind?
3 Should they argue in unprofitable talk,
or in words with which they can do no good?
4 But you are doing away with the fear of God,
and hindering meditation before God.
5 For your iniquity teaches your mouth,
and you choose the tongue of the crafty.
6 Your own mouth condemns you, and not I;
your own lips testify against you.
7 “Are you the firstborn of the human race?
Were you brought forth before the hills?
8 Have you listened in the council of God?
And do you limit wisdom to yourself?
9 What do you know that we do not know?
What do you understand that is not clear to us?
10 The gray-haired and the aged are on our side,
those older than your father.
11 Are the consolations of God too small for you,
or the word that deals gently with you?
12 Why does your heart carry you away,
and why do your eyes flash,[a]
13 so that you turn your spirit against God,
and let such words go out of your mouth?
DevotionalOur social discourse is too sure of itself. We speak about things we partially understand with complete certainty. Just listen to our politics and religion. Job tried such hard and fast arguments while defending his innocence. In the beginning verses of this chapter, he is asked to consider his small place in the larger order of things: “Are you the firstborn of people? Were you brought forth before the hills? Have you listened in the council of God? And do you limit wisdom to yourself? What do you know that we do not know? What do you understand that is not clear to us?” In other words, ‘where is the humble mystery of life?’
Back in July, two of the richest men on earth, Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, were launched into space by crafts build by their own fortunes. As they climbed toward the outer edge of the earth’s atmosphere, I hope each had the common experience shared by previous space travelers: that moment that occurs when the astronauts turn their heads and look back at their home planet.
The 1972 Apollo 17 space mission captured the iconic photograph of Earth that was quickly termed the “Big Blue Marble.” Seeing the earth from this perspective has a humbling effect on the viewer. We are each part of a whole: each hemisphere, each continent, each nation, each tribe, each city or village, each mountain range or dessert plain, each wild or tame thing, each stranger or neighbor, each house or hut, each man or woman, each child and pet, each bee and bug. We are part of something bigger than ourselves: the whole of God’s creation. Humility and respect are called forth.
While we may never understand why life unfolds as it does, we may come to accept our place within the scheme of things and trust and depend on God’s companionship in the journey.