Some readers imagine that God here merely reiterates the sharp attacks against Job’s arrogance, but I think not. I see God winking slyly, and saying to Job to go on and “tread down the wicked in their place,” as you think I do, knowing full well that Job cannot do that, precisely because God does not do that either!
The Lively Lectionary Old Testament is a blog that reflects on the Old Testament text from the Revised Common Lectionary each week.
Job believes with assurance that “an upright person could reason with God,” and after the case has been argued Job is convinced that he “would be acquitted forever by my judge” (Job 23:7).
It is only in year B in the round of lectionary texts that we get the opportunity to examine the rich and complex book of Job, and that for only four weeks. I urge you preachers to take full advantage of this chance to offer your congregation something of the wonders of this challenging story.
Nearly all other materials from the book of Proverbs has to do with instructions given by male mentors to young men, but at the very end, the collectors of the book provide us with a portrait of a truly powerful and worthy woman, a wife, mother, provider, a hard-working and clever pillar of the community, praised by her husband and recognized by all as the very epitome of what it means to be a strong and capable woman in Israel, according to this branch of the school of wisdom.
We find in Prov.1:20ff the intriguing and mysterious figure of Woman Wisdom, whose call to all is to embrace what she has to offer, namely true wisdom, the choice of which will lead inevitably to security and ease, and freedom from disaster (Prov.1:33).
Proverbs are here designed to tease one into active thought, to think more deeply than simple repetitions of bumper sticker blathering. This is a lesson that every generation must relearn, lest we do nothing more than mouth what others have said.
The Most Beautiful Song offers to us a superb and winsome portrayal of a sacred sexual relationship, a picture of a man and a woman lusting after one another with genuine human desire, announcing to all who read that such desire is not only fabulous and wondrous, but is also a desire born of God
The editor’s attempt to clean up the figures of the story is a rank failure. The Bible will never let us forget that both of these men were human, both weak and vindictive, and ofttimes thoroughly unlovely. Creatures of God, as are we all, but humans at full stretch at the same time. So it is with the people of God, and so it always will be.
The story is so well known as not to need reiteration, yet the details of the sharply composed narrative arrests our attention each time we read it. In that way, perhaps he is more like us than we care to admit. But also perhaps like us, God can make something of him nonetheless.
David has his plans carefully designed to present both opulent palace and temple as living symbols of his greatness as king. This text suggests that there is a significant problem with David being the architect of the temple.
All events have conspired to solidify the throne for David. He only lacks one thing: a major religious symbol around which the people of Jerusalem may rally. The fabled ark of the covenant will be just the thing.
We are right to love our country, as long as we know its fuller history, and as long as we recognize that we worship not our country, but the God who is over all countries, loving and challenging all of them, including our own, to seek to follow the ways of justice and righteousness.