This week, Job and the writer of Psalm 22 have come before God boldly. They have come more boldly than most of us would dare. We are too aware of our own hearts. We are too aware of the ways we have fallen short.
Hebrews provides some vindication of this caution. The word of God is living and active—scripture is personified as an agent that has the power to sort out our fidelity to God from our self-preserving faithlessness. It has the power to summon us to perseverance right at the point where we are ready to quit.
But Hebrews and Job actually proceed from the same starting point. Job knows that if only he can get an audience with God, God will have to vindicate him. Why? Because God knows everything. Hebrews also tells us that God sees everything. We must give an account before God.
One crucial difference exists between these writers, however. While Job cannot get the ear of God to save his life, the writer of Hebrews knows uninterrupted access into the very throne room of God. As the great story of God continues to unfold, there appears the Living Redeemer who sits at God’s right hand with one particular task. He intercedes for the saints, for us, according to God’s will.
This week we have been called to lament by Job and by the Psalms. We cry out to God in times of distress because we know that God will hear. Moreover, Jesus, who ensures we will be heard, himself has spoken the words of lament that we have read in Psalm 22—and has been answered by God the Father through the resurrection from the dead.
Lament is a great act of faith. It is prayers to a God who we believe can and will act because this God gives life to the dead.
God who hears, even when we know our shortcomings, give us faith to cry out, knowing that you will hear us because of the perfection of your resurrected Son, our Lord. Amen.
Faithful people still have questions for God. Job wishes he could sit down with God and plead his case because he wants God to justify what has happened to him. The psalmist also feels abandoned by God and wonders why God is not coming to his aid. God can handle our questions. Job wanted an advocate, and Hebrews says that Jesus now fills that role for us. He is our great high priest and understands our sufferings, so we may boldly approach him for help. In Mark, Jesus deals with the challenge of money. It is a powerful force and can come between us and God if we cling to our resources instead of holding them loosely with thanksgiving for God’s provision.
Read Job 23:1-9, 16-17. When have you, like Eliphaz, attributed your own suffering or that of others to wickedness on your part or on theirs? How often do you find yourself blaming others for the situations in which they find themselves?
Read Psalm 22:1-15. How could your prayer life be more honest and transparent? What feelings do you hold back?
Read Hebrews 4:12-16. When God shines the spotlight on your soul, what does God see?
Read Mark 10:17-31. How do you square your “wealthy” life with Jesus’ call to discipleship?
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