Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 193: Job 37-39; Psalm 8; Galatians 4

Who Gave Understanding to a Rooster...(yeah, that's a line in today's readings!)
How incomprehensibly big is God? How unfathomably deep is the Lord? How majestic beyond any compare is that Majesty? Good question...and one, really, for which there is no answer. If God is God, the creator and maker of all things...and if God sees and not only understands but also manifests eternity itself then what can a human being possibly accomplish in one lifetime that could allow our little, limited mind to compass all that God does, much less all that God is?

Elihu's harangue of Job ends not with Job responding with a bitter retort. Instead, the Divine Presence Itself shows up. After Job's three friends, and this Elihu, have had their say it is now God's turn at the bar. God is going to "respond" to Job's embittered estate. There is to be no justification of what Job is going through, not at all. Instead? God tells Job to prepare himself, to "man up."

Where were you
when I laid the earth's foundations?
Tell me if you know.
Who set its measurements?
Surely you know.Who stretched a measuring tape on it?
On what were its footings sun;
who laid its cornerstone,
while the morning stars sang in unison
and all the divine begins shouted? (38:2-7)

Not. Job.

Not us: no human mind can begin to understand God, if God really is all that and more. Therein lies the wrinkle. For though we cannot know God by our will, God by God's own will can choose to make God known. God is doing that with Job (yikes); the Psalmist gets in front of that accusation and gives glory to God before God shows up (safer, from seeing what Job is now going through!) and finally Paul reminds us through the Galatians that God not only chooses to manifest the Promise and the Law to us in order that we believe and live...God also gives us the Christ to open the door to an intimacy with the Creator that is unrivaled in creation. Human beings are being raised up, and the glory is God's to do so.

That is tough for us to accept, as we are so used to assuming that our fate is in our hands. We might pay some degree of lip service to God, but in our heart of hearts we too often like to think that life is all about us (rather than that we are only a small (VERY SMALL) part of life. God's interrogatories lay it all out for us. We were not there when God made everything. We can't begin to ponder all that is. Yet, with God showing an abundant desire to know us, we have some living to do. That this living is often beyond reason is frustrating...but in that when we reach the end of reason and faith truly takes root remarkable things happen, both to and through us.

Going back to that rooster image, here's a thought. When I was a younger man living in my hometown in Appalachia (a region renowned for folk wisdom and pithy aphorisms), I knew a man named "JD" to his friends and whose stage name as a musician was "Lost John Hutchison." JD had a saying that rose up in my heart this morning as I was reading our Bible selections. It came from his mother's people, and was a descriptive for things beyond comprehension that simply had to be accepted because they simple were.

"Well, I says, if'n a rooster kin pull a freight train...well then, hook him up..."

Who sets the planets in their courses? Who give us life and breath? Who names he starts and sets the cadence of the oceans' waves?

The one who give wisdom to roosters...and if they wind up pulling the odd freight train, then glory to God.

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