6 October 2012
The real meaning of Jobís sufferings Ė Extracted from the book of Job, Chapter 36:
1 Elihu went on speaking. He said:
2 Be patient a little longer while I explain, for I have more to say on God's behalf.
3 I shall range far afield for my arguments to prove my Maker just.
4 I guarantee, nothing I shall say will be untrue: you have a man of sound learning here.
5 God does not reject anyone whose heart is pure
6 or let the sinner live on in all his power. He does accord fair judgement to the afflicted;
7 he does uphold what the upright deserve. When he raises kings to thrones, if they grow proud of their unending rule,
8 then he fetters them with chains, they are caught in the bonds of affliction.
9 He shows them the import of their deeds, of the sins of pride they have committed.
10 In their ears he sounds a warning, ordering them to turn back from doing wrong.
11 If they take notice and obey him, the rest of their days are prosperous and the years pass pleasantly.
12 If not, they go down the Canal and perish in their stupidity.
13 The stubborn, who cherish their anger and do not cry for help when he chains them,
14 die in the bloom of youth or live among the male prostitutes of the temple.
15 But God saves the afflicted by his affliction, warning him in his misery.
16 You, too, he would like to snatch from torment. While you were enjoying boundless abundance, with rich food piled high on your table,
17 you did not bring the wicked to trial and did not give fair judgement to the orphan.
18 Beware of being led astray by abundance, of being corrupted by expensive presents.
19 Take the powerful to law, not merely the penniless, those whose arm is strong, not merely the weak.
20 Do not crush people you do not know to install your relations in their place.
21 Avoid any tendency to wrong-doing, for this is why affliction is testing you now.
22 See, God is sublime in his strength and who can teach lessons as he does?
23 Who has even told him which course to take, or dared to say to him, 'You have done wrong'?
24 Consider, rather, how you may praise his work, a theme that many have sung.
25 This is something that everyone can see, gazing, as we do, from afar.
26 Yes, the greatness of God exceeds our knowledge, the number of his years is past counting.
27 It is he who makes the raindrops small and pulverises the rain into mist.
28 And the clouds then pour this out, sending it streaming down on the human race.
29 And who can fathom how he spreads the clouds, or why such crashes thunder from his tent?
30 He spreads a mist before him and covers the tops of the mountains.
31 By these means, he sustains the peoples, giving them plenty to eat.
32 He gathers up the lightning in his hands, assigning it the mark where to strike.
33 His crashing gives warning of its coming, anger flashes out against iniquity.
A hymn to Godís wisdom and omnipotence
- Extracted from the book of Job, Chapter 37:
Elihu continued and said:
1 At this, my very heart quakes and leaps out of its place.
2 Listen, oh listen, to the blast of his voice and the sound that issues from his mouth.
3 His lightning is hurled across the heaven, it strikes to the extremities of earth.
4 After it comes a roaring sound, God thunders with majestic voice. He does not check his thunderbolts until his voice resounds no more.
5 Yes, certainly God shows us marvels and does great deeds that we cannot understand.
6 When he says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth!' to the showers, 'Now rain hard!'
7 he brings all human activity to a standstill, for everyone to acknowledge his work.
8 The animals go back to their dens and take shelter in their lairs.
9 The storm wind comes from the Mansion of the South, and the north winds usher in the cold.
10 At the breath of God, ice comes next, the surface of the waters hardens over.
11 He weighs the clouds down with moisture, and the storm clouds radiate his lightning.
12 He himself guides their wheeling motion presiding over their seasonal changes. They carry out his orders to the letter all over this earthly world.
13 Whether to punish earth's peoples or as a work of faithful love, he despatches them.
14 Listen to this, Job, without flinching and reflect on the marvellous works of God.
15 Do you know how God controls them or how his clouds make the lightning flash?
16 Do you know how he balances the clouds - a miracle of consummate skill?
17 When your clothes are hot to your body and the earth lies still under the south wind,
18 can you, like him, stretch out the sky, tempered like a mirror of cast metal?
19 Teach me what we should say to him: but better discuss no further, since we are in the dark.
20 Does he take note when I speak? When human beings give orders, does he take it in?
21 There are times when the light vanishes, behind darkening clouds; then comes the wind, sweeping them away.
22 and brightness spreads from the north. God is clothed in fearful splendour:
23 he, Shaddai, is far beyond our reach. Supreme in power, in equity, excelling in saving justice, yet no oppressor-
24 no wonder then that people fear him: everyone thoughtful holds him in awe!
6 October 2012