Posts Tagged ‘God’s justice and mercy’

Job 10The Shining in the Dusk

Sunday, December 23, 2018

In the opening of this chapter, Job’s frustration is evident with the lack of answers from God for the fundamental question concerning his guilt or innocence. He is in the darkest yet brightest of places . . . he is in that luminal space between day and night, heaven and earth, joy and sorrow, well-being and pain.  He stands at the moment of a new creation . . . In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.  Then God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light.  God saw how good the light was.  God then separated the dark from the darkness. (Genesis 1:1-4Job yearns for God to separate him from the darkness that has descended upon him; Job wants to know if he is innocent or guilty.  Job wants to know why he is suffering so deeply.

Job sees a darkness yawning before him and does not know why he stands on this threshold.  “Discouraged, worn down by pain and by the assaults of friends and deity alike, [Job] closes his part of this cycle of speeches (v. 18) by returning to the theme of his beginning: ‘Why did you bring me out of the womb?’ In chap. 3 he thought it would be better to be dead, and in 7:16, 19 he proposed to be left alone.  He ends with a figure of the darkness to which we will go, ‘deep shadow, all disordered, which shines like dusk’ (10:22).  It is the mirror image of his beginning in 3:4: ‘That day, let there be darkness.’  But Job has come to a different point.  Then being alive was too terrible; now he wants to be dead because his structure of assumption has fallen apart.  Divine power is not correlated with divine justice, and, though he deserves the latter, he is subjected to the assaults of the former”.  (Mays 375)

We watch Job struggle and we are fascinated because we see our own flailing against pain in this story.  We see that he stands on the verge of complete exhaustion and decomposition.  We hear that he looks for an end to his existence. Job demands answers of God as night threatens, and as he sinks into deep despair he runs the risk of missing the luminosity of this moment between worlds. As the shadowy dusk approaches we suddenly see the smallest glint of light in the gathering darkness and we sense something here . . . Job stands not on the edge of destruction but rather on the brink of an incredible new beginning.  There is a shinning in the dusk that harbingers a new and indecipherable rebirth rather than a horrible and ignoble end.

Job’s suffering will end and he will experience God’s goodness in a way he had not imagined; but today we see him on a precipice of cataclysm, stunned by a belief that God’s power does not appear to be accompanied by mercy.  Job will struggle with the misguided advice from his companions; he will persist in searching for answers to his questions.  A new dawn will burst upon him instead of the nighttime he fears.  We know that Job will come to find that the bottomless well of nothing over which he is poised to fall is in fact a bottomless well of safety . . . surety . . . and limitless love.  This is the liminal space in which Job finds himself today.  It is a space that we too may sometime occupy.

With God, even the night sky holds a starry luminosity that guides us back to the light of day.  In God, all harm turns toward good, all disaster becomes rescue. Through God there is a shinning in the impending dusk because God separates the darkness from the light . . . and sees that it is good.

So let us remember and pray . . .

When we stand on the brink of disaster, let us close our eyes, fold our arms across our lungs that gasp for air, and allow ourselves to sink into the shining darkness of God’s arms.  And let us allow God to bring us out of the abyss into the eternal light of God’s love.  Amen.

Also see the “Falling Down the Well” page on this blog.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 375. Print.

A re-post from November 20, 2011.

Images from: http://reflectivedust.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html and http://deadpoet88.wordpress.com/category/love/

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

micah61[1]Psalm 36

God’s Love is Mercy and Justice

This week we have pondered God’s love as a two-edged sword that grants both mercy and justice.  We have reminded ourselves that God’s love is ample and healing.  God’s love sets aright all that has hindered us.  God’s love nourishes us on our journey.  God’s love guides and teaches us.  God’s love is ever-present, even when we believe that we are alone. Today we continue to reflect on the double edge of God’s love as we linger for a time with Psalm 36.

Sin directs the heart of the wicked; their eyes are closed to the fear of God.

Jesus gives us a new understanding of “fearing the Lord”.  The Old Testament writer stands in awe of God’s power and love for we have witnessed how this love is both compassionate and just.

The wicked live with the delusion their guilt will; not be known and hated.

Jesus reminds us that there is no secret place we can hide that we are not seen by God.  He tells us that all will be revealed and he encourages us to share our worries and woes with him so that he might heal us and lift the load that weighs us down.

Lord, your love reaches to the heaven; your fidelity, to the clouds.  Your justice is like the mountains; your judgments, like the mighty deep; all living creatures you sustain, Lord.

God’s love is faithful; it reaches to the clouds.  God’s love is justice; it is as firm as the highest peaks.  God’s love is deep; it pervades the universe.

How precious is your love, O God!  We take refuge in the shadow of your wings. We feast on the rich food of your house; from your delightful stream you give us drink.

God’s love is outweighed by nothing and no one.  There is no better place to take shelter from the tempest of life.  There is no better food to nourish us.  There is no better water than the Living Water of God.

For with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light. 

Jesus comes to fill the darkness with the light of God’s love.  Jesus tells us that he is The Word, the two-edged sword of God that cleaves and which we are to render to him.  Jesus also tells us that he comes to set the world afire with God’s call to love even our enemies.

Keep on loving those who know you, doing justice for upright hearts. Let the foot of the proud not crush me nor the hand of the wicked cast me out.

God’s love is the two-edged sword: it grants both mercy and justice.  It divides marrow from bone and renders holy God’s faithful.  It pries pride from the darkest of places and heals cold hearts with its cauterizing heat.

See how the evil-doers fall; flung down, they never rise.

God’s love calls us to intercede for our enemies so that we might enter into the healing power of forgiveness.

The prophet Micah instructs us: Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. (Micah 6:8)  We can have no better reminder than this Psalm that God’s love is both merciful and just.

Let us take this time today to reflect on the healing, nourishing, guiding, two-edged sword of God’s Word.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Proverbs 5:4

Wormwood Growing in the Wild

Wormwood growing in the wild


In the end [the adulteress] is as bitter as wormwood, as sharp as a two-edged sword. 

Although we humans tend to focus on the physical violation of the commitment we avow to a life partner, there are many ways to commit adultery.  Straying from solid principles that support the authentic life, allowing ourselves to be lured into a way of life we know is false, and turning our backs on all that we know to be just and merciful.  These are all pathways that lead to the destruction of ourselves and possibly others.

God says: I am aware of the many sirens that call you away from me; I understand the strength of the pull the world has on your heart and mind.  It is for this reason that I am so joyful when even just one of you remains with me.  I am pleased when you put aside all that would make you bitter as you recover from stress and trauma.  I understand how difficult it is to forgive, how hard it is to pray from those who do you harm; yet this is what I ask of you.  This what I hope for you.  For this I have created you: to celebrate with me despite the sorrow and the grief.  All that I ask is that you give me your burden so that I might heal the injuries brought on by life and make you whole.  The double-edged sword has the power to wound just as it has the authority to save.  I dwell in you so that your double edge might lead to me and not to the darkness.  I dwell in you so that you with mercy and justice so that you might witness to my goodness.  I dwell in you so that you might rejoice in peace rather than sink in bitterness.  Come to me always . . . no matter your injuries.

Adultery is more than the physical breaking of the union of two who are committed to one another.  Adultery damages ourselves and many others.  Adultery is the first step  on the trail that leads to annihilation.  Adultery has the power to pull us into the darkness but it also has the power to transform us . . . when we bring our broken-ness to God.

Enter the name Gomer into the blog search bar to further explore the concept of adultery and God’s saving hand.

For more information on the wormwood plant and its properties, click on the image above or go to: http://www.absinthebuyersguide.com/wormwood.html or http://herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.com/2011/06/wormwood-herb-health-benefits-and-uses.html

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Two Edged SwordPsalm 149:6

The Double-Edged Sword

With the praise of God in their mouths, and a two-edged sword in their hands . . .

With mercy and justice, compassion and integrity, love and honesty the double-edged sword of God sings in the hands of God’s people.  Let us praise God.

God says: I understand how difficult it is for you to wield this special sword when you see only a small part of the broad landscape of the time and place that I see.  Yet you are my special and dear children and for that reason I cannot refuse you this sword of redeeming life.  When you are discouraged from struggling with the world, take up the sword and grasp it firmly. When you feel that you are bullied because of me, lift the sword and allow it to sing.  When you find that you are weighed down with my justice, raise the sword and join your voice in the song of the double-edged sword.

We humans tend to be dualistic; we find life easier to live when we look through a single lens that filters out opposing views.  We have difficulty balancing opposites yet we lose our way when we see events and people through the lens of our own singular thinking.  God is always showing us a world of inversion: the poor are wealthy, the wealthy poor; what is lost is found, what is found is lost; we are born to die, we die in order to be born anew.  This two-edged sword that separates and yet joins is a living sign of God’s presence in our lives.  Let us celebrate our struggles and take up our burden with joy.  And let us learn a lesson of great value as we ponder God’s double-edged sword.

For practical advice on the use of the two-edged sword, click on the image above or go to: http://lifeworthserving.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/praying-the-word/

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