Bill led the beginning of the discussion on Job. He started by asking us some questions. Do we believe that God gives us a good life? Do we believe that God is responsible for the bad things we experience in life? Does God direct both the good and evil that happens in life? Is God responsible for evil? or just the good things that happen in our lives? Can we be angry with God over our lot in life? Should we ever curse God? Chuck added some comments by Victor Hugo and Thomas Carlyle about what great writing this was. We really don’t know exactly when it was written or who wrote it.
Chapter 1 detailed how Satan asked God’s permission to inflict losses on Job. Satan is not really identified as the devil, but more as the accuser and seems to be an individual who has God’s ear. So Satan took away his flocks, herds, camels, and his children. This inflicted doubts on Job, but didn’t inflict personal harm or illness to Job. That was in chapter 2. Then in chapter 3, Job cites the poem of defeat asking that he wished he had never been born. He says that it would have been better not to have ever entered this life. We discussed how this is different from suicide. Isn’t it interesting that in this time frame of the patriarchs, say around 2000 BC, that people were raising these questions and trying to find answers to them. Frank had three reasons for God to promote evil in our lives, one is punishment for our sins, another is to make us stronger or refine our faith, and the third is to provide an example to others of handling evil in our lives. Presumably we can do it well and our faith remains strong. Maybe we strive for heaven on earth which may be to be in the right relationships with our family and friends. Possibly death is the great equalizer and there is no king or pauper. None have more money than anyone else because there is no money. The third chapter is a beautiful poem but it expresses a feeling of hopelessness while much of the Bible expresses hope in the future. A commitment of God to make an enduring covenant with us.
This reading was about the historical relationships between Judah and the Philistines and the Amalekites. The battles between them and the intrigues that went on between David and Saul. We start off with Saul seeking the help of the Witch of Endor in order to talk with Samuel and get advice about the coming battles with the Philistines. Earlier, Saul had outlawed all mediums in Judah. David had gone to work and live with the Philistines because of the threats of Saul who was afraid that David was going to kill him to become the king of Judah. Interesting set of relationships. Then the Philistines told David he couldn’t march with them to meet Judah because the Lords (commanders) of the Philistines were afraid that David was a spy and would betray them to Saul. I think that David would more likely use the Philistines to end the king ship of Saul and take it over himself, and then probably wage war against the Philistines to further the territorial needs of the tribe of Judah. Unfortunately, when David went home to Ziklag, he discovered that the Amalekites had raided the area and taken all the women including David’s two wives, as well as the cattle, sheep, goats and anything else of value. So David immediately set off with 600 men to avenge this loss. He got all but 200 across the river and was able to kill all of the Amalekites except 400 who escaped and took back all the spoils. Then David gave the spoils to the men with him, but also to a whole list of towns in the area. Ed said this was a political gift that would help him become the King of Judah. Then we had Saul’s death after he saw defeat was imminent. He asked his armor bearer to kill him and when he refused, Saul fell on his sword. Mark said this was one of 4 suicides mentioned in the Bible. This was a fairly violent account of tribal warfare in this period of history. Here is a map of this time in history and the location of Philisitia and Amalec.
Next time we will start Job under the direction of Bill.
We discussed 21. The first part was about the consecrated bread and lead to the holiness of the bread and communion. Is everything holy? It may be about matters of respect. How do you treat the holiness of the bible. People were concerned about throwing away lesson inserts as they were part of the Bible. Man can’t make something holy. Vs 10-11 he fled from Saul and others thought he was king. And David was afraid of king achish. This a bunch of disconnected stories. David was going to act on whim but Abigail stopped him. Then Nabal died and David married Abigail. She saved Nabal’s life but god killed him later. Abigail was a woman of wisdom. The Israelites didn’t seem to have a concept of the value of life. David wanted some hospitality from Nabal. Abigail didn’t tell Nabal until the morning of the feast and Nabal had a heart attack or something like that and died ten days later. He was probably so angry with what Abigail had done. David’s instinct was to wipe out Nabal because of the disrespect he had shown David’s people. However, David had appeared in a very busy time and maybe he should have understood. What about the hospitality of the Arab people.
Next time Ch 28.
Chuck V. brought in a article that discussed what a prophet is or was:
“A person who spoke for God and who communicated God’s message courageously to God’s Chosen People — the nation of Israel.
“The Prophet’s call. A prophet received his call or appointment directly from God. Some prophets, like Jeremiah or John the Baptist, were called before birth (Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:13-16), but their privilege was not a birthright. their authority came from God alone whose message they bore (Ex. 7:1). Who can match the eloquence and brilliance of Isaiah, the depth of emotion and melancholy of Jeremiah, or the dramatic and dogged spirit of Ezekiel? A prophetic call was a call to liberty and freedom to be oneself (John 8:31-32). It enabled the prophet to be unaffected by human bias and criticism. The call of the prophet required that he not be intimidated or threatened by his audience (Jer. 1:7-8, Ezek. 2:6).
“A prophet sometimes became quite dramatic and acted out his message. Isaiah went naked and barefoot for 3 years (Is. 20:2-3). Ezekiel lay on his left side for 390 days and on his right side for 40 more (Ezek. 4:1-8). Zechariah broke two staffs (Zech. 11:7-14). Making themselves a spectacle, prophets not only aroused curiosity but also invited the scorn of their peers (Jer. 11:21).
“Except for God’s call, prophets had no special qualifications. They appeared from all walks of life and classes of society. They included sheepbreeders and farmers like Amos (Amos 7:14) and Elisha (I Kings 19:19) but also princes like Abraham (Gen. 23:6) and priests like Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:3). Even Women and children became prophets (I Sam. 3:19-20; I Kings 22:14). In rare circumstances, God used the hesitant or unruly to bear his message. Balaam prophesied (Num. 22:6-24:24) the Lord’s message but was actually an enemy of God (2 Peter 2:15-16; Rev. 2:14). Saul certainly was not in fellowship with God when he prophesied (I Sam. 10:23-24).”
Story of Jonathon and David. Does an evil spirit come upon Saul. Is it hard to recognize that younger people may be better and you should recognize that. Is evil spirit sent by god. In Ch 9 Saul was handpicked by god. Nothing else going on for god to do with then. What is the reason god wants the philistines dead. Why do we worry when god does evil happens by god happens. Suffering can make you stronger is a continuing theme in Christianity. Is there grace in the narrative. Are the evil spirits of today the way we try to avoid responsibility for our actions. God has a tool box of evil spirits that god can be use to strengthen us. God didn’t become a personal god until later he was god of a people. Has our greed caused climate change that creates intensive storms. How does god speak to us, thru parents? We talked about the synod election. What is prophecy? Is it the foretelling the future, or is it being prepared for future changes. The presiding bishop said god isn’t going to keep us the same as we were but we have to look at the future. When do we find the future path.
Since we have several people named Chuck, Eldon found the following Shakespearean terms of Endearment. “Chuck (chuchk) the archaic term of endearment chuck first appeared in Shakespeare’s time meaning roughly ‘my love’ this nickname was applied to husbands in addition to wives, children and dear friend. It comes from the Middle English chuk, a word that approximates the sound of chicken clucking in Love’s Labour Lost, Shakespeare writes ‘Sweet chucks — beat not the bones of the buried.”