Pathways Through the Darkness: Lessons from Job With friends like this…
Sunday, March 26, 2017 – 9:30 & 11:00am

    This week’s news from St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. The theme for the Lenten season is: Pathways through the darkness: Lessons from Job. This Sunday the focus will be on how to enter into the darkness, or suffering, of another person in a way that is sensitive and responding to their needs rather than imposing your own solutions.
     Last week’s scripture told the story of the arrival of Job’s three friends, Elpihaz, Bildad and Zophar. They did well in their initial response… they arrived to see their friend in terrible pain, and chose simply to sit with him in silence. In the sermon I rather bluntly said that this was the “show up and shut up” approach… which generally works well.
     The first person to speak is Eliphaz. He starts off by saying that Job should listen to the help[ful advice he (Job) has given to other people. He later says that Job should take his struggles to God, because God always cares and helps thsoe who are suffering. If you were Job, how would you find yourself responding to your friend’s words? 

Job 4:1-11 (Common English Bible)
     Then Eliphaz, a native of Teman, responded:
If one tries to answer you, will you be annoyed?But who can hold words back? Look, you’ve instructed many
and given strength to drooping hands. Your words have raised up the falling;you’ve steadied failing knees. But now it comes to you, and you are dismayed;it has struck you, and you are frightened. Isn’t your religion the source of your confidence;the integrity of your conduct, the source of your hope?
     Think! What innocent person has ever perished? When have those who do the right thing been destroyed?  
     As I’ve observed, those who plow sin and sow trouble will harvest it. When God breathes deeply, they perish; by a breath of his nostril they are annihilated.
The roar of a lion and snarl of the king of beasts-yet the teeth of lions are shattered; the lion perishes without prey,and its cubs are scattered.

Job 5:1-17 (Common English Bible)
     Call out. Will anyone answer you?  To which holy one will you turn? Surely anger can kill the foolish;fury can kill the simple. I’ve seen the foolish take root  and promptly curse their house. Their children are far from safety, crushed in the gate without a deliverer. The hungry devour their crops;it’s taken even from the thorns,and the thirsty pant after their yield. Surely trouble doesn’t come from dust,nor does distress sprout from the ground. Surely humans are born to distress,just as sparks rise up. So don’t reject the Almighty’s instruction.
     But I would seek God,put my case to God, who does great things beyond comprehension,wonderful things without number;who provides rain over the earth’s surface,sends water to the open country,exalts the lowly, raises mourners to victory; who frustrates the schemes of the clever so that their hands achieve no success, trapping the wise in their cleverness so that the plans of the devious don’t succeed.
     They encounter darkness during the day,and at noon they fumble about as at night. Yet he rescues the orphan from the sword of their mouth,the needy from the grip of the strong;so the poor have hope and violence shuts its mouth.
     Look, happy is the person whom God corrects;so don’t reject the Almighty’s instruction.  

Is it helpful when your friend feeds back to you the advice you have given to others? Is it enough to know that you are the innocent party in a conflicted situation? How does putting your case to God work for you? How do you feel about Happy is the person whom God corrects? Happy? Really?



Prayers please for:

Ainsworth Family, Brashear Family,Jason Britt-Richmond,Bernice Buckley,  Ginny Baldauf, Lucy Jeffries, Mary McCullough, Steve Mitchell, Vivian Noble, Doris Olson, J.P. Price, Joella Sparks, Roger Stoughton,The Erlwine family ,The Reynolds family, The Slaughter family





updated 3/23/2017