Monday, July 20, 2009

From Glory to Glory

One way of looking at the book of Job is as a coming of age story. We have pointed out before that in the Bible, the categories of Priest, King, and Prophet can be seen not only as different roles but as steps in glory and maturity. We see this in Israel’s history: priests keep laws very carefully. They guard the sanctuary from defilement. Kings must build upon knowledge of the law, and apply it with wisdom. Solomon must judge between the feuding prostitutes in a case where this is no explicit command in Scripture. Kings must execute justice by applying the Scriptures to new situations. And finally, when God’s people have grown up in this wisdom, they are prepared to stand before God as prophets. Prophets are members of God’s court. They are God’s advisors. God tells them what he is planning to do, and they are invited to interact with that. Remember Abraham who discusses God’s plan destroy Sodom and Gomorrah or Moses on Mt. Sinai urging God to reconsider His plan to destroy the children of Israel. And because prophets are involved in the decision making process, they are authorized to speak on God’s behalf. Prophets bring and declare the word of the Lord with authority. They know what God is going to do because they were there when it was decided. Job’s story follows this trajectory. Job begins as an upright man who is blameless and shuns what is evil. He offers sacrifices for his sons who may have sinned; Job is introduced in the glory of a priest. But when his world comes apart, he must learn to navigate his circumstances that are more dicey. He must apply biblical truth to his situation faithfully, and he must seek justice through fighting back false accusations. Job must embrace the glory of kings. But the glory kings is in search of the glory of prophets. Kings want to know that they have struggled faithfully; they want an answer from the King of Kings. And so Job finally receives an answer from the whirlwind. And in that answer, Job is ushered into the presence of Yahweh. And in the conclusion to the story, God says that Job will pray for the three friends and God will hear and forgive them. Job has been granted the glory of a prophet. Job is a story of a man going from glory to glory, going from the glory of a priest to the glory of a king to the glory of a prophet. And the trajectory is important. God doesn’t want slaves, God doesn’t want machines, God wants sons. God wants sons that grow up into friends. We are gathered here this morning as the friends of God, filled with the Spirit of the Son, and therefore we are invited to guard his house as priests, to seek wisdom as kings, and to speak in His presence as prophets and be prepared to take what we learn back into the world.

No comments: