Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wise in Heart

God is wise in heart and mighty in strength; who has withstood him and remained unscathed? Job 9:4

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Luke 9:57-58

But I, O LORD, cry out to you;
with my morning prayer, I wait upon you.
Why, O LORD, do you reject me;
why hide from me your face? Psalm 88:14-15

Job is in dialogue with his community over the relationship he has with the Lord and he shows uncanny insight for a suffering yet seemingly innocent ancient farmer who knows that he cannot take on the Lord head-to-head.  Job recognizes that the Lord does great and wonderful things.  He knows mortal humans are no match for the Lord. He knows that he can never know what is unknowable. The odds are against him.

Fast forward five to seven hundred years to when Christ walked in ancient Palestine.  Contrast Job’s perspective (with his priorities in order and his respect for God firmly in place despite his suffering) with those who the Lord directly encounters.  Jesus encounters many who promise to follow him.  However, we learn that so many in Luke’s Gospel account are too distracted by personal business to put the Lord first. 

Maybe they have not suffered enough – as did Job – to fully realize the proper response to God. Maybe they had too many material possessions, too many loved ones, or too many blessings to have the wisdom gained by the experience of Job.

The original meaning of the word to follow comes from Old English words that meant "full-going."  Job is fully going to follow the Lord.  However, others are not there.  They are following the Lord while trying to maintain commitments to others – the family, the dead, the business or more.  The meaning of “following” then shifts over time to mean to "serve, go with as an attendant."

Job has accepted the Lord as his sole leader and guide.  He obeys and is subservient to God.  By contrast others are not.

What are our priorities?  Are we like Job or are we more like the men Jesus encounters in Luke 9?  Are we jockeying for a position based upon our own ego and our own sense of what is important – or what seems to be more important than the priorities that Jesus would have?

As Abraham Lincoln would say, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.”  This was Abraham Lincoln’s response when asked if he believed that God was on the union’s side. Lincoln was wide at heart as was Job. Let us pray that we can act with similar priorities dictating our relationship with God is in the right place.

What is distracting you from fully following the Lord?

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