The next bible study is coming up – and Job 19,19-27 is the sermon text allocated in our lectionary for this coming 5th Sunday in Lent: “Judica…” (Judge me, O Lord…). Theology is not boring. Not by a long shot. It´s fascinating – yes, spellbinding, deep and serious stuff really. I´m so glad, this too is part of Holy Scriptures. Just read Job´s weighty argument in this central chapter, where he even takes on God himself. Remember the initial setting in heaven, where Satan gets the go-ahead to put Job to the test. Here is Job´s strong answer to that fake friend Bildad. Job sure had strong faith in all adversity – even with God opposing him and leaving him in the pits to be tormented by all and everyone. And do remember to thank God for scholars like the Leipzig theologian Franz Delitzsch, who make even the tough Hebrew accessible. His is a fascinating story too, but we´re looking at Job here. Here´s his strong plea along the lines of “not-guilty”:
How long will you torment me and crush me with your words?
These 10 times you have been reproaching me; you are not ashamed to attack me.
But even if it were true that I have erred, my error remains solely my concern!
If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me and plead my disgrace against me,
know then that God has wronged me and encircled me with his net.
If I cry out, ‘Violence!’ I receive no answer; I cry for help, but there is no justice.
He has blocked my way so I cannot pass, and has set darkness over my paths.
He has stripped me of my honor and has taken the crown off my head.
He tears me down on every side until I perish; he uproots my hope like an uprooted tree.
Thus his anger burns against me, and he considers me among his enemies.
His troops advance together; they throw up a siege ramp against me, and they camp around my tent.
He has put my relatives far from me; my acquaintances only turn away from me.
My kinsmen have failed me; my friends have forgotten me.
My guests and my servant girls consider me a stranger; I am a foreigner in their eyes.
I summon my servant, but he does not respond, even though I implore him with my own mouth.
My breath is repulsive to my wife; I am loathsome to my brothers.
Even youngsters have scorned me; when I get up, they scoff at me.
All my closest friends detest me; and those whom I love have turned against me.
My bones stick to my skin and my flesh; I have escaped alive with only the skin of my teeth.
Have pity on me, my friends, have pity on me, for the hand of God has struck me.
Why do you pursue me like God does?
Will you never be satiated with my flesh?
O that my words were written down!
O that they were written on a scroll!
O that with an iron chisel and with lead they were engraved in a rock forever!
As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,Job 19
and that as the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God,
whom I will see for myself,
and whom my own eyes will behold,
and not another.
My heart grows faint within me.
If you say, ‘How we will pursue him, since the root of the trouble is found in him!’
Fear the sword yourselves, for wrath brings the punishment by the sword,
so that you may know that there is judgment.”