828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Christian Formation for Sunday October 21 - Job 38:1-41; The Lord Answers Job

Oct 21, 2012, 21 Pentecost
Job 38:1-41
The Lord Answers Job
Background: Job is considered the first of the Wisdom books. It has been argued to be the climax of Hebrew Scripture. A central theme of the book is the possibility of “disinterested righteousness” and a secondary theme is innocent suffering. This book of Job does not refer to anything outside itself, thus has no definitive composition date but has patriarchal overtones.
Theme: In this passage Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu hear from God regarding their conversations over the preceding chapters. This passage is the opening portion of God’s response to the humans; in it, the reader can detect a bit of sarcasm and almost a biting sense of humor on God’s part. In essence, this passage begins God’s response by God asking the humans “where were you when the world began? And why do you think you have standing to question my (God’s) choices?”
Questions to Ponder
* Please read all of Job 38:1-41
* Describe the setting of this passage: what, in general, has taken place until now in Job? Who are main characters in the story so far?
* Why might God be speaking from a whirlwind?
* Although the passage is entitled “The Lord Answers Job” the only reference to Job is in verse 1; in the remainder of the passage there is no specific reference to Job. To whom might God be responding here?
* Given the possibility of the response being to someone besides Job, would it make a difference in the passage if God were replying to Job, one of Job’s friends, or Elihu? Why or why not?
* Why might God’s response be somewhat sarcastic? Many might take offense at a response from God that is biting or possibly disingenuous; do you think that is God’s (or better, the writer’s) intent?
* There are a number of items from creation that are the basis for God’s different questions in his answer. What elements of creation are described in God’s questions? Why might those elements be chosen for this passage?
* Interestingly, God’s questions touch on “the sea” twice (Vv. 8-11, and vv. 16-18). Why might there be two references to the sea in such close proximity?
* Many of the images in God’s questions span the range of helpful/harmful; why might that be the case? What do you think the writers were trying to develop in their comparisons and contrasts?
* Do you think God is ridiculing Job or his friends? How might they be encouraged by God’s commentary and questions?
* How would Israel be given hope in this passage?
* Do you think this passage is descriptive of a Christian’s relationship with God? How might the relationship be different for a Christian and a Jew (since Job and his compatriots are Jewish)?
* What do you see as the good news in this passage? How is or isn’t this passage consistent with our understanding of God as portrayed in the Gospels and New Testament?
* What might the application of this passage be for us at St. John’s and in the Christian Church in the 21st Century?

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