Monday, April 11, 2011

How about that Job guy?

John Anderson preached at his college chapel last week (or so) about prayer. I finally got around to reading it this weekend and was struck by this:

Job, humbled by God’s response, seems a bit shaken—rightfully so! But it is God’s word that follows that stands out. Notice what God says; God is not angry at Job, but at Job’s friends who have attempted to convince him he was guilty. Here’s the kicker: God says explicitly it is not the three friends, OR EVEN GOD HIMSELF, who has spoken rightly; Job alone, God says, is the only one who has said what is right. He’s the only one whose language, whose speech has been accurate, correct, and true to reality. What’s more, notice what God instructs Job to do: pray for his friends, and God will accept Job’s prayer and forgive them. For nearly 40 chapters Job has been professing his innocence (and implicitly, then, God’s guilt); Job’s daring speech, daring prayer throughout the book is met with approval from God. God approves not of the three friends’ pious attempts to defend or apologize for God but rather of Job’s confident and daring affirmations of innocence and his prayers of questions. The book of Job gives us a unique perspective on daring prayer because we get not just the prayer but God’s assessment of it; and God’s assessment? Quite simple: God prefers, welcomes, and encourages the daring prayer of Job—even if he is speaking of things he does not truly understand—rather than those who mechanically rehash familiar credos without thinking.

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching! I have always challenged people to pray big; to lay aside the pious prayers and pour their heart out to God. He's big enough; he can take it if you yell at him! He already knows what you are thinking, so why not be honest with him and yourself? Habakkuk is my favorite example, by the way.

Oh, don't neglect to read the whole post, too. He has some good stuff there.
</idle musing>


John Anderson said...


My sincerest thanks for your positive remarks and for pointing others to my post. It was a unique experience, and a voice I don't think the particular community I was speaking to was accustomed to hearing. And I wanted to make certain that I also daringly preached on the Old Testament, given that I have noted several times to my intro to OT students my annoyance that you very seldom will hear a (good . . . or at all?!) sermon on the OT.

Thanks, again!

jps said...


Outside the comfort zone...I like the example of Elijah. God tells him not to light the fire, so he pours water on it. It's almost like he is daring God! And what does God do? He goes one better and has the flame lick up the water, rocks, and sacrifice!