Saturday, February 25, 2017

Day 25: There be dragons & Name Changes

Job 41, 42 & Matthew 16

The last two chapters in Job give us repentance and dragons. Matthew tells us of Simon’s name change and then gives us proof that a name change doesn’t change everything.

Job 41:

Reading this description of a Leviathan I think dragons must have been real, or at least something dragon-like. This explanation could of course be of some fantastic mythical beast. The point of it however is to once again remind Job that God is bigger than the biggest baddy and will be the God of all creation, even Job.

Job 42:

Job is finally humbled by God’s speech. He admits that he did not speak truth but rather his own thoughts/interpretations of what was happening. There is a difference between our opinion and truth.
Job’s complaints took up several chapters. Here I am struck by the fact that his repentance is a few short verses. Sincere repentance does not have to be long or complex. He repents in dust and ashes and truly humbles himself. God forgives.
In verse seven, God confronts those who have been at Job’s side telling them to repent and to ask Job to pray for them. They provide sacrifices and ask for Job’s prayers. God forgives.
Job’s fortunes are restored and increased. We are told of more cattle, more sheep, more property. Job has more children, 7 sons- again the number of completion, and three daughters. I find it very interesting that we are told the daughters names and not the sons names. Also that the daughters are given an inheritance along with Job’s sons.

Matthew 16:

People ask Jesus again for a sign and Jesus speaks of the sign of Jonah. Traditionally I have thought of this sign being three days in the big fish = three days in the tomb before resurrection. But perhaps there is more. Jonah was sent to send a message of repentance to an unsavory group of people. The people heard and repented. Jonah however did not rejoice, he instead complained to God even as God grew shade up over him to protect him. Perhaps the Sadducees and Pharisees are like Jonah. They have the knowledge of God, the awareness of God, but they cannot believe that God would really save sinners such as those Jesus encounters.
Jesus continues by warning his disciples against the yeast of the Sadducees and Pharisees. The disciples are worried that Jesus is mad at them because they didn’t bring bread. They have witnessed Jesus feed thousands of people with a sack lunch yet they think Jesus is worried about running out of food!
How often have I seen God at work and shortly afterward worried that God can’t or won’t continue to be in charge?
Simon confesses his faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus is pleased by this statement and says that God has revealed this to Simon, who will now be called Peter, or rock. He then tells the disciples to not say anything about him being the Messiah. A few short verses later Jesus tells Peter to “get behind my Satan.” How fickle we humans are! We grasp one thing about God and then assume we understand everything. Our viewpoint is so very, well, human.
Jesus then goes on to take about picking up a cross. This is not wearing a cross pendant or even having a cross tattoo. The cross was shameful, a means of executing criminals and rebellion leaders. Jesus is telling the disciples, and us, that the way of Christ is not easy. It will not always be admired, in fact some very “good people” will think us less than, perhaps even criminal, for following him faithfully.

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