Day 26: God Responds to Job
Genesis 49:1-15 The dying Jacob pronounced a series of oracles regarding each of his children, from the oldest to the youngest. Reuben, the oldest, would not give rise to the greatest of tribes because of his affair with one of Jacob’s concubines (cf. Gn 35:22). The Tribes of Simeon and Levi, the second and third oldest, would be divided and scattered because of their warring spirit; however, the Tribe of Judah would rise to prominence. The oracles also alluded that the Messiah who would be included among the descendants of Judah. (CCC 436-439)
Ch 49:11-12 Washes his garments...of grapes: Some of the Church Fathers held that the oracle was speaking of Christ when it referred to one who
“Washes his garments in wine
And his vesture in the blood of grapes.”
Ch 49:22-26 This oracle applied to the Tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh who would dwell in the middle of Palestine and would play an important role in the history of Israel.
CH 49:24 Mighty One of Jacob: This is a reference to the one true God. (CCC 269)
Ch 49:29 Gathered to my people: This expression probably affirms that Jacob wanted to be buried among his ancestors, as he had requested earlier, but some have also taken it as an allusion to a belief in the afterlife. Belief in the resurrection of the dead would be introduced INCREMENTALLY in God’s Revelation to Israel and would find its fullest expression with the bodily RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. (CCC 1020-1041)
Ch 50:1-26 Joseph’s death concludes the Book of Genesis and sets the stage for the second book of the Pentateuch. Whereas Joseph had brought the Israelites into Egypt, Exodus will narrate their liberation from the oppression of the Egyptians. (CCC 302-310)
Job 41:1-34 Evil is symbolized by a beast of the sea, which cannot be defeated by human power alone. Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, through his Passion and Death on the Cross, paid the staggering debt of sin and conquered the evil of sin and the wiles of the Devil. Therefore, during the Easter Vigil, the Church prays:
“O truly necessary sin of Adam,
Destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault
That earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”
Ch 42:1-3 Job professed his complete trust in God and his recognition of God’s transcendence. Only through a CHILDLIKE TRUST and HUMBLE DISPOSITION can God be known. Through the observation of the created world, the human mind gets a small glimmer of the richness of the mind of God. (CCC 275, 299)
Ch 42:4-9 Though Job did not sin by questioning God, he should have, nevertheless, trusted more in God’s wisdom and love. Coming around to this idea, Job repented of his LACK OF TRUST.
Ch 42:10-17 Job is a TYPE OF CHRIST (TYPOLOGY!!) in both his pain and sorrows as well as in his subsequent recovery of his riches and joy. Both Job and his friends were called to repentance for misunderstanding the value and meaning of suffering. Finally, Job’s happiness and long life are symbols of everlasting life, which is the ultimate blessing that God bestows upon those who have faith amid their trials (cf. St. John Paul II, Savifici Doloris, 11)
Psalm 17 In professing his innocence, the psalmist sought God’s protection, the defeat of his enemies, and ultimately the vision of God’s face. To seek God’s face it the mark of a just person (cf. Ps 11), as he or she knows that perfect fulfillment is ONLY IN GOD. Shadow of your wings: In the Temple, winged cherubs were depicted above the Ark of the Covenant, which was a sign of God’s presence. I shall behold your face: From a Christian perspective we can see this is a reference to eternal life: the awakening is a metaphor for the resurrection of the body, wherein the just enjoy the BEATIFIC VISION forever in Heaven. (CCC 1023)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Throughout the book of Genesis, God’s blessing on mankind is passed on.
In creation, God blesses Adam and Eve.
After the flood, Noah receives the blessing.
Noah’s son Shem passes on the blessing to Abraham, and Abraham passes it to Isaac.
Then Jacob steals the blessing.
Genesis ends with Jacob passing the blessing to his sons, who will become the twelve tribes of Israel (Gn 49).
In the various blessings Jacob bestows upon his twelve sons, two stand out.
The first is the blessing to the repentant Judah, to whose future line the kingship is given: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah” (Gn 49:10).
The second is that rather than giving a blessing directly to Joseph, Jacob gives a blessing to Joseph’s two sons (Ephraim and Manasseh)—which elevates them to the level of Jacob’s other sons.
Thus, in a sense, Jacob adopts Joseph’s sons, and so for a short time the tribes of Jacob/Israel will number thirteen.
The story of Genesis ends with Jacob bestowing his blessings upon his sons.
The story of Genesis that began with the blessing of creation now finds the man named Jacob and his family richly blessed.
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
The last day of The Patriarchs (that flew by quickly, didn’t it?)
Tomorrow, we will start the period of EGYPT AND THE EXODUS
Here is the first powerful reminder to note:
You may have noticed in the second to last chapter of GENESIS, Israel does not bless his first three sons
He first blesses Judah, the fourth son
Israel is prophesying how the future will unfold
THE SCEPTRE SHALL NOT DEPART FROM JUDAH, NOR THE RULER’S STAFF FROM BENEATH HIS FEET, UNTIL HE COMES TO WHOM IT BELONGS; AND TO HIM SHALL BE THE OBEDIENCE OF THE PEOPLES.
Who does that sound like?
This is a PROPHECY of the coming of someone you might have heard of, Jesus Christ
Jesus comes from the TRIBE OF JUDAH
David also comes from the TRIBE OF JUDAH
The Kingdom Jesus establishes on Earth and in Heaven is prophesied here
Here is a second powerful reminder:
After Israel dies, he is buried back in Canaan
The brothers are concerned now that Joseph will seek revenge
They thought the only reason Joseph did not retaliate against them was because their father, Israel was alive
Joseph hears their lack of trust in him
Joseph hears their lack of trust in his love for them
Joseph hears their lack of trust in his forgiveness of them
Joseph breaks down and weeps
“You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good that many would be saved”
This is what we know about God’s PERMISSIVE WILL
God’s Will is over EVERYTHING
God’s PERFECT WILL is Plan A i.e the things He DIRECTLY WILLS like Creation
God’s PERMISSIVE WILL includes the things He ALLOWS, not necessarily the things He WANTS TO HAPPEN
God doesn’t want EVIL to happen, but He will ALLOW it to happen because He wants to preserve our FREEDOM
God allows EVIL to happen because He knows that He can bring about a GREATER GOOD
Joseph points this out VERY CLEARLY
This is the MYSTERY OF TRUST that we are called to enter into ourselves
God is calling us to say, “Ok Lord in all things I trust you”
Even if someone is doing evil to us, we don’t want that to happen
We allow it to happen because we KNOW AND TRUST that God can bring a greater good out of it
It’s not that God doesn’t care
The entire time during Joseph’s story, THE LORD WAS WITH HIM
Joseph was rejected, and yet THE LORD WAS WITH HIM
Joseph was falsely accused, and yet THE LORD WAS WITH HIM
Joseph was forgotten and abandoned, and yet THE LORD WAS WITH HIM
This is CRITICAL for us to understand as we move into the next Era
The third powerful reminder is this:
One of the struggles of the Book of Job is that it addresses the PROBLEM OF EVIL
It does not ANSWER the PROBLEM OF EVIL
God never answers WHY He allows suffering to happen
Our Theology reveals to us that maybe suffering is allowed to preserve our freedoms and that God can bring about a greater good out of it
But God responds to Job with a bunch of questions
He responds to Job with HIMSELF
The key to the entire Book of Job is that at the end, Job says “I have heard of you beforehand, but now I have seen you with my eyes. And therefore, I will repent and I will speak no more.”
THE ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM OF PAIN IS GOD HIMSELF
THE ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING IS GOD HIMSELF
God has spoken DEFINITIVELY when it comes to suffering
He offers HIMSELF on the CROSS
God gives us a reason why ON THE CROSS
God tells us “I am no stranger to suffering. All that you have experienced, all that has collapsed upon you, all that has come down on your head, I have also allowed to come down on my head.”
God responded to Job by showing Job His face
God has responded to ALL OF US by showing us the FACE OF JESUS, particularly the BROKEN, BEATEN, REJECTED, AND CRUCIFIED FACE OF JESUS
The answer to the problem of evil is JESUS HIMSELF
That is the secret of the Book of Job
God does give an answer
The answer isn’t logic
The answer isn’t reason
The answer isn’t to just have faith
THE ANSWER IS HIMSELF!!!
He gives Himself to us today and every day
As we say goodbye to The Patriarchs and Job, we will not say goodbye to each other
We are going to double down on our prayers for each other
Sometimes things get even more difficult as we are about to find out in The Exodus
Prayer by Fr. Mike: "Father in Heaven, we thank you so much. We give you praise and glory. We thank you for sharing your Word with us. We thank you for revealing your heart to us. We thank you for letting us journey with the Patriarchs, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel. We thank you for letting us be part of the story of Joseph and his tragedy, but also your triumph through tragedy. Lord God, we thank you for our friend Job. We thank you for what you have revealed in our journey with him and his pain and his suffering, what you reveal about yourself in our pain and in our suffering. And we thank you, Lord, for always reminding us that we can trust you in even the darkest times. Help us to trust you in even the darkest times. We ask this, Father, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
The common motif throughout Genesis of the younger brother receiving favor and the blessing over the older makes me think of various ways the New Testament supersedes its predecessor in the Old Testament.