Tuesday, August 25, 2015

SHIELD the JOYOUS

Understanding “shield the joyous” from the Book of JOB…





Keep Watch, dear LORD, with those

who Work, or Watch , or Weep this night,

and give your angels charge over those who sleep.

Tend the sick, LORD CHRIST; give rest to the Weary

bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted,

Shield the Joyous

and all for Your love’s sake.

( Book of Common Prayer )

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JOB.

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. .

1:2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 1:3 His substance also was … and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. 1:4 And his sons …  feasted … and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said,

It may be that my sons have sinned, and CURSED GOD   in their hearts. Thus did Job  continually.




1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of GOD came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 1:7 And the LORD said unto the satan, Whence comest thou? Then the satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

1:8 And the LORD said unto the satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth GOD, and eschews evil?

1:9 Then the satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear GOD for nought?

.1:10 Hast not THOU made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? THOU hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

1:11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will CURSE THEE to Thy Face.

1:12 And the LORD said unto the satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So the satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

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The Accuser of GOD and Job…

The accuser begins by accusing the LORD !

The satan says the only reason Job fears and worships GOD is because GOD protects him, his household, and his many possessions.

In other words, the satan accuses The LORD of bribing Job to worship HIM.

If GOD allows the satan to hurt JOB’S family, friends, possessions, and great reputation ( the satan boldly asserts ), then JOB would no longer worship GOD , the giver of all these blessings. The accuser said that Job would instead cease to worship GOD and “CURSE” HIM to His Face.

Next, the accuser moves from GOD to Job.  The accuser implies that Job only woships GOD due to his great and bountiful blessings… not because JOB loves GOD… not because Job obeys GOD… not because Job honors GOD for being WHO HE is .

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A Very Big Textual Problem…

 After this, we encounter a BIG problem in the verses, twice written. This problem is found with the translation of the word for “CURSE.”

There are 10 Hebrew words used throughout the Old Covenant for either “a curse” ( noun )  — or else a form similar to one of the nouns — made into a verb ” to curse.”  Ten such Hebrew words are scattered throughout the Old Covenant.

The four times “CURSE ” is used in Job, however, it does NOT involve ANY of those 10 Hebrew words … and does not even remotely resemble any one of them .

.The Job verses with “curse” in them include: Job 1:5, 1:11 ( both quoted above,) and verses 2:5 and 2:9.

An Easy Bit of Hebrew…   

All four Job verses have the familiar Hebrew word  “BARAK” (or its form) in them… which means “BLESS”  as in  …

 Baruch Ha Shem ADONAI +  

Blessed (be) the Name of The LORD. 

BARAK , in either noun form or verb, is listed in approximately 3 and 1/2 columns  of reference verses in Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible … roughly 350 verses in the Old Covenant … and it always has to do with BLESSING. 

BARAK, in these four Job verses ,

is translated as CURSE.

  Why ? To unfathom the reason for this, we will have to look at the usage of BARAK as it was originally intended.

The origin or root of BARAK is “to kneel.”  One would customarily kneel to receive a patristic blessing.  

Customarily, a blessing would also be pronounced when one was departing from a visit to someone’s house or tent. Thus, it was used when SENDING SOMEONE AWAY from your presence or on a journey. It was a DISMISSAL, if you will.

Thus, DISMISSAL — a sending away — is the more accurate translation into English of the Hebrew BARAK, which fits the context of those 4 verses in JOB.  [ This also is true of the Greek word used in those Job verses in the LXX , a “eulogy.”]

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Why is the correct concept of “DISMISSAL” So Important in these Job Verses ?

 Serious Christians who run into HARD  TIMES would NOT “curse” GOD.  That does not seem to be the danger addressed by Job.

1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and CURSED GOD   in their hearts. Thus did Job  continually.

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Conscientious Job most likely raised his sons and daughters to fear The LORD. But, after days of feasting and merry-making at the family get-togethers,

…Job was concerned that GOD ( for all intents and purposes ) would be forgotten by his sons and daughters.

.

For, when do we THINK on JESUS most intensely … during our times of ease and merry-making… or during our times of hurt and pain, stress and distress ? 

A Christian facing death thinks more constantly about The LORD than one who is healthy, active, and going about his daily temporal duties. 

When are we MOST in danger ? It is when we forget GOD, when we “set” JESUS on the back shelf so we can “play” or relax. 

Our shield is down.

The Ancient, Pre-Nicene Christians refused to attend the games and the theaters and the baths for this very reason. They considered it DANGEROUS , spiritually dangerous, to be in the devil’s playing field. Hence, the admonition for sobriety.

Be sober, as the Apostle Peter tells us:

1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant;

because your adversary the devil,

as a roaring lion, walketh about,

seeking whom he may devour:

.

When do we forget GOD ?  It is when things are going well, relatively speaking. When we are happy, relaxed, and contented. That is when we do not monitor ourselves as closely and joking and foolish jesting bubble up to the surface.  That is when we are not on guard against the evil one and his wiles.

We “set” JESUS aside when we are feeling good and want to play. We simply do not want to be bothered with sobriety and seriousness of heart. 

We IGNORE our LORD…  and the nudgings of the HOLY SPIRIT … when we are merry-making.

In all 4 verses of Job where CURSE is found, the concept really ought to be “dismissing GOD from our thoughts.”  We want to go our separate way, just for a bit perhaps, but we want to do our own thing, free from the constraints of holiness.

THAT is the danger addressed in those four verses. 

Furthermore, that tendency  “to dismiss GOD” from our doings is dangerous in our own lives. This is why we are to be a separate people from the culture that we live in and the reason we cultivate our LORD’S value system at all times.

That danger  — to “dismiss” GOD — from our thinking is GREATEST when things are going well.  

Keep watch, dear LORD,

with those who work, or watch, or weep this night,

and give your angels charge over those who sleep.

Tend the sick, LORD CHRIST; give rest to the weary,

bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted,

SHIELD THE JOYOUS;

and all for your love’s sake.

Amen.

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