Patrick J. Willson
Patrick J. Willson is a retired Presbyterian pastor who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
After enduring Job's calamities, his howling laments, the speeches of his "friends," a hymn to wisdom as an entr'acte, Job's plea of innocence, an awkward interruption by Elihu, and then four chapters of the LORD speaking from the whirlwind, we finally arrive at the 42nd and last chapter of Job. We discover that no one much agrees what it means.
Alfred Lord Tennyson called Job "the greatest poem of ancient and modern times." Excerpts are regularly included in anthologies of world literature and religious poetry. It is an undeniable literary classic. Why is it rarely preached in Christian churches?
New daughters and sons do not take the place of the lost ones. As a conclusion to the story of Job, this will not do.
If God’s response to Job in chapter 38 were meant only to shut Job up, seven verses would be sufficient. But God is only getting started here, and the exuberance of the rhetoric insists that vastly more is at stake.
Here in Tidewater, Virginia, we make our way from city to city via a series of tunnels. As we approach each tunnel a series of signs warn us: “No HAZMATS” and “HAZMATS must exit here.” Trucks carrying hazardous materials of one sort or another provide a danger anywhere, but in tunnels the risk is magnified.
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