October 14, 2012
Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Three long-winded friends (“comforters”) come to sit with Job in his agony. They give him every argument known in that day to explain away evil, but they do not move Job. No matter what God does to him, says Job he will tell the truth. God is unjust (see, for example, 9:21-24). Our reading for today is a portion of Job’s answer to one of his boring comforters, Eliphaz the Termanite, who assures Job that if he prays, if he returns to God, he will be restored. Job answers that he can’t even find God. God eludes him, and his silence is terrifying.
In our reading on 17 June (II Corinthians 5:6-10)), Paul spoke of the court before which we must appear to be judged after our lives are over. The judge is Christ. Not in Hebrews. Here the judge of the court is God, and Christ is the advocate for the person standing before the court. He is not a lawyer, but the high priest. Bear in mind, before the Romans destroyed the Temple, wiping out the Jewish cult, the principal task of a priest was to sacrifice animals at the altar and dedicate their blood to God. Such acts reconciled the petitioner to God. In that way, the priest was an advocate.
What happened to the person found worthy in this court? He or she was not dispatched to the drab underworld of Sheol, the fate of the dead in ages past. Now, through the advocacy of Christ the high priest, she or he finds a continued life of rest. Hebrews spells out nothing specific: just “rest.”