The Horses’ Mouth 081712
I have a friend who is into equine assisted growth and learning. It is about working with horses and their reactions to learn about oneself. Horses and other creatures have honest, straightforward responses to human presence and interaction. That’s not something we get all the time in our human relationships. Often we have to pay a counselor to give us honest feedback about ourselves. Honest friends who know how to listen carefully and then, in love, respond, are rare treasures in life.
Essentially, Job is telling his friends to be quiet and listen.
The Hebrew scriptures have three ways of knowing about God – the law, the prophets and the wisdom writings. The law and prophets are understood as the most direct communication from God. Moses received the law directly from God. The prophets received inspiration directly from God. Wisdom writing, on the other hand, is about seeking understanding through human observation, experience and reflection. Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and other writings are part of the wisdom writing of the Hebrew scriptures. Perhaps a comparison can be made to the scientific method of observation, hypothesis and experiment to arrive at a working theory.
In Job, the writer is struggling to understand human suffering. Perhaps the book of Job is an attempt to come to terms with why Israel was defeated and sent into exile when it seemed like God promised them never-ending success.
Wrestling with the ways of God is not easy. It takes patience, listening, observation, reading, reflection and conversation. I am glad when I find good companions on my spiritual journey, even if they are sometimes horses.
Guest blogger Lee Lever is pastor of the Austin (Texas) Mennonite Church.
Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).
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9O fear the Lord, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want.
10The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12Which of you desires life, and covets many days to enjoy good?
13Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.
14Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
12Then Job answered: 2“No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you. 3But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know such things as these? 4I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called upon God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, I am a laughingstock. 5Those at ease have contempt for misfortune, but it is ready for those whose feet are unstable.
6The tents of robbers are at peace, and those who provoke God are secure, who bring their god in their hands. 7“But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; 8ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. 9Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? 10In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being. 11Does not the ear test words as the palate tastes food?
12Is wisdom with the aged, and understanding in length of days? 13“With God are wisdom and strength; he has counsel and understanding. 14If he tears down, no one can rebuild; if he shuts someone in, no one can open up. 15If he withholds the waters, they dry up; if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land. 16With him are strength and wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are his. 17He leads counselors away stripped, and makes fools of judges. 18He looses the sash of kings, and binds a waistcloth on their loins. 19He leads priests away stripped, and overthrows the mighty. 20He deprives of speech those who are trusted, and takes away the discernment of the elders. 21He pours contempt on princes, and looses the belt of the strong. 22He uncovers the deeps out of darkness, and brings deep darkness to light. 23He makes nations great, then destroys them; he enlarges nations, then leads them away. 24He strips understanding from the leaders of the earth, and makes them wander in a pathless waste. 25They grope in the dark without light; he makes them stagger like a drunkard.
17I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and offenses, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them. 18For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. 19For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise in what is good and guileless in what is evil. 20The God of peace will shortly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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