Thursday, February 03, 2011

Tackling Leviathan

Our pastor just started preaching through the book of Job, and I thought I'd throw out some comments and observations as we go through it. Here's my initial pass.

First off, Job is considered a literary masterpiece. I have an older version of the Norton Anthology of World Literature, and Job merits an appearance there.

Second, it is a tough book to cover expositionally. It is one of the few books John Calvin didn't write a commentary for (although it appears that he preached at a least a few sermons on it). A quick look around the internet showed one well-known pastor had no sermons on it; another one had one article and five devotionals; a third had preached eight sermons, one of which covered from Chapter 2 all the way through Chapter 31.

Pastor Rob told us this past week that he had looked for sermons on Chapter 3, couldn't find much. I did a quick Google search later on in the afternoon and came up with this on the page 1 results:

Does _Anyone_ Understand Job 3?

When you add to what's already been said the fact that Job is primarily poetry—Hebrew poetry—and you have something which on the face of it, seems to be more suited for being handled in the literature class than it does from the pulpit, and that the typical tact of tackling the book in broad-brush style seems there for good reason.

And yet, during his first two sermons, Pastor Rob has indicated that there are many lessons we can draw from Job, including not just the obvious (how to suffer well), but also how to give advice, how theology drives advice-giving, and several other things, not to mention what I consider one of the most important things, which is seeking to understand the book in its proper literary context and it's proper biblical context. It's an invitation that many others have declined, and so I commend him for doing his part to fill up what is lacking in this area, so to speak.

I'm looking forward to this sermon series.

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