Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Job 17: 10-16 comments: dead religion

10 ¶  But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you. 11  My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart. 12  They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness. 13  If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness. 14  I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister. 15  And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it? 16  They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.

For some final thoughts on this chapter, note that Job’s friends might as well go home. He hasn’t found any wisdom in them. His days are over and his plans are at an end. He can’t even think anymore. In this most poetic language Job references the destructive agents that feed on death as his parents and siblings. He has no hope and the grave is his destination. The worm is a reference to creatures that devour decaying flesh. Notice the continuing destruction promised for those in the Lake of Fire that extends out into endless eternity.

Isaiah 66:24  And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Three times at the end of the Gospel According to Mark Jesus references this verse in Isaiah. In Psalm 22, the Psalm Jesus began to recite from the Cross (Matthew 27:46), showing us its prophetic importance, it says;

Psalm 22:6  But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

Jesus became sin for us.

2Corinthians 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Perhaps one reason for the metaphor of the worm that feeds on dead flesh is the fact that all human religion feeds on dead flesh. We must repent, turn from what we have been depending upon to justify us, get us to a version of heaven, if you will, and turn to faith in God and what He did for us to get us to the real Heaven. The Pharisees, the Jews, had created a large body of extra-Biblical rules they demanded to be followed to be “good” Jews. These were not of God but were called by Jesus, “your tradition.” We must repent of our wicked dependence upon these traditions.

Matthew 15:1 ¶  Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2  Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3  But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4  For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 5  But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 6  And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7  Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

This is one of the Biblical fundamentals for Christians.

Hebrews 6:1  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

We, too, if we depend on our belief in what we consider proper behavior for a Christian that is not found in the Bible to justify us, need to repent of our dead works and turn to Christ to be saved. Whether you have a fetish about men not doing housework or that women must have long hair and wear long dresses to be “good” Christians or whether you believe, like a medieval Catholic, that the House of God, the Church, is a building and not the people of God, and you depend on beliefs such as that to justify you as a Christian you need to repent of your dead works and turn to Christ. Your convictions are good and every person and every church must have convictions and standards, as long as you don’t make them the standard by which you judge the value to God of other Christians who don’t have those convictions.

The worm feeds on dead flesh. The spiritual worm feeds on dead religion. Jesus took that away from us by becoming sin for us. Why do we persist on such an unGodly spiritual diet? Better to feed on the sweet and life-giving substance of God’s word than a rotting corpse, wouldn’t you say, Pharisee?

No comments: