Four-Word Progress part 5: For You, a Little Alliteration

Aesthetic/Ascetic

There’s a lot to be said for “sell[ing] all that thou hast, and giv[ing] it to the poor” (Matthew 19:21) to follow Jesus. A simple beauty to minimalism that much of modern society overlooks or rejects. I believe however, that we can achieve that simplicity and focus through inward discipline and gratitude and by cultivating a giving spirit. Being willing to obey God in the tiniest detail and live that out as our “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). Luther was abjectly against living the ascetic life and shutting ourselves off from the rest of society. I see what he’s saying. Personally, I think the difficulty of interpersonal relationships far outstrips the hardship of living like a monk in a monastery. Consequently, the beauty, the aesthetic of society is yours to partake of. And there is beauty in the city. This being said, if God has truly called you to give up everything to serve Him alone, more power to you.

Affection/Affectation

How do you show affection? I suppose that’s between you and those to whom you’re affectionate. As long as you do show it, that’s all Paul asks. “The love which ye have to all the saints.” (Colossians 1:4). And not just Christians: “Follow peace with all men…” and women. (Hebrews 12:14). Really, it’s a command of Jesus: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) There are several synonyms that would work: compassion, kindness, caring, empathy. But the antonym—that which you want to watch out for—is just two letters removed: Affectation. Affectation pretends. Affectation acts like it cares, acts like it is selfless and has the best interests of the other person at heart but nothing could be further from the truth. Be affectionate. Not affectationate. Wait, that’s not right. Affectatious? That sounds better, but it doesn’t make it any more authentic.

I used to have a problem with those two words. No, I always knew what they meant, it was the truthful living-out that I couldn’t fake.

Anecdote/Antidote

Each of us is living something out. Call it a life. But it better end up being so much more than that. Yes we’re here to learn and to love and to listen. And if in our story we don’t invite God to translate and to tell it as He wants, then the anecdotes that we accrue won’t end up making the road down which we came any easier for those following. Do you follow me? You may or may not know this, but there are people out there in the world who are going through the same exact thing that you are. One of the main reasons that we go through difficulties is to help others along. If you let God teach you through the trials, then the anecdotes will become antidotes, preventing others from making the same mistakes that you did. Or me.

Here’s a scary thought: “Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.” (Psalm 44:14) Our story, our anecdotes–those little snippets that illustrate life’s inherent lessons–will be proclaimed one day. “That which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” (Luke 12:3) says Jesus. When we don’t “follow on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3), then our testimony (really, the lack thereof) will end up having the opposite effect in the world. Jesus didn’t die and rise for us to be ridiculed for not following Him, in spite of professing His name.

As an aside, I had a book as a kid called “Baseball Anecdotes”. I loved it. If anything, just for the illustrated cover featuring caricatured pictures of famous baseball figures from different eras, all seated in the same dugout. I learned early on the difference between the two words as antidote is heard more often, though it’s something completely different, as my dad politely informed me.

Uniformed/Uninformed

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) Like a suit? A uniform. That is what Paul is referring to. He also talks about putting on the “armor of light” in Romans (13:12). Peter even goes one further, speaking to women (he was married, Paul wasn’t), calling it “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (1 Peter 3:4). He speaks of inward things as being what we see on the outside. Interesting. All of these references and many more speak of Jesus in sartorial terms, as clothing to be worn. Don’t fret though, your fashion and fashion statements can be all your own, I’m not gonna tell you what to wear. Just make sure you put on Christ–and maybe a smile–before you go out.

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned (illiterate, the Greek connotation) and ignorant (same Greek root as idiot) men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) Notice who stood out: Jesus. They were His disciples, sure, but Jesus was the one who got noticed.

Could we say that they were simply uninformed? That’s certainly more polite than how the Pharisees and Sadducees in Jerusalem perceived them. Just because someone doesn’t know the fine points of the Mosaic law and can’t quote chapter and verse doesn’t mean they don’t know Jesus. Notice what Paul says was important to him: “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2, emphasis mine) I believe that the first thing people see in Christians who are living in love with Jesus, though they may not realize it, is Him. Try that on.

Making It Rain

“Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (Hosea 6:3)

It’s raining outside as I write this.

It says that we shall know. And just so you know, going forward, the latter rain is Springtime rain and the former rain refers to Autumn harvest rain. But I’m pretty sure as I look at the glistening street outside that right now it’s cold Winter rain, of which I want no part.

This verse speaks of the Lord following up on His promises to increase and bless us as we in turn decide in our hearts to follow Him. That’s usually what rain symbolizes in the Bible. The outpouring of God’s abundance and provision and blessing. It’s a good sign.

Personally, this verse speaks to me as one of healing and trust. I used to have serious issues with regret. Having frittered away what I thought were the best years of my life—the formative years—I felt I was on the wrong track, permanently. Oh, the confidence of youth! As I am now several years removed from that depressing time, the future didn’t turn out to be nearly as grim and gloomy as I thought. I just couldn’t get beyond the fact that I had years of atonement to make up for having ignored the lessons I was taught as a child. God’s mercy circumnavigated the reaping process and the lesson came to a close, centering on this single verse (Psalm 119:29 helped too).

God backs up all of His promises in the Bible with the bank of Heaven. And I don’t mean to sound gimmicky or flippant. The point is, God has everything we need if we’ll only come to Him. “How shall He not with Him (Jesus) also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

When you can’t get beyond the fact that all you feel is regret for having disobeyed the Lord in the past, may I suggest this simple prescription: Forgive yourself. Then, make a conscious decision to “follow on to know the Lord”. This puts all of your future focus on serving God in whatever capacity He makes available. And do yourself and everyone else a favor and jettison the notion of perfect obedience. We’re working towards that and always will be. “And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2 Corinthians 10:6)

The rain brings crops and sustenance, but there’s no better physical reminder of faithfulness than the sunrise: “His going forth is prepared as the morning.” Bank on it. God will move, and He’ll take you with Him. He “shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11)

Oh, and the sunshine after the rain brings rainbows. Also a good sign.

Holding Water

There are all sorts of places we can go with this title.

From dealing with those who think Christianity doesn’t. To the whole “God uses cracked vessels” idiom. What about water retention? Which, by the way, if you’re not pregnant is not a good sign. Water retention in a body that’s not pregnant could be a sign of some sort of kidney dysfunction. Not fun.

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his (and her) belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38)

Jesus says something similar to the woman at the well in Samaria. “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.” (John 4:10)

Whenever we speak to someone, “Doth not the ear try words?” (Job 12:11) What Job is saying here is that people listen for something deeper than the words that you’re speaking. They want honesty, sure. But what they really want is truth. “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy waterspouts…” (Psalm 42:7) I wouldn’t be so obsessed with the concept of truth if I didn’t see the thread of “truth” running so rampantly throughout the Bible. Jesus says that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6, emphasis mine). If I believe on and in Jesus, as He asks (see Mark 5:36), then I should have some consideration for the concept, let alone the ideal of truth. And if I then choose to believe and be labelled as a “Christian”, then anyone I’d choose to influence through my evangelization (for lack of a better word) is going to take what they hear—maybe dismiss the words—but feel my enthusiasm and sincerity and genuineness. Or lack thereof. It’ll resonate with them because the Holy Spirit witnesses to truth, ladies and gentlemen. And if I’m not truly believing and subsequently living it out, what I say ain’t gonna hold water. Let alone have any water to hold.

And this is the whole point of living as a Christian. You get this desire, this drive to tell everyone what you’ve found in Jesus. You want people to know and meet the God that introduced Himself to you in such a dramatic way. This newfound fervor is certainly part of the “rivers of living water” allusion which Jesus mentioned in John, chapter 7. But it’s more than that. One of God’s names is “El Shaddai” which is translated from Hebrew as “the God who is more than enough”. What God gives you, be it peace, joy, prosperity, health, hope or any number of other otherworldly qualities, begs to be shared.

You may have heard the old homily about how even though we might be a dry, cracked, leaky vessel, said vessel (us, mistakes and all) necessarily spills the content which it was designed to hold. This is good, this is true. And this is why when Paul says “be filled with the Spirit” in Ephesians (5:18, emphasis mine), it’s understood that we are in constant need of the Holy Spirit to fill us and fill us and refill us. Because if we are always giving out, even though our testiony “holds water”, we are not the source. And we’re not meant to keep it in, either.

Water retention happens for many reasons. When a person’s kidneys shut down, they stop filtering fluid out through the urinary tract and therefore the body will retain any fluid they’ve imbibed. It usually pools in the ankles and feet. Our system is not meant to retain fluids. By the same token, unforgiveness will keep the Holy Spirit from flowing through us. As the kidneys are to our body, so too, does forgiveness filter out the harmful and destructive emotions and feelings and actions that would stop the flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In Psalm 73, Asaph spends the first fifteen verses complaining about “foolish” and “wicked” people (verse 3). It’s evident that he’s more than a little fed up with the state of society, at least his corner of it. Then in verse sixteen, he has a semi-epiphany. He says “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me.” He continues on in verse twenty-one: “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.” This may sound odd, but the literal translation of “pricked in my reins” is pierced, or stabbed in my kidneys. That’s pretty serious. The Holy Spirit will wash us clean as we search out the impurities of sin and selfishness and forgive anyone involved, ourselves included. Forgiveness is what allows Him to flow again.

But if you’re pregnant, maybe you need to hold a little extra water? I mean, you’re carrying someone else around with you, so don’t worry about it. Water retention in that case is normal, expected even. And until your water breaks, just go with the flow.

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” (Galatians 4:19)

Tummy Aches (Childish Things part 3)

I don’t feel nauseous often. And for that I’m thankful. As a kid, however, it seemed that I had stomach aches for various reasons with frequency. I’ve always hated them. I will say this though, anytime I get a stomach ache, be it from flu or food poisoning or something else, it’s always a time of deep personal reflection as I have nothing to do but lie there and wait for the feeling to subside. Any slight break in the queasiness is a welcome relief. And I feel like if I never ate anything at all, ever again for the rest of my life, that’d be fine. But inevitably, my appetite returns and things balance out and go back to normal. If only I could get that insulated and overly sensitive feeling that always accompanies a stomach ache—without the stomach ache. The “deep personal reflection” isn’t worth the pain.

This being said, there is a word that, if I think about it long enough, will produce something akin to nausea in me. I guess this is a good thing considering the word and its definition. But as I previously mentioned, nausea and I don’t abide well. I have yet to meet someone who enjoys the occasional tummy ache. The word in question is kerygma. If I think about this word long enough, repeating it over and over, I do feel the beginnings of a psychosomatic queasiness. It’s really weird. And kinda sad considering the word simply means “the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. You’d think that something as important as the Gospel would go down easy. Well, not necessarily. John had a similar thing happen:

Exiled to the island of Patmos off the coast of Asia Minor, John the beloved disciple received the message of Revelation there. He must have been in his nineties. In chapter ten, he sees “a mighty angel come down” (verse 1) with a little book. John asks the angel to give the book to him and the angel complies but tells him to “take it and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but” he says “it shall be in thy mouth as sweet as honey.” (verse 9, emphasis mine) So, I guess it does go down smooth, but maybe there’s something there that conflicts with our constitution. And could cause us to have an upset stomach.

Kerygma

. Kerygma. Kerygma. Ew…

“How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)

There’s a method of teaching language—a second language—that some teachers employ called “Total Physical Response”. It essentially means using the whole body as a means of conveying, not just a spoken command, but an accompanying action to the instruction. While it’s not universally recognized among educators, it has worked well in many classrooms. Dr. James Asher developed the process in the late sixties and it’s been gaining popularity ever since.

God is all about getting us back to a hundred percent. It isn’t just about tasting God, it’s about consuming Him, and in turn being consumed by Him. If the word of God, the Gospel of Jesus—in whole or part—doesn’t sit well with you, then continue to press on. “Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still” (Psalm 4:4—deep personal reflection). Tell God the things about His word that make no sense to you and (figuratively) make you sick to your stomach. But don’t give up. That’s the principal thing. Don’t stop believing that God loves you enough to give you answers to your questions.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 1:2)

“And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

All of this points to our response to what God has already initiated. His action that calls for our “total physical (and spiritual, and mental) response”. God set the table and all we have to do is show up (not throw up). “That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) And instead of swallowing your pride, spit it out and then “taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

The Ring of Truth (Childish Things part 2)

Did you ever play that game in Kindergarten (that’s when I first remember playing it, anyway)? It’s called “Telephone” and the way it works is you sit in a circle and tell a story or say a statement and then say “pass it on”. The information, whatever it may be, makes its way around the class and eventually ends up back at the person who thought up said statement. The object of the game is to see just how different the statement ends up being when it finally makes its way back to the source.

There’s a common Italian phrase, “traduttore, tradittore” and it means “translator, traitor”. It refers to the fact that, since languages are so different in relation to one another, there can be no perfect translation of a body of work. And anyone undertaking the task of translating a work from one tongue to another necessarily ends up alienating the writer and the reader by default. Somehow not retaining the “author’s original intent” and passing it on to a foreign reader.

“And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined do.” (Genesis 11:6) Babel is Hebrew for “confusion”, by the way. And “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Most, if not all (though I haven’t checked myself), of our translations of the Bible into English have gone back to the original sources in order to maintain the integrity of the original texts. Hebrew (for the Old Testament), Aramaic and Greek were then translated over the centuries into Latin and slowly, carefully, made their way into our English vernacular and have changed alongside it. I’ve picked through numerous translations and one verse will stand out to me and speak to me in such a way as to endear the entire translation to me, even though other scriptures in the same translation seem to miss the mark. Again, it would seem there is no one perfect translation. But notice what Jesus says: “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) The words that Jesus spoke over two-thousand years ago have not lost their potency through the centuries one whit. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16, emphasis mine). The words that Jesus speaks are for every ear and for every tongue. And the Holy Spirit is the one who causes what He said to come alive in our hearts and minds.

“For the word of God is quick (it means alive), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

I used to take issue with certain translations of the Bible that I felt did the original Hebrew and Greek a disservice. I became somewhat of a “Bible snob”. The phrase “translator, traitor” resonated with me because I literally felt that there was something akin to a conspiracy regarding the translation of God’s word into a diluted and unreasonable facsimile thereof.  I shared my distaste with my dad one day and he gave me a very practical way of looking at the topic. He said that when you look at a word–say “mercy”–and you realize that every way that it’s translated in each of the disparate translations, is included within the original word, be it Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic. In other words, the Greek word translated “mercy” or “lovingkindness” or what-have-you is so dense as to include every subsequent English synonym. And in turn bless each individual reader based on preference of translation. And God says, “Here, it’s for you. Pass it on.”

The Holy Spirit translates our prayers to God: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself (really should read Himself) maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” In other words (literally), the Holy Spirit takes the prayers that we give to God in English and renders them in a more complete way to the Lord so as to plumb the depths that we cannot (yet) reach. This is why it’s important to talk to God and develop a conversational relationship with Him.

Countering Opposition (Childish Things part 1)

It’s not opposite day.

Actually, if it were opposite day, how would you ever know? So I say “today’s not opposite day!” andthere you have it. Truth. A simple statement. No reverse psychology, no subtle casuistry. The reason why I think this might end up being a problem is because, say it was opposite day. Follow me here. If I told you that it was opposite day, then it actually wouldn’t be opposite day. Because if it were indeed opposite day, as I just mentioned, then as the rule applies, it wouldn’t be opposite day. But if it truly wasn’t opposite day, then the rule wouldn’t apply. God help us. So, I guess the only way to truly play the game of “Opposite Day” is to start somewhere in the middle and just (not) go about your (non) business, never declaring the obvious (“today’s opposite day!”), because the more you reason it out, the more you’re bound to confuse and contradict.

Debate all you want. Multiply dimensions ad infinitum. Go ahead and tell me that there’s an alternate universe somewhere that is doing everything obversely to us. The point is, logically, semantically, it can never truly be opposite day.

Um, actually it can. Paul writes to Timothy: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth”. (2 Timothy 2:24, emphasis mine)

And who might they be? “Those that oppose themselves”. Weird. This statement introduces self-duality into the equation. How in the worldthis worldcan you oppose yourself? Paul encountered it in his own life. When he says in his letter to the Romans how he struggled with dueling, dual natures within his body. Wanting to please God, aligning his will with the Will of God. Yet every time he wished to live it out in real-time, something deep down struggled against it. His flesh, as he refers to it in chapter 7, verse 18: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” If you find this struggle going on inside of you, as I and every other Christian will and has, then take heart! You’re not alone.

“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25)

The internal struggle between our own will versus God’s is going on all the time. The choice between selfish, self-service and the willingness to forsake that option in light of what God wants, is presented before us all the time. Each decision, leading the direct opposite direction from the other. God says through Moses in Deuteronomy (30:19), “I call Heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life“. Simple enough, right? How many of us realize the path down which all our bad decisions lead? “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death.” Choose life, says God. Shouldn’t that appear on God’s commandment list? I suppose anytime we obey Him, we choose life. I like that. And the obverse, the opposite would be…? Figure it out.

Paul writes to the Galatians and says something very interesting. He says “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh (i.e. his physical body) I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Here, he’s saying that God, through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, has given him another life, another nature. And never the twain shall meet. David says “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12) You can’t get more oppositional than that. And that is exactly what happens when we believe on and in Jesus.

So, with reference to “those that oppose themselves”, Paul is talking about Christians who have received God’s new nature at the very depth of their being and yet, somehow, are living in opposition to it. Guilty as charged. This is actually really good news. How many Christians walk around knowing and that “old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17)? Regardless of whether we realize it or not, we have been changed for the better. Notice the second part of the verse in 2 Timothy: “God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” What truth? The truth that you are not who you used to be upon believing in Jesus.

Stop opposing yourself. Choose life.

Words Without Knowledge

“How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?” (Job 19:2)

This is Job speaking. Answering his “friends”. Really, his accusers: Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and some young upstart named Elihu. If you read through the book of Job and see where the characters’ hearts lay, noting their motive for saying things that would warrant such a response, you’d get a good picture of “words without knowledge”. That’s what God calls it by the way. It would seem that God was sitting by, observing the conversation. He then answers Job and calls it like He sees it. And I would just like to point out that the way God sees something is the way it actually is. All the perspectives, all the viewpoints, all the opinions pale in comparison with what God sees from His omniscient vantage point. “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2, emphasis mine)

When Job asks “How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words”, couldn’t you see Jesus saying that? All of these tags and labels that we’ve placed on church activity and denomination end up (in my opinion) “break[ing Him] in pieces”. His church, His body.

“Is Christ divided?” (1 Corinthians 1:13)

At this point in my life, I feel the most direct when I simply tell someone that I am a Christian. Denominational distinctions don’t really make much sense to me as I wasn’t really raised in a “church setting”. I understand the teachings of Luther and Calvin and John Wesley, and in spite of the fact that I have great respect for each of those men, in no way would I want to refer to myself as a/n [adjective form of founder’s name. I’m a Christian. I hope I’m not coming off as hypercritical and closed-minded. And I certainly don’t mean any offense to any card-carrying members of those denominations, but Jesus is the One. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”. (Hebrews 12:2)

If you’re called to study out the finer points of theology, then more power to you. If you can’t get enough of elucidating the distinctions between infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism, if you’re perfectly content to be a professional soteriologist and if the exegesis of God’s word is where it’s at for you, then do it. But “whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (Colossians 3:17) And if you don’t know or care what those words mean, I don’t either. Any of Job’s interlocutor’s would have potentially made a fool of the average Christian. That’s certainly what it seems they were looking to do to Job. And even Job’s motive to defend himself doesn’t seem to be the best motive to which one would hope to aspire. But God asks His pointed question: Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

The knowledge of God almost seems like an oxymoron, because God never seeks to be known by the mind alone. Not just the mind. And not just the heart, either. Heart and mind are to be in concert. After God does the impossible by actually recreating our spirit and making us into a new creation (see 1 Corinthians 5:17), we are asked to bring our mind up to speed with His thoughts. His thoughts as recorded in His word. The knowledge of God is something we arrive at spiritually first. If it’s not there spiritually, it won’t do the possessor any good at all. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counsellor?” (Romans 11:33-34) Can’t you just hear God laughing heartily?

So yes, I know that God calls individuals to help explain the doctrines found in the Bible. And depending upon whether or not someone truly knows God will determine the level at which they perceive Him already at work in the world and in His Word.

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:13, emphasis mine)

“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)

In closing, a quick thought. Job’s friends, it says, “sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” (2:13) I wonder, had they held their peace for a moment (or a day) longer, could God have shown them (and Job) what took the entire body of the book to reveal? Food for thought.