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Write It on a Rock

• Greg Boyd

Greg described his journey during his sabbatical as one that was focused on a simple and important question: “What is real?” And he talked about how every now and then we all need to ask ourselves this with regard to every area in our lives. He challenged us to think like Job, who lost all of his securities and worldly relations but who still knew that his redeemer lived and that he would see him someday face to face. That’s what Job REALLY believed. What do we REALLY believe?

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It was good to have Greg back in the pulpit after his sabbatical this summer! The message he preached was connected to Job 19:17-27, especially verses 23 through 27. In this passage Job is lamenting the rejection he is feeling from family and friends because of their judgments about his situation. He pleads with them for pity because he is already enduring enough as it is. But right here in the midst of a nightmarish situation, Job goes to the bedrock, the bare foundation of his soul:

(starting with vs. 23)

O that my words were written down!

O that they were inscribed in a book!

O that with an iron pen and with lead

they were engraved on a rock forever!

For I know that my Redeemer lives,

and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;

and after my skin has been thus destroyed

then in my flesh I shall see God,

Whom I shall see on my side,

and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

My heart faints within me!

Greg described his journey as one that was focused on a simple and important question: “What is real?” And he talked about how every now and then we all need to ask ourselves this with regard to every area in our lives. Inevitably, we get into patterns of behavior, thought, and ways of relating to one another, and in order for true change to happen in those areas, some of the patterns will need to be broken. Greg quoted Picasso as saying something akin to, “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.” This is especially true in the Christian life where we must die to ourselves in order to live in Christ. We must destroy our loyalties to the kingdom of this world if we want to be loyal to the Kingdom of God. Ungodly patterns must be broken if godly ones are to replace them. Literally everything in Job’s life was broken and taken from him, and yet it is precisely at THIS point that he makes such a powerful confession of faith and even anticipates the resurrection of his own body – the very body that is so nearly destroyed as he speaks these words! Even though all of his securities and worldly relations where stripped away, and indeed it seemed as though God too had abandoned Job, Job still knew that his redeemer lived and that he would see him someday face to face. That’s what Job REALLY believed.

Some of the challenges that Greg faced had to do with more fully internalizing the meaning of questions that he had wrestled with intellectually. From the Cross and the Sword series, there were still some lingering problems with the Church that Greg was feeling more deeply than he had previously. Again, the basic question being asked is, “What is really real?” So many who claim to be Christians seem to dismiss the teachings of Christ at very obvious points.

As he wrestled his way through this, God was faithful and helped Greg refocus even more intensely than previously. In the end, there is really only one thing that matters…one thing that is definitely really real. And that is Jesus Christ.

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Topics: Hope, Pain & Suffering


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Focus Scripture:

  • Job 19:17-27

    My breath is offensive to my wife;
    I am loathsome to my own family.

    Even the little boys scorn me;
    when I appear, they ridicule me.

    All my intimate friends detest me;
    those I love have turned against me.

    I am nothing but skin and bones;
    I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.

    “Have pity on me, my friends, have pity,
    for the hand of God has struck me.

    Why do you pursue me as God does?
    Will you never get enough of my flesh?

    “Oh, that my words were recorded,
    that they were written on a scroll,

    that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
    or engraved in rock forever!

    I know that my redeemer lives,
    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.

    And after my skin has been destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I will see God;

    I myself will see him
    with my own eyes—I, and not another.
    How my heart yearns within me!

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