From the Prophets


Job - A Mortal Disputes

by James Vasquez

Part 2       (back to part 1)

But when another friend stepped forth,
Poor Job! His pain increased,
For Bildad spoke his artless mind,
And then this charge unleashed,

"Your troubles, friend, are wholly due,
To sins of others now,
Your children have departed from,
The laws of God somehow.

"And God has brought this penalty,
For all they've done this day,
Upon each son and daughter that,
Its sentence they should pay.

"But looking now to God you'll find,
This promise sure and true,
Your happy past will not compare,
With what's in store for you."

What agony of heart, what grief,
What anguish these words brought!
To think his children's sin was such,
This tragic wage it bought.

"And how," he asked, but answered not,
"Can any mortal stand,
Before a God who does all things,
With his unchallenged hand?

"His wisdom and eternal power,
Are everywhere renowned,
And who, resisting him, unscathed,
Is ever surely found?

"He moves the mountains by his power,
The earth is shaken well,
Its pillars crumble into dust,
From sky to lowest hell.

"His word forbids the sun to shine,
Its rays are then concealed,
He speaks in heaven's highest realms,
And light from stars is sealed.

"And is there mortal who disputes,
Or will be, or e'er was,
Who dares to lift his voice to God,
And question what he does?

"And though I were quite innocent,
I yet would not prevail,
My only hope before my Judge,
His mercy to avail.

"For such his wondrous righteousness,
That if no sin I knew,
A sentence still upon myself,
I'd levy through and through.

"If only there might be for me,
Some man to stand between,
This holy God and me to make,
My guilt less harshly seen!

"For molded out of clay was I,
And from the ground was cast,
And is it now his wish that I,
Return to dust at last?"

And Zophar then began to speak,
Another curious friend,
Who would his counsel offer Job,
And words of wisdom lend,

"Your idle talk before the Lord,
Would justify your ways,
But nothing you have done amiss,
Is hidden from his gaze,

"Your sins are such his memory,
Of all the things you've done,
Cannot sufficient record keep,
Of each and every one.

"But you yourself will each recall,
As water now gone by,
If in your heart you turn to him,
And with his ways comply."

And Job had finally had enough,
From each loquacious friend,
"You are, no doubt, 'the people' with,
Whom wisdom finds its end.

"But men at ease will always have,
Contempt for others' ills,
Their minds are laden with disdain,
And from their mouths it spills.

"The things you utter haughtily,
Are known in every place,
And animals, if asked by chance,
This wisdom will embrace.

"But oh! That each and every word,
I utter from my soul,
Were with an iron pen inscribed,
And written on a scroll,

"For my Redeemer lives I know,
And he shall one day stand,
Upon the earth when time expires,
And rule with certain hand.

"And when vile worms my body claim,
And have devoured me,
Yet in my flesh shall I see God,
Yes, I his face shall see.

"But who has understood these things,
And who has truly heard,
And who is my accuser now,
Who will refute my word?

"Let him in writing set it down,
For all to have and see,
Or let Almighty God himself,
His answer speak to me."

Then from a mighty storm God spoke,
"I answer to no man,
But now these questions I will ask,
And answer if you can.

"For who is this of darkened lore,
Of unenlightened mind?
Now brace yourself and offer me,
The answer that you find.

"And where were you when earth received,
Its firm foundation laid,
From sun by day and moon by night,
Its light and shadows made?

"And tell me if you understand,
Who set its cornerstone,
When all the morning stars rejoiced,
With angels round God's throne?

"And who addressed the mighty seas,
Forbidding that they go,
Beyond appointed shores, their bounds,
Throughout the years to know?

"And was it you who gave command,
That morn should warmly break?
That dawn should know its place and from,
The earth the wicked shake?

"And where does light, then, find its place,
And where does darkness dwell?
And have you seen the shades of death,
Or viewed the gates of hell?

"Whose womb contains the wintry ice,
And who to frost gives birth?
You know these things, of course, for you,
Have long dwelt on the earth!

"And by you do the Pleides,
Their brightness find reduced?
And is it at your deft command,
Orion's cords are loosed?

"Consider, Job, what you will say,
Just what your words will be,
Would you accuse your God this way,
Would you contend with me?"

Now, well had Job fair answers sought,
As God did question him,
But finding none, for none there were,
His countenance was grim.

"Most surely I have spoken, Lord,
Of things I did not know,
And all your plan will be fulfilled,
In heav'n and earth below.

"My ears have long been open to,
All that I've heard of you,
But now, beholding with my eyes,
With clear, unhindered view,

"Such grand and glorious majesty,
This vision you have sent,
Despising all I am I now,
In dust and ash repent."

And to Job's friends God spoke this word,
"Though all of you agree,
I am not pleased with what you've said,
Your words have slighted me,

"Now bring an offering and Job,
Will say a prayer for you,
And I in mercy will erase,
Your guilt for folly due."

And God made Job more prosperous,
Then ever he had been,
For he had spoken well of God,
And kept himself from sin.

A family was he giv'n again,
With sons and daughters who,
Of all the women in the land,
Were loveliest to view.

And with their brothers Job assured,
Each daughter was to see,
Upon his passing from the earth,
A healthy legacy.

So old and full of days Job died,
But not before he knew,
His children's children on his lap,
And watched them as they grew.

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