; Ps 119:66,71,75,91,125,130; Mt 18:1-5,10
“For God commands the angels to guard you.”
Only when the LORD lets his face shine upon us do we gain understanding. The LORD loves the simple hearts; his face shines upon those whom he loves. We rely upon the LORD to teach us wisdom, and we grow in knowledge when we trust in his commands. We can even rejoice in our afflictions because we have learned his statutes. Indeed, we know that the ordinances of the LORD are just and in his faithfulness we have been afflicted. In accord with his ordinances we stand firm; we learn how to serve the LORD who made heaven and earth. We are his servants, and he gives us discernment that we may know his decrees and learn how to apply them to our daily struggles. Indeed, the revelation of his Word in Christ sheds light on all the living; it gives understanding to the simple. Being simple is being like the LORD, for the LORD is the simplest of all. He is simply love, and sharing in his divine life makes us truly loving. How could we refuse anyone? The patient and long suffering Job dies old and full of years because he has learned to trust in the LORD who can do all things. When we learn to rejoice that our names are written in heaven, then the Lord Jesus will rejoice in the Holy Spirit. With the great crowd of witnesses before the Throne of God and of the Lamb; we taste and see that the LORD is good, and we want to share this delight with all who hunger and thirst.
Our ancestor in faith, Job, did not take comfort in his Guardian Angel. Rather he was overwhelmed by the attacks of another angel, the dark angel, Satan himself. Even this test of his faith, allowed by God not initiated by God, did not defeat him. Job continued to be faithful even when the pain of his condition made him wretched and poor. Even when his flesh was afflicted with boils and sores, Job dealt with things too great, things he did not understand. Such a challenge to his faith only opened him up for a more profound and mysterious trial. He actually summoned the LORD Almighty to trial, to the courts of heaven Job called the LORD to defend himself—to justify his allowing the Tempter to have such power in his life. Now, Job is repentant and he takes back his direct challenge to the LORD. Now, Job disowns what he has said, and he repents in dust and ashes. As the story unfold this act of humble repentance is followed by the LORD healing and helping Job to experience only the blessings of family and life in this world. The Word of the LORD wants us to take comfort in our struggles of body and soul. The Word of the LORD that is incarnate in the New Job, the Lord Jesus actually takes on the deepest pain of the human soul. From the cross he cries out the prayer of every sinner, “Oh LORD, why have you abandoned me?” Indeed, as the First Job discovered the LORD is present and near even in our most painful and lonely moments, and it is the greatest of all mysteries that is out greatest comfort all through life.
There’s a great deal of rejoicing in today’s gospel, and this human and divine rejoicing reveals the truth of human nature and the truth of divine nature. With the original seventy-two disciples we return to the Lord rejoicing because we have seen the forces of the enemy weaken and fall before us. However, this is only superficial rejoicing. The Lord Jesus summons us to rejoice not because evil spirits are subject to us but because our names are written in heaven. We are no longer exiles; we are at home in the mystery of God. When our true identity is realized, this is the true cause of rejoicing in the human heart. The Lord Jesus rejoices in the Holy Spirit even as he praises the Father for his gracious gift to him of childlike disciples. This rejoicing in the Holy Spirit continues as he expresses his own childlike gratitude for those who have become part of his divine family, those who rejoice with him in the Holy Spirit and call God, Abba. This revelation of the true nature of God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit is the blessing we have over prophets and kings of old. They desired to know and love the Lord with such intimacy. Knowing Him as He really is and loving him with his very own love for eternity, this is the true cause of our rejoicing now and forever!