Daily Worship

Skin in the game

January 03, 2020 0
tiles_in_the_game_jo_penn
Image credit: Jo Penn

Job 1:1, 2: 1-10 (NRSVA)

1 There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.

(2) 1 One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.’ 3 The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.’ 4 Then Satan answered the Lord, ‘Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. 5 But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.’ 6 The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life.’

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.

9 Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.’ 10 But he said to her, ‘You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Alexander Hamilton lived life with passion and purpose, as told in the musical by Lin Manuel Miranda. The events of Hamilton’s life, revealed through song, challenge us to think about what legacy we might leave, whatever the length of our life. Hamilton lived as he advised others to do — with ‘skin in the game’, taking every opportunity to make a difference. Hamilton was not perfect but lived his life passionately for what he believed.

Job also had ‘skin in the game’ and lived to serve God. Satan noticed Job’s good character and wanted to test him. Could a human soul be so true? Whatever our understanding of this book, God’s words about Job to Satan are encouraging. God believes in the integrity of his servant Job. Though the test goes ahead, the first rule is: ‘on the man himself do not lay a finger’. Job belongs to God.

Losing possessions, livestock and family… Job mourned, yet in his anguish recognises the sovereignty of God over every circumstance: all aspects of life are pure gift.

Satan next plots to attack the very skin that holds Job’s life, the casing of this soul’s embodiment, once more testing Job’s resolve to serve God. We see Job bearing boils, scraping them, caring for his skin. Job continues to mourn but still his heart trusts God.

Our lives are gifted to us for this time and place. What will our ‘skin in the game’ legacy be for God?

PRAYER:

Embodied soul,
be kind, be courageous.
Skin, our common bound,
surrounds this life.
Heart is broken by shock and strife,
and selfish, hard-nosed choices others make.
We make them too.
Listen to the impulse within,
let it be transformed by the Spirit’s power
to turn from hate to love,
mistrust to compassion.
Pain in life and limb?
May God’s grace come in
and strip us to our heart,
pour purity within.

This soft skin 
clothes much more
than we can know.
Our worth within the beauty of our soul,
that writes hope in others as we meet,
as we seek,
to live close to Jesus’ heart.
Integrity.