Reflections From JOB 1-3: MAKING SENSE OF SUFFERING WHEN IT MAKES NO SENSE


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My goal in writing reflections from the life of Job are the following: First, to encourage you the reader that if you will pay attention to the words on the page and listen carefully you will mine a lot of truth for life without the need of a commentary or any secondary source.  That is, “take up and read” to enrich your soul Christian.

Second, I write to give you a model of how observations can be done in scripture that do not read into the text something foreign to the author’s intent.  This will help you experience the joy of discovery and increase your confidence in your ability to comprehend God’s word.

Third, by doing the above my hope is that you will be able to hear God’s voice all the more clearly because it is the word of God that is forever settled in heaven, and not our subjective impressions however valid they may be.  That is, we have a more sure word of prophecy according to Peter—meaning the inscripturated word of God—then a glorious experience we may claim to have (2 Peter 1:16-21).  Too often we Christians have bizarre ideas of what “God” is supposedly speaking to us and when it contradicts the Bible, be assured we are not hearing his voice.

JOB 1-3: “THE LIFE OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN INTRODUCED”

The first three chapters of Job set the stage for most of the book.  In it we see a historical account of Job who was from the land of Uz.  His character is described as one who feared God and turned away from evil (1:1).  He is also very prosperous with sons, daughters, land, livestock etc.  He was a rich man who loved God (1:2-3), he spent time with his family celebrating their bounty (1:4), but Job also interceded on behalf of his children knowing the occasion for rebellion was ever real and present before them (1:5).

This resume is impressively daunting.  Wealthy people tend not to be God fearers, not because they aren’t precious to God, but because God is not precious to them—they don’t see their need for Him (E.g., parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man).  In Job’s case however, God was his true wealth to which the rest of this book attests.  His prosperity included a family—a fact many today don’t enjoy, but it also included land with livestock—kind of like the “Ponderosa” but ever more.

Job’s loyalty to God however is questioned by Satan accusing this God-fearer of only serving God because of the prosperity God bestowed on him (1:9-12, 13-19).  Prosperity can ultimately destroy God’s people and send them into the abyss of idolatry—remember Israel?

But in Job’s case, that was a boldface lie (1:20-22).  Again, the accusation came from Satan; Job only fears You God because he has his health, take this away and he’ll curse You God (2:1-10).  Both times the accusations are leveled against Job and on both occasions it’s recorded that “in all this Job did not sin with his lips” (1:22; 2:10).  Jobs wealth, children and health were taken from him by Satan…but only because God allowed it.  Now while God does work through many causes, this text doesn’t reveal His weakness but strength in dictating what Satan is allowed to do.  How could a loving God do such a thing?  Christian, have you ever asked yourself the question, “How could God send his unique Son to Calvary’s cross?”  That is even more troublesome, but we know that love for us was worth the gruesome pain for Him.

The pain Job expresses in terms of wishing he were never born and the longing for death is deeply sobering in light of human suffering and its’ reality (3).  Job’s suffering is an endurance most of us will never experience.  Job is nonetheless a God fearing man and an example of what it means to be righteous regardless of the circumstances.  When the flood gates of pain and suffering come our way, not if believer, understand that God is there, He has not abandoned you.

The fact is that to be human is to suffer—because of the Fall—but to suffer as a believer has eternal ramifications that for many of us are not immediately, if ever, discerned or understood.  For those in pain—physical or emotional—may God’s grace in Christ bring you comfort this day.

(SDG)

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