Job – Job Speaks

Job’s friends take a lot of flack from critics, but I want to give credit where credit is due. They did sit in silence with him for 7 days. And even then, they didn’t jump the gun in conversation but waited until Job wanted to talk. What restraint!

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.

Remember before this time, Job had developed a lifestyle of being “a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.” He also, “did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

But what he did do was regret he had ever been born, to experience such suffering. He wondered about the purpose of his life, so that he could find purpose in the suffering.

Poor Job, he didn’t have the full picture. He’s living in the here and now, just as we are. There is purpose in suffering, even if we cannot see it. There is something going on in the background we are totally unaware of. It could be that others are watching, learning what “blameless and upright” looks like. It could be our time has not come, not for us or others, and we linger, using the strength we do have to allow ourselves to be used as a “living sacrifice.” It could be there is drama in heaven between Satan and God of which we are unaware. 

But we can assume we do not have the full picture.

The fact was, as much as Job regretted it, he was born. He was blessed. Those blessings were taken away. God had something in mind Job could not comprehend.

I think of so many I know who are in a season of suffering. There are so many questions, and even the desire to have life completed through death. We want to understand what is un-understandable. But at some point, it will be fully known. 

One truth we can hold on to is that God gave us life, he will determine death, and it is our choice to give him everything between the two.

But let me just add…it’s still hard!

Job – Blessing or Curse?

Like I said before, a lot of things in the book of Job bother me. God allowing Satan to destroy Job’s life is one of them.

But first consider, it was not God’s idea to crush Job. It was Satan’s idea. He hates what God loves. He wanted to prove that Job loved God only because he had money, health, family and friends, respect, power — all the world loves. Since Job had all that Satan loves, is he loving and fearing God “on the side?”

Am I loving and fearing God “on the side?”

I look as if I love God. I feel that I love God. But if God allowed all my financial security, health, family and friends, respect and power to dissolve, what would I think or feel? 

Prosperity gospel runs rampant in this country and others with the false belief that blessings are the result of good works. Poverty means someone is lazy, sinning or not “doing good.”

That is a lie from the pit!

Sometimes I feel guilty that I am surviving cancer. People talk about me and some of the good things I do as if I am earning another day. But that is so backwards. I receive each day by grace, unmerited favor. I am no more worthy of another day than any of my friends who have gone before me. But because God has given me another day, it’s my responsibility to use it for good.

God knows Job really loves and fears him, even if Satan does not. God knows the end of Job’s story before it begins. It almost feels like he’s trying to redeem Satan — maybe if Satan sees how man loves God, he will quit tempting him and give up the battle. We all know that is not going to happen, because Satan is still alive, tempting us in our walk with God. But it is an interesting thought…

Knowing Job’s true character, God allows Job to go through unjust, undeserved, suffering. And, contrary to the Prosperity Gospel, we also go through unjust, undeserved suffering. Suffering is suffering – it hurts no more or less knowing the reason. 

And yet, we search for answers to relieve pain… 

Let’s Talk about the Book of Job…

After Psalms, I started reading Job. Job is a book that I have often wondered why God included it in the Bible. I personally don’t get much out of it, don’t underline many key scriptures, don’t even understand what is true in the counsel of Job’s “friends” and what it not. And…it is so long…

But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t read it. It is in the Bible, God’s written word to us. God must want to communicate something to us, to me, through it.

 Let’s start with the story in Chapters 1 & 2, which have enough questions of their own. A man, Job, is so “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” that God boasts about him to Satan.

This is where I have my first disconnect, trying to picture God stooping so low as to get into a boasting match with Satan.

But maybe that is not the picture I should get. Maybe it’s the thought that God does boast to Satan about us. I wonder if he ever said, “Have you considered my servant Martin Luther King, and all the good he is doing?” Or, “Have you considered Billy Graham and all the good he is doing?” 

Maybe God wants to boast about us, about me?

Are we giving him the “blameless and upright, one who fears God and turned away from evil” material he can boast about? 

Or on the other side, are there times when Satan comes to God and says, “See there is another one you thought was doing good, but look how they have fallen?”

Does Satan taunt God with our sin? 

Does he boast to God about his conquests? Did he show God the video of George Floyd’s death?  Burning cities? Hitler and massacres in Rwanda?

I don’t know what kind of conversations God and Satan have, and frankly, it troubles me that they talk at all. It even troubles me more if they have these kinds of conversations. God knows who wins, but Satan keeps trying…even today…to prove he is stronger than God.

The book of Job seems to be the answer to the question, who is stronger, God or Satan?

We know how it ends because we have read the end or heard the story, but obviously, Job didn’t know how it was going to end when the story started, when he was “blameless and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Nor did he know that there were conversations going on between God and Satan.

We have our own stories. We don’t know the end, or even what comes next in our lives. We don’t know the conversations God and Satan are having even today.

Maybe we should read on…