06 May 2016

Stone 18 - Job

Last week we took a look at Esther and her role in helping the Jews escape annihilation. Let us go back further in time to visit Job and how he deals with suffering.

Attacking the Good Guy
So - turns out Job is a pretty good guy with lots of wealth (Job 1:1-3). He has ten kids that like to party and even has burnt offerings for them just in case they might have sinned (Job 1:4-5).

Enter Satan who is allowed by God to attack Job (Job 1:12). Wow! Satan really clobbers Job with four events that if only one happened to a guy they would be pretty devastated.
First a servant comes to say that all the oxen and donkeys along with a bunch of servants got wiped out (Job 1:14-15).
Second, while the first was still talking, another came to say that all the sheep and a bunch more servants got burnt up in a lightning storm (Job 1:16).
Third, while that guy was still talking, another came to say that all the camels were stolen and even more servants got wiped out by some raiding parties (Job 1:17).
Fourth, while that guy was still talking, another guy came to say that all 10 of his children were killed by a house that collapsed on them in a wind storm (Job 1:18-19)

All this because Satan thinks the only reason that Job is so righteous is because God blesses him (Job 1:9-11)

Job responds by praising God... wait... what? Imagine losing every single one of your ten children on the same day... how incredible the pain in that moment for Job - how incredible the response!

So Satan tries again by pleading with God to allow him to physically get to Job (Job 2:4-5). God agrees but does not allow his death. Satan nails Job with some nasty boils over his whole body (Job 2:6-7). Gross! Job just sits there and scrapes them with some chunk of an old broken clay pot (Job 2:8).

At this point Job's wife comes on the scene getting on him for staying true and Job calls her foolish for it (Job 2:9-10) We are not told that he is praising God this time but neither are we told that he was cursing God - just calling his wife foolish. Not sure how that turned out for him...

Friendly Help - Sort of - The Banter
So Job has three buddies that come along in support of all this mess (Job 2:11). They hung out for a week in silence just to support Job (Job 2:13). Wow! How many of our friends would come and lend that kind of support today...? Pretty cool!

At this point, Job begins to banter with each of his buddies for a while. You can really tell that Job is totally crushed and is experiencing some heavy depression. He goes on and on about how he wished that he was never born (Job 3:1-26).

Eliphaz replies first and recognizes his pain (Job 4:5) but pretty much goes on to suggest that Job must have did something bad in order for God to smite him (Job 5:17).

Job comes back claiming to be innocent and that God has turned on him (Job 6:4, 7:20). Job seems even a bit angered that Eliphaz might suggest he had done something.

Now Bildad pipes in and declares God just and points a finger at his recently dead children (Job 8:2-4). Ouch.

Job replies with a sort of 'what good will it do to confront God with my issues' attitude (Job 9:14-20). Nonetheless, Job still declares his innocence (Job 10:2-3).

Zophar is third to speak up. This guy pretty much straight up tells Job that he is lucky that God has not punished him for all of his sins (Job 11:5-6). He tells Job to pray and ask God to take his sin (Job 11:13-15).

Job is pretty much fed up at this point as he replies to Zophar (Job 13:1-5) and says he would rather go toe to toe with God instead (v. 3).

Eliphaz comes back again with a sort of 'who do you think you are' response and that his sin is speaking (Job 15:2-6).

Job says they suck at this (Job 16:2). Job is like 'Look at me - what did I do to deserve this?' (Job 16:16-17).

Bildad come back again to say 'Dude, quit calling us stupid and when you are ready to listen we can try again' (Job 18:2-3)

Job rallies by indicating his hurt at what his friends are saying (Job 19:2-3). We even read in the first chapter about the righteousness of Job and his integrity (Job 1:1) He details the struggles as he sits there decaying from his wounds (Job 19:13-22) and begs for mercy from them. He is innocent.

Zophar comes back with anger that Job is not having any of their counsel (Job 20:2-3).

Job indicates his frustration that good things happen to those who are wicked (Job 21:7-16).

Eliphaz gets a little more direct and straight up accuses some sin in Job's life (Job 22:5) and is like 'Dude, let it go and get right with God already!' (Job 22:21)

Job is convinced that he can go to court with God and win (Job 23:4-7) and continues to gripe about the wicked getting away with things.

Bildad tells Job that there is pretty much no way that he is sinless in the eyes of God (Job 25:4-6).

Job blames God and still clings to innocence (Job 27:2-6). He longs for the old days when he rested in God's favor (Job 29:4).

Job's friends pretty much gave up because he was righteous in his own eyes (Job 32:1). So Elihu comes from somewhere and he is upset because Job keeps justifying himself rather than God and because his buddies failed to set him straight and condemned him (Job 32:2-3).

Elihu says he has heard Job proclaim innocence (Job 33:8-9) and in verse 12 says he is wrong. He says that God listens to prayer and that it is probably not a good idea to blame God as unjust (Job 33:26, 33:33-37).

Now comes God! He responds with many questions which might all be boiled down to one.
Who do you think you are?

Job recognizes his folly and declares it before the Lord (Job 40:3-5) and later repents (Job 42:6).

Interestingly, God speaks to the three friends and tells them he is angry because they did not speak the truth as Job had (Job 42:7).

So Job was innocent after all but he was also clearly wrong to accuse God as being unjust. God forgives and restores Job and his family.

**One takeaway here is that I think it is easy to praise God when things are going well but how well do we continue to praise God when things are not going so well?

Next week we will look at the largest book in the Bible: Psalms

Here is a video from Join the Bible Project on Job.

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