This week we begin reading together the challenging Book of Job. Few people have experienced the level of suffering that Job endured, yet anyone who has ever tried to make sense of tragedy or loss has struggled with the same question that occupied Job and his friends: “Why?”
The Book of Job wrestles with the flawed philosophy of reciprocity. “You do me a favor, I’ll do you a favor.” You be kind to me, I’ll be kind to you.” “You mess with me, I’ll mess with you.” Good things happen to good people, bad things happen to bad people. Therefore if something bad has happened or is happening to you, then you must be a bad person.
Job had the reputation of being a righteous and upright man. Satan accused God of blessing – actually bribing – Job with wealth and good fortune in order to secure his loyalty. Satan maintained the only reason Job served God was because God had blessed him. Take away the blessings, Satan alleged, and Job would curse God to His face.
However, Satan misjudged Job’s character. Stripped of his wealth and struck with the tragic loss of his children, Job nevertheless praised God, “‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.’” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.”
Later when Satan struck Job’s body with a terrible infection, he still refused to turn away from God. “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not adversity?” he asked. Job’s integrity was a powerful response to Satan’s question, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” The answer to that question was yes! Job feared God for nothing in return. He feared God for who He was, not for what he could get out of Him – “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
Though Job is not an “easy read,” I hope you enjoy it. Read it slowly, you may even have to re-read the daily assignments in order to absorb what is being said. I suggest you keep a pencil and notepad handy for jotting down questions. We’ll try to provide a forum in the next couple of weeks in our Monday and Wednesday evening classes to discuss your questions.