Friday, April 08, 2011


Months and months ago, (anywhere from 6-18??) a friend of mine really encouraged me to read the book of Job. (Wow, I move like a snail...) She expressed some confusion and struggle with the image of God displayed through Job's circumstance. Obviously, I could not be of much help at the time since all I could reference was the Sunday School version of his life. Clearly, I am no theologian.

Please keep that in mind as you continue reading... :)

The further in to this book I go, the more I can understand her difficulty. At first I finished chapter 6 today feeling like it all went over my head. So I read it again. Utilizing a Student Bible and some pre-reading prayer gave me a new sense of understanding.

I have read through to chapter 6 at this point. Chapters 4-6 are when the story really begins to move away from the average Sunday School version. I think what made this study initially difficult was trying to read it like I typically read the Bible.

You know... the way we meditate on scripture?
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want..."
We memorize it. We remind ourselves of it when our faith falters.
We take it as instruction.
I am not sure we can do that with Job...

For example, chapters 4-6 is a conversation held by normal people; not God/man like Jesus, just ordinary folk. Job's buddies are visiting him while he is in this desperate state. Like any of us, his friends try to offer their thoughts as to why Job is in this state. Poor guy.

So Eliphaz steps up to the plate. His thoughts sound relatively sensitive, thought through, even spiritual.

Sometimes I think we grow so used to certain spiritual concepts that we make them logical... does that make sense?

Take 4:7-8 for example,
"Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it."

Eliphaz is assuming based on what he has seen or observed.
Did he acknowledge God before he spoke?
To the point I have read so far, scripture does not say anything about these friends prior to their gathering together.

Eliphaz sort of diagnoses Job's "problem" with religion because why would a loving God let a good man go through such suffering?

That question has never ceased to be asked by man, in every generation since, I am sure.

To try and tie this up rather swiftly, I will proceed with two verses that came to mind as I wrote:

"That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."
-2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NLT)


"For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places."
-Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

Job understood what his friends did not- that God is God regardless of what he did not see and struggled to comprehend with his mind. He practiced treating God with true lordship. Though all this pain and suffering came upon him, he knew his place before the God of the universe and would not for one second curse his Master and Creator. He even had the boldness to correct Eliphaz in chapter 6 and challenged Eliphaz to think, just think about who he is...

“But now be so kind as to look at me.
Would I lie to your face?
Relent, do not be unjust;
reconsider, for my integrity is at stake.
Is there any wickedness on my lips?
Can my mouth not discern malice?"

Terrible how easy it is to do the opposite, isn't it?
How comfortably I point my finger at God with frustration,
how swiftly I puff myself up. In my anger, suddenly, I become lord over my circumstances.

But He is Lord, my friends. He is LORD,
and He can injure us or heal us for His glory's sake...
because He is the one, true God.

Yeah, that is somewhat a scary thought that makes you feel like you have lost control. However, the more you learn about who this God is, the less scared you become because you know He is for you and not against you. He is all knowing, all wisdom, and unconditionally loving. Even beyond your ability to receive love, He loves you still.

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