Friday, October 5, 2012

Back to Job, Again: When Popular Ideas Are Wrong

I'm back to thinking about Job. My Sunday school class has been going through the book chapter-by-chapter, and I've been struggling to understand what I'm reading and hearing.

In my last post, my point was that Job was righteous because, all along, he knew his answers would come from God. This was actually tricky business. From the way I read the text, it sounds to me like Job and his friends all had a similar belief going into Job's suffering: God upholds the righteous and punishes the wicked. In Job 31, Job himself says "For what has God above chosen for us? What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high? Isn't it calamity for the wicked and misfortune for those who do evil?" (vs 2-3, NLT)

Problem was, Job suffered calamity and misfortune, but he claimed to be innocent again and again. In chapter 31, Job's last speech before God speaks is littered with "if" statements. If I did this thing wrong, or if I did that thing wrong, then I deserve punishment - but I didn't do those things wrong!To his friends, this seemed impossible, hence the debates.

Poor Job, trying to keep his wits about him when being accused so strongly by his friends. How did he make it without giving up? I believe it was by continually going to God for answers instead of relying on the answers provided by his friends. In that final speech in Job 31, he's still talking about getting his answers from the Almighty (see vs 35).

One lesson here is that God is bigger than any generation's ideas about him. No matter what's going on or what we think we know or what our friends think they know about God, we need to rely on God himself for our answers. The good news is, he's available to us through his Word and prayer.

Your Sister

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