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The Book of Job

Life is full of challenges, decisions, grief and sadness – but who usually gets blamed for these occurrences in our lives?  I can attest that when something bad happens in life, I would immediately blame God, and ask “How can a God of love, mercy, and grace let this happen to me?”  Hmmm…..Maybe this is the wrong question to be asking of God?   Perhaps, our friend Job can shed some light onto this topic.

The book of Job opens with Job going about his daily business, including his sacrifices to God to cover the sins that Jobs children have done, or incase his children have cursed God in their hearts.  Interesting that Job is concerned for his children’s well being with God.  Then we have Satan, a heavenly being (a son of God), who is wandering the earth looking for someone to accuse of wrong doing to God.  Finding none God says to Satan, to consider God’s servant Job.  Job is blameless and upright and turns away from evil.  Satan then tells God that Job only believes and obeys God because of what Job gets out of it.  Satan is claiming that Job acts only in Job’s own self-interest.  

God then lets Satan do with Job’s possessions as Satan wishes, with one exception, that Satan cannot touch Job.  The first thing Satan does is destroy all of Job’s animals and takes the lives of Job’s family.  This destruction does not have Job curse God, in fact, Job does quite the opposite – Job falls on the ground and worships the Lord!  

Satan again meets with God and finds that Job is still blameless and has not cursed God.  So now God lets Satan do to Job as Satan wishes but Satan is to spare Job’s life.  Job’s wife encourages Job to curse God and die.  Job, however, says to his wife, “You speak as any foolish woman would speak.  Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and receive the bad?” (NRSV Job 2:10)

Job’s three friends then get involved.  They come to comfort Job, but end up trying to get Job to find a sin that he is guilty of and repent to God.  Job tells his friends, that he has not sinned.  Job curses the day he was born and tells God to take his life.  God does no such thing but says to Job, “As for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause.”  So Job does just this.  Job lays out his case before God.  Job tells God that his complaint is just and God should carry out Job’s request.  If the request cannot be fulfilled, Job says to God, “Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone wrong.”  (NRSV Job 6:24)

Job and God go back and forth in their conversation, while Job suffers.  The friends then continue to tell Job that Job should curse God and that Job must have done something wrong to be punished like this.  Job continues to defend God to his friends and still maintains his innocence.  Job lays out once again his defense to God, God responds to Job and then challenges Job, Job then replies to God’s challenge by stating to God, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (NRSV Job 42:5-6)  

What Job sees from God is that Job does not have knowledge of all that God is and does.  God questions Job as to if you know all then why do you question me?  God is God and we are not.  We do not know what all goes on with God or what God sees for us.  Maybe we are asking God the wrong questions?  

Perhaps we can learn more about God, when we ask different questions and are faithful – even through the most difficult times in our lives. Join me this Sunday (10/13) for a great discussion on the book of Job!!  How do you see Job?  Is Job really blameless and upright?  Who is God?  

See you soon!

Vicar Berns

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