Today’s reading: Job 22-25
Have you ever sat around in your living room or at Starbucks and discussed politics? Social issues? Theology? Where to get the best burger? It can get intense real quick. Why? Because we all have our own distinct opinions and views on life. Sadly, we have all spoken our “opinions” to loved ones or others we should have never shared.
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.- James 1:19 (NLT)
For Job I believe his friends were genuinely concerned about him. They just should have kept their mouth shut. Sometimes the greatest words of comfort are no words at all. Here you have Job, who’s life has fallen apart. His friends don’t know what to say, so they say all the wrong things. So Job, in the midst of suffering himself begins to think a little crazy. You cant blame him…You can’t even really blame his friends. It was a bad situation.
I can just picture Job and his friends sitting in his living room, trying to gather what was left of Job’s life, trying to put it all back together and make sense of it all.
Eliphaz shares his two cents by saying…
- Job was a sinner
- He was obviously hiding his sins
- Job’s only option was to repent so God could help him.
Job hears this and knows his friend is blowing smoke. Instead of responding like most of us would (expressing our “opinion” back to them), he points it back to God. He feels like if what Eliphaz said was true then why is God sending punishment before any trial? Job want’s to know “why?”, something we don’t always get the pleasure of knowing. Job is looking at his entire life and is at a loss of what to do and feels like everything that is happening is unfair.
What Job has going for him is his correct perspective on God. Eliphaz believed God didn’t involve himself in the lives of humans when Job knew the opposite. At the same time everything that is happening is so mind blowing to Job. Why was this suffering occurring? Why does any suffering occur?
One thing was true. It wasn’t because of his sin. Suffering is not always a result of sin. This is always a easy “go-to” response to the tragedies of life. Sadly many “Christian” leaders in our culture have made some crazy remarks to some of our world’s most recent horrific tragedy’s, such as Katrina and others, trying to bring sense to it all but only making it worse. Job’s friends are a perfect example.
So how to we explain suffering? What we have to understand is the world is full of sin. We were born sinful people. Sin is destroying this world but through it all, God is in control. It’s not up to us to point to WHY something happens but WHO we can go to in the midst of it.
That’s why Job is such a great example. Yeah he thought if he could get in front of God and plead his case he could win. Crazy…yeah…but his life was falling apart. Who hasn’t said something crazy to God in the midst of life’s craziness? We have all prayed the ole “Hail Mary Prayer” of:
“God I promise if you would answer this one request, this one time, I promise to never do (Blank) again.”
Why does suffering happen? We may never know. Yeah Job wanted to know why he had to suffer, but we are not always blessed with that information. The sinfulness of man is a great start to the reasoning for pain in our world, but we can never blame sin as the answer for everything. Job is the perfect example. What we do know is God is the ultimate judge. Why He allows certain pain to occur is never because of his lack of love or inability to stop something from happening. Suffering is what it is…it’s a part of life.
What do we have in response to that reality? Jesus. We have hope. We have what Job stayed connected to during the nightmare he was going through. Our connection with God.
For Job, God allowed this to happen so He could show Satan and the world, Job’s dedication to God. Did Job know this…who knows. 23:8-12 would be evidence that he did.
For us , like Job, we can trust God when we don’t understand why things go bad in life. Job had the opportunity to deny God in the midst of his tragedy and we are no different. But he didn’t.
…But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 10:22 NLT
We can know no matter the suffering, it’s an opportunity for us as well, to show Satan and the world how we can love God through it all even when we don’t understand.
What if God chooses to do the same with us as He did Job? How would you respond?
The answer to that question will reveal a lot about our heart…
Job 23 NLT
10 “But he knows where I am going.
And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
11 For I have stayed on God’s paths;
I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from his commands,
but have treasured his words more than daily food.
13 But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind?
Whatever he wants to do, he does.
14 So he will do to me whatever he has planned.
He controls my destiny.
-Follow the other staff members and their observations from our chronological Bible readings here.