Saturday, April 07, 2012


Job begins in the first paragraph of the first chapter establishing Job was an upright man who was..."blameless...feared God and turned away from evil."  He was also blessed with great prosperity and many children whom he prayed for regularly.

Round 1--chapter 1

The story jumps to a conversation between Satan and God.  Notice how God describes Job.  Satan claims the reason for Job's faithfulness is God's blessing and protection.  God gives Satan permission to test his theory, but He warns Satan not to touch Job himself. 

Next, we again see things from Job's perspective of hearing account after account after account of horrible developments with the worst and final blow coming at the death of his children.  Job cries out in agony and mourns, but he also affirms that God is still God, AND he blesses God even in the midst of this.  "In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong."

Round 2--chapter 2

Once again, the perspective of the story changes back to God's interaction with Satan. He again brings Job to Satan's attention.  God points out that Job, "...still holds fast to his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason."  Satan responds, "Skin for skin!"  He claims that Job will curse God if his health is stripped away also.  God allows it, but He still places a limit of Job's life.  Satan immediately strikes Job with sores all over his body.  The story shifts again to Job's perspective.  His wife berates him for his continued faith.  Job rebukes his wife for receiving good from God, but not willing to receive evil.  "In all this Job did not sin with his lips."

Round 3--chapters 3-31

Next, Job's friends show up.  This section of Job is characterized by a long dialogue between Job and his three friends:  Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite.  Job begins with a lament.  His friends engage him from several different angles.  Some of their dialogue is instructive, and some is more of an open rebuke.  Job responds back to all of their statements.  One key to keep in mind is that the reader has been given the benefit of the heavenly perspective in chapters 1 and 2 that neither Job nor his friends have.  Because of this, we see his friends, while correct in regards to many of their statements, are speaking from a wrong premise much of the time.  Job's statements move from a lament and complaint to eventually becoming a justification for himself and an accusation toward God. 

Round 4--chapters 32-37

Elihu speaks.  Elihu is the youngest of the men present.  He has not spoken until now.  He rebukes both Job and his three friends.  He then proceeds to explain that because of Job's statements, he is in the wrong, and God is just and good and right. 

Round 5--chapters 38-42

The story ends in a powerful moment when God chooses to enter the ongoing dialogue directly.  He rebukes Job through a barrage of questions designed to drive home the huge gap between God and his understanding and ours.  Job is humbled, confesses his wrong, and repents.  God rebukes Job's friends(but conspicuously, not Elihu), and He requires a sacrifice from Job on their behalf to pardon them.  Job is ultimately blessed by God, and his health is fully restored.

This book can generate endless discussion, but I have chosen two questions that it has caused me to ask.  

1.  If this happened to me, what would I do?

2.  What is my faith in God truly based on?