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Reflections on Job (the book!)

06 Sep

I just finished going through Job in my daily Bible reading, and I thought that it would be appropriate to post some comments on it.  Perhaps what is happening in our community is influencing me, since I know of a young teenager who is currently struggling with cancer.

Some people draw the conclusion that Job doesn’t really get an answer from God as to why he is suffering.  We’re the ones who are let in on the secret through the prologue — that Job is an object lesson of sorts to Satan.  The challenge is whether or not Job will remain faithful even through difficult times.  Job does, but he suffers, whines, and cries out to God throughout his suffering.  There are several lessons that are taught by pastors from this book.  One is that we can cry out to God in suffering — it’s expected and He can handle it!  Another lesson is that we don’t always know why we are suffering, but we should still trust in God.  Neither one of these lessons is wrong, but I sometimes wonder if we’ve missed the point.

During his suffering, Job wants to have an audience with God.  He wants to be able to lay out his complaint face to face.  He wants an audience with the Almighty.  While he wait, he pours out his anger and his despair.  I wish I was dead!  I wish that I had never been born!  I don’t understand!  This is unfair!  Answer me!

Job gets his wish.  He gets an audience with the Almighty.  During that encounter Job says two things:  “I lay my hand over my mouth,” and, “I…repent in dust and ashes.”  That’s the sum total of his argument.  After railing and crying and demanding, Job doesn’t even defend himself!  Why?  Because, when Job finally got a vision of God in all His glory, it was enough.  He didn’t need any more answers.  He was content.  And this is the lesson for us today as well.

Regardless of what is going on in our lives, or how tough or unfair that we think it is, if we have a proper understanding of the glory and majesty of God, who He is and what He has done, then we can make it through even the hardest times.  Listen to what Job says in 42:1-6: “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.  You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.  Listen please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.  Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

We know that God is almighty.  We know that He is glorious.  We know that He is holy.  We also know that He is merciful, and compassionate, and loving.  Whenever we have a problem in our lives, we should remember that God is there, that He is in control, and that He has promised us a glorious future and home with Him because of what Jesus Christ did when He died on the cross for our sins.  When we know Jesus, we have that glorious vision of God that helps us to trust Him even in the hard times.  Even when we don’t understand.  Even when life seems unfair and unjust.  That vision of God’s glory helps us to make it.

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