Is God truly just? Is God’s sovereignty trustworthy? Why is there so much suffering in the world that we live in? Furthermore, why does God allow “good” people suffer? These may be the types of questions that ring throughout reading the book of Job this month in our Bible reading plan.
In the first chapter, we are introduced by the author to a pious man named Job living outside of Israel in a place named Uz. God proposes to Satan that Job is a “blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job 1:8). Then Satan accuses Job’s intentions in fearing God, and this accusation from Satan touches all that Job has first, and then his own bone and flesh afterwards. This sets the stage for the rest of the dialogue to follow in the book, as Job experiences suffering beyond the understanding of this world.
Before the arrival of his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, his wife even tells Job to curse God and die (Job 2:9). In hearing the news of Job’s suffering, the three friends come to sympathize and comfort Job (Job 2:11) but ends up engaging in extended dialogue about why all these things were happening. These friends represent an “oversimplified orthodoxy,” saying it is directly related to Job’s sinning – which we know is wrong because God had said clearly Job is blameless. Within the agonizing pains, and the back and forth dialogues, Job longs for an intermediary who can bring about justice (Job 9:33, 16:19-21; 19:25-27; 27), eventually demands God to answer him (Job 31:35).
It isn’t until the last few chapters that God shows up, and rebukes everyone (with the exception of ignoring Elihu), and “explains” the circumstances. However, God does not explain any of the circumstances in any way that Job asked for. Instead, God points to the reality that is bigger than what Job and his three friends can perceive. God takes Job on a wild ride through all of His creations and assures Job has no idea how limited his own perspective on reality really is.
Therefore, as we read through this book of poetry and dialogue about the questions of God in our present reality, we are reminded that we are not meant to understand or be God. We are incapable of fully comprehending all of His great sovereignty and plans of the cosmos. It also assures us where true comfort lies in our lives; not our things, not our family, not our friends, not our very bodies – but in Him who is the Creator and Sustainer of all things.
And most importantly, may we always remember that One who is truly righteous that suffered in our stead; lived the life we could not live, and died that death we fully deserved. As we meditate and read through the book of Job, may we remember the Gospel of Jesus, that we always have the Divine Mediator before the judgement seat interceding for us.
Bible Reading Column by Pastor Charles Baik.
Mississauga Campus Assistant Pastor
This Week’s Bible Reading Schedule:
|Monday: Job 4||☐||Thursday: Job 7||☐|
|Tuesday: Job 5||☐||Friday: Job 8||☐|
|Wednesday: Job 6||☐||Saturday: Job 9||☐|