Wednesday, November 11, 2009

That Book of Job

I'm there again. In my reading through the Bible I've once again come to the book of Job. Every time I come to it I always sort of cringe. This time in my read-through I'm using the NIV Study Bible. I'll read a chapter, then go through all the notes about it before going on. Great way to read through the Bible. All the same--Job is a hard one.

Ever asked God "Why?" Job laments all that has happened to him and hurls those WHY questions at God. I didn't deserve this! Why did you do this to me? What's the point of living a righteous life if you're going to treat me this way?... (My paraphrase.) Then in Chapter 19, verse 23, he cries: Oh, that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!

Of course--they were. In fact, I think this is the crux of the book of Job. The WHY of all the disaster that befell the man. Indeed, it wasn't about him at all. It was, first, to teach his pious friends a few things. Then, through the Book of Job, to teach the millions of Christians around the world and through all generations that God is sovereign and that some of our questions--especially the difficult WHY ones--won't be answered this side of heaven.

Yet God does reply to Job. Hey, where were you when I hung the moon and flung the stars and switched on the sun? Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Who are YOU to question me and the worth of righteousness? Who are YOU to demand answers from ME...? (My paraphrase again.)

Sufficiently cowed, Job says:

I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees Thee.
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.

Interesting. God did reply to Job. But He didn't answer Job's questions. And He so easily could have. In His long reply, God could have added--By the way, Job, your wish to have this all written down? It's gonna happen. In fact, that's the VERY reason all this happened to you.

God never said that. He withheld the reason. Giving Job the answer he so desperately wanted wasn't nearly as important to God as reminding Job of Who He Is.


Nelishia said...

I've wondered often if there were room in the Bible to have written a book about my walk with Him, what exactly would be there and what would others learn from those experiences. I'm so glad it isn't.
Job and I both can most certainly declare, FOR I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES!


Sally Bradley said...

Brandilyn, I used to cringe when I got to Job. Then last year I decided to read through it fast just to move on. Great attitude, I know.

So I read all forty chapters in four days--and found it to be a much more encouraging book than when I took a chapter or two a day. It's now one of my favorite books.

What always strikes me is that God allowed Job to suffer like that in order to bring God glory. And Job did bring God glory through his attitude.

I hope that when I go through tough times--like right now with two mortgages--that I bring glory to God too.

Kaye Dacus said...

Those last few chapters of Job, filled with all of God's rhetorical questions, is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. It's such a wonderful and vivid reminder of who God is and why we will never be worthy of the grace He chooses to give us anyway.

Cindy C. said...

After my 5th miscarriage, I sort of took comfort in Job. He didn't know what we can see from the book. It gave me comfort to know that God is ALWAYS in control, regardless of what I know or think. "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him." Not saying it was easy...but I read it a lot for a while. Also loved reading Charles Swindoll's book about Job.

Chris Kraft said...

Wow! The final line of your blog was really powerful, "Giving Job the answer he so desperately wanted wasn't nearly as important to God as reminding Job of Who He Is". I've been learning this lesson over the years by just surrendering when I don't understand. Thanks for sharing with us today :) Kathy Kraft

Pamela Meyers said...

There's a great book out called "The Gospel According to Job" by Mike Mason. Short little essays on Job, taking it not quite verse by verse but close. Mr. Mason's book is a great study in how in so many ways Job parallels the gospels and points the coming Messiah.

Jessie at Blog Schmog said...

Ah yes a very hard book to swallow but at the same time aren't the "Who He Is" chapters simply breathtaking?

I'm going through a lot of WHY's with God right now. Just doesn't seem right, fair, possible to handle etc. God is reminding me that HE IS no matter who I am or other are. There are no surprises with God.

misswrite said...

I'm in the middle of reading Job right now, too. Yes, it is a hard book. Yes, it can be depressing.

But it makes me realize how much I complain when, all in all, I have it SO good.

And this is brilliance:

"Giving Job the answer he so desperately wanted wasn't nearly as important to God as reminding Job of Who He Is."

Thank you!

Peg Brantley said...

I have to say I've always felt Job was one of the most beautifully written books in the Bible.

It's difficult, it's personal, it cries out the pain many of us have felt from time to time . . . but oh, so eloquently said.

Sheila Deeth said...

What a fascinating study. Thank you. I love your "reason" for what happened to him. So often, it's not about us.

Tyson Wynn said...

I love Job! Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.

Not endorsing The Message as a primary study Bible, but the introduction to Job in The Message is very insightful.

Hannah said...

I love that about Job, too. We have so many questions this side of heaven and some of them just aren't going to be answered -- for now. But we can still know that God is faithful.

Krista Phillips said...

I'm totally due to reread Job... but it's always a wee bit comforting to me that God didn't strike Job down for asking "Why?" I think sometimes I thinking if I ask God why, it shows that I have little faith.

But I think just because we ask why doesn't mean that we are faithless, in fact, it's almost acknowledging that there is a reason, we just don't know it, God does.

Just my meandering thoughts on the matter.

marci seither said...

My favorite part of Job is his response when his children, his servants and his livestock either died or were carried off as plunder.
Job 1:20
At this , Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell down in WORSHIP.
How many of the churches problems revolve around worship style vs. worship motive?
Job fell down in worship as an acknolwedgement that God is God and Job is not.
This was a pleasing and fragrant aroma before the Lord, which often causes me to wonder.. How does our "worship" compare to Job's. Is it fragrant, or does it reek of worldy influence?

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Thanks Brandilyn.

Susan Skitt said...

Oh that we would know that - God is the Great "I AM".

My husband and I had just finished a two-year Bible study in the book of Job. Days later two police officers knocked on my front door with news that would change my world forever.

"Your husband died in a car accident..."

What could I do? Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked I shall return, God gave and God has taken away, blessed be the name of the LORD.

In the end, all we need to know is that God knows the whys and hows and that is enough. He promises to help us through it... and in the end, we'll see Him face to face.

My prayer is that people will come to know him as their personal Savior so when they meet Jesus, it will not be as their judge.

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