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.