For the month of March, per the Legacy Reading Plan I’ve started on for this years, through the Bible, reading plan, the “assigned books” are Job, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes.
With Ecclesiastes, I feel a bit like cheating since the pastor of our church, is currently preaching through the book of Ecclesiastes, but it is an added bonus at the same time, since it helps me with any questions, I may have had with Ecclesiastes.
Job, on the other hand, a pretty somber book to be reading through and I should know, since I have read it more than a few times, that I almost, though not quite, have it memorized.
Along with Ray Stedman, “Let God Be God“, this is a pretty tough book to read, but a necessary one. From what I have read, no one knows who the author of Job is and it was and seems to be considered to have been written around the time of Genesis, although it’s not in the book of Law.
Starting off what is known as the poetical books of the Bible, I have always been drawn to this particular book, both by the poetical imagery that Job creates and by the overall lessons that Job shares with the reader.
Ray Stedman shares on his site, RayStedman.org, the following observation:
“Job was an actual, living person and these events actually took place, but God recounts them for us in this beautiful style so that we might have an answer to the age-old, haunting question, “Why does apparently senseless tragedy strike men?” Any time you get into difficulties it is well to turn to the book of Job. Here is a man who experienced an agony of human despair and desolation of spirit which accompanied the apparently meaningless, senseless tragedies that came into his life.”
Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will leave this life.[a]
The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.
Praise the name of Yahweh. Job 1:21 HCSB
Admittingly, Job can be both a tough, sobering read and at the same time, Job can also be a mindful read, that reminds us at the end, we don’t and can’t always have all the answers, even if we want to and we just gotta allow God to be who He is.
The Book of Job starts with…..disaster. Spoilers if you haven’t read it yet, but God allows Satan free reign on Job to prove that no matter what Job is and was a faithful man despite the tragedies that befell him.
Halfway through, Jobs friends are all but encouraging and even blame Job.
“At this point the whole book slightly shifts its focus. We now are no longer looking only at Job but also at his controversy with these three friends, and their discourse occupies the major part of the book. From their human (very human) point of view, they attempt to answer that same haunting question, “Why do senseless tragedies afflict men?” The major part of the book, written in beautifully poetic language, records the attempts by these men to come to an answer. And the three friends’ answers are all the same. They answer the question of Job’s problems with smug, dogmatic assurances that only one explanation is possible: he has committed some awful sin. They try to break down Job’s defenses with arguments” 1
Despite everything though, Job lifts up God name and calls out to Him to mediate.
This is a great reminder to those in the Christian walk, who instead of laying it on the Lord feet, instead are quick to tell their brethren in an Eeyore fashion, “What did you do”?
There is a ray of sunshine….toward the end. Job cries out
“For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then from my flesh[“in my flesh,” in the Hebrew] I shall see God.” (Job 19:25, 26)”
One would think that is that but as Ray Stedman points out,
“God takes Job on a tour of nature and asks him question after question about Job’s ability to deal with this kind of thing or that kind of thing in nature. Gradually these three chapters draw the picture of a vastly complicated, intricately intertwined universe for which is required a tremendous superhuman mind to direct all these activities, to keep life in balance and to answer all the questions that the Lord is asking Job to answer.”
In a bit of Christian humor, God says to Job in a manner that is almost a Southern “Bless Your Heart” command to pray for his (Job) friends whose attempts fell short of encouragement or guidance to God and more on.”Job, Job, Job”.
Fast forward to Romans, we are reminded that God works all things out, and in Job, God is going, how much more simpler things He (God) has solved so why think He can’t do so in the bigger things?
Re: Jobs friends I would say the moral I got from that part was that if we are going to offer encouragement, pointing out the negative really isn’t either supportive or encouraging but contributing more to discouragment
Re: the whole book, Job was a man of faith and even in the face of his loss of everything, he held out to the point that even broken, there was that small faith (think mustard seed) and God finally intervene.
- http://www.raystedman.org/bible-overview/adventuring/job-the-hardest-lesson ↩