God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Friday, January 4, 2013

January 4 - Job 1-5: Job Loses Everything but Faith

Today’s Reading: Job 1-5

The Message

English Standard Version

Today we switch books from Genesis to Job. The reason Job is here in the order is that no one knows when it was written. Since it does not fit in the story of Abraham we will read it here before his story begins. Genesis will return on January 16.

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Eliphaz feels the need to give Job a “come to Jesus, everything’s great there" message.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Job was a good man who was “honest inside and out." He had ten children and was very rich. The Accuser (Satan) confronted God, “Job only serves you because he’s rich!" God granted him all Job possessed, including his beloved children. Job still served God.
The Accuser returned, “Job only serves you because of his health!" God granted him Job’s health. Large boils appeared from his head to his foot. Job still served God.
Job had three close friends visit him. In a fit of agony Job cursed his very existence. Eliphaz called to be more faithful to God.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God does not set all things right by making all people rich/middle class/poor.

One of the difficult problems of reading the book of Job is the rush to quick lessons. “Serving God does not always lead to prosperity!" is often shown from these verses. However, they do not take into account Job’s previous, and subsequent, settings. Job was a rich man and would return to being a rich man without any change to his devotion to God. Obeying God does not always turn out to make someone rich—but being poor is also not an automatic sign of devotion to God. Serving God goes much deeper than how much a person has. This is why Job is able to bless God even when he loses everything.

God does not set all things right by making all people healthy.

See the previous point. Serving God does help someone stay away from many horrible diseases, but it does not prevent bodily decay. Yet suffering is not a sign of devotion to God. Serving God through suffering is.

Calling to God for death is not a sin.

“What’s the point of life when it doesn’t make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning?" (3:23, The Message). Job is facing the worst troubles of his life. The only response he has during this time is to question his very existence. Yet in all of this he allows God to maintain control—the opposite of a sin. He questions God’s handling of his life without telling God to leave him alone.

A person does not always need to hear a “come to Jesus" message.

As a minister, this one hurts. I read Eliphaz’s statements and think he’s doing such a great job preaching! Then I realize Job has no reason to come to God—he’s the most devoted follower of God. Eliphaz’s lesson comes across as arrogant and pedantic. So do mine, when I do not really understand the person’s suffering. Telling God’s greatness to a person who has lost all meaning to life is not evangelizing. Sometimes sufferers need someone to sit and suffer with them. Unfortunately, this will happen over and over again in the book of Job. Prepare for awkward moments.

What else did you see reading this passage? Questions? Comments? Leave a comment in the section below or on the Sonoma Mountain Parkway Church of Christ Facebook page.