I didn’t sleep well Saturday night, so when I ventured off to church the next morning I was already in a pretty grumpy mood. I had forgotten that our Sunday school class was also exploring the beginning of Job as part of a “God’s Comfort” study.
Job is one of my least favorite books of the Bible.
Thankfully, we’re done with this passage. I have no idea – even after the class discussed it for two Sundays – how this shows us “God’s comfort.” Now I truly believe that God loves us. I often believe that He even wants us to be happy – to some extent. But this passage of Job irritates me to a large extent because, in my eyes, God throws Job under the proverbial bus… or as my friend pointed out – the ox cart.
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” … what the HECK God?? Job was just going about his business, minding his P’s and Q’s, being an upright and faithful servant and BOOM! God hands him (or at least his whole family) over to Satan. Next thing Job knows his entire surroundings are destroyed. He’s left with 4 servants. That’s IT. Oh… and three friends who have no clue. If you continue to the end of Job you’ll see that God pretty much says “Hey. I’m God. Deal with it.”
Here is my problem with this:
I don’t know why we need to know this part of the story. Wouldn’t it be a better story without it? I mean, then it would just be: this righteous guy has a bunch of crappy stuff happen to him; he is sad, but still faithful to God; even though his friends and wife all tell him it was all his fault, he finally has a chat with God who makes it all right again.
Isn’t that a better story? THAT shows God’s comfort and care. He makes it right in the end. Even though crap happens to us – don’t we just hope that God will get us through it? YES. That’s the basis of so many hope-filled devotional books! But this passage is saying that God set up the whole thing in the first place! I don’t buy it!
And remember that we don’t know who wrote the book of Job. So MAYBE some writer took a little artistic license. Hey, we all do it. Maybe, for their own peace of mind, they concocted this bit of info just to have a REASON for all that happened to Job.
Don’t we, as humans, try so desperately to figure out the “why” of what happens?
But don’t we, as emotional and sinful people, really not WANT to know?
Think about that. If you were Job and you knew that God threw you under the ox cart, basically handed you over to Satan to do whatever he pleased… would you feel comforted?
Nah. Me neither. I’m kind of happy to be in the dark a bit. I HOPE that God has my best interests at heart. It might not be to make a million dollars, sell a couple of best sellers and be famous. And it might include some hardships (it has as a matter of fact), but I think I’m better off not knowing. Or better off thinking that God wants to comfort me and not throw me to the wolves.
And, I’m more apt to read some hopeful verses, by authors we know and can trust:
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…
And this gem which may prove my point about the author of Job:
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
So maybe it was just to prove a point. Maybe Job has nothing to do with comfort. It certainly never comforts me. It’s the most UN-comfortable book in the Bible for me.
And now, that many Bible scholars are scurrying to provide me with a response (I doubt any Bible scholars read this blog), I will end with this:
I KNOW God loves me. (For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16)
I KNOW I’m sinful and He shouldn’t. (…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23)
But He does. I refuse to think He would ever give me up to the enemy just as I will never give up when the enemy strikes. And you shouldn’t either – because He loves you too.