Posts Tagged ‘Satan’

In my reading plan the past 2 weeks I have been immersed in the book of Job. It is a challenging book, difficult to fly through Job, taking what is said at face value. It’s easy to judge Job and focus too much on his subtle self-entitlement. This time through, I attempted to focus on empathizing with Job, trying to feel what he feels. It’s been helpful, revealing new insights that have hit me. I have to set up the important foundation first though.

The Foundation

In the first 2 chapters we are given a glimpse of God’s confrontation with Satan. God calls Satan’s attention to Job and his righteous life. Satan scoffs and says that this is because Job’s life is easy. Satan says to take away what he cares about and he’ll spit in God’s face. God then gives Satan permission to do anything but harm Job physically. The next thing we know is that Job loses his livestock, servants, and his children all die. Job mourns but still praises God. Satan again comes before God and again scoffs at God defending Job. Satan is then given permission to afflict Job with sickness but not to kill him. Job is then afflicted with sores and skin problems and the book moves on the dialog with Job and his friends. This is huge. Job never gets this glimpse. Job never even gets this confrontation explained to him later (which is awesome, stay tuned). We do. Why? A major reason is because we must see that God does not initiate suffering in Job’s life because of any particular sin in his life. Yes, Job has sin. Yes, God draws out some issues through Job’s suffering. But it was not primarily due to sin in Job’s life.

All the back and forth then in chapters 4 through 25 are not, honestly, helpful. Job and his friends can’t see what we see and so it quickly devolves into trying to tie up Job’s suffering in a neat a tidy equation: Job + suffering = Job’s unrepentance from sin. The disciples do the same thing in Luke 13:1-4 and get rebuked by Jesus in doing so. We need to be careful of this equation when reading Job as well as when trying to interpret the dialog between Job and his friends. Therefore, In light of this foundation, what did I notice?

Grieving is hard

We cannot gloss over what Job is enduring emotionally or water down the heavy fog of grief. Grief is different for each of us but, for me, I didn’t feel like myself for 6 months after my dad passed away. I felt cut off and isolated, but there was nothing I could do. Most of it I just didn’t even notice. I was very lonely. My wife was an irreplaceable presence and encouragement, but this was a much deeper loneliness. I was not angry with God or going through depression, I just felt like I was in a cloud of hurt and numbness. Would I have said that to you at the time? No, I couldn’t put words to it. Even the loneliness that grief drew out in me is much easier to see in retrospect.

While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” (Job 1:18-19 ESV)

Think about this in Job’s life. He has lost all of his kids and is disunified with his wife. Think about what kind of fog that would bring on. Think about the loneliness you would feel. So much of what Job expresses in Chapters 4 through 25 surrounds how isolated and cut off he feels. Why does he long for death in Job 3 and 6-7? Do we think this righteous example of a man is merely whining and complaining? This man is broken and in a massive dark cloud!

What then was the point of Job’s suffering? You’ll have to stay tuned. It’s not an easy answer at face value nor can I say I understand it fully.

Part 2: Dealing with Grief

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