Comical Explanation of Job
“When Bad Things Happened To Good People”
Text: Job 1:1-12
The Book of Job describes the story of perseverance and faithfulness. Job’s characters were described with the amazing story of his suffering. He was able to stay faithful in his suffering and regained doubled of what he previously had. However, the full story was far from simple. The Book of Job offers an exploration of suffering, faith, obedience, God’s character, and injustice. We will see how these themes are explored in our discussion.
Our reading started with a story of how Satan came to God along with the sons of God. Then a dialogue happened between them. This dialogue triggers our whole discussion about why do people worship God. Why does someone believe in God?
At first the conversation seems to be an innocent one. The Lord asked Satan where he was coming from. The Lord wants to ‘show off’ Job’s obedience; God says, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” (v. Satan’s reasoning for Job’s faith is amazingly true and sound. Satan replied, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. 10 You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! 11 But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” Satan wanted to show that Job’s obedience is coming from his blessings. Of course Job should be grateful and faithful; all of his wealth is coming from God.
Now, let us see how this story goes on. The first chapter of Job explains that Job is a well known person, God fearing, rich, wise, and powerful. Satan then claimed that if God took away everything from him, Job will not be as obedient and faithful. What happened next is God let Satan test Job. At first Satan took away his wealth and family, and Job still showed his faith to God. Then Satan also hurt him physically by striking terrible boils from head to foot (2:6).
Because of this, Job was left with terrible skin disease, no money, no family except his wife, and some loyal friends. His friends came and cried with him from a distance because of his illness and bad smell. His wife then asked him to curse God. But Job remained faithful.
Now what is interesting is how Job responded to his suffering. He was not really silent about it. in chapter 3, Job started cursing the day he was born and his suffering (3:25-26). Here Job started asking God’s will on himself.
Job’s friends believe that God is always right and human must be able to learn positively from their suffering. In their days, they believe that suffering is always connected with sin, thus they think that God is punishing Job for what he had done. They believed that God is trying to communicate with Job through his suffering. Job did not refute them, but he was thinking about his personal relation with God. What’s interesting about Job is that he did blame himself for what had happened. He wanted God to give an explanation of his suffering (7:20; 10:2; 13:23; 23:5; 31:35). Job thinks that God don’t have the right make people suffer unless they are guilty. Job confronted God with questions through his prayer.
Job had dilemma in himself. On one hand he agrees with his friends that God is righteous and just (8:3; 34:12), but Job also thinks that God is being unjust (27:2); act on anger (16:9-14); always put human on the test (7:17-20; 10:8-14); and do not defend the victim of suffering (24:1-12). But on the other hand, Job also sees God as just (13:15-22; 23:3-7). This shows the tension within Job about who God is.
Job is the perfect example of a faithful person. But he is also an example of a great suffering. His suffering didn’t come from his mistakes; in fact it came from the test from Satan, which God allowed, upon him.
Let us think about us now. Nowadays, we also witness God’s blessings in our lives but also experienced injustice and suffering in the world. For some people, suffering makes them question where God is in that situation; for others suffering makes them question what have they done wrong in the past to cause such misery in our lives. These questions would be the basis of our discussion.
- What do you think about suffering? What caused it?
- if you are a good person, you think you obey God, and still you experienced suffering. What would be your response?
- What can we learn about Job’s response on suffering?
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