by Pastor Gary Jennings Jr.
The book of Job. What a wonderful book. I wanted to do a blog series on this book, and so I started reading and studying it again and started to remember how deep and complex this book is. Probably the most well known verse in this book is in Job 1:21b, “the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord”. Many know this verse because we sing this verse in the worship song “Blessed be the Name of the Lord”. Its something worth thinking about for sure, but that isn’t the only thought provoking part of this book. This book deals with some very big questions like 1) why do good people suffer? 2) who is God? 3) If God is good, why is the good world he created so . . . not good at times? These are big complex questions that are all raised in the book of Job, and the book tackles these questions in such an interesting way. So I am going to do a few blog posts on some things that jump out at me as I read this book, and maybe how to deal with some of these big questions.
Before we get to any of those big questions, its probably worth doing a quick overview of the book. The book is about a man named Job who was moral, wealthy, had a big family, a successful business, and was respected by everyone. In Job 1, he is described as “the greatest man among all the people of the east”. This was the man everyone held up as the model to emulate, because he was living proof that doing the right thing always pays off. Doing the right thing always leads to prosperity, wealth, health, good family life, and respect . . . right?
In Job 1, we also read about a scene that takes place in heaven. Satan approaches God and says Job only does what is right out of self interest. Who wouldn’t be moral if it always meant a big pay out or reward? Men do not obey God because they love Him, they only obey to advance themselves. Is this true? Do we only follow God because of what he can do for us, in this life or the next? This is an important question for all of us to ask.
Lets go back to Job, he is a wealthy man who is blessed in every way, but then tragedy hits. War, thieves and natural disaster hit all at the same time and instantly his business is ruined and his children are dead (if you want to know how this happened, you can read it in chapter 1 of Job). In chapter 2, Job becomes very ill. In the following 36 chapters we read about Job and his friends trying to make sense of these events. In the final 4 chapters, God breaks his silence and speaks to Job and his friends. So I like to look at Job as having 3 parts. Part 1 – Tragedy hits (ch 1-2), Part 2 – Job and friends try to understand tragedy (ch. 3-38), Part 3 – God speaks (ch. 39-42).
In the next post, we will look at what Job’s friends have to say about tragedy. We will also talk about how we should understand God’s blessing in the Christian’s life.