Summary: Satan challenges God asumption that Job is righteous. The open question of Job is, "Can humans serve God for who he is?" Can they have real integrity.
When I was a child my mom had to promise me she would give me a prize if I was good in the grocery store. I didn’t get that many prizes. But the motivation for my goodness was a prize. As I matured my Mother would ask me to be good in the store out of respect for her and the other shoppers. Sometimes I lacked respect. As a child I loved and obeyed my mother because she provided for me. My goodness was only a candy wrapper deep. Everyone expects Children to develop out of this. I know I can never repay my mother for the pain of child bearing and all the times she has helped me, but I try to do nice things for her our of love and Loyalty to her. I do not think my mother is suppose to keep offering me candy to respect her as an adult. I would call this good social development, not everyone has it. What we are going to be looking at this morning is spiritual development.
Job Details. Job means “Where is my Father.” Job is one of the most unique books in the Bible, and therefore often misunderstood. We do not know who the author was. The time of the writing is before the Israel was taken into captivity in Babylon between 1000 and 600 BC. The literary construction is A-B-A Moving from Prose to poetry back to prose. It falls into many genres of literature a lament, a philosophical debate, a parable, and an epic Drama.
In verse 1-5 we hear a profile of Job who I would like to call the Righteous Bill Gates. I know Bill may not be the wealthiest man in the world but everyone in the western hemisphere gets measured against him. Job is called the greatest man in the east.
Our Scripture reading today begins with God bragging about Job. God list these attributes (blameless, upright, fears God, and shuns evil).
How would God brag about me, how would he brag about you?
Grandparents are the best braggers. My Grandparents think because when I come over to their house I mow the lawn that I was just the most self giving person they had ever know. My grandpa thought I went to get wood with him because I enjoyed it “I needed money.” To this day it is often embracing to be around them at social gathers. I am just not used to being bragged on.
Again I want to ask the question. If Satan strolled into the heavenly court and said I have been traveling in and out of Salem. What might God Say?
How would God brag on us?
Satan is like the envious cousin who thinks Job is just a spoiled brat. Sure if you keep a loly pop in his mouth he is really happy. Kids have you ever done anything wrong when you were eating candy. NO. Satan thinks Job is just good because God shoves him whatever he asks for.
It is at this point that Satan puts God in a cosmic pickle. There is a fundamental question in this first chapter that we need to come to grips with. Do human being serve God because of what they receive from God? Do we serve God because of what we get out of it? This to me is a question about the Integrity of our Faith can it develop beyond Childhood.
If God refuses Satan’s proposal it looks as though he fears there may be a basis to Satan’s Claim. Maybe Job is only faithful to God because God has given him so much.
If God accepts the challenge, he comes out looking heartless. The permission giver of destruction or pain.
God gives Satan the green light and Job looses everything but his clothes. Which he himself tears off to remind those around him of his complete pain and sorrow.
Job a righteous and faithful man (bragged on by God looses everything)
Job looses his donkey’s and oxen by way of an attack
He looses his sheep in a natural disaster
He looses his camels in another neighbors attack
And finally he looses his children in a windstorm.
In this story we have to wrestle with the fact that God allows bad things to happen to good people.
I doubt any of us believe all those people in New Orleans and along the coast of Mississippi were bad people. As I have been watching TV over and over again I see people with Job story. Losing everything, house career, and family. And I have to face this reality.
God allows bad things to happen to faithful people.
Can you identify? Some of us in this room have lost property and people our health in tragic and what seems like senseless ways.