Summary: So called early Wisdom Literature is rather simplistic as to cause and effect. Whereas Job is a vital stride toward being more realistic, & honest, about life's complications. So, now look at the kind of man Job was, his 'friends' were, and his God is.
July 28, 2013
“The Kind of Man That Job Was”
The book of Job is an important part of the Wisdom Literature found in the Old Testament. It is important because it provides an often ignored premise - concerning the questions about the suffering of the innocent. In earlier Wisdom writings (Proverbs in particular) the claim is made that the good and wise man is rewarded, while the unrighteous and foolish man is destined to destruction. To the authors of the Proverbs it is pretty much black and white - as to who prospers and who loses; who enjoys blessing and who suffers setback; who is favored and who is cursed; and who is well and who is diseased. So called early Wisdom Literature is rather simplistic as to cause and effect. (If good things happen - you must be righteous, but if bad things happen - there must be some hidden fault.)
The author of Job sees another side of the coin. Suffering happens to the just and the unjust. Bad things do happen to good people! How do we explain such a predicament? Job is a vital stride toward being more realistic, and honest, about life and its complications. This later Wisdom book brings balance into the teachings about how we should look: at good and evil; sickness and health; God’s omnipotent power and omniscient purposes; and the Adversary and his devilish intentions. So let us look closely at the portrait - the book of Job paints for us:
Look at what it says about what kind of a man Job was: The first verse says most of what we need to know – “… blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil.” Listen to what God says about him as he confronts the Satan, “… there is no one like him on earth” I would say that is about as high a compliment as anyone could have. He is described as the “greatest of all the men of the east”, having very large possessions of domesticated animals and servants. But there is more than this to recommend him: look as to how he cares for his family. Read verse four and five, and especially the last four words: “His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually. Job was a family man, a true man of God, but only a man. As we soon see, his world falls apart through no fault of his own, his understanding is limited, his body is overcome with festering sores, and his wife suggests he curse God and die. It seems so very unfair, undeserving, and unimaginable – given the facts of the case. This is not what the theologians of that day had preached. What good was his faith if it didn’t shield him from the calamities of life - that were coming at him like a whirlwind? But this man would not abandon his faith or his trust in God. Instead, even after all Hell broke loose, and he lost everything except his and his wife’s life, we are told he - “arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” 22 Through all this Job did not sin, nor did he blame God.”