January 3

Job 1-5

We are launching into the Wisdom stream. We will cover the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon over the course of the year.

Reading from the NIV this week.

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“Lord may we speak for you as we encounter suffering souls who need a blessed word from heaven.  No one wants a rowdy nurse to tend to them or a bellicose counselor to blast them against their chair.  May we do justly and love mercy, heal the broken hearted, and bind up the wounded.  And indeed when we ourselves are personally suffering – may we listen to you so you may steer us anew to something more in your Kingdom.  Amen.”


This is a difficult book to immerse the soul into.  Why suffering, or why all the suffering?  The question was asked in ancient history.  The question is asked today, especially following tragedies.  In reading Job this winter, we will traverse the topics of painful theological interaction, fairness, blessing, helplessness, calamity, and what to do amid the suffering.  Job’s “comforters” come at him in three rounds of advice that we can categorize as, uh, well, “interesting.”  One minister friend of ours reminds that in ministering to people be mindful that, in general, the healthy do not understand the ill, and the ill do not understand the healthy… so do not be cavalier in posing as if we do understand.  Let’s try to remember to suffer graciously as Job did and to be of soothing comfort as others suffer and not to prattle on like Eliphaz, Bildad & Zophar.  The answers to the questions in Job are elusive yet finalized when God speaks at the end.  We’ll get there mid-March. (Btw, from Job 1:1 to 42:11 is about a nine month span.)

Some say Job is “Jobab” who is referenced in Gen. 36:33.  Some posit that Job was a relative/descendant of Abraham.  This would put him in the patriarchal era 2000-1800 B.C.  Others think Job is pre-flood (Noah’s flood was 2400 B.C.)  The clear description of the apatosaurus in Job 40:15ff is startling and intimates the pre-flood era.  This would mean that Noah had a copy of Job on The Ark with him.  Amazing thought, isn’t it?!  The group of scholars that think Job is the oldest book in the Bible is not a small group – just so you know.

Job 01 – There is so much to ponder here.  Job is prolific, wealthy, righteous, responsible, and prominent.  Meanwhile the angels enter God’s court – and Satan scuddles in among them. Strange stuff, huh?!  Remember, that Satan does have cosmic access – yet NO authority (cf. Matt. 28:18).  We best remain aware that we, the blest, are a topic of discussion in the heavenly realms.  We are the most coveted item created by God in heaven.  Thus for vandalistic reasons, Satan wants us too.  So Satan is permitted to strip Job of all his world.  It is gone in a day.  Job’s response is pure inspiration 1000’s of years later, “the Lord gave … and has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”  WOW.  Do we love God more than our things?

Job 02 – Satan strikes again and is permitted to afflict Job with bodily pain.  In this state, his wife speaks rash but  Job’s wisdom shines yet again. Verse 10 asserts, “In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”  Job’s three friends arrive and their aim is to comfort. They grieve as they come near and offer a ministry of silent presence for seven days.  Would that they had stayyyed silent.

Then again, their verbiage needs to be articulated so that God can counter it [see in Job 42:7 cc. God’s anger to these chatterboxes who counseled Job in his grief].

Job 03 – Job languishes in wishing he were never born.  This is the grim end of literature.  A poem could hardly get worse than this craving.  Have you been there?  It’s a painful place and all one can cope with is sympathetic care in this state.  So sad that a righteous man is walking through such dismay.  Solomon talks about the suffering being better to have never been born and have seen such evil; Eccl. 4:2-3.  In Matt. 26 and Mark 14 Jesus says that it would be better if Judas were never born.  Jeremiah, in 15:10, wishes he weren’t born.  But Job makes two comments here and once again in chapter 10, where he wishes here that he could have been “still-born” as the phrase is labeled today.

Job 04 – here is where we might say, “and let the windbags begin.”  Eliphaz cuts loose on Job first.  Remember, he and his friends were silent for a week.  Then they unleash on the weak one. “Why so dismayed, Job?” Eliphaz launches, “what do you think you’re innocent or something?! Not a chance! No one is righteous as God.”  Good heavens if Eliphaz were a counselor or Pastor today he’d be a textbook case of what NOT to say.  Y’ever wish a barking dog would just shut up?!

[Job 05 -] but he’s far from done.  Eliphaz clearly implies that Job is like a fool with a bad attitude; a crafty schemer who got his due.  Eliphaz tells the seven ways God protects and blesses.  Is it all true? Yes.  Is Eliphaz the master of awful timing? Yes.   We will stop here and resume with Job’s first reply next week –

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