Job 2: Should We Accept Good from God, and Not Trouble?
November 2, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Now the pressure is increased. Not only is Job suffering through the death of his loved ones, he himself is in the gunsights. He was afflicted with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. What would Job do now?
This is the question that faces us when we are in the midst of extreme suffering. Pain and evil make the question of life unavoidable, and deeply practical. Will I trust God? Will I turn from God? What will I do now? When we suffer, we cannot delay any longer the ultimate questions. We must face them in the furnace of pain. Will we keep on believing? The suffering of suffering is not only the pain but the disconsolate confusion that it often brings in its wake.
Job’s wife has an easy and tempting solution for Job. Give up! “Curse God and die!” Don’t keep hanging on to your faith, Job. Don’t pretend that it all makes sense. Why would you trust God when he has treated you like this? Her reasoning is logical, but at the same time deeply flawed. Its apparent logic has a gaping hole in it that Job exposes in his answer to her. Note that it is not enough simply to hang on by sheer willpower. We need the rock of God’s Word underneath us. We need truth. And Job answers this temptation to give up on everything—on God and on life—by pointing his wife back to the truth of who God is and what God has done to show who he is.
“You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (2:10).
Hard as it is to say, even harder to do, when we are faced with unconscionable evil, our hiding place is not to say that God is not in charge but to say that God is in charge. Job does not argue that the evil was outside of God’s control. He argues that the trouble also came from God. But what helps Job to keep going is that the good hands of God that gave him good, through those self-same hands, have come this trouble too—and therefore he can trust that there is a good purpose. The sovereignty of God is the safe tower for the wandering pilgrim, and the sick and wounded Christian too.
But now, look, here come Job’s famous three “comforters,” his three friends. Later on they will say much that they should not have said. Here, at least, they begin well. They mourn with those who mourn. For seven days and seven nights, they are simply with him. They speak not a word. Their presence, not their lectures, is their ministry. There are times when the right thing to do is to say nothing, as it was here. Later on they will say much they should not have said, but at least they start right. They associate themselves with his pain in order to be ready to alleviate it.
In all, Job did not sin in what he said. Amazing godly man. None of us wishes for the suffering of a Job. But Job stands as an example of what a man of God can do even in the face of suffering. And he points us to the One who suffered for us, died for us, that we might not perish forever but have eternal life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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