Today’s Bible reading was NOT from Genesis, but from Job! (This is part of the reason I love reading the Bible chronologically — it totally makes sense that the story of Job is old, but I never thought about it!)
Anyway. Today I read the first five chapters of Job, and there is some SERIOUS food for thought in here. Here are a few of my thoughts (and questions):
- As always, I am immensely curious about the brief mentions (in 1:6 and 2:1) given to the angels and Satan (who apparently tags along to the Weekly Angelic Council Meeting?? What???). I wish there was more in the Bible about all that angelic backstory… though I’m guessing the lack of information has given rise to many, many wonderful works of fiction. =)
- Poor Job!! I mean, I remembered that Job really got pooped on (yes, that’s a literary term…) in this story, but MAN! I had forgotten that the four messengers LITERALLY arrive back-to-back, each successive one entering while the previous finishes speaking, to tell Job that “All your oxen/donkeys/sheep/camels/servants/CHILDREN are dead, and I am the only one who escaped to tell you!” OUCH!
- Job impresses me.Like Atticus Finch. Even after his wife in her grief sort of “tempts” him to “curse God and die”, he simply replies, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” Wow.
- And then, there’s Eliphaz. Oh, Eliphaz. This would be Job’s “friend”, the first of the three to give him “friendly advice” about how to deal with his situation. He’s pretty much a pompous arse. He basically sits with Job for a while and then says, “Well, since bad things are ALWAYS punishment from God, you must have done something wrong to deserve this. So just confess and accept God’s correction.” Wow. This is his word-for-word quote at the end of his speech: “We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself.” UGH. He’s so arrogant and assured of his own theology that he assumes he can instantly diagnose Job’s problems, tell him what God’s doing, and then lecture him on how he should get with the program when all his children were just murdered. Ick, ick, ick. I have probably done something like this when someone I knew was dealing with grief…. but I really hope I haven’t. And/or that I never do it again!
So, the moral of today’s story, children, is that you can’t use human theology to put God in a box, and you ESPECIALLY should not do this when someone is going through grief or hard times, because it only makes them feel worse. I am very much looking forward to the rest of Job. I don’t recall exactly what lovely rationales the other two friends use that are supposed to explain Job’s suffering for him. But I’m sure they will be instructive.
What are your thoughts?