The tragic figure of Job…

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Job

Job 2:1 One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

In chapter one of the book of Job the accuser “Satan” inflicts great loss on Job as a test of his faithfulness to God. All ten of Job’s children and all of his livestock are killed in quick succession, yet Job doesn’t curse God as a result. Here in chapter two the attack is on Job himself. Despite the awful suffering he must have endured with painful sores from head to toe he does not curse God. What caught my attention this morning is v.9:

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.”

Job is a difficult character for me to relate to at this point because of his incredible piety and self-control in a time of devastating loss. But the wife’s response I understand. As hard as it was for Job to endure this hardship he didn’t endure it alone. His wife lost all her children along with Job. Then having to watch her husband suffer with sores was more than she could take. Seeing her husband die would have been easier than seeing him continue to suffer. I’m guessing she would soon die along with him and they would all be put out of their misery.

This is a difficult book all the way around because God allows this attack on Job and his family. For what? To make a point with Satan? To win $20 on a bet? The issues that will emerge in this book are profound, but the premise is troubling. It just doesn’t square with my notions of the character of God revealed in other parts of scripture.

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