Setting the Stage
Wednesday, Mar 30
Job / איוב / iy-yob
Not many folks are breaking down the door to read the book of Job. We all know it is about suffering and talk about suffering - not a favorite subject for most. I do find that as people age and experience more pain, they find themselves drawn to Job. Whatever your age you will find Job takes you into the deep water of life’s questions. It is a powerful poem that dares to approach the deep themes of suffering /loss, human faithfulness, and divine providence.
The structure of Job is plain to see if you're reading all of it, but we aren’t so here it is…
Chapters 1 & 2 Prologue 1-2
Chapters 3-14 First Cycle: Job/Eliphaz/Job Bildad/Job Zophar/Job
Chapters 15-21 Second Cycle: Eliphaz/Job Bildad/Job Zophar/Job
Chapters 22-27 Third Cycle: Eliphaz/Job Bildad/Job
Chapter 28 Poem on Wisdom
Chapters 29-31 Job’s concluding comments
Chapters 32 – 37 Elihu’s Four Speeches
Chapters 38-42:6 The LORD answers or questions Job (Job’s brief 2 responses)
Chapter 42:7-12 Epilogue
The epilogue makes it clear that God thinks little of the three friend’s theology of suffering/justice.
We will only read 4 chapters – which feels so very incomplete. You won’t even get to read one whole cycle of speeches, or a speech from each of those present. However, you can remedy that with a little unprescribed reading. If you wanted to know more I would read a whole cycle (The second cycle is only 6 chapters), and one of Elihu’s monologues as a lagniappe (Connie really likes chapter 36, specifically 36:16 in the NIV – He is wooing you!!!!).
Three characters introduced: The Lord, Satan, and Job 1:9 is the question with which the book wrestles. Job answers the question in 2:9-10. Job’s suffering is complete. Take a moment to consider what he has lost in these two chapters.
 הַשָּׂטָ֛ן ha-satan – in Hebrew which translates as The Accuser - (ha= the & satan = accuser)
What are your three biggest personal losses?
Besides going all-John-Wayne on us, and trying to pretend they are no big deal, what do you do with them?
As the therapists say, “Are you dealing with them and how?”
What are you hearing? Let us know in the comments!
Job and His Family
1 There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. 2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. 3 He had seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and very many servants; so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. 4 His sons used to go and hold feasts in one another’s houses in turn; and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 And when the feast days had run their course, Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” This is what Job always did.
Attack on Job’s Character
6 One day the heavenly beings[a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came among them. 7 The Lord said to Satan,[c] “Where have you come from?” Satan[d] answered the Lord, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 8 The Lord said to Satan,[e] “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.” 9 Then Satan[f] answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 The Lord said to Satan,[g] “Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not stretch out your hand against him!” So Satan[h] went out from the presence of the Lord.
Job Loses Property and Children
13 One day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the eldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell on them and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was still speaking, another came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was still speaking, another came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three columns, made a raid on the camels and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was still speaking, another came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, 19 and suddenly a great wind came across the desert, struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; I alone have escaped to tell you.”
20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing.
Attack on Job’s Health
2 One day the heavenly beings[i] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[j] also came among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 The Lord said to Satan,[k] “Where have you come from?” Satan[l] answered the Lord, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 3 The Lord said to Satan,[m] “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.” 4 Then Satan[n] answered the Lord, “Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives.[o] 5 But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” 6 The Lord said to Satan,[p] “Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life.”
7 So Satan[q] 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. 8 Job[r] took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.
9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse[s] 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.
Job’s Three Friends
11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all these troubles that had come upon him, each of them set out from his home—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They met together to go and console and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him, and they raised their voices and wept aloud; they tore their robes and threw dust in the air upon their heads. 13 They sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.