Our Bible Study group is in the midst of a study of the book of Job. Our reading for today was chapters 11-14. It starts with one of Job’s friends basically telling him to confess already. They have been hounding him that if he would only repent of his sins and ask forgiveness then God would restore him. Job keeps claiming that he is blameless and doesn’t understand why he has lost everything. He is so miserable that he just wants to die. The truth is that Satan has done all the evil to Job in an effort to prove to God that even the best, most righteous people are only good because they have been given so many favors. He contends (the verb choice here is intentional) that all humans are essentially evil and that he can get Job to curse God if enough bad things are thrown at him. God thinks not and sits back to watch, but puts on the rule that Job is not to be killed. What a story, what a drama.
In these chapters there are some interesting verses. In chapter 11;12 Job’s friend Zophar says, “But a stupid person will get understanding when a wild ass is born human.” The commentaries say the exact meaning is unknown, but I am sure we could glean something from that.
In chapters 13 and 14 Job keeps asking for some knowledge about what his transgressions are. He even asks, 13:23 “How many are my iniquities and my sins? Make me know my transgressions and my sin.” He also speaks of maybe his punishment being from something he did in his youth. The whole essence seems to speak to the idea that bad things happen to Job because he has been bad.
In literature there is a term, Dramatic Irony. It is when the audience knows the truth, but the characters on the stage are clueless about what is happening. Such is the case with Job and mostly with the friends that come to counsel him. He did not cause his problems. He is not responsible for his punishment and his suffering. It is all part of the powers of evil in the world.
How many times do we hear comments to the effect that bad things happen as a punishment for something a person or a group or a culture has done? How many times do people ignore those in need because they “deserve their fate.” I am not innocent of being calloused to the misery of others. I too often think there is more need than I can help so why help at all. In truth any help that we are able to give will be of use some where some time. Remember that this week as you go about your daily tasks. Don’t be taken advantage of, but find a legitimate place where you can be of help and offer what you can. God’s Blessings to you!!
A short note: We were not able to complete the Bible Study today. We always meet for a meal brought from home and a little conversation and then after everyone has filtered into the table we begin about noon with the Bible Study. Today the phone rang shortly before noon to let me know that one of our church members had passed away. I ended up at the hospital with his wife and some of her relatives, and the ladies cleared up the basement. Hopefully we will pick it up next time with less chaos. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to share this passage with me.