3 February 2015

Job 23:1-17

“Oh, that I knew where I might find him” (v. 3)

Psalm: Psalm 101


The book of Job explores the problem of suffering. Job, struck down by devastating and disfiguring illness, struggles to make sense of it. He cannot accept the superficial argument of his friends that people suffer simply because they are wicked. He feels his suffering is unjust. In our passage he struggles with the remoteness of God. It is not that he does not believe in God; rather, God seems far off and inaccessible, and his cries of distress seem to be going unheeded.

Many people have found themselves in that situation, or know of others who have experienced it. The one thing Job refuses to do is to abandon faith altogether. In spite of his protest he clings on to the conviction that God is fundamentally just.

If you reflect on verse 3, quoted above, you may find it helpful to set alongside it John 1:18, "No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known."

To Ponder

  • To what extent is it ever true to say, 'People suffer because they are wicked'?
  • If, in your experience, God seems remote, how do you deal with that?

Bible notes author

The Revd Brian Beck

Brian Beck is a Methodist minister, now retired, and a former president and secretary of the Methodist Conference. A large part of his ministry has been spent in theological education, both in Limuru, Kenya, and in Cambridge, England..