Monday 04 October 2021

Bible Book:

Today my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy despite my groaning... I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. (vs 2, 4)

Job 23:1-17 Monday 4 October 2021

Psalm 4


The happy life Job once enjoyed was gone. His business empire had been devastated, his wealth lost and his children killed in a violent whirlwind. That is not all. A loathsome disease has attacked his body, eating into his flesh.

The prologue of the book of Job (chapters 1 and 2) offers a theological explanation: Job’s troubles are caused by Satan who is allowed by God to test his faith. The epilogue (Job 42.7-17) brings his trial to a happy conclusion. While this nicely choreographed beginning and ending may satisfy some, it is the middle 39 chapters of dialogue that pave the way for an exploration of the question ‘Why does God allow disasters to happen?’

The date and origin of the book is unknown. It is further complicated by the fact that many of the verses are hopelessly corrupt so that translators have been forced to make educated guesses while other parts of the book have been added later. The theological anguish within these central pages seems to reflect the experience of exile: but Job may not have been a Jew!

 In the chapters which follow Job’s calamities, he defends his innocence. His three orthodox friends repudiate his arguments. He is suffering because he is unrighteous; moreover his very act of complaining is a further proof of his wickedness. Job in chapter 23 refuses to listen to them. He wants to bring his case before the Almighty God. He will be heard because his sufferings have been sent to test and refine his faith (v. 10). His difficulty, however, is that God seems to have withdrawn and hides in inaccessible darkness. In his bitterness Job cries, ‘O that I knew where I might find him!’ (v. 3).

When a complaint is not heard, refused or treated in a trivial way then rejection, isolation and dehumanisation are added to a person’s experience of loss and abandonment. Locked up in his own suffering what is Job to do?


To Ponder:

  • Did God send Covid-19?
  • Did the friends of Job do anything right?


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