Wednesday, June 3, 2009

On the Book of Job: Part II

Continued from Part I

One day as God was doing the things that only one of unlimited capacity can do, Satan arrived among an escort of angels. Upon arrival, God asked Satan, "From whence comest thou?" to which Satan replied, "from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."

The conversation between God and Satan was very similar to the first conversation mentioned in chapter 1. But this time God informs Satan that he may do whatever he wants to Job. The only condition that applied is that Satan spares Job his life. Satan departed from God, and attacked Job from head to toe with boils. The only comfort that Job can find is through the shard of a clay pot as he tried to scrape the boils from his body.

You would figure that the one person in Job's life who would offer him comfort was his wife, but she simply told him to curse God and die. Job rebuked his wife and sinned against God not once throughout the whole ordeal. Three of Job's friends come to his aid to try to bring him some level of comfort. They could see that Job was in terrible pain, and they stayed with him for 7 days and 7 nights, comforting him.

After losing his wealth and family, and trying to suffer through the boils that had afflicted him, Job finally breaks down and reveals his humanity by cursing the day of his birth. For the next 36 chapters, Job pleads for God's presence. Job implores of God in 7:20-21, "I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself? And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be." He begs God to forgive him for any sin he might have committed for the calamity that has come upon Job, but God remains silent.

The chapters between 2 and 38 reveal Job and his friends struggling in vain to determine the cause of Job's misery. They spend days and nights pondering on the ways of God, but Job's friends ultimately decide that the cause of his suffering is some forgotten sin. As one of Job's friends indicates, "those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it." In spite of the interrogation from his friends, Job maintains his innocence, which forces him to realize, "Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; Though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty."

Finally, after days and nights of silence, God reveals himself to Job in a whirlwind. But instead of bringing solace and love to Job, God is furious with his servant. God sidesteps the questions that Job had justly asked regarding the whereabouts of God, and begins to brutally interrogate Job.

The interrogation begins in chapter 38, verse 1, when God demands "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" For 4 chapters God hammers away at Job with questions and demands that he knows Job can't answer nor perform. Every question relates to God's great power, but not one addresses the health and safety of Job.

Job, realizing he's in the middle of a losing battle, offers up a white flag by confessing, "Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further." But even after Job had surrendered, God's onslaught continued. "Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?"

After Job had received the mother of all verbal beat downs, God finally relents, but not before turning his wrath from Job to his friends. Even though they were the only ones who brought any comfort to Job, God tells Eliphaz, "My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath." God then commands Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar to give him a burnt offering so their sins may be forgiven, in spite of the fact that they were the ones who defended God during Job's suffering.

God had gotten got the best of Job, who admits that he is nothing. Job even goes so far to say that he abhors himself for questioning God in the first place, and repents.

Job's story ends with him acquiring twice the riches he had before his troubles began. He was also given 7 more sons and 3 more daughters, whose beauty was unmatched in all of Uz. Job lived for 140 more years, and died "being old and full of days."

Continued in part III

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