So what are we to learn from the story of Job?
The text declares Job as a righteous man and that he has nothing to do with evil. He is wise, kind, and generous to those around him. He prayed constantly for his sons and daughters for the sins they may have unwittingly committed, and gave burnt offerings on their behalf. Even though he was blameless, everything he owned, and the sons and daughters he loved, were ripped away from him. His wife in essence blames Job for their loss, and even though his friends come to comfort him, they also blame Job. But even in the worst of his pain, he worshiped God and praised him.
However, Job eventually realizes what is happening to him. Even though the Bible declares Job is blameless, Job makes the correct assumption that, "though I am blameless, God will declare me guilty." In other words, Job realizes that he is powerless against God, who decides that he should be guilty of something.
When God finally reveals himself to Job, he addresses none of the concerns or questions that Job has. He doesn't ask Job if he's alright. He doesn't give comfort to Job. He doesn't heal Job's boils. He doesn't provide water to drink. He offers nothing. Instead, God proceeds to give Job a guilt trip. God goes on self-absorbed ego trip, drunk with power, and begins to assault Job with questions and demands for Job to display the awesome power that God can. Of course, God knows that Job can't possibly answer or perform the miracles he asks for, but he demands these things anyway.
The amazing aspect of this display of God's power, is that God seems to enjoy beating Job down and humiliating him. Even after Job offers to repent in ashes for questioning God's presence, God continues to pummel Job, demanding that he rival God's power. But the irony of this tirade against Job is that Job never once questioned God's power, only where God was during his suffering. Furthermore, the only one to defend God throughout Job's suffering was Job, himself. Yet God sees fit to take Job to the woodshed, anyway.
Job knew that he hadn't sinned against God and dared to ask, "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." In other words, "Have I sinned against you, God? Why do you hate me to the point so that you make me my own worst enemy? I'm begging you to forgive me; but you refuse to. Why?"
We ultimately realize that Job was caught in the middle of a cosmic game of cat and mouse between God and Satan. As chapter 2, verse 3 tells us, "...thou [Satan] movedst me [God] against him [Job], to destroy him without cause." God had been tempted by Satan to move against Job to "destroy him without cause"? I thought the Bible clearly teaches that God cannot be tempted? In short, God gives in to Satan's wiles to destroy a just man without any reason.
In the final chapter, verse 11, we learn that God restores Job's wealth even more than it was before his troubles began. We also learn that God gives Job 7 new sons and 3 new daughters, as if this would somehow wipe Job's memory of the first smile of his firstborn child. Job's friends, brothers, sisters, and even mere acquaintances go to Job's house to eat and drink with him, and to comfort him from the "evil that the Lord had brought upon him." Evil that was visited upon a blameless man from a "just" and "holy" god.
In closing, I have a question for Christians who believe that the Book of Job is a beautiful passage of God's divine love and providence to his faithful:
If this is the god you serve - a god who can be swayed by evil to allow a righteous and just man to be destroyed - how then can you be assured of Heaven?