Dear Job

RE: Holy Tongue Lashing – Job 38-41

Hello, how is life now that you’ve been justified through God? I must admit, I’ve never read your book of the Bible all the way through until today. You see, yesterday, in my Daily Bread readings I was directed to Job 38:1-11,31-33. This was a very interesting passage that I read, but it made me question why God was responding to harshly to you. So I decided to read through the your book today to see what all the commotion was about.

To recap, (incase you forgot) you were a holy roller in the eyes of God, but Satan (who is footnoted as the Accuser, which I liked a lot better) asked if you would be so righteous if you were not so blessed by God. With this, God allows Satan to destroy everything you hold dear and even cause you physical aliment. With this destruction you begin questioning God, you tell your friends that you are justified, you were a righteous man, you did no wrong in the eyes of God. After your friends and Elihu try to tell you that you are unjustified with no avail, then God steps in. So this brings us to Chapter 38.

He begins thusly: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” Holy Moses. I wonder what your thoughts were when God finally answered you. This initial response from God is, to put it simply, powerful. “Brace yourself like a man”? There is a joke that’s gone around for several years in this century, I don’t know if you had it in your time, it’s simply the phrase “man it up”. Coming from ones friend this doesn’t seem that threatening. But to have the Creator of the Universe come to you in a whirlwind and basically say, ‘prepare yourself for the wost tongue lashing EVER’ is about 7 trillion times more intense than anyone in this century could fathom. And this verse is just the beginning, this speech goes on for four whole chapters. Gulp!

My general question for you is what on earth were you thinking when God came down and spoke to you? When he confronted you about things you knew nothing about? Questions such as, “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place…?” or, “Do you send the lightning bolt on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?” He confronts you with question after question, all of which are meant to show his power, might and glory, and are meant to show you exactly where you stand, and that isn’t in the holy presence of God.

There is so much in these verses that I could not begin to do justice to. But reading your book, the story of your being humbled by God, it gives me hope. It’s an answer to the questions that people ask about you all the time. Questions like, “why do good thing happen to bad people?” God explains himself, he doesn’t leave you hanging, waiting for an answer. Although his answer seems harsh, and without love, the truth is this response is exactly what you needed to hear, and like a parent, it is full of love, it’s just hard to see that through the punishment. You thought yourself justified before God, you though you had no sin in your life. And the truth is, you were wrong. We were wrong. As a Christian there have been times that I have felt holy and righteous, feeling like it’s my good works that got me there. Not so. The only reason we are justified is because God allowed us to be that way. I feel you would have agreed with Paul in his New Testament writings, “I am but a sinner saved by grace”. You seemed to learn your lesson well, and with that, you were blessed more than you could have expected.

I think there are a lot of lessons to learn through your book. I honestly didn’t think there were, this is why I haven’t read it until today. But reading through the story, through your long monologues of woe, and especially through God’s response you your woes, there seems to be answers to those big questions that people ask.

I think a lot of people see Christianity only as Jesus, the ‘kinder’ of the trinity. But they shouldn’t be so swift to overlook God the Father. Most people believe that God the Father is the mean one of the group, but the truth is he’s extremely quick to forgive. He teaches lessons, but those are necessary for his people to grow. To see God as the Ogre of the religion is a gross mistake, he’s the one who initially reached down to us  humans in our weakness. He provided the out whenever we needed it. Whether it be through sacrifice of animals in the Old Testament, or through the sacrifice of Jesus in the New Testament.

Job, you were a screwed up man for a while there. But your willingness to listen and learn from the voice of God is a great example to all who follow the ways of God.

Enjoy your justification,

Dana

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