Wednesday, June 03, 2009


For the last year or so, the story of Job has continually found its way into my thoughts and I'm not really sure why. It is an intriguing story raising many questions about the nature of God and humans and our relationship with each other. I haven't really taken the time to explore my thoughts or try to figure out why it has been such a recurring idea in my brain lately, but I'm going to give it a try over the next several posts. So here we go.

Reading Job 1:1-12 Job is first described as so good it is almost sickening. He is blameless and upright, his kids seem to be courteous and kind, he even offers a sacrifice every morning thinking "just in case my kids have offended God." We see that on top of this, he is also richly blessed. Ten children, thousands of livestock, many servants, and the wealth and time to enjoy regular feasting. I see a Ned Flanders type in Job, but I don't think old Ned had nearly the life that Job did.

That's one thing that makes Flanders such a funny character; he doesn't really get anything for his piety except for a hard time from Homer. So far, this story of Job makes perfect sense. He was "blameless and upright" therefore he was "the greatest man among all the people of the east." Good things happen to good people, right? If it didn't work that way then there is no sense in trying to be "good people." That seems to be Satan's arguement.

Satan says to God "does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan seems to challenge God's faith in humanity, at least as it is represented in Job. Of course these people who you bless are going to love you, but do they really love and respect you? I think not, they merely seek your favor in hopes of prosperity and comfort.

Is Satan correct? Do people really love and honor God or do they simply play the game in exchange for a comfortable life or perhaps for eternal security? Maybe Job will know the answer. We'll see next time.

In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom.

One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"

Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."

Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."

"Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."

The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."

Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

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