Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I am disturbed.

Does anyone understand the Book of Job? I usually just read the beginning and the end, because the middle makes NO sense to me. But I have been reading it the last few days and I still don't get it at all. First of all, how was Job blameless? The Bible says no man is, right? Second of all, how did his friends have the love and wisdom to sit there with him for seven days and nights without saying anything and then mess up so badly afterwards? And the biggest problem for me is, I am very suspicious that if I were sitting there with them, I would be on the side of his friends. In the beginning, anyway, before they start obviously getting mean. After I read all of it, I will break out my study Bibles and see what they have to say but I want to read it all for myself first. But if any of you have any insight into this, I would love to hear it. :)


Julene said...

Job is confusing to me also, I have tried to tackle it a couple of times and come up with "Wha?" Anyway, what I get with blameless is to be repentant not sinless. And maybe God had the friends there to show how much we are like his friends. If we consider Job to be like Jesus in the context of suffering for the purpose of Gods will, and 'we' as friends of Jesus, unable to truely stand or sit:) beside Him through EVERYTHING by our own commitment to Him. It is only by His faithfulness that we can be 'true friends' of Jesus. Does that make sense? or am I rambling:0)

tawny said...

I like the repentant not sinless explanation A LOT. And I agree, God does want us to check our hearts in regards to the friends. And I love that it is only through Jesus that we can be His faithful friend, but in the context of Job's humanness, I still don't get it.

Hey, I forgot to pray for understanding, that might help. Unless I am not ready for what God would reveal. :)

Darla D. said...

I read something just recently about the book of Job and that was that it was the earliest book written in the Bible. Before Genesis, and he said part of the message was that life is going to be hard. Period. And then, in Genesis, God takes a family that can't even have babies normally and establishes the Isrealites. In Job, humanity found out we can't do it. In Genesis, God takes that already known fact and He begins to do the miracles. I liked that.

I agree with Julene on the blameless thing. Once we are forgiven, we can be blameless. It doesn't say he was perfect. In the NT, I think it says that Zacharius was blameless. Perfect? No. Blameless, yes.

I can relate perfectly with Jobs friends. I've been able to keep my mouth shut for a period of time and then my will takes over and I just HAVE to say something, and its usually something stupid and/or hurtful. Obviously, they would have been much more effective in this case if they had kept their mouths shut.

The Book of Job means alot to me personally because there was a time in my life when all I had was questions and no answers. There are endless questions asked in that book asked by Job and his friends. Then God finally spoke and he asked job 80+ questions and Job couldn't answer a one of them. That put some things in perspective for me.

Keep us posted on what you get out of Job. I know there are endless ideas and commentaries about it.

Tawny said...

Thank you so much for sharing all this Darla, it is very interesting and helpful. I LOVE how God answered Job at the end too. I hated it when I was little but love it now. :) I am wondering if the friends didn't start off ok (as in the first one or two speeches) and then Job offended them with his confidence that he was blameless and then things went south. If they would have trusted Job and not been self-righteous, they might have been ok?

Darla D. said...

When God asked Job all those questins at the end, it was like God was saying, "Job, just be still and know that I am God!"

If they had spent those first 7 days praying and praying, the story would have been different.

But without God's thoughts, we just make all kinds of assumptions and jump to all kinds of conclusions. At least I do.

Tawny said...

VERY GOOD POINT! They didn't spend that time praying did they? That makes me feel better. If it where the circles we run in, surely ONE of us would think to pray. :)

Darla D. said...

Another thing I've thought of thru the years about that book, is that if a book were written about some of the advice I've given or the comments I've made about someone, alot of the time people reading that would be scratching their heads and saying, "what on earth is she talking about?? How dumb can she be? I thought she was supposed to be a godly woman?" I mean, we all say dumb things at times and probably have all given advice that was wrong. I KNOW I have.

Sad, too, that Job's friends couldn't just be quiet and BE THERE for their friend who was hurting in every way possible. Just serve him in what ever way they could have. Asked Job what he wanted and needed at that moment. Did any of them ever do that? Or is that not a guy thing?

Sherri said...

All very good and interesting comments. I agree about the blameless not perfect.
I think there are many scriptures that I default to when I read Job.
#1 - Isaiah 55:8
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.
#2 - Psalm 46:10a
"Be still, and know that I am God"
#3 - Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
#4 - Ephesians 6:13
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

We can not rely on the wisdom of man, and when God is not answering we must stand on the truth that we know about Him and His nature.
The trials that we go through in this world are not always fair and we may never understand why we have to endure, but we can't let the things of this world allow our faith to waiver (be it from man or from the enemy) .
That's what I've always gotten out of Job.

Tawny said...

Darla, I haven't got very far, just around Chapter 15, I think, but part of the reason I was disturbed was because what the friends were saying was making more sense to me than what Job was saying. It sounds like Job is not trusting God to me. I am afraid I would respond just like them. But what is with the weird dialogue? Did they really just talk in uninterrupted speeches? And I agree, they never asked Job anything helpful or nice.

Sherri, thanks for sharing those verses with us. That helps too. And I love what you said about the wisdom of man vs. God

Julene said...

What great comments!!! I am really glad Tawny that you are open enough to say that you identify yourself with the friends, I have often been confused over the friends because they did seem to make some sense. I just pray that God would always keep me in place of humility and I would not believe myself to know all the right answers for someone else (even for myself). & YES I would hope one of us would say - Lets pray!!!

tawny said...

I love that you said we can't always trust our own wisdom for ourselves either! Reading Job is very humbling and thought provoking.

Julene said...

I was chopping carrots and thinking about your comment on the wierd dialogue in Job. Do you think that they actually said all of that or did God record their thoughts as if they were spoken words, because He knows our thoughts? Kind of scarry to think about it in the way :(

Tawny said...

Well, the text said "Then so and so replied" but Job is also considered poetry? Maybe all of them were poets so they respectfully didn't interupt each other. :)

This is out of my study Bible: "Job's three friends set out a view of God this is more orthodox, [than Job's] at least on the surface. These counselors are more than weak, imaginary straw men; they accurately develop most of the biblical ways of exploring suffering. Their theology is excellent, but thier presumtious applications go sour. They insist on a qid pro quo view of retribution, in which all the good and evil that people experience is directly related to what they have earned or deserved.

Cyndi said...

Those are some really good questions that I don't have answers for. I have wondered myself, and some very good insights have been given here. The main thing I brought out from Job is that our lives (public and private) are played out in front of a watching universe (the angels, fallen and not). God will be glorified or not by the way we respond to Him in suffering. The unconfusing thing about Job is that Satan loses; Job never cursed God, but kept his faith.

Tawny said...

Cyndi, That is a really good point! And since Job was earlier in history, we even have a greater "cloud of witnesses" watching the drama unfold. Hope they are distracted somewhere else today, I am cranky! Hormones. Grr. Thank you for also reminding us who is going to win. :)

Cyndi said...

Yeah. Those hormones always make me want to "curse God and die." Okay, totally irreverently kidding!!!!!

Tawny said...

:) How about "curse Eve and die" for reals. :) Temporarily, of course.

capturedbygod said...

I answered your last comment on my blog, in case you're interested!

What a "coincidence", I just started reading Job too! I would guess the writer meant that Job was blameless in the sense that He wasn't accusing God of wrongdoing in all that was happening to him, not that He was sinless.

Yeah, that's a bit confusing about the behavior of his friends! I guess after a week they assumed things weren't getting any better that it must be Job's fault? I would probably start trying to figure what the reason was for these trials too if they kept going on and on!

I think the most important message of Job is the idea that God is in control of what satan does, and that sometimes God allows satan to test us. I think in Job's case, it was to prove that Job loves God for who He is, not for what He gives Him.

Thanks for your thought-provoking post! Love, Jenny

Krissysart said...

Yes, yes, totally confusing but what a great book! I read a very good excerpt of a book that talked about Job (I think it was called, How to forgive yourself totally). GREAT book. And one thing this Christian counselor said was that God shows us nasty little things about ourselves that we may never see otherwise. This author talked about Job having a bit of pride that God wanted to 'shake loose'. Makes sense to me. I mean, really....I have a hard time thinking that God would give our enemy such free reign just because Satan asked for it.
Now one of the most awesome things in the book of Job is at the end when God gives him more sons and daughters. It says that Job treated his daughters as equals to his sons and gave them an equal inheritance as well, which was totally unheard of back then. You go, Job! Just another reason I think that God thought so highly of him! He got the important things right....and ahead of his time!

tawny said...

This post has been so fun, getting all these comments!

Jenny, I love what you said about God being in control of what Satan does. That is so reassuring to me. God knows what we can handle even when we would not give ourselves the credit! I am still hoping I will never have to go through something as drastic as all that, I can barely handle PMS. :)

Hi Krissi! Welcome. That is my sister's name. I will have to go check you out, after I am done seeing what Jenni said on her blog.

You reminded me of what Beth Moore says all the time "God lets Satan sift us when we need sifting!" :) I can't WAIT to get to the daughter part. I haven't read it in a while but I am all over that kind of stuff.
Thank you for your comment. :)

Birgit said...

Hi Tawny, Great topic. Even though I haven't studied Job yet,there's one part of it that I love. Maybe this has been mentioned already, but it's the part where God speaks to Job about His awesome sovereignty, "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?" (38:4) and "Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown dawn its place ...?" (38:12). Our God is truly awesome!

Tawny said...

Hey Birgit,
Thank you for sharing. Yeah, that is my favorite part too, that is why I used to skip the middle. :) I love how God can answer all of our questions without actually answering our question. We will get the answers someday though! :)

Tawny said...

Well, maybe. But I am ok with whatever answers He gives us in Heaven.

Cyndi said...

What a great discussion! ... thanks Tawny for posting this and all for participating. I have learned a lot, and have a better grasp on this confusing book now.

Krissy, I love the thing about the daughters. You also said: I have a hard time thinking that God would give our enemy such free reign just because Satan asked for it.

Me, too!

That made me think of a couple MORE things I just had to share.

First, Job did leave a little loophole for Satan by his fear. He said everything he feared had come upon him.

Also, I think God did it to encourage believers throughout time that the bad stuff that happens is from Satan, not God.

And last, it put mud on Satan's face for eternity, and revealed him for the stupid, lying jerk that he is. That's a pretty important reason.

Last, back to the blameless thing. I think maybe he really was just righteous (except for Original Sin). He didn't just call himself blameless but God did too: "There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." Job was an extraordinary man (who didn't have all our theology) and made an extraordinary example for the watching universe to glorify God.

Sorry, more than "a couple" ... just thots! Gonna go now; this isn't my blog -- lol!

Kristi said...

I am not a big fan of commentaries because I think the Bible needs to explain itself by cross referencing (I read Holmans) but when reading, I have Eerdman's handbook of the Bible close by because it gives a history of what is happening at the time of the writings, not really a commentary. It has helped me when I've read through Job in the past.

tawny said...

Speaking of the Bible explaining itself,listen to what Job said in 24:13 "Wicked people rebel against the light. They refuse to acknowledge its ways or stay in its path." So that would be Job's definition of wickedness. And I am guessing his definition of righteousness would be something like 23:12 "I have not departed from His commands, but have treasured His words more than daily food." Loving the light and walking in it. Just thought that was cool. And his friends are being just nasty now. I am guessing what has always been in their hearts is oozing out.

Cyndi, you may leave as long a comment as you like, doesn't bother me at all. This has been really fun!

Cyndi said...

Thanks, Tawny ... awesome points! Thanks for your gracious hospitality. I've had a blast!
With love,

Cyndi said...

I feel a little sheepish adding another post here but I couldn't resist. I came across some notes in my Bible this morning, re Job 27:2-6. First, when Job says "as surely as God lives," it is the most solemn of oaths. Second, I wrote: "Is Job saying that it is wicked to wrongly take blame from others? I think I would say, "You're right, I must have done something wrong. I wonder what it is?" Am I too willing to accept blame?

tawny said...

Thank you, Cyndi, I loved your comment. I think maybe with our society, we are extra careful to appear humble instead of actually learning how to be humble. Job didn't sound so humble, but he must have been, before God. That is very interesting to think about!