Life is unfair: The righteous suffer while evil men prevail. Justice is capricious as life appears to unfold in random fashion: Innocent children are victims of war and flood, while piggish dictators ravage their people for personal gain. Good people get cancer and the brutish often live in wealth and enjoy good health into old age. (Ecclesiastes 3:11; 7:15; 8:14; Daniel 4:35; Job 11:7-9; 33:13; Romans 11:33, 34)
One could reason: If God is good, then He is weak. Otherwise He would stop the suffering and injustice. If He is strong and sovereign, then He is cruel or indifferent for allowing the carnage to continue. The book of Job however, shatters such thinking.
Here is the essence of Job: One day Satan, in conversing with God, accuses Job of following God because He is blessing him. In order to demolish his argument, God gives Satan permission to take everything of Job‘s except his life. As Job loses his health, children, and resources, his “friends“ argue that his suffering is due to his sin. In the end, God vindicates Job, and restores everything twofold.
FIVE CONCLUSIONS FROM THE BOOK OF JOB:
1. God reserves the right to use us for His glory as He so chooses:
“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth… Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself ?” (Exodus 9:16; Job 40:8) (See Isaiah 45:9; 64:8)
2. Job demonstrates the fact that it is possible, amidst extreme suffering to maintain one’s faith:
“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother‘s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.‘” (Job 1:20, 21) (See Job 1:22; 13:15)
3. Job’s counselors wrongly assumed that his tribulations were related to sin; that righteous people always prosper, while suffering is always our punishment for engaging in evil:
“If [the righteous] obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.” (Job 36:11)
4. Suffering deeply enhanced Job’s relationship with God:
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5)
5. God owes us no explanation for His actions. He gave Job none.”
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)