Have you ever had one of those days? You know the kind I’m talking about, right? The ones where everything seems to be going wrong. Every time you think you can come up for air, something else falls on your plate or knocks you for a loop. Well, Job is having a few of those days. 

As miserable as the story of Job can seem to us, I must admit it is one of my favorite books of the Bible. You’ll see why as you dig into it over the next several days. All I’ll say for now is that the book of Job cuts through a lot of wrong thinking about God that was taking place in biblical days. In fact, it cuts through the same wrong thinking that still takes place today. 

What you need to understand as you begin reading Job is that over the centuries people have thought that God rewards good people with life, health and wealth, while he punishes those who do bad. Fortunately, that is as far from the truth about God as it is possible to be. And the story of Job will uncover the real truth.  

For this first reading, what matters most is that Job is blameless. He has committed no sin. God confirms that with his own words (1:8). Yet, some terrible stuff is going down. He’s lost his family, his wealth, and his health. He’s reached a point where his grief is so deep that words cannot adequately express it (2:13). All he can do is wish he had never been born (3:3-4). Nonexistence would be far better in Job’s mind, at this point.  

Job has two good things going for him, one that we can see right now and one that we might not yet see. The first – the one we can see – is that he has good friends who care about him and are willing to sit with him in his grief for a full seven days without saying a word (2:13). When people are grieving, they need our presence much more than our words or solutions. The second thing going for Job – the one we might not yet see – is that God is for him. God is allowing Job to be tested right now but it is not a haphazard decision on God’s part (1:12). In fact, God knows the heart of Job, flaws and all. And in his time, God will reveal some wonderful truth to Job about both of their identities.  

Unfortunately, Job’s friends will not remain silent long. They are about to speak. As you turn the page tomorrow to see what they have to say, ask yourself if they seem wise. The problem with those who sound wise is that there are often just enough kernels of truth in what they say that what is being said seems logical. Yet, look deeper and you will find that his three friends are less the three wise men and more the three stooges. Hang on for a wild ride. There is a reason that the most patient people in your life are said to have “the patience of Job.” 

Questions for reflection: 

  1. Consider the power revealed in the scene you read about today. Who had the most power? In other words, compare the power displayed by Job, Satan, and God. 
  1. Does it concern you that God allows Job to be tested? If so, why do you think that is? What do you think might be God’s purpose in this testing? 
  1. If bad things can happen to good people, how are we called to respond as people of faith? Is there a difference in how we respond when it happens to someone else as opposed to when it happens to us? How so? What did you notice about Job’s response to his various calamities?