Part of the Sunday series, preached at a Sunday service
What do we do with a story in which God and the Satan enter into a divine wager, using Job as an unwitting pawn in their game?
What do we do with a book in which 10 children are killed off in the first chapter, How do we respond to a book in which God answers Job's anguish by reminding Job that He is the God of creation. God -- at least on an initial reading -- does not come out of this book well.
And yet, this book, difficult as it is, has spoken to people of faith through the centuries. Job, in the great lament tradition of ancient Israel, wrestles profoundly and honestly with God. Job holds on to God with fierce faith, but he does not let God off the hook for the inexplicable suffering that so often shadows this world.
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1There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. (KJV)
1Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. 2And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 3And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. 4And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. 5But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. 6And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. 7So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. 8And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. 9Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. 10But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. (KJV)