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Suffering is Inescapable

Hey Relentless Students! I hope you are all doing well this week and finding ways to enjoy the nicer weather we've been having. As we continue our journey through the Bible I wanted to pause. Each day there has been a guide at the bottom that helps break down information about the book(s) we are discussing. In the guide, you'll find a written date and time period date. Each of those dates are significant because the Bible isn't in chronological order. So, today, for example, we return to 1900BC(ish) and look at a story that is happening around the same time as Abraham or even Isaac. I wanted to make sure you were aware because as we continue we will be looking at psalms, wisdom literature, and prophetic books that occurred at the same time as the stories in Kings and Chronicles.

Today we jump into the book of Job. For the most part, we are familiar with the story of Job. He was a righteous man who did right before God. A conversation between God and Satan occurs that leads to Job suffering. You see, Satan said that Job was only as righteous as he was because God had blessed him and that suffering would be his undoing. So, God allows Satan to curse Job and do anything but actually kill him. Naturally, Satan decides to take away everything Job has, his family, his land, his cattle, nothing is spared. Well, except his wife. Then, Job is afflicted with sickness and his wife says to him to "curse God and die". "Be done with life, obviously you suck." Is what she might as well have said. From there Job is approached by three friends all accusing Job of sinning. Each time Job counters with a claim to innocence. Job then cries out to God and pleads for answers to at least why this is happening. A fourth friend then appears and rebukes the three friends and Job himself for the words spoken toward God. This fourth friend then glorifies God and leaves. God then enters the stage and speaks directly to Job through a "whirlwind". He calls out Job for not understand what it means to be just and how complex the world is due to the brokenness of mankind. Yet, God is all-knowing and can navigate these waters without fault. Job sees that he was wrong to think of God as unjust for his suffering and asks forgiveness. Because of Job's honesty, he is forgiven and paid back twice what was taken.

Now, this is the story, but there are details that go far deeper than we suffer. There are a few details worth looking at to begin. Where do Job and his friends come from, how did they deem God "unjust", why did God explain Himself? These are some of the many questions I want to look at based on the story of Job.

Job and his friends were NOT Israelites. They did not come from Abraham. In fact, we stated above that this story most likely coincides with the life of Abraham. In other words, Abraham was chosen to bring about God's chosen people. Yet, Job was also a righteous man living during this time period following after God. This highlights God's ultimate plan to save everyone, not just the Israelites. It shows that God's justice and love were in place on all people before Christ sacrificed Himself for our sakes. Yet, God worked closely with His chosen people in order for Christ to come. To be real, I don't fully understand what took so long, why there had to be chosen people when all they did was walk away, but I don't need to. God is just and He loves everyone, so I can trust His ways, even when I don't understand them.

That helps us move right along into our next question, what were these characters using to determine if God was just or not? It's simple, the same things we do. They a looking at God and putting Him and His ways into a box of "if ____ then ____". We've all done it, but I don't know if we've ever uttered it in such a "matter of fact" type way. You see, the three friends who first approach Job all do so from a vantage point that Job had sinned terribly and thus God had to punish Him. Except suffering is WAY more complex than that. God is outside of time. He sees your life from beginning to end. He knows what your greatest accomplishments will be and your worst sins. Then God judges us accordingly, while also showing grace and mercy throughout our life.

The last piece we are going to look at is one that is fascinating. God is the ultimate creator of our world and us. He knows all that was, is and is to come. Yet, He came and talked with Job about how Job did not understand his accusations. Why? Job, in his suffering, went as far as to hate the day he was born. He was pushed to a point where he wished he had not been born. Yet, he defended his innocence and God's justice to his friends. From there we do see Job recount all the ways he has not failed to God in a plea to be freed of his suffering. This then leads to God's response. God both comforts and destroys Job in His words. First, God heard Job and responded to his cries. Second, God called out Job for not understanding the world since he didn't make it. Thus, Job is comforted due to being heard, but feels foolish (or destroyed) for not trusting God. But, because Job was honest with God and backed down when God revealed Himself, he was forgiven and given back his riches times two.

There is one major moral to pull from Job, God is just and His justice surpasses our understanding because we are not the creator. Suffering will happen. Is it due to sin? Well, not directly. The world is broken and thus suffering will occur, but our sin has been covered by Jesus' sacrifice. So, to say our sin brings suffering isn't entirely true, but also isn't false. Brokenness causes suffering and even in salvation, we are broken people until our final restoration in heaven. Embrace suffering and pray to God for relief, as we can see in Job, God is faithful in His own timing.

For more info on the book of Job check out this video:

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