Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oversimplifying the Book of Job

The book of Job is fascinating to me because there's very little in the way of story and a whole lot in the way of theological arguments.  Proving that people have been missing the point for millenia.

Let me summarize the story part:

Job is an awesome guy with lots going for him.  Rich, righteous, and with 10 kids who all get along (evidenced by the fact that they often meet at each others' places for dinner).

God and the Devil are having a chat.  They do that in this book.

God says, "Look at how awesome my servant Job is."  He was rubbing it in the Devil's face a little.

The Devil counters that Job's only a good guy because he has so much going for him.  He asks God to let him make things tough on Job, and God agrees, with the stipulation that the Devil can't hurt him personally.

The Devil takes away all of Job's wealth and kills all 10 of his kids at once.  Job still praises God.

Repeat steps 2-4.  God tells the Devil he can mess with Job some more, but he can't kill him.

Everything gets even worse for Job.  He gets covered in painful boils, and his family and friends, in a big show of support, tell him all his bad fortune must be God punishing him for something he did.  Job swears he didn't do anything.  His friends, instead of, you know, actually trying to help him, hang around for days to argue theology with him.

Everything eventually ends up okay for Job.  God is still good.

It would take me a whole book to go into all the details and all the deep discussion present in the story of Job.  So here are the three lessons that I'm taking away from it.

1.  Praise God no matter what.  "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away."  Nothing you have is truly yours to begin with, so you can't get too upset if you lose it.

2.  At least you don't have it as bad as Job did.  It would be almost statistically impossible for your life to get as bad as Job's got.  Most of his family dead, the family left alive hating him, money gone, friends and neighbors turned against him, and covered head-to-toe in freaking boils.  Makes me complaining about PMS look pretty whiny in comparison.

3.  Maybe you're going through a tough time because God's showing you off.  This is the idea I like the most.  Maybe God's allowing me to go through trials, not because he's mad at me about something, but because he knows I can hang with it and he wants to brag to the Devil about how good and faithful I am.  Kind of a nice thought, right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love it.

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