Random Thoughts on Job
I've been reading Job lately, a chapter per day. This story remains for me difficult and problematic, but I benefit greatly each time I read it. I have not often heard it "preached," and never so as to do it justice. I have a feeling that the reason it is so much ignored by our preachers is that it is not conducive to a quick uplifting message that will leave people clicking their heals and shouting hallelujah!
What I like about Job is that he will not be silenced by his miserable comforters. He doesn't settle for their glib tit-for-tat view of God's justice. He has a bone to pick with God and although his understanding may be "darkened," in the end only God's voice can cause him to put his suffering into its proper perspective.
We in the church today are not so much plagued by miserable comforters as pre-occupied with positive-thinking. Today's Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar would not be judgmental cads, but glib positive-thinkers, with a message like, "Cheer up, Job. God's got a wonderful plan for your life, just you wait and see." It's a message no less inappropriate. I have a feeling that Job would have found it every bit as unsatisfying as the dour message of his three so-called friends. God's response, on the other hand, might have been exactly the same: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?"