Three Thoughts on Job

From an old notebook:

Job’s confused.  God’s not helping.  God’s making it worse.  So too the comforters.  (Carrion comforters!)  They worsen Job’s confusion.  It’s not bad enough that he’s wrestling confusedly with God; his comforters want to wrestle too:  against Job, for God, as if they were members of a Divine tag-team.

Job speaks out his misery.  What he says is of his pain just because it expresses it.  He is venting his misery more than he is accusing God.  But his comforters will not hear his misery; they hear only the accusing.

Job knows what his comforters know.  He knows the glory and the power of God.  But he knows more than his comforters know.  He knows God’s power and glory in a way that does not deny that power and glory.  Even more, he knows his innocence.  Job knows that God knows it too.  But now it looks like Job knows too much, more anyway than he can bear, for how could a God of such power and glory and knowledge as his tolerate Job’s misery?

5 responses

  1. I would say, pardon the pun, that it is the very character of Yahweh’s
    power and glory and knowledge that shapes Job’s misery, that that particular G-d is very much a deity of his times and that later people make a devil out of Satan to whitewash these shadowy shadings, to render their image of God more one-dimensional.

  2. God knew the end from the beginning. I think that is a fair claim to make about God. People accuse Abraham of being immoral or insane for doing as God commanded with regard to Isaac, but Abraham told his servant that they (Isaac and Abraham) would return from the mountain before he ascended. Abraham knew God would not require Isaac of him, because God had already told him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars (I think he said something like that.) God knew the end from the beginning. He knew Job’s story would turn out all right. Even if the sum of life’s parts is suffering, a man would be compelled to believe that the whole is something more.

    • jl,, if G-d knew the result before the testing began than why torture Job, what sort of character does this cast G-d to be?

      • I’ve suffered some hell in my own life, but it develops character. The good end is accomplished through suffering. Suffering is a refinement process, and besides, without suffering we would have no interesting stories nor any words of wisdom with respect to dealing with suffering. Suffering is the remedy for inane blandness. God is good in that he came to earth to suffer and die on our behalf, to experience the worst of what we experience, not so that we wouldn’t suffer, but so our suffering would mean something, so that our suffering would be redemptive as his was. This was his plan from the beginning.

      • Furthermore, the difference between God tempting Job (which did not occur) and Job being tempted by Satan (who was allowed by God to tempt) is that God proves Satan wrong at Satan’s own expense. He makes Satan eat crow. If God had tempted Job Himself (instead of allowing Satan to tempt) God would have nothing with which to leverage against Satan, and the glory of God would not be displayed against the will and works of evil.

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