The Book of Job in the Bible informs why God allows evil in people’s lives through Job’s experiences. Job was a man who feared the Lord and was prosperous in all ways; he lived a comfortable life, was wealthy, had a big family and possessions. After God boasted to Satan about Job’s virtue, Satan made an excuse that it was Job’s wealth that made him stick to God, and so God permitted Satan to take away the wealth as a way of proving him wrong. The Book of Job has main themes in it with historical and cultural significance to the society.
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The book of Job informs on the presence of wickedness in the world; it lets society understand that the world we live in is wicked irrespective of whether one sin or not. The book helps the community know that good and bad happen to all and that sin is not always why bad happens to people (Seow 357). This is evident from Job’s life; this man lived a righteous life and feared God, yet all of a sudden, evil came to his life. Job was inflicted with diseases in his body, lost all his possessions despite living a righteous life.
The book helps us endure suffering since it proves that God is always in control over everything that happens to our lives. This gives confidence in a better tomorrow and helps conquer discouragements from ourselves and the people around us. The book helps us know that God is always there to ensure that we emerge victorious from every tribulation we face on earth. The book, therefore, allows people from different cultures to handle their sufferings with boldness with the hope of conquering them in the long run.
The book of Job brings a different perspective about suffering in society. It helps people from different cultures and historical backgrounds understand that suffering can turn to the good of those enduring them and that they do not last for a lifetime. Society understands that nothing in our life is a waste and that God can always turn our suffering for His glory. He can restore everything we have lost and make it work for our good. Individuals also understand that sufferings are from the devil and that it is only God who can save us from the hands of the devil as long as we cling to Him and give Him the reverence He deserves.
The book of Job stresses to society the importance of loyalty no matter what people experience in life. The problems endured in life should not make one distant from one who has always been there before the tribulation came. Job chose to trust and respect God amid his trials since he understood that it was God who had given him the riches, health, and the family he lost. He, therefore, chose to remain loyal to his God and could not take the counsel of his wife to curse God (Job 2.9). In the end, his loyalty rewarded him as God finally came to his rescue, restored all that he had lost, and made him wealthier than he was before; this clearly shows that loyalty pays.
The book of Job addresses the subject of loyalty; when Job lost his family, there is no record of him renouncing God and becoming a nonbeliever. Even though Job got overwhelmed with the pains and started questioning God, he did not abandon his faith. At the end of all the suffering Job still turns out to be a loyal follower of God. Another instance arises where God displayed his loyalty to Job by coming to his rescue and restoring everything he had lost. Even after he had allowed Satan to afflict him, He never left Job alone.
Death is also the primary subject matter in the book of Job. Mass destruction happened in this story with the entire family of Job dying mysteriously except for him and the wife. These deaths caused Job to have a different perception about life; they made him regard human life as delicate and meaningless. This subject depicts that God is not responsible for losing Job’s family and has no role to play in human death (Larrimore 330). It is the devil that causes death, and it does not matter whether the parties involved are good or evil. Death makes Job understand that humans have no control over death and that it can happen at any time with no preparation.
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The idea of pain and suffering is discussed in the book of Job; it reveals that pain is an essential part of human life and cannot be avoided. The book’s main character, Job, is faced with all kinds of pain; spiritual, emotional, and physical pain. He has boils, blisters, and rashes all over his body; he has pain over the death of his loved ones and wonders the reason of God punishing him (Nelson 312). The book answers the reality of pain and shows how one can react to it to retain loyalty to God. This concept poses questions on the reasons why God allows believers to experience sufferings in life. Suffering is mysterious, but believers have the privilege of later understanding why they went through pain as God discloses it to them; all they have to do is trust and wait on God during the confusion.
There is the theme of questioning and doubting God; Job’s experiences did not match what He knew about God, which made him question God. For example, God’s word is expected for the righteous to prosper as the wicked suffers, yet Job’s experiences made him doubt this word. He started questioning God while trying to justify himself as faultless; after receiving counsel from several friends, Elihu comes to his rescue (Job 33.8). He explains to him that suffering is one of the mechanisms God uses to warn and restore men. This made Job come back to his senses, he stopped questioning and doubting God, and at the end of it all, God restored Him.
There is the idea of goodness without reward; this involves doing good and expecting nothing in return. Satan questions God whether Job fears Him for nothing; this denotes that those serving God expect rewards in return and that their loyalty is exchanged with God’s favor (Job 1.9). Satan asserts that Job fears God for the wealth bestowed by God to him and challenges God to withhold the wealth of Job and allow him to cause physical suffering on Job’s body. Satan expects that Job will curse God after this, but he was surprised with how Job reacted; he was proved wrong. Job was wholly devoted to God, and his loyalty to God was backed by a pure motive of loving God for His nature and not what He gives to man. This shows that man serving and loving God for who He is and His character is a possibility.
The most suitable reaction to suffering in life is recognizing God’s authority over everything that concerns life. In the economy of God, worthwhile prosperity begins with fearing the Lord. God is Lord over all, and failure to acknowledge His role in the success equation leads to struggles in life. Everyone wrestles with questions that seem to have no answer in life; the answers we seek are only found in God and His Word.
Holy Bible. New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Inc, 1983.
Larrimore, Mark. The Book of Job. Vol. 17. Princeton University Press, 2020.
Nelson, Alissa Jones. Power and responsibility in biblical interpretation: reading the book of job with edward said. Gorgias Press, 2019.
Seow, Choon Leong. Job 1-21: Interpretation and commentary. Gorgias Press, 2019.