jobJob is easily one of the most misunderstood books in the Bible. Unlike any other, this book has the ability to expose a readers preconceived notions about God and confront those ideas with stark reality. If not careful, it is very easy for anyone to allow their own prejudices and misunderstandings to cloud over what the text is actually saying. Instead, as we progress into this book, it would be imperative for you to leave those engrained perspectives at the door and allow the scripture to speak for itself.

Here are some examples of “preconceived notions” that people typically bring into their understanding of the book of Job:

  1. God is in control of everything” Obviously He is not, or else the world would be a paradise. One need only look around and see that this world is not under His complete control. Suffering, death, darkness, sickness, and being lost is the default setting at this time. These are not exceptions that are being permitted by God on a one by one basis; these things are the norm in a fallen world. Jesus came to change that, and that is an intervention against the norm. Chanting the mantra “God is in control of everything” is just religiosity gone wild. It is a myth we made up for children so they could go to sleep at night. Adults know by experience and scriptural knowledge what is the Truth. The word “control” does not even exist in the original language. It is indeed fishy that an entire doctrine is build up around a word that cannot be found in the word.

  2. Sovereign means control” Read the dictionary, it never means control, it means potential controlif we choose to exert it. We are all sovereign in our own spheres, or else we could do nothing. Sovereignty simply means “to do what you want to do within your sphere and the limitations of your power and ability” (and then only when you choose to). It does not mean you are a slave who has to work out the tedious day to day operations of the universe. It certainly does not mean to micromanage anything. The word sovereign also does not even exist in the original language. Again, it is fishy that an entire doctrine is build up around a word that cannot be found in the word.

  3. Satan is not sovereign” Of course he is. He has the same powers and rights to operate in this world as anyone else. He can do anything he wants within the power and ability God gave him from the start. He is called the “god of this world” and in several places said to have power. (2 Cor 4:4).

  4. Satan has to ask permission to do things” There is no evidence of this anywhere. In line with #3, nothing in creation is set up to prevent this “roaring lion” from devouring anyone he can get to. He is compared to a roaring lion, seeking whom to devour (1 Pet 5:8). Lions do not ask God for permission to get a gazelle. Lions have permission by the mere fact of their existence. This is also true of Satan. If we do not resist, be sober, and be vigilant we may be devoured. Satan, like all free agents in the universe, can do anything he wants limited only by his own power and ability. Can God step in and stop him? Of course! But this is the exception and not the rule. This is an intervention against the norm.

With that being said – let’s also take a quick glance at some of the surrounding details regarding Job and his situation.

  • Most Bible scholars agree that this book is probably one of the oldest parts of recorded history in the Bible. Although it is hard to date it with certainty – it is safe to say Job probably lived between Abraham and Moses. (Some even place him as the “Job – son of Issachar” listed in Gen 46:13 – but that is only a guess). Either way, Job was a real guy who really went through these accounts – verified even by James in James 5:11.
  • Another point to note is that Job lived BEFORE THE LAW. The Law was given by God to Moses (Exodus 20) – it is clear that Job lived before that time due to the fact that no mention of Jewish rites, worship, manners, customs, or laws are in the entire book. Based upon that (along with language, etc), we can surmise that Job had a very limited perspective of God. His “righteousness” that is used to describe him in the opening chapter is from the same cloth as the righteousness of Abraham… not based on fulfilling a Law or a full understanding of obedience – but more so on the mercy of the loving God who was forbearing sin for the present time.

So now, as we begin to journey through the book of Job – let’s actually spend time looking at what the text plainly says, and avoid forcing our own ideas onto the words to paint a picture we can understand. The main point of this book (and perhaps why it is even included by God in our Bible today) is NOT to demonstrate to us how a good man can withstand suffering and calamity – but instead it is to show us who is the author of said suffering and that the end result is a blessing from God. (After all, no other author in the Bible who mentions Job, describes him as a broken sick man, but always as a conqueror).

That seems to match what we have seen about God all throughout the Scriptures thus far, don’t you think?

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

 

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