How We are Like Job - Refined by Fire
Video from The Bible Project
As I look back on my 64 years of life and see how God, Christ Jesus and the Person of the Holy Spirit have been active in it I am humbled and amazed. Like most people I have been guilty of sinful and foolish decisions and behaviors.
The 20/20 hindsight vision we have is indicative of our almost total lack of wisdom in this life. We seek wisdom but we seldom really find it. Life-experience is a great teacher and in fact God uses that among many other things including suffering to help shape us. God spends much of “our” time untangling and undoing and reshaping the sinful/morally wrong decisions we make.
Job is a hard book to read because it deals with a hard subject, our suffering. And Job suffers terribly as his wealth, children, health, and his status in the community—are all violently taken away. And Job is hard because it doesn’t give us the answers we want in the end. We all want to know why good and godly people suffer, and this book leaves that question entirely unanswered. In fact, God’s own role in Job’s calamity is difficult to understand.
To put a better understanding of what is going on we need to start with humans as imagers of god.
God knows that we cannot be trusted. He knows our hearts that are wicked and depraved, and he has observed us as we sin. Being in the image of God is a status conferred on us by God. Our job initially was to multiply, fill the earth and use its resources for the betterment of all imagers.
God gives many gifts to his people, and you and I, all people have vastly different gifts. Now the way those gifts are manifested in our fallen world are vastly different. Some people never see birth due to death prior to birth or due from failure of natural process causes or abortion. Other people are born with mental and physical disabilities. Those of us who survive birth without impairments can serve God as intended.
The Divine Council which is explained in several places in scripture (Psalm 82) and is alluded to throughout the bible is brought into view as we see an accuser, maybe Satan maybe not come into God’s presence and the subject of Job comes up. What follows reminds us of many threads in our lives and peoples lives yet at the end of The Book of Job we have no real answer.
Our free will allows us to image God as we are not robots, and neither is God. The lesser elohim, the created creatures whether they be Angels etc. were also created in some way according to God’s image and are subject to free will and sin which they did commit. They are capable of and do cause anarchy and destruction just as we do.
Notice the Book of Job is a work of dramatic of poetic art! Enjoy it!
Job makes it clear there are no easy answers in life and no quick fixes. Healing takes time. The book offers no clear answers to Job’s questions, which is what sufferers often experience in their pain. The dialogue between Job and his friends reflects our struggles with life and its adversities. The book itself presents a picture of our human experience in a fallen world, in which answers to these difficult and painful questions elude us, and we’re forced simply to trust God.
In the video below Joni Eareckson-Tada recounts her life and how suffering shapes us into the person God wants us to be.
Video from Ligonier
Be sympathetic with Job and realize he is experiencing great devastation and heartache. The question for us as we read through Job is are, we following God for benefits? Can you and will you trust God’s sovereign control and providence more than your reasoning?
Let Job raise your eyes to the Glory and power of God and how we must be empathetic and compassionate to whomever we meet in life!