I’ve been re-reading the book of Job – you know – that super-depressing book in the middle of the Bible right before Psalms. I’ve read it before but this time it was somehow different.
I remember the first time I read it I forced myself to get through it as quickly as possible, because you just don’t wanna hear about that kind of suffering and then leave the person there – you wanna push through to the end. I think that’s a tendency we all have.
Maybe I was numb this time, or more at peace, or just momentarily heartless, but I actually took the time to stay there and listen to this guy – really listen – and was stunned and inspired by what was there.
The stuff Job says here is exactly the kind of stuff that Christians think, but would never actually admit to thinking. It crosses our minds, even if only for a moment, but we think it so sacriligious that we shove it out of our minds right away and hope God didn’t notice.
That’s exactly the kind of stuff that Job says here – out loud – in the middle of the Bible!
Here’s just a few of the verses I’ve hi-lighted:
“A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” – 6:14
“He [God] is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to arbitrate between us…” – 9:32,33
“Your hands shaped me and made me…But this is what you concealed in your heart, and I know that this was in your mind…Why then did you bring me out of the womb?” – 10:8,13,18
I won’t go over all of them – that would eliminate the sense of discovering them for yourselves. But I would like to mention and talk about this one verse in particular:
“Will you speak wickedly on God’s behalf? Will you speak deceitfully for him? Will you show him partiality? Will you argue the case for God?” – 13:7,8
How often do we get into discussions over God being non-existent or uncaring because of an event in someone’s life, and come back to them with answers like “You just need more faith” or “If God let it happen then it was really a good thing” or the infamous “You must’ve done something to deserve it”?
Do we really think we’re speaking on God’s behalf when we say these things? Do we feel as though God’s honour is at stake and that we have to come up with something to say in his defense or else he won’t be glorified?
God is a big guy – he can take care of himself. If the answers to someone’s pain are not visible at the moment, that does not mean we have to look for answers or else. And frankly I don’t think God is too happy with us when we do.
What I find truly fascinating about Job is that even though he says all these things that we feel are so sacriligious – that nobody should ever even think – God listened to all this and decided “I want this in my book, which will go out to every nation. Everyone in the world needs to read this.” God wants people to know that it’s okay to have these questions. This left me stunned.
If you’re interested in what else Job has to say – you know where to find him (if not then re-read the beginning of this article). If you want to try reading it objectively (without the emotional storm) then maybe skip past the first 2 chapters for the time being. After that it’s easy to tell which parts are Job speaking because those passages begin with his name in big letters (depending on your version of the Bible). His friends have a bit of wisdom too, but not much, which God tells them off for later on.
So very well said my good friend.
Looks good, Ben. Great article! Thanks for posting that.
Thanks guys. That means a lot. 🙂
Very well written and thought provoking
“God is a big guy – he can take care of himself.” Very true.
And pretty close to something people hear from me all the time: “God is big enough to handle ____.” I usually fill in the blank with “our anger” or “our doubt” — two of those things that many Christians think are anathema to being “good” Christians.
In fact, because of Job, I can relax when approaching God and telling Him what’s really going on inside, because I know He’s not gonna zap me for asking questions or telling the truth. He might even be glad that I’ve finally gotten down to the actual core of the issue: like an addict, only when I admit the problem can I finally begin to work toward a solution. He might even be saying, “Now, see that? Finally, we’re getting somewhere!”
Too many times, I believe, Christians cover up the truth with religious phrases and false smiles and lots of Scripture, when what they really need to be doing is telling God they’re afraid, hurt, angry, uncertain. How can He work with us when all we’re doing is lying, thinking we’re pleasing Him by not being real with Him? Since when did He stop seeing our hearts?
I’ll shut up now! Excellent blog post.
I love this blog! And such wonderful posts. Not only do I see the honesty written here, I feel it. Keep going Ben!!
LOL. Thanks guys.
And never shut up!
Loved it! Way to go Ben. Looking forward to the next one.
Well-written, candid, and with clarity, Benjamin.
Thank you for telling us about it.
So glad you’ve made the journey into the blogging world. And a great, very practical, first blog! I look forward to many more.
Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging, little bro. It’s good you could join us. And it’s amazing to have another venue to read your words – I’m lovin’ it!
And I’m lovin’ this blog post. Noone ever talks about Job, but it’s a really insightful book of the Bible for so many reasons. And after all is said and done, there IS a happy ending.
Great post. Well written. And yes I agree that our conversation with God should be real because He knows how we “really” feel anyway – so why not be honest and tell Him. That way we will get an answer that is honest as well. Blessings on starting your blog.
That’s a great start to your blog. Keep it up!
Thanks for the encouraging words! I love that you read Job “differently” this time – very cool.
Awesome, I’m glad to see that you’ve joined the world of blogging.
And you’re right, I often find myself being less honest and pushing thoughts out of my mind because I feel that I shouldn’t be thinking that way. If I think about it, it’s probably an insult to God, It’s as though I’m suggesting that he didn’t catch that thought that I’ve just tried to hide.
Welcome to the world of blogging. Great first post! Insightful and thought-provoking. I look forward to more of the same.
Wow! Thanks guys!
You’re support means a lot.
That was great, Ben! You are a great writer! I’ll be reading your blog regularly. You’ve inspired me to read Job finally. : )
Lol. Yeah, it’s not an easy book to get through, but there are some hardcore gems in there.
Thank you. 🙂
I found Job to be beautifully atristic myself, though I probably didn’t pull as much substance from it as you did.
It is good to be reminded that God is ready to hear our frustrations and pains, because sometimes you have to let it all out; and the best part is that that kind of honesty brings a relationshp closer together.