Job: The Debate in the Ashes
February 5 - Nº 36 Job 2:7–37:24
Satan had already destroyed everything Job valued. But God gave him permission to test Job’s faith even further by attacking him personally. However, there was one condition: He could not kill Job. Satan didn’t waste any time. While Job was still grieving deeply from his losses, Satan caused painful sores to break out all over his body. Job was in pain from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. He sat in a pile of ashes using a broken piece of pottery to scrape his open, itching wounds. Job’s condition grew so bad that his wife suggested he should curse God and commit suicide. But Job refused. He challenged her, “What kind of person would I be if I accepted good things from God but turned my back on Him when things were bad?” Three of Job’s friends heard about the tragic events that had taken place and went to comfort him. When they saw Job, they were shocked—they hardly recognized him. They sat down next to him, and for seven days no one said a word while Job mourned the deaths of his children. Job finally broke the silence. Angrily he expressed that he wished he had never been born. Although he wasn’t doubting God’s existence or turning his back on Him, Job was obviously questioning God’s wisdom and sovereignty. Job’s friends tried to help him make sense of his suffering. If they could discover the reason bad things were plaguing him, perhaps they could help him escape. Friend #1: Eliphaz assumed that people who are righteous don’t suffer. Only sinners do. Therefore, Job must have sinned. Job understood Eliphaz’s reasoning, but he insisted he hadn’t done anything wrong to deserve what was happening to him. Friend #2: Bildad was even bolder. He basically called Job a hypocrite. He reasoned that just like reeds grow where there is water, suffering grows where there is sin. He concluded, “You need to confess your sin, and then God will have mercy and stop your suffering.” Once again, Job maintained his innocence. He argued, “You’re wrong! And I know this because I have seen the righteous suffer while evildoers prospered.” Friend #3: Zophar was the boldest of all. “Job, you are lying!” he said. “You are sinful; therefore, you deserve God’s judgment.” Job passionately defended himself. “I am not any worse than you are!” he exclaimed. “If God examined you, you would be no better off than I am. So just be quiet!” But the debates continued. To help their friend, escape his pain, the three men kept explaining and expanding their lines of reasoning. Finally, a young man named Elihu showed up. He had a new perspective that was much more accurate and encouraging. “Your pain may not be due to past sin,” he said. “It may be God’s way of building character for the future. Regardless, you need to humble yourself and submit to whatever God is teaching you instead of continually trying to justify yourself.” He argued that only then could God restore him. And in the end, Elihu was right!
Is your level of trust linked to your level of comfort? If so, what does that tell you about your understanding of God’s sovereignty? Have you given Him the right to determine the circumstances of your life? This is something we need to do daily!