Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More friendly advice

Another of Job's "friends" replies. Here are some observations...

Verse 2: He calls Job's words a "blustering wind." So is he too, calling Job a blow hard? We have quickly gone from a week of silence to a complete lack of compassion. Isn't this how it is when it comes to questioning religion? We quickly throw out all reason, and seek to defend "our faith." Poor Job, searching, mourning, only to run into a brick wall similar to what Jesus endured from the Pharisees and similar to what many endure today.

In verse 3 he continues his assault, basically telling Job that his kids were sinners and got what they deserved. How comforting a thought is that? And he continues, telling Job that his fate will be the same unless he seeks God earnestly. He basically tells Job that if he is pleasing to God, things will be go well for him. (Can anyone say, "Joel Osteen?")

Verse 8 contains another wonderful theological premise that so many believe, "Ask the former generation and find out what their ancestors learned." In other words, what has experience taught us? While I believe that experience can be a valuable teacher, it is not faultless. My mom was raised Catholic. If I only trusted in what my previous generations believed, I would hold to a much different view.

He concludes with an interesting thought... "Surely God does not reject one who is blameless or strengthens the hands of evildoers." Were the events of Job's recent life a sign of rejection by God? I certainly cannot agree. If they were a rejection, then God would not have later conversed with Job to see what he had gained from this experience. I don't reject someone and then invite them to dinner. Why is it that we see misfortune as rejection? And the opposite is true as well, we often see fortune as acceptance. There are those who prey on the weak and unfortunate with this type of theology. Does not Matthew's gospel tell us that when it rains, it does so on the just and the unjust?

Bildad lives in a simple world, Good things are rewards from God and bad things are punishments. Job lived in a different world, because he knew that what was happening was not a punishment. I believe that Job believed that God was behind his misfortune, but not because he was punishing him. Job struggled with what was happening, but in his struggle he did not sin. He did not curse God. That had to be tough.

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