Getting To Know Job (Job 1:1-5)

Today we begin our study of the book of Job. The book of Job is a fairly neglected book. I should clarify what I mean by that. Chapters 1,2, and 42 are frequently read but the other 39 chapters are regularly ignored. I know I have personally made this mistake. We know there is a reason why these 38 chapters are in the book. We deeply shortchange the book when we summarize the book as simply Job losing everything but getting it all back at the end. This is truly not the message of the book at all. There is a reason why this is a long book. Any summary study of just three chapters is completely insufficient. At minimum, the size of the book of Job is showing us that answers are not fast nor easy when it comes to the topic of suffering and God’s authority over these things. It is a long book because it invites the audience to reflect on the answers it gives. The issue of suffering and the questions that suffering raises about God cannot be resolved with cliche answers or a postcard summary. Trying to take such shortcuts defeats the purpose of a deliberately long book like Job. The book does not arrive at simple conclusions or easy answers, which you notice when you read through the book. Rather, the book explores the process of loss and grief, the reworking of faith, and the transformation of Job in the process. This gives us our first lens for the book. We need to read the book truthfully, honestly, and fully with the expectation that our faith will be torn down and built back up. Our easy answers to suffering and God will be dismantled by this book. We need to be ready to be made uncomfortable by what the book teaches. We need to be ready to change our thinking about suffering and God as we read this book. We do not need to defend God but must listen to what God is telling us…

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