“Why, God? Why did you do this to me?” Job wondered aloud as he sat cross-legged on the ground. The sores that covered him from head to toe were like tiny pricks of fire, and he was like a pin cushion. Ouch, ouch, ouch! He picked up a broken piece of piece of pottery, one small remnant of his shattered life, and scratched himself with it. His flesh was withered away. He looked like skin and bones. His breath was so bad, his wife wouldn’t come near him. To top it all off, he had a terrible case of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Thankfully, the story records, Job doesn’t curse God for his sickness or for the stress. However, he does blame God for it. Apparently, he doesn’t realize Satan is the source of his sickness. In Revelation 12:9-10, Satan is described as the “accuser of the brethren.” Not only does He accuse believers before God, but he also accuses God before believers. In Genesis chapter 3, the story of man’s fall, Satan is at work through the serpent, calling God a liar. He accuses Him of withholding good from Adam and Eve by forbidding them to eat of the knowledge of good and evil. I believe he also accuses God before Job, blaming Him for tragedies and sicknesses he himself caused.
Satan’s lies cause horrible pain, and it really gets to Job – so much so that he even goes so far as to curse the day of his birth. I don’t know about you, but he sounds a little suicidal. I can picture his friends holding their noses as they try to cheer him up, by insinuating that his nasty boils and bad odor are due to some horrific sin.
“God must be punishing you,” is basically what they tell him.
But Job insists he has done nothing to deserve punishment. In fact, in chapter 29, he boasts about all the good things he has done:
delivering the poor and the fatherless when they cried out, and those who had no one to help them (verse 12);
causing the widow’s heart to “sing for joy” (verse 13);
being “eyes to the blind” an “feet to the lame” (verse 15);
being a father to the poor (verse 16);
breaking the jaws of the wicked, and plucking the spoil out of his teeth (verse 17).
Job seems to feel that God has judged him unfairly. He is proud of all the good works he has done. What he fails to recognize in his discourse is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
As Job continues to justify himself, one young man named Elihu is greatly disturbed by the lack of truth coming forth. He encourages everyone to stop speculating about why God has allowed Job to suffer and to consider God’s amazing power. He urges them to think about all the great things God has done.
“Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf,” he tells them in Job chapter 36, verse 2. “I will fetch my knowledge from afar and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.” (verse 3).
When Elihu is finished with his speech, God speaks to Job through a whirlwind. It is an encounter that brings Job to his knees. “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee,” he tells the LORD. After Job prays for those friends of his who have not spoken the right thing about God, God restores what the enemy stole from him. He has twice as much as he had before. The latter end of Job’s life is more blessed at the beginning. Presumably, he is healed, for, after all, healing is a blessing.
So, what can we take away from this story? I believe that one thing can learn from it is this: It’s one thing to experience God’s healing power. It’s another thing to get to know the Healer, to see Him as He really is instead of basing your knowledge on hearsay. The best way to get to know God is by reading His Word, in a way that lets it to sink deep into your heart. If we want Him in our hearts, we must invite Him in.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
2 thoughts on “Why, God, Why?”
I like the way you dig into the story. We always seem to focus on Job’s righteousness. I had never thought about how he was trying to justify his righteousness. I love that you bring out the fact about the importance of getting to know the Healer. It is amazing that the more we get to know Him, the way other things tend to fall into place! Good reading. Keep up the good work!
Thank you for the encouragement. The book of Job contains such a powerful gospel message. I have only begun to plumb the depths of it, but plan to share more insights as God leads.
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