Human wisdom alone cannot fathom the ways of God, and undeserved suffering has no easy answer. Learn more from the study of Job 1:1-22.
Sovereign, Loving Lord, I thank You that this complex, confusing and chaotic world is in Your powerful, good hands.
Consider: Human wisdom alone cannot fathom the ways of God, and undeserved suffering has no easy answer. The fear of the Lord is the path to true wisdom.
The idea of God's council reflects common royal practice in the ancient Near East: kings received reports and gave directives in council. Courtiers often acted as the king's roving eyes regarding his subjects' loyalty (1 Kings 22:19-22; Psa. 82:1). The Satan was God's courtier; the word (with the definite article in Hebrew) indicates his functionality, not his name. He was the prosecuting attorney (Hebrew: "to oppose at law"). God brings Job into the limelight. His integrity is affirmed, but the Satan questions whether Job's trust in God can be genuinely disinterested. Surely, all good deeds spring from selfish motives? God, confident of his servant Job, accepts the challenge to find out.
The four disasters come from the four points of the compass: the Chaldean raid from the north, the Sabeans--probably present-day Yemen--from the south, the sirocco wind from the east and the lightning storm (the usual meaning of "fire of God") from the west. All heaven and earth is involved as the Satan raises "his hand" (12) against Job--but Job comes through it worshipping. The amazing words he uses in verse 21 have inspired believers ever since to maintain their spiritual integrity. Though there is much we don't understand, God is not behind evil and is worthy of trust.
When we watch terrible things happening in the world, or in our own lives, it is easy to blame humans and nature. It somehow goes against the grain to blame God, but the shocking truth in this story is that God undoubtedly took the initiative in bringing Job to ruin. Does that make us doubt God's love? Or is it a necessary corrective to the rather cozy feelings we have about God when all is going well for us? Are we able to let God be God and keep trusting him whatever he does?
If you had been Job, how do you think you would have reacted to all these losses? What in your life has been "carried off, put to the sword, burned up, or blown away"? What can you praise God for right now?
Loving Father, I lift up before You those who have been afflicted with unexpected or unexplained suffering. Shine Your understanding light into this dark world.