Today’s passage of Scripture is Job 1:1-3 which reads: “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.”
Today’s quote about the Bible is from C.S. Lewis. He said: “The value of the Old Testament may be dependent on what seems its imperfection. It may repel one use in order that we may be forced to use it in another way—to find the Word in it… to re-live, while we read, the whole Jewish experience of God’s gradual and graded self-revelation, to feel the very contentions between the Word and the human material through which it works.”
Our topic for today is titled “The Story of Job” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.
Another carefully crafted book from an early period is the book of Job: Where to include it in our survey of the Old Testament is problematic. First, Job was not an Israelite, so he really does not fit into our overall historical structure. Second, the dating of the book is debated. A number of its characteristics, including the archaic language, suggest that the book was written at an early date and that Job himself lived at about the same time or shortly after the time of Abraham. We see described in the book a similar culture that counts wealth in terms of animals, and Job himself seems to have been semi-nomadic like Abraham. Furthermore, Job personally offered sacrifices on behalf of his family, serving as a patriarchal priest. With these details in mind, we will view Job as a contemporary of Abraham’s son or grandson and place his account here. If this setting is correct, it may suggest that the book of Job was part of the original canon that the nation of Israel took with it from Mount Sinai.
Why was this account included in the canon? There seem to be three key reasons. First, the book of Job addresses a crucial question we all ask: Why do bad things happen to good people? As we follow the patriarchs, we find that while they are viewed as very human, they are also portrayed as “good people.” So the question lurking in the back of the minds of the people listening to what Moses had to say about Abraham and his descendants would have been, If God chose our ancestors, why did they end up in slavery in Egypt? This question would have arisen especially in connection with the story of Joseph. The premise of Job is that much of what happens in this world involves issues far beyond moral cause and effect.