Theology of Suffering Worksheets 2

Worksheet #2—1: Death of humans and livestock—by fire of God (1:16), by the sword (1:17), and by wind (1:18); theft of livestock—raiders (1:17). Painful sores—Satan (2:7). All: caused by Satan, with God’s permission.

  1. While I’ve never exactly prayed a prayer like the one Job prays, I’ve certainly felt that way sometimes. I think when faced with circumstances of very profound loss (and I’ve been there a couple times in my life), it’s natural to think this way, and wish one was never born.
  2. Firstly, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar all consistently aver that Job is at fault: he has sinned in some way, no matter how righteous he may seem, and God is doing all of this to punish him. However, Elihu maintains that they are wrong: God is absolutely righteous and just, and there is no reason to believe He is punishing Job. On the other hand, Job is wrong for thinking that God is being unjust, because God cannot be unjust.
  3. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar counsel Job to repent of his sins in order to be relieved of his suffering—theirs is a very simplistic theodicy. Elihu, however, urges Job to trust in God’s sovereignty and righteousness, and praise Him.
  4. Against the three, Job maintains that he cannot repent of sins he has not committed. He bitterly laments what he perceives as injustice. However, he does not get a chance to respond to Elihu, because God interjects to challenge him.
  5. I guess if I’m being honest, it’s a little hard to read about what Job went through, and then to see God challenge him on top of all of that in 38:1-40:2, and then again from 40:6 on. That said, I understand the context and why God did it.
  6. God’s challenge to Job is whether Job can truly presume to discredit God’s justice, given that Job cannot carry out justice in the way that God can because he lacks the power.
  7. The book of Job teaches the reader that suffering can come to good people, and it is not simply and necessarily a punishment for sins. It also teaches the reader that God’s justice is absolute, and we should always trust in God and always praise Him.