Sometimes We Have to Suffer

A look at what I learned while reading Job. You've probably seen be referencing Job in a slew of other posts, so you can guess what the lessons are from this book. The four main takeaways are: (i) even the righteous may suffer; (ii) only God can define justice; (iii) when your friend is suffering, you should stay by their side; and (iv) God will not like it if you spread false doctrine.

Introduction

Job has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible. Its been a theological go-to for almost everything I talk about. The overarching theme that we may suffer even when we believe we shouldn't and only God has complete control and complete knowledge is one that seems to apply to everything in life. I find myself referencing Job's experience often, but I don't find myself reading the book often...
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Trouble Reading Job

Reading Job reminded me of reading Beowulf. The most I remember about Beowulf is that after reading each stanza, I would have to re-read it because I didn't understand it the first time. There's no question that Job contains masterful poetry. Its beautifully written, and many of the popular phrases we say today were spawned from Job's words. But like with Beowulf, I didn't always know what I had read. It could be that I had too much on my mind while reading, but I often found it really difficult to zero in on the meaning. On top of that, I had to remind myself that Job's friends weren't always giving sound advice. This makes the book even more difficult to understand. It's also why theologically, it's still my favorite! It's hard to know which pastors are giving us the right interpretation of scripture. Many times they mean well, they think they're right, and it sounds sort of in ball park. However, like Job's friends, they're missing a piece of the puzzle. We have to study diligently and ask the Holy Spirit to give us understanding. When I finish my journey back through the Bible, I will comeback and re-read Job, because I'm sure I missed something (or many things).

Lessons

The book of job is one of the most depressing books in the Bible. It's a humbling reminder that things don't always go our way, even when we're doing all the right things. We like to comfort ourselves, and others, saying that good things come to those who serve God, but we often forget that bad visit us while we wait. It's hard to be strong in a case like Job's. I've always been the person who could take deserved punishment easily, but when I feel unjustly punished, that's another story. Like Job, it's easy to put ourselves on a pedestal and start thinking God has wronged us when things take a turn for the worst. We must remember those last chapters of Job and remind ourselves that God is just and He doesn't make mistakes.

Another takeaway is influenced by Job's friends. They may have been giving false doctrine, but they sat with Job during the storm. Job's friends could have labelled him a lost cause and gone on with their lives, but they didn't. If we are true friends, we will help our friends through their troubling times as well. Job's friends may have been perfect examples if they had prayed before spreading their opinion of the situation. We should follow their example of supporting our friends, but we should pray before offering our friends advice. Perhaps if Job's friends had been in better communication with God, they could have resolved the issue much sooner. Even if the suffering period remained the same, at the end, God would not have been angry with them. From start to finish, the Bible cautions us to beware of false doctrine. Most of us would never corrupt His word on purpose, but that doesn't mean we won't do so by accident. God doesn't want tarnished and distorted versions of His word floating around, so we should always check with Him to confirm our understanding.

References

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About

Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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