2003-04-21 - Folktales
Job Series, Part 3
Job 1:1,2 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him.
I have been reading The New Interpreter's Bible Commentary as I study the book of Job. I have found it to be a huge disappointment. At the start of the book of Job the author suggests that it is helpful to view Job as a folktale. I will not be viewing it as a folktale and think that it is very unhelpful to do so. Even as we look at the start of the book we can see that it has the elements of a narrative or history. It does not read like a folktale or and allegory.
It is not uncommon for some to view much of the Old Testament as non-historical. I used to work at a church where the Sr. Pastor preached through Jonah for a few weeks. He would tell the congregation that it would be nice if the story was true and that it was too bad that it never happened. Then I would get up, do the prayer and thank the Lord that we knew these things were true. The contradiction could not have been more obvious.
It is important for us to see the Lord's hand in His acts throughout the Bible. As we see and understand God working in the narratives of the Old Testament, it is here where we see God's hand linked to our lives. There can be a lot of comfort gathered from the book of Job. Job is called "blameless" which signifies his integrity. Yet we all know the story. In spite of his being blameless he still is given great struggles to deal with. This can be a comfort to us as we go through struggles. Job went through struggles and yet the Lord was faithful to him and, in the end, restored to him even more than he had originally.
It is supposed by many that the narrative given in the book of Job took place during the times of the patriarchs. Some consider that he may have been the richest man around. One of the problems with the book of Job is that we don't even know where the land of Uz is. What we see here in this book is Job accepting, humbly, his suffering. It is not that Job did not struggle. If you read through the book you can see over and over again that Job often despaired of life. However, we also see that his trust remained in the Lord. There is much that we can take away from Job's example. This is especially true as we go through hard times in our lives.
None of us are free from sin. Therefore, we need not wonder that things don't always go well with us. When calamities come into our lives we can look to ourselves and to God who allowed these things to come into our lives. In both aspects we can learn. We can seek to live our lives more faithfully and free from indwelling sin and we can also learn to trust the Lord when times are good and when times area tough. In Job we see someone who submitted to God even in the most difficult times.
Soli Deo Gloria,