Scripture to meditate on:
On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. – Job 2
Sometimes we think life couldn’t possibly get worse… and then it does. That’s what happens to Job in today’s reading. After losing his family, his home and his wealth in chapter one, next we see the loss of this physical health in chapter two. Due to no fault of his own, Job is in a hopeless situation and a deep depression settles over this man of God.
The author of Job is not suggesting we should live in fear that God will one day subject us to pain in order to make a point to a belligerent accuser. The message of this book is much subtler and complicated that that. On the other hand the author does give us a sense of God’s connection to our own suffering. The accuser is only able to take action against Job because God gives him permission. In this way we are reminded that God is sovereign over everything, including our pain.
Job’s wife, no doubt also in great pain at the loss of her children, appears only briefly in this book. Unfortunately, her own loss keeps her from drawing close to her husband that they might grieve together. Instead, she echoes the accuser’s words, encouraging Job to “curse God and die.” Still Job rejects that temptation and does not “sin with his lips.”
At this point the test is finished, the accuser has lost the argument. But the stage has been set for the real drama, wrestling with undeserved suffering.
“In all this Job did not sin in what he said.” – Job 2:10
Questions to ponder:
- Why do you think God allows suffering?
- How do you comfort those who suffer?
- What do you most desire during a time of suffering?