The first two chapters of the book of Job are difficult reading and raise uncomfortable questions for the Christian. How could God agree to allow Satan to target Job with such cruel suffering? Could I become the subject of some divine test of my faith like Job?
It is worth persisting with the book as it is important to remember that there is a very happy ending. We defy any believer to read through chapters 38-42 without being left with a powerful sense of the incredible awe and majesty of God. However, this book does force us to confront the awkward question of affliction for the faithful follower, which is even more difficult when the subject is a blameless individual such as Job. This is something that none of us wants to experience but that many of us will have to face at some point.
We are certain that God allowed Job to be subjected to this period of affliction for a very specific purpose – God would not have allowed it otherwise and this was certainly not some way of gratifying Satan. God was using this incident to teach an audience both in heaven and on earth and God would never have allowed Job to suffer more than he could bear.
However, one of the most remarkable features of Job is that, in many ways, he prefigured or was a ‘type’ of Christ. In other words, God teaches us something of Jesus through Job. This is often the case in Scripture. Whenever you come across a bizarre passage, there is often a deeper message that is being conveyed which will always point towards Jesus Christ. That is not to detract for the historicity of this narrative – there are a number of clues that the events of Job occurred near the time of Abraham, but it is more than just a difficult OT narrative.
Danny recently preached a sermon on these two chapters where he unpacks this further – feel free to listen via the link below: