Have you ever commended someone for having “the patience of Job”? It’s curious how that expression developed when the story is not at all about Job being patient.Read More
Articles posted by Lynn Smith
The Compassion of Silence
In the previous chapter, messenger after messenger arrives with the disastrous news that Job has been stripped of everything—family, lands, servants and possessions. Job’s response is still to worship God, refuting Satan’s accusation that Job’s faith was conditional on God’s abundant blessings.
Not to be defeated, Satan now ups the ante. He says, “Okay, he didn’t falter when his possessions were taken away, but certainly he will curse you if he has to suffer physical pain.”Read More pain, silence, compassion
No Peace or Rest – Only Troubles and Worries
When Job finally breaks the silence, it’s with a cry of anguish directed at God, his creator. Why was I born? Why can’t I die?
Job has lost his peace. He accepted the loss of all his possessions and even his family with an amazing calmness but now he lashes out. His passionate outburst is common to those who suffer deeply—whether physical, emotional or spiritual.Read More emotions, questions, transperancy
Deluded by the Wisdom of the Day
Life is painfully miserable for Job and he has no idea why. Our natural response to anything unwelcome is to ask why. Why this? Why me? Why now?
My mother suffered from Alzheimer disease and her agonizing questions were always a variation of “What have I done to deserve this? Why is God punishing me? “
Aren’t we prone to ask the same questions whenever we face difficulties?
Blaming the Victim
Ah, if only Eliphaz had remained silent! Or just listened! Then he might have given genuine comfort. But Eliphaz came from Teman, a city known as a place of wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7), and the desire to show off his “wisdom” was too strong. He has sacrificed his initial compassion in order to hold on to his understanding that suffering is the direct result of sin.Read More victim, blame
Betrayed by Friends
What a disappointment Eliphaz’ words have been to Job.
He likens his experience to a caravan of travellers in the desert who are searching for water. They have hope and joy when they see swollen streams of water in the distance, but when they reach the streams they have dried up.Read More agony, desperation, friends, accusation
Hope in the Midst of Hopelessness
Job’s life is hopeless. He has lost all his possessions. His open sores are both physically painful and socially isolating. His friends are not helpful. All he has to hold on to is his belief in God and in himself and even that is being undermined.
So it’s not surprising that he longs for the release of death. And yet we begin to see a glimmer of hope that God does care for him—hope that is not yet a certainty.Read More despair, death
Challenger or Conformer
Bildad can hardly wait to get into the conversation with his own wisdom! Know anyone like that? Of course we all do. Sometimes it’s us.
His argument isn’t really any different from that of Eliphaz but he is more brutal in his attack. “You’re full of hot air, Job. Stop complaining. Listen to what we have all been taught. God doesn’t pervert justice. Your children died because of their sin—so smarten up and start living right.Read More challenge, conform, hopelessness
The Power of Questions
As readers of this drama we know that instead of accusing Job, God affirmed his faith and his integrity. But Job doesn’t know this and so he struggles in darkness, suffering the logical consequences of the belief that suffering is always the result of sin.
Because Job can’t make sense of this, he concludes that God is arbitrarily picking on him and lashes out in angerRead More anger, confusion