Scripture: Job 1:1-11
Key verse: (11) “But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”
Reflection: There once was a man … As the book of Job opens, these words signal to us that we are reading a long parable, a story set up to teach a point. Throughout the chapters of this book, Job struggles with his friends and God, trying to understand why bad things are happening to him, trying to understand the actions of God.
In chapter 1, our reading for today we meet Job, a wealthy and righteous man who had seven sons and three daughters. Again, the parable theme here … 7 and 3 are both holy numbers indicating completeness. So Job was set! He had the house, he had the kids, he had the large estate with animals and servants. God even declares, “Consider my servant Job, there is no one like him on earth.” Quite the compliment! But … in chapter 1 we also meet the character Satan, which in Hebrew means “the accuser”, who plays a significant role in this book testing and challenging Job. Satan isn’t sold on Job’s faithfulness, telling God that if all that Job had was taken away, Job would curse God face to face!
The rest of the book plays this drama out, but the opening scene is quite interesting and raises some valid questions that faithful people have been asking through the ages. Some of those questions are: Do we see safety, well-being, and wealth as a blessing from God? If so, does that mean that harm, poor health, and poverty are a curse from God? Depending upon how we answer these questions will tell us a lot about how we imagine who God is, and who we are. The book of Job wrestles with the tension of why bad things happen, why good things happen, how we understand God’s character and actions, and where we fit in the mix of life.
These are all questions that are faithful to ask today! Whatever you take from these passages in Job, I encourage you to hold in tension the reality that God loves everyone, and people’s lives look differently. Can we look at our situation in life and not see it as a result of God’s blessing or curse? Can we see our comfort not as a product of God’s love, as well as not seeing our pain and suffering as a result of God’s anger? Instead, may we seek to find God’s love and respond in faithfulness in the midst of each and every situation in life. For God loves us in good times and in bad, whether we have plenty or are in need, whether we are healthy or sick, God loves us each and every day.
Prayer: Loving God, may we seek to find your love in the midst of everyday life no matter our circumstances. By your Spirit enable us to love others as you love them as well. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].