Mystery and Faith (Pt. 1)
Passage: Job 1:1–3:20
The Big Picture: Job’s theological message is that people should respond to innocent, unexplained suffering by trusting God because he is supremely wise, sovereign, just, and good. Because of his omnipotent work of creating and sustaining the order of the cosmos, YHWH alone is its sovereign and benevolent lord who relates to finite human beings only on the basis of his own sovereign grace and our joyous trust in him.
Outline of Job Chapters 1-3
- Job’s faith and prosperity (1:1-5)
- The first scene before YAHWEH (1:6-12)
- Announcements of disasters (1:13-22)
- The second scene before YAHWEH (2:1-6)
- The affliction of Job’s body (2:7-10)
- The arrival of the three comforters (2:11-13)
- Job’s initial reaction (3:1-26)
Motifs In Job: Each of the following seven motifs is textually rooted and thus contributes to the book’s theme, but none adequately encapsulates the book as a whole.
- The problem of innocent, unexplained suffering
- Maintaining faith during innocent, unexplained suffering.
- Refuting retribution theology
- Putting humans in their place.
- Emotional and spiritual maturity.
Some concluding reflections
- The book of Job frankly insists that suffering falls within the sweep of God’s sovereignty.
- The emphasis on Job’s goodness is meant to highlight the fact that there is such a thing as innocent suffering.
- The degree to which we struggle with this question is likely to be related to the extent of our own sufferings.
- God does not blame us if in our suffering we frankly vent our despair and confess our loss of hope, our sense of futility, our lamentations about life itself.
- Already the theme of mystery has intruded.
This series owes a plagiarizing debt to Andy Naselli’s “From Typology to Doxology: Paul’s Use of Isaiah and Job in Romans 11:34-35”; and Don Carson’s “How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil”