Friday, 7 February 2014

Accusing the righteous

Job is an fundamental book if one is going to discuss suffering. It is important both for understanding the issue of suffering in our world, but also to encourage those who are suffering. I have found Job difficult to understand and I do not think think is unique to myself. The early chapters being narrative seem relatively straight forward, though there is a wealth of information encased there. But the poetical exchanges between Job and his friends seem more complicated theologically.

I have read Job several times and have recently come to a conclusion that helped me make sense of the dialogues.

Job makes several claims, many of which seem true, though he still complains to God. God confronts and rebukes Job, yet later tells Job's friends that Job has spoken right of him and they have not.
The Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.(Job 42:7)
Yet some what the friends stated seems true. Paul even quotes Eliphaz positively,
For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” (1 Corinthians 3:19)
compare
He frustrates the devices of the crafty,
so that their hands achieve no success.
He catches the wise in their own craftiness,
and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end. (Job 5:12-13)
So at least some of what Eliphaz said was correct.

The conclusion I have come to is that Job what a type of Christ. Much as Joseph and Elisha are types of Christ in various ways so Job is also, in the sense that he is a righteous man suffering unrighteously. The fault of his friends is not always in what they state if one considers it from a proverbial perspective, rather in their misapplication to a righteous man. The introduction to Job serves as a framework with which we can interpret the dialogues.

In the first 2 chapters of Job we are given an insight into a divine dialogue that Job what ignorant of. Satan brings an accusation against Job. Tellingly he is given the name Satan which means "accuser" or "adversary." Job's friends make statements that may be correct in some situations but are not in this situation, or they apply proverbs that are generally true but not specifically true. Because Job is a righteous man his friends are accusing him wrongly and are judged by God for this. If we consider Job a type of Christ then consider how Job's friends would sound if they made the same accusations against Jesus. It is not that what they are saying is always incorrect, but they are certainly incorrect in applying these ideas to Jesus.

I suggest reading thru Job and reading the comments by Job's friends as being directed to Jesus and considering how that affects your perception of them and your reading of Job.

Now Job is a type of Christ and not the antitype, who is Jesus. Job is a sinner as are all men. He is righteous in God's eyes as he is a man of faith and he does what is right, nevertheless, he is a son of Adam who sins and is in need of a redeemer; something he willingly confesses,
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God, (Job 19:25-26)
Because of this God rebukes Job for what he does not understand. God corrects Job where he sins, but Job's friends accuse him of sin when he is acting in righteousness.

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