Have you ever wondered what would happen if a part of the book was missing?
For example, what if Job wasn’t restored by God in the end? What if Job was left to suffer and left ransacked and empty? How would that change your perspective of God?
Or what if we didn’t get the insight in the beginning that it was Satan who was out causing the trouble, trying to harm Job, not God? Wouldn’t you think differently if all of these things that happened to Job were “natural causes” or even “God’s punishment?” I’m sure I would.
God’s restoration in the book is a crucial piece of the story.
Satan’s attempts to destroy Job are a crucial piece of the story.
And what about other sections… like the section where Job’s friends are trying to console him, but end up causing him more trouble? What if they came and just sat in silence until Job was restored? Would you be able to believe that? I don’t think I could. It wouldn’t be true to our human nature. We’re always trying to fix other people and often saying dumb things in difficult times.
Or what if the friends came and the author just gave one short paragraph summary of their bad advice and said to the effect, “Job’s friends came and tried to console him, but they actually had the opposite effect. First, they implied that he deserved what came to him. Then, they outright told him he was being punished for his sins. They tried to convince him of this multiple times, but Job refused to listen and held firm in his own conscience that he had behaved righteously.”
Wouldn’t that kind of summary take away from the whole experience of the book? It’s having to read the 30+ chapters of monologue that make the experience of Job that much more painful. When you look at it objectively, most of us aren’t as rich as Job was, most of us haven’t lost as much as he did, as fast as he did. Thus, it’s tough to feel like we’re in his shoes. But then, when you read 30 chapters of friends trying to help but actually causing more harm than good, you can totally relate.
And sometimes the worst pain comes not from the event itself, but from the friends and family who come after the event and try to make everything better but actually make it worse.
You ever experience that? Me too.
Now let’s close this out with one final consideration…
What if God didn’t show up in chapter 38 and speak to Job out of the storm? How different would the book be if God never spoke?!
When you look at the story of Job as a whole, you realize how crucial every one of these elements are. You realize how each piece is essential to a correct theology / view of God. You realize this is truly wisdom literature. And that, my friends, makes the book worth the read.
Job is one of my favorites, as is all of the wisdom literature books in the Old Testament. I’ll see you on another one in the future!