Have you noticed that life is not fair? Sure you have. But even more troubling than this, have you realized that God is not fair either?
Many turn to the Old Testament book of Job for inspiration when they are facing struggles and trials. No doubt, Job suffered mightily, and he made many grand declarations that are often quoted during tribulation.
But Job believed two things that are revisited chapter after chapter in his book. First, he believed that he was righteous because of all the noble activity he engaged in, and second, he believed God would reward him fairly based upon the right standards by which he lived his life. Up until the final chapter, this story is about Job coming to the end of these two false assumptions.
Do you remember the oft quoted, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15a)? Or do you recall the inspirational statement, “When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (23:10b)?
Notice the references for these two verses. They are partial quotes.
They actually read in full, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways to His face.” And the second quote concludes a passage where Job is lamenting that he has diligently searched for God, looking for the opportunity to “present his case” to God and challenge Him to a debate concerning his (i.e., Job’s) righteousness and the injustice of his suffering. Finally, Job declares self-righteously, “But He knows where to find me, and when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (ref. Job 23:1-12).
Bluntly stated, Job believed that because he lived a good life and did the right things he should be exempt from suffering, hardship, and heartbreak. In fact, he adhered so strongly to this philosophy of life that he was anxious to stand face-to-face with God and argue that he was a just person who was not being treated fairly. When God fails to adopt Job’s perspective, he has a crisis of faith that lasts forty-one chapters through bankruptcy, invasion, offense, the loss of children and friends, disillusionment, and lost confidence.
Next: What went wrong with Job’s approach to life and godliness?