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February 8, 2011 – Job 7

Click here to read Job 7 on BibleGateway.com

Old ideas die hard.

Job today again reiterates a familiar question: if he had sinned, why didn’t God forgive him and pardon his offenses? In other words, if God forgives sins, why is Job still suffering? He is willing to repent of sins even though he’s fairly certain he hasn’t committed any (which is true, according to the first narrative section of the book).


Now you would think that after a while, people would start to get the idea. The Jewish people had the book of Job for a long time, and yet even in Jesus’ day this idea persisted. In John 9, Jesus’ lovable but slow-witted disciples ask him about a blind man. Specifically, they wanted to know who sinned, him or his parents,  so that this poor blind guy was suffering.

You’d think they’d never read Job or some mildly entertaining devotionals pertaining thereto. Jesus corrects this faulty thinking yet again: suffering is not always caused by sin. It can be for 1) bringing a sinner to repentance, 2) showing the glory of God, 3) showing up Satan, 4) any one of a thousand different reasons that we don’t know.


The truth is we can’t and won’t understand all there is about suffering in the world. When a child dies in infancy, who do we blame that on? Does God cause that or does He work through it? David’s child lost his life because of his sin with Bathsheba. Is that always the case with a child that dies? Of course not.

One thought that consistently emerges from any Bible study is that the world is not simple. There are no easy answers to questions of pain, no one-size-fits-all method of dealing with suffering, because there’s no one cause of suffering (unless we count the Fall as the ultimate reason, but that’s a discussion for a different day).  That’s what makes the Bible different than other religious texts; it’s complicated because it accurately reflects a complicated world.

Like Job, our goal through suffering times is to trust God. Sometimes that’s easy to do and sometimes not. We may not get the answer we want, or any answer at all, but we trust that God is working all things together for good.  He has a purpose for whatever we are suffering through right now.

And that’s an old idea that will never die.

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