* Pastor Jeremiah is taking a break for this week in writing the daily blog to accompany your reading. Ralph M. is our guest writer for today’s blog post.
One of the big narratives that we have been told about the story of Job is that his friends wanted to blame Job for all of the suffering that have happened to him. Job, on the other hand, wanted to get an answer from God as he continued to claim his innocence. As people removed from the situation in the text, we know that God is on a cosmic challenge with Satan, Job and his friends were not aware of this. We were all taught from a young age in Sunday school that Job’s friends were wrong and Job was right.
It is not as black and white as it seems, however. Job’s friends, like Job, acknowledged God’s power in the situation in verses 1-3; a very positive trait:
Dominion and awe belong to God;
he establishes order in the heights of heaven.
Can his forces be numbered?
On whom does his light not rise?
In reading the Scriptures, it is easy for us to see people as black and white. This leads us to take out good qualities in bad people and bad qualities in good people. When we talk of Job’s friends, we see them as misguided and bumbling idiots who cannot comfort a grieving friend. However, when we see these characters as three-dimensional human beings, we see that they probably have a deeper theological understanding of who God is and what He can do. We can see them as ourselves, especially during times of crisis needing comfort. You may have caught yourself comforting someone who had lost someone with the words “He is in a better place now,” or “It is time,” rather than keeping silent, as what we usually shout at Job’s friends when we read the book. When we see Job’s friends for the entirety of who they are based on the Scriptures, we might see far more familiar characters: our very own selves.