Contributor, Neal Stone, of Ex-Christian.net says, ‘You have an enemy who challenges one of your children’s belief in you. To prove yourself and your child’s belief you kill all the child’s offspring, destroy his property and make him sick with boils and suffer agony all to prove a bet. On top of that this enemy can talk to you face to face, but your own creation can not because they once obeyed this enemy.’ 1
Then he asks, ‘Does this make sense to you? It makes sense to Christians.’ Unless Neal Stone possesses omniscience, I don’t know how this makes sense to any Christian. Though the book of Job is not the easiest book of the Bible to understand, it doesn’t justify his mangled version. We have to look first of all at some of the main objectives of the book of Job.
# 1. Job was tested by the devil, although God allowed it. Superficially, it seems as if the argument of Satan is that Job only loves God because of his great wealth: ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? …Have you [God] not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands….’ 2 The reason why God allows the devil to inflict trouble on Job and test his love and loyalty to God, is because He has so much confidence in Job. That is quite something!
# 2. God taught Job through His Creation to trust Him. Job was successful and probably busy. Did he know God very well at that time? It doesn’t seem so. As he acknowledges after his severe trial, ‘My ears have heard of you [God], but now my eyes have seen you.’ 3 What did he see?
God asked Job, ‘Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell, if you understand.’ 4 Job couldn’t answer. Yet when Job saw God as the Creator, it caused him to repent, his faith was restored and he found peace.
# 3. God rewarded Job. Some people think the book of Job only teaches us to persevere, ‘Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering…. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.’ 5 However, it is important that the test ended in reward, ‘…the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before…. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.’ 6
Application: We can view Job’s restoration as an image of the new heavens and earth. Tests and suffering come our way on this side of the grave, but something far better is waiting, because the Ruler of the universe can deliver. He is the one who created it all, ‘I know you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.’ 7
In the next blog we will look at more details of Neil Stone’s mangled version. There is usually quite a difference between what God is accused of, and what the truth is.
1. Neal Stone, Does this makes sense to you? It makes sense to Christians! Ex-Christians.net, 7/12/2009.
2. Job 1:10
3. Job 42:5
4. Job 38:4
5. James 5:10-11
6. Job 42:10,12
7. Job 42:2