What You’ve Missed…
* Jacob moves to Egypt. He gives his final blessing for all twelve of his sons before he dies. (It’s actually pretty dramatic and theatrical. Richard Roeper would probably consider it a bit over the top, but then again, he didn’t think Snakes on a Plane was that great either, so what does he know?)
* Joseph mourns his father, then he dies. (Very UNdramatically I might add. Booooo.)
* Genesis ends. (One down, sixty-five to go.)
Daily Reading: Job 1-4
Yup, you read that right. We jumped from Genesis to Job. (Keep in mind this is a chronological Bible…and apparently scholars believe the story of Job takes place around the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Basically it’s a, “Meanwhile, over at Job’s Ranch…” type of situation.)
So, the first couple of chapters of Job are pretty nuts. For starters God is bragging to Satan about how awesome Job is. How he’s a man of integrity who stays away from evil. Did you catch that? God is bragging about Job! Think He still does this? I like to think God brags about me from time to time. (I mean, if you saw how incredibly humble I am, you’d be pretty impressed too.) Anyway, Satan says he wants to test Job, and God ALLOWS it (under the condition Job is not harmed physically.) You’d think God would tell Satan to get lost, that Job (who God claims to be the finest man on the Earth) is off limits. But that doesn’t happen, and Satan goes off to do his thing.
Satan has a bunch of crazy desert raiders steal and kill all of Job’s livestock and servants. Then a powerful wind comes in, knocking down the house where ALL of Job’s children were partying, killing everyone inside. (Thinking ahead to parenthood, I’m tempted to use this story to scare my possible future teenage daughters away from parties. “Remember what happened to Job’s children honey? They partied. And they died.”) After all the dust has settled, and Job realizes he’s lost nearly everything in his life, he worships God, reminding us that the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh awayeth. (Job’s attitude is hard for me to accept, seeing as I get pretty upset at little things. Like when I lose a game of Words With Friends…which is all the time. I’m making grumbling sounds I don’t know how to adequately write out right now.)
Cut back to heaven and God is still bragging about Job and Satan is still really annoyed by it, so he gets God to agree to another test for Job. This time God says Satan can do anything he wants, except kill him. So Satan covers him in boils from head to toe. (Now, I don’t mean to cause division, but I’d imagine Job would have a hard time reading Your Best Life Now in this condition, especially if he’d heard God say all this suffering was cool by Him.)
Seriously…God is simply allowing Job’s life to turn to complete crap overnight. He doesn’t console him, or promise him it will get better. He doesn’t reach in to save him or heal him or anything. He just let’s Job suffer. And this is a man He loves. A man He brags about! What the heck God? I mean, the whole “God gives and God takes away” thing is great in theory…but if this is what it looks like in the practical sense, well, I don’t know how I’m supposed to really handle that. (I like the first part waaaay more than that second part.) And I really like the idea that, “His ways are not our ways” but I like it when it helps me to keep on keepin’ on when I can’t explain things for myself. But here…God’s way is to let someone He loves simply suffer. I mean, I guess it’s a test for Job, but still…I like the “His ways aren’t our ways” deal when it’s convenient, not…inconvenient. I like it when it makes things easier, not harder.
Anyway…so Job finally shows that while he may be God’s favorite, he’s still totally human. After sitting around in silence with his friends for seven days, wallowing in his misery, he finally explodes into the most depressing speech ever, cursing the day he was born. He actually says he wishes he’d been born dead. How much more depressing, morbid, and emo can you get? Eat your heart out George Bailey, this guy can outwhine you any day of the week. (I mean the character from It’s a Wonderful Life, not my friend George Bailey, who shares the same name, and who in fact, is pretty optimistic about most things.)
As the suffering continues, Job’s buddy Eliphaz tries to encourage his friend, reminding him to be confident in God. He reminds Job that God is just and powerful. He encourages him to take heart and endure. But I doubt Job really listens to him because with a name like Eliphaz, well, let’s just say I bet Job thinks he’s more like Elispaz than anything else. (To be honest, I don’t know Job’s response. I haven’t read that far yet.)
Eliphaz…that poor guy. I bet middle school was tough for a guy with a name like that.