Daily Reading: Job 22-25
One of the reasons I’m often reluctant to read the Bible is because it doesn’t offer much in the way of comedy. Sure there may be some incredible action stories, and definitely some intense drama…but I’m a comedy guy. What? Caddyshack’s on? Yup, my plans for the day just fell apart. Huh? You Netflixed Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Yeah, I’ll happily invite myself over to be the third wheel on your movie night date. You’ve never seen a man laugh himself off the couch as he watches a taco and grilled cheese sandwich fight to the death? Clearly we aren’t spending much time together.
Turns out I was wrong. I’m finding the book of Job to be as entertaining as most classic comedies. In fact, it is a classic comedy. Job is really just Grumpy Old Men. It’s basically a bunch of old dudes sitting around insulting one another. Here’s a loosely paraphrased exchange between Job and his buddies over the course of about 20 chapters:
Job: “God is out to get me. I wish I were dead.”
Bildad: “Shut your cakehole you old windbag. God isn’t out to get you.”
Zophar: “God isn’t punishing you half as much as you deserve, you old coot.”
Job: “Well look who knows everything! You’re about as good of a friend as the IRS.”
Eliphaz: “Hey Four Eyes! You’re so old and so blind you’ve turned away from God.” (That was a major, major burn back in the day.)
Job: “You guys should go into the ballooning business with all that hot air you’ve got. You’d make a fortune!”
Bildad: “Geez man, not even my grandson babbles as much as you, you crazy fool!”
And so on.
It’s fantastic! But not just because it’s hilarious…but because these are real men struggling to work through deep questions about God’s nature. They’re judgmental. (Job’s friends are convinced his misfortune is a result of his own sinful action for which he should repent.) They’re prideful. (Job continually proclaims himself pure and righteous, playing the “victim” card. And like all men, each one in this story is convinced he is absolutely right.) But they’re not all bad. These guys display some wisdom too. (Job’s friends constantly remind him that God is good and powerful. They remind him that God honors those who honor him, and that men are maggots compared to God, so who are they to cry out against Him? And Job still proclaims God to be the all mighty and all powerful Creator.)
This is real life. This is a story about a guy who has good friends who speak the truth to him. It’s also a story about a guy who doesn’t want to hear the truth, but rather, for his friends to rally around his pain. I love it. It’s so genuine, so real. Everyone involved thinks they’re the one who’s right. Now this is something I can relate to. I bet we all can. We’ve all given amazing advice to friends who seem to choose to make life harder on themselves by not listening to us right? (What are they? Crazy?) And we all have friends who can’t believe we don’t listen to them more, despite constantly telling us it’s for our own good right? (Who do they think they are? Our parents?)
In the past I always thought Job was some kind of biblical hero or the example of how a truly good man deals with unfortunate events in life by staying positive and thankful towards God no matter what kind of crap hits the fan. However, he isn’t perfect. He’s a normal guy. I’ve decided Job is just a guy like me who means well, and loves God, but can be a real jerk sometimes.**
Man this is good stuff.
**I love when people leave comments, but let’s just say there’s not much of a need to elaborate on this particular issue from those who know me. Thanks.