Simon is a former pastor of St Thomas’ Anglican Church North Sydney, and is passionate about teaching God’s word to people at all stages of faith.Is the doctrine of 'do wrong get punished, do right get blessed' valid?
Its very hard to answer questions with a ‘bumper sticker’ answer. If you lookin int he old testament God says if you walt his way you will be blessed, and if you walk the opposite way you will be cursed. Theold testament is not teaching salvaltion vby works. it is teaching if you turn to God you live and if you turn away you die. we want to teach the unbleiever that if you turn your back you die, if you turn to Jesus you live! the very fact that God chooses Abraham is grace not works. The very fact that God chooses Israel is grace not works.Is there a ‘veiled’ truth in the Old Testament that ‘hides’ the grace of God and the work of faith?
If you read deutoronomy Moses will say 'take God seriously or you will be punished, but if you take God seriously you will be blessed in the land’. What he is saying is that you are in the land (by grace) now ‘take him seriously’, if you decide to be disobedient He (God) will remove you from the land. We say to our children, ‘we love you and you will be ours forever’. if the child turns around and says ‘am I here by works or grace?’ then we say: ‘we love you but sometimes the love looks like discipline, sometimes love looks like hugs’. When this is applied to a Christian obedience is not what saves you but what honors God and gives you joy! The question of right and wrong is ‘how are you going to honor him now that he has saved you?’.Why do the 3 Friends get it wrong?
Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophars formula is more like a cosmic 'karma' which is (Job 4:8) ‘you reap what you sow’. s
7 “Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished?
Where were the upright ever destroyed?
8 As I have observed, those who plow evil
and those who sow trouble reap it.
That is partly true but it is not true for Job as Job has not done enough to deserve the punishment and disaster he is getting. The lord rebukes them because they are basically preaching Buddhism. Psalm 103 states he doesn't treat us as our sins deserve:
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
The $64,000 question. I dont think the issue is about suffering. If it is about suffering it is very dissatisfying as Job never had his suffering explained to him. If you ask 100 people what Job is about they would likely say 'Job is about suffering' or ‘the patience of Job in suffering’. If you ask ‘does Job answer the question of why suffering happens?’ most will andswer 'no, it does not’. Job answers the question 'is God enough?' or 'is God there to make us happy?' in Job 1:8 God says:
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
The Devil responds 'you pay him to love you'. Job then loses it all and he gets angry (and occasionally Job says stupid things) but God sustains him. The question in the book is 'is God only good for bringing us blessings?' The book of Job answers: ‘No!’ He himself is glorious! If we suffer and loose much and still have him we have everything, It is very satisfying as in chapter 42 Job bows down and says you are amazing, you are bigger and better than I thought without having his suffering explained to him.
Then Job replied to the Lord:
2 “I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”
It is like taking a child to surgery and the child saying 'if you really loved me you wouldnt take me to surgery'. Then (after surgery) the child turns around and says 'thank you, I know you love me'. The worst thing that happens int he book of Job is chapter 1:9 where the devil says 'God is a fool and Job is a fake'
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied
10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.
11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
but then the books says ‘no, God is not a fool and Job is not a fake’. God is glorious and even if everything is taken away the life that God gives sustains them
Yes, Jesus said: ‘take up your cross’. In the book of acts we are told we must go through many trials to enter the kingdom. The believer suffers 1 Peter:
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
God sends trials to purify the gold. The prosperity gospel has emphasised that God is only interested in doing sweet things to you, but that is not the New Testament, that God is going to work all things together for good and sometimes that will take great kindnesses and sometimes will take great trials. Why do we become a Christian? you need to know that God you made you and you will not get out of this life alive and there will come a day whan all these trials will be outweighed by glory.
2 Corinthians 4:18
18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal
With Suffering God is trying to make us mature. The only reason trials come is that in his wisdom God knows what is good for us
We know that from the cross we will never suffer the worst suffering possible, we know that clearly the disciples said ‘yes we can drink your cup’, but they could not drink the
cup of judgement, the cup of being a disciple ion a fallen world. Whatever we suffer we have to understand that Jesus has taken away the greatest suffering on the cross.
Because I have become a believer I am clashing with the world.
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, (Mark 10:40) but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” In John 19:30 Jesus said ‘it is finished’, there is no more suffering for the atonement, but there is suffering allocated Paul said in Colossians 1:4 ‘I am experienceing my share of suffering’. We all have a certain amount of suffering to be experienceed, turning our back on sin, persecution or spiritual opposition. We dont have to suffer to contrubute to the atonement. Jesus carried our sins but we have to pick up the cross, not to be a ‘saviour’ but to carry the cross of discipleship. You need to think about the sacrifice, you need to count the cost to follow christ. Peter said (Mark 8) ‘we have left everything’, you will give eternal life and much more in this life!Is there any contradiction in the portrayal of God in the book of Job with the revelation of Christ (is the God of the Old testament the same as the portrayal by Christ?)
We know from the character of God that Gods character is perfect and steadfast from the first to the last. We dont want to play off the Old Testament God and New Testament God. No christian would want to say 'I know Job suffered… so my suffering must be like Job’. Jobs sufferings were unique. The book of Job answers the question: ‘if everything gets taken away will you survive?" and the answer is ‘yes!’, God will sustain you. Job is extreme so we must be careful not to read ourselves in to the book of Job. Only Jesus suffered more than Job, losing everything, health, life, friends, possessions and got completely cut off by and from God. Because of Jesus we will never experience being cut off from God. It is a terrible thing that the devil would questions the Glory of God as the Devil is saying 'Job is a fake who only prays because you pay well you think he loves you, but he doesn’t’. The devils great aim is to dishonor God, the reverse of the Lords prayer. The boopk of Job sets this straight. The book of Job is a Pilgrims Progress journey - the fire and water the devil says you are NOT worthy God says we ARE worthy.Are the 3 friends influenced by Satan?
The 3 friends pretend to have information they don't and they have not been up into the Lords council, but we the readers are taken up to the Lords council but the 3 friends have not. They are speaking from their flawed human perspective.
Suggested Reading: Christopher Ash - the book of Job, he grapples with every part of the book.
Dr Michael Youssef, Ph.D. (social anthropology) is the senior pastor of the Church of the Apostles, and the executive president of Leading the Way. Youssef was born in Egypt, where he became a Christian, and lived in Lebanon and Australia before moving to the United States. He has authored more than 35 books, including The Barbarians Are Here, End Times and the Secret of the Mahdi, and Jesus, Jihad and Peace..What does satan look like? how do we portray him?
Satan is a spiritual being therefore we can not depict him as anything... that is why he possesses people sometimes to accomplish some of his evil deeds Also The Bible said he can appear as an angel of light , pretending to be an angelic being. The characterisation of him with horns and pitch fork is not accurateLikewise for God, How would we depict a scene in Heaven?
God made it very clear in the 10 commandments that we must not try to visualize him or creat an image of him. John the revelator who laid his head on Jesus’s shoulder when he was in the flesh hardly recognized the gloried Jesus. That is why Paul could say of Jesus that “ we know him after the flesh no more”. While we imagine what the glorified Jesus look like from John’s discrimination but even that can be dicyWhat does the "being in the night" look like? (Job 33:15)?
It only means during one’s sleep, that he can speak at the night’s dreamsWhat would Job's sacrifice look like (would he have had to go to a temple or would he have built an altar)?
No doubt he built an altar just like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, build altars to the Lord to honor him and worship himWhere is Job when he is "sitting in the ashes"?
Probably on the ground, back then they used ashes as a cure or at least a temporary pain relief for skin woundsWhat do we know about Elihu? Why is he not included when God speaks?
We only know what the Bible tells about him I don’t think he represents any allegorical figure
Points to Remember:
- The whole message of Job is he is a ‘type’ of Christ,
- That not all suffering is a result of sin
- That all suffering for the believers is purposeful
- That God is sovereign and will be glorified through our suffering
- That people’s judgments are often wrong and self serving
CEO – Jews for Jesus www.jewsforjesus.org.au www.jewsforjesus.org.au
Bob Mendelsohn is the leader of Jews for Jesus Austral-Asia, a territory that now includes Singapore and New Zealand. He lives in Sydney with his wife and children. Bob travels throughout the world sharing the message of Messiah Yeshua. He has preached or ministered on the streets in Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Argentina, visited 47 of the 50 states in the US, and all over the traps in Australia from Perth to Townsville to Melbourne and to Port Macquarie
There is no satan in the jewish world. If you take it literally (which 95% do not take it literally) then this is conscience, Job having a battle between Good and Evil in the conscience. We know that it is written approximately the time of the pentateuch, but is it an Aesop fable (where the teaching matter) or a literal conversation. You start with the assumption that it is literal. What is the end of the conversation in Job 42 (similar to ecclesiastes and Revelation) it sounds like Job was humbled, stopped with the ‘white knuckling’ and trusted God. The ‘where were you’ needs to be a major culmination you weren’t there (Romans 9) who are you (clay) to tell the potter! Job is “Tamine” (perfect in every aspect physical, emotional, physical) he loves his kids , elephaz, his wife and everyone chides him...including God. White knuckled religion is not enough. Both prodigals rejected their father. Grace is surrender and this is what Job finally did. Job is the prodigal wayward son (though he thinks he is now) and the smug son (That son of yours) he is the religious but he is also the prodigal.
God is initially proud of Job (and literally blessing him) God allows a wonderful drama. At the end God restores Job. The question is why is it fair that Job’s children were destroyed? Creating a dream sequence at the may be a way of bringing the God/satan dialogue into the picture without taking the ‘punch’ out of the ‘this is a story’ narrative. The reality of the story is phenomenal, so don't let it get lost by those who demean it. it is a jewish thing forever that blessedness is a k-ching to the guys that earn it! Use fringes of the garment on the bottom of an outside garment (one of which is blue) this is very jewish. Skull caps were not used, but the fringes were there. You can add the mazzuzah at the door and the altar can be mosaic with the curvature of the 4 horns. after Abraham there was shofar blowing. Job would have gone to the priest on duty
Marc Shagal paintings have a phenomenal reality of the crucifixion. In the era between the wars and his painting about jewish suffering regularly. He puts the akedah (the binding of Isaac) with Abraham holding the knife and in the corner is a crucifix with a tallis wrapped around his loins. CHagall had no problem bringing in the crucifixion. What Job did was so honorable for his children. When Job says my redeemer lives and that I will see him this is a n invitation to an open tomb. 1 Cor 15. People allude to Job as a proof text. With your words you strengthen the knees that are weak (Hebrews chapter 12) our job is to strengthen...how do you do that? By your words! what we say either strengthens or belittles them.
Ps. Simon McIntyre is a founder and pioneer of the C3 Global movement, and the Regional Director of C3 Europe and Americas. A renown and respected preacher, teacher, husband, father, grandfather, Simon is a sharp Christian thinker - a believer anchored in the real world, someone who sees things differently. Simon has written numerous books including: Follow the Leader, Joshua – Lessons in the Wilderness, and Simon Says
The picture of ‘the satan’ is not the ‘horned demon’ seen in popular culture, but more a highly skilled and competent barrister who has the bold audacity to challenge God in a heavenly courtroom. It is not unusual for ‘The satan’ to actually be appearing before God, he is only there to question or impune God and to have a crack at Job. God is the judge and ‘the satan’ is the prosecuting attorney. The depiction of a horned demon does not depict the classic figure. The satan is incredibly smart and would appear as more of a barrister with the classic curl wig who only appears because you pay him well (a raging demon would not have a crack at God). ‘The satan’ is the accuser, less about Jesus and demons than a court at law. Job never accused God, he had a fight wirh God, not a prayerful conversation, but ‘pain driven’. Job never knew that he was just like a piece of Chess on the board, and if Job had of known it would not have made any difference!...Job’s children died, when something like that happens even if God were to tell you ‘why’ it doesn’t make any difference. The ‘knowing’ doesn’t help
Job could be literal, it could be mythical, I am somewhere in-between, this is not as important as the point that the story makes. The ‘spirit in the night’ is a mystical experience occurring in a vision, this word depicts prophetic visions as well as terrifying nightmares. Eliphaz is claiming revelation, ‘God gave me a message’ but I don’t think this was God. Eliphaz was wrong and God said that at the end…not a happy scenario it is a fair assumption to suggest that the spirit in the night is dark and ominous is a spiritual experience that ‘terrorises’ and is likely demonic.
The three friends present classical Middle Eastern thinking and unwittingly present the case for ‘the challenger’ it is not so with the argument of Elihu who holds Job accountable to God, closer to the truth but still not correct. This mindset was convinced that Job had to have done something so wicked, so bad that he deserved this punishment. His friends said he was ‘harsh to widows’ etc, but Job talked to God, he didn’t complain to his friends…and that is where we need to go, taking the big battles to God and not to our friends.
Suggested Reading: John Walton – How to read Job
The author is unnamed. Since Job is included as ‘wisdom literature’ in the bible, the author could be shown as one of Israel's wose menVerse 1:6 How do we portray God, satan and the ‘sons of men’
All should not be portrayed physically. If possible use a voice onlyWhere is Job when he is "sitting in the ashes"?
This is a description of someone in abject grief. The person sat and threw ashes in the air which then fell over the personVerse 4:15 Who is the ‘spirit’ in the ‘vision of the night’?
Most likely the spirit of God. But it is not clear.Verse 36:4 What do we know about Elihu? why is he not included when God speaks?. Is Elihu a ‘type’ of Christ, or an antichrist?
Elihu is young and wirts for the others to finish before he speaks. Interestingly the other comforters are rebuked by God, but not Elihu. It would be too much to say he is a type of Christ.Chapter 40 What is ‘Behemoth’ and ‘Leviathan’?
Modern interpreters now ascribe the Leviathan as SatanWhat would Job's sacrifice look like (would he have had to go to a temple or would he have built an altar)?
He could have made his way to Jerusalem, but it is likely that he went to a local place.Is there any clothing that he would have been wearing?
He would have worn whatever clothing was typical for the time. The difficulty is that the date for the book is uncertain. There is a view that is some of the oldest literature in the BibleAre there any traditional beliefs or understandings about Job that might need to be considered?
Job is a righteous man who suffers. It is innocent suffering. The fault of the first three comforters is that they had a mechanistic view of God i.e. Job is suffering therefore, he must have done something to deserve this. In the end, what Job has gone through is not explained, but he encounters God as he is, and the knowledge that he is the mighty, loving, sovereign God is enough for him. Job 28:28 gives divine affirmation to Job (and to us) that we need no secret of the higher life, no mysterious spiritual law to raise us to a deeper level of spirituality or godliness, no answers achieved only by some spiritual elite. We are called, as was Job, to begin our lives of discipleship with the fear of God and repentance from evil and to continue our walk with God exactly the way we started it (cf. Col. 2:6).
David Robertson is the director of Third Space, a project of the City Bible Forum in Australia, having been the minister of St Peters Free Church in Dundee Scotland for 27 years. David writes for newspapers, magazines, on the net and also books. He is the author of Awakening (the life of Robert Murray McCheyne); The Dawkins Letters; Quench (cafe evangelism), Magnificent Obsession and Engaging With Atheists. His latest book is called A.S.K. David’s blog site the Wee Flea came from a series of infamous interactions with Richard Dawkins.What is the book of Job about?
It deals with the difficult question of suffering and ultimately how Christ and his cross is the answer to thatWhy is it relevant?
Suffering is always relevant. I have preached through it twice. Both times non-Christians had a particular appreciation for itWhy is it controversial?
I don’t think it is. For people who don’t believe in God and the Devil then it will not make any sense. There are some who just regard it as a myth – but then they regard anything they don’t like as a mythVerse 1:6 How do we portray God, satan and the ‘sons of men’
We can’t – directly. We can’t make an image of God – and any portrayal of the devil will come across as a caricature – please don’t do the horned devil thing. It will make it look like a cheap horror movie! I would suggest that images of dark and light – and the use of appropriate music.Verse 4:15 Who is the ‘spirit’ in the ‘vision of the night’?
We don’t know if it is real. Eliphaz could be lying. He could also be describing a dream,vision....should be easy to portray! Lots of artistic scopeVerse 36:4 Is Elihu a ‘type’ of Christ, or an antichrist?
I would suggest reading the best commentary I have ever read – Christopher Ash’s on Job. Stunning. He has convinced me that Elihu is a prophet from God – and that is why he is not criticised. Not that he gets everything right – but he seems, unlike the friends, to have had a message from the Lord – although perhaps he may have mixed it with some of his own misunderstandings. I would portray him as a young man – more positively.Chapter 40 What is ‘Behemoth’ and ‘Leviathan’?
Undoubtedly personifications of evil – perhaps even the devil – think Balrog the nemisis of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings...What are the great themes of this book?
The story if of a man who loses everything he has, except his life, and then is faced with answering and asking why.Why is there suffering?
This is a question that is asked in all cultures but particualry in ours. Because we work on this model – list the problems, identify the cases and propose solutions – based on a scientific analysis of the situation. There may not be a solution that we can work out. If you think you will find the answer in this book – you will not. Job’s friend have a very simple and certain answer – its your sin. The book certainly does not accept polytheism nor the closed universe view (God does not interfere). There is no limitation to the power and goodness of God. Nor does he say that it will all work out in heaven – he wrestles with how to cope with suffering now. And it is a struggle – there is no ‘just a little talk with Jesus and it will be all right”. Suffering is common to all but it is particular to each individual.Is suffering always deserved? Why do I suffer?
The clear answer of the whole book is no. Suffering may be deserved – if I drive my car at 120 miles an hour into a wall. But it is not always deserved. It is not the case that you are always being punished if you are suffering. In the word of REM – everybody hurts. Being a Christian does not give you an immunity to suffering – Acts ch. 14 v.22 – “Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God, they said”.How do I suffer?
That is the main theme of the book. How do I handle suffering? Phil 3 v.10 “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” It is the question of the submission to the sovereignity and the goodness of God. It is really what we thin k about God. Think just now of your circumstances – are you prosperous, in good health and things going well? Do you say – I have got this by my own hand? Or are your circumstances circumstances of despair?What do you think of God? Do you think of God?
What do you think of God? Do you think of God?
It is possible to serve God without thought of what we can get. Tozer “The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of him”. Job did
not curse God.
Perhaps the best interpretation of all is James ch. 5 v.10-11. 10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.