“Never pity missionaries; envy them. They are where the real action is—where life and death, sin and grace, Heaven and Hell converge.”
Robert C. Shannon

TODAY’S READING: Job 1–4

Job is thought by most scholars to be a contemporary of Abraham or possibly to have lived shortly after Abraham. Like Abraham, Job’s wealth was based on accumulated animals and Job worshiped God directly without the intermediary of a priest. Uz is an uncertain location, but most likely located in Edom, what is today the southern sector of Jordan. Job’s friend Eliphaz is thought to be Palestinian, and his friends Bildad and Zophar from Arabia.[1] The Sabeans (Job 1:15) were probably from Yemen and the Chaldean raiders (v. 17) were likely tribes from Northern Arabia (or Saudis [2]). Ezekiel references Job from Babylon (Eze. 14:14, 20) and makes him real to the exiles outside Israel as they share in Job’s sorrows. The story of Job plays out before an international audience—in our current geography Job the Jordanian loses all he holds dear to Saudi and Yemeni raiders, is dis-comforted by his Palestinian and Saudi friends, and understood only by a refugee population in Iraq.

Larry J. Waters in his article “Missio Dei in the Book of Job” states:

Besides displaying one man’s faith in God in times of suffering, the Book of Job also has a “missionary” purpose. That is, a believer’s suffering should be viewed, as seen in Job’s experience, as a witness not only to God’s sovereignty but also as a witness to His goodness, justice, grace, and love to the nonbelieving world. Yet in studies of Job God’s redemptive purpose and action in relation to missions is rarely addressed.

Often the purpose of the Book of Job is seen simply as concerned with the sovereignty of God and man’s response to His will. But the book is also part of the progressive revelation of God’s purpose and mission, so that the book is, in a sense, missional and evangelistic. That is, as believers undergo undeserved suffering, they are witnesses to nonbelievers of God’s goodness, justice, grace, and love [3] (emphasis mine).

The wisdom (or philosophy of the day) was that good things come to good people and bad things to bad people. If something bad happened to you, you deserved it. Counter to this wisdom, Job prefigures the suffering servant as he wrestles with the knowledge that a bad thing happened to a good person. God uses this story to prepare the world for bruising His own Son for the redemption of all peoples. A very good God is going to do a very bad thing to a very good Son for the very good good of very bad humans. It was mind-blowing then—as it should be mind-blowing now. Job is the scandal of the cross played out before representatives of various nations. “Whoever perished being innocent?” Eliphaz asks in Job 4:7. And there is but one: Jesus.

[1] “Bildad.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bildad. “Zophar.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Zophar (accessed January 1, 2019).

[2] The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 902.

[3] Larry J. Waters. “Missio Dei in the Book of Job.” http://www.galaxie.com/article/bsac166-661-02 (accessed January 1, 2019).

Prayer Focus:  Bahrain (7 UPGs)

Today’s Unreached People Group: Arab, Bahraini
Population: 841,000
Language: Arabic, Baharna Spoken
Primary Religion: Islam
Evangelical: 0.9%
Estimated Workers Needed: 17

[Source: Joshua Project]

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