TODAY’S READING: Job 9-12
Zophar seems harsh to us as he tells Job that God has given him “less than [his] iniquity deserves” (Job 11:6). Ancient wisdom had a cut and dried view of good and bad. If good things happened to you, you deserved them because you were good. If bad things happened to you, they happened because you were bad, so just shut up and take it because you probably deserved worse.
Ancient people believed that the gods governed the universe based on some principle of right and wrong. They were confident that pious acts would result in well-being, but aware that wrong doing would result in misfortune or distress. When misfortune struck, they would consult the gods to discover the cause of their misfortune. If innocent, they would seek divine justice from the gods. So, Job, not understanding why he must suffer, calls on God, “Show me why You contend with me” (Job 10:2).
The problem of suffering is one that all peoples of earth have puzzled over. But what if like Job and his friends, we all start from the wrong assumption? What if our suffering is not about us? Ultimately, we all think we are the center of the universe; more so, we think the most important bilateral relationship in history is ours and God’s. But what if my suffering has nothing to do with me? What if my suffering is all about God and others? What if my suffering reflects the suffering servant who innocently paid the for others? What if God thinks beyond just the two of us?
Job trembles before a God who—counter to the wisdom of that day and this day—does what He thinks is just for all whether or not that act seems good to a single man. Tiring of the narrowness of his friend’s understanding, Job unwittingly refers to gospel realities. We all look up at the same stars (9:8); God’s glory shakes the earth (v. 6); the earth and all peoples are under the wrath of God (v. 13); no one is righteous (v 20); God will incarnate (v. 32) and mediate between God and man (v. 33); and all nations are under the judgment of God (12:23–24). The Bible story is that neither my suffering nor God’s salvation are about me; my suffering and God’s saving are intended for all the peoples of the earth. We err with Job when we put ourselves at the center of any difficulty or any deliverance.
Let God be exalted and His glory cover the earth. Let ALL the peoples praise Him.
 The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 910.
 Ibid, 910. “From Mesopotamia there are at present four known documents that are superficially similar to the book of Job: Man and His God; I Will Praise the Lord of Wisdom; The Babylonian Theodicy; and Dialogue Between a Master and His Slave.”