God created the heavens and the earth, for his own purpose. Man was created by God to rein over the Earth. Job, an innocent God-fearing rich man, was struck down by a series of grave calamities that destroyed his wealth, his family, and afflicted him with a dreadful and painful disease. In answer to his constant prayers God spoke with Job. While God did not address Job’s question of why the calamities had befallen him, he spoke of the world that he had created. Thereby teaching Job that God created all things, including evil, and that bad things can happen to good people.
Job’s Talk With God
God created the heavens and the earth for his own purpose. Man was created by God to reign over the Earth. Job, an innocent God-fearing rich man, was struck down by a series of grave calamities that destroyed his wealth, his family, and afflicted him with a dreadful and painful disease. The conventional wisdom of the time taught men who were righteous and obeyed God s law would prosper, while sin would cause suffering. In contrast to the conventional wisdom while Job suffered his calamities he steadfastly maintained his innocence, while maintaining a constant prayer vigil with God.
During Job’s era God punished sinners or evildoers. This lesson had been taught and proven by God s judgment for centuries. Adam and Eve had been evicted from the Garden of Eden for their disobedience by eating the fruit from the forbidden tree of life. This act of evil or the “original sin” resulted in their punishment of being banished from the Garden of Eden.
In the time of Noah, God saw that mankind s hearts and minds had become corrupted. God found righteousness in Noah, so God had Noah build a great ark that was filled with two of every kind of animal. When Noah and his family were aboard the ark God destroyed the earth and all of mankind with a giant flood except for those in the ark.
The Israelites frequently committed great acts of wrongdoing or sin that resulted in divine chastening. The Israelites, for their sins, had their lands overthrown and the people enslaved. On being enslaved the people of Israel would cry out in prayer for God’s deliverance in their time of crisis. God would hear their cries and be moved by them. God would raise up great leaders (or judges) to restore the land Israel and restore peace to its people.
This dueteronomistic cycle or the cycle of judges was a frequent and reoccurring theme throughout the history of Israel. Hence supporting the belief that evildoers or sinners were punished and the righteous were rewarded. The answer to punishment for sin or evil had been to offer a sacrificial offering as a covenant from their sins and prayed for forgiveness.
The afflictions that had befallen Job, while he had committed no sin, led his wife and friends to accuse him of lying and that he had committed some great sin. Job s response was that he prayed to convince God and man of his innocence. After which Job sought God in prayer, God spoke directly with Job. By God speaking directly to Job, this proved that Job was an innocent man, without God directly saying that he was without sin.
God did not address Job’s question of why the calamities had befallen him, God instead spoke of the world that he had created. God s discussion with Job was not one of chastising him for Job s anger during his prayers; his tone of the conversation was one of teaching.
One thing God taught Job through this ordeal was that he created the light, the dark, the heavens, and the earth; as well as all the creatures, beings and things upon it. God said, Do you know the ordinances of the Heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth? Job already knew that God had created all things and acknowledged that he had a finite knowledge of the world.
By Job s acknowledgement of his ignorance of God s will and repentance, he knew that while grave calamities had befell him it had not been because of any sin or evil he had done. Job did not understand God s will, but discovered that all things that happened were part of God s infinite wisdom. This new understanding was that God had created all things, including evil, and that bad things could happen to good people.
K. Baker (Ed.) (1995). The NIV Study Bible (pp. 766-771). Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House.