Through the Bible in a Year – January 26

The Scheme for January and February can be found here

Job 4-5; Acts 1; Psalm 35

As modern readers, that is those who read texts primarily for their usefulness to us, the book of Job is a profound disappointment. We think that the text is there to answer our proud questions – but rather it exists to question us, to call our very existence into question and cause us to call out in faith ‘Save us!’

In our unbelief many of us it seems are consumed by the question of theodicy, that is ‘How can a God who is omnipotent and loving allow suffering?’. [Although moral philosophers have shown quite clearly that there is no contradiction and moved on] Job is not interested in answering this question for us. Rather here we see a suffering man for whom the one undeniable reality is God. Job will not curse God and die. He realises that there is far more at stake here than the answer to philosophical, for him his suffering is real, but as we read through the dialogue with his friends, we realise that for Job, God is far more real.

In a deep sense, the theme of the book of Job is not suffering at all, but the primacy of God, and of Worship as the fundamental disposition of the soul, in and through everything. It is not a text which gives us answers, rather it is one that redirects our gaze. As we have recently read in John, Jesus does not answer Pilate, rather he confronts him with the Truth in his very being. So God does not give us answers, rather he redirects our gaze from ourselves to Him. In Worship and Adoration our lives find their true meaning – everything else is secondary.