Why Did God Afflict Job?

Q. I have enjoyed Jack’s articles posted on Rapture Ready but I really have problem with the following excerpt from the article “A Question We’ve All Asked“.

“The Book of Job is an example of the difference between Union and Fellowship. Job’s righteousness made him proud, a sin in God’s eyes. When Satan asked to torment him, God had to agree in spite of the fact that Job was one of the most righteous men on Earth, because he hadn’t confessed his sin. As long as Job relied on his own righteousness he was vulnerable to attack, and none of his complaints could change that, even though he remained a child of God. When he confessed, God put a stop to the torment and restored him.”

Please tell me the scripture reference where it says that Job’s righteousness made him proud. You are teaching in great contradiction to a very large body of Christian work and commentary when you propose that Job was living in unrepentant sin and that was the cause of Satan’s attacks. Wow, you amaze me! You will not find scriptural justification for your comments unless you work hard to squeak it out of the sermons of Job’s 3 friends whom God rebuked and Job prayed for in the end.

What do I do with Job 1:8 where God Himself says “have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth–a man of complete integrity. He fears God and will have nothing to do with evil.” How am I to ascertain that Job was proud — it’s not there Jack. If God says he had complete integrity how does that jive with your comment that he was proud. You error.

While most of your writings seem right on this comment about Job is quite alarming. You have wandered quite a ways from the truth in order to illustrate a point in the article that could have easily been illustrated with other Bible anecdotes. I hope you correct your thinking on this—and your writings which are wrong.

A. Years ago in studying the commentaries on Job, I found that almost all of them began with the premise that Job was without sin, just as you have, and then tried to explain the book from that perspective. Then I found one that began with the premise that while God is sovereign and can do anything, He is also just and won’t act without justification. He couldn’t arbitrarily permit Job to be afflicted. There had to be justification for God’s actions.

Armed with that truth I re-read the Book and found it. After proclaiming himself blameless (Job 9:21) Job started wallowing in self-pity. But finally he devoted an entire chapter to his exalted view of himself. He followed that with another chapter about how the people he formerly looked down upon now look down upon him. After that, a chapter about all the good he’s done. (Job 29-31) That put his friends to silence, “because he was righteous in his own eyes.” (Job 32:1)

Then Elihu reminded Job of his claims of innocence, and told him of his error, and that God allows these things to happen to man to keep him from pride (Job 33:8-12 & 17). Finally Elihu, thought by some to be a type of the Messiah, capped off the arguments of both Job and his friends, saying, “So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, for the Almighty to do wrong. He repays a man for what he has done; he brings upon him what his conduct deserves. It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice.” (Job 34:10-12) And then, “Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man! To his sin he adds rebellion; scornfully he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God.” (Job 34:36-37)

For these and numerous other verses in Job , I stand by my interpretation. Every time we try to justify man we wind up condemning God. Job is a great example of the insufficiency of man’s righteousness, even at its best, and the need for a righteousness from God.

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