Posted 26 Apr 2010
My latest cartoon offering is from the Book of Job, in the Old Testament. This can be quite a hard book to read, since it appears, on first sight, to be mostly about suffering! Certainly the vast majority of the text is conversations between Job & his 3 friends, with a late input from a younger man called Elihu. Job maintains his stance throughout the book, “I’m innocent!” But his 3 friends maintain that he must have sinned against God, & that is why he is suffering. This is a common idea amongst the Hebrews. To be honest, it is a common complaint amongst all people, “Why is God allowing me to suffer?!” The issue of suffering is central to human existance, but is far, far too larger & complicated a subject for me to go into it here.
As I stated in the drawing notes for this cartoon, many people believe that the central theme of the Book of Job is suffering, & that certainly seems to be the case upon a casual reading. A different assessment of the central theme of the Book of Job has been postulated by Philip Yancey, in his book “Disappointment with God.” He believes that the story is primarily about faith. To quote from his book (Page183) ‘When people experience pain, questions spill out…Why me? What’s going on? Does God care? Is there a God?… What we long for, the prologue to Job provides: a glimpse into how the world is run. As nowhere else in the Bible, the Book of Job shows us God’s point of view, including the supernatural activity normally hidden.
Job has put God on trial, accusing him of unfair acts against an innocent party. Angry, satirical, betrayed, Job wanders as close to blasphemy as he can get – just to the edge. His words have a startlingly familiar ring because they are so modern. He gives voice to our most deeply felt complaints against God. But chapters 1 & 2 prove hat, regardless of what Job thinks, God is not on trial in this book, Job is on trial. The point of the book is not suffering: Where is God when it hurts? The prologue (chapters 1-2) dealt with that issue. The point is faith: Where is Job when it hurts? How is he responding? To understand the Book of Job, I must begin here.’
I recommend this book to you, if you are struggling with the enormous issues & questions of human suffering & God’s activity, or apparent inactivity. Philip Yancey is very readable, & makes some excellent points in his book.
Job 38 – Job & the whirlwind
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Bible Cartoon: Job 38 – Job and the whirlwind
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