4–10 October 2015.
At the start of chapter 27, we see Job do something shocking, something that many of us would never be brave enough to do. Not only does Job continue to proclaim his innocence and his righteousness before God and his friends, he also forcefully attacks God and counts God as his wicked enemy, as the one who unjustly makes Job suffer!
In his court case against God, Job declares for all to hear that he will never ever change his innocent plea or admit that he is guilty. Job knows that he is innocent and that God has done wrong.
So in verse 7, Job starts attacking God, describing God as a wicked enemy, as the one who makes people suffer and then pays no attention to them when they cry out for help. While Job’s words reflect his deep pain, his three friends are so shocked by the things Job has been saying. Chapter after chapter they do their best to defend God. But for Job, anyone who sides with an unjust God are also his enemy. Anyone who closes their eyes to the terrible suffering of the world just so they can defend God’s goodness also counts as wicked and vain (vv. 11–12).
In vv. 13–23 Zophar tries to convince Job again that those who suffer in this world (like Job) are wicked people being punished by God. But Job rejects this, and we too know how wrong it is.
As pastors, we would never visit a sick child in hospital and tell the parents that the child has a disease because he is a terrible sinner being punished by God! And I pray that we Christians would never blame the victims of suffering or condemn them, the way that Zophar and the other friends blame and condemn Job.
We can’t know the reason for suffering, or why children and the innocent suffer so badly in this world. But we do know that Jesus teaches us to have compassion on the weak, and to help them. So this week, when we see people suffering and in trouble, let’s take that as an opportunity to live up to Christ’s demand and show them our caring love.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis