As I read through my Bible I have been somewhat guaranteed that every tenth chapter that I read will leave me utterly confused. I’ve become so sure of this phenomena that as I come upon this tenth chapter I go ahead and ask God, “Are you going to explain this one to me?”
I’ve mentioned before that I have a system for reading the Bible that works best for me. You can read more about it here, but basically I have bookmarks in various passages and I read one chapter from each section before I move on to the next.
The consistent confusion comes when I find the bookmark in the book of Job.
I find Job’s story to be sad and troubling. And most of the chapters are completely lost on me. I know just enough about it to know that I know almost nothing.
Here’s what I know.
- Job loses everything except his life through no fault of his own.
- Job talks to God about this.
- Job’s friends talk to him about this.
- God talks to Job about this.
- There is a lot of talking about Job’s sad situation.
Here’s what I don’t know.
- Why would God allow Job to go through so much pain?
- Which (if any) of Job’s friends are giving him good advice?
- Which (if any) of Job’s friends should I believe?
- How does God actually want us to respond to times of grief and trouble?
- Is God the “King of Sarcasm” or what? He’s laying it on pretty thick. See chapter 39.
I guess my main problem is that there are a lot of strongly worded and seemingly contradictory ideas about who God is, how he behaves, and how he relates to the human race. I’m having a hard time separating truth, sarcasm, and bad advice.
As I type this, I’m realizing this problem goes beyond the book of Job. Finding the truth buried in a pile of sarcasm and bad advice is a situation I find myself in quite often in life. Right now, the only thing I know to do is to keep Asking questions and keep Listening for God’s voice of truth.