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The Story of Job for Today's Humanity...cont.

II. Ministry Application:   In Christian witnessing ministry addressing the issue of suffering in life stands out as unavoidable looking for satisfactory answer from the Bible. This human urge comes from our propensity to look at God, Scriptures and religion as features to help. People coming from other faiths have three hurdles: a) they are very pragmatic (religion must apply to life here and now), b) new religion must make a difference in life here and now, and c) {if these don’t happen} they are highly sensitive to their own family, social and cultural backlash. Christian witnessing happens against these three situations.  Therefore, if a Christian witness really seeks to win a person’s heart and soul to God of Jesus Christ bringing him/her into the faith in Christ convincingly, he/she must be prepared to answer these issues at any time. 

      Changing religion, to them, is a big step. It involves, in their belief, the wrath of their erstwhile gods. So they stand watching their back, as it were, from a punitive strike for being apostate.  They certainly (even though unsaid) come with an expectation that this God or Christ would certainly ward off any evil in the leaving of their old faith.  

      The erudite, intellectual and the well informed people have, perhaps, complex questions, such as: Why shouldn’t God obliterate all suffering and pain from earth? Why should God allow Satan’s evil sway on human lifeWhy did God send his Son in to this suffering world to suffer, himself as the ‘hunted’ and ‘persecuted,’ instead of being the Almighty God to crush SatanWhat is the gain in Christ’s suffering and triumph over suffering and death when the same evil continues unabated in the world?  This shows, this issues of lifeand sufferingcome out in many forms from people at all levels of social status, intellect, and faith and religious inclinations.  Even Christians are aware that our faith and religious life mostly operates on this lurking issue of life, suffering, and the efficacy of faith in God, the Father of our Savior.  The issue of suffering is painted all over the face of the human life. It is the skin of this mortal life.

The Story of a Suffering man, Job

     Job is a difficult book to use in preaching.  Its subject matter is not a simple problem of “suffering in life.” Careful reading of the book unfolds many things. Even the players in the story did not treat the matter as ‘suffering in life’ only.  In order to use the story as a subject for preaching and teaching we must have good grasp of the several issues within the seemingly one single theme.  The major example for this is: While the issue that God and Satan disputed in heaven was one, we have taken its enactment on earth as mere “suffering in life.”

     Since the players in the story had not heard the debate in heaven, they acted their religious roles reacting to the suffering of a good man. Their measure was the world-view about religious life. “Why God sent suffering on Job” was their issue, not knowing that that was the issue in heaven. In understanding it in this limited way, they stayed oblivious to God’s intent in it, which was, “Could human faith and love for God stand independent of God’s favors.”  The players were playing it differently.  However, even from that play, Job proved God’s contention with Satan without knowing that he was doing so. Through their arguments Job and friends indirectly vindicated God’s contention. On his part, Satan used many ploys through their arguments to make Job break his righteous path.  Satan knew he lost the game.   This shows how these two issues were played out on the human scene without the knowledge of the players.   Such is the beauty of the book and the genius of the poet of the righteous Job and His God.

     The book:The entire experience of Job was segmented into a few relevant themes within the theological reasoning.  The two issues that were raised in heaven and the one fought out on earth by Job and friends are the points of treatment.  In the following section (chap. one of Part I) the two issues are clearly stated so that they stay in the mind of the reader as he/she considers the other issues. Again, one can take any subject and develop his treatise.  However, such attempt must be true to the integrity of the ‘two’ issues raised in the story.  This is the discipline required in the ‘objective’ study of the Biblical themes.

      Spiritualizing a Biblical theme is possible.  However, it is only personal; not evangelistic.  Yet, the correct way to understand the Bible is to first learn it with objective view, grasp its central theme in the context it existed, get its meaning and organize it for preaching.  Spiritual lessons could be drawn in plenty as the reader desires. But, spiritualizing Biblical issues and themes such as this of Job as the first exercise is not a correct approach for the purposes of preaching and teaching. It is good for private meditation and personal edification.  Job’s story is a serious subject on life: of faith and love of God, the true measure of a righteous person and of God’s sovereign will. 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 23:22

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About Path of the Divine Virtue

Some understanding of the term *The Divine Virtue is necessary. The series of articles on Biblical themes, study of the biblical topics (Bible Study), topics on Christian witnessing, theology, understanding the Bible Read More..

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