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Can Man’s faith and love of God stand by itself without God’s blessings?

 The Story of Job, the Suffering Man in the Test

(Biblical story and theology)

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15).

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. 

And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;

I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, not another”(Job 19:25-27).


       Job is somewhat a complex story to follow. Some elucidation may help to follow the logic of the story toward grasping the great theological theme involving man and his faith in God, and God’s response to it. 

      The issue of ‘faith and suffering’ that troubled Job continues to remain as humanity’s most puzzling question through its entire history. Translated, it stands as, why a righteous (or religious) person is afflicted by evil and suffering, and why God seems unresponsive to the supplicant who is in dire need.   For Job, the issue was beyond the religious reasons: It was about the possibility of any flaw that God had found in Job’s faith, love and devotion to Him.  Job sought clarity on this so he could correct it. While asserting that he was innocent, he sought to know from God Himself why he was being severely punished.  And, as for himself, he avowed before God in the hearing of his friends that he himself could see no fault in love for his God.  

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. 


Implications of the Story of Job for Christian Witnessing


I.   Since Christian witnessing consistently faces the issue of suffering in human life directly or indirectly, it becomes necessary to learn about this subject that has been vexing humanity since the dawn of human life.  This has been a vexing but unresolved issue since the dawn of human appearance in the Mesopotamian region.  Ancient Sumerians of this region whose religion thought is said to be the theological foundation for all the major future religions, grappled with this issue – the  ‘human suffering and faith in god’ and wrote their first treatise on this in the poetical form. It was about the story of a righteous man (like Job) who stayed steadfast in faith and love of his god through horrible experience of an unjustified loss, affliction and suffering [‘Man and his God.’ 140 lines; J.B. Prichard, ed., vol. II, 1975. Later came another one, on the same theme, named as the Babylonian Theodicy (ibid.).  Third one with some variation also existed at that time - ‘I will Praise the Lord of Wisdom’ (ibid.).]  These were (about) 2,500 years before Job of the Bible was composed. Yet, Job of Uz was also from the same ancient Sumer, - the land of Noah and Abraham.  Erudite leaders might be acquainted with stories similar to Job in many other religious cultures.

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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..