The beginning of Job is a total setup.
Once Upon a Time there’s Job: upright and blameless was he. Job was one who had plenty of sons and not too many daughters–sons whose hospitality was great (they really knew how to party people into the kingdom), and they hosted their sisters often.
Job’s hospitality was even greater, making sacrifices and worshipping on his children’s behalf, praying for them, asking for forgiveness if ever they wronged God (because Job admits he may not have been the perfect parent)
God and all the heavenly beings gathered together, and God asks Satan (otherwise known as the accuser/challenger) what he had been up to…
“The usual” Satan answers “Wondering around, looking at earth and earthlings?”
“Oh, did you notice my servant Job?” asks God.”Because he’s pretty much everything I could hope for, upright, honest and true (i.e. he fears God and turns away from evil)
“Why” asks Satan, “You know he only likes you because you take such good care of him, he is well blessed, he has every reason to be good. If you ruined him, all that would change”
“hmmm….” God says, “We shall see…tell you what do what you want to Job’s family, friends and possessions, as long as you leave Job alone, you can do what you want….”
Job is sure set up here. First he is set up to have everything, and then its what’s the phrase? “too good to be true” he is almost “too blessed” and as a result he becomes tested. Here God gives Satan, the tester, rights to do whatever he wants to Job (Excepting touching Job himself) to see just how faithful Job can be….
What a setup!
Don’t we pray for God NOT to lead us into temptation, what is with this? This doesn’t seem fair, how is it that evil can happen to Job and what does it all mean?
Here’s the setup, we are in for a good story, one where evil exists, but not without good, one where suffering is not greater than God, one where temptations and tests are less about who God is and more about who we are……
How will this work?
Plus, this happens in the mythical land of Uz, you know
In fact the “Satan” character could be named “challenger” instead of Satan, because its unclear if the character is evil or just throwing challenges up….
So why does this perfect guy get setup in this way?
Because we’ve all experienced this, the question of why do bad thing happen to good people, theodicy, Why does evil exist, we all have experienced this reality in our lives.
And we all talk about God, its a human thing to talk about God and the role of evil in our lives, It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe in this is a topic of conversation. So here we are, in a Biblical fairy tale (yay fairy tales!)
Asking the good questions, starting with
Once Upon a Time….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMzQCaRR_wk