At first, it can seem like a studio executive stepped in to force the book of Job to get a happy ending. But there are hints in the text that this isn’t the end of the story. There are hints of resurrection, and hints that the story arc of Job will be how the whole Bible plays out. The centre of Job, and of the story of the whole Bible, is a suffering servant. But Jesus Christ, the true suffering servant, can truly suffer on behalf of others, and die on behalf of others, and defeat death to usher in an age overflowing with the hope of the resurrection.
After all that Job has said, God has some questions of his own. And they all start with: “Were you…?”, “Have you…?” and “Can you…?” God reminds Job who he is. And he reminds Job that he doesn’t have control over the physical universe, or the moral universe. So Job is ultimately humbled before his God, and reminded that he’s worshipping a God who can somehow bring good from evil.
When things go wrong, we can be so tempted to cry out “why?” There’s so much that happens in our lives that we can’t explain. So is there anywhere we can go for the answers to these deep questions of “why?” In this chapter, the speeches of Job are interrupted by a poem seeking out the depths of wisdom. This chapter asks: Where does wisdom come from? Where can wisdom be found? Can we access God’s deep wisdom?
In this passage, Job is struggling with the feeling of God being against him. But at the same time, Job knows that his Redeemer lives, and that after he’s died he will still see him. So Job needs someone who will deal with God’s judgement, and also redeem him, which can only be Jesus Christ, the Suffering Servant and Saviour.
After Job cried out in lament, his friends start to respond with comfort. But their comfort they say only makes Job feel more and more isolated in his grief. His friend Eliphaz responds to Job’s lament with the beginning of the “miserable comfort” that Job will get for the next twenty chapters. In this talk, we step-by-step through this first speech, and look at all the things that would’ve only made Job feel more and more isolated in his pain, and what we should make sure we never say to people who are hurting.
After a week of sitting silent with his three friends, Job lets out a lament, cursing the day of his birth. In his lament, he’s a shadow for us of the Suffering Servant, Jesus Christ, who would face the curse of death and darkness for us.
Once upon a time, the greatest suffering came upon the greatest man. That’s effectively how the book of Job starts its story, and it leaves Job (and us) to pick up the pieces. But, at least for now, we can see that Job looks his suffering in the eye and responds with an unbroken faith: “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”