The opening scene of Job provides us with a quick introduction to the wealthiest man in a land called Uz.
The narrator gives us a bird’s eye overview of Job’s character: “This man is noble, righteous; and blessed with more land, livestock, and children than one needs. Job is conscientious about pleasing God in all his actions.”
And then in Shakespearean form the narrator exits stage left; the stage lights brighten inviting us onto the set of heaven’s courts in mid-session, God and Satan entering theatrical discourse.
”Have you considered my servant Job?”
I have certainly considered His servant Job! As have many others with a degree of confusion and apprehension.
The Book of Job raises some of the most uncomfortable theological questions a Christian could ask:
“Does obedience provide me immunity from harm? If God takes from me will He give it back? Do good things come from God and bad things from Satan? Was Job too pious—if I become too religious, am I inviting punishment? Are judgmental friends really Christians?”
These kind of questions are traditionally grouped in a category of existential distress known as: The Problem of Suffering.
In the next six months, I am launching into a 12-part exploration of the Book of Job.
I will, however, let the problem of suffering alone for the most part.
Instead, I will focus on this unique scene of the hosts of heaven gathered in court before the Heavenly King giving account for their actions in the Realm of Earth.
The Book of Job begins with a depiction of Heaven’s interest in Earth.
Before Job suffers any trial or loss, he is considered in heaven.
More than being a book about suffering, Job is a book about spiritual warfare.
The Book of Job encompasses spiritual warfare themes like speaking curses, consulting horoscopes, suicide, principalities, and even the need for an Advocate to intercede on a man’s behalf in the courts of heaven.
Of special interest to me is the theme of spiritual warfare in friendships found in the Book of Job.
Job’s wicked friends weren’t just self-righteous jerks, they were his most challenging temptation to overcome.
He lost everything— his wealth, his health, his wife’s esteem, his reputation— yet he did not blame God. He overcame those temptations!
Yet, a few conversations with his friends led him dangerously close to losing his battle and blaming God for his misfortune.
So, this series is called “Too Much Talking: Spiritual Warfare in the Book of Job.”
Couched within descriptions about the various forms of spiritual warfare present in the Book of Job, we will be looking at idle talk, bad advice, misinformed philosophy, preconceived ideas, presumptuous judgment, destructive compassion, and other ways that our friendly conversations can be the worst thing for us in times of trouble.
Welcome to the series! I hope it will be informative on spiritual principles and challenging to your personal approach to communication.