A Strange Book Part 1: Types and Shadow

“I  regard  Job  1  and  2  as  the  strangest  chapters theologically  in  the  Bible.  The  story  they  tell  challenges  what  most Christians   believe   about  God,  man,  law,  causation,  and  time.  If everything  that  people  knew  about  God  were  based  on  the  first  two chapters  of  Job,  they  would  have  a  strange  religion.  On  the  other  hand, if   everything  they  knew  about  God  were  based  on  the  Bible,  but without  the  first  two  chapters  of  Job,  people  would  have  a  seriously  incomplete  religion.  Because  so  few  Christians  take seriously  the  Book  of Job,  most  of them  have a seriously  incomplete religion.” – Gary North, Predictability and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Job

Gary North says Job is a strange book, and he’s right. Satan appears in heaven. God brags to Satan about His blameless and upright servant Job, and then grants Satan permission to attack him. Job’s wife encourages him to curse God and die. Job’s friends come to comfort him but end up accusing him of sin. When God makes a personal appearance, He asks Job a series of questions rather than answering Job’s questions.
Job is not a popular book. Aside from a couple of phrases–“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away,” and “I know that my Redeemer lives,” most American Christians are unfamiliar with it. It is not only modern preachers and Christians that avoid Job either. Job is only mentioned in the Bible two other places outside the Book of Job (In Ezekiel 14:14 and James 5:11). By way of comparison, David is mentioned 55 times in the New Testament alone.
It is a difficult book in many ways. It raises hard questions and does not offer easy answers. It does not seem right that a God fearing man like Job should experience unbearable suffering for no apparent reason under the watchful eye of a loving, all powerful God.
However, we have a powerful key to understanding Job that Old Covanent believers lacked. We know that the Old Testament Scriptures abound with types and shadows pointing to Jesus. When we see an innocent man like Job, sowing good but reaping evil, we should be reminded that Jesus, who was perfectly sinless, suffered and died in the place of sinful people like you and I.
Job’s suffering was not the end of the story. Ultimately, Satan was defeated and humiliated. Job never did curse God in his suffering, as Satan claimed he would, while Job was even more blessed than before. In a similar way, the cross appeared to be the end of Jesus’s ministry and mission, but in reality the  cross was the tool He used to atone for our sins.
The goal of Job is not to explain why bad things happen to good people. The main point is not to show us how to be patient in affliction (even though it can help with that, as James 5:11 indicates). Its main purpose is to point to our Savior, who suffered in our place.

 

~Jared Abbott

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