Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Different Viewpoint

Marcus Borg, in his introduction to the Old Testament ("Reading the Bible Again For The First Time"), says that if we read Job searching for answers to why good people suffer, we are left unsatisfied and wanting... we get no good answer. The real question... the primary question Job seeks to answer is the one raised by the satan... "Does Job worship God for nothing?" Does Job — do we — worship God because of the blessings we expect to get in return? Or do we worship God because He Is God and is worthy of worship?

God holds Job up for review... puts him on exhibit as the poster child of piety and righteousness. That's when the satan throws down the gauntlet and issues his challenge. "Does Job worship God for nothing?" The satan's challenge was carefully constructed to shift the focus from Job's righteousness to God's worthiness. Notice that he did not accuse Job of anything except maybe self-interest. Rather he is raising the question of whether or not God is worthy of being worshiped.

This point of view is startling because of the clarity it brings to the story.
  1. It shifts the focus from man-centered to God-centered. 
  2. It makes God the central character rather than Job. The story is about God's worth... NOT Job's righteousness.
  3. It shows that the satan was not accusing Job of anything. Rather, he was accusing God of not being worthy of being worshiped. That is why God was compelled to engage the challenge. 
  4. Whatever the challenge was about, it certainly was not so God could find out if Job would remain faithful. If it was, then God is not the omnicient God we believe him to be.

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