Friday, May 4, 2018

Year 8, Day 124: Job 30

Theological Commentary: Click Here

There are three really good thoughts that come out of Job’s utterances in this chapter.  First, Job mourns the way that he is being treated.  Job can know the difference because he used to be treated well.  He was treated well because of his status and position in the community.  When he had lots of money, he rubbed shoulders with important people.  That meant that everyone treated him well because he might be an avenue for societal improvement.  Now, however, people treat him with disdain.  They scorn him. Why do they scorn him?  They scorn him because they can.  Now that he is inflicted, and his wealth is gone, people have no use for him.  He is a societal castoff.

What this teaches us is that we need to be careful of society.  True friends receive us however we are.  They may challenge us to change, but they receive us.  The greater society, however, only receives us if we have use or value to them.  As soon as our usefulness erodes, so will our connection to them.  Our notoriety will dry up and we will be outcast.  There are many people who go to great lengths to avoid this fate.  I prefer to perceive the reality and simply place no value in vain notoriety that comes from the shallowness of society’s judgment.  What matters is the opinion of those who value me for who I am, not the opinions of those who value me for what I can do for them.

The second perspective that we can learn from this chapter is Job’s opinion of himself.  Understandably, his opinion of himself has fallen.  That’s not how it should be, but it is understandable.  As people turn away from Job, Job can actually understand more about why they turn away than he can see his own worth.  He himself identifies more with those who abandon him than he identifies with what he still offers.  He has already proven his wisdom and faith!  Yet as society turns from him, his own identity ebbs away.

Finally, we can get a sense of Job and his relationship with God.  Job still does not understand God’s position in all of this.  If Job is so righteous, why does God seem to stand so far off and do nothing about it?  Job is lost in his own lack of understanding.

It is important to note, however, that Job does not abandon God.  Job is confused by God, but he does not walk away from God.  While Job may wonder about God’s absence, he does not accuse God and forsake his relationship with God.  This can often be a fine line, but it is an important line.  It shows us that there is a proper way to allow our doubts to find expression without it affection our relationship with God.  This is a very important practice to understand.