Job 1: I’ve never read Job. In fact, whenever I hear anyone say Job I think of the movie Mission: Impossible with Tom Cruise. Job 3:14 played a big role in that film. I know, a silly story, but that’s what happens.
We learn right away that Job is a good, honest man who loves God and has what sounds like a pretty good life. The text then shifts to heaven where God greets other heavenly beings (the text says they are the children of God). Satan also joins them. God and Satan chat about Job. God points out how wonderful he is and how much he loves God and stays away from evil. This leads to a proposition from Satan and ultimately the test. God lets Satan bring evil to Job as long as he doesn’t directly strike Job. Next we are back on Earth and Job learns that he has pretty much lost everything to various disasters. Satan does this because he believes that if Job loses everything, he will curse God. Instead, Job cries out and says: “The Lord has given; the Lord has taken; bless the Lord’s name” (1.21; p. 782 OT). He doesn’t curse God at all, meaning, he passed the first test.
Here’s a screenshot from p. 782 OT in the CEB Study Bible directly addressing the above quote:
Just wanted to include this just in case I needed to remember it later.
Job 2: Time for the second test. Satan and the other heavenly beings visit with God. God points out how Job still loves him and follows him even after the first test. Satan says that Job will definitely curse God if his skin is inflicted. God bites and says to Satan to do what he needed to do, but don’t kill Job. Seriously??? So, Satan gives Job sores from his head to his feet. Job’s wife encourages him to curse God and die, but Job refuses, instead saying “You’re talking like a foolish woman. Will we receive good from God but not also receive bad” (2:10). Job’s friends come to see him and immediately see how much pain he is in. Still, Job doesn’t curse God.
Job 3: Now we start the speeches between Job and his friends and between Job and God. According to the notes, the interactions here occur in three different cycles. Here’s a good quote from the notes in the CEB study bible:
Job’s argument with both friends and God is about the nature of God’s created order, and the presence or absence of God’s activity in that order. For the friends, that created moral order is rigidly fixed. Justice is a guaranteed system of reward and punishment. In effect, the world runs like a machine, so God doesn’t act freely but only reacts within a tightly woven system. This view of creation will be challenged and corrected. For God, as the divine speeches will make clear, the creation is not so rigidly fixed, and God doesn’t manage the details of what God created. God’s relationship to creation is limited by the nature of creation itself, so that (innocent) suffering can happen. (p. 783 OT; note 3:1-27:33)
We see a switch in Job’s reaction to everything. He actually curses the day he was born, wishing that he had never been born. Pretty much he’s saying that death would be better than the pain he was experiencing due to the sores that Satan gave him.
1 Timothy 4: Paul warns people to stay away from false teachings and he urges the people to focus on spiritual leadership. He tells the people that “while physical training has some value, training in holy living is useful for everything” (4:8; p. 410 NT). Overall, he wants the people to stay true to their spiritual efforts and don’t be swayed by false teachers.
NOTE: Time for a rant!
1 Timothy really resonates with me, especially since I’m a teacher. The emphasis throughout this entire book is on how to address and confront false teaching. It also resonates with me because of the current political climate. First, as a teacher, I strive to help my students better understand how to be teachers. I focus on the best pedagogical strategies. Second, as a science educator, I focus a lot on what science is in my elementary science methods classes. I want students to understand how science relies on evidence, how the scientific community works to control for bias (peer review), how science can only deal with natural phenomena, etc. The important part is that I want students to understand that the currently accepted scientific conclusions are based on the best evidence we have at this time. Additionally, these conclusions go through a rigorous peer review process as well as a tremendous amount of verification.
Third, this brings me to our current political climate. There has always been a concern with bias in media and politics. To deny this is naive. However, I believe that the present political climate is different. We definitely are in a time when actual facts are in dispute. It is no longer possible to provide evidence that backs up an argument and think this will solve the problem. We see this every day. Our current president clearly lies on a regular basis. Fox News clearly lies on a regular basis. MSNBC clearly lies on a regular basis. At times I honestly do wonder who we can trust. To me, our current situation is a perfect example of false teaching, which is the main focus of 1 Timothy.