I have a hard time reading Job. I am not a huge fan of poetry, and it always seems to me that the book says the same thing over and over again. The main essence of Job is to try and explain why bad things happen. The situation has been set in the first two chapters that Job is righteous and does not sin. Most of the rest of the book is Job’s friends trying to help him confess his sin and repent. A lot of this reasoning comes from one of the dominant views of the day, in these verses:
Think! What innocent person has ever perished?
When have those who do the right thing been destroyed?
As I’ve observed, those who plow sin
and sow trouble will harvest it.
This is the idea that good people prosper in life and bad people suffer. The first chapters of the book show this is not true, yet this is the view lots of people believe. We tend to want to see a cause and effect relationship with our lives–we do good, put in hard work, sacrifice for something, and we ought to be rewarded. If we are Christians–we pray, go to church, serve on committees, tithe, and God ought to answer our prayers the way we want him to do.
The world does not work like this.
Sometimes bad people prosper. History is replete with examples of horrible people who achieved the pinnacle of power and wealth. Sometimes good people suffer. The quintessential example of this is Jesus, who should never have suffered evil if it is true that good people only prosper.
As we go through Job, we will continue to wrestle with this question of why bad things happen.