The unshakeable faith of Job
Satan, however, is not of this opinion. "Satan to God," Have you paid attention to my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him: an integer and righteous man, fearful of God, and alien to evil. " Satan replied to the Lord, "Perhaps Job fears God for nothing, have you not been protected with a fence on him, his house, and all that he possessed, and you have blessed his businesses and his flocks spread to the region. Put your hand on him, and strike her possessions, and see how it will curse you in your face! "(1: 8-11). Satan claims before God that Job is easy to believe because he is rich and has the health that his faith is interested in and the reality is that Job "does not fear God for anything." To see if Job is right for interest, he will be tested and God trusts that Job will overcome it! The misfortune is knocked down on his home, the Sabeans have passed the oxen and donkeys. The fire of God burned the sheep, and the Chaldeans threw the camels. Her seven sons and three daughters died in their house. In all this Job did not sin and did not attribute to God anything unrighteous. He remained without anything and did not blaspheme; therefore there was virtue in him!
"The Lord said to satan ..." He still persevere in his integrity and without reason you excited me against him to ruin him. " But Satan agitates and insists. "But hold your hand a little and strike its bones and flesh, and see if it will not curse you in your face." It will be necessary to touch Job not only in things but also in his own person. Then the Lord said, "He is in your power, only saves his life" (2: 2-5).
"Satan went away from the Lord, and struck Job with a malignant ulcer, from the foot to the top of his head ... Then his wife said to him," Be still in your integrity, bless God and die! " But he replied, "Speak as foolishly, if we accept good from God, why should we not accept the evil?" (2.7 to 10). Throughout this, Job did not sin with his lips. He has become leprous. Job has now been taken away and has been abandoned by all, including his wife, but he does not rebel. Only the naked faith is left without any support. Here is the beginning of the drama. Job does not know why he is being tested with so much suffering!
The dialogues between Job and his three friends, Elifaz, Bildad and Zofar, begin later. They are looking for the sense of the pain and the suffering of the right one. The friends in their speeches support what everyone believed and was part of the tradition, that pain and suffering are signs of God's punishment because of the sins of the world. If a man suffers very much, he has a great deal of pity. If the sufferer is just, then he means that he is paying some of his or her sin or is paying off the sin made by others. The three friends cannot get into Job's skin.
"Behold, he passes by and I do not see him, he goes away, and I do not know him. If he kidnaps something, who can stop it? Who can say, "What are you doing?" (9-11-12). Who sees God? Who can really know about Him?
Job feels innocent and passionately refuses the traditional belief. "Do you want to say falsehood in favor of God and for him to speak deceptively? Do you want to take the party of God and make his lawyers? "(13, 7-8). You do not have to worry about saving God but man; He is the one who needs to be defended. In this way, Job seeks to really face the problem of God because he is the one who pushes to seek more and more and more. The mystery cannot be reduced, enclosed in formulas.
God is silent, he does not speak to anyone, Job is exasperated by his silence, he feels his enemy. "Even if he answered my appeal, I would not believe he listened to my voice, he who crushes me in the hurricane and multiplies my wounds without reason . He does not let me breathe again, indeed, I am filled with bitterness."(9. 16-18).
Job in these frantic beliefs that responsibility for evil is of God Himself! "But it is the same, I assure you, he will kill the innocent! If a calamity dies in an instant, he laughs at the misfortune of the innocent. He leaves the earth in the power of the wicked, he sails the face of his rulers "(9: 22-24).
For Job there would be an arbiter to make comparison less unread. The difference between man and God is too high. "There is no judge among us who puts our hand on us two, that he should distance me from his rod, so that his terror will not frighten me. Then I could talk without fearing; Since this is not the case, I am alone with myself."(9. 33-35).
In Chapter 10, the real problem that Job places on is the false and deformed idea that men have of God. For many, believing has become a torment because God really is obscure and elusive. It is true that God is a creator and has done all things well, but then why is life and then death, is there a desire to grow, to be free and fertile, and then everything is frustrated and demolished? It would seem that God has created us to destroy us, to give us life and then to make us fail, always consumed by the nostalgia of all that is left unfinished in us.
Chapter 16 is also a tough and dramatic chapter, where God feels hostile. Job insists on his conscience and on his experience of God. A glimmer of hope is born. Job knows how to die without having received a reply from God, but he realizes that his cry will have to survive. There must be justice!
In Chapter 19, Job still speaks to us about revolt against God, but he also believes in justice; God must be more just of man, Job understands that the very barrier of death will be broken.
In chapter 23, God is really absent, indeed hiding right when he should intervene in favor of the righteous sufferer. Job feels innocent and does not endure this indifference to God. There is a great intuition on the mystery of God: God manifests itself in the darkness, is present in absentia. There are no other words at our disposal to talk about the mystery of God in history.
In the end Yahweh takes the floor. There are two long talk about creation; We talk about two animals, the hippopotamus and the Leviatan, a sign of the uncontrollable. God does not respond directly to Job's questions, but invites him to make the journey that goes from the mystery of creation to the mystery of God himself, to end his own mystery of man. The message is therefore simple: the universe is full of wonders and mysteries that Job does not know, but all things make sense and everything depends on Wisdom. Job does not forget that God is present in creation, even when this is a mystery to man. This means that human criteria are always inadequate and radically inadequate to measure God's justice. (Chapter 38-41).
Job now abandons, he understands that he is small. Although he has not received an answer, he accepts himself, and no longer talks about his innocence. This is perhaps the most important aspect. In the end Job, speaking with God, even though he contradicted him, continued to think according to Tradition: I am innocent, so I merit happiness! He overwhelmed his innocence! He realizes that this comes from a false image of God, a God according to human criterion. That is why he says that his eyes open up to a new image of God. "I recognize that you can everything, and no project is impossible for you. Who is the one who, without science, can obscure your counsel? So I have exposed, without discernment, things far beyond me, which I do not understand. Listen to me and I will speak, I will interrogate you and instruct you. "I knew you for hearing, but now my eyes see you, so I recompense and repent on dust and ashes." (42.1-6).
Now after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath has been kindled against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me as righteous as my servant Job. Take seven calves and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer them for a burnt offering to you, and my servant Job will pray for you so that I, for your sake, will not punish your foolishness, for you have not spoken to me straight As my servant Job. " Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Suchita, and Zofar the Naamatita went and did as the Lord had said and the Lord had regard for Job." (42: 7-9).
"When Job interceded for his companions, the Lord changed his fate and made him twice as much as he had possessed." (42. 10).
This story tells us about human experience, the problem of sin, virtue and good and evil. For us his unfathomable freedom, his way of intervening in man's history, remain a mystery and we have no means and no criteria to understand them adequately. The sense of suffering is in the hands of God.
Job is simply the man, the universal man of all times and of all places, driven by his own experience to face God with his questions, his insights, his fears.
It is easy at the moment of trying to lose faith, not understanding the sense of suffering and pain, but if we know how to work for the night of suffering and doubt, who knows we will find ourselves in silence, God waiting for us. Faith, if it is true faith, must rise above all adversity, only in this way we may be pleasing to God.