I don’t understand why we keep addressing Job as being without sin. We know suffering comes from sin. Job suffered. We know from the story that he was prideful in that he saw himself as a good person that did not break the commandments. We know this because the Jewish folks understood “righteous” mean one does not break the 10 Commandments. However, Jesus Christ pointed out that sin occurs in the heart. It was also clear that Job was prideful because he challenged God to give him a hearing to point out how wrong God was. Finally, in God’s response to Job he humbled him by pointing out that he did not know as much as he thought he did since he was not even close to understanding the creation of the world. The arguments that the innocent suffer may be true, but the story of Job does not support that argument. Yes? No?
Job did sin in the Book of Job but his sufferings were not on account on his sins.
We know that Job was initially sinless because the Book of Job explicitly tells us that he was:
In the land of Uz there was a blameless and upright man named Job…
- Job 1:1
The LORD said to the satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.”
- Job 1:8
In all this Job did not sin, nor did he charge God with wrong.
- Job 1:22
The LORD said to the satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil. He still holds fast to his innocence although you incited me against him to ruin him for nothing.”
- Job 2:3
The author of Scripture tells us that Job was without sin and God does not say that Job is wrong to hold to his innocence in the midst of his sufferings.
Job’s sufferings came not from any personal sin but the desire of Satan to turn Job against God:
The satan answered the LORD and said, “Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing? Have you not surrounded him and his family and all that he has with your protection? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock are spread over the land. But now put forth your hand and touch all that he has, and surely he will curse you to your face.”
- Job 1:9-11
The satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But put forth your hand and touch his bone and his flesh. Then surely he will curse you to your face.”
- Job 2:4-5
It is Job’s friends who insist that Job must be suffering because he has sinned, and God rebukes them for this opinion:
And after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My anger blazes against you and your two friends! You have not spoken rightly concerning me, as has my servant Job.
- Job 42:7
The general consensus of tradition is that Job sinned at the end of his sufferings by accusing God of being unjust in His dealings with Job. It is then that God rebukes Job by showing him that the enormity of creation and its workings are beyond his understanding and thus shows Job that he has no grounds to challenge God. Job repents of his challenge to God’s justice and God rewards him.
The whole theme of the Book of Job is that suffering is not necessarily directly related to personal sin and that any injustice of suffering is not from the hand of God. The essence of faith is not fear of punishment for wrongdoing, but rather trusting in God’s goodness, love and mercy even when everything around us seems to tell us not to…