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Why do the Righteous Suffer?

That’s the theme of the book that will occupy most of our attention this month – Job. Acknowledged by God as a righteous man, Job finds his family and his wealth taken away. Then his health deteriorates and his friends leave him.

His wife tells him to curse God and die. His response is one you’ve undoubtedly heard before –

“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
(Job 2:10b)

He has three friends who don’t desert him – although at times he wishes they had – these three friends accuse him of great sin to be suffering so severely. They urge him to admit his sin and repent. I’d quote a verse here, but I’d have to quote about thirty chapters. Imagine yourself in Job’s position – how long could you put up with your three friends’ accusations?

Yet Job doesn’t sin…for a long time anyway. Eventually, he is warn down and shakes his fist at God…and eventually God shows up with what I call His “where were you” speach. Here’s just the beginning of it:

1Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind:

2“Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? 3Brace yourself, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.

4“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. 5Do you know how its dimensions were determined and who did the surveying? 6What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone 7as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

8“Who defined the boundaries of the sea as it burst from the womb, 9and as I clothed it with clouds and thick darkness?
Job 38:1-9

I love the “where were you” speech. I find it to be the clearest statement of God’s sovereignty and awesome power in Scripture. I’ve quoted nine verses here. God’s speach goes on for three great chapters. Before He’s finished, we see His awesome power, His great wisdom in creation and His tender care of created beings.

Job can seem a hard book to slog through sometimes. Stick with it. The payoff is more than worth it!

Blessings as you read this month.

The recommended reading schedule is below.

To download a PDF of October’s recommended reading plan, click here.

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