I must confess I have been feeling a little frustrated with reading Job. All these speeches do my head in. I have been blessed with a special friend who is Jewish. I decided to email her and her husband for some insights on how they study Job and this is what she has to say:
Job can be tough if you are trying to read it through.
We have our pre-teens study Job-it can be overwhelming and boring if you are not careful.
Take a piece of paper-there are only 5 characters in the whole book.
The first is Job-write that on one page of paper
Then turn the paper over and divide the paper into thirds-and write the names of each of his "friends" Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. Then get another piece of paper and write The L-rd's Reaction on the top of it Understand the Jews like to complain if things don't go their way-it's just what they do as a part of how we are taught to pray-so life has been good for Job-all of a sudden he is sitting Shiva for his whole family (mourning) combined with complaining to the L-rd-only he is complaining to his friends as he complains to the L-rd
If you are wanting an overview of the book, no reason to list all of Job's ranting and ravings-they are what you would expect from an angry man in mourning and they can be studied more in depth on another study or time
Rather you are looking for patterns-begin reading, first there is the intro, then bad things happen, then Job rants and raves for the first time
I believe Eiphaz the Teranite is the first to come along in around chapter 4-read the whole chapter 4 & 5 and pick 3 words or statements about what he says (a summary of advice or behaviour)-
I would pick Who is going to answer you? You need to lay your case before G-d, Do not reject G-d's discipline
Job replies-I personally would list all of the friends responses first so as to not get bogged down but if you feel the need to read straight through then turn your paper over and list the next 3 rantings of Job that stick out-I would skip to chapter 8 and list the 3 responses the Bildad the Shuhite give under his name
I would continue this way through the whole book and then (the next week at Hebrew school for us) we have them read the book straight through looking for what Job said and how it sparked the response from his "friends"
Today's readings are from Job 19 - Job 23
- I must confess along with Job that it frustrates me to see wicked people prosper and live in 'peace'! I wonder why it is that way ?
- Job 21:22-26 Can anyone teach God knowledge, since He judges the exalted ones ? One person dies in excellent health, completely secure and at ease. His body is well-fed, and his bones are full of marrow. Yet another person dies with a bitter soul, having never tasted prosperity. But they both lie in the dust, and worms cover them. Reading this made me realise that our view of the world around us has not changed in 7 000 years. People back then struggled with the same things we do, they felt as passionate and as frustrated as we do over the prosperity of the wicked!
The verse we were left with for Thought and Contemplation is 1 Peter 3:16 "... keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame." I found this encouraging. I can see now how Job's 'friends' are put to shame and how because Job's conscience is clear that his redemption by God was complete.
Blessings my friends