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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lessons to Learn from Job's Friends

1) True theological statements can be false.

If you take many of the statements of Job's friends separately, they sound like good theology. But their application is shallow and insensitive.
Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools. (Proverbs 26:9)

We put a high premium on good theology. But let us be warned: it can be made false by the way it is applied, and can even be destructive in the mouth of fools.

Drink deep at the fountain of God's truth. And let love stand as a watchman at the gate of your mouth.

2) Suffering and prosperity are not distributed in proportion to the evil or good that a person does.

Job is right: the wicked are spared in the day of calamity (21:30). But the just and blameless man is a laughing stock (12:4).

Therefore let us not judge one another too quickly, or at all. Those who suffer most may be the best. And those who prosper most may be the worst among us.

3) Nevertheless God still reigns over all the affairs of men, from the greatest to the smallest.

It is amazing that the most common means used by people today to solve the mystery of suffering never occurred to Job or to his three friends—namely, the limitation of God's sovereign control over all things.
Today we limit God at the drop of a hat: He couldn't have willed that sickness, or that explosion, or the death of that child! So he must not be in control. He is a limited God.

But Job and his friends have this great common ground: God reigns. No solution to the problem of suffering that questions this will ever satisfy the heart of a saint.

4) There is wisdom behind the apparent arbitrariness of the world, but it is hidden from man.

Where shall wisdom be found?And where is the place of understanding?Man does not know the way to it,and it is not found in the land of the living . . .God understands the way to it,and he knows its place. (28:12—13, 23)

We see through a glass darkly, even from our New Testament perspective (1 Corinthians 13:12). But faith always affirms that no matter how chaotic and absurd things may seem to our limited view they are in fact the tactics of infinite wisdom.
Desiring God Blog (Author: Abraham Piper)


  1. Thanks for sharing this! What a wonderful book in Scriptures that shows us the absolute sovereignty of our Eternal Father who is strong to save!

    If you haven't gotten a copy of Piper's book entitled "Job" it is excellent. Piper wrote a poem based on Job and the illustrations are pristine! Would make an excellent gift or story for children!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  2. I was considering getting Pipers book, amoung others, but I just made a purchace of several others that I've wanted to read. I will likely get it sometime in the near future.

    So many good books, so little time. ;)