[reaction to OYB’s Aug. 21-23 readings]
Does your sinfulness cause you to be physically ill. Psalm 38 says maybe it does. The book of Job says sinfulness is at least not the only reason we get sick. Maybe God has a bet with Satan about how much suffering you can take. The fable of Job is so important for everyday living because it strikes out at the notion that all misfortune comes from sin; particularly on the personal level. If it is a literal story, however, it would really call into question exactly how good is our God after all.
Something I noticed for the first time on this reading is how Job’s friends really do try to comfort him. After God lets one horrible calamity after another be brought on faithful Job by Satan, his friends
set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
Now, they will eventual suggest this is all Job’s fault for something he or his ancestors did. But I think sitting in silence with a friend for 7 days shows real devotion.