The “Patience” of Job

XIR84999 Job (oil on canvas) by Bonnat, Leon Joseph Florentin (1833-1922)
oil on canvas
Musee Bonnat, Bayonne, France
Lauros / Giraudon
French, out of copyright

The Bible is full of humor and wisdom and if you don’t believe me, read this: As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11) This verse makes me laugh and shout for joy. When you’re done reading this post, you’ll laugh and shout too. Guaranteed, or your money back. The bit that makes me laugh There is a long tradition of preaching on the patience of Job. You know how the story goes. Job suffered great loss but endured it patiently, a pious … [Read more...]

Job’s Grace Encounter

blue-eyed man

Tradition has taught that Job endured unimaginable suffering with poise and noble patience. He was a giant of the faith who never said anything wrong, and he is a great example for us all to follow. Baloney. As we have seen in this series, Job was, at times, a self-righteous whiner who complained to high heaven. He blamed God for his troubles and even accused the Lord of being unjust. Yet somehow this makes me like Job more because I have gone through tough times and when I did I wrestled with the same sorts of thoughts he had. “God where are you? Lord, do you hate me? Why have you … [Read more...]

The Gospel of Elihu

Somebodys out to get me

The problem with manmade religion is that it views the Bible in a distorted way that glorifies self and diminishes grace. This can be seen in the way religion portrays Job as a good guy and God as a bad guy who sends the devil to do his dirty work. Contrary to popular opinion, Job was not a giant of faith but a superstitious and fearful whiner, and God certainly did not send Satan to make Job’s life miserable. (Before you write to tell me I don’t know the Bible, please click on those links and read the relevant posts.) Why are so many confused about Job? Because they’ve only read the … [Read more...]

Is Satan God’s Sheepdog?


The Book of Job is one of the most amazing stories in the Bible, but we read it wrong two ways. First, we elevate Job into some kind of faith hero. Second, we think the devil is a sheepdog sent by the Lord to do his dirty work. This crazy notion is based on the following passage: Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work … [Read more...]

Ten Little Known Facts about Job


Many people consider Job a great man and a champion of the faith. Job, you will recall, lost everything (his family, wealth and health), then sat on a dunghill scratching himself with a broken plate while having a theology debate with seminarians. As a result of this rich, life-affirming experience, many people now believe the following lies: God gives and takes away good things like children, health, jobs God uses sickness to punish or discipline me God puts me through hard times to teach me humility God uses Satan as a sheepdog to keep the sheep in line I want to offer a different … [Read more...]

“Understanding the Book of Job” by Tom Tompkins


“If you’re suffering, you must have done something bad. God must be punishing you.” That must be one of the oldest lies in history. Here’s another. “God is using these hard times to teach you humility.” These lies can be traced back to one of the oldest and most misunderstood stories in the Bible – the story of Job. As I'm sure you know, Job was a man who lost everything. The Book of Job is not mainly about his loss, but how he tried to process his loss with the help of three religious friends. When I wrote my Job post a year and a half ago I had no idea that so many Christians would get … [Read more...]

Does God Give and Take Away?


The entire Bible is good for you, but you won’t get much out of it unless you know Jesus Christ. To understand the written word, you need to know the Living Word. If you try to read the Bible without an appreciation of Jesus – who He is and what He has done – you may end up taking someone else’s medicine. Some verses will appear to contradict others and you will get confused. In the first part of this study on God’s gifts, we looked at a sincere lady in the Bible who mistakenly believed that God gives us bad gifts like death and poverty. Today I want to look at a man who had a slightly … [Read more...]