If Job only knew he was undergoing his extreme trials to test his love for the Lord, he would… what? Hang on longer? Protest less forcefully? Would his story be any more compelling? Would Job’s knowing the reason compromise the separation between events in Heaven and on Earth?
Known only to us readers, Job’s wife communicates Heaven’s debate. In one sharp question, for example, she unwittingly delivers the Lord’s assessment. “He still keeps his integrity,” the Lord tells the Adversary (2:3 Heb. hassatan). “Do you still maintain your integrity?” she asks Job (2:9a). Then, in one double-barreled command she also transmits the Adversary’s prediction: “Lay a hand on his bones and flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face” (2:5). “Curse God and Die,” she commands Job (2:9b). There is communication between Heaven and Earth, so a little more at the beginning would hardly hurt.
What about at the end? Couldn’t the Lord have leveled with Job then. Wouldn’t that relieve his troubled mind? Help him sleep? Encourage us all to hang in there with trusting the Lord when we’re under severe duress? Instead, the Lord presents Job with imponderables, asking him to ponder. He does affirm Job “spoke the truth about Me,” but about the test, not a word.
Why do you think the Lord never levels with Job? Why doesn’t he with us?
Next week Rob Sutherland, Counsellor at Law, writes a guest blog. His book, Putting God on Trial, 2004, deals with this question from a unique perspective.