Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.
The story of Job is part of the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, the Hebrew scriptures. It deals with the question of the meaning of suffering and in our world how it is that God deals with us and responds to us at this time. It is a long and poetic story. Often times, we only hear the beginning of the story and the ending, the response of God. The way it begins is like this: God and the Devil are conversing to one another and God show the Devil Job and says, ""Isn't he a faithful model follower of me?"" And the Devil says, ""Well of course he's got everything. It's easy to have faith. I'll tell you what God, if you let me harm him, we'll see how faithful he is."" God accepts the challenge, but says don't harm Job, just what's around him. And the Devil does and destroys Job's family and his farm. But Job remains faithful, and God says see he's still faithful, but the Devil says I haven't harmed him. And God says, alright. And so the Devil diseases Job boils on his skin — he's totally destitute, and it's at this point when Job is visited by three friends, Bildad, Eliphaz, and Zophar, and they give advice to Job. Sometimes telling him just reject God. But Job doesn't accept their advice. But Job is still trying to figure out all that is going onto him, and why this is so. And finally God comes to Job in a whirl, and basically says, ""Look Job, where were you when the foundations of the world were made? Are you as strong as me, do you know what I have to do? I protect the world from sea monsters and the like. Are you as strong as me?"" Is it a satisfactory answer? People debate that. But it's the one that God gives Job. at the end of the story god restores Job and creates for him a new family and restores some of his livelihood, people debate is it a satisfactory answer or not. That's for us to decide. That is the story of Job.