Book Review: “Job’s Quest”
Job is one of the most unique books of the Bible and one of the most intriguing—an often-perplexing story of how God relates to man.
by Ethel Archard
Sooner or later, every Christian comes to Job. It’s one of the most unique books of the Bible and one of the most intriguing—an often-perplexing story of how God relates to man. It is one of the most dramatic stories in the Bible, and it’s in this dramatic theme that Sis. Ethel Archard (Ottawa Ecclesia, Canada) approaches the narrative. Sis. Ethel advances the idea that “The entire book of Job is written in the form of a drama.”
Following the theme of a drama, Sis. Ethel lays it out as a play in three acts and introduces us to the characters, their arguments, and attitudes, concluding with the Divine perspective.
Acknowledging that “The Book of Job is an enigma,” Sis. Ethel begins with:
The meaning of the book of Job is much more complex than it may seem. This inspired literary masterpiece has intrigued Bible students for millennia. It touches on universal themes that were as relevant to the ancients as they are to individual believers today.
We quickly get to the heart of the book:
What happens to Job becomes the basis for an exploration of God’s relationship with His creation. Its truth lies in Job’s spiritual transformation.
Along with examining the different roles in the drama, Sis. Ethel introduces us to the chiastic structure helping explain the central message of the book. She writes of Elihu:
Seen through the lens of the book’s chiastic structure, his words bring us closer to right thinking. While still giving a human perspective, Elihu’s role is a bridge to the words of Yahweh Himself.
Many of the questions that haunt readers of Job revolve around the role of Satan and God’s relationship with him. Sis. Ethel wrestles with several of these questions and helps to put them in a proper perspective for correct understanding.
Job’s Quest truly resonated with me when we got to the section entitled “Is God Fair?” To me, this is the cause of much concern and confusion. Sis. Ethel addresses it by writing:
The debate at the heart of the book revolves around the retributive justice doctrine: God punishes bad people with trouble in this life and rewards good people with health and prosperity. The premise is that God deals with humanity solely on the basis of justice. He has great power, and uses it to reward good people and punish bad people in this life. In other words, God is fair—above all else. You always get what you deserve. The worse the sin, the worse the punishment. By that reasoning, Job must be very sinful to deserve such awful losses and pain!
Sis. Ethel goes beyond the arguments and helps us to connect Job’s story to our own personal stories emotionally. As she writes, “Put yourself in Job’s shoes because this is a story about real human experience.”
I would suggest the same advice. Put yourself in Job’s shoes for a while. Spend some time reflecting on the lessons he learned. This book will help you connect to that enigmatic story in a way that might help you more than you imagined. I recommend Job’s Quest.
(Simi Hills Ecclesia, CA)
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