Traditional Faith on Trial
Job is the original courtroom drama. Just like the plaintiff in Perry Mason or Matlock, Job demands an audience with a judge to plead his case. He has been wronged and is seeking an explanation. Time after time he asks for the Lord to hear him and to answer his complaint.
In many ways, Traditional Faith is considered a character in this drama and is the culprit/defendant on trial. Job and all his friends have been very friendlywith this faith that is so bound up in tradition and ritual, that it is virtually void of the providence of God. They have subscribed to the Deuteronomic Formula which is governed by the belief that good people will always prosper and the wicked will always be punished. The formula is rigid, leaving no room for exceptions, and can also be called Cash Register Justice.
As in most courtroom dramas, there are testimonies from other people who know the person on trial and will vouch for the persons’ character based on what they have seen and heard from the person. Job happens to be the best person for this trial test case since everyone who knew him can testify for his goodness. The testimony of God, his family and his friends all bear witness that he was blameless and upright and man who fears God and shuns evil. God himself prized him as a good and faithful servant, worthy enough to endure a testing from the evil one.
Throughout this ordeal, he is growing in his faith and understanding of God and His purposes. This growing faith is brought to life in one of Job’s speeches where he realizes the fact that both the good and the wicked man are destroyed (Job 9:22). This is something that he can see and is starting to understand, but his friends are still blind to this new concept. If it were not for his suffering, Job would be just as closed minded as his friends. He would likely treat others the same way he is being treated now. One positive purpose in all of this is creation of empathetic wisdom and sensitivity toward others who are struggling.
As you continue to read the speeches of Job and his friends, look for the Traditional Faith character being portrayed in the drama. Later we will discover an emerging character known as the Transcendent Faith which becomes a forever friend of Job and his friends.
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