God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:13-14 provides the context for the trajectory of Joseph’s suffering, “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them for four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” The rest of the story answers the question, “How will that promise come to pass?” God works through the depravity of Joseph’s brothers to position Joseph in Egypt. He also uses a regional drought to drive Jacob and his family to Egypt.
Job, however, doesn’t have a revelation from God by which to interpret the demise of his wealth, the death of his children, his intense physical suffering, and the verbal abuse of his friends. He is not privy to the conversation in heaven that is the direct cause of all that he experiences on earth.
Our knowledge of that conversation in heaven, however, allows us to see that it is God’s esteem of Job and Satan’s hatred of him that cause Job’s suffering. Suffering is never wasted in the hands of God.
Job and all three of his friends struggle to interpret Job's suffering without divine illumination. The darkness of suffering requires both faith in the good character of God and confidence that God wastes nothing. Just as He uses the betrayal of Joseph’s brothers to fulfill His good intentions regarding Abraham and descendants, so He uses Job’s suffering to bring Job’s friends into the community of faith.
Job’s suffering reveals a number of truths that deliver hope to heart of sufferers today:
IN THIS SECTION
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