"The book of Job," wrote Heinrich Heine, "is the Song of Songs of skepticism, and in it terrifying serpents hiss their eternal question: Why?" Why do we ask "why" upon reading the book of Job? Simply because what happened to Job and what happens to so many of us seems so utterly inconsistent with what we know to be true of God. If God is good and great, as we believe He is, how can He stand idly by and permit a righteous man like Job to suffer so horribly? This is a book that chronicles the human response when one's experience conflicts with one's expectations.
There is one thing about the book of Job that makes it easy for us: one need never struggle to make it relevant. Even if we ourselves have never experienced the agonizing tragedies described in this book, all of us know someone who has, whether it be the shattering news of terminal cancer, devastating loss of all one's possessions in a flood, tornado, fire, or earthquake, the unexpected death of a child, financial bankruptcy, an adulterous affair that destroys a marriage and devastates children, a teen-age son on drugs or a daughter who secretly has an abortion.
Simply put, life is not fair, Injustice often seems to triumph. Good people suffer indescribable pain and bad people prosper with baffling regularity. No, I don't know why, and as best I can tell, no one else knows either. But whenever such issues arise, people invariably turn to the book of Job.
Who was Job? When did he live? Who wrote the book that tells his story? The opening words of v. 1 tell us little. Most believe he lived during the time of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, although there is no way to be certain. He was probably a Jew, although nowhere in the book is his ethnic heritage mentioned. Some have suggested tha