Job, Another Story of HopeMy understanding of the basic point of the book of Job in the Bible is that it is about justice and the human point of view that a righteous, Godly person is entitled to arelatively painless, easy, and prosperous life. This point of view is not supported by the book of Job nor by the Bible in general. We are not entitled to anything.I believe that God does not keep tight control over every-day events, for the most part.God designed the world to run mostly on its own. Good things and bad things happen togood and bad people randomly and according to natural processes.Certainly, there are some factors that tip the scales in favor of those who live good andGodly lives. One factor would be the fact that bad behavior tends to be followed byunpleasant natural consequences.Another factor is that God really does respond to prayer – according to a complicatedsystem involving quantity of faith, perseverance in prayer, and the wisdom andknowledge of God (the various other factors that are part of the total picture that Godknows about and we do not). All these things are part of what determines how Godchooses to answer prayers.Also, there really are people, like Job, around whom God chooses to place a hedge of protection. (Job 1:10) This, I believe, is also about prayer. Hedges of protection aremade of prayer, the individual's prayers for himself and other people's prayers. Thestrength of any particular hedge is dependent on the previously mentioned factors --faith, perseverance, and the wisdom of God.However, the fact remains -- we do not earn the right to protection or prosperity by our own goodness. God chooses to protect as a special blessing. We are not entitled to it.Job had 3 good friends. They wept with him and sat silently with him for 7 days, sharingin his grief and suffering. They did not speak until after Job spoke. But when they didspeak, being human, they said the wrong things. They seemed to have a strong need tomake sense of the suffering so they did what humans tend to do. They tried to findsomeone to blame. People need control. They have a hard time accepting thatsometimes, when bad things happen, it is no one's fault. God was not pleased with whatJob's friends had to say. But he did not punish them. He assigned Job to pray for them.And Job, being human also, allowed himself a time of complaining, self-pity, andquestioning God. But he chose not to give up and not to “curse God and die” as his wiferecommended. And when God's time came to speak, Job listened. He corrected histhinking errors. He was obedient to what God asked him to do.