Jump directly to the Content

I Need to Cover My Mouth when I Preach

There's a difference between speaking about God and speaking for him.

I love and hate the book of Job. I love it because it poses challenging pastoral questions—like being tested by God or God's tolerance for the devil—but I hate it because it challenges my understanding of what it means to have a pastoral spirit.

Most know Job's story. Satan approaches God for permission to test Job. God says, "Fine, just don't kill him." Job loses everything, including his wealth and his children. His wife tells him to curse God and die. And then, as if that weren't enough, he gets this weird skin disease and tries to scrape it off with broken pieces of a clay jar.

It is in this moment that his friends decide to pay him a visit. They spend a week with him, just being present with him, mourning with him, and providing for his needs—a great example of pastoral care. But after the week has passed, the real reason for their visit becomes apparent. They are there to help Job discover what he did wrong.

The audience knows Job hasn't done anything wrong. God actually considers ...

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Whoops, You Know Greek
Whoops, You Know Greek
From the Magazine
Fractured Are the Peacemakers
Fractured Are the Peacemakers
A Christian reconciliation group in Israel and Palestine warned that war would come. Now the war threatens their relevance.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.