Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Texts: Job 13:28; Job 28:28; Job 32:1–5; Job 34:10–14; Ezekiel 28:12–17; Job 1–2:10
It just didn’t make any sense. A man crashed his car into pedestrians on the Ohio State campus last Monday morning. He then climbed out of his car and began slashing people with a butcher knife. Less than a minute later a university police officer shot and killed the suspect.
The attacker, who has been identified as Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan, was responsible for the mass stabbing of 11 people who were hospitalized for injuries. The victims included seven students, a faculty member, a university worker, and another unknown person. At the time of this writing, the investigation is ongoing and terrorism has not been ruled out as a motive.1
An outpouring of sympathy has been expressed through social media. Government officials have shared: “our thoughts and prayers are with you,” and other leaders called the attack “tragic” and expressed their condolences. Several Muslim leaders condemned the attack and cautioned against jumping to conclusions or blaming a religion or ethnicity.2
Our daily news is filled with tragic and senseless violence. Where is God when innocent people are hurt? Why are some people randomly attacked while others walk away unscathed? Do some people deserve to be victims? Why do good people sometimes suffer—people like Job?
In this week’s Sabbath school lesson a new “comforter” arrives to speak with Job. Like the other three “friends,” Job could have done without Elihu. He suddenly appears on the scene and gives his take on why Job is suffering. At first glance his arguments appear to give a fresh perspective on the confusing dilemma, but a deeper look reveals that he adds little to the dialogue.
Elihu’s words have a mixture of truth and wrath. He’s upset with Job’s response to God. Like the other men, Elihu basically suggests that Job is getting what he deserves. But all these wise men—including Job himself—cannot see the cosmic battle taking place behind the scenes.
After all the philosophical dust settles, evil and sin still don’t make sense. The tragic killing and destruction in our world do not always have logical explanations. While we might trace natural consequences as the result of some calamities, we often cannot. How does one justify the murder of thousands of innocent women and children in the midst of war?
Even with the insights into the work of Satan in our world, we still shake our heads in disbelief at the senseless attacks made on innocent people. Someday God will pull back the curtain and allow us to see from the beginning to the end. Even then we will weep at what we observe (Revelation 21:4).
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