The Book of Job, describes a time before the Children of Israel were the Children of Israel.
In other words, there was no Judeo-Christian paradigm within which a person had resources to mine out an understanding of the Most High God.
God predates Israel, right? Yes.
So how did people relate to Him before He revealed Himself through the Torah– which He eventually gave to form a family of Chaldean nomads into a theocratic kingdom that was a living historical testament to His power, presence and personality?
Well, they related to Him like Job did– in a very fuzzy, grasping, trying, unsure, superstitious, sort of clunky way. Job just did the best he could with what he knew and what his convictions were and hoped for the best!
Job had no promises, no blessing, no atoning covenants. He had what he knew about other gods and religions and myths, folklore, folk magic, astrology, curses, demons, monsters, and the nagging he had in his heart about the nature of the One True God and a compulsion to serve Him.
What we see in Job is similar to what we see in the lives of the patriarchs: a people being called out from deception and deistic half truths into a revelation of YHWH.
And it’s a process! A messy process that is God led and paced.
What is interesting to me is that we know of two distinct followers of YHWH that were contemporaries of the Bible’s main man, Abraham– Job and Melchizedek.
They all 3 have this in common: They had a preconception of Christ.
As Job was getting to know YHWH, he instinctively knew that Christ had to be a part of the plan.
Melchizedek was the prototype of Christ’s priesthood.
Abraham understood that God would provide the sacrifice.
Abraham’s dad Terah was originally the one who felt this draw to travel to Canaan (Genesis 11:31). But he stopped. He settled in Haran before he got to Canaan. Terah left the Chaldeans and their mystery religions behind and started to move forward but stopped short. What was different between he and his son?
I think Terah might have been a little familiar with the Lord at least, because when Abraham was called to move by the Lord, there is not an account of him asking for introductions. He didn’t seem blind-sided. Perhaps the Lord and the idea of a God-inspired move was not totally foreign.
So, again, what is unique about Abraham? A gut understanding of Jesus as Redeemer, Sacrifice, and Priest that his dad maybe didn’t have.
Job, Melchizedek, and Abraham: the good soil, who had ears to hear and understand; they got the whole “Jesus thing.”
I think the centrality of the “Jesus thing” to even the origins of YHWH worship starts to come into focus when Job almost gives up.
He almost gives up on life and the hope of redemption. He gets it, his friends don’t, but he still almost throws in the towel– even though he conceives of this glorious hope!
And he sets off this torrent of curses!
“Curse the day. Curse the night. Curse the calendar…Let those who could rouse Leviathan curse that day!”
I’m just going to cut to the good part: a curse is always juxtaposed with Jesus, is it not?
We don’t really get Jesus until we run up against the curses He broke.
Leviathan, that serpent of old, the sea monster with seven heads full of the seven things God hates, that sloshing, frothy instigator of evil.
Job was feeling the weight of all the curses, doom, destruction that the world delivers.
Unfortunately! Leviathan was called up in the shape of his three friends. Job repeatedly says how his friends were making his burden heavier; they were frustrating him, vexing him, antagonizing him– they were highlighting the Curse as if it wasn’t already glaring to him!
And that, by the way, is so much how being under a spiritual attack is. It’s like you have weight after weight or calamity after calamity, illness, anguish, mishaps, accidents, misunderstandings…and the curse just grows right in front of you.
As a Christian, victory over darkness isn’t being weight-free, healthy, smooth sailing– Paul actually used his shipwrecks as evidence of his authenticity as an apostle! (2 Corinthians.)
Victory over darkness is watching evidence of the curse expand all around you, and your response is just to see Jesus.
Today when someone does something really awful and people say, “Oh man, the world needs Jesus,” you might think they are being trite or conservative. And maybe so– but they’re still right!
When darkness is most profound the light should be really obvious!
If the curse doesn’t make us think of Jesus, we need to go back to the drawing board of our hodgepodge of theistic ideas until we are actually called out into the worship of YHWH that has always had Christ as the answer to the Curse.
Christ as the answer to the Curse has been, and is, the defining expression of the heart of the Ancient of Days. Yesterday, today, and forever.