Why Bad Things Happen to Good People


There was a man named Job, who lived in the land of Uz. He was a good man who worshiped God. He had seven sons and three daughters. He was also a rich man; he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, one thousand head of cattle, and five hundred donkeys, as well as many servants.

One day when all the angels gathered in heaven before God, the devil came too. God asked him, "Where have you been?" The devil answered, "I have been walking here and there, wandering around on the earth." God said, "Have you seen My servant Job? There is no one on earth as good as he is. He worships Me and does not do bad." The devil replied, "Does he worship You for nothing? You protect his family and property. You bless what he does and make him rich. But if you would take away all he has, he would curse You to Your face." God said, "You may take away all he has, but you must not hurt Job himself." So the devil left.

One day when Job's children were eating together, a man came running to Job. "We were plowing the fields with the cattle," he said, " and the donkeys were in a nearby pasture. Suddenly a group of men attacked us and stole them all. They killed all of your servants except me. I am the only one who escaped to tell you." Before he had finished speaking, another servant came and said, "Lightning struck the sheep and the shepherds and killed them all. I am the only one who escaped to tell you." Before he had finished speaking, another servant came and said, "Three groups of raiders attacked us, stole the camels, and killed all your servants except me. I am the only one who escaped to tell you." Before he had finished speaking, another servant came and said, "Your children were eating together when a strong wind came up and blew the house down on them and killed them all. I am the only one who escaped to tell you." Then Job tore his clothes in sorrow and threw himself face down on the ground. He said, "I was born with nothing and I will die with nothing. The Lord gave and the Lord took away. Praise the name of the Lord!" So Job did not sin by blaming God.

On another day all the angels gathered in heaven before God again and the devil was there too. So God asked him, "Where have you been?" The devil answered, "I have been walking here and there, wandering around on the earth." God said, "Have you seen My servant Job? There is no one on earth as good as he is. He worships Me and does not do bad. You got Me to let you attack him for nothing, but he is still faithful." The devil replied, "Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has in order to stay alive. But if You would hurt his body, he would curse You to Your face." Then God said, "All right. He is in your power, but you must not kill him." So the devil left and made sores break out all over Job's body.

When this happened Job's wife told him, "Why don't you curse God and die?" Job answered, "Don't be foolish. We get good things from God. Shall we complain if we get bad things too?" So even though he was suffering, Job would not speak against God.

Then three of Job's friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, heard about Job's suffering. So they decided to go and comfort him. When they came to him, he was so sick that they did not even recognize him. So they sat with him a week without speaking, because they saw how much he was suffering.

Then Job began to talk. He said he wished he had never been born. Then Eliphaz told Job about a dream he had had. In it a spirit had told him that these things had happened to Job because he had disobeyed God. But Job answered that he had done nothing wrong. Then Bildad said that the old people had always taught that bad things happened to bad people. But Job answered that he had done nothing wrong. Then Zophar said that Job had done wrong. But Job would not admit it. He wondered why this was happening to him. So they argued back and forth until finally Job's friends could say no more. Then a young man named Elihu began to speak against Job. But while he was speaking, a storm came up. Suddenly God Himself spoke to Job out of a whirlwind. He asked Job why he wondered about suffering when he could not even explain the things of nature around him. So Job admitted to God that he had been wondering about things that he did not understand.

Then God told Job's friends that they had not spoken right and that they must get Job to offer sacrifices for them. When this was done God healed Job and gave him even more riches than he had had before. He had twice as many sheep, camels, cattle, and donkeys. He had another seven sons and three daughters and his daughters grew up to be the most beautiful women in the land. So Job lived another one hundred and forty years. He was old enough to see his great-grandchildren before he died.


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Last updated on April 13, 2018
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