Job versus the Proverbs

The biblical books of Proverbs and Job appear to be polar opposites. The former presents practical wisdom for living the best life possible, and the latter is a story of the best life gone bad. The one offers success formulas that are supposed to work, and the other says, “I’ve done all of those things and my life is still a wreck.” The books of Proverbs and Job are so opposed to one another that it can almost be difficult to see them in the same Bible.

In fact there are really only two things that these books have in common: God and you.

The same God who promises to honor right living in the Proverbs is the God who rescued and restored Job at the end of his calamity. And you and I will live through each of these books as well.

Fortunately, the majority of our lives will be spent in the book of Proverbs. In fact about 9/10ths of our life will probably be simple, manageable, and quietly rewarding based on how well we follow the principles of Scripture. The book of Proverbs addresses these 9/10ths.

What Job addresses is the 1/10th, the unexpected and unexplained. We will all be touched by the unexpected and unexplained; however, even though we might live through some Job “seasons” very few of us will have an entire Job “life.” Not even Job did—many scholars believe that his crisis lasted about nine months before the Lord intervened and started rebuilding and restoring him.

Don’t be afraid of the 1/10th. Calamity isn’t lurking around the corner. God is faithful, and He will take care of you. And even if you do touch on some Job-like moments, you too, will eventually be able to say with Job, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”

One of my favorite teachers in Bible school (a woman in her eighties), said, “When God showed up, my deepest valleys became my highest mountaintops.”

I hope your life is mostly mountaintops. But when it’s not, I hope you, too, can find Him in the valleys. He’ll be looking for you.

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