The book of Job is not only a witness to the dignity of suffering and God’s presence in our suffering but also our primary biblical protest against religion that has been reduced to explanations or answers. Many of the answers that Job’s so called friends give him are technically true. But it is the technical part that ruins them. They are answers without personal relationship, intellect without intimacy.
On behalf of all of us who have been misled by the platitudes of the nice people who show up to tell us everything is going to be all right if we simply think such and such and do such and such, Job issues an anguished rejoiner. He rejects the kind of advice and teaching that has God all figured out, that provides glib explanations for every circumstance. Job’s honest defiance continues to be the best defense against the clichés of positive thinkers and the prattle of religious small talk.