“Triangle of Claims” and Conclusion

Job – Part 2: The Lord Jehovah Speaks

The ‘Triangle of Claims’ and Conclusion

1. The following slide shows the ‘Triangle of Claims’ – God’s Justice: claim by Elihu; Righteousness: claim by Job; Divine Retribution Principle: claim by 3 Friends:

Triangle of Claims

2. The different positions, adopted by the human characters in the book, can be represented by a ‘Triangle of Claims’:

  • Divine Retribution Principle: Job’s 3 friends,
  • God’s Justice: Elihu, and
  • Job’s Righteousness: Job

Claims by 3 Friends, Elihu and Job

3. What is divine Retribution Principle?

  • Job’s friends accept the traditional view that God the righteous Judge rewards the righteous with prosperity and punishes the wicked with calamity
  • It is automatically assumed by Job’s friends that all suffering is caused by sin
  • They are saying that Job had to have sinned or else this will not have happened to him

4. What is God’s Justice?

  • God governs the world in wisdom, and from His sovereign wisdom, justice results. He is wise and we do believe He is also just

5. What is Job’s Righteousness?

  • God chooses to test an extremely righteous man like Job, so all of us can see:
    As in Job 1:1; 1:8; 2:3
    “… This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.”
  • Job stands by his beliefs and never lost faith in himself or his Lord
  • Therefore, Job did not sin, and did not turn his back on God

Job Fear God and Shunned Evil

6. The ‘Triangle of Claims’ is assumed to be valid as the diagram represents their claims. Most of the chapters in the book proceed as a kind of trial. Each character is trying to accuse Job that he is suffering for his hidden sin. Job has to defend his righteousness. He is innocence.

7. BUT…

When tragedies happen to Job, it is clear that all the three claims cannot be maintained together, in equilibrium. Job, his friends and Elihu each take his claim at one ‘corner’ as their starting point.

For example:

  • Job stands by his righteousness and the retribution principle so he questions God’s justice.

On the other hand,

  • The 3 friends and Elihu accept God’s justice and the retribution principle, so they question Job’s righteousness.

Now, you understand why there are intense debates in the book and they only add to Job’s suffering.

8. What is God’s response to these claims?

  • He steps outside the ‘Triangle of Claims’
  • He shifts the debate from justice to wisdom.

God does not try to defend His justice and is not constrained to human understanding.

We do not understand God’s wisdom. God’s sovereignty overcomes the man-made triangle ie. the ‘Triangle of Claims’

God overcomes the triangle of claims

9. Finally, God appears to Job in a whirlwind. Job has a better understanding of God’s sovereignty. Job does not need to know why he has to suffer.

10. God is not angry with Job. The LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. This shows God’s graciousness with those who loved Him.

Conclusion

11. In preparing for this presentation, our class found Job to be one of the most challenging books. Despite its challenges, we found much inspiration for every believer, such as:

  • God’s sovereign grace,
  • God takes notice of the righteous,
  • God’s goodness and faithfulness,
  • God is worthy of praise,
  • Serve God even in adversity and,
  • Man’s response to faith and submissive trust.

12. The Book of Job is an epic of believing with courage. Job is truly a remarkable and an enduring character.

Note: This ‘Triangle of Claims’ is taken from the Dictionary of Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry and Writings by Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns.