A wonderful book, that will make help you see Job in a whole new way. The main strength is that Toby takes the beginning and the end seriously and makes the dialogues function within those bookends. He ties the life of Job to Adam and Christ, as well as several other figures in Scripture. His view that God is helping Job mature as a son is great. This view helps explain a lot of actions by the Lord throughout the book, such as why he points Job out to Satan in the beginning and how Job can be blameless and yet still need to grow. I also really enjoyed Toby’s writing style. I hope he has more books lined up.
I have enjoyed reading Pastor Toby Sumpter’s blog for a long time. He is a good preacher and a good writer. Recently I read his commentary on Job. It is not very long and provides insight into the purpose of Job. What I really enjoyed was how he allowed the epilogue (Job 38-42) to dictate the rest of the book. There are nuggets of truth scattered throughout the book. Here are a few of my favorite quotes. All emphasis is his. Brackets are mine.
The Spirit drives like the wind, like a storm, and empowers men and women to carry out great deeds according to the will of the Father and the Son.
For those who have ears to hear and eyes to see, Job is a powerful invitation to grow up into maturity, patience, and holiness through struggle, trial, argument, and prayer, looking for the resurrection in the power and love of the Holy Spirit.
Job is a perfect man, an Adam in an Eden-garden…an Adam like king who rules over creation…His prosperity and blessing are not accidental, they are the result of obeying his father.
The very good God loves to take good men, break them apart, and turn them into very good men. The perfect and glorious God loves to take perfect men, break them apart, and turn them into greater glory and greater perfection.
Job’s goodness and integrity are not arguments against Job’s suffering; they are the very reasons for it.
As the husband of a family that has been struck, as the king of a nation which will surely feel the repercussions of these calamities, and as the servant of the God who has allowed these hardships in the first place, Job had a responsibility to speak, a duty to cry out. At the bare minimum, as a man in pain, he must express that pain to his maker. To refuse to speak, to refuse to cry out to God in pain and agony, would be to compromise his integrity.
The problem [with Job’s three friends] is not that they are constantly saying untrue things, but rather that they are saying true things and applying them in irresponsible and evil ways.
Wisdom requires men and women to look deeper than surface appearances and words. It is not enough to have good intentions or quote Bible verses.
Job does not deny the possibility of having committed an error, but they [his friends] are not interested in helping Job, they are interested in disgracing him.
Job was not unfaithful or unrighteous to cry out in his agony. Faithful sons cry out to God. They feel pain and hardship. They hope in their Father. Faithful sons hope and rest in the comfort of the storm. The Lord is a storm. He has poured out his storm presence on you in his Spirit, and that storm is at work in our lives, until the earth has been covered with his glory and knowledge, as the waters cover the sea…That process is not always fun. Job did not have a lot of fun, but his ending is glorious. It’s very good. It’s wonderful, and beauty beyond compare; the end of the story is resurrection.
Here is a link to a blog post by Toby Sumpter about nose piercings. He does a good job of balancing the freedom the Scriptures give with the recognition that the human heart often does good things for wicked reasons. One quote struck me as particularly helpful. “Fighting for the symbol, means embodying the symbol.”
As Christians we must be careful not to simply outlaw something because people misuse it. Here is where many conservative Christians and older believers fall. But on the other hand, too many younger Christians flaunt their Christian freedom in such a way as to undo the greater command to love others. If the symbol is one of love then to use it in an unlovely manner contradicts the symbol. Too many Christians contradict the symbol with their life.
Toby Sumpter is the pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, ID. Everything he writes is worth reading. He is a good, clear thinker who holds the faith without apology, but also holds it with love. I sat in on his ordination exam several years ago and was very impressed. Besides all of this he has a great red beard! Here is a link to one of his short posts on Exodus 1-2 where he explains that Pharaoh feared the males in Israel, but he should have feared the daughters. In accord with his post I have posted a picture of my daughters below. May they be like corner pillars in the palace of God.