Review: Job Through New Eyes: A Son For Glory
Job Through New Eyes: A Son For Glory by Toby J. Sumpter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Disclaimer: I’m not a Job expert. This is the first book length commentary I’ve read on it.
Draws strong parallels to Jesus. Job is a type of Christ in many ways. These are not artificial cut and paste statements, but come from digging deep into what is happening to Job and what he is doing in response.
The main theme is that God is refining and maturing Job through this suffering. God uses Satan’s accusation and attack to accomplish God’s prior purpose. Since this is a commentary, Sumpter doesn’t extend application of this, but it is rich soil for speaking to those who are suffering and asking why.
Job’s response is right, while his “friends” did not represent God well (42:7). This was well argued, especially that the friends are another calamity upon Job, another way the Satan accuser comes at him. Job’s repentance in 42:6 is really him being comforted. Intriguing, and very possible according to the original Hebrew. A lot rides on how you interpret these two verses, and part of the point of the book is that things aren’t crystal clear and certain when you’re going through hard times. I found it compelling that the friends are another attack of Satan against Job. They accuse him, as Satan accuses Job to God. They use half-truths to make it sound really convincing, as Satan did with Eve in the Garden. The kicker is that those true parts in Job are hallmark Calvinist doctrines: none are righteous before God; the wicked are paid out in the end. This has many siding with the friends against Job. Part of the irony of the book is that God favors Job, though he may cross the line to accusing God of wrong, and God condemns the friends, though they have spoken true (but irrelevant) things. Chalk this up to God’s grace, to His justice that sees beyond the surface of things (1 Sam 16:7; John 7:24), and to His pattern of blessing those who wrestle with Him until He blesses them.
This is another strength: bringing in larger biblical themes. Sumpter appeals to Abraham, Jacob, Hezekiah and others and really weaves Job more tightly into the canon more than other writers. Most of us see Job as a unique book with little connection to the rest of Scripture. Toby clears away that mist nicely.
The case that Job’s friends are conspiring a political coup against Job is more assumed than argued. I counted only a handful of verses cited in support of the idea, and they are a bit shaky. I’ve always viewed Job’s friends as sophomoric theology wonks or misguided clunky handlers of truth. They may also be out to take him down politically, but this is not clear in the text.
Overall, kudos to Toby Sumpter for a fresh reading of Job.
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