The Story of Job

or, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

A Skit in Two Acts (of Satan, and One Act of God)

Narrator: Of all the people of the East
no one like Job was found.
He owned eleven thousand beasts,
and sacrificed year ’round.
.
For his children, ten in number,
he gave offerings each morn
fearing that while he slumbered
they might have done some wrong.
.
One day when angels faced the Lord,
the one called Satan thought
that he should also have his word
and stood with all the lot.
.
The Lord: “Where have you come from?”
Narrator: asked the Lord,
and Satan said with pride,
Satan: “From roaming up and down the world
and going far and wide.”
.
Narrator: Then the Lord replied to Satan,
The Lord: “Consider Job, then, if you would.
There is none on earth so patient;
none so upright; none so good.”
.
Satan: “Does Job fear God for nothing?”
Narrator: said Satan,
Satan: “You’ve shown him only grace!
Take what you gave — take everything —
He’ll curse You to Your face!”
.
The Lord: “All right,”
Narrator: the Lord said,
The Lord: “Take his wealth,
his family, flocks and herds.
But do not touch the man himself,
and you will eat your words.”
.
Narrator: Then Satan left the Lord’s presence
and scurried to his task,
for there’s nothing more that he resents
than getting what he’s asked.
.
One day Job’s mesenger arrived,
and sadly said to him,
Messenger 1: “Of your servants, only I survived,
the rest: killed by Sabeans!”
.
Narrator: While he yet spoke, another came
and said,
Messenger 2: “The fire of God
burned all your sheep and slaves
and I alone there stood!”
.
Narrator: And still another, rushing up to him,
said
Messenger 3: “By Chaldeans we were surprised:
they stole your camels, killed your men,
and only I have survived!”
.
Narrator: The last one bore the worst of news:
Messenger 4: “Your children were all feasting at home;
it fell on them when the wind blew
and I’ve escaped alone!”
.
Narrator: At hearing this, the man called Job
could take no greater pain;
he shaved his head and tore his robe,
and called on his Lord’s name:
.
Job: I owned no thing when I was born,
nor when I die and am raised.
God gives and takes as He has sworn,
May the name of the Lord be praised.”
.
Narrator: Another day the angels came
to stand before the Lord
and Satan also called His name
to accuse the one God adored.
.
The Lord: “Where have you come from?”
Narrator: asked the Lord,
and Satan said with pride,
Satan: “From roaming up and down the world
and going far and wide.”
.
Narrator Then the Lord replied to Satan,
The Lord: “Consider Job, then, if you would.
Though your hand I put his fate in,
he still calls me only good.”
.
Satan: “Skin for skin!”
Narrator: then Satan answered,
Satan: “No man wants his health to waste —
Make his bones and flesh all cancered,
and he’ll curse You to Your face!”
.
The Lord: “All right,”
Narrator the Lord said,
The Lord: “Take his health;
afflict this man so strong.
But leave the man his life itself,
and you will see you’re wrong.”
.
Narrator: Then Satan left the holy throne
and hurried to his work,
for he likes nothing more, it’s known,
than making people hurt.
.
So from his head down to his heel,
with sores poor Job was scarred
and when they grew and failed to heal,
he scraped them with a shard.
.
Then Job’s wife said,
Job’s Wife: “Do you still claim
your innocence now? And why?
Curse God who’s cursed you! Curse His Name!
Perhaps He’ll let you die.”
.
Narrator: Job said,
Job: “Only foolish women
would speak that way — not you!
Shall we accept the good God’s given,
without some trouble, too?”
.
Narrator: In all this, Job refused to sin,
or blame evil on his Lord.
Then three friends came to visit him,
and for a week, said not one word.
.
At last, Job spoke, his voice forlorn,
and cursed the day of his birth:
Job: “I hate the day that I was born!
May it perish from the earth!”
.
Narrator: His friend Eliphaz, next to him,
sat in the ashen dust,
and said,
Eliphaz: “Does God punish good men?
Don’t you think God is just?”
.
Narrator: Bildad the Shuhite then agreed,
Bildad: “You surely must have sinned.
You think forgiveness you don’t need?
Your words are blustering wind!”
.
Narrator: And Zophar added his advice,
Zophar: “Devote your life to Him,
sweep from your tent your secret vice,
and He’ll forget your sin.”
.
Narrator: So Job argued with his befriended,
and proved he’d done no wrong.
About the time his words had ended,
Elihu came along.
.
Elihu: “You all are old, and I am young;
and that’s why I must speak.
The answer’s on the tip of my tongue;
the one that you all seek.
.
God is so good, so kind, so just,
that if He held His breath,
All mankind would turn back to dust,
and all deserve their death.
.
He made the world so perfect,
so that life might never end.
But now there’s every defect
because evil entered in.”
.
Narrator As if to punctuate these words,
and give them physical form,
an answer in the voice of the Lord
called to Job from a great storm:
.
The Lord: “Who questions what is clearly true
with dark words that can’t see?
Brace yourself, man; I’ll question you
— and you shall answer me!
.
“Where were you when I made the earth
and measured out the land?
Who made the stars all sing in mirth?
Tell me, if you understand!
.
“Who shut the sea behind its doors,
and gave it clouds to wear?
Have you walked on the ocean floors?
Or stirred the winds of the air?
.
“Who sounds the thunder, spreads the dew,
reserves the hail for strife?
Would you accuse me of wronging you?
The One who gave you life?”
.
Narrator: Then Job replied to his great Lord:
Job: “I know You can do all;
You asked, who questions with dark words?
Before You now I fall.
.
“Before, my ears had heard of You,
but now my eyes can see.
I must repent; I know it’s true:
You’ve given so much to me.”
.
Narrator: The Lord commanded Job’s three friends
to sacrifice and pray
because they had to make amends
for what they’d had to say.
.
Then doubly blessed was this man Job
with twenty-two thousand beasts,
three prettiest daughters on the globe,
and seven sons to host their feasts.
.
Of Satan, no more words are said
in this book — but I feel
he takes all his licks in the head
and barely strikes the heel.

One of the joys of moving every decade or so is packing old files and rediscovering something you have written and almost forgotten and written off as lost. This is one of those items. I think it’d be fun to see it produced sometime. If you do so, please post a YouTube and send me the URL!

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