‘Job rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, it may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’
Job offers a sacrifice as a thanksgiving for his wealth. He is just, totally transparent to God. His theological or spiritual genius is shown in the above lines. Job, via his sensitivity, is aware of how sin, outside its original epicentre, effects wider society. Or, to use another imagery besides that of sin as earthquake, this ‘Chernobyl’, as a harmful background radiation, is also one of the major causes that unbelief and lack of religious practice spread rapidly. Without this perspective, ‘it may be that my sons have sinned and cursed god in their hearts’, the sufferings of Job remain unanswerable.
Satan claims a free access from God to harm Job: ‘Has not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?’ There is no ‘hedge’ or secure defence around us which would prevent us from ‘social sin’ (the effects of sinning spread in society.) Instead, there ‘comes a great wind from the wilderness’, which destroys and harms, a perfect symbol of how collective sin affects and attacks us.
And when disaster struck, Job, instead of complaining and ‘cursing God’, responds with thanksgiving. The family disasters, which he suffers, are brought upon him by men. These are, metaphorically, images of the devastation caused by war. ‘The fire from heaven burned up the sheep, and the servants’; ‘The Chaldeans carried the camels away, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword’
Job’s reaction is the only way to counteract the ‘evils of war’, the collective effects of sin in general. His blessing heals. Our ability of thanksgiving grounds a different future.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..