Larry J. Waters, ‘Missio Dei in the Book of Job’, Bibliotheca Sacra 166, 661 (2009), 19-34.
As Waters notes, ‘in studies of Job, God’s redemptive purpose and action in relation to missions is rarely addressed’ (19).
‘Since missio Dei can be seen as God on a mission, involved in humankind’s existence and eternal destiny, and actively making Himself known for redemptive purposes, Job is one of the first illustrations of individuals used by God to demonstrate that mission. Job’s struggle with suffering and a false theology contrary to grace, Elihu’s corrective measures guiding Job into God’s presence, and God’s remarkable and unusual speeches are all a part of the missio Dei in communicating His loving concern for humanity’ (20).
According to Waters, God was ‘on mission’ through Job, using Job’s experience ‘to reveal Himself to Job’s world’ (23), showing that ‘within the true doctrine of retribution there was room for exceptions to a fixed formula for the working of God’s justice and sovereignty in the lives of His people’ (27).
Waters cites several examples – Abel, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses’ parents, Moses, David, Daniel and his three friends, God’s prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus himself, and the apostles – to show that ‘God’s mission was and continues to be advanced through the suffering of His people’ (30).
Suffering believers, according to Waters, ‘can use their experience as a means for drawing people to Christ’ (33), and ‘to demonstrate faith in God in spite of the suffering’ (34).