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Wordwise Insight, Issue #141
May 14, 2016


BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): Did God make a bet with Satan over Job?

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God's Wager

QUESTION: In a children's Bible story book called The Action Bible (David C. Cook, 2010), the story of Job is entitled "God's Wager." Did God make a bet with Satan over Job?

I was at first startled, then disturbed, by that two-word title. But it wasn't long afterwards that I heard a sermon on Job in which the speaker referred to God's "cosmic bet" with the devil. Perhaps this is an attempt to make God more relatable, by humanizing Him a bit. But, if so, I believe the idea is seriously misguided.

The Dark Associations of Betting
One dictionary says betting is, "an agreement between two parties that a sum of money or other stake will be paid by the loser to the party who correctly predicts the outcome of an event." Another defines betting as "a pledge of forfeit risked on some uncertain outcome." So is that what God did? Are we to picture Satan saying to the Lord, "I'll bet you a million dollars that Job will cave in a week, if you let me at him," and God responding, "You're on!"? Is that what we see happening in Job 1:6-12, and 2:1-6? No, it is not.

In spite of those upbeat television commercials in which every gambler seems to come out a winner, gambling is a curse on society. Its negative associations are such that they cling to words such as wagering and betting like cancerous sores. What we see in Job isn't like a bunch of grimy street urchins shooting craps in a back alley, or men grimly playing poker in a dingy, smoke-filled den. Or hardened soldiers who, with a careless throw of the dice, are trying to win the robe belonging to a Man dying in agony above them.

George Washington once declared, "Gambling is the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity, and the father of mischief." The description is...

(To read the remainder of this article, click on God's Wager.


Come and Pay Us a Visit!

I have developed a blog that is called Wordwise Hymns. As the title suggests, it is about hymns, and church music in general.

But as many of you will know, a blog is especially designed to facilitate a conversation on its particular subject. Readers can easily post comments about what they see, and I'm able to reply. I hope you will take part in the discussion!

Through 2010, almanac entries dealt with what happened in hymn history on each day of the year. Beginning in 2011, I hope to analyze hymns from a biblical standpoint, linking to the material that has come before.

My hope is that the blog will add to the value of the website and this newsletter, and promote some profitable exchanges on the subject of sacred music.

What happened on this day in hymnology? To find out, click Wordwise Hymns.

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