Stone Washington
Symposium – on Job, Trump, suffering, and faith
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By Stone Washington
July 22, 2018


"As long as there is breath in me, and the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. Far be it from me that I should say you are right; Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me."

~Job 27:3-5?

"I get viciously attacked everyday and sometimes, I wonder if it's all worth it. Then I remember...I'm fighting for the American people, of course it's worth it."

~
Donald Trump

Socrates (470-399 B.C.) was a famous Greek philosopher from Athens, who taught Plato, and Plato taught Aristotle, and Aristotle taught Alexander the Great. Socrates used a simple but ingeniously profound method of teaching by asking philosophical and revelatory questions. The Greeks called this form "dialectic" – starting from a thesis or question, then discussing ideas by moving back and forth between points of view to determine how well ideas stand up to critical review, with the ultimate principle of the dialogue being Veritas – Truth.

Characters:
  • God

  • Socrates

  • Job

  • Donald Trump

  • Eliphaz the Temanite

  • Bildad the Shuhite

  • Zophar the Namathite

  • Progressive Obstructionists (Maxine Watters, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat Socialist Party [modern-day Gnostics], etc.)

  • Satan
Socrates: We are gathered here today in discussion of a most profound paradox of life concerning faith and suffering. We will analyze the condition of suffering experienced by the Old Testament Prophet Job, a righteous man of God hailing from the land of Uz, who in his day, served the Lord more obediently than any man that walked the earth. For his steadfast devotion God blessed Job with bountiful possessions – 10 children (7 boys, 3 girls), seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household. Job was considered the richest man of the East and the most faithful servant of the Lord.

Following a heavenly debate between God and Satan, questioning how loyal and devout the man Job was, God allowed Satan to "touch" all of his possessions, destroying virtually everything and everyone connected to Job. After Job remained steadfast to God, Satan was also granted power to harm Job's physical being, striking his entire body with painful boils. Despite even this terrible suffering and loss of family, Job maintains faith in the Lord and refuses to curse Him. But despite his anguish, Job's friends come to add to Job's torture – feigning to comfort Job, these "friends" mercilessly judge and criticize his actions and debate him in a series of Socratic-style dialectical inquiries concerning God's punishment and the question of do the righteous suffer?

Likewise, we will compare Job's righteousness and unyielding faith to God to modern day President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, who constantly displays an unwavering faith in God and country. Although different in many ways, President Trump faces a similar suffering in the form of the never-ending attacks and criticisms he receives from Democrat lawmakers (termed by Trump as obstructionists) and the mainstream media (who Trump refers to as "Enemies of the State"). Like with the attacks against Job's dire predicament, we shall examine why this is also the case with the attacks against President Trump, despite the unprecedented levels of success America is currently experiencing amid the Trump Presidency.

God: Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?

Satan: Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has and he will surely curse You to Your face!

God: Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.

Socrates: Let us now examine Job's response to having lost all of his livestock, servants, children, and possessions.

Job: Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.

God: Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.

Satan: Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to your face!

God: Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.

Socrates: Let us now move to the primary reaction from Job, following the loss of all he has, and the painful boils that Satan struck him with in order to test his faith in the Lord. Enter Job's three friends – Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.


Job: Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? Why is light given to him who is in misery? And life to the bitter of soul, who long for death, but it does not come, and search for it more than hidden treasures; who rejoice exceedingly, and are glad when they can find the grave?

For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes.

Eliphaz: If one attempts a word with you, will you become weary? But who can withhold himself from speaking? Surely you have instructed many, and you have strengthened weak hands. Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have strengthened the feeble knees; but now it comes upon you, and you are weary; it touches you, and you are troubled. Is not your reverence your confidence? And the integrity of your ways your hope? Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his maker?


Job: Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, So that I am a burden to myself? Why then do You not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity?

Bildad: How long will you speak these things, and the words of your mouth be like a strong wind? Does God subvert judgment? Or does the almighty pervert justice? If you were pure and upright, surely now He would awake for you, and prosper your rightful dwelling place. Behold, God will not cast away the blameless, nor will He uphold the evildoers.


Job: Truly I know it so, but how can a man be righteous before God? If one wished to contend with Him, He could not answer Him one time out of a thousand. God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?

I am afraid of all my sufferings; I know that You will not hold me innocent. If I am condemned, why then do I labor in vain? I will say to God, 'do not condemn me; show me why you contend with me. Does it seem good to You that You should oppress. That you should despise the work of Your hands, And smile on the counsel of the wicked?

Zophar: Should your empty talk make men hold their peace? And when you mock, should no one rebuke you? For you have said, 'My doctrine is pure, And I am clean in your eyes.' But oh, that God would speak, and open his lips against you, That he would show you the secrets of wisdom! For they would double your prudence. Know therefore that God exacts from you Less than your iniquity deserves.


Job: No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you! But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Indeed, who does not know such things as these? I am one mocked by his friends, who called on God and He answered him, the just and blameless who is ridiculed.

He will surely rebuke you if you secretly show partiality. Will not His excellence make you afraid, and the dread of Him fall upon you? Your platitudes are proverbs of ashes, your defenses are defenses of clay.

Eliphaz: Should a wise man answer with empty knowledge, and fill himself with the east wind? Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; Yes, your own lips testify against you. Are you the first man born? What do you understand that is not in us? Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us, much older than your father.

Job: I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all! I also could speak as you do, if your soul were in my soul's place. I could heap words against you, and shake my head at you; but I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief.

My spirit is broken. My days are extinguished. The grave is ready for me. Are not mockers with me? And does not my eye dwell on their provocation?

Bildad: How long till you put an end to words? Gain understanding, and afterward we will speak. Why are we counted as beasts, and regarded as stupid in your sight? You who tear yourself in anger, shall the earth be forsaken for you? Or shall the rock be removed from its place?

Job: How long will you torment my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times you have reproached me; You are not ashamed that you have wronged me. If I indeed have erred, my error remains with me. If you say, 'how shall we persecute him?' Since the root of the matter is found in me, be afraid of the sword for yourselves; for wraith brings the punishment of the sword, that you may know there is a judgement.

Zophar: Do you know this of old, since man was placed on earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment? Though his haughtiness mounts up to the heavens, and his head reaches to the clouds, yet he will perish forever like his own refuse.

Job: Why do the wicked live and become old, yes become mighty in power? Their descendants are established with them in their sight, and their offspring before their eyes. Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.

Look, I know your thoughts and schemes with which you would wrong me. For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; they shall be brought out on the day of wrath.

Eliphaz: Can man be profitable to God, though he who is side may be profitable to himself? Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous? Or is it gain to Him that you make your ways blameless? Is not your wickedness great, and your iniquity without end?

Job: Since times are not hidden from the Almighty, why do those who know Him see not His days? But God draws the mighty away with His power; He rises up, but no man is sure of life. He gives them security, and they rely on it; yet His eyes are on their ways. They are exalted for a little while, then they are gone. Now if It is not so, who will prove me a liar, and make my speech worth nothing?


Bildad: Dominion and fear belong to Him; He makes peace in His high places. Is there any number to his armies? Upon whom does His light not rise? How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? If even the moon does not shine, and the stars are not pure in His sight, how much les man, who is a maggot, and a son of man, who is a worm?

Job: As long as there is breath in me, and the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. Far be it from me that I should say you are right; Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.

For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he may gain much, if God takes away his life? Will God hear his cry when trouble comes upon him? And to man he said, 'behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.'

Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God watched over me; when His lamp shone upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness.

But now they mock at me, men younger than I, whose fathers I disdained to put with the dogs of my flock. For destruction from God is a terror to me, and because of His magnificence I cannot endure.


Socrates: Truly, the words of Job have triumphed over his accusers. It shall be recognized that Job, despite suffering a fate worse than any man ever has, argued his cause before his three friends, disproving their misguided accusations while maintaining his faith in the Lord. While Job has questioned the purpose God's harsh punishment, he "know[s] that his redeemer liveth" – and ultimately accepts his troubled fate by faith and refusing to curse the Almighty, recognizing a greater authority at work above himself.

Let us now hear how Donald Trump, a modern Job-figure, responds to his many accusers and attackers, criticizing his every decision as President, whether good or bad.

Donald Trump: The Democrats, or as I like to call them, the obstructionist Democrats constantly attack my accomplishments for the American people. This because of the success of my 'America First' agenda, which is resonating more and more with the American people, especially with the Red wave of voters in key states leading up to the midterm elections.

If I were a liberal Democrat, people would say I'm the super genius of all time. 'The super genius of all time.' If you're a conservative Republican, you've got to fight for your life. It's really an amazing thing. This is the double-standard that plagues my Presidency, surrounded by a Fake press and obstructionists in Congress that constantly fight against progress, simply because Republicans are the majority.

Maxine Waters: I don't honor him [President Trump]. I don't respect him, and I don't want to be involved with him. I am one who believes in the power of the people. I am inspired when I see people hit the streets, who challenge their elected officials, and are willing to stand up and fight. I encourage it.

Let's make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere. We've got to get the children connected to their parents.

Everybody knows that I'm on the front lines not talking about harming anybody but I am talking about impeachment. I don't think this President should be representing our country ... he creates controversy, he cannot get along with our members of Congress, and I'm going to continue my efforts to impeach him.

Socrates: On the contrary Congresswoman, you initially encouraged your supporters to harass members of President Trump's cabinet wherever they can be found. Aren't you contradicting yourself?

Donald Trump: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!

Nancy Pelosi: This is the typical mean-spirited attack from our President, who focuses more on bashing Democrats than passing his agenda. I am disgusted with President Trump allowing people to keep more of the money they earn. It is this type of wide spread theft of public resources that keeps America from being great Mr. President.

As I said, I'm a respectful person. More respectful of this office than he is. And, by the way, you know who tells us every day that he should not be president? You know who tells us every single day, who knows better than anyone that Trump should not be president? Trump himself, who demonstrates this in a temperance unfit for public office.

In terms of the bonus that corporate America received versus the crumbs that they are giving to workers to kind of put the schmooze on is so pathetic. It's so pathetic.

Donald Trump: We got hit with these corporations giving tremendous bonuses to everybody that Nancy Pelosi called crumbs. That could be like deplorable, does that make sense? Deplorable and crumbs? Those two words, they seem to have a resemblance. Democrats are all the same. They're more interested in taking care of criminals than they are in taking care of you. Democrats have opposed every common sense measure to stop this horrendous scourge of crime, to dismantle MS-13 and to end illegal immigration.

Chuck Schumer: We do not have a dictatorship. The Founding Fathers did not want a king. That means no one – including the president himself – is above the law. He's just dead wrong.

In regards to President Trump, we are certainly adversaries and I think he's doing damage to our democracy and damage to the middle class in this country.

Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O, It's next to impossible. He's turned blowing up bipartisan agreements into an art form. The president can't take yes for an answer. Twice in this long debate, President Trump walked away from partisan deals to solve all of the issues before us.

Socrates: Perhaps if you spent more time actually negotiating with the President, than opposing his every achievement, a bipartisan deal could be attainable. Senator Schumer, you and your Democrat colleagues I'm afraid are too adversarial in relating to the Executive to ever accomplish anything substantive in the Senate.

Donald Trump: It's called "Trump Derangement Syndrome"; no matter how great America is doing under my Administration, the Democrats and Fake News Media have to criticize me.

Cryin' Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA. We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!

Senator Cryin' Chuck Schumer fought hard against the Bad Iran Deal, even going at it with President Obama, and then Voted AGAINST it! Now he says I should not have terminated the deal – but he doesn't really believe that! Same with Comey. Thought he was terrible until I fired him!

The truth is... those who have accused me are career politicians who have failed the American people. I have embraced crying mothers who have lost their children because our politicians put their personal agendas before the national good. I have no patience for injustice, no tolerance for government incompetence, no sympathy for leaders who fail their citizens.


Socrates: Let us see the conclusion to this matter. Like Job, Donald Trump's Presidency has been blessed with a wealth of successes, yet has been plagued by merciless opposition forces that in Congress and the news that refuse to acknowledge his merit in office. Likewise, with Job, no matter how faithful Job was toward God, deemed the most blameless and upright man of his time, his friends continually disparage and vilify him. Even in his darkest hours, do Job's friends provide no comfort, instead focusing on their own arrogance and misguided point of views to justify Job's predicament. Let us conclude with God's final response to Job's suffering, which should be taken into the same context of the judgment toward the accusers against President Trump.

Job: I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, 'Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, I will question you, and you shall answer me.' I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

God: My wraith is aroused against you [Eliphaz] and your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as my servant Job has.



© Stone Washington

 

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Stone Washington

Stone Washington is a Senior History Major and Political Science Minor at Clemson University, in Clemson, South Carolina, home of the 2016 College Football National Champions. Stone is an alumnus of the Young Leader's Program at The Heritage Foundation, and is currently interning with Creative Inquiry at Clemson, serving as the Editor-in-Chief for Decipher Magazine.... (more)

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