Once upon a Time

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Job 1:1-5

There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. (v. 1)

“Once upon a time . . .” We love those words, for they signal the beginning of a story. Truth be told, we humans are story-telling and story-loving creatures. We all love both to tell and to hear stories. It is no accident that Jesus often responded to his questioners by telling a story. “Once upon a time there was a man with two sons . . .” “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves . . .”

The opening lines of the book of Job get us in the mood for a good story. It’s a story about a righteous man named Job—a man whose cup overflowed with children, sheep, camels, oxen, donkeys, and servants. Job and his children would feast together, and before sunrise he would offer sacrifices to God. Job, our narrator tells us, was the greatest of all the people of the east. But already here at the beginning we sense something is too good to be true. The plot is about to thicken. Something—or someone—is about to take this upright man down. The story that follows is one of the Bible’s greatest treasures.


Lord of heaven and earth, open our eyes and ears and hearts to all you have to teach us in the grand love story of yours we call the Bible.