“Naked I came … and naked I shall return:” Relating Job 1:20-22 to the Nigerian Economic Context
AbstractThe narrator in the book of Job gives the impression that Job remains blameless before God in spite of his innocent suffering. Therefore, Job is commonly employed as an appeal to people in suffering situations. But Job’s words in 1:21, “Naked I came and naked shall I return” apparently became an aphorism among the Jews relating to attitudes toward wealth (Eccl. 5:15; 1 Tm. 6:7). Hence, the adage is relevant in the context of economic suffering, particularly in Nigeria, where the majority of the people suffer poverty. This article therefore examines the pastoral relevance of Job 1:20–22 in the Nigerian economic context. It applies the historical-critical and descriptive methods, adopting a synchronic reading of the book of Job. The work found that Job’s reaction to the loss of his wealth indicates that there is a correlation between righteousness and possessions, which implies an inextricable connection between people’s faith and their economic status. For this reason, preaching cannot afford to ignore the economic condition of its recipients, as is largely the case in Nigeria. The book of Job encourages Nigerian Christians in Job’s condition to have faith in God that their fortunes can change like that of Job. Its pastoral relevance in Nigeria demands that preaching should address the injustice of corruption that has pauperised majority of Nigerians.
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