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Where Is the God of Justice?

Synopsis: What does the Old Testament say about the problem of suffering? Though Christians believe themselves to be held in the care of the God of love and strength, they yet find that sufferings come their way. Moreover, whole communities, even whole nations, experience terrible sufferings-all of which frequently raises the question, "Where is the God of justice?" Those parts of the Old Testament that deal with this question are here considered and discussed, both those that understand suffering as due to human sinfulness and those that raise serious questions about that sort of understanding. Further, here are Jeremiah's questions about why he, as the Lord's prophet, must suffer; the gentler questions in Ecclesiastes; the perplexing life experiences of Joseph; the agonized prayer of Habakkuk; those most urgent questions in the book of Job; the outspoken words of psalmists; the radical talk about a "suffering servant"; and the confident hope expressed in Daniel. Thompson argues that while the Old Testament cannot always give us answers, it does point us to God for hope in the midst of suffering. Endorsements: "With the insights of a scholar and the heart of a pastor, Michael Thompson considers what the Old Testament can say to help those going through times of suffering. He gently leads his readers through a variety of books, treating the problem with realism and showing that a number of responses are considered. This sensitive treatment marks a great advance on many previous dogmatic approaches." -H. G. M. Williamson University of Oxford "The Bible does not shy away from the problem of human suffering and the challenge it presents to belief in divine justice. In this book, Michael Thompson gives the reader a first-rate insight into the many-sided approaches that are offered by the prophets, psalmists, and sages of the Old Testament. I commend it very highly for its clarity and readability." -Ronald E. Clements King's College, University of London "Michael Thompson has brought to bear on a fundamental theme of the Hebrew Bible a deep familiarity with biblical texts and scholarship. With clarity he guides us through important ways the biblical writers have wrestled with the question of God's justice. The chapters flow easily and logically, specifying, explaining, and framing the various responses. While offering his own well-argued judgments, Thompson leaves his reader with a sense of the profundity and complexity of the question. The book opens, not closes, the Bible. It is a thoughtful contribution in its own right and will make a valuable resource for students in a variety of settings." -David Gunn Texas Christian University Author Biography: Michael E. W. Thompson is a Methodist minister who, in retirement, has served as part-time tutor in Old Testament with East Midlands Ministry Training Course in England. He is author of I Have Heard Your Prayer: The Old Testament and Prayer (1996) and the Epworth Commentary Isaiah 40-66 (2001).
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