One of the main themes of the Psalms and the Wisdom literature (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, etc.) is the problem of human suffering. Describe some of the major ways these books deal with this problem. Do you find any of their answers compelling? Why or why not?

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King David is believed to have written most of the psalms, many of which praise God through times of suffering. David was a man who knew both glory and tremendous suffering, being both a king and a man who was hunted by Saul, who intended to kill him. Yet in times of extreme difficulty, he praised God's sovereignty anyway.

In Psalm 23, David uses his childhood experiences of shepherding to draw metaphors between himself and God. He sees God as his shepherd and himself as the obedient sheep. One of the most powerful images of suffering occurs in verse 4:

Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

First, it's important that David notes that God doesn't lead his sheep to the darkest valley but through it. This singular preposition makes a tremendous difference to those who are suffering, because it offers hope. The light will eventually return, and the valley will be left behind. David also uses the "rod" and...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1281 words.)

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