Media Review: “Job” by Desiring God Ministries

Title: “Job”
Producer: Desiring God Ministries with John Piper and Chris Koelle
Media Type: film (digital only)
Release Date: June 7, 2012
Rating: 5/5

Fine art has a way of portraying ideas like no other mode of information transfer. At least, that’s how I, as a longstanding student of music and a photography enthusiast, see it. Simply put, the arts are expressive.

So it is with this film, “Job.” (Technically, the title is written “Jōb” to indicate that it is a long “o,” thus pronounced “jobe” and not “jobb.”) According to the DG blog as well as the Job website, this 45-minute film takes John Piper’s poemic adaptation of the book of Job–published in 2008 but now out of print–and sets his narration of the poem to moving (as in motion, but poignant, as well) illustrations by Chris Koelle.

For those of you that don’t know, this is a real treat. (And I should mention: at just $4.99 on iTunes, it’s also a real steal.) John Piper is an excellent writer, as is evident in his many books. But he is also an excellent craftsman with his words. His most famous poem is that which he wrote for his wife on their twentieth wedding anniversary. I don’t have the space to re-post it in its entirety, so here is one stanza of his poem, called “Velvet Steel” (source):

That year, December twenty one,
The marriage foothills were begun.
A velvet cross at our right hand,
An open Bible on a stand,
The preacher with a father’s face,
And Jane and Billy in their place.
I promised I would love and lead.
You promised you would meet my need.
I vowed to take my cue from Christ
Who loved his bride and sacrificed
That she might live in holy joy
Secure from all that would destroy.
For better or for worse we said,
And that ’til one of us is dead.
We prayed that God would weave a cord
Of rugged love, and so the Lord
Came down with customary zeal
And there created velvet steel.

It is this skill with words that Piper uses to artistically render the story of Job. Certainly, it is no substitute for Scripture, and I am sure that he did not intend it to be. One still ought to study the book of Job to capture its detail and fullness, and because it is the divine revelation of God meant to teach and correct. All the same, the artistic rendering of Job’s story gives it a great vividness and accessibility. It is an excellent supplement to, and not a replacement for, the book of Job in Scripture.

I watched this movie earlier this week with a few friends from GOC to take a break from studying for finals. We were all moved and convicted by Job’s faithfulness to God, refusing to forsake Him even in the toughest of trials. I myself was incredibly impacted by the section where God tells Job how great He is, that He created the universe and everything in it, down to the laws of physics that allow birds to fly. He knows so much more than I do, such that in comparison I know nothing. He can do so much more than I can do, such that in comparison I can do nothing. My understanding of His sovereignty was greatly renewed. In our reactions, I think the producers achieved their goal. I imagine it will do the same for you, which is why I heartily recommend this film.

You can view the trailer for this film at the DG blog or the film website.

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