The study of Job can challenge our minds, emotions, souls and our view of God. All that is good if it causes us to look closer and dig deeper into what God tells us in His Word. I think you all are with me on this.
The first two chapters are written in prose and set up the poetic story that follows in chapters 3-42:6. Then the story closes with prose. It is important for us to understand that this is so much more than a classical masterpiece of literature. This is a true story. It really happened. Ezekiel in the Old Testament and James in the New both refer to Job as an actual person. There are some parables and allegories in the Bible, but Job’s story is not one of those.
As Job’s story begins, he is described as “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” He was blessed with a big family of ten children. (Yes, that was considered a blessing.) It goes on to describe his prosperity in terms of livestock. (He probably lived during the time of the patriarchs in Genesis.) He daily prayed and offered sacrifices on behalf of his family. (Head of the household served as priest of the family before the Levitical priesthood was established by Mosaic law in Exodus and Leviticus.) Job was blessed with health, wealth and a great family.
Until . . .
Satan shows up before God and the angels (1:6-12). Satan means “adversary” and he is a real being not just an evil influence. His name appears 49 times in the Bible and his title of devil appears another 57 times. He is our adversary and accuser, the enemy of God.
God speaks to Satan of Job’s righteousness. Satan says Job is so good because God has put a hedge of protection around him and blessed him so much. Satan says that if Job loses everything he will curse God to His face. God gives Satan permission to test Job, but not to do any bodily harm to him. [Satan has intellect, emotions, will of his own, but is limited by the sovereign control of God. He does have access to the earth and freedom to roam around on it. He will exercise that power until he is bound for 1000 years during the Millennium Period (Rev. 20:2), loosed for a little while and then is cast into the lake of fire forever (Matt. 25:41). Satan is not omnipresent (everywhere), omnipotent (all powerful), or omniscient (all-knowing) like God. He can only be at one place at a time. He was a beautiful, anointed cherub who let his pride take control. He and a third of the angels were cast out of heaven. (They are his demons.) ]
A series of dreadful calamities hit Job all in one day. He loses his servants, livestock, wealth, and children. This first attack by Satan was against Job’s possessions. It was designed to expose Job’s true motives for serving God. But Job’s faith was not shaken. Job 1: 20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and theLord has taken away; blessed be the name of theLord.” 22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
He mourned, HE WORSHIPPED GOD and did not sin or blame God. Job recognized that he brought nothing into this world and is taking nothing out of it when he leaves. (Do we recognize that???)
In chapter 2, verses 1-6, Satan shows up again before God and his angels. God is pleased with Job for holding fast to his faith. Satan wants to afflict Job’s body and says then Job will curse God to his face. God gives Satan permission, but says he must spare Job’s life. In verses 7-10 we see that Job is struck with painful boils from head to toe. He is an outcast of the town. Job’s wife tells him to curse God and die, but he doesn’t. In all this he did not sin or lose faith.
2:11-13, Job’s 3 best friends (Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar) show up, weep and mourn with him. They sit 7 days and nights without anyone speaking a word. They were prominent men from 3 different places. This is when they were their most compassionate and helpful to Job.
Chapter 3 begins the poetry and the first of three rounds of debates between Job and his friends. In an overview of chapters 3-14, these are their arguments:
Job – I’m righteous (but not perfect), so why is this happening to me? He asks this of God and his friends. GOD IS SILENT … for now. His friends are not. (With friends like these, who needs enemies?) Job is depressed and wants to die.
Eliphaz – Job’s suffering is due to sin. He needs to go to God and repent.
Bildad – Job is not admitting his sin, so he is still suffering.
Zophar – Job’s sin is so bad, he deserves even worse that he has received.
Here ends the first round of debates between Job and his 3 friends. They have concluded that Job is suffering because of his sins. He rejects this and wants to die. God is silent.
Life can be difficult. Problems can and will come. We have some advantages that Job did not have.
*We have the complete Bible.
*We have Jesus Christ as our Mediator. 1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”
*We have the Holy Spirit living in us. In OT times, God provided a hedge of protection, a covering of protection, protection surrounding us with his angels, under the wings of the Almighty and so forth – protection surrounding us. We still have that, but in the NT, we receive the Holy Spirit that dwells INSIDE US. “We have a treasure in this earthen vessel” (2 Cor. 4:7). “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit‘ (1 Cor. 3:16). The Bible tells us He is our Advocate, our Helper, our Comforter, our Counselor. He has filled us, sealed us and gifted us. He has empowered us and we know that “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
So, we have advantages Job did not have. BUT, we still are under the authority of the Sovereign God. And yes, He still allows testing and trials. God is more concerned with making us holy rather than making happy. As we become more holy, more like God, we will have something deeper than happiness – joy.
James 1:2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Jesus said we would have trials in this life (John 16:33). At one point he describes them as storms (Matt. &:24-27). He tells us that the wise person builds his house on the rock and when the storm comes, the house does fall because it was built on the rock. But the foolish person builds his house on the sand and when the storm blows in, the house falls.
What kind of foundation do you have your life built upon? I hope and pray that it is built on the Rock. Spending time in God’s Word, walking and talking with Him strengthens that foundation. The best time to build up that foundation is before the storm hits.
God bless you all,
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