The Book of Job
- Believed to be the oldest book in the Bible. Some think that Job may have been a contemporary of Abraham, or even pre-dated Abraham. This would make this book the oldest one in scripture, and consider that the topic is about suffering. Think about that.
- Job is the first of the Poetic books in the Bible The name ‘Job’ literally means ‘hated’
- This book deals, head on, with the problem of pain and of man’s suffering. God’s ways are mysterious.
Throughout scripture we are told that people, and especially believers, will experience suffering. Suffering is one way or method that God deals with us.
The answers to the ‘whys’ and ‘ways’ of God are not found in the book of Job.
In Oswald Chambers’ commentary on Job, titled Baffled to Fight Better, he makes no attempt to explain ‘why’ we suffer. In other words, God isn’t going to explain the reasons why we suffer.
In this book, Job asks many questions, but God answers none of them
God is silent and offers no explanation for suffering.
Things get so bad for Job; he curses the day he was born and begs God to take his life.
Matthew 23:34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,
Matthew 24:9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
Romans 8:36 As it is written: For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
We can have true and lasting peace, absent our understanding of why we suffer.
Isn’t it true that when we don’t understand our suffering or our problems or our difficulties or our trials, that it dawns on us we must trust God?
We’re just going to have to just trust God.
Conversely, when we do understand things, or we’re able to figure our way out of the problem, that’s when we DON’T trust God.
Trials are God’s way of bringing us back to Him.
Could it be that God allowed the perplexity and the complexity of our circumstances? If we had the ‘understanding’ we would lean on and trust it (the understanding), rather than trusting God.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Think about the wisdom of this proverb.
When is it that we trust in the Lord with our whole heart?
Isn’t it when we don’t understand and there’s no other option? That’s when we Trust in the Lord because we don’t understand.
On the Flip-side, when we DO understand things happening to us, that’s when we don’t acknowledge Him, because we say, “I’ve got this, Lord. I can handle this problem.”
In those verses of Proverbs, we do three things:
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart
- Lean not on your own understanding
- In all your ways acknowledge Him
God does one thing
- He shall direct (make straight) your paths.
Philippians 4:6-8 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus…
As stated in those verses, We do three things:
- Pray about everything
- Give thanks for anything
- If we do, we won’t be anxious for anything
God does one thing:
- Peace that passes ‘understanding’ will guard your hearts and minds.
Will we trust the revelation of God given by Jesus Christ when everything in our personal experience flatly contradicts it?
Job is immensely wealthy. Notice in the opening verses that there’s no mention of gold or silver; all his wealth is in livestock and servants and children.
Job 1:1-5 There was a man in the land of Uz, (Jer. 25:20) whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East. And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.
At that time in history, if you had one sheep, you were considered blessed. If you had three sheep you were wealthy. Job has 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen (a yoke is two animals), 500 female donkeys, so that he was the greatest of all people of the EAST.
Job was very righteous and he was very prosperous. This will be the very reason that Satan uses the idea to launch his false accusations as to why Job worships God.
This concept is key to understanding this book. If a person is good, then God will allow ‘good’ in their life. If a person is bad, then God will allow ‘bad’ in their life. In other words, the reason that God has blessed him is because the person is very good.
But in this book things get very bad for Job and they happen very quickly. Does that mean that Job is bad?
Well, his friends think so. They will accuse him of having sin in his life.
After all, doesn’t the bad things happening to Job prove that there is sin? That’s the premise that Satan and Job’s friends accuse Job of having.
Don’t we sometimes think that God blesses us only if you are good, and God punishes us when we are bad?
That was the Pharisee’s belief during the time of Jesus.
They said, we are rich and prosperous and healthy, therefore God must be blessing us because He is happy with us.
But with Job, his pains were not penalties for wrongdoing. God wasn’t punishing him for sin.
Job is blameless (Not sinless). Not only isn’t God punishing Job, God isn’t even correcting him.
The idea up to this point is like: Insert part A into tab B, and you will get C
Cause and effect – tit for tat
If Job is good, and he’s blameless and he’s upright … and yet … God is punishing him, what’s up with that?
1 Peter 5:8-10 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
Notice, God is compassionate and merciful.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS understand that.
Never entertain the idea that God isn’t compassionate, even when we are suffering.
Job 1:6-12 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
Satan can ONLY do what he’s allowed to do.
He’s on a leash, and God holds the other end.
Satan is NOT co-equal with Jesus.
Satan must request to do the things he wants.
Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Job 1:11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!
Job is the subject of this accusation, but God is the object of his accusation.
Satan is saying: If God were to allow adversity (suffering) to strike Job, then surely, Job would curse God.
Satan implies that Job worships God, NOT because he loves God, but because of how he’s been blessed by God.
Satan is using that idea to bring an accusation against God by implying this –> Remove Job’s blessings and he will curse You to your face. That will prove that no man on earth loves You for your own sake. (That’s the accusation)
Satan is accusing God, not Job. Job is the subject of the accusation, but not the object.
And the Lord said to Satan: Game on. ONLY do not lay a hand on the person of Job.
This speaks to the limitations of what the enemy (Satan) has. He can only go as far as he’s allowed, but NO further.
Satan is on a leash.
Any bad things that happen to us, is done by Satan (his demons) and ONLY because God has allowed it.
1 John 4:4 Greater is He that is IN us, than he that is in the world.
Satan cannot do anything to us unless:
- God allows it
- It brings about God’s glory and our good in the end
If a trial in our lives doesn’t bring God glory and it isn’t for our good, then…
It will never happen
That’s why it’s allowed in our lives.
Job loses his property and children
Job 1:13-19 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
Notice the startling malice that’s revealed about Satan. He strikes in the midst of festivities.
When we accept the idea that when pain and suffering comes into our life, and is permitted by God for our benefit, then the “easier” our lives will become because we’re not fighting or struggling against the creator of the universe.
It needs to be noted again:
- Satan is NOT the opposite of God.
- Satan is a created being.
The Devil can do NOTHING to us unless God allows him to do it.
God knows what is in Job’s heart. Job doesn’t.
God may allow us to go through adversity in order to reveal to us (to show us) that which He already knows is in our heart.
1 Corinthians 10:13 God will not allow us to be tempted / tested above what we are able to bear up under, and He will provide us a way of escape.
Job 2:1-7 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.*
Ashes: People would burn their rubbish. Job sat in the burned ashes of a rubbish heap.
Job was struck with painful boils. (Have you ever had a boil? I have, several times.)
They hurt, not just sore, but they’re quite painful. Job also couldn’t stand because the boils were on the soles of his feet. He’s scraping himself to try to find a little bit of comfort.
These boils also itched. If you’ve ever scratched a mosquito bite, the more you scratch, the more it itches.
Job 30:17 & 20 My bones are pierced in me at night, and my gnawing pains take no rest. … My skin grows black and falls from me; my bones burn with fever.
Job 7:5 My flesh is caked with worms and dust; my skin is cracked and breaks out afresh.
He was probably emaciated. I wouldn’t have an appetite either.
Job 19:20 My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh
Job 19:17 My breath is offensive to my wife.
Job is so hideous being covered in these boils, that his friends don’t even recognize him.
- putrid breath
- failing vision
- rotting teeth
- difficulty breathing
- no relief
Job 2:9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
We shouldn’t be too harsh on Mrs. Job.
She too, has lost everything.
She’s a woman who’s lost all her children.
Her husband’s health is horrendous.
Remember that women are generally more emotional than men.
Today, often we err when we think we would handle a certain situation differently. But in fact, we don’t know how we’d handle it. (God knows)
It doesn’t matter how solid or spiritual you think you are when life hits the fan. It has a way of moving and shaking you to the core of yourself.
Mrs. Job is watching her husband, whom she loves, suffer in ways she cannot bear to see.
Notice, that Satan did not kill Job’s wife. He could have. He was allowed to do anything except kill Job. Perhaps the Devil knew that she could come in handy for such a time as this, and try to assist Job to curse God.
Often, those people who are the closest to us, can be the most hurtful to us.
Job 2:10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Notice, Job is NOT calling his wife a fool. Rather he’s saying that she spoke if foolish.
Ecclesiastes 7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, So that man can find out nothing that will come after him.
God causes both prosperity and adversity to come in our lives.
When we have prosperity, rejoice.
But when adversity hits us, isn’t that when we turn to God?