The O.T. is filled with great character studies of both good and wicked people. These records are for our instruction and benefit. “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope”. (Rom 15:4). God intended for us to learn from these narratives and make proper applications from them. One great character whose life provides numerous lessons for us is Job.
The book of Job is a drama with a riches-to-rags-to -riches story, containing ups and downs, ins and outs. “There was a man in the land of Uz, 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 7,000 sheep; 3,000 camels; 500 yoke of oxen; 500 female donkeys, and a very large household; so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east”. (Job 1:1-3) Talk about superlatives, and consider Job was “the greatest of all in the east”. He was hard working, extremely wealthy, had a large family, and was very godly.
Job was a good father and was concerned about his children. Following their regular gatherings to celebrate as a family, Job always worshipped God. “When the days of feasting had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, ‘Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts’. Thus Job did continually”. (1:5).
JOB WAS DOING EVERYTHING HE COULD TO HELP HIMSELF AND HIS HOUSEHOLD REMAIN FAITHFUL TO GOD.
One day Satan came to God and said that Job only served Him because he was so materially blessed. Then God allowed Satan to tempt Job by taking away every blessing, but did not allow Satan to harm him physically. First, all Job’s livestock was stolen and all his servants killed. Next the devil killed all his sons and daughters. The Bible records Job’s response to these tragedies. “Then Job arose, tore his clothes, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshipped. And he said ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord”.(1:20-21).
Later Satan returned to God again. The Lord spoke to him about Job saying: “He still holds fast to his integrity, although you attempted to destroy him without cause”. Satan answered the Lord this way, “But stretch our 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”. (2:5-6). Satan then struck Job with painful boils from head to foot so that he was in agony many days. At this point, Job had suffered the loss of all his worldly goods – his possessions, his children, and even his health. However, he learned several valuable lessons from these devastating losses.
- Job learned that Satan is a liar and accuser who is constantly attempting to draw people away from God.
The Devil never let up until he had exhausted all his punishments, being relentless and unmerciful the entire time.
- Job learned that his wife was no help at all but tried to turn him away from God.
Her response to his suffering: “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die”. (2:9). These are statements from a spouse that are unbelievable and hard to understand.
- Job learned that his three friends were much more discouraging than comforting.
Rather than pointing Job to God, they adopted their philosophy of the situation: (A) The wicked suffer. (B) Job, you are suffering. (C) Therefore, Job you are wicked. (D) God will continue to punish you until you repent. The problem was that Job had not been wicked at all and sin does not necessarily lead to suffering.
- Job learned that putting his trust in Almighty God did not give him the right to question his Creator nor to rebuke Him.
After all his losses and his suffering, Job offered a long lamentation in chapter 3 and began to question God. Next, he listened as everyone offered their advice in chapters 4 – 37, and Job continued his inquiries. Then, in chapter 38, God Himself began to speak, and replied to the comments and questions of Job and his advisors. “The the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said; Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer Me”. (38:1-3). Then like the Great Prosecutor, God began to ask Job questions and demand answers. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me if you have understanding. Who determined it’ measurements? Surely you know! (38:4-5). The Lord continued to bombard Job with questions concerning creation, plants, and animals, and Job had no answer for any of them. God temporarily interrupted His questions in 40:1-4. “Moreover the Lord answered Job and said, ‘Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it’. Then Job answered the Lord and said, ‘Behold I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth”. In this brief exchange God masterfully reminded Job WHO HE WAS in light of who Job was. Job’s ultimate response to all this is recorded in 42:1-6. “Then Job answered the Lord and said: I know that you can do everything, and that no purpose of yours can be withheld from You. You asked, Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me which I did not know…Therefore, I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes”. EPILOG: God gave Job twice as much as he had before, and blessed his latter days more than his beginning.
- Satan is relentless in trying to destroy us.
- We can overcome and conquer Satan only through God’s grace and mercy.
- We must keep our spiritual integrity no matter what.
- Let us never question our Creator but simply trust and serve Him.
- God is always the ANSWER.