Job 1 – Job Endures His Loss
A. Two stages for a great drama: earth and heaven.
1. (1-5) The earthly stage.
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 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.
a. There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job: The Book of Job begins by introducing its central character and the man who perhaps wrote the book by recording his own experiences.
i. The Book of Job is rightly understood to be a masterpiece of Hebrew poetry and Western literature. As the first poetic book of the English Bible, Job introduces the reader to the idea of Hebrew poetry, which involves the repetition and combination of ideas more than sounds.
ii. The author, date, and place of the Book of Job are all uncertain. It may be that Job himself recorded his experiences in the book, or there may well have been another anonymous author. Judging by the style of the Hebrew it uses, some scholars judge Job to be the oldest book of the Old Testament. “Ancient it is beyond all dispute. It probably belongs to the period covered by the book of Genesis; and possibly, to the time of Abraham. Its lesson, therefore, is the oldest lesson we could have; and it takes us back to the first lesson taught in the Bible itself.” (Bullinger)
iii. The text of Job is so ancient that in some places we don’t really know the exact meaning of some of the words; yet the general meaning is clear. “The disgust expressed in Job’s remark that ‘ryr hlmwt is tasteless (Job 6:6) can be appreciated, even though we still do not know what that substance is.” (Andersen)
iv. “It is fascinating to think that as we open this text we may be faced with the earliest of all written accounts of a human being’s relationship with Yahweh, the one true God.” (Mason)
v. The Book of Job is not primarily about one man’s suffering and pain; Job’s problem is not so much financial or social or medical; his central problem is theological. Job must deal with the fact that in his life, God does not act the way he always thought God would and should act. In this drama, the Book of Job is not so much a record of solutions and explanations to this problem; it is more a revelation of Job’s experience and the answers carried within his experience.
vi. “It is then, a true and real history that we here have of him, and not a fiction or a moral parable, as some have believed. See a double testimony, for this, the one prophetical, Ezekiel 14:14, the other apostolical, James 5:11, and such a well-twined cord is not easily broken.” (Trapp)
b. That man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil: The first look at Job shows him to be an exceedingly righteous man. The author gives an impressive description of a man who is not perfect, but certainly complete in his devotion, respect, and obedience to God.
i. Job’s connection with God seems to be independent of any other Old Testament character. He definitely seems to have lived before the time of Moses and the people of Israel; perhaps even before Abraham. Some believe that the Jobab mentioned in Genesis 10:29 is Job, which would put him in the era between Noah and Abraham.
ii. If that was the era of Job, then we can say that Job’s deep and true relationship with God was no doubt passed on to him from his ancestors dating back to the time of Noah and his son. In this respect, he was somewhat like Melchizedek (as in Genesis 14:18-24) who simply appeared on the scene as someone who was a worshipper and a follower of the true God.
iii. Others point to several reasons for dating Job later, perhaps in the generations after Jacob and Esau.
· Huz (Uz?) was Abraham’s nephew, the son of his brother (Genesis 22:21). The land of Uz may be named after him.
· Eliphaz (Job 2:11) was the son of Esau (Genesis 34:10-11); this son of Esau had a son named Teman (Genesis 36:10-11), and the descendants of Teman were known for their wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7).
· Bildad is called a Shuhite (Job 2:11), and Shuah was a son of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 35:2)
iv. This strong statement of the godliness of Job is important to understanding the rest of the story. Recognizing this righteousness of Job “will save us from the mistake of thinking at any point of those experiences as having their explanation in the man himself. Nor for himself did he suffer. His pains were not penalties for wrongdoing: they were not even chastisements for correction.” (Morgan)
v. “Job was ‘blameless.’ This does not mean Job was sinless, but blameless. There is a huge difference. Sin is vertical, blameless is horizontal… as Job lived before the watchful eye of his peers, no one could justly charge Job with moral failure. His reputation was impeccable.” (Lawson)
vi. “The insistence on Job’s uprightness should not be weakened in the interests of a dogma of universal human depravity. Job is not considered to be perfect or sinless. All the speakers in the book, including Job himself, are convinced that men are sinful. Job’s first recorded act is to offer sacrifices for sin. This is not the point. It is possible for sinful men to be genuinely good.” (Andersen)
c. Seven sons and three daughters were born to him: In a culture where status and wealth might be measured by the size of one’s family, Job was a man of impressive wealth and status.
d. His possessions were seven thousand sheep: By any measure, Job was a prominent and affluent man. His godliness, wealth, and status made it true that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.
i. “Much later in the book we will catch a glimpse of what Job actually did with his money, and with his time and energy: he rescued the needy; he cared personally for the handicapped and the dying; he brought orphans into his home; he even took the power barons of his day to court and argued the case for the underprivileged (see 29:12-17; 31:16-21).” (Mason)
e. His sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day: The idea of this description seems to be that Job’s family had a happy and close relationship. This reinforces the idea that Job and his family were greatly blessed and does not seem to indicate that they were unduly given over to festivity and pleasure-seeking. They happily celebrated special days (each on his appointed day), probably their birthdays.
i. “No disapproval of this pleasant life is expressed. We need not suppose that they spent all their time in roistering and did no work. There is no hint of drunkenness or licence or laziness.” (Andersen)
ii. “If he had condemned it he would never have offered sacrifice to God, lest they should have sinned, but he would have told them at once it was a sinful thing, and that he could give no countenance to it.” (Spurgeon) Spurgeon saw in Job 1:4-5 a permission for feasting and celebration among believers; he preached a Christmas sermon upon this very text and used it as proof that God allows and enjoys such celebrations among His people.
f. Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings: Again, the idea seems to be much more that Job was a scrupulously godly man who served as a priest to his family, more than that his children were wicked people who needed constant atonement.
i. “What a beautiful example is furnished by Job to Christian parents! When your girls are going among strangers, and your boys into the great ways of the world, and you are unable to impose your will upon them, as in the days of childhood, you can yet pray for them, casting over them the shield of intercession, with strong cryings and tears. They are beyond your reach; but by faith you can move the arm of God on their behalf.” (Meyer)
ii. Bullinger on Job 1:5, cursed God in their hearts: “The word chalal, to curse, stood originally in the primitive text; but out of a dislike to utter with the lips such an expression as “curse God,” they put in its stead barach, to bless, relegating the original word chalal, to curse, to the Massoretic notes; and placed on record the fact of their alteration, thus protecting the original primitive text.”
iii. One would not know it from the first few verses, but the Book of Job is about an epic war. Yet no city is attacked or besieged or conquered; no battles are won or lost; no oceans are sailed, or nations founded, or adventures recorded. The whole conflict happens on an ash heap – virtually a garbage dump – outside a village. It is an epic war, but one of the inner life; a struggle to make sense of some of the deepest questions of life.
2. (6-12) The stage in heaven.
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.
a. Now there was a day: This reveals the scene in heaven; unseen to Job and others on earth, but absolutely real nonetheless. The story of Job can really only be properly understood by taking into account what happened in heaven, and by having more than an earthly perspective.
i. “Without this prologue the Job of the dialogues and monologues might justly be considered a man with an insufferable self-righteousness, and the reader would be left without a heavenly perspective.” (Smick)
b. When the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD: The phrase sons of God is used in the Old Testament to describe angelic beings (Genesis 6:1-4 and Job 38:7). Among this group of angelic beings, Satan also came among them.
i. The fact that Satan… came among them shows that Satan is himself an angelic being, and in no way equal to God. We often – to his great delight – inflate Satan’s status and importance, thinking of him as the opposite of God, as if God were light and Satan were darkness; as if God were hot and Satan were cold. Satan wishes he was the opposite of God, but God wants us to know that Satan is a mere creature and is in no way the opposite of God. If Satan has an opposite, it is not God the Father or God the Son; it would be a high-ranking angelic being such as Michael.
ii. The fact that they came to present themselves before the LORD shows that angelic beings – indeed, fallen angelic beings – have access to the presence of God (1 Kings 22:21, Zechariah 3:1) but one day they will be restricted to the earth (Revelation 12:9).
c. From where do you come: God allowed (and continues to allow) Satan and fallen angelic beings into His presence, but only for His own purposes. Therefore, He demanded to know what Satan’s business was.
d. From going to and fro on the earth: Though Satan has access to heaven, he also has free access to the earth, and roams about the earth as a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). It can be said that Satan has an active interest in what happens on the earth.
e. Have you considered My servant Job: It was God who brought up Job as a subject for discussion, and God brought up Job in the sense of bragging about Job’s godliness and character. God was so impressed with Job that He affirmed the description of Job first recorded in Job 1:1.
i. Of course Satan does consider the saints of God; yet what does the devil see when he considers the saints?
· He sees them and is amazed at the difference between himself and God’s people; he sees us and knows that though he has fallen, these earthen creatures stand.
· He sees them and is amazed at their happiness; he knows too well the misery of his own soul, but he admires and hates the peace in the soul of the believer.
· He sees them and looks for some fault, so that he may find some small comfort to his own black soul and hypocrisy.
· He sees them – especially great hearts among the saints – and sees those who block and hinder his foul work.
· He sees them and looks for opportunity to do them harm.
f. There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil: This was God’s pronouncement of Job’s character. After these first two chapters of Job, almost everything we know of the man is colored by the perspective of the speaker. Later, when Job talks about himself and his situation we must take into account that it is Job who speaks; when his friends speak likewise they speak according to their own knowledge, ignorance, and bias. Only in the first two chapters do we have a truly objective viewpoint about Job. He really was a blameless and upright man, no matter what his friends would later say.
i. We know (and God knew) that Job was not sinlessly perfect; yet God called him blameless. “It means that no matter how horrible his offenses may have been, all the charges against him have been dropped. Absolutely no blame attaches to him, because the very one he offended has exonerated him.” (Mason)
ii. We know that Job was not sinlessly perfect; yet God unashamedly seemed to see him that way. The modern believer stands in the same place, completely justified in Jesus Christ.
iii. “If at any point in the ensuing struggle we are tempted to question the integrity of Job’s faith (as his friends do, relentlessly), it will not really be Job we are questioning, but the Lord.” (Mason)
g. Does Job fear God for nothing: Here Satan fulfilled the role described in Revelation 12:10 – the accuser of the brethren. Satan accused Job before God, insisting that Job’s godliness was essentially false, and that Job only served God for what he could get from Him.
i. Satan’s reply to God first reveals his essential cynicism; he doubts every supposed good as being dishonest and hollow. “Cynicism is the essence of the satanic. The Satan believes nothing to be genuinely good – neither Job in his disinterested piety nor God in His disinterested generosity.” (Andersen)
ii. “If thou wilt be gracious, he will be pious. The exact maxim of a great statesman, Sir Robert Walpole: Every man has his price… No doubt Sir Robert met with many such and the Devil many more. But still God has multitudes that will neither sell their souls, their consciences, nor their country, for any price; who, though God should slay them, will nevertheless trust in him, and be honest men howsoever tempted by the Devil and his vicegerents. So did Job; so have done thousands; so will all do, in whose hearts Christ dwells by faith.” (Clarke)
iii. The accusation against Job was also an accusation against God, for it implied that God had bribed Job into obedience. “‘I myself,’ he seems to say, ‘could be as pious as Job, were I as prosperous as he.’” (Bradley)
iv. Satan’s accusation gave testimony to the fact that God had protected Job (Have You not made a hedge around him) and had also blessed him (You have blessed). Jesus indicated that Satan wanted to do much worse against Peter than God allowed him to do (Luke 22:31-32) because of a similar hedge of protection.
v. But now, stretch out Your hand: “His language is abrupt; he commands God with imperative verbs: literally, ‘But now, you just extend your hand and damage all his property.’” (Andersen)
vi. Confident in his accusation against Job, Satan insisted to God that Job would surely curse You to Your face if this protection and blessing was withdrawn. Satan believed that adversity could make Job move from his standing in faith; that Job would be unable to stand against the wiles and the deceptions of the devil as is given to the believer in Ephesians 6:13.
h. Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person: In response to Satan’s accusation, God gave him great – though limited – permission to attack Job. God would let down the hedge without completely removing it.
i. Satan had the power and the desire to afflict Job all along; what he lacked was the allowance from God. When God allowed it, Satan was more than happy to attack Job up to the limit of the allowance.
ii. Though Satan was now able to attack Job in a much greater way than before, his power was not unlimited. God only allowed Satan to do what he wanted to do to ultimately serve His purpose.
iii. “But we must know, that God’s end in this large grant was not to gratify the devil, but to glorify himself, by making Satan an instrument of his own shame and infamy.” (Trapp)
i. Satan went out from the presence of the LORD: As he did, he continued a sequence of events in the spiritual realm that (as in Ephesians 6:12) were real but not immediately apparent to Job as having their origin in a spiritual battle.
i. The revelation of the heavenly scene behind the earthly scene helps us to understand the later comment of James on Job: 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. (James 5:11). The two great themes of the Book of Job, as explained by James, are the perseverance of Job and the end intended by the Lord, and it is important that we learn both themes. The end intended by the Lord (James 5:11) connects with God’s eternal purpose as revealed in Ephesians 3:10-11 – that God intends that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose. God used Job to teach angelic beings, especially to teach them about His own spectacular wisdom.
ii. Therefore, the Book of Job teaches us that there is an aspect of human misery that is not the penalty for sin, not correction in righteousness, not redemptive in itself, and not the noble bearing of persecution for righteousness’ sake. Job’s suffering was of this aspect; we might say that the reason for his suffering was as a tool to teach angelic beings; Job made known the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and powers in heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10-11).
iii. We might say that all the other reasons for suffering can also be used of God to reveal His wisdom to angelic beings; the man who suffers as the penalty of sin can, by the way he receives the suffering, be an important lesson of God’s wisdom. Yet Job’s case was unique; his suffering seems to be mainly or only concerned with this purpose of instructing angelic beings.
iv. In that process God used Satan himself, even as he went out from the presence of the LORD in all his evil design. “Satan may intend one thing, but God uses him for another. In all these things he is a minister – used for the ultimate blessing, comfort, and help of the people of God, and for their present spiritual profit… He was allowed to be the author of Job’s trials and losses: but all his labour was wasted; for it ended in Job’s receiving a double blessing for time, and for earth, and ‘the righteousness of God’ for ever and ever.” (Bullinger)
v. “Others have held it is immoral by any human standards that there should be a game between the Almighty and Satan using as their pawn the soul of Job. Such a view overlooks the possibility we have already mentioned, that God does not meaninglessly allow Job to be tormented. On the contrary, he is honoring Job by putting his full confidence in the genuineness of Job’s faith, which Satan has questioned.” (Smick)
vi. As good as Job was at the beginning of the book, he will be a better man at the end of it. He was better in character, humbler, and more blessed than before. “Foolish devil! He is piling up a pedestal on which God will set his servant Job, that he may he looked upon with wonder by all ages… Oh! how many saints have been comforted in their distress by this history of patience! How many have been saved out of the jaw of the lion, and from the paw of the bear by the dark experiences of the patriarch of Uz. O arch fiend, how art thou taken in thine own net! Thou hast thrown a stone which has fallen on thine own head. Thou madest a pit for Job, and hast fallen into it thyself; thou art taken in thine own craftiness.” (Spurgeon)
B. Job’s catastrophic loss and his reaction to it.
1. (13-19) Job’s tragic and sudden losses.
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!”
a. Now there was a day: Given greater allowance to afflict Job, Satan maximized his work against the man of God by bringing the catastrophe to Job in the span of a few hours. In that limited time Job lost his oxen, his servants, his sheep, his camels, and his sons and daughters.
i. This shows us that Satan was focused on maximizing his advantage. If he were allowed to attack Job, he would do it in the most effective way possible all the way up to what God would allow. Therefore, any foothold we give to Satan is dangerous. We should expect that he will maximize any advantage given to him.
ii. When his sons and daughters were eating and drinking shows us the great cruelty of Satan. “Satan is here revealed in startling light. His malice is seen in the choice of time. He strikes in the midst of festivity.” (Morgan)
iii. The catastrophe came upon Job’s sons and daughters as they were feasting in their oldest brother’s house. We know from Job 1:4-5 that Job would specifically sacrifice for his sons and daughters on these days; yet these prayers-in-action of Job on behalf of his children did not prevent the catastrophe. This made the crisis all the more mysterious and problematic for Job.
b. The Sabeans… the fire of God fell from heaven… the Chaldeans… a great wind: The tragedies came to Job from many different causes; yet we know that the prior cause was the instigation of Satan.
i. In this we learn something of how Satan works. He did not force godly Sabeans and Chaldeans to do things against Job that they did not want to do. He accomplished his evil purpose by working through the evil character of fallen men.
ii. We also learn that in some way, Satan had some influence over the weather (a great wind) and could imitate a phenomenon usually associated with God (the fire of God from heaven). The servants of Job thought that God sent this fire, but that was only true in a very indirect sense, in the sense that God had allowed it by removing a prior restriction. This shows that at least at some times, Satan wants to work in such a way that what he does will be blamed on God.
iii. “We can only conclude that Satan swings great power over the weather. Not all power over all weather. But some power over some weather. To the extent that God allows, the Devil has supernatural power at his disposal to direct the elements to accomplish his evil purposes.” (Lawson)
iv. We also see that this attack was clearly focused against Job; yet others suffered because Satan attacked Job and God allowed him to be attacked. Job’s animals, servants, and children all perished because Job was the target. This can only be justified if we understand that:
· In allowing their lives to be ended, God did not allow these people to pass from an immortal state to a mortal state. Each of these unfortunates was born mortal and subject to death; the only surprise in their death was that they died sooner than expected, not that they died at all.
· The rightness or wrongness of what God either allows or actively does can only be finally judged by the measure of eternity, not the measure of this life. We can only say that God either did right or wrong by these unfortunates by the eternal picture. Until then we trust what Abraham knew of God: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25).
2. (20-22) Job reacts to his losses.
Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 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.”
In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.
a. Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head: Quite appropriately, Job mourned his tremendous losses. He had lost his sons and daughters and servants a great amount of material wealth. It was a time for mourning.
i. Job mourned, but he did not mourn as the heathens or the pagans mourned. He did not cut or gash or tattoo himself for the dead as was the common practice among those ancient peoples (Leviticus 19:28).
b. He fell to the ground and worshipped: In the midst of his mourning, Job also decided to worship God despite his circumstances and feelings. We might say that this was indeed pure worship and greatly glorifying to God.
i. “Surely it has not come to this among God’s people, that he must do as we like, or else we will not praise him. If he does not please us every day, and give way to our whims, and gratify our tastes, then we will not praise him.” (Spurgeon)
ii. “But how blank (think we) was the devil, when, hoping to hear Job blaspheme God, he heareth him blessing God’s name in this sort.” (Trapp)
iii. Later in the book, as spiritual battle is fought in and all around Job, he will seem to move very far from these words of worship. Yet is it important to remember that a man’s first reaction is often very telling, and reveals what really dominates his heart. Worship was Job’s first reaction to his crisis.
c. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away: Job analyzed his situation in a godly and wise way. Job understood that:
· He came into this world with nothing, so everything he had was indeed a blessing from the bounty of God. If he now had less, it was still more than he came into this world with and more than he would take with him to the world beyond.
· His prior prosperity was not due to luck or mere human ingenuity; it was because of the great and powerful blessing of God upon his life. “I am so pleased to think that Job recognized the hand of God everywhere giving. He said, ‘The Lord gave.’ He did not say, ‘I earned it all.’ He did not say, ‘There are all my hard-earned savings gone.’” (Spurgeon)
· God was in control of his life, and no matter what the immediate source of adversity or tragedy was, it had to pass through the loving and wise hands of God before it could touch him.
· God was worthy to be blessed and praised in any and all circumstances of life.
i. “His words were of the profoundest philosophy. He recognized that man is more than the things he gathers about him.” (Morgan)
ii. “Job sees only the hand of God in these events. It never occurs to him to curse the desert brigands, to curse the frontier guards, to curse his own stupid servants, now lying dead for their watchlessness. All secondary causes vanish. It was the Lord who gave; it was the Lord who removed; and in the Lord alone must the explanation of these strange happenings be sought.” (Andersen)
iii. We can meditate on the implications of the words, the LORD gave:
· We should never think the good things of this world come to us from the earth; they come from heaven.
· They come to us as gifts; that is, they are undeserved.
· God gives His gifts with kindness and thoughtfulness.
· Knowing this sweetens the value of everything we have; things are more precious because they are gifts from a loving God.
· This prevents us from dishonesty; we want nothing in our hand except what God gives us, and do not want to mix what He gives with what the devil gives.
· It is foolishness to take pride in having more than what another has.
· It is easy to give back to God when we really understand that all we have comes from Him.
· We must always worship the Giver and not the gifts. The Giver is greater than the gifts He gives.
d. Blessed be the name of the LORD: This was the expression of worship mentioned in the previous verse. Job was able to bless the name of God even when he was specifically and severely tempted to curse the name of God.
i. “Remember the story of a man who was going to give a pound to some charitable institution. The devil said, ‘No, you cannot afford it.’ ‘Then,’ said the man, ‘I will give two pounds; I will not be dictated to in this way.’ Satan exclaimed, ‘You are a fanatic.’ The man replied, ‘I will give four pounds.’ ‘Ah!’ said Satan, ‘what will your wife say when you go home, and tell her that you have given away four pounds?’ ‘Well,’ said the man, ‘I will give eight pounds now; and if you do not mind what you are at, you will tempt me to give sixteen.’ So the devil was obliged to stop, because the more he tempted him, the more he went the other way. So let it be with us. If the devil would drive us to curse God, let us bless him all the more, and Satan will be wise enough to leave off tempting when he finds that, the more he attempts to drive us, the more we go in the opposite direction.” (Spurgeon)
e. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong: This demonstrates that Job did not sin or wrongly blame God when he said, “the LORD has taken away.” He was right to understand that God was ultimately behind all things, even if the immediate responsibility for an event was not God’s.
i. We are impressed with Job’s perspective on material things. He truly understood what Jesus said: One’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses (Luke 12:15). There are few in the world today who would endure the loss of such a fortune with such godliness and patient endurance.
ii. We are impressed with Job’s unshaken commitment to God, and his enduring love for God. Satan’s accusation – that if blessings were taken from Job, he would curse God – was proved to be a lie, and we might say that God was justifiably proud of His servant Job.
iii. In this first round of spiritual warfare Satan was singularly unsuccessful in shaking Job from his standing in faith. Job successfully battled against spiritual attack and fulfilled the exhortation that would come many hundreds of years later from the Apostle Paul: that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:13).
· Job made his stand against fear and did not give into panic.
· Job made his stand against make-believe pretending and appropriately mourned.
· Job made his stand against pride and humbled himself before God.
· Job made his stand against self and decided to worship God.
· Job made his stand against a time-bound mindset and chose to think in terms of eternity.
· Job made his stand against unbelief and did not give into vain questionings of God.
· Job made his stand against despair and saw the hand of God even in catastrophe.
· Job made his stand against anger and did not blame God.
iv. This wonderful triumph of faith did not come from Job acting alone, but only as Job reacted to these disasters filled with and connected to God. We are not told that the Spirit of God filled Job to react this way and say these things, but we know it to be true. Satan was acting; but so was God in heaven. “He saith to himself, ‘If Satan shall do much, I will do more; if he takes away much, I will give more; if he tempts the man to curse, I will fill him so full of love to me that he shall bless me. I will help him; I will strengthen him; yea, I will uphold him with the right hand of my righteousness.’” (Spurgeon)
v. Though we can say that God strengthened Job, there was no evident comfort from God; nor would there be for a long time. “Thirty-six chapters of agonizing soul-searching will elapse before the Lord so much as lifts a finger to begin comforting Job in these devastating losses.” (Mason)
vi. “In this Satan was utterly disappointed; he found a man who loved his God more than his earthly portion… He had been so often successful in this kind of temptation, that he made no doubt that he should succeed again.” (Clarke)
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission