Lord, Give Me the Spirit of Job
Some people might wonder why someone would want the spirit of Job. After all, he was tested and experienced many losses. The Book of Job is not limited to Job's losses. Rather it is about the sovereignty of God that Job realized through his losses.
The spirit of Job is evident in the way he handled his situation when most people would not have done so. God knew what Job's spirit was when He allowed Satan to test him. God knew Job's end would be greater than his current situation after he had been tested.
Many people think they know Job's story. They focus mostly on his losses. However, there is much more about the Book of Job that people tend to overlook.
While Job is the central character in his story, it is not only his story. It is God's story as well. The sovereignty of God is evident throughout the story. One day Satan appeared before God in heaven. God is the one who boasted about Job's goodness to prove a point to Satan. God described Job as a man from Uz who was blameless and upright who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1).
Satan tried to convince God that Job was only good because God had blessed him with wealth. God gives Satan permission to punish Job in an effort for Job to curse God. God agrees to the extensive punishment, but He forbids Satan to take Job’s life.
Satan mentioned Job's wealth because he knew all about it. He attacked Job's wealth thinking Job would give up on God because that's what most people do.
According to Job 1:2-3, Job's life included the following wealthy things:
- Job was healthy.
- He had a wife.
- He had seven sons.
- Job had three daughters.
- He owned 7,000 sheep.
- He had 3,000 camels
- He possessed 1,000 oxen.
- Five hundred donkeys belonged to him.
- Job had a very large household of servants.
- He had many friends.
- Job was respected in the community.
- He was the greatest man among the people of the East.
- Job was a praying man.
- Job read his Bible to his wife and children every day.
In just one day, Job receives four separate messages of terrible news caused by marauding invaders or natural catastrophes.
- The Sabeans took off with the oxen and donkeys and killed all the servants tending them except the one taking the message to Job.
- The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants except for the one who escaped and took the message to Job.
- The Chaldeans took all the camels and killed the servants except the one who escaped and took the message to Job.
- All ten of Job's children were killed by a mighty wind that swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house where they were feasting. It collapsed on them and all ten of Job's children died.
Job tears his clothes and shaves his head in mourning, but he still blesses God in his prayers. Satan appears in heaven again, and God grants him another chance to test Job. This time, Job is afflicted with horrible skin sores. His wife encourages him to curse God and to give up and die, but Job refuses, struggling to accept his circumstances.
Even though Job was well known and respected in his community, only three of his closest friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, went to visit him. The friends followed the protocol for visiting a person in mourning.
- They sat with Job in silence for seven days out of respect for his mourning.
- The friends waited for Job to speak first.
- Each of the friends shared his thoughts on Job’s afflictions in long, poetic statements.
Job became irritated by what his friends said about him and his relationship with God. He emphasized his innocence over and over again. Job called them “worthless physicians” (Job 13:4). Job’s friends are offended that he scorns their wisdom.
Job never curses God as his wife and friends suggested, but he does curse the day he was born.
Eliphaz admits that Job really did comfort others in the community when they were suffering. Then Eliphaz accuses Job of never really understood their pain. He tells Job that is punishment must be due to some sin Job has committed. He recommends that Job seeks God’s favor.
Bildad says Job must have done something sinful to offend God. He argues that Job should promise God that he will become more blameless. Bildad also tells Job that his children brought their deaths upon themselves because of their partying and other behaviors.
Zophar agrees with Bildad, but he goes one step beyond what has already been said. He puts salt in the Job's wounds Job by stating that not only did Job sin to bring on the punishment, but he also implies that Job probably deserves greater punishment than what he has already received.
Some friends Job had.
Job Confronts God
Job listened to what his friends had to say, but not once did he blame God. However, he did want a confrontation with God. He wanted to discuss his previous life in contrast to what it is now. He was wealthy and a pillar in the community. Now Job wants to know from God Himself why he has been attacked by so many misfortunes in just one day. Job wanted answers especially since his friends are blaming him for everything that has happened and Zophar even suggested he needed to be punished more.
Job goes on from Chapter 4 to Chapter 37 defending himself in front of his friends and asking God rhetorical questions. God remained silent until Chapter 38 when He speaks from a whirlwind. God never explains Job's suffering by telling him it was a test orchestrated by Satan. Neither does God defend what has been done.
He refuses the confrontation that Job demanded. Instead, God contrasts Job's weakness with His own wisdom and omnipotence. For instance, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?" When Job attempts to interrupt, God continues speaking and never answers Job directly.
The Turning Point in the Book
God did not have a confrontation with Job. He begins speaking in Chapter 38. He did give Job something to think about. In 42:1–6 Job shares his epiphany. He confesses God's sovereignty while admitting his own lack of knowledge "of things beyond me which I did not know." Before God speaks to him through the whirlwind Job had only heard of Him, but now his eyes have seen God. This knowledge makes Job want to repent in dust and ashes.
God tells the three friends they had not spoken of Him what was right as His servant Job has done. The friends are told that Job is the only one that He will show favor on, but they could make a burnt offering with Job as their intercessor. The friends did as they were told, and Job did pray for the friends as he was told.
Job returns to good health. He gets double the riches he had lost. He has ten more children, and he lives to see his children to the fourth generation.
The Real Meaning of the Book of Job
So, what exactly is the spirit of Job? Job's losses is definitely a theme in the book. However, the book is not only about Job's losses, but it is also about what Job learned through his losses. It is also about Job's endurance and his defending himself to his friends. Job knew he had done nothing sinful and wouldn't say he did when his friends accused him of wrongdoing.
Job's losses were what happened to him on the way to his revelation that God is sovereign. His losses, his sickness, and the treatment from his friends were part of God's plan for Job to get his answer to who God really is.
If you have not read the book, read it to find out in detail what Job went through. If you have read the book before, read it again with fresh eyes. Then, you will know the real meaning of the Book of Job.
Have you read the Book of Job?
- The Real Meaning of the Book of Job
Most people would think Job had it made. But the story isn’t about what Job had and what he lost. It is about what he learned through his suffering. While it is true that suffering is a major theme in the Book of Job, suffering is not the real meanin