Interesting Bible People: Job
Job is certainly one of the interesting Bible people
job is a very interesting Bible person, he has tremendous resilience. His trust in God sees him through all his many and great problems. We all go through troubled times, let's see what we can learn from Job who is among the interesting Bible people
The photo is mine.
Job, a good man
We all know good people who suffer in this life. We wonder why this should be so. No matter how we try we can't understand it. Job was one of those sorts of people. The book of Job, in the bible is amazing. it is thought to be very old and it has timeless wisdom about the nature of suffering, written in wonderful poetry.
It is simplistic to say that people suffer because they have done wrong, because they deserve it. This is the argument Job's friends keep using. Let's see how the story begins.
We are told the Job is very rich and prosperous. He has huge flocks of sheep, three thousand camels, a thousand oxen and five hundred donkeys. He also has a large number of servants to look after them all. Also his pride and joy he has seven sons and three daughters. He is the greatest man among all the people of the east. So there he is living a good life and prospering. We are told he is blameless and upright and honours God and keeps away from evil. What a wonderful life he has. And then one day something bad happens.
Don't point Job out to Satan
Angels in the boardroom
One day all the angels reported to God. He wanted to know what they had been doing. Amongst them came Satan, the fallen angel, who had rebelled against God. The Lord said to Satan," From where have you come?" Satan replied, " I've been roaming through the earth." The Lord brings Satan's attention to Job and says that there is no-one like him, he is blameless and upright and a man who honours God and turns away from evil.
With scorn in his voice Satan says,"Does Job honour God for nothing? You have made him so prosperous and protected him and blessed all his animals, but if you take away all he has he will surely curse you to your face."
We are alarmed to hear God say,"Very well I put everything he has in your hands, but you must not lay a finger on the man himself."
Our reaction is to say,"Why are you doing this Lord? Poor Job, what has he done to deserve it?" For we know he is blameless, God has said so. So why is he put under Satan's control? We have to see how the story progresses.
Job honours you, so why let Satan treat him like that?
Disaster strikes Job
And so it happens that one day while Job's children are feasting and drinking at the oldest brother's house, a servant rushes into Job's presence to tell him that the donkeys and oxen have been carried off in an attack from the Sabean tribe and they have also killed the servants and the servant with the message is the only one who has escaped to tell him.
Before this servant can finish his account another servant rushes in. He says that fire from heaven has burnt up the sheep and the other servants looking after them and he is the only one to have escaped. Before Job can digest this catastrophe another servant arrives and says that the chaldeans have stolen the camels.
The worst tragedy comes next. A servant arrives to say that a mighty wind has swept in from he desert and destroyed his son's house and all his children are dead and only the one servant has escaped to tell him. Blow upon blow Job has been smitten by intense disaster. What does he do? He tears his robe, a sign of distress in those days and shaves his head. Then he goes down on the ground to worship God and says,"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised."
of the angels
The second meeting
Again the angels meet before God. Again God asks Satan if he has noticed that Job has honoured God in everything even though he has suffered such loss. Again Satan is scathing. He says that a man will put up with anything as long as he has his health.He says "Skin for skin." He hisses it out. Satan says that if God stretches out his hand on Job himself he will surely curse God. We hold our breath waiting for God's reply, surely he will not hurt Job further. Then God says that Job is in Satan's hands but that he may not kill Job. We are appalled. why is God doing this? We know that God is good so there must be a good purpose in this, but it's not easy to see that purpose when we go through problems. God had a good result lined up for Job and if we put our trust in him He has a good result lined up for us too. Satan afflicts Job with painful sores all over his body including the soles of his feet. Job is in great pain and so itchy that he takes a broken piece of pottery to scratch himself with to gain some relief. It is here that his wife makes her only appearance in the story. She would, of course be full of grief at the loss of her children. She advises Job to curse God and die, but he says she is taliking like a foolish woman and that we should accept trouble from God just as much as good. He expects better from his wife than this reply.
How not to comfort someone in suffering
With friends like these?
It is now that Job's three friends appear on the scene. they were so shocked by his appearance that they just sat quietly with him for a week. Chapter three of the book of Job gives us in poetic language how Job wished he had never been born. His friends Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar have only one theme to offer him. They are convinced that he has sinned and this is the result. Job insists that this is not so, he has honoured God. The greater part of the book is taken up with their arguments put in the most beautiful poetic language. The result is that people do not come into suffering necessarily because of sin. There are other deeper purposes to suffering, what these are we do not know. Job gets to speak with God and is deeply humbled in his presence. God informs the friends that they have been wrong in their thinking. He gives Job twice as much as he had before and he again has seven sons and three beautiful daughters. I'm sure he never forgot his first children
His daughters were called Jemimah, Keziah and Keren-Happuch
Job Could Have Sung This Song
Read some of Job's wisdom on God, for yourself
"Truly I know that it is so:
But how can a man be in the right before God?
If one wished to contend with him,
one could not answer him once in a thousand times.
He is wise in heart and mighty in strength
-who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?-
he who removes mountains, and they know it not,
when he overturns them in his anger,
who shakes the earth out of its place,
and its pillars tremble;
who commands the sun, and it does not rise;
who seals up the stars;
who alone stretched out the heavens
and trampled the waves of the sea;
who made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;
who does great things beyond searching out,
and marvelous things beyond number.
Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not;
he moves on, but I do not perceive him.
Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back?
Who will say to him, 'What are you doing?'
"God will not turn back his anger;
beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab.
How then can I answer him,
choosing my words with him?
Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him;
I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.
If I summoned him and he answered me,
I would not believe that he was listening to my voice.
For he crushes me with a tempest
and multiplies my wounds without cause;
he will not let me get my breath,
but fills me with bitterness.
If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty!
If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him?
Though I am in the right, my own mouth would condemn me;
though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse.
I am blameless; I regard not myself;
I loathe my life.
It is all one; therefore I say,
'He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.'
When disaster brings sudden death,
he mocks at the calamity of the innocent.
The earth is given into the hand of the wicked;
he covers the faces of its judges-
if it is not he, who then is it?
"My days are swifter than a runner;
they flee away; they see no good.
They go by like skiffs of reed,
like an eagle swooping on the prey.
If I say, 'I will forget my complaint,
I will put off my sad face, and be of good cheer,'
I become afraid of all my suffering,
for I know you will not hold me innocent.
I shall be condemned;
why then do I labor in vain?
If I wash myself with snow
and cleanse my hands with lye,
yet you will plunge me into a pit,
and my own clothes will abhor me.
For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him,
that we should come to trial together.
There is no arbiter between us,
who might lay his hand on us both.
Let him take his rod away from me,
and let not dread of him terrify me.
Then I would speak without fear of him,
for I am not so in myself.
(Job 9:2-35 ESV)
Some wrong ideas
Can we expect prosperity if we follow God?
Many people preach today that if we follow God we will grow rich and prosper. Is this right? It is not so according to the book of Job. If we follow God and put our trust in Jesus we will certainly prosper spiritually now and in the life to come, but here on earth we are told we will have trouble and suffering. Indeed this can result from our faith, as sometimes those who do not believe will turn away from us or even mistreat us. The kingdom of God is not about what you can get out of it but about what you can put into it. Of course first you have to have your entry ticket. We can only enter the kingdom through Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross, but he did not die to make us prosperous in this life. The ones honoured in the kingdom are the ones like the poor widow who put all she had into the temple offering box. The two coins she put in were considered worthless by the pharisees, but she put in all she had and Jesus said she had made the biggest contribution. The joy she had in serving God was worth much more than the self satisfaction of the pharisees, who appeared to put much more into the collection, but it took them no sacrifice at all to give it.
We must not expect an easy path in this life. We are not here to have an easy life, but to serve. Job is among the interesting Bible people he suffered much and came through to better times with a better knowledge of his God. That was the best benefit. The aim of our life should be to know God better as we see Him in Jesus.
A generous giver
Jesus sat and watched at the temple,
Where the offering boxes for money were placed.
He watched as the rich
Ostentatiously threw in their money,
With a loud clatter
Into the box.
How they enjoyed
The music of their wealth.
With a flourish they threw in their money.
So that all could see
And calculate the amount
By the noise it made.
Jesus was angered.
But then, quietly entering
Came a widow woman.
She moved noiselessly to the offering box.
Silently from her cloke
She drew two coins.
She slid them into the box.
They made no perceptible noise.
She smiled because she loved God and she had given him all she could.
She knew he loved her too
And so she walked with confidence from the temple, her trust in the God who had always provided for her.
Jesus smiled at such a generous giver.
Tell me what you think of Job, your opinion matters
Do you think God should let good people suffer?