The book of Job 

by Glen Podd – 28 April 2017 

 

Job is one of the most ancient books in Scripture and belongs in the Patriarch stage of the Bible. 

 

Meaning 

Job has a Hebrew root meaning of hated, persecuted. 

 
Author

Hebrew tradition and as a result early Christian tradition has the author of Job as Moses but there is no further source to confirm this. 
 

Main characters 

The main characters are Job, God, Satan and Job’s friends Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu. 

 

Main events

The book examines the life of Job, the most respected, successful and godly man of his generation. He was blessed in his faith, his home and his business. Suddenly within hours his spiritual life is in chaos, his family destroyed and his work in ruins. Satan seeks to destroy Job’s faith while God seeks to perfect it. 
 
His terrible trials (Job 1 to 2), Job, a righteous man, was happily serving God when suddenly: his workers are killed and donkeys and oxen stolen by marauders (Job 1:13-15); his sheep and herdsmen are killed by fire from heaven (Job 1:16); Chaldean raiders steal his camels and kill his servants (Job 1:17); a freak wind destroys the home of his sons and daughters killing them in the process (Job 1:18-19) and Job himself is struck with painful sores all over his body (Job 2:7). How did it all go wrong? It was not as a result of Job's sinfulness but of his righteousness: 

 
Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no-one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil' ” (Job 1 :8).
 
Satan argues with God that Job is only a righteous man because he has known nothing but good times, should bad times come he would curse God (Job 1:9-11 and 2:4-5). God allows Satan to touch Job’s life because the only way to prove faith is to test it. Look at Jesus himself: 
 
“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9).
 
If the perfect One had to be tested, how much more do we? 
 
Jewish belief was that all suffering was the result of personal sin, they therefore questioned a man’s godliness if he suffered. The greater the suffering the greater the sin must be, but as Christians we have to ask: "How can a man be godly if he knows nothing of suffering?" 
 
His wife’s reaction: She urged Job to curse God and die (Job 2:9)!
 
His friends’ reactions:

- Eliphaz (Job 4, 5, 15 and 22) believed Job was suffering because of his sins (Job 4:7-8). He accused him of cheating those less fortunate than himself, orphans (Job 22:9) and being full of hot air (Job 15:2)! He advised him to repent and turn back to God (Job 22:21-28).

- Bildad (Job 18, 25) believed Job was suffering because of his sins (Job 8:20). He gives advice based on tradition (Job 8:8). He advised him to repent and turn back to God (Job 8:5-6).

- Zophar (Job 11, 20) believed Job was suffering because of his sins (20:4-5). He gives advice based on reason. He advised him to repent and turn back to God (11:13-15).

- Elihu (Job 32 to 37) gave advice based upon the sovereignty of God. God speaks in many different ways including suffering and pain (Job 33:14-22). His purpose is to save a man’s life (Job 33:29-30).

 
Job’s reaction (Job 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12 to 14, 16 to 17, 19, 21, 23 to 24 and 26-31): His feelings are best summarised in Job 27:2-6. He holds God responsible for his predicament (Job 27:2).

 
He will not hide his feelings (Job 27:3). He will keep his integrity (Job 27:4). He will keep doing what is right (Job 27:5). To the best of his ability he has acted righteously (Job 31). He’s now treated unfairly (Job 30). He needs answers (Job 28:12-28). Hope has gone (Job 10:20-22). He curses the day he was born (Job 3:3-11). Despite his feelings he will trust God (Job 23:10).
 
God’s reaction (Job 38-41) 
 
What is most striking is what God does not say. He makes no attempt to answer the question – why? The revelation of His person is enough. We learn from this, firstly, that God wants our confidence and, secondly, that peace of heart does not come by understanding in entirety. 

 

The benefits of Job’s reaction

- A new revelation of God (Job 42:5).

- A new revelation of himself (Job 42:6).

- A new revelation of faith (Job 42:3).

- A new revelation of blessing and cursing (Job 42:12).

 

Conclusion 

When things go wrong we have the intense activity of both Satan and God. Who are we going to allow to win? Will we allow the trial to make us turn our back on God or will we allow it to perfect our faith and give us a new revelation of God? Hold fast! 
 
"Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the sheepfold and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour" (Habbakuk 3:17-18).


Answers to Questions
Webpage icon Time to get up and get going
Webpage icon What is the book of Judges about?
Webpage icon Jesus was just a good man, not God
Webpage icon What you need to know about the church
Webpage icon The fall of mankind explained
Webpage icon The book of Joshua
Webpage icon Fasting
Webpage icon The Holy Spirit
Webpage icon Death before the fall
Webpage icon Is God morally relative?
Webpage icon What is the book of Numbers all about?
Webpage icon Is hell a real place?
Webpage icon What the Bible says about suffering
Webpage icon Do all religions worship the same God?


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