By Robby Davis
The Bible gives some good examples of great people of faith. One of which is the story of Job. The story of Job is the story of faith, endurance, and patience winning out against amazing odds.
Job’s life proves that godliness is no defense against adversity. Although Job lived in a way that was pleasing to God, the Lord allowed Satan to test him. The most important aspect in Job’s life was his faith in God. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Job had this faith and feared God (Job 1:1). The Bible tells us that he was “blameless” (“perfect,” KJV), “upright,” “fearing God,” and “turning away from evil.” In addition, Job had great prosperity. His sheep provided clothing and food; camels and donkeys provided transportation; and oxen provided food, milk, and the power for plowing. He even owned slaves (1:15-17; 31:13). It is interesting and very rare to see wealth and godliness in the same man. These two characteristics of Job’s life demonstrate how great a man he was.
Job was also concerned with the spiritual condition of the next generation (1:4-5). His godly character manifested itself in his concern for the spiritual welfare of his children. He offered burnt sacrifices to the Lord to atone for the sins, whether ignorantly or presumptuously committed, by his children.
All of the wonderful things that Job did adds to the irony of the things that the Lord allowed to happen to him. De-spite all the good things Job did, he had calamities as well.
Job was subjected to three tests. The first was to accept, without sinning, the loss of his possessions and offspring (1:6-22). The second was to endure the destruction of his health without blaming anything on God (2:1-10). The third was to endure false accusation. This is an example of God allowing one of his servants to be persecuted to prove the individual’s fidelity. In each test, the author displays two scenes, one in heaven and one on earth. In heaven, Satan is making a false accusation against Job; on earth, Satan is making a terrible assault against Job.
Job’s first test came when God allowed Satan to destroy all of his possessions. Satan reasoned that the only reason why Job worshiped God was to receive God’s material blessings. He thought that if he took every material blessing away Job would renounce God. God allowed Satan to do this, but Job remained faithful (1:22). Four messengers reported to Job what had happened. The first messenger said that a tribe called the Sabeans had executed his servants and carried away his animals (1:13-15). The second said that the fire of God fell from the sky and had consumed the sheep and more servants (v. 16). The third said that three raiding parties of the Chaldeans carried away his camels and executed more servants (v. 17). The fourth said his family had been killed because a strong wind caused his house to collapse on them (v. 19).
Most men would respond to this situation by blaming these evils on God’s inaction. But, Job showed humility in the sight of God. He tore his robe, shaved his head, fell down, and worshiped God (v. 20). After all of the tragedies that had befallen Job, he never sinned before God.
Job’s second test came when his flesh was tormented by Satan. Satan now figured that Job’s faithfulness remained because he had not afflicted his physical body. God allowed Satan to touch his flesh, but not to kill his body (2:6). Satan struck Job with boils from the “sole of his feet to the top of his head” (2:7). No one believed that he would ever recover so Job’s wife lost all hope for Job and insisted that he curse God and die (2:9). But, Job refused to speak against the Lord and declared his wife a foolish woman.
The third test Job endured was the torment of his three “friends” (Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite) who accused Job of being a willful sinner. At first they went to Job and comforted him, but when they saw him, they could hardly recognize him.
They began to weep aloud, tore their robes, and sat with Job for seven days in complete silence (2:13). Then Job cursed the day of his birth and wished he had never been born. His three friends, although well-meaning, tormented Job instead of helping him by demanding that he confess the sins that brought these terrible curses upon him.
Job has now reached the depth of human suffering. He has been robbed of his possessions, his family, and his health. His wife wishes him dead. He is charged of heinous evil by his closest friends. His dignity is gone. His strength is poured out like water, his heart melted like wax. His feeble body sits in ashes wondering why. He has no explanation for the fate that has befallen him. God has spoken nothing.
As Job three friends debated Job’s proper course of action, Jehovah manifested himself. In chapter 38 the Lord speaks from a whirlwind. The Lord asked various questions that demonstrated his knowledge and great power. Job replied in chapter 42 that he recognized God as the true God. He despised himself and repented (42:6). The Lord spoke to Eliphaz in anger for him and his two friends because they spoke falsehood about God. He commanded a sacrifice be made of seven bulls and seven rams for them-selves (42:7, 8). Job prayed for these three friends and the Lord accepted his prayer. After this, Job’s possessions were given back to him twofold. He had 14,000 sheep, 6, 000 camels, 1000 oxen, 1000 donkeys, seven sons, and three daughters (42:12, 13).
Job’s life is an example for Christians everywhere. There are many lessons that Christians can learn from the story of Job. Here are a few:
1. Serving God is a lifelong job (1:1-5). Christians need to sacrifice and pray every single day of their lives in order to go on to perfection. We can also help others by praying for them like Job did. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jas. 5:16).
2. The righteous are not exempt from suffering. Just because someone is poor or ill does not mean that he is a sinner. We must not confuse wealth with approval from God or illness with sin. See Matthew 9:21-22 and John 9:2-3.
3. Suffering can come “overnight” (1:13-19). No one knows what will be on the morrow. Christians need to be ready for trials. James 4:14 says, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
4. Suffering can be devastating (2:1-8). Be humble in the sight of the Lord and in regard to your ability to endure.
5. Friends and family cannot be relied upon in the end (2:9-13). The importance of individual faith needs to be emphasized in the lives of Christians everywhere. Each individual is accountable for his own life. Well-meaning friends and family may give bad advice, but obedience to the Lord’s commandments will ultimately always be right.
Guardian of Truth XLI: 7 p. 10-11
April 3, 1997