The Life of Job
By Mark Mayberry
For our instruction and encouragement, the Bible records many notable examples (Rom. 15:4-5), but none are more meaningful and moving than the life of the patriarch Job (Job 1:1-3).
God is watching from above. Like any loving father, God is pleased when His children act honorably. The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:8; 2:3).
Satan, the malicious accuser of the brethren (Job 1:9-11; 2:4-5; cf. Zech. 3:1-7), lurking in the shadows and roaming to and fro on the earth, constantly looks for opportunities to entice us into sin, and—through our failure—bring shame upon our heavenly Father.
What He Did Right
Job was blameless and upright—one who feared God and turned away from evil (Job 1:1). The same is expected of us (Eph. 1:4).
He was a real spiritual leader in his home, consecrating his children, and offering sacrifice on their behalf (Job 1:4-5). Similarly, we endeavor to raise our sons and daughters in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).
Despite his trials, Job did not (initially) sin or blame God, but manifested a spirit of acceptance (Job 1:22; 2:10). The NASB marginal note for “blame” in Job 1:22 is “literally, ascribe unseemliness to.” While God tests us and allows us to be tempted (Ps. 11:4-5; Prov. 17:3; 2 Tim. 4:16-18), it is unseemly (and wrong) to ascribe unto Him the malicious motives of Satan (Luke 22:31-32; 1 Pet. 5:8).
What He Did Wrong
Job became too invested in defending himself. There is a place for offering a defense, but with balance and restraint (Prov. 25:27; 27:2; 2 Cor. 10:12, 18; 12:11, 19). Job blamed God for things that were beyond his comprehension/understanding (Job 38:1-3; 40:6-9).
What He Lost
Job lost his wealth (Job 1:13-17), his family (Job 1:18-19), and his health (Job 2:1-8). He lost the support of his wife, who in a foolishly mocking tone said, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9-10).
Although Job’s friends were initially supportive, coming and sitting on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, because they saw that his pain was very great (Job 2:11-13), yet, their counsel was flawed (Job 4:1-11) and offered no benefit (Job 6:14-18).
Initially, he faced these misfortunes with a spirit of acceptance (Job 1:20-22). However, due to the prolonged nature of his trials, and the provocation of his friends, eventually, Job lost his patience, expressing unfettered frustration with both his earthly friends and his heavenly Father (Job 3ff).
What He Gained
Joe learned the necessity of reverence (Job 38:1-11). He rediscovered the importance of humility and repentance (Job 42:1-6). Coming to appreciate the value of endurance, the patriarch gained a renewed appreciation for the compassionate and merciful outcome of the Lord’s dealings (Job 42:10-17; James 5:11).
In studying experiences of Job, we have briefly considered what he did right, what he did wrong, what he lost, what he gained? In looking at your own life, what have you done that is right? What have you done that is wrong? What have you lost? What have you gained? Do you need the blessing of forgiveness and the promise of divine fellowship? Obey the gospel while there is time and opportunity.
Note: Presented at the Adoue Street Church of Christ in Alvin, TX on 1/7/2018. To see a video presentation of this lesson, go here.