Job 1-3

job1.jpgGreetings!  We’re covering a lot of ground every other day with Job – 3 chapters at a time.  The middle chapters won’t have a lot of commentary.  This first set is chock full, though.

Job

Prologue

1     In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

Was Job sinless?  No, He was not Jesus.  But by any human measure he was a great and moral man.

4 His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.

Job’s First Test

6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”

8 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.”

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Whether this story is allegory or real (I tend to think it is the latter), Satan is real.  He is referred to at least a couple hundred times in scripture from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation and is never presented as fictional. 

Remember what 1 Peter says: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Make no mistake: Satan hates you and he hates your soul.  He wants you to spend eternity in Hell, so his goal is to keep you from Jesus.  If you become a Christian, his goal is to make you as ineffective as possible.

13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;

may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Two major points here: Charging God with wrongdoing is a sin, and Job recognized God’s sovereignty (his control of all things).  And Job praised him anyway!  It reminds me of the song by Casting Crowns, “Praise You in this Storm.”  How hard it is to praise job in good times and bad.  But He is still God no matter what. 

No matter how much you accumulate or accomplish in this world, you will die.  You will leave the world as you entered it: Naked before God and with nothing to brag of. 

Job’s Second Test

2     On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”

3 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. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

9 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

Many people – even close relatives and loved ones! – will test your faith and encourage you to abandon God.

10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

Job’s Three Friends

11 When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

Job’s friends got off to a great start.  They came to him, wept with him and were silent.  That is a great lesson in how to comfort someone.  Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end here.  They started speculating as to why Job suffered and assumed it must be something he had done.

Job Speaks

3     After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 He said:

3 “May the day of my birth perish,

and the night it was said, ‘A boy is born!’

4 That day—may it turn to darkness;

may God above not care about it;

may no light shine upon it.

5 May darkness and deep shadow

claim it once more;

may a cloud settle over it;

may blackness overwhelm its light.

6 That night—may thick darkness seize it;

may it not be included among the days of the year

nor be entered in any of the months.

7 May that night be barren;

may no shout of joy be heard in it.

8 May those who curse days curse that day,

those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.

9 May its morning stars become dark;

may it wait for daylight in vain

and not see the first rays of dawn,

10 for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me

to hide trouble from my eyes.

11 “Why did I not perish at birth,

and die as I came from the womb?

12 Why were there knees to receive me

and breasts that I might be nursed?

13 For now I would be lying down in peace;

I would be asleep and at rest

14 with kings and counselors of the earth,

who built for themselves places now lying in ruins,

15 with rulers who had gold,

who filled their houses with silver.

16 Or why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child,

like an infant who never saw the light of day?

17 There the wicked cease from turmoil,

and there the weary are at rest.

18 Captives also enjoy their ease;

they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout.

19 The small and the great are there,

and the slave is freed from his master.

20 “Why is light given to those in misery,

and life to the bitter of soul,

21 to those who long for death that does not come,

who search for it more than for hidden treasure,

22 who are filled with gladness

and rejoice when they reach the grave?

23 Why is life given to a man

whose way is hidden,

whom God has hedged in?

24 For sighing comes to me instead of food;

my groans pour out like water.

25 What I feared has come upon me;

what I dreaded has happened to me.

26 I have no peace, no quietness;

I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Job was understandably depressed and wished he hadn’t been born.  But He did not appear to consider suicide, knowing that would be a sin.

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