<<an OT man who suffered greatly>>
God allowed Job’s children, possessions and health to be destroyed, to prove to Satan that this blameless and upright prosperous farmer would continue to be committed to Him regardless. This was in response to Satan who accused God of having a wall of protection (covering) about Job, resulting in him being blessed because he honoured God. Through it all, Job did not curse God as his wife suggested, while his friends said ‘repent of your sin’ although he had not sinned in action or speech (Job 1:22, 2:9,10, 5:8, 6:29, 11:13-15, 13:18). Finally, Job was restored to health and prosperity, and he had more children.
It is understood Job lived about 2000-1800 BC. His story is told in the book of Job.
Lessons from his life: * Satan had to ask God for permission to attack in the various areas (Job 1:19,13, 2:3-7). In our situations, God also sets the limits on how Satan can attack us. By walking uprightly we prevent Satan from gaining access using a legitimate foothold to attack because we are violating a command of God (Job 1:5; Eph 4:27). Although we don’t know when periods of testing will come, we can choose how we respond – driving us either away from God or closer to Him. Satan’s aim is to drive a wedge of discouragement and disillusionment between God and us; anything of Satan is destructive while God’s involvement, and even discipline, in our lives is for our benefit. It is essential that we are in right relationship with those in spiritual authority over us, as this provides a covering of protection too. We are instructed to both “Submit yourselves to God. [and then] Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jas 4:7). From the foundation of being rightly aligned in intimate relationship with God we are able to repel the devil, and not surrender to his schemes but stand strong in Christ so we will emerge victorious. Although he may not flee instantly when he sees our persistent stance and that he is wasting his time he will revise his assaults for another attack, such as “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until [an appropriate] time” (Lk 4:13).
* God in His sovereignty did not let Job know why he was suffering. He could only trust in the goodness of God. Suffering is not necessarily a penalty for sin, nor is prosperity always a reward for doing right. In both extremities, from intense suffering to bountiful prosperity, and all stages in between, we should focus on God and His love and justice even when we don’t understand the ‘why’ times of life (Gen 18:25; Job 2:10; Lk 7:23). We should not have a selfish ‘how it will affect me, what’s in it for me’ approach to our following God based on what we can get, rather in faith and love be committed to Him because He is worthy of our total devotion as He has saved us from a doomed eternity in hell. Job could not understand why misfortune had come upon him and even when God finally speaks to him, it is not with answers to his questions (Job 38:1-41:34). Job realises he doesn’t know the answers to earths mysteries, so how can he begin to comprehend the powerful God who created all things, and he repents of his questioning God’s sovereignty and justice (Job 42:1-6).
* When everything was stripped away it revealed the solid grounding of Job’s faith in God. In his grief he declared, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Later his comment was, “when He has tried me I shall come forth as pure gold” (Job 23:10). He knew the nature of God and knew that He was trying to produce something of immense value in him, so kept the hope of the end result (whatever it would be) in mind. This was like Christ who also had a true perspective – looking beyond the immediate pain to the long-term gain of redeemed people with Him forever (Heb 12:2). This life is not our final destiny and although we are subject to intense pressure at times – physical, emotional, financial, social, spiritual and in relationships – it does not alter the fact that God is still capably in control and with our co-operation will outwork His purposes (Rom 8:28,29). “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial for he shall receive...” (Jas 1:12). What is my response when things go wrong? Job had good control of his mouth, can that be said about me?
* Job maintained a right heart attitude and held no malice towards those who accused him of sin. Like Job, they were unaware of what was being played out in his life. It was after Job had prayed for his friends (those who had criticized him, in his time of intense suffering and ironically called ‘Job’s comforters’) that God caused Job to be blessed more than he had before this (Job 42:10-17). Do we reach out even in our times of bewilderment and suffering to minister the life of Christ to those who need it? We often hold the key to our own release into God’s purposes. By having been through various trials of life and coming out better people we are able to empathize with others, relating to them not just in theory but in the reality of ‘I know what it’s like, and with God’s help I came out victorious’.