I’m back in the book of Job. I am fascinated by Job. There is something about Job, and something to this story. What is it? Ponder this for a moment – do you think God let Satan attack his servant Job without knowing the result. Do you think God allowed this test to happen without knowing that Job would pass the test, and the “the satan” would be proven wrong? We know that Job has much to teach us about our own pain and suffering. Job has much to teach us about our ability and tendency to hurl blame and accusation. But the book of Job is also very troubling for us. Why would a kind, just, LOVING God allow allow such awful things to come upon the most loyal and faithful servant of his day? We read this book and wonder who, exactly, is the God who would unleash “the satan” to so completely take a mans health, wealth, and children?? Do we even want to serve such a God?
Maybe a better question to ask is, just WHO is Job? Job was the wealthiest and most powerful man of his time. Job 1:1 tells us “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” Job 1:1 ESV. God himself tells us …“Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”” Job 1:8 ESV. We should remember this throughout the book as we begin to play our blame game, to create reasons for ourselves at to why this could happen to Job and not us. God himself says he is blameless and upright. Why do we spend this entire book trying to prove otherwise? Even after “the satan” takes his wealth and children from him, God tells us – “And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”” Job 2:3 ESV. God tells us Job remained blameless and upright though he lost all most of us live for. Again, who are we to argue?
So now God allows “the satan” to take it one step farther, and take Job’s health as well!! Seriously – what’s up with that??!! Why does God allow this to happen? Why does God just blatantly give “the satan” PERMISSION to attack Job for no reason? Because He does have a reason. HE knows who Job is. He knows Job will not fail the tests “the satan” has for him. Notice here that God still has full control. He explicitly gives “the satan” permission to do all he does. This is not Him working these out after the fact for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28
). This is God intentionally planning beforehand knowing what the outcome would be. God has a purpose in this, and that purpose is to give us this example in our bible to show us that we all will have to endure pain and suffering at some points in our life. Job endures so much here that his own wife tells him – “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” Things were so bad his own wife is tempting him to just commit suicide!! But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Yet we spend this entire book looking for ways to blame Job for what happens. We see up front that God allowed Satan purposefully to attack Job, precisely BECAUSE he was blameless and upright. Why do we spend our lives trying to concoct schemes to figure out ways to be better than Job, so none of these things happen to us? Why do we think we can be better than Job?
I think maybe we look at this book in the wrong way. We wonder why God would allow so much bad to happen to Job. We invent all sorts of reasons why it happened to Job, and more ways to be sure it won’t happen to us. Because we want to be in control. If Job shows us nothing else, it is that our lives are completely unmanageable. We are NOT in control, ever.
So, just who is Job, really? We believe that these events are a history, that there was a man named Job who lived through these trials. But, WHO was Job, that God KNEW he could allow all these tests, trials and accusations to be heaped upon him, and he would not fail? I don’t really know, but clearly there is SOMETHING about Job.
“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
Job 2:1-10 ESV