The human race is beset with difficulties:
The list is endless and the question 'Why doesn't
God - if He exists - intervene? is on many lips. The
book of Job should be compulsory reading for all believers:
because it provides invaluable insight into the government of
the mighty universe and of the conflicts that occur in
the court of heaven. It also reveals the kind of being Satan
is, how his mind works and how distrustful he is of the
Almighty's intelligence and judgement. Job's bitter experiences,
his personal sufferings and a look at the spiritual conflict between
Jehovah and Satan, all provide inside information that will equip
the believer to face life's trials, no matter how bad they
may happen to be. The book of Job is a spiritual first-aid kit.
1. JOB'S ENORMOUS WEALTH
Job was one of the richest men of his day. He was greatly blessed of God. His possessions, family relationships and social standing were of the highest grade. He had arrived at a position of wealth and respect most men only dream about.
|Job 1:||1: There was a man in the land of Uz, whose
name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that
feared God, and eschewed evil.|
2: And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
3: His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
2. SATAN'S ACCUSATION
It is difficult, if not impossible, to understand the mind of Satan. He levelled accusations against Job and Yahweh which every mind in the heavenly court found abhorrent. Job, Satan dared to suggest, was not serving the Almighty for nothing! Job was doing so for payment. In other words the Most High was bribing Job in order to prove that the divine law could be kept. In effect Satan claimed that Yahweh was buying human allegiance: He was enticing mankind with material possessions to obey His law. And Job, continued Satan, was the best example of this alleged 'divine bribery.'
"Remove the benefits and Job will curse you to your face." Satan suggested.
|Job 1:||9: Then Satan answered the LORD, and said,
Doth Job fear God for nought? |
10: Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11: But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
3. THE TRIALS OF JOB
I have called this section the Trials of Job. It could as easily be called the Trials of Yahweh, because both were on trial at that testing time.
All heaven watched and waited as the test began
and Job's calamities began to mount. Within days Job had lost
TRIAL / LESSON ONE: Remain faithful with or without possessions.
|Job 1:||12: And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold,
all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth
thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
13: And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
14: And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
15: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
16: While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
17: While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
18: While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
19: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
20: Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21: And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
22: In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
TRIAL / LESSON 2: Remain faithful even in bad health
Strange as it may seem, Satan was still unconvinced that Job still genuinely worshipped the Most High; with or without possessions. Satan then obtained permission to devastate Job's health. Within days he reduced Job to a human wreck.
|Job 2:||7 So went Satan forth from the presence
of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his
foot unto his crown.|
8: And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
9: Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
10: But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
Remember: All heaven was watching!
TRIAL / LESSON 3: Remain true to God even though others accuse you of falsehood.
The next section (Chapters 3-37) is a catalogue of human reasoning, and judgement, most of it completely missing the mark. Job's friends (?) coming to the conclusion that Job has probably secretly sinned and that is why God is punishing him with:
Amid all this Job maintained his faith. Note his words.
|Job 19:||23 Oh that my words were now written!
oh that they were printed in a book!|
24: That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! (Comment: which they were)
25: For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me
TRIAL / LESSON 4: Do not question Yahweh, because we do not know all the facts
Then Yahweh spoke. In a series of questions, none of which Job could answer, the Most High pointed out the futility of men's judgements which are seldom - if ever - based on a knowledge of all the facts. Job realising the smallness of his opinion says:
|Job 42:||5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of
the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.|
6: Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
LESSON / TRIAL 5: Be prepared to forgive your accusers
This is Job's hardest trial. He has loved the Most High with all his heart and all his soul: even when his wealth and health were gone. Can he now love his neighbour as himself? Yahweh steps in with a final test which astonishes all heaven and leaves Satan floundering in total shame.
|Job 42:||7 And it was so, that after the LORD had
spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite,
My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends:
for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant
Job hath. |
8: Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
9: So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
10: And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
In other words, forgiveness for sins of suspicion,
misrepresentation and slander will only be forgiven
if the victim, Job in this case, agrees to it. Take warning!
4. THE PATIENCE OF THE SAINTS
In the book of Revelation we are shown a picture of Yahweh's church in the last days. On a spiritual level every true believer is faced to varying degrees with situations similar to those Job went through:
How will you cope? Will you, like Job, look past
all the trials of life to the resurrection of the just
when, because of your faith, you will see God and live forever!
Or will you blame the Almighty for calamities which come your
way? Perhaps your faith is currently being tested - to breaking
point! I do not know. Like Job, perhaps even you do not know.
But whatever the reason, you cannot afford to lose your faith:
or give Satan the satisfaction of thinking that you only serve
God for the temporal benefits (wealth, health, power, favour etc.)
Yes, how is it going to be with you?
Will you be patient like Job. Or will you give up your faith, perhaps even blaspheme God - and die?
Job - Man of Patience - passed every test. I pray that all who hear or read this sermon will remember the lessons the patriarch Job has for us all.
James 5:11 You have heard of the patience of Job!