Job 1:1–3, 8–11, 20–22; 2:7, 9–10comment (0)
May 30, 2013
By Douglas K. Wilson Jr.
Related Scripture: Job 1:1–3, 8–11, 20–22; 2:7, 9–10
Explore the Bible
Dean, School of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
Is This Really Happening To Me?
Job 1:1–3, 8–11, 20–22; 2:7, 9–10
During the summer quarter, the Bible studies in this series are drawn from two wisdom books in the Old Testament: Job and Ecclesiastes. The first demonstrates the goodness, righteousness and mercy of God in the midst of human suffering, an issue that is often considered in Christian apologetics. The other considers the temporary nature of life from a humanistic point of view. From both books, we must discern wisely while making sense of life.
“Why ME?” is the title of the first unit, based on the Book of Job. While this may seem like a selfish question, unworthy of Christian consideration, believers must acknowledge that this is a real question asked by real believers. David asks the question in Psalm 22, and Jesus offers an Aramaic version of the same while on the cross: “Why have you forsaken me?” We are, in fact, becoming conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:28–29).
Acknowledge Your Limits (1:1–3)
When suffering personal loss, we generally experience stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. On the other hand, when someone we know experiences difficult times, we often exhibit one of several responses: compassion, conviction, condemnation or pontification. Seldom do we recognize the limitations of our own perspectives. Frequently, we air our opinions without seeking direction from the Lord.
The opening verses of Job introduce the reader to a historical person (Ezek. 14:14, 20), a man blessed with material wealth and with a relatively large family. Job is also a man of faith, serving as a family priest, offering weekly sacrifices on behalf of his adult children (1:4–5). Though his knowledge of his children’s actions and attitudes was limited, Job sought to atone for their sins. His great concern was that they had cursed God (perhaps something passed down from their mother — 2:9–10).
Seek Heaven’s Honor (1:8)
This next section offers a glimpse into the supernatural realm, a view to which Job was not privy. Neither are we when suffering or consoling those who suffer. Like Job’s friends in later chapters, we must avoid the temptation to explain away suffering.
Speculation abounds regarding the nature of the encounter between God and Satan here. Details are lacking as to the actual location. Was this in Heaven or in the midst of other worshippers like Job? Who are the “sons of God” here? In Job 1:6 (also 2:1 and 38:7), the phrase “sons of God” was translated “angels” by Jewish scholars into Greek. This phrase does not always refer to celestial beings. The Greek Old Testament, for example, does not translate “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2–4 as “angels,” but simply as “sons of God.”
Expect Faith’s Challenge (1:9–11)
Satan is known by many names, including the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10). Unlike the Holy Spirit, who convicts for the purpose of repentance and faith, the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10a).
During this supernatural encounter, Satan accuses Job of reverential fear because of God’s provisions. He expresses a challenge by accusing God and assuming that Job would curse God if he lost his possessions. God, knowing the end from the beginning, grants Satan permission to test Job.
Respond with Faith (1:20–22; 2:7, 9–10)
In rapid fire succession, Job received wave after wave of bad news: your farming equipment is stolen and your crops are destroyed, your transportation is gone and your workers are dead, and you need to prepare a funeral for your 10 children. Job tore his clothing as a sign of mourning. He shaved his head to demonstrate his grief. Lifting up his hands, he worshipped. Though he lost every worldly item that he held dear, he blessed the name of the LORD. Will you?