Job 1:1–3, 8–11, 20–22; 2:7, 9–10comment (0)
June 1, 2006
By Doug Wilson
Related Scripture: Job 1:1–3, 8–11, 20–22; 2:7, 9–10
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Respond with Faith
Job 1:1–3, 8–11, 20–22; 2:7, 9–10
The Book of Job, though historical, is written as a theodicy; that is, its focus is to accentuate the goodness and righteousness of God. Over the next several weeks, we are going to see how God showed that He is sovereign over the affairs of men and how Job’s faith was strengthened through great difficulties.
Each of us experiences circumstances that are beyond our control. Something terrible happens with a marriage, the children, our finances, the job or our belongings. Imagine all of those problems crashing down on you in rapid succession, and you will begin to see what Job experienced. Whether it happened thousands of years ago or we face problems today, losing possessions or people who are important to us can be hard to bear. Many Christians along the Gulf Coast have had their faith tested with the devastation of hurricanes. Churches in central Alabama are rebuilding after the intentional burning of their place of worship. Every day families suffer loss due to death, divorce, debt or other difficulties. How is a Christian to respond?
Acknowledging Man’s Perspective (1:1–3)
By standards of the ancient Near East, Job was a blessed man. He had a wife, 10 children, plenty of livestock and land. Job’s situation is comparable to the one promised to Israel (Deut. 28), in which obedience led to blessings of children, crops and cattle. Throughout the Old Testament and into the New, possessions were seen to be a demonstration of God’s blessing. Even Satan recognized God’s hand of blessing on Job. In fact, he accused Job of honoring God only because of the blessings he received. Such an accusation is commonplace among those who see things through the eyes of the fall and do not look at circumstances from God’s perspective. What Satan failed to see is that God’s blessing is about a relationship, not simply belongings.
Honoring God’s Perspective (1:8)
God knew what He was doing when He pointed out Job. He knew what Satan would say, how Job would respond, how his wife would reject God, what his friends would try to do and ultimately how Job would have a deeper faith as a result of seeing his circumstances through the eyes of God. What is amazing about God’s description of Job is that Job is not perfect, yet God calls him blameless, upright, one who “fears God” and hates evil. God said this to Satan, telling him in essence, “Job is everything you are not.”
How does God use such words to describe an imperfect man? The answer is faith. In Genesis 15, Abram is called righteous because he trusted God, not because he always did everything rightly. In a similar way, God credits Job as blameless and upright because he fears God. After all, only those who fear God are truly wise.
Experiencing Faith’s Challenge (1:9–11)
One who fears God grows in faith only as that faith is put into practice. Like a bodybuilder’s muscles grow in size by tearing the fibers through weight resistance, so one’s faith is strengthened through exercising it against the resistance of trials and temptations.
Satan was convinced that Job trusted God only because of the benefits he received. Satan failed to recognize that Job would respond in utter dependence upon God.
Giving Faith’s Response (1:20–22; 2:7, 9–10)
After Job received report after report of his losses, including all 10 of his children, he was focused enough on the faithfulness of God to declare that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. He continued to worship God and blessed the name of YHWH. Job trusted God implicitly. After the loss of his children, he knew God could be trusted. Even following the loss of his health, he resisted the temptation by his wife to “curse God and die.” Job had seen the faithfulness of the sovereign God, and he was not about to accuse God of injustice or unfairness.
This is the lesson to be learned from Job this week — trust God no matter how difficult your circumstances look today.