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      JOB 1

      BOOK OF JOB

       

      As with other books of the Bible, Job bears the name of the narrative’s primary character. This name might have been derived from the Hebrew word for “persecution,” thus meaning “persecuted one,” or from an Arabic word meaning “repent,” thus bearing the name “repentant one.” The author recounts an era in the life of Job, in which he was tested and the character of God was revealed.

       

      New Testament writers directly quote Job two times (Romans 11:35; 1 Corinthians. 3:19), plus Ezekiel 14:14, 20 and James 5:11 show Job was a REAL person.

       

      SO WHAT ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND DATE?

       

      We notice the book of Job does NOT name its author. And I admit, that until restudying Job did I realize that it IMPOSSIBLE for Job personally to have been the author.

       

      WHY?

       

      Think about it....the book of Job’s message rests on Job’s ignorance of the events that occurred in heaven as they related to his ordeal.

       

      Interestingly enough, did you know, ONE Talmudic tradition suggests Moses as author since the land of Uz (1:1) was adjacent to Midian where Moses lived for 40 years, and he could have obtained a record of the story there.

       

      King Solomon is also a good possibility due to the SIMILARITY of content with parts of the book of Ecclesiastes, as well as the fact that Solomon wrote the other "WISDOM" books (except Psalms, and he did author Pss. 72; 127). Though he lived long AFTER Job, Solomon could have written about events that occurred long before his own time, in much the same manner as Moses was inspired to write about Adam and Eve. Elihu, Isaiah, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, and Ezra have also been suggested as possible authors, but without support.

       

       

      The date of the book’s writing may be much later than the events recorded therein.

      WHY?

      1) Job’s age (42:16).

      2) his life span of nearly 200 years (42:16) which fits the patriarchal period (Abraham lived 175 years; Gen. 25:7).

      3) the social unit being the patriarchal family.

      4) the Chaldeans who murdered Job’s servants (1:17) were nomads and had NOT yet become city dwellers.

      5) Job’s wealth being measured in livestock rather than gold and silver (1:3; 42:12).

      6) Job’s priestly functions within his family (1:4, 5).

      7) a basic silence on matters such as the covenant of Abraham, Israel, the Exodus, and the law of Moses.

      8) The events of Job’s odyssey appear to be patriarchal. Job, on the other hand, seemed to know about Adam (31:33) and the Noahic flood (12:15).

      9) These cultural/historical features found in the book appear to place the events chronologically at a time probably AFTER Babel (Gen. 11:1–9) but BEFORE or contemporaneous with Abraham (Gen. 11:27).

       

      Background and Setting

       

      This book BEGINS with a scene in HEAVEN that explains everything to the reader (1:6–2:10).

      Job was suffering because God was contesting with Satan.

      Job NEVER knew that, NOR did any of his friends, so they all struggled to explain suffering from the perspective of their ignorance, until finally Job rested in nothing but FAITH in God’s goodness and the HOPE of His redemption.

      That God VINDICATED Job's trust is the CULMINATING message of the book. When there are NO rational, or even NO theological, explanations for disaster and pain, TRUST GOD.

       

      Historical and Theological Themes

       

      The occasion and events that follow Job’s sufferings present significant QUESTIONS for the faith of believers in all ages.

       

      WHY DOES JOB SERVE GOD? Job is heralded for his righteousness, being compared with Noah and Daniel (Ezek. 14:14–20), and for his spiritual endurance (James 5:11).

       

      WHY DO THE RIGHTEOUS SUFFER? Though an answer to that question may seem important, the book does NOT set forth such an answer.

      THINK ABOUT IT AS WE STUDY THIS BOOK.

      1. Job NEVER knew the reasons for his suffering and NEITHER did his friends.

      2. Job, the righteous sufferer does NOT appear to learn about ANY of the heavenly court debates between God and Satan that precipitated his pain.

      3. In fact, when finally confronted by the Lord of the universe, Job put his hand over his mouth and said NOTHING. Job’s silent response in NO WAY trivialized the intense pain and loss he had endured. It merely underscored the importance of TRUSTING God’s purposes in the MIDST of suffering because suffering, like all other human experiences, is directed by perfect divine wisdom.

      4. In the end, the lesson we learn from Job is that one may NEVER know the specific REASON for his suffering; but one must trust in Sovereign God. That is the real answer to suffering.

       

      The book treats TWO major themes and many other minor ones, both in the narrative framework of the prologue (chaps. 1, 2) and epilogue (42:7–17), and in the poetic account of Job’s torment that lies in between (3:1–42:6).

       

      A KEY to understanding the first theme of the book is to NOTICE the debate between God and Satan in heaven and how it connects with the 3 cycles of earthly debates between Job and his friends.

       

      God wanted to PROVE the character of believers to Satan and to ALL demons, angels, and people.

      The accusations are BY Satan, who indicted God’s claims of Job’s righteousness as being untested, if not questionable.

      Satan ACCUSED the righteous of being faithful to God ONLY for what they could get. Since Job did not serve God with pure motives, according to Satan, the whole relationship between him and God was a sham.

      Satan’s SELF CONFIDENCE that he could turn Job AGAINST God came, no doubt, from the fact that he had led 1/3 of the holy angels to rebel with him AGAINST GOD.

      Satan thought he could DESTROY Job’s faith in God by inflicting suffering on him, thus showing in principle that saving faith COULD be shattered.

      God released Satan to make his point IF he could, but he FAILED, as true faith in God proved unbreakable. Even Job’s wife told him to curse God (2:9), but he refused; his faith in God NEVER failed (see 13:15).

      AND WE REMEMBER Satan TRIED to do the same to Peter (see Luke 22:31–34) and FAILED in destroying Peter’s faith (see John 21:15–19).

      When Satan has unleashed ALL that he CAN do to destroy saving faith, it STANDS FIRM, confirmed in Romans 8:31–39).

      In the end, God PROVED His point with Satan that saving faith CAN NOT be destroyed NO MATTER how much trouble a saint suffers, or how incomprehensible and undeserved it seems.

       

      A second and related theme concerns proving the character of God to men. Does this sort of ordeal, in which God and His opponent Satan square off, with righteous Job as the test case, suggest that God is lacking in compassion and mercy toward Job?

      Not at all.

      As James says, in James 5:11, “You have heard of the perseverance of Job and have seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful."

      It was to prove the very opposite (42:10–17). Job says, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (2:10).

       

      God’s servant does NOT deny that he has suffered.

      He DOES deny that his suffering is a result of sin.

      Nor does he understand WHY he suffers.

       

      Job simply commits his ordeal with a devout heart of worship and humility (42:5, 6) to a sovereign and perfectly wise Creator—and that was what God wanted him to learn in this conflict with Satan. In the end, God flooded Job with more blessings than he had ever known.

       

      The MAJOR reality of the book is the inscrutable mystery of innocent suffering.

      1. God ordains that His children walk in sorrow and pain, sometimes because of sin, in Numbers 12:10–12.

      2. Sometimes for chastening in Hebrews. 12:5–12.

      3. Sometimes for strengthening in 2 Corinthians 12:7–10 & 1 Peter 5:10.

      4. Sometimes to give opportunity to reveal His comfort and grace in 2 Corinthians. 1:3–7.

      5. But there are times when the compelling issue in the suffering of the saints is unknowable because it is for a heavenly purpose that those on earth can not discern, in Exodus 4:11 & John 9:1–3.

       

      Job and his friends wanted to analyze the suffering and look for causes and solutions. Using all of their sound theology and insight into the situation, they searched for answers, but found only useless and wrong ideas, for which God rebuked them in the end (42:7).

      They could NOT know why Job suffered because what happened in heaven between God and Satan was unknown to them. They thought they knew all the answers, but they only intensified the dilemma by their insistent ignorance.

       

      By spreading out some of the elements of this great theme, we can see the following truths in Job’s experience:

       

      1) There are matters going on in heaven with God that believers know nothing about; yet, they affect their lives.

       

      2) Even the best effort at explaining the issues of life can be useless.

       

      3) God’s people do suffer. Bad things happen all the time to good people, so one cannot judge a person’s spirituality by his painful circumstances or successes;

       

      4) Even though God seems far away, perseverance in faith is a most noble virtue since God is good and one can safely leave his life in His hands.

       

      5) The believer in the midst of suffering should not abandon God, but draw near to Him, so out of the fellowship can come the comfort—without the explanation.

       

      6) Suffering may be intense, but it will ultimately end for the righteous and God will bless abundantly.

       

      Interpretive Challenges

       

      The most critical interpretive challenge involves the book’s primary message. Although often thought to be the pressing issue of the book, the question of why Job suffers is never revealed to Job, though the reader knows that it involves God’s proving a point to Satan—a matter which completely transcends Job’s ability to understand.

       

      James’ commentary on Job’s case (5:11) draws the conclusion that it was to show God’s compassion and mercy, but without apology, offers no explanation for Job’s specific ordeal.

      Readers find themselves, putting their proverbial hands over their mouths, with no right to question or accuse the all-wise and all-powerful Creator, who will do as He pleases, and in so doing, both proves His points in the spiritual realm to angels and demons and defines His compassion and mercy.

       

      Engaging in “theodicy,” i.e., man’s attempt to defend God’s involvement in calamity and suffering, is shown to be appropriate in these circumstances, though in the end, it is apparent that God does not need nor want a human advocate. The book of Job poignantly illustrates Deut. 29:29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God … ”

       

      The nature of Job’s guilt and innocence raises perplexing questions. God declared Job perfect, upright, fearing God, and shunning evil (Job 1:1).

       

      But Job’s comforters raised a critical question based on Job’s ordeal: Had not Job sinned?

      On several occasions Job readily admitted to having sinned (7:21; 13:26).

      But Job questioned the extent of his sin as compared to the severity of his suffering. God rebuked Job in the end for his demands to be vindicated of the comforters’ accusations (Job 38–41). But He also declared that what Job said was correct and what the comforters said was wrong (42:7).

       

      Another challenge comes in keeping separate the pre-understandings that Job and his comforters brought to Job’s ordeal. At the outset, all agreed that God punishes evil, rewards obedience, and no exceptions are possible. Job, due to his suffering innocently, was forced to conclude that exceptions are possible in that the righteous also suffer. He also observed that the wicked prosper. These are more than small exceptions to the rule, thus forcing Job to rethink his simple understanding about God’s sovereign interaction with His people. The type of wisdom Job comes to embrace was not dependent merely on the promise of reward or punishment. The long, peevish, disputes between Job and his accusers were attempts to reconcile the perceived inequities of God’s retribution in Job’s experiences. Such an empirical method is dangerous. In the end, God offered no explanation to Job, but rather called all parties to a deeper level of trust in the Creator, who rules over a sin-confused world with power and authority directed by perfect wisdom and mercy.

       

      Understanding this book requires:

      1) Understanding the nature of wisdom, particularly the difference between man’s wisdom and God’s.

      2) Admitting that Job and his friends lacked the divine wisdom to interpret Job’s circumstances accurately, though his friends kept trying while Job learned to be content in God’s sovereignty and mercy.

       

      The turning point or resolution for this matter is found in Job 28 where the character of divine wisdom is explained: divine wisdom is rare and priceless; man can not hope to purchase it; and God possesses it all. We may NOT know what is going on in heaven or what God’s purposes are, but we MUST trust Him. Because of this, the matter of believers suffering takes a back seat to the matter of divine wisdom.

       

      JOB 1 OPENS WITH:

       

      JOB ENDURES HIS LOSS AND IT HAS TWO STAGES FOR A GREAT DRAMA: ON EARTH AND IN HEAVEN.

       

      Verses 1-5 tells us The EARTHLY stage.

       

      "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East. And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly."

       

      The Book of Job is rightly understood to be a masterpiece of Hebrew poetry and Western literature. As the FIRST poetic book of the English Bible, Job introduces the reader to the idea of Hebrew poetry, which involves the repetition and combination of ideas more than sounds.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...

       

      Judging by the STYLE of the Hebrew it uses, some scholars judge Job to be the OLDEST book of the Old Testament.

       

      That Job WAS blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil:

       

      The first look at Job shows him to be an exceedingly righteous man. The author gives an impressive description of a man who is NOT perfect, but certainly COMPLETE in his devotion, respect, and obedience to God.

       

      Job's connection with God seems to be INDEPENDENT of ANY other Old Testament character. Some believe that the Jobab mentioned in Genesis 10:29 is Job, which would put him in the era between Noah and Abraham.

       

      If that was the era of Job, then we can say that Job's deep and true relationship with God was no doubt passed on to him from his ancestors dating back to the time of Noah and his son.

       

      In this respect, he was somewhat like Melchizedek (as in Genesis 14:18-24) who simply appeared on the scene as someone who was a worshipper and a follower of the TRUE God.

       

      Others point to several reasons for dating Job later, perhaps in the generations after Jacob and Esau.

       

      - Huz (Uz?) was Abraham's nephew, the son of his brother (Genesis 22:21). The land of Uz may be named after him.

      - Eliphaz (Job 2:11) was the son of Esau (Genesis 34:10-11); this son of Esau had a son named Teman (Genesis 36:10-11), and the descendants of Teman were known for their wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7).

      - Bildad is called a Shuhite (Job 2:11), and Shuah was a son of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 35:2)

       

      MORGAN says it well, "This strong statement of the godliness of Job is IMPORTANT to understanding the rest of the story. Recognizing this righteousness of Job "will save us from the mistake of thinking at any point of those experiences as having their explanation in the man himself. Nor for himself did he suffer. His pains were NOT penalties for wrongdoing: they were NOT even chastisements for correction."

       

      SEVEN sons and THREE daughters were born to him:

       

      In a culture where status and wealth might be measured by the size of one's family, Job was a man of impressive wealth and status.

       

      His possessions were seven thousand sheep:

       

      By any measure, Job was a prominent and affluent man. His godliness, wealth, and status made it true that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.

       

      MASON tells us, "Much later in the book we will catch a glimpse of what Job actually did with his money, and with his time and energy: he rescued the needy; he cared personally for the handicapped and the dying; he brought orphans into his home; he even took the power barons of his day to court and argued the case for the underprivileged (confirmed to us in Job 29:12-17; 31:16-21)."

       

      His sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day:

       

      The idea of this description seems to be that Job's family had a HAPPY AND CLOSE relationship. This reinforces the idea that Job and his family were greatly blessed, and does not seem to indicate that they were unduly given over to festivity and pleasure-seeking. They happily celebrated special days (each on his appointed day), which probably refers their birthdays.

       

      SPURGEON saw in Job 1:4-5 a permission for feasting and celebration among believers; he preached a Christmas sermon upon this very text and used it as proof that God allows and enjoys such celebrations among His people.

       

      Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings:

       

      MEYER says it well, "What a beautiful example is furnished by Job to Christian parents! When your girls are going among strangers, and your boys into the great ways of the world, and you are unable to impose your will upon them, as in the days of childhood, you can yet pray for them, casting over them the shield of intercession, with strong cryings and tears. They are beyond your reach; but by faith you can move the arm of God on their behalf."

       

      One would not know it from the first few verses, but the Book of Job is about an EPIC WAR. Yet NO city is attacked or besieged or conquered; NO battles are won or lost; NO oceans are sailed or nations founded or adventures recorded. The whole conflict happens on an ash heap - virtually a garbage dump - outside a village. It is an epic war, but one of the INNER life; a struggle to make sense of some of the deepest questions of life.

       

      Verses 6-12 tells us The stage IN HEAVEN.

       

      "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." Then 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, one who fears God and shuns evil?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD."

       

      Now there was a day...

       

      This reveals the scene in heaven; UNSEEN/UNKNOWN to Job and others on earth, but ABSOLUTELY REAL nonetheless. The story of Job can really only be properly understood by taking into account what happened in heaven, and by having more than an earthly perspective.

       

      When the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD:

       

      DID YOU KNOW...The phrase "sons of God" is used in the Old Testament to describe ANGELIC BEINGS, confirmed to us in Genesis 6:1-4 and Job 38:7. Among this group of angelic beings, Satan ALSO came among them.

       

      The fact that Satan … came among them shows that Satan is himself an angelic being, and in NO WAY equal to God.

       

      SADLY, We often - to his great delight - inflate Satan's status and importance, thinking of him as THE OPPOSITE of God.

       

      1. As if God were light and Satan were darkness.

       

      2. As if God were hot and Satan were cold.

       

      3. Satan wishes he was the opposite of God, but God wants us to know that Satan is a MERE creature, and is in no way the opposite of God.

       

      4. If Satan has an opposite, it is not God the Father or God the Son; it would be a high-ranking angelic being such as Michael.

       

      The fact that they came to present themselves before the LORD shows that angelic beings - indeed, fallen angelic beings - have access to the presence of God, confirmed to us in 1 Kings 22:21, Zechariah 3:1, but one day they WILL be restricted to the earth, confirmed to us in Revelation 12:9.

       

      From where do you come?

       

      God allowed (and continues to allow) Satan and fallen angelic beings into His presence, but ONLY for His own purposes. Therefore God demanded to know what Satan's business was.

       

      From going to and fro on the earth...

       

      Though Satan has access to heaven, he also has free access to the earth, and roams about the earth as a roaring lion, confirmed to us in 1 Peter 5:8. It can be said that Satan has an active interest in what happens on the earth.

       

      Have you considered My servant Job...

       

      You notice...It was God who brought up Job as a subject for discussion, and God brought up Job in the sense of bragging about Job's godliness and character. God was SO impressed with Job that He affirmed the description of Job first recorded in Job 1:1.

       

      Of course Satan DOES consider the saints of God; yet what does the devil see when he considers the saints?

       

      1. He sees them and is amazed at the difference between himself and God's people.

       

      2. He sees us and knows that though he has fallen, these earthen creatures stand.

       

      3. He sees them and is amazed at their happiness.

       

      4. He knows too well the misery of his own soul, but he hates the peace in the soul of the believer.

       

      5. He sees them and looks for some fault, so that he may find some small comfort to his own black soul and hypocrisy.

       

      6. He sees them - especially great hearts among the saints - and sees those who block and hinder his foul work.

       

      7. He sees them and looks for opportunity to do them harm.

       

      There is NONE like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil...

       

      This was God's pronouncement of Job's character. After these first two chapters of Job, almost everything we know of the man is colored by the perspective of EACH speaker.

       

      Later, when Job talks about himself and his situation we must take into account that it is Job who speaks; when his friends speak likewise they speak according to their OWN knowledge, ignorance, and bias.

       

      ONLY in the first TWO chapters do we have a truly objective viewpoint about Job. What God thinks. Job really was a blameless and upright man, NO matter what his friends would later say.

       

      1. We know (and God knew) that Job was not sinlessly perfect; yet God called him blameless.

       

      2. We know that Job was not sinlessly perfect; yet God unashamedly seemed to see him that way. The modern believer stands in the same place, completely justified in Jesus Christ.

       

      Does Job fear God for nothing?

       

      Here Satan fulfilled the role described in Revelation 12:10 - the ACCUSER of the brethren. Satan ACCUSED Job before God, insisting that Job's godliness was essentially false and that Job ONLY served God for what he could get from Him.

       

      Satan's reply to God FIRST reveals his essential cynicism; he DOUBTS every supposed good as being dishonest and hollow.

       

      Cynicism is the essence of the satanic.

       

      The accusation against Job was ALSO an accusation against God, for it implied that God had BRIBED Job into obedience. "I myself,' he seems to say, 'could be as pious as Job, were I as prosperous as he."

       

      Satan's accusation gave testimony to the fact that God had protected Job (Have You not made a hedge around him) and had also blessed him (You have blessed).

       

      WE REMEMBER....Jesus indicated that Satan wanted to do MUCH worse against Peter than God allowed him to do (Luke 22:31-32) because of a similar hedge of protection.

       

      Confident in his accusation AGAINST Job, Satan insisted to God that Job would surely curse You to Your face if this protection and blessing was withdrawn.

       

      Satan BELIEVED that adversity could make Job move from his standing in faith; that Job would be unable to stand against the wiles and the deceptions of the devil as is given to the believer in Ephesians 6:13.

       

      Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person...

       

      In response to Satan's accusation, God gave him great - though limited - permission to attack Job. God would let down the hedge without completely removing it.

       

      1. Satan had the power and the desire to afflict Job all along; what he lacked was the ALLOWANCE from God. When God allowed it, Satan was more than happy to attack Job up to the limit of the allowance.

       

      2. Though Satan was now able to attack Job in a much greater way than before, his power was NOT unlimited. God only allowed Satan to do what he wanted to do to ultimately serve His purpose.

       

      Satan went out from the presence of the LORD...

       

      As he did, he continued a sequence of events in the spiritual realm that (as in Ephesians 6:12) were real but NOT immediately apparent to Job as having their origin in a spiritual battle.

       

      The revelation of the heavenly scene behind the earthly scene helps us to understand the later comment of James on Job, in James 5:11, which says, "Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord - that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful."

       

      The TWO GREAT THEMES of the Book of Job, as explained by James, are the perseverance of Job and the end intended by the Lord, and it is important that we learn both themes. The end intended by the Lord (James 5:11) connects with God's eternal purpose as revealed in Ephesians 3:10-11 - that God intends that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose. God used Job to teach angelic beings, especially to teach them about His own spectacular wisdom.

       

      Therefore, the Book of Job teaches us that there is an aspect of human misery that is NOT the penalty for sin, NOT correction in righteousness, NOT redemptive in itself, and NOT the noble bearing of persecution for righteousness' sake.

       

      Job's suffering was of this aspect; we might say that the reason for his suffering was as a tool to TEACH angelic beings; Job made known the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and powers in heavenly places confirmed to us in Ephesians 3:10-11.

       

      We might say that all the other reasons for suffering can also be used of God to reveal His wisdom to angelic beings; the man who suffers as the penalty of sin can, by the way he receives the suffering, be an important lesson of God's wisdom. Yet Job's case was unique; his suffering seems to be mainly or only concerned with this purpose of INSTRUCTING angelic beings.

       

      In that process God USED Satan himself, even as he went out from the presence of the LORD in all his evil design. "Satan may intend one thing, but God uses him for another. In all these things he is a minister - used for the ultimate blessing, comfort, and help of the people of God, and for their present spiritual profit. . . . He was allowed to be the author of Job's trials and losses: but all his labour was WASTED; for it ended in Job's receiving a DOUBLE blessing for time, and for earth, and 'the righteousness of God' for ever and ever."

       

      As good as Job was at the beginning of the book, he will be a BETTER MAN at the end of it. He was better in character, humbler, and more blessed than before.

       

      Verses 13-19 tells us Job's tragic and sudden losses.

       

      "Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house; and a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away; indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!"

       

      Now there was a day...

       

      Given greater allowance to afflict Job, Satan maximized his work against the man of God by bringing the catastrophe to Job in the span of a FEW HOURS. In that limited time Job lost his oxen, his servants, his sheep, his camels, and his sons and daughters.

       

      This shows us that Satan was focused on maximizing his advantage. If he were allowed to attack Job, he would do it in the most effective way possible all the way up to what God would allow. Therefore, any foothold we give to Satan is dangerous. We should expect that he will maximize any advantage WE GIVE him.

       

      The catastrophe came upon Job's sons and daughters as they were feasting in their oldest brother's house. We know from Job 1:4-5 that Job would specifically sacrifice for his sons and daughters on these days; yet these prayers-in-action of Job on behalf of his children did NOT prevent the catastrophe. This made the crisis all the more mysterious and problematic for Job.

       

      The Sabeans … the fire of God fell from heaven … the Chaldeans … a great wind...ALL these tragedies came to Job from many different causes; yet we know that the prior cause was the instigation of Satan.

       

      In this we learn something of how Satan works. Satan did NOT force godly Sabeans and Chaldeans to do things against Job that they did NOT WANT to do. He accomplished his evil purpose by working through the EVIL character of FALLEN men.

       

      We also learn that in some way, Satan had some influence over the weather (a great wind) and could imitate a phenomenon usually associated with God (the fire of God from heaven). The servants of Job thought that God sent this fire, but that was only true in a very indirect sense, in the sense that God had allowed it by removing a prior restriction. This shows that at least at some times, Satan wants to work in such a way that what he does will be blamed on God.

       

      We can only conclude that Satan swings SOME power over the weather. Not all power over all weather. But some power over some weather. To the extent that God allows, the Devil has supernatural power at his disposal to direct the elements to accomplish his evil purposes.

       

      We also see that this attack by Satan was clearly focused against Job; yet others suffered because Satan attacked Job and God allowed him to be attacked. Job's animals, servants, and children all perished because Job was the target. This can only be justified if we understand that:

       

      1. In allowing their lives to be ended, God did not allow these people to pass from an immortal state to a mortal state. Each of these unfortunates was born mortal and subject to death; the only surprise in their death was that they died sooner than expected, not that they died at all.

       

      But we TRUST and SAY what Abraham knew of God: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" in Genesis 18:25.

       

      Verses 20-22 tells us Job reacts to his losses.

       

      "Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:

       

      "Naked I came from my mother's womb,

      And naked shall I return there.

      The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;

      Blessed be the name of the LORD."

       

      WE NOTICE FIRST AND FOREMOST....In all this Job did NOT sin NOR charge God with wrong.

       

      Quite appropriately, Job MOURNED his tremendous losses. He had lost his sons and daughters and servants a great amount of material wealth. It was a time for mourning.

       

      AND WE NOTICE SOMETHING ELSE HERE....Job mourned, but he did NOT mourn as the heathens or the pagans mourned. He did NOT cut or gash or tattoo himself for the dead as was the common practice among those ancient peoples, confirmed to us in Leviticus 19:28.

       

      He fell to the ground and worshipped...

       

      In the midst of his mourning, Job also DECIDED AND CHOSE to worship God despite his circumstances and feelings. We might say that this was indeed pure worship and greatly glorifying to God.

       

      THINK ABOUT THIS AS WELL...SATAN WAS WAITING FOR HOWLING AND CURSING AND JOB SHAKING HIS FIST AT HEAVEN...IMAGINE HIS BEWILDERMENT AND FURY, WHEN JOB FELL ON HIS FACE IN MOURNING, YET EVEN THEN JOB CHOSE TO WORSHIP ALMIGHTY GOD.

       

      IT is it important to remember that a man's FIRST reaction is often very telling, and reveals what really dominates his heart. Worship was Job's first reaction to his crisis.

       

      The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away...

       

      Job analyzed his situation in a godly and wise way. Job UNDERSTOOD that:

       

      1. He came into this world with nothing, so everything he had was indeed a blessing from the bounty of God.

       

      2. If he now had less, it was still more than he came into this world with and more than he would take with him to the world beyond.

       

      3. His prior prosperity was NOT due to luck or mere human ingenuity; it was because of the great and powerful blessing of God upon his life.

       

      4. God was in control of his life, and no matter what the immediate source of adversity or tragedy was, it had to pass through the loving and wise hands of God before it could touch him.

       

      5. God was worthy to be blessed and praised in any and all circumstances of life.

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "I am so pleased to think that Job recognized the hand of God everywhere giving. He said, 'The Lord gave.' He did not say, 'I earned it all.' He did not say, 'There are all my hard-earned savings gone."

       

      We CAN AND SHOULD meditate on the implications of the words, the LORD gave:

       

      1. We should never think the good things of this world come to us from the earth; they come from heaven.

      2. They come to us as gifts; that is, they are undeserved.

      3. God gives His gifts with kindness and thoughtfulness.

      4. Knowing this sweetens the value of everything we have; things are more precious because they are gifts from a loving God.

      5. This prevents us from dishonesty; we want nothing in our hand except what God gives us, and do not want to mix what He gives with what the devil gives.

      6. It is foolishness to take pride in having more than what another has.

      7. It is easy to give back to God when we really understand that all we have comes from Him.

      8. We must always worship the Giver and not the gifts. The Giver is greater than the gifts He gives.

       

      Blessed be the name of the LORD...

       

      This was the expression of worship mentioned in the previous verse. Job was able to bless the name of God even when he was specifically and severely tempted to curse the name of God.

       

      In all this Job DID NOT SIN nor charge God with wrong:

       

      This demonstrates that Job did not sin or wrongly blame God when he said, "the LORD has taken away." He was right to understand that God was ultimately behind all things, even if the immediate responsibility for an event was not God's.

       

      We are impressed with Job's perspective on material things. He truly understood what Jesus said, in Luke 12:15, "One's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."

       

      SADLY, There are FEW in the world today who would endure the loss of such a GREAT fortune AND family with such godliness and patient endurance.

       

      We are impressed with Job's unshaken commitment to God, and his enduring love for God. Satan's accusation - that if blessings were taken from Job, he would curse God - was proved to be a LIE, and we might say that God was justifiably proud of His servant Job.

       

      In this FIRST ROUND of spiritual warfare Satan was singularly UNSUCCESSFUL in shaking Job from his standing in faith. Job successfully battled against spiritual attack and fulfilled the exhortation that would come many hundreds of years later from the Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 6:13, "that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

       

      1. Job made his stand against fear and did not give into panic.

      2. Job made his stand against make-believe pretending and appropriately mourned.

      3. Job made his stand against pride and humbled himself before God.

      4. Job made his stand against self and decided to worship God.

      5. Job made his stand against a time-bound mindset and chose to think in terms of eternity.

      6. Job made his stand against unbelief and did not give into vain questionings of God.

      7. Job made his stand against despair and saw the hand of God even in catastrophe.

      8. Job made his stand against anger and did not blame God.

       

      This wonderful triumph of faith did NOT come from Job acting alone, but only as Job reacted to these disasters filled with and connected TO God.

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "We are not told that the Spirit of God filled Job to react this way and say these things, but we KNOW it to be true. Satan was acting; but so was God in heaven. He saith to himself, 'If Satan shall do much, I will do more; if he takes away much, I will give more; if he tempts the man to curse, I will fill him so full of love to me that he shall bless me. I will help him; I will strengthen him; yea, I will uphold him with the right hand of my righteousness.'"

       

      In this Satan's attack on Job he was utterly disappointed; he misjudged and could not and did not see the heart of Job. He thought all people inferior and weak compared to him. Yet, God knew Job to the soul and KNEW that Satan has chosen a man who loved his God more than his earthly portion.

       

      Sat

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