Job Highlights

In May, Landon and I started teaching a new Sunday School class together.  He has been teaching the High School class for many years now.  I have cycled through various classes as well as teaching some, but I was thrilled when we were given this opportunity to teach together.  I LOVE His Word and I love discussing it.  When I have been in other classes I have really had to restrain myself from wanting to talk and dominate the discussion. ☺ 

Instead of using a topical curriculum for our class, we wanted to study the bible focusing on one book at a time.  We got curriculum that would teach this way and we started in book of Job.  However, our books went way too fast for my preference.  They lumped ten chapters together in one week, so we ended up ditching the books and just came up with our own.  We took a while to get through the book of Job since it is forty-two chapters long averaging three chapters a week.  We finished it two weeks ago and I wanted to share what I learned from a book that teaches us so much about God. 

Job was a man who lived in the land of Uz.  He was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil.  He had ten children, seven sons and three daughters.  He had many animals and servants and was the greatest of all the men of the east.  We find later in the book (chapter 29) as he is reflecting on his former life that he was also a well respected man.  When he went to the gate of the city young men saw him and hid themselves while the old men arose and stood.  The princes stopped talking and the voice of the nobles was hushed.  When the ear heard his voice, it called him blessed.  Everyone listened, waited, and kept silent for his counsel.  He was a leader in the area and helped all those in need around him.  Job knew where his blessings came from and was faithful and obedient to the Lord. 

Satan saw this man, his wealth, his success and that he served the Lord faithfully.  He went before the Lord and He said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job?  For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."  Satan thought Job only served, loved, and obeyed God because He put a hedge of protection about him, his house, and all that he does.  Satan was given power to see if his theory was indeed correct.  He was granted permission by God to touch all he has, but he was not allowed to touch him. 

Satan's power is limited.  His time of power is also limited.  He had to get permission from God to do anything to Job.  Satan is powerful, but all his power must be approved and allowed by God.  I find this comforting.  God is sovereign and whatever is in our lives, whether good or bad, is from Him.  If trials come into our lives, and we are promised they will, they are always for our good.  His purpose is to mold us and to shape us into His image. 

Satan wasted no time when he got the go ahead from God.  He first sent Sabeans to attack his servants by sword.  Only one survived to tell Job what had happened.  While he was still speaking, another came and said all of his sheep had been burned by fire.  While he was still speaking, another came and said Chaldeans had come and made a raid on all his camels and slew the servants with a sword.  While he was still speaking, another came and said while all of his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine at their oldest brother's house a great wind came and struck the house killing all of his ten children. 

In ONE day, Job lost all that he had.  He lost all of his servants, his livestock, and his children.  At this news, Job fell to the ground and worshiped and said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there.  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.   Blessed by the name of the LORD."  I pray that this is my response no matter what I am going through.  Of course Job was completely devastated over his tremendous loss, but he did not sin or blame God.

Again Satan came to the LORD.  His plan didn't go as he had imagined.  Satan thought that Job would be a fair-weather believer, only trusting during the prosperous times.  The LORD, again brought up His servant Job.  He said to God that he would curse Him if he were inflicted with pain.  God again granted Satan permission to test Job.  Satan was allowed to touch him but he could not kill him.  So Job was smote with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.  Not only was he dealing with the loss of everything, now he was struck with severe and chronic pain where there was no relief.  His disease has disfigured him so that he is unrecognizable. 

I find it interesting that Satan spared Job's wife.  She wasn't an encouragement to her husband during this difficult time.  She has a bad rap, primarily because she tells her husband to "curse God and die."  However, she is also dealing with the same loss as her husband.  When I tried to put myself in her shoes, I found a little more mercy in her situation.  She obviously doesn't have the same amount of faith that her husband does during this situation.  It was a reminder that we can have tremendous impact on our spouse during a trial.  I pray that I will always be an encourager and an uplifter to my husband and not react in the way that Job's wife did.  Job speaks a profound truth to her..."Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?"

In addition to extreme loss and devastation, everyone he knew deserted him.  His brothers will not come near to him.  His acquaintances are estranged from him.  His relatives have failed and his intimate friends have forgotten him.  Those who live in his house and his maids consider him a stranger.  When he calls to his servant, he will not answer.  His own wife finds every word out of Job's mouth offensive.  Young children despise him.  Every one he loves had turned against him.  He has been completely stripped from everything.  He says he has been uprooted and the Lord's anger is kindled against him.  

He does have three friends that come when they hear of his adversity.  Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar come to sympathize and comfort him.  They come and sit with him for seven days in silence without speaking a word because they saw his pain was so great.  They seem like great friends.  I can't imagine spending seven days with someone in silence watching them suffer.  I suppose I would do it but it would be for a close friend.  So, these three seem like they will be helpful to Job in his time of need.  However, they have a misunderstanding of God and they misrepresent Him to Job.  They are certain that Job is suffering because he has sin in his life.

This is a tricky topic.  We know because multiple Scriptures tell us that we all are sinners.  Once Adam and Eve sinned, we all inherit a sinful nature.  We are born into sin and the only sinless person to walk the face of earth was Jesus Christ.  Job is no exception.  However, we know because we have insight that Job did not have during his lifetime.  We see the communication in the heavenlies between God and Satan.  Job's infliction was not due to his sin.  He was counted as blameless, not sinless.  God was not punishing Job of his sin during this time.  There are times, however, when God does bring forth chastisement because of a person's sin.  That is not the case here though.  It made me really reflect on myself and whether I have had this attitude that Job's three friends had.  I don't want to make the same assumptions that Job's friends and misrepresent God to someone.  Although, I am sure that I have at some point or another and probably will again in the future. 

What we can learn from the friends is base our explanations and beliefs only with what lines up with the Scripture.  Eliphaz had an encounter with the Lord in a dream and he thought he had understanding that Job did not have.  There have been several people throughout Scripture that have had encounters with dreams and visions and they have truly been from the Lord such as Daniel, Ezekiel, John, Paul....  The difference here is that Eliphaz did not speak from the Lord and was later chastised and humbled by the Lord. 

Through this whole encounter with listening to his friends false accusations and misguided view of God, Job maintained his innocence and continued to have faith in God. 
Although Job knew the Lord and trusted in Him, we see that he goes through waves of pity for himself.  He says in Job 13:15, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him."  He seems to have peace and solace with his hope in the Lord no matter what.  A few chapters later, in chapter 17, his focus then turns back to himself.  In my bible study, Kay has us do charts often.  I did a chart in this chapter of what all Job is focusing on here.  It is all on himself which leads him to wallowing in self pity.  I have done this before too!  Although I haven't experienced what Job endured, I have had trials in my life that have rocked me spiritually.  At times, I feel completely okay with it and know my hope is in the Lord, then I start focusing on myself and feeling sorry for myself and my situation again.  It is a vicious cycle.  However, when we focus on the Lord, everything else is in the right perspective. 

I love this one!!  This is a prophetic statement about Christ.  Since Job is believed to be written during the time of Genesis, this is one of the earliest prophetic statements after Genesis 3.  Redeemer means "kinsman redeemer" which is a male relative who, according to various laws found in the Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act for a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need of vindication.  Boaz in the book of Ruth is a portrait of a kinsman redeemer.  Boaz redeemed Naomi since her husband and two sons died and left her no heir.  Jesus Christ is our ultimate kinsman redeemer who paid the price for what we could not pay. 
A reoccurring theme in the book of Job deals with the wicked prospering.  Is this fair?  Do we see wicked/non-believers prospering now?  Absolutely.  It may appear that unbelievers have no consequences and are more prosperous than believers at times.  However, the fate of all unbelievers is already determined unless they repent and turn to Christ.  He is the only way for salvation.  Apart from Him there is no other way.  It is a dangerous thing to start looking around and comparing yourself with others.  I have been there before.  It steals all joy and peace.  If God is all that we have, He is all that we need. 
After several cycles of the three friends and Job's response, we see another person enter the scene.  It is a younger man than the other three named Elihu.  He has been waiting on them to finish so that he can say what he has been about to burst to speak.  He also believes Job needs to confess and has complained against God.  In chapter 33, Elihu shares the gospel message with sharing how be saved from the pit (eternal destruction apart from God): 
   1.  God opens the ears and seals their instruction.  Salvation only comes from the Lord when He
         draws us to Him.  It is only the work of the Lord that we are saved.  John 6:65 says, "For this
         reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the
         Father."  In order to be saved from the pit, it is from God to open our ears to see our need.  He 
         draws us, convicts us of our sin.  Then it is up to us individually whether we
         choose to accept and believe Him. 
  2.  Pain or suffering.  In order to be saved from the pit, sometimes God will inflict pain on us for 
        the sole purpose of us turning to Him.  Sometimes that is the only thing that will work.  He may
        have already poured out blessing after blessing and we choose not to recognize that it is only
        from Him so He can use the only thing that will work in order to lead us to salvation.
  3.  An angel, a mediator.  Jesus Christ was sent to suffer and die in order to pay for our sins that on
        our own we have no way to pay.  He is our Mediator.  In the Old Testament, there are 
        supernatural beings who appear on behalf of God bearing a message.  In many passages the
        angel of the Lord is identified with God, in other instances a distinction is made between the
        Lord and the angel.  In general, however, the terms "the angel of the Lord," the Lord," and
        "God" are interchangeable.  In the New Testament, there is no mention of the angel of the
        Lord because the Messiah himself is this person.  He is our only way from salvation keeping us
        from the pit.
   4.  Admitting sin and for perverting what is right.  True salvation requires us admitting our sin,
        that we fall short of the glory of God, believing in Jesus Christ that He came to earth born of a
        virgin, died on the cross, rose from the grave the third day and ascended into Heaven with the
        Father.  Apart from Him, we are wicked, sinful, and pervert anything righteous.  We must
        admit our guilt first before we can have true salvation and be saved from the pit.

After four chapters of Elihu speaking, God steps in finally.  Job gets to finally hear from the Almighty!  Gods ways are not our ways.  We don't have the mind to fully comprehend God or the way in which He works.  If I were God, I would take Job up and try to comfort Him and explain the whole situation to him.  Perhaps this is because I am a woman or a mother, or maybe it's because I'm human and not GOD!  Anyway, God does not give the explanation that I would have expected, but it was the best because His ways are always better! 

I love Chapter 38!  It reveals God's omnipotence, majesty, and power.  God responds to Job with a series of questions concerning Creation, nature, and the nature of animals.  Once again, in my bible study, I was asked to make a list in these chapters with what God can do that man can't.  This list was staggering and very humbling.  It most certainly put Job in his place and will put any person in place when they try to compare themselves with God.  These chapters give one of the most comprehensive descriptions of God in all of Scripture.  There are some details given here that are not given in Genesis 1 and 2 about creation.  When I studied these chapters it left me with a greater awe, wonder, and thankfulness toward God. 

Job's response to God was, "behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You.  I lay my hand on my mouth" Job 40:4.  In chapter 42, we see repentance and restoration.  Job retracts, repents in dust and ashes to himself.  God reprimands his three friends for not speaking of Him what is right as Job has.  God commanded the friends to take seven bulls and seven rams and offer a burnt offering for themselves and Job would pray for them.  They did as the Lord commanded...talk about humbling! 

Then the Lord restored Job's fortunes and increased all he had twofold.

Job in Chapter 1
Job in Chapter 42
7,000 sheep
14,000 sheep
3,000 camels
6,000 camels
500 yoke of oxen
1,000 yoke of oxen
500 female donkeys
1,000 female donkeys
7 sons, 3 daughters
7 sons, 3 daughters—no women were found so fair as Job’s daughters

Also, all his brothers and all his sisters and all who had known him before came to him, ate bread in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversities that the Lord had brought on him. 

It is a beautiful picture of restoration.  I love happy endings.  I love when things turn out fairly.  This reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Count of Monte Cristo.  In the end, all is made right and he is restored, much like Job!  This study was often times exhausting and draining and I wanted to tell his friends to SHUT UP, but there were some great truths to learn from this book.

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