Scriptures

36. Job, Quite A Character

Introduction

By Andy Brockman

Job is my favourite book in the Bible. Whenever I have periods of doubt, unbelief or feeling sorry for myself, I will read Job 38 through the end of the book. It helps me to recognise all of the things that God takes care of on a daily basis that I never consider.

I’ve heard a saying that goes: If everyone in the world met in a big circle and threw their problems into the middle, we would look around and then quietly pick up our original problems and walk away feeling grateful. I think of this when I read about all of the tragedy that Job endured.

Read Job 1-2

What words would you use to describe Job?

What do you learn about Satan?

What do you learn about God?

Read Job 42

How did this tragic story end?

Questions And Observations

How wealthy was Job?

In the listing of Job’s livestock, the value in today’s money would be more than $50,000,000. The fact that he owned as many camels as he did and that he lived in Ur leads people to suspect that he was a trader and probably operated a trade caravan. He was likely the ‘Amazon’ of his day.

It would be strange today if someone as wealthy/influential was as humble and God-fearing as Job. It would be very easy for someone with this level of wealth to not be mindful of God’s blessings. Job would make sacrifices after his children had parties, because he wanted them to be covered in the event that the party had gotten out of hand and one of his children had sinned.

How holy was he?

Job was so holy that his friends were saved by Job’s sacrifice to the Lord. God was very upset with the counsel that his friends provided, but told Job that if Job made the sacrifice, then God would not deal with his friends in the manner they deserved.

How do we question God?

While reading Job, it is important to realise that our God is big enough for our questions. He knows that we will have doubts and struggles. Job shows us that there is even room for giving voice to our questions and doubt, but there is a right way to voice them.

There is a manner in which we can admit doubt and misunderstanding without crossing a line into questioning His ways. Having a question is not the same as questioning.

‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ Isaiah 55:8-9

Author Francis Chan recently said, ‘We need to stop apologising for what the Bible says.’ Walking in faith means that even when we don’t understand His ways, we can still pursue Him.

I like to use a cookie cutter analogy. There is a cookie cutter and it is shaped like me. Or it is a cookie cutter and it is shaped like a political party. Or it is a cookie cutter shaped like a specific church body. In our current culture, we like to denounce anything that doesn’t fit inside our cookie cutter. Our world will be more content when we have God-shaped cookie cutters.

How not to speak to your wife

I suffer from the ‘I shouldn’t have said the last part’ syndrome. Job suffers from the ‘I shouldn’t have said the first part’ syndrome.

‘His wife said to him, ‘Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!’ He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.’ Job 2:9-10

Job’s wife says in her grief, ‘Curse God and die.’ Job says, ‘Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?’ Job first said, ‘You speak as a foolish woman speaks.’ Yikes! That could be an uncomfortable dinner later for the family.

Job probably did the classic, ‘I didn’t call you a ‘foolish woman’, I said you speak ‘as a foolish woman speaks’. This is a marriage arguing tactic that seems to be one of the oldest. But the text also says that he did not sin in what he said.

Timeline for Job’s recovery

We don’t know the number of days, months or years that Job was suffering and going through trials. We know that God blessed Job with twice his previous material possessions and he had another seven sons and another three daughters.

That doesn’t happen overnight. It probably took another 10-15 years for the sons and daughters to come along, and another 20-30 years before Job knew that the second round of children were quality people (I’m not sure how to say that nicely).

That is another 40 plus years of patience that Job had to stew about the ‘unfairness’ of what was taken from him. The book makes it seem like it all happened very quickly, but you know there had to be very dark, lonely times as he was waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

Who afflicted Job?

One of the things I notice when reading Job is that at the beginning God allows Satan to hurt Job, but then at the end there is language which suggests the God did it. I suspect it is that God allowed it to happen, but it is interesting to note that the ‘cause’ seems to change in the book.

Job was a ‘feminist!’

The fact that Job’s first three daughters are mentioned and valued indicates that his view of the daughters was outside the norm for the era. With Job’s second set of children, it specifically mentions his three daughters and indicates that they were given an inheritance.

Giving daughters an inheritance in that day and age was very uncommon. Additionally, of the second set of children, the sons are not named, but each of the daughters are named!

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."

2 Timothy 3:16

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