Friday, October 25, 2013

CXCVI - The Book of Job

The Book of Job

Author:  Unknown
Place:  Land of Uz, which is somewhere in Mesopotamia located southeast of Syria and northwest of Saudi Arabia.

We’ve completed the books traditionally categorized as the History books of the Bible.  In the next five books, Job through Song of Solomon, are books categorized as “Poetry and Wisdom”.  Job is considered by many scholars to be the oldest book in the Bible.  I’m not sure I understand that reasoning.  Job is a very righteous man who endures suffering brought on him directly from Satan himself.  This book looks deeply into the soul of Job.  We will see much conversation between Job and some friends of his who I believe are sincerely trying to help Job, although most of their comments are anything but helpful as Job finds himself in a defensive mode.  This book is lengthier than Esther and not quite so entertaining, but you may find this to be an interesting read, although frustrating at times if you are the type of individual who is able to place your mind into that of Job.

Chapter 1

Verses 1-5  -  These first five verses describe this man Job.  He was “blameless and upright”.  He feared God and shunned evil, which means he tried to live a perfect life in the sight of God and man, and he had sense enough to steer clear of anything that might tempt him to sin.  He was successful in everything he did.  He had a large family, seven sons and three daughters.  And he was extremely wealthy.  His wealth was listed in verse 3, and goes on to say he was the richest man among all people in the east.  His family was strong and united.  They celebrated each other’s birthdays with feasts.  Job loved his family and would make daily sacrifices for his children “just in case they might have sinned”.  Job was a shining example of a Godly man.

Verse 6 – The scene abruptly changes.  I would describe this scene as something of a council assembly where God has gathered angels to give account of themselves.  And lo and behold, in comes Satan himself, hoping to disrupt.  {This is the first mention of Satan by name in the Bible.  Some interpretations call him “the adversary”, but the meaning is the same.  It is the devil as we know him.  The devil is not to be underestimated.  He was a very powerful angel who fell from grace because he wanted to be like God.}  The Lord asks him where he has been, and Satan tells Him that he has been on earth, roaming back and forth.  {He was on the earth because this is where he can cause the most trouble.  It indicates in Genesis that man is God’s most precious creation, therefore Satan’s favorite target.  We generally do not like to picture Satan in the presence of other angels, but this book of Job proves that it happens.  There is a whole lot going on up there all of the time.}  I think Satan is in a boastful mood, proud to accuse man as being a disappointment to God, but God says in verse 8 “Have you considered Job?”  He goes on to compliment Job as an example of good in man.  In verses 9-11 Satan responds and says (I paraphrase) “sure Job acts perfectly.  Why not?  You have blessed him with family and riches.  And You have protected him against all of the evil that exists on earth.  But destroy everything he has, and he’ll curse You”.  But God has confidence in Job.  He gives Satan permission to afflict Job, but forbids him to take his life.  So Satan can do anything to Job except kill him.  Satan departs, anxious to inflict evil and unhappiness on this righteous and Godly man.

Verses 13-22  -  The scene changes again.  It says “one day”, which could be the very next day.  All members of Job’s family were enjoying a feast at his oldest son’s house.  Job was not in attendance.  Suddenly, four messengers, one right after another, came to report events to Job, all four being the soul survivors of these four tragedies:

     1)    Southern Arabians raided Job’s oxen and donkeys, stealing them and killing Job’s
          servants who were tending them.
     2)    Then a fire came down from the sky and burned up all the sheep and Job’s shepherds.
     3)    The Chaldeans stole all of Job’s camels and killed his servants who were with them.
     4)    And finally, a wind blew down his oldest son’s house, killing his entire family, except
          Job and his wife.

This account does not take a breather to describe how Job responded to each individual tragedy as it was reported to him.  I don’t think Job had a chance to reflect on any of them before another report came to him.  But in verse 20 we see how he responded to them all collectively:  He tore his clothes, shaved his head, (both are signs of mourning) then fell to the ground and worshiped God.  The words Job spoke in verse 21b have been echoed throughout the generations:  “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.”  And he goes on to say, “may the name of the Lord be praised”.  {Although it is difficult, try to imagine what is going through Job's mind.  Are any of us capable of such a Godly response to a series of overwhelming tragedies like Job just suffered?}  Verse 22 says that in all of this, Job did not sin by placing blame on God.

Next post  -  More Affliction on Job

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