Who was Job in the Bible?
Most people have heard the name Job. Even if they don’t know his entire story, they know he faced some major misfortune. But who was Job in the Bible? And why does his story matter?
The book opens with this:
There was a man in the country of Uz named Job. He was a man of perfect integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil.Job 1:1
This opening statement makes most of the rest of the book a complete mystery to us. Because according to this statement, Job was a good guy. He even covered his children in prayer and made sacrifices for them, in case they had sinned against God during one of their wild parties. He was a “good guy”.
But look at what happened just 5 verses later:
One day the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them, the Lord asked Satan, “Where have you come from?”
“From roaming through the earth”, Satan answered, “and walking around on it”Job 1:6
I have questions
Like, how the heck did Satan just show up at a meeting with God and His sons??? Were there no guards??? Who let him in??? And then, he had just been roaming around on the earth??? Just hanging out??? God replied:
“Have you considered my servant, Job? No one else on the earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.”Job 1:8
“Does Job fear God for nothing? Haven’t You placed a hedge of protection around him, his household and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands and his poseessions are spread out in the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he owns and he will surely curse you to your face.Job 1:9-11
“Very well”, the Lord told Satan, “everything he owns is in your power. However, you must not lay a hand on Job himself” So satan went out from the Lords presence.Job 1:12
Whoa! What? I fully expected God to say, “get behind me satan”. Not “have at it”! So, It’s understandable if at this point in the story you are as confused as I was.
The story of Job is painful to read
I highly encourage you to read the whole story of Job, even though it’s painful. I’ll recap for now. First, satan took all of Jobs livestock. In three different incidents he lost all of his oxen, donkeys, sheep and camels. Which is basically all of his riches. Then, ALL of his children were killed. ALL. Every single one. At the end of chapter one we find a quote you may have heard but didn’t know it was from Job:
Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of the Lord.Job 1:21
Throughout all of this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.
Good guy, right? He is a good guy!
Another meeting with satan
And then chapter two starts just like chapter one did. Another meeting with the sons of God, the devil sneaking in – AGAIN. And God pointing out to Satan how wonderful Job is.
Satan points out that people will give up everything in exchange for their life, and another deal is made. God tells satan he can do anything to Job except kill him.
And Job is then infected with incurable boils from his head to his feet. This chapter closes out with Jobs wife, the only one untouched at this point, telling him to just give up and curse God.
Was job innocent?
For most of the rest of the book we see Job and three of his friends arguing about innocence before God. They argued about righteousness, and who is right and who is wrong. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
Then in chapter 32 we read this:
So these three men quit answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.Job 32:1
Don’t miss this…..BECAUSE HE WAS RIGHTEOUS IN HIS OWN EYES. He saw himself as the “good one” he was the victim with no fault at all.
Then, the story takes an interesting turn. A young guy named Elihu had apparently been listening on this very long conversation between Job and his friends, and he became angry. He was angry at Job because he had justified himself rather than God. He was also angry at Jobs three friends because they had failed to refute him, and yet had condemned him. I guess he was just some young guy who happened to be there, like a fly on the wall, hearing everything.
What happened next is that Elihu confronted Job. He told him that he had to speak to him what God had put in his heart. And he cautioned Job to listen closely. He told Job, ‘I heard you saying that you are pure, that you are righteous and innocent. But I’m here to tell you that you are wrong.’ He told him that God was surely trying to get Job to see his own faults and Job would not look or listen. He pointed out what came out of Jobs heart when he was pressed.
It’s the pressing that reveals what is inside
We don’t want to be pressed, and we avoid it. We too choose to not look or listen when God tries to press us, and we force the pressing to come from somewhere else.
And this young man, Elihu, went on for 6 chapters, and he directed Job to look at the wonders of the Almighty God, he asked Job if he can explain them.
And in chapter 38 something amazingly wonderful and frighteningly overwhelming happened.
God spoke to Job.
What did He say?
“Who is this who obscures My counsel with ignorant words? Get ready to answer Me like a man; when I question you, you will inform Me. Where were you when I established the earth?”Job 38:2
THIS strikes fear deep in my bones.
God literally said to Job, “Answer me like a man”.
Where were you Job? Were you there when I laid the cornerstone of the earth? Or how about when I filled the clouds? Did you measure out the dimensions of all eternity? Oh, no? Do you stand on the shore and tell the waves where to stop? I didn’t think so.
And in verse 40 God said to Job, “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let him who argues with God give an answer.”
And that is the question He asks us all. Would we declare Him guilty to justify ourselves?
I have cried the very same thing as Job, so many times. “It’s not fair God!” and God responded, “You are right, Libbie, it’s not fair. What is fair is that you would go to hell. But instead I have sacrificed my Son for you. It’s not at all fair.”
God addressed Job throughout the next couple of chapters. Then Job responded:
I know that You can do anything and no plan of Yours can be thwarted. Surely I spoke about things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. I had heard rumors about You, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I take back my words and repent in dust and ashes.Job 42:1-6
In that moment Job had a revelation of who he really was. And he took back ALLLLLLLL of the words from ALLLLLLL of those chapters. He basically said, You are God and I am not. I don’t know a single thing.
How does Jobs story end?
The story of Job ends with God blessing him with double of everything he lost. Twice as many children, twice as much land and riches. His life ended up being very full.
And as I read, I realized that I had always seen the story like this:
The devil crashed God’s meeting with his sons, and God was bragging to him about his servant Job, and the devil was like, “oh yeah, I’ll show you.” And God was like, “try it!” and then Job failed and God was ticked off.
But listen, that IS NOT what happened.
I have to say that I am taking some liberty with this statement, but I think that God baited satan.
Hear me out.
God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omni everything else.
Do you think he didn’t know satans desire toward Job? And do you think He didn’t know what was actually in Job’s heart?
Do you think for a second that God didn’t see the self righteousness inside of Job? Of course He did. He is God. And do you think for a second that He would leave that thing in there?
Of course He would not, because His plans for us are good. And just as Job himself said, no plan of His can be thwarted.
The sin that lives in our hearts opens the doors to the attack of the enemy. Satan was going to go after Job one way or another. But as the Word tells us, what the enemy means for evil God uses for our good!
And He did just that with this situation.
And by fire, the cancer that was slowly eating away at Jobs soul was permanently removed.
As with Job, God will use the worst of situations to bring to the surface the sin that would be your demise, and then when that sin is out – when you have repented – He will use your life to set others free from the very same thing.
And in our obedience, just like He did with Job, He will bless us more than we could think hope or imagine.
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