The book of Job is a powerful portrayal of the sovereignty of God in our suffering. In Chapter 1, we are introduced to Job and the permission God gives to Satan to test Job’s faith.
A God-fearing, Upright Man
Job 1:1-3 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. here were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.
Job had a good life. He was a very successful and wealthy man. He had a loving wife and kids. He was known and was doing well in life. Best of all, he was a man who feared God and turned away from evil. So much so that he is declared to be blameless and upright. Now we know he was not perfect, as only Jesus lived without sin; but like others we see in the Scriptures, he lived a life that honored God and fought back the temptation to sin. While we all would love for this to be said about us, the only way this becomes a marker of one’s life is to truly be faithful in the study of God’s word, diligent about what we expose ourselves to in regards to temptations of the world and our flesh, and accountable to brothers who can walk with us as we seek to honor God in all we do. Are you making a practice of these things? They are critical for a lifetime of God-honoring uprightness.
A Faithful Father
Job 1:4-5 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate 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 children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
Job was diligent in leading and loving his children. He went before the Lord faithfully on their behalf. Parenting is so much more than providing physical food and physical protection and direction. Are you fighting for and raising your children with spiritual food and spiritual protection and direction? How are you investing into your family and raising them in the Lord? How are you going to God in prayer over them regularly and faithfully? I believe Job’s focus on the spiritual state of his kids was also a God-given foundation for the unplanned loss of his children. When our eyes are on the eternal and not just the temporal, we are prepared to understand and endure loss and hardship that we will face in this life.
Have You Considered My Servant, Job?
Job 1:6-8 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And 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, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
Now you could say that this feels like God is selling Job out. What we have to remember is that we are God’s. When He refers to Job as “my servant,” that could not be more true. We are servants or slaves of the most-high God. It is absolutely His right to do with us as He pleases. God is the one who gives us life and is the one who takes it away. Our ability, our body function, our everything is a gift from the Lord. He owes us nothing, and we have no rights over Him. So if God ordains that Job being put in a place of great suffering is something that serves His eternal purposes, then who are we to say to Him that it is not right or good for Him to do this? The apostle Paul says this best in Romans 9:20: “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’”
Additionally, we see here that God says there is no one on the earth like Job. What a proclamation and endorsement. Oh, how we sell ourselves short, looking for the approval and accolades of man, when what God thinks of us is so much more important. Are you living your life to please man, or are you living your life to please God? These are two very different roads one can travel. As suffering is headed towards Job, it is essential that he is a man of great faith, for if his identity was only in his fleshly accomplishments and circumstances, he would be totally undone in the coming trials. If our faith and identity are grounded in God, then we can sustain great loss and trials like Job did. Recognize, you cannot wait for the storm to hit to make this the framework of your life. You must practice yielding all you are and have to God every day and grow in your complete trust in Him despite what you face, for He is good and worthy of our everything.
Job 1:9-11 Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”
The reality is we will suffer in this life. Maybe you have yet to face great hardship, but you will. It is an inevitable reality of the sin-filled, broken world in which we live. What we see all throughout Scripture is that God will use suffering in His people to do great and eternal things. Satan believed that because Job had not been tested with real persecution or suffering that his faith and trust in God was easy and the natural byproduct of an easy and successful life. What Satan didn’t understand is that the true believers, the real faithful in God, will endure whatever you put in front of them, because God is their rock, and no fleshly or worldly enemy can separate them from God. Do the true faithful in God struggle at times? Absolutely, we see the best have their struggles, but what we also see is that in the end, they endure. They do not sell out or give up. Their faith in God presses through what they can’t understand or see. This is true faith. Job is about to be tested like he never has been before.
The Worst Day of His Life
Job 1:12-19 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another 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 yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
God said Satan could affect all that Job had, but he just couldn’t physically affect Job. So Satan brought a hell storm of attack on Job by destroying his wealth and livelihood and killing his beloved children. This was truly the worst day of his life. To lose so much in a moment should have left him utterly paralyzed and broken. Living in the USA, we don’t know this kind of global loss like much of the world does in a regular way. But we must not be naïve or think that a good God will not allow us to experience this level of suffering in this life. God can and will use great hardship to do eternal things that we cannot see or understand. We need not look any further than most of the Scriptures to see this. The prosperity gospel has infiltrated much of modern-day Christianity to think that God will only bless us with health and riches when we follow Him rightly. This is not the teaching of the Bible. Are we who are in Christ not “Blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3)? Absolutely, but God’s word is clear that the people of God will “now for a little while, if necessary, [be] grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6). We are told to “not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test us, as though something strange were happening to us” (1 Peter 4:12).
The fact is we will suffer, but God is faithful and will sustain us and keep us. We cannot be separated from God. He will not waste any of our hardship but “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). So the question is, what will we do with the worst day of our lives? Let’s see what Job does with his.
Job 1:20-22 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
Tearing of your robe was a sign of lament and mourning in that day. It was a right response to something terrible that was said or done. The shaving of Job’s head was a sign of stripping himself down. He is acknowledging his loss and nakedness in this moment. What is so awesome is that Job worships God instead of cursing God. It is a sin to curse God at any time and for anything. Why? Because God is good and right in all He does. He is only worthy of our respect, our obedience, and our praise.
Job recognizes what he brings to the table in his life, which is nothing. He doesn’t deserve anything, for he produced nothing that God didn’t give him. He will take nothing from this life that he earned or made, either. In this, Job is saying that God alone is the one who is over these things. Mankind has no say. For mankind to feel we have a say is to not rightly understand who we are and/or who God is. Job builds on this when he says that God is the one who gives life and the one who takes it away.
Psalm 139:16 says, “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Job will later say that man’s “days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his bounds that he cannot pass” (Job 14:5). Paul says that God “had set me apart before I was born” (Galatians 1:15), and Jeremiah said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). All of our lives from beginning to end are under God’s providential care, for “in him we live and move” (Acts 17:28).
It is with this understanding that we do not put God in our debt and feel in our hearts that He owes us anything. This is an important foundation under our feet when we face great loss in this life so that we do not sinfully look at God with disdain and ask, “What have you done?” Instead, we recognize that what God has done or allowed to happen is good and right, and no matter how hard it is for us, God is still worthy of our worship and our praise. This is why Job “did not charge God with wrong” but instead acknowledged His sovereignty over all things and then worshipped Him: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21-22).
It is in this heart and faith in God that Job can still say, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25), even during the depths of agony. How have you responded to great loss or hardship in this life? Are you guilty of cursing God or being angry at Him? If so, you need to see your error in this perspective, confess this sin, and repent unto an attitude toward God of worship and praise, for all He does is good and right and holy! How are you entrusting all you are and have to God in your daily prayers, so if you were to lose what you have, you have already set the table that they are ultimately His and for His purposes and not yours?
Wow, all of that is just in chapter one. What we read as we continue in Job is that it gets worse, and the temptation only increases for Job to deny God. For example, in chapter 2, Satan comes back to God and says he believes Job will break if he is allowed to affect his physical life. So, God grants him permission but says he cannot kill him. In verses 7-10, we read about the physical nightmare of Job’s sores from head to foot. He is in utter agony and yet he does not speak ill of God.
Good Friends, Bad Counsel
In Job 2:11-13, we are introduced to good friends of Job who show up to sit in the ashes with him and bring support and counsel. God doesn’t want us to go through our trials alone. That is why He saved us into the body of Christ. We are to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). We are to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). We are to help each other and give good counsel to each other. While these friends were loving in their presence, it is their counsel that fails to honor God rightly. The next 38 chapters give an account of their conversations and counsel for Job.
In Job chapter 40, we see God bring good and right truth and counsel to Job. This is what God’s word does for us today. We must hold all counsel up against God’s word, which is always true and right and good. In Job 40:6-7, God is stern and straight with Job and tells him to “man up,” as God is about to remind him the way things work.
Job 40:6-7 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.”
Then in verses 8-24, God lays it out that He is the one who is over all things, and nothing in creation is over Him.
Finally, in Job 42, we hear Job acknowledge that God indeed can do all things, and none of His sovereign purposes can be thwarted. Job acknowledges that he is guilty of uttering things that he did not understand. He proclaims that God has done things that are wonderful in a way he did not know. Job shows again his willingness to submit to God and not let his pride lead him or keep him from God.
In verses 10-17, we read how God restored Job and gave him twice as much as he had before. He had support, friends, more livestock than before, and seven sons and three daughters. He lived 140 years and got to see four generations of his family grow. Job remained faithful, and God sustained him and blessed him, as it says, “Job died, an old man, and full of days.”
May we always trust in God no matter what we face. May we remain full of faith when we cannot see straight or know of no way in which the suffering we face is for any good. God is worthy of our praise all the time.
Job 1:21 “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
By His grace and for His glory,
Pastor Joshua Kirstine