Job 1:1 - 22
ESV - 1 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. 2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.
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Job's experience teaches us that God's grace is enough to sustain the believer who trusts in God. If Job could wade through the affliction that befell him, there is no difficulty that any believer who leans on this grace will not overcome. The sufficiency of God's grace is well assured in 2 Cor 12:9. It also points to the limitation of our adversary. Satan is not always every where though he keeps moving to and fro. He is not all powerful since he must obtain permission to touch certain parts of God's people. Satan himself acknowledged that the hedge around Job was posing serious difficulty to him. We should not magnify his power. Since he is limited, his affliction against the believer is also limited and in fact controlled. But our God is unlimited, infinite, omnipotent and almighty. Job' s experience shows how unreliable and feeble our fellow mortals can be. The most serious weakness relates to our dear ones like job's wife and friends. His wife who should have stood with him to comfort and encourage him was rather prompting him to curse God. Job's response shows that we cannot compromise God's standard with the excuse of any weak character around us. Rather we should demonstrate the knowledge we have gained from our walk with God. This means that the excuse of Adam that the wife God gave him made him to eat the forbidden fruit is untenable and cannot justify our compromise. Job shows us that our God is a God of restoration. There is no amount of damage, pain or loss that he cannot repay/repair. He promised that all that the cankerworms have eaten shall be restored. Again He assures us us that for our shame we shall receive double. When the enemy has done his worst we should look out for the best of God in view.there is no point wishing to die because of difficult times. We should be strong in the strength of God's might so that after the storm we shall be there to tell of the goodness of The Lord.
I think that the main topic of Job is not suffering. The reason why job suffered is clarified at the beginning of the book. The question can be asked in the other way: why God shall be worshiped under any circumstances, i.e., under rich or poor, healthy or sick. Is it reasonable that we people worship God just because that HE reward us, protect us, bless us? Is there any other reason that we should worship God? The main topic of Job is to discuss what the proper reason to worship God is. We worship God just because that HIS attribute of almighty, kindness, and greatness. We worship HIM because HIS beauty. We worship HIM because HE is God. This only reason is enough for us to worship HIM. That is what the last part of Job says. Therefore, I highly respect Job that he worshiped God under any circumstances, despite of his suffering. That is why he was praised by God at the end of the book. The reason that Job suffered was discussed in Chapter 1 verse 8 - Chapter 2 verse 7. Interestingly this conversation between God and Satan reveals a little bit of the main topic of the book of Job: what is the reason human being should worship God? Job was blameless. If his faithfulness is because that in doing so, God will in return award him, his goodness is not of the top value. I think that the author wants to deeply investigate this topic: what is the fundamental rational of this virtual of being faithful. He first separated the two topics: being faithful and being suffered, by describing the debate between Job and his friends. I believe that what Job has been suffered is nothing related to his sin, as stated in the context of the book of Job. I really impressed about Job that he stuck to be righteousness even when he cannot explain the reason of his situations. This makes him even more painful because the quarrel leads him to suspect the goodness of God. However, in whatever situation, Job struggled to have faith in God even when he started to doubt the meaning of his own existence. This is actually consistent to the main topic that the author wanted to reveal: what is the deepest rational of being faithful to God. Here, I have a comment on the questions we have discussed above. We trend to have more interest in discussing about the reason of what Job has suffered, where also we provide some hint to ourselves that Job must did something wrong such that he suffered. And we tries to find out what is wrong did by Job. If we cannot find anything, we pretend to stand on the same side of Job. But this argument already has been proved by the author dead according to the conversation between Job and his friends. We are doing the same thing as Job’s friend did. The author gradually expose the rational behind the wisdom of being faithful to God. Everything starts to change when Elihu came into the stage, where he started to discuss about the attributes of God. God is good and so mighty that the evilness of people can only do harm to the evil people. God losses nothing because of their sin. But God still willing to guide people from doing wrongly. Elihu’s argument turned Job focus from suspecting the goodness of God to what God really is. Step by step, the author put more and more emphasis on the mightiness and the power to manage the universe and history, which is the very rational reason for human being to worship God. Even God himself appeared to Job to reveal his mightiness, such that Job had a very good reason to remain faith in God, just as he struggled about. He needed to find a reason to sustain his faith. Now, Job has found one that God is so good and at the same time mighty. Everything is in its right position. After all, we should think ourselves, what is the reason we go to church to worship? Is it the sweetness of God attracts us, such that we are willing to learn him more? The only very reason for us to worship God is the goodness of God himself. It was a very difficult time for me before I figured out the main topic of this book. Chapter 38 was very weird to me that the focus was suddenly changed, and I could not find any clue from context. But now, everything seems to around this main topic.
I believe the following are the main lessons we can learn from the life of Job: 1. Bad things can happen to good people. Our so called righteousness means nothing to God. Our humility before Him means everything to God. 2. Bad things are not necessarily connected to our sin. Job could not find any sin in his life yet he was smitten by God 3. What happens in this life in no way reflects God's love for us. He has all eternity to lavish his love on us. 4. Faith does not rest on the circumstances of life but on the promises of God. Job was clearly given a prophetic revelation of the future in Job 19:25-27 "I know that my redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin had been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes - I and not another. How my heart yearns within me." 5. Seek first to understand the will of God and use that understanding to filter the counsel we receive from well meaning friends. 6. Life is a test to examine our faith. Life is a trial to test our faith. When we have passed the test we can depend on God's promise to reward our faithfulness, either in this life or the life to come. Job was restored with double the earthly blessings after he had passed the test and trial. 7. We will never understand why some things happen to us unless God chooses to give us his revelation. However, we can rest in his promise that he will work out everything for the good of those who put their trust in him. 8. It's OK to get angry with God and question what is happening to us when we are suffering. God can take it when we vent our feelings - just don't question his motives. 9. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away : blessed be the name of the Lord. We need to learn how to praise God in the middle of difficult or adverse circumstances 10. One of the greatest battles we will ever face is saying NO to Satan when he tells us to curse God for the calamity that has befallen us. 11. When we have a close personal relationship with God we will know when he is chastising or disciplining us for our sins. Job knew it was not his sin that he was being punished for. 12. Telling God how we feel in the midst of calamity, helps us remain in a close personal relationship with God. We see this truth evident in King David's life in many of his psalms.
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