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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No, God was not unfair to Job; God is always perfect, just, righteous, and upright (Deuteronomy 32:3-4). As a person who is going through Job-like suffering myself, Psalm 73 is one of the Scriptures greatly helping me through this. Ultimately, I would a million times rather have eternal life in heaven with God than avoid any amount of suffering here on earth.
Job was a good man insomuch there was none like him. Job had the same problem so many good professing Christians have today. Job was self righteous. I believe Job realizes the purpose behind his testing in Chapter 42. V.1 " Then Job answered the LORD, and said," Job 42:2 "I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee." Job 42:3 "Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not." Job 42:4 "Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me." Job 42:5 "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee." Job 42:6 "Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. Previously Job had heard of God but now sees him. Only when we truly see the holiness and righteous perfection of our great God an savior do we realize how our self efforts to be righteous pale by comparison. As Paul said of the Jews in Romans 10:3 "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." Rom 10:4 "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." It is not what we can do for God but what God can do through us when we have a contrite heart and broken spirit.
You've got to remember (in addition to all the things Houdmann pointed out) that God eventually used it to bless Job even more (Job 42:12).
Then 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, one who fears God and shuns evil?” Job 1:8. Careful consideration of this verse in particular will show that God far from putting Job's safety in jeopardy was actually doing the opposite. Remember that this God omniscient who already knew what Satan was thinking. He didn't ask to know something the He already didn't know. In fact He could read the mind, and the devil's evil intent. Armed with this knowledge we can now proceed to explain what God is saying here. Even more telling is Satan's answer to God. It shows that Satan "travelled" to the heavenly headquarters with Job as the agenda and God knew it. Satan appears to have advanced the same argument he presented to Eve in the Garden of Eden. That God is not fair, once his creatures' eyes are opened they will stampede to reject Him. In these circumstances God must turn to us to defend His character. I think God is saying to Satan in verse 8 "I see that you have targeted Job my servant for no reason other than to unfairly make him suffer. Job is a good man why do you want to hurt him? He continues to be upright despite your attempts". Satan is quick to table his usual argument in front of the rest of the universe that God is not playing fair. God is bribing Job to play nice. Without these copious bribes Job would turn on God in a flash. Remember that in the ears of the watchful universe that doesn't have the omniscience of God it's a challenge that requires proving. This dispels the notion that God deliberately put Job in harm's way. Satan had already tried and failed until he decided to play dirty. We also need to remember that God doesn't abandon us when we are tempted. His full attention is on us to help us through. The same applied to Job. Even though he felt abandoned and alone in his suffering there was a huge army fighting on his behalf. Job also benefited a great deal from the experience. He and his friends had a very poor understanding of God's character. They basically viewed God as policeman waiting for earthlings to make one mistake and then punishes them without mercy. That is why Job was insistent to his friends that he was innocent. Obedience wasn't out of love but out of fear for punishment. This was the theology of this circle of friends. However what was happening couldn't be explained by the framework of theology they knew and believed. Someone between God and Job was lying and it certainly wasn't God, so Job must come clean. The outcome of the discourse in the long run benefited them and all of us. That is why in my view Job was the first book of Moses to be written. It's main objective is to reveal God and His perfect loving character ruling the universe on the basis of love, evidence and freedom. His creatures choose to serve Him out of conviction rather than deceit and coercion.
About whether God’s treatment of Job was just, is a matter of perspective, in my opinion. Some would say that God can’t be unjust and that ends it. Tell that to Job’s children and see how far you get. Others can review the technical issues and show point by point that God is not unjust. Next, some others try to evade the issue by saying that it was the Devil that was unjust but not God. However, the Scriptures state plainly that God was, in the end, responsible for all that happened to Job. Job 42:11, “Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him concerning all the evil that Jehovah had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one a ring of gold.” Job’s experience isn’t the only one that questions God’s fairness. Was it fair to approve the Devi’s request to sift the Apostles (Luke 22:31-32) or to request Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. (Genesis 22:2) That’s where, in my opinion, perspective comes into view. We do not know what’s going on behind the scenes. In Job, we get a glimpse of one pivotal conversation between God and the Devil. So, if we knew the circumstances behind these events, we than can make an informed comment about God’s fairness. To do this, I will offer some evidence that God’s involvement in these issues is a part of His defense of our reputation. It appears that the Devil stands before the throne of God accusing Christians day and night. (Revelation 12:10) What is he accusing us of? If we take the case of Job as an example, it would appear to be our sincerity in our worship. Are we only worshiping God for material gifts of bribery or what would we do if He took away those gifts? In all these cases, those subject to the Devil’s third degree have proven their moral sincerity. God would never allow a faithful follower to be tested beyond one’s endurance. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Person by person, the Devil is continuously being reminded of his defeat by Job in his attempts to challenge our godliness. In my opinion, we should always keep that factor in mind. When we experience trials, it may be the Devil trying to demonstrate to God that we are not sincere in our beliefs. But, like Job, when we overcome our trials with grace, we demonstrate to all in heaven and earth that the Devil’s accusations are groundless. From that perspective, even if the actual trials we face appear to be unfair, we can be confident that they will be the means by which we can grow in knowledge and grace. (Romans 8:28; 2 Peter 3:18)
Job was righteous before God. But he did not know that The Lord is full of compassion and mercy (James 5:11--NIV) So through this process the LORD revealed this part of His nature to Job. Unless the inspired writer had revealed this in the NT book of James it would have been very difficult on our part to know this.
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