THE BOOK OF JOB.
The book of Job is written in the highest style of Hebrew poetry, except the two introductory chapters and part of the last, which are prose. It is probably the oldest of the Bible books, and was no doubt written before the giving of the law, since no reference is made to the law in the condemnation of Job by his friends, and in Job’s vindication of himself. That Job is a real character of history is proven by the references to him found in Ezekiel 14:20 and James 5:11.
The problem is, “Why do the righteous suffer?” Much light is shed on the subject by reading Job’s experience. God takes pride in the faith of His people and allows Satan to test them to prove the truth of His boast of them, and also to give them opportunity to exercise faith that it may greatly increase and be strengthened. In the end, the tested saint is amply rewarded and Satan’s working comes to naught.
The book may be divided into five parts:
1. Chs. 1:1 to 2:10. The two fold cause of Job’s calamity.
2. Chs. 2:11 to 31:40. Job and his three friends.
3. Chs. 32 to 37. Job and Elihu.
4. Chs. 38 to 41. Jehovah and Job.
5. Chs. 42. Job’s final words and his reward.
THE TWOFOLD CAUSE OF JOB’S CALAMITY.
In every trial, which comes to a child of God, two causes must be traced. First, the primary cause or the way whereby a thing happens; second, the reason, which would be the cause for it happening. Romans 8:28, is very clear in its statement that “all things work together for them that love God.”
In other words, God in His wisdom is able to direct troubles into channels of blessing in the good affect they have upon our spirits. Satan was the primary cause of Job’s trouble. God, had a high regard for His servant, Ch. 1:8 and wished to prove his worth to Satan who disputed the same. For this purpose, the devil was given free reign, and in two malignant thrusts, Job was made painless, and brought low with disease. To make matters harder to bear, Job’s wife offered him no sympathy but advised him to curse God and die. Job retained his trust in God and “did no sin with his lips.”
JOB AND HIS THREE FRIENDS.
To aggravate matters, Satan not only afflicted Job but stirred his three bosom friends Elisha, Bided and Ziophar to come and critically judge him. Theirs was a very common form of human philosophy: it was that God blesses good men and send calamity to the wicked. Based on their theory, Job was found out at last. He had managed for long to cover his sin but now his day had come and God was visiting on him his just deserts, Ch. 4:7-8; 8:6-7; 20-22; 11:3-6. Job stood for the truth in spite of the condemnation heaped upon him. He knew God would somehow see him through and said,
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”, Ch. 13:15. In Ch. 16:2, he called his friends miserable comforters, and later boldly declared his faith in God and his hope for the future, Ch. 19:25-26, stating that when he was tried, he would come forth as gold, Ch. 23:10.
JOB AND ELIHU.
After the word-war ended, in which neither Job nor his friends behaved perfectly, a younger man, Elihu, spoke up. He found fault with Job because he had justified himself rather than God, and blamed the three friends because with all their talking they had really accomplished nothing, Ch. 32:2-3. Then Elihu proceeded to give the reason for such a calamity as had befallen Job.
In Ch. 33, we have a thorough treatment of the case. Man is dull of hearing and fails to respond to God’s call when correction is needed, v.14. For this he must be chastened and his body becomes wracked with pain, v.19. If an interpreter can be found to throw light on the situation and the many prays, God will have mercy and deliver him so that he shall be healed and return to the days of his youth, vs. 23-25. Job had said many things in a fretful spirit, and Elihu continued his words by chiding Job for his foolishness, and he sought to vindicate God in His actions. Many deep and wonderful things were said about God to which Job made no answer.
JEHOVAH AND JOB.
After Elihu finished, God Himself spoke to Job and asked, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?”, Ch. 38:2. He also asked Job some pointed questions, Chs. 38 to 41, which were very humbling to Job’s spirit.
JOB’S FINAL WORD AND HIS REWARD.
Job confessed that he had uttered things he understood not, Ch. 42:3, and he perceived that his former knowledge of God was but hearsay, but now his eyes and been opened and he abhorred himself, and repented in dust and ashes, vs. 5-6. God accepted Job’s confession and restored him in every way. Job’s friends were then commanded to humble themselves before him that he might pray for them lest God deal with them after their folly, vs.7-8. All that Job had lost was returned in double measure, and again he was blessed with seven sons and three daughters, vs.12-13. After the testing, Job’s lot was a happy one and he lived on to a good old age. An important lesson is contained in the book. We are called the church of the firstborn, and if
we are faithful in the time of testing God will give us the double portion even as He did Job.