Skip to Main Content

Job 1:8-22 Notes

Job 1:8-22 - Commentary

Job 1:8 "And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?"

"Perfect and upright" denotes that Job's integrity and way of life corresponded to God's expectations, not that he was sinless. This description contrasts with instances where children of God did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6; 21:25).

The initiative in the conversation lies with God, but He may well have simply expressed what was on Satan's mind. God's view of Job is the same as the description given (in 1:1).

Satan was accusing the men of the earth before the LORD all the time. This appears, that he had not brought up Job to the LORD, because he had not been able to find fault with him. There were just a few men in the Bible that God had singled out as being servants true to Him. Noah was another example of that. About the highest praise God could have for man was that in God's sight, he was perfect and upright. God was proud of Job for his faithfulness.

Verses 9-11: Satan asserted that true believers are only faithful as long as they prosper. Take away their prosperity, he claims, and they will reject God. He wanted to prove that salvation is not permanent, that saving faith can be broken and those who were God's could become his. That is the first of the two great themes of this book. Satan repeated this affront with Jesus (see Matt. Chapter 4), Peter (see Luke 22:31), and Paul (see 2 Cor. 12:7). The Old Testament has many promises from God in which He pledges to sustain the faith of His children (compare Psalms 37:23, 28, 97:10; 121:4-7; for New Testament texts, compare Luke 22:31-32; Jude 24).

Job 1:9 "Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?"

Satan acknowledges the accuracy of God's evaluation of Job but questions Job's motives. The question of why people serve God is as important as the question of suffering in this story. The "hedge" (verse 10), represents all that God does to protect His children. A godly man is invincible until God is finished with him.

Satan usually attacks with a question. He asked Eve, in the garden, did God say? It was strange that he would question God. He was actually trying to get God to doubt Job. He tried to say that Job had plenty of reason to follow God. Satan is the essence of selfishness and pride, and he tries to imply that Job was also.

Job 1:10 "Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land."

A fence, a wall of protection all around him? All that he had; He encompassed him about with his love as with a shield, a hedge which could not be broken down by men or devils. He surrounded him with his almighty power, that none could hurt him. He guarded him by his providence and He caused his angels to encamp about him. Yea, he himself was a wall of fire around him.

"And about his house": Not the house in which he dwelt; though Satan could have gladly pulled down that about his ears, as well as that in which his children were. But it designs his family, who were also by Providence protected in their persons and estates, and preserved from the temptations of Satan, at least from being overcome by them.

"And about all that he hath on every side? His sheep, his camels, his oxen, and his asses. For otherwise these would not have escaped the malice and fury of this evil spirit they afterwards felt. But as these were the gifts of the providence of God to Job, they were guarded by his power, that Satan could not hurt them without leave."

Thou hast blessed the work of his hands": Not only what he himself personally wrought with his own hands, but was done by his servants through his direction, and by his order. The culture of his fields, the feeding and keeping of his flocks and herds; all succeeded well. Whatever he did, or was concerned in, prospered.

"And his substance is increased in the land": Or "broke out"; like a breach of waters (see 2 Sam. 5:20). Exceeded all bounds; his riches broke forth on the right hand and on the left, and flowed in, so that there were scarce any limits to be set to them. He abounded in them. His sheep brought forth thousands; his oxen, camels, and asses, stood well, and were strong to labor. And his wealth poured in upon him in great plenty. All which was an eyesore to Satan, and therefore would insinuate that this was the sole spring and source of Job's religion, devotion, and obedience.

This was a true statement. God had blessed Job, his family, and all of his possessions. Job had been faithful to God, and God had blessed him mightily. We read many times in the Bible of the blessings God bestows on righteous men.

(Psalms 1:1-3) "Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." "But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

Job 1:11 "But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face."

With draw thine hand of providence, power, and protection, with which thou hast covered and screened him; and, instead of that, "send" forth thine afflicting hand. Not barely in a way of chastisement and correction, but in wrath and vengeance, consuming and destroying all he had. And this he desires might be done now, immediately, without delay, while Job was in the midst of his prosperity. For Satan was in haste to have mischief done to him, being an object of his great hatred and enmity.

Satan was judging Job by his own standards. This would be what Satan would do, if he were in Job's place. Satan is not righteous. He is the chief of all sinners. He challenged God to take away Job's possessions. Satan said that Job would curse God if he took away everything he had. Satan was saying that Job's loyalty was just because he was blessed of God.

Job 1:12 "And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath [is] in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD."

"Power": God allowed Satan to test Job's faith by attacking "all that he has." With God's sovereign permission, Satan was allowed to move on Job, except that he could not attack Job physically and take his life.

God permits but does not order Satan to test Job. Satan's power is always exercised under the control of God.

He is limited by the unlimited power of God.

This is a very important Scripture for all believers to see. Satan had no power over Job, except what God allowed him to have. The Christians are under the same protection that Job had been. Satan cannot attack any believer, unless God allows it. We must also take note that God limited what He allowed Satan to do to Job. Job's trial was to prove his loyalty to God. The trials that we have are to make us stronger in the LORD.

Verses 13-19: The disasters that befell Job were of human agency ("Sabeans" and "Chaldeans"), and of natural sources ("fire" and "wind"), though Satan's power was behind it all. Sabeans were a nomadic Bedouin tribe known for their treachery and cruelty. They often plundered other peoples as a means of survival. Chaldeans were also a band of nomadic marauders at this time. They later conquered Babylon. All of these tragic events evidently took place on the same day, and of all the hundreds of Job's servants, only four survived to bear the bad news. Human life was lost in all four disasters.

Three times the text says these events happened "while he was yet speaking", meaning they happened one right after the other. As one messenger was leaving, the next one was bringing more bad news, completely immersing Job in tragedy. With 4 rapid fire disasters, Satan destroyed or removed Job's livestock, servants and children. Only the 4 messengers survived.

Job 1:13 "And there was a day when his sons and his daughters [were] eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:"

That is, on the day on which the regular turn came for the banquet to be held in the house of the older brother (compare the notes at Job 1:4).

"And drinking wine" This circumstance is omitted (in Job 1:4). It shows that wine was regarded as an essential part of the banquet, and it was from its use that Job apprehended the unhappy results referred to (in Job 1:5).

We discovered in an earlier verse of this lesson, that this was, probably, a birthday party. It was the oldest son's birthday. This was a time of great joy and merriment.

Job 1:14 "And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:"

Satan brought Job's troubles upon him on the day that his children began their course of feasting.

"And said, the oxen were ploughing": The five hundred yoke of oxen Job had (Job 1:3), which were all out in the fields, and employed in ploughing them. And to plough with such was usual in those times and countries, as it now is in some places (see 1 Kings 19:19).

This lends a stronger indication that the feast Job's children were having, was not a national holiday. Had it been a national holiday, they would not have been plowing the fields.

Job 1:15 "And the Sabeans fell [upon them], and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee."

"Sabeans": Literally "Sheba," part of Arabia. These people were terrorizing robbers, who had descended from Ham (Gen. 10:6-7) and/or Shem (Gen. 10:28).

The Sabeans were Arabs in the ancient times supposedly. It became a common name for all Arabs. They had raiding parties to continually plunder the wealth of others. It appears they came to take what belonged to Job. They killed his servants and took his animals.

Job 1:16 "While he [was] yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee."

"Fire of God ... heaven": This probably refers to severe lightening.

Ordinarily Satan would not control the lightning, but in this case, God had given him permission to do this.

Ephesians 2:2 "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"

So many people use the Scripture above to prove that Satan had power over the elements. I might remind them to look at the word prince. He may be prince of the power of the air, but the LORD is King of the air, and everything else. The prince rules under the authority of the King.

Job 1:17 "While he [was] yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee."

"Chaldeans": A semi-nomadic people of the Arabian desert, experienced in marauding and war (Hab. 1:6-8).

Satan was making sure that everything the LORD had given him permission to do, would be done all at once to overwhelm Job. Notice in each instance, only one was left to come and tell of the tragedy that happened. Satan wanted the impact of all of it to come on Job at once.

Job 1:18 "While he [was] yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters [were] eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:"

A servant of one of Job's sons, who was in waiting at the feast before mentioned, and here again repeated.

"And said, thy sons and thy daughters were eating, and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house (See Job 1:13).

Job 1:19 "And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

"Great wind": Most likely a tornado-type wind (compare Isa. 21:1; Hosea 13:15).

To Job, as well as all parents, his children were the dearest thing he had. To lose them all at once was even more terrible. If anything would cause Job to turn against God, this would be it. This wind was like a cyclone. The Scripture above means people of both gender. The daughters died, also.

Verses 20-22: Satan failed. Instead of cursing God, Job worshiped. He had lost two of life's most precious possessions: family and wealth. Yet he remained upright. A third blessing, his health, was left alone. This godly man became a grieving man who still worshiped while he mourned. To affirm god's goodness in the midst of desolation is as much an act of worship as it is a sign of integrity.

"Worshipped": He heard the other messages calmly, but on hearing about the death of his children, he expressed all the symbols of grief (Gen. 37:34; Jer. 41:5; Micah 1:16), but also worshiped God in the expression of (verse 21). Instead of cursing, he blessed the name of Jehovah. Job's submissive response disproved the adversary's accusation (1:9-11). So far, Job was what God claimed him to be, a true believer with faith that cannot be broken (verse 8).

Job 1:20 "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,"

Whereon he was sitting in a disconsolate posture.

Rent his mantle": To testify his deep sense of and just sorrow for the heavy hand of God upon him, and his humiliation of himself under his hand (see Gen. 37:34). "Shaved his head": I.e. caused the hair of his head to be shaved or cut off, which was then a usual ceremony in mourning, of which (see Ezra 9:3; Isa. 15:2; 22:12; Jer. 7:29; 41:5; Micah 1:16).

"Fell down upon the ground": In way of self-abhorrence, and humiliation, and supplication unto God.

"And worshipped": To wit: God, who is expressed in the following verse, and who is the only object of religious worship. Instead of cursing God, which Satan said he would do, he adored him, and gave him the glory of his sovereignty, and of his justice, and of his goodness also, in this most severe dispensation.

Job was not overwhelmed by the loss of his animals. He was not centered on his wealth. The loss of his children was too much for him to not be moved by it. The renting of his clothes and the shaving of his head, were signs of deep sorrow and mourning. It all had the opposite effect on him as Satan had planned however. He fell on his face before the Lord and worshipped.

Job 1:21 "And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."

Either literally, where he was conceived and lay, and from whence he came into the world, though he afterwards wishes he never had, or had died as soon as he did (Job 3:10).

"Blessed be the name of the Lord": For all his blessings and mercies. For all the gifts of nature and providence that had been bestowed, which could not be claimed, and of which he knew himself unworthy. And for the continuance of them so long with goodness and mercy had followed him all the days or his life hitherto. And still he had mercies to bless God for: his wife was still with him, he had some servants left, his own life was spared. He continued as yet in health of body, and therefore could sing of mercy as well as judgment. Nor is there any state on earth a man can be in, but there is something to bless God for. Wherefore the apostle's exhortation will always hold good, "in everything give thanks" (1 Thess. 5:18).

These were words that Satan had not wanted to hear. LORD is Jehovah here. Job realized that everything he had, including his children, were gifts from God. He did not have anything when he was born and was willing to end his life the same way, if that was what the LORD chose. Job realized that this number of tragedies could not have happened had it not been a supernatural act. He was aware that this was allowed by the LORD. Job's statement, "blessed be the name of the LORD" is the opposite of cursing God.

Job 1:22 "In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly."

"Sinned not, nor charged God": Better, "sin by charging God with wrong". Hasty words against God in the midst of grief are foolish and wicked. Christians are to submit to trials and still worship God, not because they see the reasons for them, but because God wills them and has His own reasons which believers are to trust.

Job did not let anything that happened make a sinner out of him; he did not turn to evil when evil came upon him.

Death of those very near and dear to you has a tendency to do one of two things. The tragedy will drive you away from God, or make you much closer to God. In this case, it made Job even stronger in his loyalty to God. Satan's plan had failed.

EW Commentary: Job 1:8-22

8 The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a fence 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. 11 But reach out with Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will certainly curse You to Your face." 12 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not reach out and put your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.

Have you considered My servant Job: It was God who brought up Job as a subject for discussion, and God brought up Job in the sense of proclaiming Job's strong godliness and character. God was so impressed with Job that He affirmed the description of Job first recorded in Job 1:1.
i. Of course Satan does consider the saints of God; yet what does the devil see when he considers the saints?
· He sees them and is amazed at the difference between himself and God's people; he sees us and knows that though he has fallen, these earthen creatures stand.
· He sees them and is amazed at their happiness; he knows too well the misery of his own soul, but he admires and hates the peace in the soul of the believer.
· He sees them and looks for some fault, so that he may find some small comfort to his own black soul and hypocrisy.
· He sees them - especially great hearts among the saints - and sees those who block and hinder his foul work.
· He sees them and looks for opportunity to do them harm.

There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil: This was God's pronouncement of Job's character. After these first two chapters of Job, almost everything we know of the man is colored by the perspective of the speaker. Later, when Job talks about himself and his situation, we must take into account that it is Job who speaks; when his friends speak likewise, they speak according to their own knowledge, ignorance, and bias. Only in the first two chapters do we have a truly objective viewpoint about Job. He really was a blameless and upright man, no matter what his friends would later say.
i. We know (and God knew) that Job was not sinlessly perfect; yet God called him blameless. "It means that no matter how horrible his offenses may have been, all the charges against him have been dropped. Absolutely no blame attaches to him, because the very one he offended has exonerated him." (Mason)
ii. We know that Job was not sinlessly perfect; yet God unashamedly seemed to see him that way. The modern believer stands in the same place, completely justified in Jesus Christ.
iii. "If at any point in the ensuing struggle we are tempted to question the integrity of Job's faith (as his friends do, relentlessly), it will not really be Job we are questioning, but the Lord." (Mason)

Does Job fear God for nothing: Here Satan fulfilled the role described in Revelation 12:10 - the accuser of the brethren. Satan accused Job before God, insisting that Job's godliness was essentially false, and that Job only served God for what he could get from Him.
i. Satan's reply to God first reveals his essential cynicism; he doubts every supposed good as being dishonest and hollow. "Cynicism is the essence of the satanic. The Satan believes nothing to be genuinely good - neither Job in his disinterested piety nor God in His disinterested generosity." (Andersen)
ii. "If thou wilt be gracious, he will be pious. The exact maxim of a great statesman, Sir Robert Walpole: Every man has his price... No doubt Sir Robert met with many such and the Devil many more. But still God has multitudes that will neither sell their souls, their consciences, nor their country, for any price; who, though God should slay them, will nevertheless trust in him, and be honest men howsoever tempted by the Devil and his vicegerents. So did Job; so have done thousands; so will all do, in whose hearts Christ dwells by faith." (Clarke)
iii. The accusation against Job was also an accusation against God, for it implied that God had bribed Job into obedience. "'I myself,' he seems to say, 'could be as pious as Job, were I as prosperous as he.'" (Bradley)

Satan's accusation gave testimony to the fact that God had protected Job (Have You not made a hedge around him) and had also blessed him (You have blessed). Jesus indicated that Satan wanted to do much worse against Peter than God allowed him to do (Luke 22:31-32) because of a similar hedge of protection.

But now, stretch out Your hand: "His language is abrupt; he commands God with imperative verbs: literally, 'But now, you just extend your hand and damage all his property.'" (Andersen)

Confident in his accusation against Job, Satan insisted to God that Job would surely curse You to Your face if this protection and blessing was withdrawn. Satan believed that adversity could make Job move from his standing in faith; that Job would be unable to stand against the wiles and the deceptions of the devil, as is given to the believer in Ephesians 6:13.

Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person: In response to Satan's accusation, God gave him great - though limited - permission to attack Job. God would let down the hedge without completely removing it.
i. Satan had the power and the desire to afflict Job all along; what he lacked was the allowance from God. When God allowed it, Satan was more than happy to attack Job up to the limit of the allowance.
ii. Though Satan was now able to attack Job in a much greater way than before, his power was not unlimited. God only allowed Satan to do what he wanted to do to ultimately serve His purpose.
iii. "But we must know, that God's end in this large grant was not to gratify the devil, but to glorify himself, by making Satan an instrument of his own shame and infamy." (Trapp)

Satan went out from the presence of the LORD: As he did, he continued a sequence of events in the spiritual realm that (as in Ephesians 6:12) were real but not immediately apparent to Job as having their origin in a spiritual battle.
i. The revelation of the heavenly scene behind the earthly scene helps us to understand the later comment of James on Job: Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord - that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful (James 5:11). The two great themes of the Book of Job, as explained by James, are the perseverance of Job and the end intended by the Lord, and it is important that we learn both themes. The end intended by the Lord (James 5:11) connects with God's eternal purpose as revealed in Ephesians 3:10-11 - that God intends that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose. God used Job to teach angelic beings, especially to teach them about His own spectacular wisdom.
ii. Therefore, the Book of Job teaches us that there is an aspect of human misery that is not the penalty for sin, not correction in righteousness, not redemptive in itself, and not the noble bearing of persecution for righteousness' sake. Job's suffering was of this aspect; we might say that the reason for his suffering was as a tool to teach angelic beings. Job made known the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and powers in heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10-11).
iii. We might say that all the other reasons for suffering can also be used of God to reveal His wisdom to angelic beings. The man who suffers as the penalty of sin can, by the way he receives the suffering, be an important lesson of God's wisdom. Yet Job's case was unique; his suffering seems to be mainly or only concerned with this purpose of instructing angelic beings.
iv. In that process God used Satan himself, even as he went out from the presence of the LORD in all his evil design. "Satan may intend one thing, but God uses him for another. In all these things he is a minister - used for the ultimate blessing, comfort, and help of the people of God, and for their present spiritual profit... He was allowed to be the author of Job's trials and losses: but all his labour was wasted; for it ended in Job's receiving a double blessing for time, and for earth, and 'the righteousness of God' for ever and ever." (Bullinger)
v. "Others have held it is immoral by any human standards that there should be a game between the Almighty and Satan using as their pawn the soul of Job. Such a view overlooks the possibility we have already mentioned, that God does not meaninglessly allow Job to be tormented. On the contrary, he is honoring Job by putting his full confidence in the genuineness of Job's faith, which Satan has questioned." (Smick)
vi. As good as Job was at the beginning of the book, he will be a better man at the end of it. He was better in character, more humble, and more blessed than before. "Foolish devil! He is piling up a pedestal on which God will set his servant Job, that he may be looked upon with wonder by all ages... Oh! how many saints have been comforted in their distress by this history of patience! How many have been saved out of the jaw of the lion, and from the paw of the bear by the dark experiences of the patriarch of Uz. O arch fiend, how art thou taken in thine own net! Thou hast thrown a stone which has fallen on thine own head. Thou madest a pit for Job, and hast fallen into it thyself; thou art taken in thine own craftiness." (Spurgeon)

B. Job's catastrophic loss and his reaction to it.

1. (Job 1:13-19) Job's tragic and sudden losses.

13 Now on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the female donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you." 16 While he was still speaking, another came 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." 17 While he was still speaking, another came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three units and made a raid on the camels and took them, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you." 18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, 19 and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you."

Now there was a day: Given greater allowance to afflict Job, Satan maximized his work against the man of God by bringing the catastrophe to Job in the span of a few hours. In that limited time Job lost his oxen, his servants, his sheep, his camels, and his sons and daughters.
i. This shows us that Satan was focused on maximizing his advantage. If he were allowed to attack Job, he would do it in the most effective way possible, all the way up to what God would allow. Therefore, any foothold we give to Satan is dangerous. We should expect that he will maximize any advantage given to him.
ii. When his sons and daughters were eating and drinking shows us the great cruelty of Satan. "Satan is here revealed in startling light. His malice is seen in the choice of time. He strikes in the midst of festivity." (Morgan)

iii. The catastrophe came upon Job's sons and daughters as they were feasting in their oldest brother's house. We know from Job 1:4-5 that Job would specifically sacrifice for his sons and daughters on these days; yet these prayers-in-action of Job on behalf of his children did not prevent the catastrophe. This made the crisis all the more mysterious and problematic for Job.

The Sabeans... the fire of God fell from heaven... the Chaldeans... a great wind: The tragedies came to Job from many different causes; yet we know that the prior cause was the instigation of Satan.
i. In this we learn something of how Satan works. He did not force godly Sabeans and Chaldeans to do things against Job that they did not want to do. He accomplished his evil purpose by working through the evil character of fallen men.
ii. We also learn that in some way, Satan had some influence over the weather (a great wind) and could imitate a phenomenon usually associated with God (the fire of God from heaven). The servants of Job thought that God sent this fire, but that was only true in a very indirect sense, in the sense that God had allowed it by removing a prior restriction. This shows that at least at some times, Satan wants to work in such a way that what he does will be blamed on God.
iii. "We can only conclude that Satan swings great power over the weather. Not all power over all weather. But some power over some weather. To the extent that God allows, the Devil has supernatural power at his disposal to direct the elements to accomplish his evil purposes." (Lawson)
iv. We also see that this attack was clearly focused against Job; yet others suffered because Satan attacked Job and God allowed him to be attacked. Job's animals, servants, and children all perished because Job was the target. This can only be justified if we understand that:
· In allowing their lives to be ended, God did not allow these people to pass from an immortal state to a mortal state. Each of these unfortunates was born mortal and subject to death; the only surprise in their death was that they died sooner than expected, not that they died at all.
· The rightness or wrongness of what God either allows or actively does can only be finally judged by the measure of eternity, not the measure of this life. We can only say that God either did right or wrong by these unfortunates by the eternal picture. Until then we trust what Abraham knew of God: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25).

c. (Job 1:20-22) Job reacts to his losses.

20 Then Job got up, tore his robe, and shaved his head; then he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." 22 Despite all this, Job did not sin, nor did he blame God.

Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head: Quite appropriately, Job mourned his tremendous losses. He had lost his sons and daughters and servants and a great amount of material wealth. It was a time for mourning.
i. Job mourned, but he did not mourn as the heathens or the pagans mourned. He did not cut or gash or tattoo himself for the dead as was the common practice among those ancient peoples (Leviticus 19:28).

He fell to the ground and worshiped: In the midst of his mourning, Job also decided to worship God despite his circumstances and feelings. We might say that this was indeed pure worship and greatly glorifying to God.
i. "Surely it has not come to this among God's people, that he must do as we like, or else we will not praise him. If he does not please us every day, and give way to our whims, and gratify our tastes, then we will not praise him." (Spurgeon)
ii. "But how blank (think we) was the devil, when, hoping to hear Job blaspheme God, he heareth him blessing God's name in this sort." (Trapp)
iii. Later in the book, as spiritual battle is fought in and all around Job, he will seem to move very far from these words of worship. Yet it is important to remember that a man's first reaction is often very telling, and reveals what really dominates his heart. Worship was Job's first reaction to his crisis.

The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away: Job analyzed his situation in a godly and wise way. Job understood that:
· He came into this world with nothing, so everything he had was indeed a blessing from the bounty of God. If he now had less, it was still more than he came into this world with and more than he would take with him to the world beyond.
· His prior prosperity was not due to luck or mere human ingenuity; it was because of the great and powerful blessing of God upon his life. "I am so pleased to think that Job recognized the hand of God everywhere giving. He said, 'The Lord gave.' He did not say, 'I earned it all.' He did not say, 'There are all my hard-earned savings gone.'" (Spurgeon)
· God was in control of his life, and no matter what the immediate source of adversity or tragedy was, it had to pass through the loving and wise hands of God before it could touch him.
· God was worthy to be blessed and praised in any and all circumstances of life.
i. "His words were of the profoundest philosophy. He recognized that man is more than the things he gathers about him." (Morgan)
ii. "Job sees only the hand of God in these events. It never occurs to him to curse the desert brigands, to curse the frontier guards, to curse his own stupid servants, now lying dead for their watchlessness. All secondary causes vanish. It was the Lord who gave; it was the Lord who removed; and in the Lord alone must the explanation of these strange happenings be sought." (Andersen)
iii. We can meditate on the implications of the words, the LORD gave:
· We should never think the good things of this world come to us from the earth; they come from heaven.
· They come to us as gifts; that is, they are undeserved.
· God gives His gifts with kindness and thoughtfulness.
· Knowing this sweetens the value of everything we have; things are more precious because they are gifts from a loving God.
· This prevents us from dishonesty; we want nothing in our hand except what God gives us, and do not want to mix what He gives with what the devil gives.
· It is foolishness to take pride in having more than what another has.
· It is easy to give back to God when we really understand that all we have comes from Him.
· We must always worship the Giver and not the gifts. The Giver is greater than the gifts He gives.

Blessed be the name of the LORD: This was the expression of worship mentioned in the previous verse. Job was able to bless the name of God even when he was specifically and severely tempted to curse the name of God.
i. "Remember the story of a man who was going to give a pound to some charitable institution. The devil said, 'No, you cannot afford it.' 'Then,' said the man, 'I will give two pounds; I will not be dictated to in this way.' Satan exclaimed, 'You are a fanatic.' The man replied, 'I will give four pounds.' 'Ah!' said Satan, 'what will your wife say when you go home, and tell her that you have given away four pounds?' 'Well,' said the man, 'I will give eight pounds now; and if you do not mind what you are at, you will tempt me to give sixteen.' So the devil was obliged to stop, because the more he tempted him, the more he went the other way. So let it be with us. If the devil would drive us to curse God, let us bless him all the more, and Satan will be wise enough to leave off tempting when he finds that, the more he attempts to drive us, the more we go in the opposite direction." (Spurgeon)

In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong: This demonstrates that Job did not sin or wrongly blame God when he said, "the LORD has taken away." He was right to understand that God was ultimately behind all things, even if the immediate responsibility for an event was not God's.
i. We are impressed with Job's perspective on material things. He truly understood what Jesus said: One's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses (Luke 12:15). There are few in the world today who would endure the loss of such a fortune with such godliness and patient endurance.
ii. We are impressed with Job's unshaken commitment to God, and his enduring love for God. Satan's accusation - that if blessings were taken from Job, he would curse God - was proved to be a lie, and we might say that God was justifiably proud of His servant Job.
iii. In this first round of spiritual warfare, Satan was singularly unsuccessful in shaking Job from his standing in faith. Job successfully battled against spiritual attack and fulfilled the exhortation that would come many hundreds of years later from the Apostle Paul: that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:13).
· Job made his stand against fear and did not give in to panic.
· Job made his stand against make-believe pretending and appropriately mourned.
· Job made his stand against pride and humbled himself before God.
· Job made his stand against self and decided to worship God.
· Job made his stand against a time-bound mindset and chose to think in terms of eternity.
· Job made his stand against unbelief and did not give in to vain questionings of God.
· Job made his stand against despair and saw the hand of God, even in catastrophe.
· Job made his stand against anger and did not blame God.
iv. This wonderful triumph of faith did not come from Job acting alone, but only as Job reacted to these disasters filled with and connected to God. We are not told that the Spirit of God filled Job to react this way and say these things, but we know it to be true. Satan was acting; but so was God in heaven. "He saith to himself, 'If Satan shall do much, I will do more; if he takes away much, I will give more; if he tempts the man to curse, I will fill him so full of love to me that he shall bless me. I will help him; I will strengthen him; yea, I will uphold him with the right hand of my righteousness.'" (Spurgeon)
v. Though we can say that God strengthened Job, there was no evident comfort from God; nor would there be for a long time. "Thirty-six chapters of agonizing soul-searching will elapse before the Lord so much as lifts a finger to begin comforting Job in these devastating losses." (Mason)
vi. "In this Satan was utterly disappointed; he found a man who loved his God more than his earthly portion... He had been so often successful in this kind of temptation, that he made no doubt that he should succeed again." (Clarke)


The accuser called Satan

v8 God said to Satan, 'I have a servant called Job. Nobody else in the world is like Job! Job is good and honest. He respects God. And Job refuses to do evil deeds.'

v9 Satan replied to God, 'Job respects you because you help him. v10 You are his guard. You protect him, as if a hedge surrounds him. You protect his family. You protect all his possessions. You have helped that man to succeed. Now, he is very wealthy. v11 But if you destroy Job's property, then Job will really insult you.'

v12 God said to Satan, 'I permit you to attack everything that belongs to Job. But you may not hurt Job himself.'

So, Satan left God.

Verse 8

God was proud of Job. Job was special to God.

Every Christian is special to God. God knows his people (2 Timothy 2:19). God knows everything about us (Matthew 10:30). He sees our secret actions (Matthew 6:3-4). He hears our quiet prayers (Matthew 5:6). He is better than a friend (John 15:15). He is closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). God loves his people. (See the Song of Solomon, or read Revelation 21:3-4 and 1 John 4:19.)

Verses 9-10

Satan is the accuser. Firstly, he accused God. Satan said that God was not fair. God was protecting Job so Satan could not attack Job!

Satan was wrong to argue that God is not fair. God is always fair.

But Satan was right that God protects his people. God rescues us when we have troubles (Psalm 40:1-3). God saves us from our enemies (Psalm 59). God helps us when we pray (Psalm 61). God is like a castle where we are safe (Psalm 61:1-2). We can always trust God (Psalm 71).

Verse 11

Then Satan accused Job. Satan thought that Job was not really loyal to God. Job served God because Job respected God. Satan thought that Job preferred wealth instead of God. Satan was wrong. Job was still loyal to God even when Job lost all his possessions.

Verse 12

In verse 11, Satan wanted God to destroy Job's property. But God did not agree to this request. God is not evil. God does not do terrible things to his people. God is never cruel. God refused to destroy Job's property.

However, sometimes God allows the devil to test us. God allows such troubles so that we learn to trust God more (1 Peter 1:7). Even when we suffer, we love God deeply. And God gives joy to us (1 Peter 1:8).
Terrible things might happen to us (Matthew 5:11). But we can be glad. God has a wonderful reward for us in heaven (Matthew 5:12). Stephen knew this. Stephen's enemies killed him because he spoke boldly about Jesus. But when Stephen was dying, he did not care about his pain. God showed heaven to Stephen. Stephen even saw Jesus in heaven (Acts 7:55). So Stephen was not afraid (Acts 7:59-60). He knew that God would reward him. And Stephen knew that heaven was his real home. (See 1 Peter 1:4.)

We must not be afraid of troubles. God knows us. And he cares about us. God decided what troubles Job would suffer. In verse 12, God did not allow Satan to hurt Job. In Job 2:6, God did not allow Satan to kill Job. Satan might cause many troubles, but God controls our lives.

We can trust God. He will not allow us to suffer troubles that are too difficult for us. And God will help us when we have troubles. See 1 Corinthians 10:13. We are not alone when we suffer troubles. God will help us. God will make us strong. We do not need to be afraid. Paul suffered many troubles (2 Corinthians 11:23-33). But he wrote that these troubles were slight. He knew that God is preparing a wonderful reward for us in heaven (Romans 8:18). So Paul was always glad (Philippians 4:4).

Job's troubles begin

v13 On the birthday of Job's oldest son, that son invited his brothers and sisters for a party. They were eating together in his house. And they were drinking wine.

v14 On that day, a servant came to Job. The servant said, 'Your oxen (farm animals) were ploughing. And the donkeys (small horses) were eating together. v15 But then, people from the nation called Sabea attacked. They took the animals. And they killed all your servants. I alone escaped to tell you.'

v16 While that servant was still speaking, another servant arrived. This other servant said, 'Fire came down from God in heaven! The fire burned your sheep. And the fire burned your servants. I alone escaped to tell you.'

v17 While this servant was still speaking, another servant arrived. This next servant said, 'People came from the nation called Chaldea. There were three groups. They stole your camels. They killed your servants. I alone escaped to tell you.'

v18 While he was still speaking, one more servant arrived. This last servant said, 'Your sons and daughters were in your oldest son's house. They were eating together. And they were drinking wine. v19 But then, a great wind blew from the desert. It was so strong that the house fell down. Everybody died. I alone escaped to tell you.'

Verse 13

A birthday should be a happy day. But this birthday was a terrible day. On this day, Satan attacked Job. Job's troubles came suddenly.

Job's children were not ready for that day. They were behaving quite as they always behaved. They were not trusting God. They were not ready to meet God. Instead, they were 'eating and drinking'.

Before Noah's flood, people were 'eating and drinking'. These people were not ready for the flood. The flood drowned them. And they were not ready to meet God (Matthew 24:37-39). People will also behave in this manner before Jesus returns. We must not behave like this. We must always be ready to meet God (Matthew 24:44). So we must invite God into our lives. And God will teach us to live in a way that pleases him.

Verses 14-17

The servants in verses 14-17 announced that Job had lost all his possessions. Job's sheep died in a terrible fire. Enemies stole Job's camels. Other enemies took Job's oxen (farm animals) and his donkeys (small horses). In the morning, Job was the wealthiest man in the east. But in the evening, Job was a very poor man.
Sometimes troubles happen suddenly. Each new trouble makes us weaker. We think that we have no strength. But then, a worse trouble comes. Jeremiah knew this. When Jeremiah's enemies attacked Jerusalem, the people in Jerusalem suffered terribly. The enemies destroyed the city. They killed many people. They took other people to be their slaves. But Jeremiah still remembered God's love. Jeremiah still knew that God is kind. So, Jeremiah was patient. And Jeremiah knew that God would still answer prayer (Lamentations 3:22-24).
Habakkuk wrote about this. Habakkuk could still feel joy even if his crops failed. He was glad because God would protect him. He was happy because God gave strength to him (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

Verses 18-19

Then, Job's troubles became even worse. Job's children were having a party. They were greedy. Perhaps the party was evil. Perhaps they drank too much wine. Job was worried about them. And Job was right to be worried. Job's children were not ready to meet God. They did not know that they would die.

The servant's news was terrible. Job's sons died. Job's daughters died. His servants died. Only the four servants in Job 1:14-19 were still alive. Satan was very cruel to Job. Job did not realise that Satan caused Job's troubles. Job thought that God had caused these troubles.

Job's reaction to the terrible news

v20 Then Job stood up. He tore his clothes to show that he was very sad. He shaved his hair to show that he had lost everything. Then, he knelt to praise God. (That is, Job bent his body to the ground.)

v21 Job said, 'I had nothing when I was born. And I will have nothing when I die. God gave many things to me. Now, God has taken these things from me. But I will still praise God.'

v22 Although Job's troubles were great, Job's words were not evil. And Job did not accuse God.

Verse 20

Satan did these terrible things to Job because Satan wanted Job to insult God (verse 11). Satan thought that Job would hate God because of these troubles. So Job's reaction was important to Satan.

Job's reaction was also important to God. God was proud of Job (verse 8). God said that Job was God's 'servant'. Like a servant, Job did God's work on earth (Job 31:16-23). As Christians, we are also God's servants (Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1). God has given great responsibility to us (2 Corinthians 5:20). So, when we have troubles, God wants us to behave wisely.

Job suffered very terrible troubles. We would not be surprised if Job was angry. We should have sympathy when people suffer.

Job was very sad. He carried out the traditions of his people. The sad news upset him greatly. But Job was not angry with God. Instead, Job praised God.

In one day, Job lost everything that he owned. But Job still praised God.

On that day, Job's sons and daughters died. But Job still praised God.
Job had been rich. Now he was poor. But Job still praised God.

Verses 21-22

Job knew that his possessions really belonged to God (Psalm 24:1).

Job thought that God had taken Job's possessions. And Job thought that this was fair. God gave him those things. And Job supposed that God had taken those things away. Job did not know that really Satan had done these terrible things. But Job did not accuse God. Job did not say that God was evil. Job continued to praise God.

Job was patient (James 4:11). Job did not know why these terrible events happened. But Job trusted God. Job continued to praise God. Job was still a servant of God. So Job was careful always to respect God.

Perhaps Job supposed that the most terrible things had happened to him. But soon he would suffer even more troubles.

We can learn many important lessons from Chapter 1:

  • God is good. He protects us. He provides for us.
    The devil is cruel. The devil causes our troubles.
    Sometimes God allows the devil to test us. At these times, God is still protecting us. God will help us.

When we have troubles, we should still trust God. We should continue to respect God. And we should praise God in every situation.

Job 1:8-22 Exposition


The Apostle Peter tells us, "that the testing (or proof) of your faith, more precious than gold which is perishable, though tested by fire, may be found to the praise and glory and honor in the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet 1:7). God tests the faith of his saints. Such testing, when successful, strengthens our faith by working patience in us. And when patience to rely upon God and upon Him alone has its perfect work, we become complete and whole, lacking in nothing (James 1:3-4). Such testing, while difficult, is always profitable. God tested Abraham, for example, in commanding him to sacrifice Isaac, the son of promise (Gen 22:1). Abraham relied upon God, stating to Isaac that, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son" (Gen 22:8). Indeed, Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead if necessary (Heb 11:19). Such testing rendered Abraham's great faith in God even stronger. The same may be said of Joseph as well. The word of God-that his family would bow down to him-tested him as he lived a slave and prisoner for some twenty years (Ps 105:19). Joseph learned to wait patiently on God.

The book of Job teaches the same lesson that God tests his people that they may learn to rely upon Him, and Him alone for all things. In fact, God designed this book as a pattern to aid us for the testing and strengthening of our faith. Trials and testing will come our way: loss of health, loss of family and friends, and even death itself. But the question is clear-will we live by faith as Job did or will we live by sight like many of the children of Israel did in the wilderness as well as the way the world daily lives? Job shows us how to live by faith.

In Job 1:6, God asks Satan, "Have you considered my servant, Job"? Satan, after cynically insinuating that Job's godliness exists solely because of his prosperity, admits that he never considered Job because God had built a hedge about him. Now God tests Job by taking away the hedge, allowing Satan to try Job in a variety of incredibly difficult ways. But God, always sovereign over all, limits Satan's authority. He can destroy his prosperity and family, but he cannot touch Job personally.

Loss of Prosperity and Family

Satan is anything but inept at his work. He does not attack Job in stages allowing Job time to recover after each attack. Instantaneously, Satan destroyed all that Job and his wife possessed. Their pain was excruciating; their loss, unimaginable.

Yet, Job responds with one of the greatest statements of faith in all Scripture: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" (1:21.) Job was not a fatalist, stoic, or tough guy who could take a punch. Although his pain is apparent by the tearing of his garments and by the emotion of his statements, Job did not charge God recklessly. Instead, Job recognizes that God gave him everything and that He was the source of all his blessing. He came into this world with nothing, and he would leave this world with nothing. Anything acquired during his life was by God's blessing alone. Certainly, he was in great agony. He acknowledged God's goodness even in tragedy. Job's thankfulness characterized his trust and reliance upon the Lord.

Loss of Health

Job, and apparently his wife, admirably overcame the first trial by relying upon the goodness of God, but now the second trial comes: the loss of health. "Skin or skin," says the accuser of the brethren, "Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life" (2:4). God allows Satan to take away Job's health, but again with limits-Satan cannot kill him. This limit, of course, is unknown to Job or to those around him; only we as the readers know what is going on. Both he and they believe that his death was near. And now even Job's wife, who apparently exercised remarkable faith in the first trial, suffers a setback. As she watches the persistent suffering of her husband scraping himself with a piece of broken pottery time and time again with great intensity to seek relief from the boils, she advises him, in a momentary lapse of faith, to abandon God and to end it all (2:9). Job's gentle rebuke indicates that she was not speaking like herself. He responds with another gem of faith, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" (2:10). Job's faith was not a fair-weathered faith. He relied on God in good times and in bad times. His was a faith that endures to the end. Job again did not sin with his lips. Finally, his friends come with the best of intentions to comfort and support Job in his time of need. Unfortunately for Job, Satan will use them as his last tool to increase Job's misery and to drive Job away from his God.

2. Job: His Problem

Persistent suffering affects our mind and body. Though in great pain and believing death imminent, Job vacillates between faith and doubt in the Lord. Having observed persistent suffering at hospital visitations, I have seen this wavering of the mind between faith and doubt. One moment, the afflicted express great faith, the next moment, great doubt. Such suffering changes the emotional state, which in turn, affects the personality. The Job of chapter three seems a different person from the Job of the first two chapters, but not completely so. His great faith returns from time to time, but now Job, his body wasting away and his mind racked by pain and loss, expresses doubt and confusion. And most disturbing, Job, and his friends, all believe that calamities and tragedies were judgments of God because of sin, and that prosperity and blessing were one-for-one rewards because of a person's righteousness. Though having many problems, for Job this is the problem.

Knowing his own innocence, Job is tormented with the problem of his suffering. Job, to be sure, denies his own perfection (13:26), but he also knows that he has not sinned to deserve this misery. To make matter worse, Job's friends, who come to comfort him, accuse and condemn him as a sinner. At first, Eliphaz appeals to Job's own example of admonishing and strengthening the weak (4:3-5). Having reminded Job of his fear of God and of his integrity (4:6), he gets to the point: you reap what you sow. "Whoever perished being innocent," states Eliphaz (4:7), "or where were the upright destroyed?" Eliphaz references the universal sinfulness of man, "Can man be pure before his Maker"? (4:17) Why God even charges his angels with error, he then presses home his point, "How much more those who dwell in houses of clay" (4:17-19). Eliphaz now reminds Job that "affliction does not come from the dust" (5:6). In short, your affliction is not happenstance; it comes from sin! Finally, Eliphaz calls on Job to repent, "But as for me, I would seek God." He assures Job that if he repented, God would bring relief and redeem him from all his troubles, so that even nature would be at peace with him, "For your covenant will be with the stones of the field" (5:8-23).

But Job cannot deny his conscience. He knows that he has not done what his friends and others think about him and think he has done before God. This burdens Job with yet another trial-the trial of false accusation and judgment. Job realizes his sinfulness, he even recognizes the rashness of his words (6:3), but he cannot understand what God is doing and why He is doing it to him. As the positions harden between Job and his friends, and as his friends continue to insist that God's ways against sinners are easily verifiable, Job words become more rash. In weak moments, he questions the providence of God. It seems that God destroys the wicked and the righteous (9:22). Indeed, the wicked at times do prosper (21:7-34). And though God knows of Job's innocence, God's hand is still heavy on Job (10:7). Job feels as if God has wronged him (19:6).

Job's words are only more evidence of guilt to his friends. "Your own iniquity teaches your mouth," declares Eliphaz, "and you choose the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth declares you guilty, and not I. Your own lips answer against you" (15:5-6). As Job spoke in his weakened condition, his friends showed no compassion or understanding to their suffering friend (6:14). They continue to press for his confession and repentance. The frustration and anger between Job and his friends increases. But Job will not relent.

The anger reaches a climax as the friends take their argument to its logical conclusion. If Job is suffering for his sin, and if he is suffering like no other man, then his sin or sins must be most heinous. And if Job still refuses to confess, his friends will inform him of his sins. Based solely on his own deductions from Job's sufferings, Eliphaz catalogues Job's endless sins: a taker of pledges from the poor, a withholder of food and water from the dying, an oppressor of the widow and orphan (22:5-11). He drinks up iniquity like water (15:16). This is libel. When the young man Elihu speaks later, he piles on more accusations of Job walking in the company of the wicked and of Job drinking up mockery (of God) like water (34:7-8). Job is insulted and hurt (19:2-3). His friends have brought only further trial and torment. Job returns the insults, calling them sorry comforters (16:2). He sarcastically claims that wisdom will die when they die (12:2). The situation has become personal. He compares their comfort to a wadi whose waters are gone in a moment, disappointing those who hope for waters (6:15). Neither side will yield. Job's problem remains.

3. Job: His Faith

But Job's faith also remains. Like a ship beaten and tossed about in the storm, Job's faith is holding against all odds and against all adversaries: the flesh, the Devil, the world, and his friends. God, having begun a good work in Job, will bring it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Though many have forsaken God because of their troubles, Job's faith is saving faith, the faith that overcomes all-including problems our minds cannot solve. Job takes consolation that he has not denied the word of the Holy One and that he has not forsaken the fear of the Almighty (6:10, 14). Job's faith in God will remain though he loses his life, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him" (13:15). Job knows that there is only One who can testify to his integrity, "Behold, my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is on high" (16:19). Job also knows that he has walked in God's ways, and he knows that when testing is over, whether in this life or in the next life, he will come forth as gold (23:10). Though his faith waxes and wanes and though his problem remains, his faith is the victory.

Job achieves this victory of faith in chapter 19, his lowest point. All sources of comfort and support are gone for him. His wife loathes his breath. His brothers are removed from him. His old servants treat him as a stranger. The children in the streets despise him. His friends have abandoned him (19:13-19). He even feels abandoned by God. "He breaks me down on every side," complains Job, "and I am gone, and He has uprooted my hope like a tree" (19:10). He appears hopeless. But Job, who against hope believed in hope, turns to his God. As if his mind switches again from doubt to faith, Job now expresses another great statement of faith. "As for me," declares Job, "I know that my Redeemer lives" (19:25). But this is no ordinary relative who can "buy back" Job from some financial or personal difficulty. On the contrary, "And at the end He will take His stand on the earth," exclaims Job, "Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God, whom I myself shall behold" (19:25-27). Job recognizes that God may not vindicate him in this life, but God will vindicate him yet. Even if it comes at the resurrection, his own eye will see his Redeemer, his Vindicator. Job has faith, not an inane, vague notion of positive thinking-a faith in faith. Like all saving faith, Job's faith has an object upon which it relies. Job's faith, trust, and reliance focuses upon God, his Redeemer (and, of course, the only Redeemer of the Lord's people is the Lord Jesus Christ). He believes, against all odds, that whether in this life or in the life to come, His divine Redeemer lives and that He will vindicate him. This is the victory that overcomes the world.

4. Job: His God

After Elihu speaks of the storm coming in the distance, God appears in that storm. Speaking out of the whirlwind, God begins to interrogate Job. Job wanted his day in court, and now he is getting it with God beginning the questioning. Does Job, asks God, understand any of My ways in creation? Well, if not that subject, how about nature in general? And if not that, pick your topic-the seas, light or darkness, the rain cycle, constellations, the animal kingdom, or anything else? God concludes, "Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it." Although Job now has his chance he wanted, he has no questions and no answers. "Behold," says Job, "I am insignificant; what can I reply to you"? (40:2-4) Now Job, who was previously self-confident in his complaint and arguments against God's treatment of him, abandons his self-dependence. Job now completely trusts in God and God alone. But God is not finished working in Job's heart, He resumes the questioning, asking about the Behemoth and Leviathan, awe-inspiring creatures. Job again remains silence. This time, however, he repents in dust and ashes.

But why repent? If we were questioned about nature and missed the answer, we would not repent. This is something far greater than a history lesson. God is revealing His infinite perfections and character to Job, in particular, His infinite wisdom and power. As God, or more precisely as Christ, appears to Job in the whirlwind and talks to Job, Job perceives the divine perfections. Job sees God, not with the physical eye (the invisible God is in the whirlwind), but with the eye of the soul or with the eye of faith. "I have heard of you," now asserts Job, "by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you" (42:5). It is as if formerly Job merely knew of or about God, but now he knows him. Certainly, Job had known God formerly, but his recent experience-both in his suffering and in his seeing God-led Job into a far greater knowledge of and relationship with God that seemed to make the former experience a mere hearing about Him. It is the difference between hearing about someone and having a close personal relationship with someone, the difference between knowing something merely with the head and knowing something with the heart. It is theoretical knowledge versus experiential knowledge.

Repentance was inevitable. He now understood that God is perfect in all His ways. His wisdom is infinitely perfect; therefore, His plan for Job (and for us) is infinitely perfect. Job's understanding of God and his faith in God, though excellent in so many ways, was too small, too limited. Since his mind could not understand God's ways from beginning to end, Job's faith faltered. But now Job knew God. And although he still could not comprehend God's ways with him, he could trust Him and His infinite wisdom in spite of his own finite understanding and knowledge. Job now wondered how he could have thought about God as he did. "Therefore," says Job, "I have declared that which I did not understand. Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know" (42:3).

Now God's work was complete in the great man of faith. God had refined and increased Job's faith, though he was the most faithful man of his day. God had expanded Job's knowledge of Himself, their personal relationship was now far deeper, though he was closer to God than any man of his day. And finally, God made Job an example for all who come after him, though he was already God's example in his own day. We will never arrive at perfection in this life. If Job, as the most godly man, could advance in faith by relying upon the Lord alone, so can we. Job lived by faith and not by sight. He relied upon God-not his friends, not his family, not his relatives, and especially, not himself. So must we if we are to live like Christians and not like the world.

If we are to advance in faith, we need the same vision of God that Job experienced. While God probably will never speak to us out of a whirlwind, we have a more sure word: the Bible. As read and mediated upon with the blessing of the Holy Spirit, the Bible increases our faith to rely upon God. From His word, we need to see Him and His infinite perfections, so that when the difficult day comes-and it will-we might follow in the steps of that great trailblazer of the faith: Job.


The Apostle James tells us, "Consider it all joy, by brothers, when you fall into various trials" (James 1:2). We do not usually think this way. We usually attempt to avoid trials at all costs. But those who live by faith understand that such trials provide the opportunity to rely upon God and to exercise and strengthen their faith. Such trials can bring certainty to our faith in God as He answers our prayers, as He guides us in life, and as He supplies our needs and requests to Him. Indeed, as we live by faith, God becomes the Living God by demonstrating His presence in our lives. May we look to the perfect One, whose word is life, whose way is sure and just, and whose redemption in Jesus Christ is our only hope.