Blogging through the Bible: Job 1-5

Friday, January 08, 2016

the book of Job
Image via


The first full week of the New Year is officially over! You made it. If you decided to study along with me, you would have read the background of Job's suffering.

At some point or another in our lives we find ourselves asking one of the following, if not all of the following questions in some shape or fashion:

1. When I suffer, can I be certain God is punishing me?
2. What does God think when I argue with Him? 
3. Are religious 'experts' always right? 

The first two chapters of Job shows that it is indeed possible to have just people suffer in an unjust world and chapters 3-14 (if you are one who likes to read ahead) demonstrates that our human answers be it in the form of friends or religious counsel do not satisfy, and as such we must call on God.

As I look back through my notes from this week's reading, I'd like to share my observations and I would love to hear what God showed you this week as you read as well.

Job 1: 

The first verse describes Job as being "perfect and upright, and one that feared God and eschewed evil." Was anyone else curious to know what this meant or am I the only one? 

After searching and following cross-texts in my Bible, I came to Genesis 6:9 which speaks of Noah being "just", and then to Proverbs 8:13 which tells us that the fear of God is to "hate evil: pride and arrogance and the evil way and the froward mouth..."
If you would recall from this chapter, Satan entered a meeting of God with the sons of God-who are leaders of un-fallen worlds; after roaming the corners of the earth he found that there was one man in the land of Uz, who was blessed beyond measure and 'perfect'. This must have made Satan furious; knowing that the earth possessed a man, who was blessed by God and doing his best to live life according to the principles and promises of God's word. He had to act! Here he was now in the presence of God. 

Let's rewind for a second, recall that Satan was kicked out of heaven along with his followers because he allowed sin (his selfish desire to be worshipped as God was, and his pride) to envelope his heart and his being.  Now  we can clearly see that Satan's agenda before and after his fall has been to prove that God cannot be worshipped by 'mere mortals' or other created beings solely based on their free will, but our worship is rooted in our desire to be blessed. His desire is to misrepresent God's character and to cause men to cherish a false conception of the Creator, which would lead man to hate and be fearful of God. (Isa. 14:12-14)

Satan in verse 11 of Job 1 makes his request to prove that the reason Job is "perfect and upright" is because of God's protection and his bountiful blessing. This chapter demonstrates (to me) the length at which Satan goes to provoke followers of God to turn away from God and it goes on further to demonstrate God's unconditional love for us and the freedom of choice we are given. Whether we choose to live a life that's perfect and upright, fearing God, or to disregard His word and work in our lives and to live according to our own merit, He allows us to make our own decisions without any form of arm twisting on His part. 

Job's perfection by no means was absolute or faultless perfection, however, it was based on the integrity, sincerity and consistency on the whole in all relations of his life which was seen by his continuance of offering prayers of sanctification on behalf of his children who chose to 'curse God in their hearts.' (Job 1:5)

Job


It is very easy to praise and follow God in the good times, as it is to say "thank-you" to someone who has just extended kindness or love to us. The true test of our faith is how we respond when we are experiencing seasons of tribulations. 

I do my best, and I'll admit I'm not always successful, however I do try, to remain faithful during these times by reminding myself of situations I have survived thanks to God's deliverance. 

It's like this, knowing that I serve a God who is the creator of the universe and who declares in His word that He will provide for me as He does for the birds of the air (Matt 6:26) allows me to face those bad times with joy. 

Job teaches us that in the midst of our suffering, we can still have joy. 


Job 2:

Once again we see that Satan presents himself uninvited to a meeting God held with the leaders of un-fallen worlds. Do you see a pattern here? Satan is declaring ownership of the earth, and is attending these meetings as leader/ruler of the earth.  

After his last appearance, he received permission to attack Job, with the disclaimer that he is to spare his life. Satan returns now to report although he has failed, he returns to seek permission to destroy Job. God refuses to allow Satan to claim Job's life but gives him permission to carry on. 

The second chapter introduces Job's wife. Someone I'm sure he must have loved dearly and thought highly of. Here we see how Satan unbeknownst to us, uses people closest to us, to plant seeds of doubt in our minds during our suffering. Regardless of this, Job remains steadfast in his faith and he does not curse God. 

encouragement


I have had experiences where I was subtly encouraged to walk away from God and I'm sure you have too. This encouragement may not be as blatant as we saw in Job 2, but they do occur. It seems in my life for the one person who may encourage me to go give up on God, there are at least two more who are encouraging me to keep the faith and to seek Him. 

At times we may have to respond boldly as Job did and in other instances our actions will transform that persons life. We are encouraged to remain faithful and to trust in God's plan. 

Job 3:

At the end of Chapter 2 Job is joined by his friends and chapter 3 begins with Job expressing himself. Firstly I cannot fathom the pain Job must have been in at this moment, and I commend him for not responding as he did sooner. As he starts to curse the day of his birth, I am reminded of the similarity of his words to that of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 20:14). 

Reflect for a moment on your life; do you a recall a time when you cursed the day you were born? or simply wished you were not experiencing difficulty? 

Job and Jeremiah both serve as encouragement for us. You see, Job was faithful to God and Jeremiah prophesied as God instructed and yet they both found themselves on the receiving end of pain, sorrow, ridicule and suffering. Quite frankly, they are human as we are, and there is only so much we can tolerate before we break down and just wish it would all disappear. 

difficult times and God

2 Corinthians 2:8-10 provides us with comfort in those times when we find ourselves questioning why we are experiencing certain things. It tells us "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

That alone reassures us that Christ wants us to afford him the opportunity to be our strength during our difficulties. Knowing this why should we be disheartened or discouraged? It definitely makes me look at my struggles in another light; what about you?

Job 4:

Don't you just hate hearing "everything's going to be okay" when you're going through something. When I am discouraged and completely weary, nothing annoys me more when friends try to console me and attach "everything is going to be okay" to their sentiments. Not that they are entirely wrong, just that sometimes to the believer that can go without saying. 

In chapter 4 Job is still in the presence of his friends who are saddened by the condition he is in. One of his friends Eliphaz is moved to speak, he begins by reminding Job of who he is and the good he has done. In verse 6 he asks "Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope and the uprightness of thy ways?" If we look at Proverbs 3:26 here we see that in every situation the Lord shall be our confidence, keeping our foot from being moved-Eliphaz is doing his best to remind Job to whom he is faithful and who holds his source of strength. 

Trials and Gods promises

At this moment, Job found it hard to cope with what he was enduring. Similarly we find ourselves at this same point during our difficult seasons of life. During David's affliction in Psalm 119: 67, 71, 75 he confesses that before his affliction he was not diligent in following God, as we sometimes are, however his experience taught him the law of God and allowed God to demonstrate His faithfulness to Him without any distractions. This is what we experience too because we are so distracted by our possessions, our positions and achievements sometimes in order to be reconnected with God, we must be stripped of these things. During these difficult seasons of life we are to boldly confess our sins to God (Rev 3: 19) and remember that trials are 'chastisements for their good to the righteous' (Prov. 3:12, Heb. 12:6). 

Job 5:

As we do our best to live in this world of sin as followers of Christ, we are reminded that we are born into sin and are prone to experience the trouble that exists here and in those moments when we experience trouble we are to call to God for help (Job 5:6-9). 

I found this chapter to be a good chapter to close the week on as it ends with encouragement and allows reflection on what was revealed in the preceding chapters. 



For most of you who regularly follow my blog, you are aware that I am a student and that alone presents its own share of challenges. Like most of you would also know, tertiary education is far from being cheap or affordable. At our University and I assume most employ this standard, in order to sit examinations and to receive your grades your fees must be paid in full before the listed examination date. 

Finding the silver lining in difficult financial moments is becoming easier for me to do as I have seen God provide every red cent that I needed hours before I was suppose to sit the end of year exam. 

When God answers my prayers and when I pray, completely trusting and believing that He will work in His timing to strengthen my faith and that of others around me, it becomes easy to stand on His promises and to pray claiming every single one because He is God, ruler, creator and owner of this world and Lord of my life who has called me to great things. At the end of the day He expects for me to continually trust Him and to apply myself in all areas of my life. 

I encourage you today to stand boldly on the promises of God. To use His word as a source of strength and to diligently study His word and hide it in your heart so that in your moments of difficulty you can find the silver lining. 



Did you enjoy the first five chapters of Job? What did you learn as you read? Were you encouraged? Did you find yourself questioning Job's actions or that of his wife? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to answer the discussion questions in the comment section below. 

You Might Also Like

0 comments

Subscribe