Job 1: Why Study Job?

Job 1:  Why Study Job?

I believe Job was a real person. I believe this story really occurred. Yet most people would not choose to study such a book because of the suffering which includes the loss of family, prosperity and health. And I believe the fact we do not want to study and consider such things is one of the reasons we must study such things. The enemy of your soul has many reasons why he does not want you to study this book because of what happens to him.  Why do we study Job? Because sometimes the pain and suffering in life cause us to ask God: Why is this happening to me and my family? Why now? What did I do to deserve this?

We know sometimes we bring seasons of suffering on ourselves by our sin or neglect. Not taking care of your teeth can cause pain, can’t it?  This is our own carelessness and neglect. Other times we are chastened for our sin, as we studied in Hebrews 12.

But how do we deal with the unexpected, the seemingly undeserved suffering?  The adversity which comes into each of our lives at sometime.  Consider Job. A wealthy righteous man in good health, wonderful family and probably the envy of everyone living around him. Then in one day he loses it all. And what causes us to stay away from the book, is because we know God had a hand in it. It appears to be almost a wager God has with the Satan.

How are we supposed to deal with these situations?  Our study of Hebrews gives us an example:  The Lord Jesus was able to endure the suffering and shame of the cross for the joy set before Him.  He focused on what was coming. We are told to keep our eyes on Him. He is our leader and our instructor.

We will see this test, is not only of our faith, but also it tests the extent and depth of our love for God. Do you love him more than your family? More than your possessions? Your happy and successful lifestyle? How do we love the Lord with all our heart?  Remember when God gives a command, He also provides the wherewithal to obey it.   In Deut. 6, God says we are to love Him with all our heart, the first and greatest commandment.  Then in Deut. 30: 6 we read:  “The Lord God will circumcise your hearts, so that you might love Him with all your heart.”

Job says in Job 23:10: “He (God) knows the way I take; and when He has tested (tried) me, I shall come forth as gold.”   If we can personalize gold as Job does in this metaphor, we could ask gold does it fear the fire?  Gold would reply it is fire which burns off the dross and enables me to be as pure as possible. Why would I fear something which makes me better and also because I know the one who tests me and controls the fire?  Whatever burns up was not worth having.   Henry Ford said, “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”  My best friend is Jesus and He uses adversity and the adversary to bring out the best in me sometimes.

My God tells me: “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43: 2B    My God also tells me: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness. I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.” Isaiah 45: 6, 7.

Studying the book of Job will help us understand who God is. We are to believe God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do.  Hebrews 11:6 states – without faith it is impossible to please God and those who come to Him must believe He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Last week in Hebrews 13, we read:

1.      God will never leave me nor forsake me.

2.      God is my helper.

3.      Jesus is the same today, as yesterday as tomorrow.

This means God will never fail me. Yet we sometimes we live our lives in the apprehension something bad is going to happen to us.  The book of Job challenges us to grapple with God’s Sovereignty. Job sets before us a universe in which God is completely sovereign, yet in which He governs the world sometimes through the agency of evil powers.  One of the most in-depth stories in the Bible is in the Genesis’ story of Joseph. God devotes almost 1/3rd of Genesis to this story.  It is a story of betrayal, hatred, false accusations, an innocent young man imprisoned. But Joseph through the eyes of faith sees, what was intended for evil – God used for good.

The book of Job will teach us to reject false teaching. There is the prosperity gospel which some teach that God’s purpose is that you have plenty of money, and you and your family enjoy wealth, health and happiness.

The book of Job and the New Testament will teach us God wants us to transform us to the image of His son and to be able to identify with those who suffer. And today in the world there are Christians being persecuted and put to death for their faith.  Job also helps us find hope in the midst of pain.  If you have ever experienced hopelessness, you know how vital it is to find hope.

Job gives us a glimpse of heaven. Job can be a life-changing, life shaping experience, as we experience God as He really is in all His attributes.

Often in movies we see two events taking place in different locations each unaware of the other, but they share the same story and as the movie unfolds we see how the two separate events are connected. The two locations are heaven and earth.  We sometimes forget everything which happens here in the present time on earth is connected with what is taking place in heaven.

WHO OR WHAT DO YOU TRUST?

The world of unbelievers questions us about our unseen God, “So where is their God? But our God is in heaven: He does what He pleases. Their (unbelievers) idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They (their idols) have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see. They have ears, but do not hear. Noses they have, but they do not smell. They have hands, but they do not handle; feet they have, but they do not walk.” (Psalm 115)

These idols offer no protection, no promises, no prayers are heard, no powers are exhibited, they are powerless, and there is no experience of their presence they are not alive.

Our God and the God of Job is alive, He helps us, and He blesses us. He deserves our praise; we are to glorify Him and trust Him and fear Him out of reverence and awe for who He is. 

SCENE ONE- THE EARTH.

Job 1: 1-5   These verses tell us of the wealth of Job and also of his righteousness. These verses speak of a very successful businessman, who has vast holdings in land and livestock and servants. He also has 7 sons and three daughters. We see as a parent, Job was concerned about his children’s relationship with God.

The first verse tells us where he lives, Uz, and his name, Job. It also tells us he is: blameless, upright, feared God and shunned evil. Job was not sinless, but he was a mature believer, a man of character and integrity.   The foundation of his moral character and blamelessness, his upright standing is found in the next two truths:  he feared God and shunned evil. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and shunning evil is understanding who God is.  Oswald Chambers says “The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas, when you do not fear God you fear everything else.”

So the stage is set. We have a picture of Job, his family, his wealth, his character. He is a man blessed by God.  Now the prosperity preachers would love these first five verses as a text and proof of what they preach- but they would not know what to make of the next scene.

SCENE TWO- HEAVEN.

Now what happens in the next scene occurring at the same time is astounding. The NIV says: “One day the angels (referred to as ‘sons of God ‘in KJV) came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan also came with them.”  These verses give us the distinct impression both the angels and Satan must come to report to God as a matter of regular routine. Angels are created intelligences and are responsible creatures. They are requested to give a report of their actions.

Satan is included in this group. He also must give a report to God. This tells us Satan is under the authority of God and operates under the restrictions of God, as the story will tell us. God asked where he has been. Satan replies he has been roaming the earth and walking up and down in it. May I remind you Satan is not in hell yet. He will be cast in the lake of fire at the final judgment in Revelation 20. He may go about as a roaring lion, but he is on a leash held by God Almighty.

Notice God finds no fault in Job, but Satan, who is our adversary, did find fault in Job.   This is a courtroom experience; our Advocate has declared us Not Guilty. But Satan has said, “Guilty!”, because he is an accuser of the brethren. (Rev. 12)  However, the devil’s accusation against Job was really an attack on God.  What God has declared Not Guilty- he has accused as guilty. He once again questions God’s word.

Here is what this trial is based on:  Satan presents his case before the multitudes of heaven. He says the only reason Job fears God and behaves the way he does is because God has put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has. You have blessed him with great wealth, health and family. He worships you and loves you because of how you have blessed him with a wonderful life.  You protect him and prosper him, no wonder he worships you. You pay him exceedingly well. If you did not- he would not worship you and love you. Take it all away and I bet you he will curse you. 

Do you see what the enemy of your soul is saying? He is saying God is not worthy of worship, this is why he pays people like Job to worship him and love him. 

God agrees to allow Satan strike everything Job has, but not to lay a hand on Job’s person.

WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON HERE? WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING?

Probably you have used this expression before or had your mother use this expression or one similar to express dismay at a mess you have made as a child.  Job’s story allows us to see what in going on in earth is directly related to what is going on in heaven. Job’s life was a battlefield where the forces of God and Satan were involved in a battle to decide the question: “Is Jehovah God worthy of mankind’s worship?”  Do you see what is at stake here?

Satan leaves to do what God has allowed him to do. We read of the Sabean’s attack which killed his servants and took away his oxen and donkeys. Then fire from heaven, probably a lightning strike, kills his sheep and servants. While this servant was still telling him of this catastrophe, another comes up to speak of the Chaldeans forming three raiding parties and taking away all his camels and putting all his servants to the sword.

Then the unthinkable, his children, all 10 of them, feasting together were killed by a violent storm, a tornado. 

Notice there are two acts of violence caused by evil men, but also two acts of nature caused by what insurer adjuster call today, ‘ acts of God.’

Job’s reaction:  tremendous grief. He did what anyone in his time and culture would do- he tore his robe, he saved his head and grieved.  But watch what else he did: He fell to the ground and worshipped God, saying:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

“In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”

IMPORTANT TRUTHS:

1.      God is sovereign in all things. He is on His throne in heaven and angels do His will and report to Him, even Satan. Satan can do nothing to God’s people without God’s permission.

2.      There is a hedge of protection around us. This hedge can come down only for two reasons: God allows it or you remove it by walking outside God’s will. Satan cannot take it down.

3.      Satan has access to God’s throne in heaven. He is not in hell; he roams the earth of which he is the prince of power of the air.

4.      God finds no fault in Job or any of us who are born again believers. Satan does and will accuse of being guilty when God says we are not guilty.

5.      Satan can touch God’s people only with God’s permission. And God uses it for our good and His glory.

Sometimes it seems life is not fair.  Job was a real person and this is a real story.

Job was a righteous man.  So adversity from our adversary comes to the righteous. It came to Job, Daniel Joseph, the disciples and the Lord Jesus.

Job was learning about the sovereignty of God. Job would discover the only source of peace in the storms of life is in God. Job was learning he could be sure of God’s love.

And for all of you who are not familiar with the book of Job and this suffering scares you. Let me just promise you one thing- this book, this story has a happy ending!

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