Home > Bible Journal > January 5th, Job 1-3: The beginning of Job’s suffering

January 5th, Job 1-3: The beginning of Job’s suffering

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

So, here’s the first curveball of the chronological Bible study. Genesis is the first book in the Bible, while Job is the eighteenth. So you wouldn’t think of Job happening concurrently with the time of Abraham, Issac, or Jacob, but nonetheless the clues are there that the events of Job happened around that period.

Job 1:1 says, “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” Let’s get this straight right off the bat: Job was a good man.

Not only was Job a godly man, you might say, but he also possessed enormous wealth. He had seven sons and three daughters, 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen and 500 donkeys. He also had a large number of servants. They didn’t call Job “the greatest man among all the people of the East” for nothing (Job 1:3b).

To try to put that in context, think of Steve Jobs of Apple. Okay, maybe not as rich as Bill Gates, but the dude has plenty of moolah in his pocket.

So, one day the angels came before the Lord, and Satan [ed. note: commentary notes that Satan means accuser] was among them. The Lord asked Satan where he had come from.

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” (Job 1:7)

Then the Lord asks Satan to consider His servant Job, an upright and blameless man. But Satan scoffs and replies that God has made it too easy for Job. Taken away from his riches, surely Job will curse God.

The Lord allows Satan to take all of Job’s possessions, but on the man himself Satan could not lay a finger.

Have you ever heard the saying, when it rains, it pours? Well bad news flooded Job.

While Job’s sons and daughters feasted and drank at the older brothers’ house…

A messenger came up to Job. In turns out that the oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing nearby, when the Sabeans cut through and took all the livestock and put the servants to the sword.

While the first messenger was still speaking, a second messenger came to Job. The fire of God just burned all the sheep and servants.

While the second messenger was still speaking, a third messenger came. The Chaldeans had just come through and took all of Job’s camels and killed his servants.”

While the third messenger was still speaking, a fourth messenger came. A mighty wind had collapsed the house of Job’s eldest sons, killing all of his children.

Personally, I would assume the fetal position and cry myself to sleep, but Job was different. He tore his robe and shaved his head. Then, amazingly, he fell to the ground in worship.

Let me repeat that. After losing tremendous wealth and all of his children, Job fell to the ground in worship.

And it is here that we get a phrase uttered so beautifully that it has even permeated pop culture, i.e. the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away. It comes from Job 1:21.

The NIV says:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.”

The poetic KJV says:
21And 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.

More importantly, in all this Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:22)

So, on another day the angels again present themselves before the Lord, and Satan the accuser was with them again. The Lord asked Satan where he had come from, and Satan again responded he had been roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.

Again, the Lord asks Satan to consider His servant Job, who maintained his integrity despite being ruined without reason. Ah, but Satan scoffs yet again and states that many men would trade their entire wealth for good health. Satan wants skin for skin, an afflicted Job surely would curse God.

The Lord gives Satan permission to bring bodily harm to Job, but Satan must spare Job his life.

Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and places painful sores all over Job’s body. Poor Job was reduced to scraping himself with a piece of broken pottery.

His wife questioned why Job held so steadfastly to his integrity, even imploring him to curse God.

He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept the good from God, and not the trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:10)

Then Job’s three friends came to visit him. They were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. Hold on a second here. Remember that Job was once a great and powerful man. Great and powerful men have friends, and they often have friends in far places. Logically, you would think that these men would be quite wealthy themselves.

On top of that, they’re from three different nations or tribes. It’d be like if you had gotten into trouble, and Oscar the Brazilian, Juan the Bolivian, and Dudley from Canada came to visit you. Keep that in mind.

Now when Job’s friends saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him. They tore their robes [ed. note: Either the clothes were flimsier back then or people were just stronger] and sat with Job in silence for seven days and seven nights. They could not speak because they saw how great his suffering was.

In movies that feature a battle between good and evil, there frequently comes a scene where the dastardly antagonist gets to torture one of the heroes or maybe even the hero himself. A common phrase that is uttered is that the villain will make the other person “wish he’d never been born.”

That’s exactly what Job wished in Chapter 3: That he’d never been born. He must have had a lot of time to think about it, because he says it several different ways.

Job cursed the day of his birth.

Questions: Doesn’t bad news seem to come all at once in our lives? And have you ever cursed the day of your birth?

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  1. De Tu
    January 24, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    This was an inspiration to me. Thanks, Su Phu, for posting this up 🙂

    • D2
      January 24, 2011 at 10:15 PM

      You’re welcome, and thanks for commenting! ^_^

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