Monday, January 2, 2012

Job 1 & 2 - Job's Example of Suffering

LINK: Job 1 & 2

Doesn't "January in Job" sound great! Job is the only poetical book we did not study last year because it was too big to insert in the historical time period of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc) without interrupting the historical flow. So, we have saved it for now.  

BACKGROUND

We do not know for sure when Job was written, but it was believed to have been written during the time of the patriarchs approximately 2000-1800 B.C. It is set in the land of Uz which was believed to be in northeast Palestine, near the desert land between Damascus and the Euphrates River.

Job 1-2 is the prologue of the book. Job is introduced as a man of character who feared the Lord. He had wealth, position, seven sons (often considered evidence of divine blessing) and three daughters. Satan accused Job of being upright only because God had blessed him. He conjectured that Job would not be pious if he were not blessed. Thus, Satan concluded that Job was worshiping God for selfish reasons. So, God allowed Satan to test him. Many have wondered why God would allow this but God knew Job's heart, and he used Job in order to silence Satan. In addition, God wanted to deepen Job's spiritual insight. You also may wonder why Satan was in heaven! Apparently, Satan had and still has access to heaven (Revelation 12:10). He also walked and still walks the earth because the earth is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19).

Satan was allowed to test Job in two areas. First, Job was tested on his possessions and offspring (1:6-22) and second on his health (2:1-10). In all of this, Job recognized God's sovereign right to be God and worshipped Him in spite of His circumstances!

Job 2 closes with the three "comforters." We will soon see that their "monologues" are not very comforting. Stay tuned.

REFLECTION

Attitude is everything.

One of my favorite verses is Job 2:10:
But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Even though Job's wife wanted him to curse God, he did not do so. He kept his perspective on God's sovereign purposes for his life.

Life would be so much easier if we were more like Job and were able to accept adversity along with the good. It is God's way of conforming us to His image. It is a hard lesson to learn, and I am praying some people I am involved with right now will learn from his life!

APPLICATION

Job will be an excellent study to develop your own "theology of suffering." How do your respond when adversity comes? What is your attitude toward suffering?

PRAYER

Lord, help us to have an expanded view of Your sovereignty and a deeper understanding of suffering as we read the book of Job. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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