The meaning of the name “JOB” is “The persecuted one”. Job was a most respected man. Job was the greatest of the Israel’s ancestors. Job was an excellent example of patient and persistent faith. Job is a perfect illustration of true Faith. The question “why the righteous suffer” is perfectly answered by the book JOB. Ancient society believed that human suffering was the result of one’s sin or at least a God’s displeasure. The book of Job illustrates the nature of true faith both from the point of view of people and of God. For humans, it is, trusting in God as the creator and sustainer of life even when all is not going well and when He is not visibly present to help us. From God’s point of view, the story proves God’s faithfulness to His creatures despite their weaknesses and inability to understand what is happening.
The book illustrates the nature of God and His justice in dealing with humankind, a justice people often cannot recognize and never fully understand. The book is a unique work depicting the life of one man and his efforts to understand his ‘GOD’ and his own situation in his life. Job’s encounter with life brought him face to face with God and made him to understand that God had everything under His control. STORY- Job was a very wealthy and religious man who seemed to have life under control. However, unknown to him, Satan challenged his righteousness. God allowed the challenge, but limited Satan’s power. In quick succession, Satan destroyed all of Job’s possessions including even his children. However, Job did not blame God nor questioned His integrity.
Satan then challenged God to let him attack Job’s personal health. God agreed but warned him not to kill Job. Without trace of any symptoms a disease fell upon Job. Yet he still refused to blame God. Job’s wife asked Job to curse God and die, but Job said, “God has given everything and He has taken everything back” and in bad and good he wanted to praise God. Job’s friends were shocked and dismayed. They came to encourage Job and offer their help. To this point Job displayed a traditional faith accepting suffering as inevitable and patiently enduring it. After the traditional time of mourning had passed, Job cried out wondering why he was ever born or allowed to reach maturity. Job’s faith turned to a challenge, seeking faith, confronting God, demanding escape and explanation. In all the bitter questioning, faith lived, for Job turned only and always to God for answers. At this point, Job’s friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar silent no longer and thus began to speak.
FRIENDS-1.) ELIPHAZ – told Job that he must have sinned, for God was surely punishing him. However, there was still hope if he would confess his sin and turn to God. JOB – was stunned and assured Eliphaz that he was ready to meet God and work out any problem that he might have. 2.) BILDAD – The second to speak added that, if Job had not sinned it must have been his children, for obviously God was punishing him for some wrong. However, Bildad, too, held out hope if Job would just confess his sins. JOB – was deeply hurt and wondered aloud whether or not he could get a hearing before God. 3.) ZOPHAR – The third to speak and the most brash of the friends called upon God to meet with Job, for he was sure that when the two meet, Job would see the error of his ways and repent. JOB – held to his integrity, but continued to seek an audience with God so that he could come to understand what was happening and why.
Job’s friends were not satisfied. ELIPHAZ – spoke again and reminded Job that all people including Job had sinned and needed to repent. Thus, if Job would just repent, God would forgive him. JOB – realized that he was getting nowhere with his friends, so he called upon the rest creation to witness to his integrity. BILDAD – reminded Job of the many proverbs which spoke of the fate of the wicked. In so doing, was implying that what had happened to Job was the result of sin. JOB – was becoming increasingly frustrated for his friends and family seemed to have abandoned him, yet he was unwilling to give up on God. Thus, in a most beautiful way he affirmed that he would be provided justice, if not in this world, then in the world to come. ZOPHAR – was hurt, for he and his friends were being ignored, if not totally disagreed with. Thus, he declared that the wicked would suffer great pain and great suffering and that all the forces of the Nature would turn against them. Zophar included Job in that group of people. JOB- turned to Zophar and harshly said “no” for as he observed, sometimes the wicked did Prosper. However, that did not mean that God was not in control or that He would not one day bring about real justice.
Though Job’s friends listened to him patiently, they were also becoming increasingly frustrated. ELIPHAZ – intensified his charge that Job’s suffering was the result of his own sinfulness by listening the various sins of which he thought Job was guilty. Then again he called upon Job to repent. JOB- by this time was in such pain that he all but ignored Eliphaz’s comments and cried out to God for relief. BILDAD – not to be out done, reminded Job again to consider the nature and character of God, for since God was not unjust, Job surely must have sinned. JOB- in sarcastic tones asked the friends where they got their wisdom and then pleaded with them to look to God for real understanding and faith. Apparently at this point, the three friends, having exhausted their arguments once again became silent. JOB – then turned and reflected both upon the true nature of wisdom and his own place in existence. In one of the most beautiful descriptions of wisdom found in the entire Bible, Job concluded that real wisdom or meaning to life could only be found in a proper faith relationship with God. The fear of the Lord is the wisdom of knowledge. Though Job knew this was true and though he sought to live a righteous life he was still hurting and did not understand why. Thus, Job cried out unto God, reminding God of how he had lived righteously and faithfully in the past and had been respected for it, but now when he was suffering everyone had turned against him, and death seemed very near. Thus, Job issued a final plea for God to provide justice to him. With this, Job’s cause was made.
Job paused to await an answer from God. At this point, a young man named “ELIHU” rose to speak. Though most of what he had to say had already been said, he gave four speeches. Each of which sought to justify God’s action. ELIHU connected that God speaks to all people, and thus, even though he was a young man, he had every right to speak and even had the understanding to do so. ELIHU reiterated the view that God was just and thus what had happened to Job was well deserved. ELIHU sought to show that God honored the righteous and condemned the wicked. ELIHU then pleaded with Job to accept what had happened to him as an expression of God’s discipline and to humbly repent and seek God’s forgiveness.
Finally Elihu realized that Job really was not listening, and so he stopped speaking. SUDDENLY, OUT OF THE MIDST OF A WHIRL WIND GOD BEGAN TO SPEAK. Basically GOD said 2 things. 1.) GOD described the marvels of creation and then asked Job if he could have done any better than God had created. JOB – quickly responded that he could not, for he, too, was just a creature of God. 2.) GOD described how God controlled the world and everything in it. And then asked Job, if Job could do a better job than God. JOB- admitted that he could not. And that he did not need to for now he had seen God and clearly realized that God had everything well under control. God was apparently very much pleased with Job and Job’s responses. However, God rebuked the three friends and commanded that they ask Job to seek intercession for them. Job’s friends realized that there are two sufferings in this world 1.) The suffering of the Righteous and 2.) The suffering of the wicked. The suffering of the righteous yields the good result and the suffering of wicked leads to destruction if they do not repent. Then God restored all Job’s fortunes and even gave him more children. In the end Job found meaningful life, not in intellectual reasons or arguments or even in himself, but in experiencing God and his faith relationship to God.
JOB’S MESSAGE TO EVERYONE - The issues all people face today do not admit of easy answers. Two important issues are-1). The cause and effect of suffering. 2). The justice and care of God. We must accept the fact that suffering is a part of human life to be endured through trust in God in good and bad times. Human frustration is with problems for which they cannot find answers. Yet, we must not give up on God and life. Rather we must constantly confront God with cries for help and for answers. Faith can be more than simple acceptance. Faith can be struggling in the dark for answers but struggling with God not with other people in this world. We should seek God to find God. We have to present our claims of innocence to God. If anyone sins his conscience proves him that he is a sinner. If anyone doesn’t sin his conscience tells him that he is innocent. A sinner has to repent but an innocent has to take his plea to God. God cares. God still controls the world even a world with unexplainable suffering, and God’s creative acts prove that humans must live under God’s control. The human mind cannot control all knowledge nor understand all situations. People must be content with God who speaks to them. People cannot demand that God should give all the answers we might want. God can be trusted in the worst of circumstances as well as in the best.