Job was one of the godliest and wealthiest men of the ancient world. The Bible says he “was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil…he was the greatest man among all the people of the East” (Job 1:1, 3).
One day when the angels gathered, God presented Job for Satan’s consideration. Satan suggests that Job only fears God because God has protected him. He taunts that if God would strike Job down, Job would surely curse Him.
God gives Satan permission to do to Job whatever he pleases (except take his life). In one day Job loses his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, sons, and daughters. After this Satan afflicts him with painful sores all over his body.
But Job keeps his faith and maintains his integrity. The Bible says, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing…in all this, Job did not sin in what he said” (Job 1:22, 2:10).
When three of Job’s friends hear of his troubles, they come to “sympathize with him and comfort him” (Job 2:11). Unfortunately, they prove much better at accusing than comforting! They say he must repent of sin for his suffering to be alleviated.
Yet Job defends his innocence. He longs for someone to plead his case before God. He also longs to appear in court with God, so he can bring a charge against Him.
Finally, God appears to Job to settle the matter. He asks what right Job has to question Him. Job confesses, “I spoke of things I did not understand…therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:3, 6).
God restores Job’s wealth and allows him to live a long life. The Bible says He “made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before…[He] blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first” (Job 42:10, 12).
(You can read Job’s full story in the book of Job.)
Jesus and Job
In the midst of suffering and despair, Job confesses his hope in God. He believes there is someone upholding his cause. He declares, “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high” (Job 16:19).
In his most famous statement of faith he proclaims, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” (Job 19:25-26)
Job’s longing for a mediator is fulfilled in Jesus. 1 John 2:1 says, “If anyone does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the righteous one.” Jesus defends us the way Job longed to be defended.
Even more profoundly, in his suffering Job serves as a preview of Jesus. Hebrews 5:8 says, “Although [Jesus] was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”
New Testament Perspective
Job is an Old Testament person but as Christians we must see him from a New Testament perspective. He suffered for nothing more than being a righteous man. Yet he sets a remarkable example of Christian perseverance, for his faith was actually in Jesus.
More importantly, he shows us how Jesus persevered in His faith. Like Job, He suffered for nothing more than being a righteous man. But unlike Job, He was “tempted in every way…yet was without sin.” And unlike Job, He suffered “so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
How has the book of Job informed your perspective on pain and suffering? Leave your thoughts with a comment below!
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