By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ol’ book. If you want to truly know your King, you can follow this link to read all of the current portions to date!
Previously in Esther…Esther is a powerful book of trials, favor, courage, irony, and ultimately God’s sovereignty. The key players in the book include the Persian King Ahasuerus, Esther, Mordecai—Esther’s guardian and first cousin, and Haman—King Ahasuerus’ right-hand man. These characters are all part of an archetypal story of none other than Jesus Christ and the cross. Esther is shown favor and is blessed with great position, and Mordecai, in his faithfulness to the Lord, consistently acts nobly, despite expected consequences. This sets up all things to work together for good towards both Esther and Mordecai when Haman sets his heart against them. Although the name of the Lord is not mentioned once in the book, it is wonderful to know that He is clearly present and that his people are clearly loved.
BEFORE READING MORE – It would be ideal if you read the chapters to be discussed prior to looking through the outline! This week we are covering the book of Job, chapters 1-7.
JOB – This book is said to be the oldest book of the Bible, chronicling events that took place possibly as early as the time of the sons of Jacob! Job was a righteous and prosperous man who feared the Lord, and that seemingly did not sit well with the Accuser, who traveled to and fro on the face of the earth looking to fulfill his designation. Satan sought to prove that Job’s “righteousness” was fickle and to turn him against the Lord, so the Lord allowed the Devil to take all that Job was blessed with and destroy it. He allowed the Devil to attack Job’s health and cause him to suffer, but not to the point of death. Nonetheless, Job did not turn away from the Lord or blame him. His friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar came to comfort him as he anguished the day of his birth, but instead they claimed that he suffered because of his own sin. Discouraged and beaten, Job doubted that the Lord would reply. Then another, named Elihu, stepped in and reprimanded the friends for wrongly accusing Job rather than realizing this was simply a trial, but he also reprimanded Job for doubting that the Lord would speak! After 38 chapters of exchanges between the men, the Lord finally speaks out of the whirlwind to Job in magnificent fashion. He rebukes the friends of Job for their folly and challenges Job with question after question, and Job is left silent with no response save for utter repentance. Then the Lord blessed Job with twice as much as he was previously blessed with.
- JOB 1-2 | Job is introduced – Satan accuses the Lord of coddling Job – The Lord allows Satan to destroy all that Job has – Job does not lose faith – The Lord allows Satan to attack Job’s health – Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar arrive to comfort Job: Job was a man who was “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” He was immensely blessed with thousands and thousands of sheep, camels, oxen, and donkeys. He had many sons, daughters, and servants, and he would intentionally offer sacrifices on their behalf to consecrate them before the Lord. In verse 6 we see a shocking scene play out in heaven, showing us that Satan has access to the presence of the Lord despite his wayward position. The accuser was asked from whence he came, and his life’s work was revealed:
…Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from asking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” | Job 1:7-11
So the misguided Accuser thought, like much of the blind, that Job’s love was for his prosperity, and he desired to see him fall and for the Father to be proved wrong.
So the Lord obliged, and Job’s servants and cattle were attacked and killed and consumed by fire. His children gathered together in one house to feast, and the house fell down upon them, killing them all! And when he heard of the news that all he had was gone, Job’s response is a thing of beauty:
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shave this head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. | Job 1:20-22
Again Satan went before the Lord from his tirelessly unfulfilling work, and the Lord praises Job, saying, “He holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Satan then claimed it was because of his good health, and if that was attacked, he would surely curse God. So the Lord allowed it, but not till the point of death, and Satan covered Job with sores all over his body. After this, even Job’s wife told him to “curse God and die,” but Job refused, proclaiming:
“You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” | Job 2:10
So Job stood fast in his faith, proving that despite the blessing and prosperity, it was his faith in the Lord regardless of any circumstance that fueled his life.
His friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar soon arrived to comfort him. They wept when they saw him, and they sat with him on the ground for seven days and nights in silence because of his great suffering.
- Job 3-7 | Job responds in anguish – Eliphaz responds – Job does not agree with Eliphaz: After their days of silence, Job finally speaks out. He still did not curse the Lord, but he wished that he was never born! Eliphaz responded to his anguish, and his words are filled with wisdom, but he ultimately accuses Job of not being right before God. His wise thoughts may have been filled with many a truth, but he ultimately had no knowledge of the exchange between the Lord and Satan in heaven. So his words, meant to spur Job onward, fell flat and only served to discourage his brother.
This hits home for me. Sometimes I talk too much. Sometimes I think that I know. Sometimes I think that I am wise.
Sometimes silence is the answer. Your presence will be a comfort to your brother and sister in need. Depend on Him for your words to bring life.
Job responded further in anguish at his circumstance. He was clearly discouraged by his brother saying “How forceful are upright words!” and asking “Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?” He knew that his suffering was not because of his iniquity, but in humility he asks his brothers to help him understand how he had gone astray! Then we see Job give up. He did not curse God, but he lost hope in things changing and began to complain.
“Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” | Job 7:11
He loathed his life and questioned the Lord why this suffering was upon him:
“I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are a breath. What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning and test him every moment? How long will you not look away from me, or leave me alone till I swallow my spit? If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind? Why have you made me your mark? Why have I become a burden to you? Why do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity? For now I shall lie in the earth; you will seek me, but I shall not be.” | Job 7:16-21
So Job acknowledged his lack of understanding and began to question the Lord! He wondered why this suffering was upon him, and he doubted that it would ever end.
NOTE: Although Eliphaz accused Job for not being right before God, some of his words of wisdom were in fact wisdom, although he was wrong about what was happening to Job. In particular:
“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number: he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields; he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. He catches the wise int heir own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end. They meet with darkness in the daytime and grope at noonday as in the night. But he saves the needy from he sword of their mouth and from the hand of the mighty…” | Job 5:8-15
This is just a portion of his wise words. It is a shame that his accusation detracted from the beauty of this truth, which seems to be impressively ironic. I pray that my words would be so led by the Spirit that they would be utterly effective, meaningful, and powerful always.