Or worse yet, so that he won’t jinx the success we seem to be achieving on our own? Satan now accuses him of serving God only because he still has his health (Job 2:4). He sees the equal dignity of every person in his household. Job correctly points out that those in power will have to stand before God to defend their treatment of those under them. Fix that problem! I lay my hand on my mouth” (Job 40:4). It is a more technical commentary, but those who take the time to work through it will be rewarded. Faced with the self-imposed choice of blaming Job or blaming God, they harden their hearts against their former friend. The answer, of course, is God. Job’s three friends enter the story and are depicted as sensitive, pious and sympathetic men. 3. “If the Almighty is your gold and your precious silver, then you will delight yourself in the Almighty, and lift up your face to God. We would rather give a reason for the suffering — be it right, be it wrong — than to accept the mystery at the heart of suffering. They, who wrongly urged Job to repent, must now depend on him to accept their repentance, and on God to fulfill Job’s entreaty on their behalf. The Book of Job anticipates these struggles by thousands of years. Do we prepare for adversity by practicing faithfulness and thanksgiving during good times? Donate Now. Like Job’s, our sufferings often begin with difficulties at work. Readers will find much insight into the meaning of Job here. I may be somewhat partial to the commentary by Elmer Smick because he was one of my professors during the final years of his life. Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. His friends had one mind set of God “simply” being just and always running the world in justice; that led to accusing Job of sinning. Job’s friends succumb to this temptation. Job was one of the few books of the Bible on which Calvin did not write a commentary. “I was a father to the needy” (Job 29:16). The most commonly accepted outline identifies two cycles of lament, dialogue, and revelation, sandwiched between a prologue and an epilogue: Most familiar to Bible readers as the righteous man who suffered unjustly, Job exemplifies the person who questions why good people suffer. Francis I. Andersen — Job (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 1976). Job was well-received by the young and old alike (Job 29:8), and treated with unusual respect by the chiefs and nobles (Job 29:10). His story, in any case, is timeless. As we will see, Job’s woes begin at work, and the book gives us valuable insights into how a follower of God may faithfully function within the ups and downs of work life. His seven sons and three daughters (Job 1:2) are both a personal joy to him and an important foundation of his wealth. David Atkinson — The Message of Job (The Bible Speaks Today, 1991). At once this both affirms our search for understanding and demonstrates its limits. The poorest have no opportunity to earn a living and are reduced to scavenging and even stealing from the rich to feed their families (Job 24:5-8). “One who is perfect in knowledge is with you,” he announces (Job 36:4). Indeed, it may be the greatest mystery of faith. So what did God have to say about all of this? With your gift of any size, you’ll enable us to continue equipping Christians with high-quality biblically-based content. “Think now,” he says, “who that was innocent ever perished? Sometimes out of sheer laziness, bad data or incompetence, we make poor decisions that cause us to fail at work. Job’s adversity arises in his workplace, with the loss of his means of income. The author of Job is anonymous. Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? This is where trust in God comes in. It would be more truthful — and far more helpful — to admit, “I don’t know why this happened to you. Job does not seem to be an Israelite, because he is said to be from the land of Uz (Job 1:1), which most scholars suggest was to the southeast of ancient Israel. How foolish to think we know the reason for anyone else’s suffering. But Job neither assumes God is punishing him nor becomes bitter over God’s treatment. He rightly understands his previous prosperity as a blessing from God. He does not take his condition to be a measurement of God’s favor. It would be harmful to complain to your co-workers, even to your friends among them. In agricultural societies, children supply the most reliable part of the labor needed in a household. And so we leave the book of Job with observations and questions, rather than neat conclusions. Every resource on our site was made possible through the financial support of people like you. Job can remain faithful under adversity because he understands prosperity accurately. The mark of true and humble followers of God is their openness to the possibility that they are in the wrong, which is most evidenced by their willingness to field any and all legitimate complaints. For those seeking a more introductory level commentary on the book of Job, Francis Anderson’s commentary is the best place to start. How much harm have well-intentioned Christians caused by giving pious-sounding answers to suffering, even though we have no idea what we’re talking about? Anyone who argues with God must respond” (Job 40:2). Once again we find Job ascribing every circumstance of life to God. On the one hand, Job’s ordeal has given him an even greater appreciation for God’s goodness. Job’s act of praying on their behalf reminds us of the first chapter where Job prays for his children’s protection. Job realizes the fault is his for expecting to know the answer, not God’s for failing to provide it. But the odious judgments made by his friends caution us against making too-certain application of any model to our own lives. If we second-guess ourselves like this, imagine how we second-guess our friends, though we are seldom aware of it. “They abhor me, they keep aloof from me,” laments Job (Job 30:10). The cause of his suffering is a mystery. And he knows what he does know, namely that God is faithful, even while God allows us to experience great pain and suffering. “I am of small account; what shall I answer you? Job’s friends accuse him of forsaking God, but the evidence is that the righteous are forsaken by God. We second-guess ourselves during sleepless nights of self-torment. He cannot see inner workings of heaven, and it is only the integrity of his faith that prevents him from cursing God. In the midst of Job’s second lament (Job 29-42), he unveils a significant treatise on ethical behavior, which in some ways anticipates Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7). Do we have faith that God is the source of all good things? Although Job takes care to remain “blameless and upright” (Job 1:1), he worries that his children may not be so fastidious. It might even oppose what God wants us to do. Job believes the wicked will ultimately be cut down. Faith in God may come in an instant. Job 28:28 The fear of the Lord —that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding. You will pray to him and he will hear you” (Job 22:25-27). Given his boast, and remembering that the more confidently Job’s friends spoke against him, the more inaccurate their accusations became, we should not expect much wisdom from Elihu. If so, it is better to recognize our ignorance than to put our stock in speculation or false wisdom. Will she then feel abandoned by God if her mission plan doesn’t work out? Job 1:20-21 Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshiped. Then what does it mean if the good things disappear from our lives? Meanwhile, the wicked seem to lead a charmed life. He wants us to bring our grief and pain to Him and KNOW that He cares. Many are the result of circumstances outside our control. How should we understand suffering and hardship in our work lives? At the beginning of the Book of Job we are introduced to an exceptionally prosperous farmer/rancher named Job. The biblical book of Job gives us context. Satan would like nothing more than to prove to God that Job served God only because God blessed him so richly. “They are exalted a little while, and then are gone; they wither and fade like the mallow; they are cut off like the heads of grain” (Job 24:24). Consequently, he doesn’t pretend to know why God blessed him with prosperity at one time and not at another. She accepts that Job is blameless in God’s eyes, but unlike him, doesn’t see the point in being blameless if it doesn’t bring God’s blessings. But he knows his anguish has to come out somewhere. Instead he worships God (Job 1:20). Very highly recommended. Economic adversity is an all-too-real pain that many Christians face for years or even a lifetime. However, we the readers know that Job has not done anything to deserve his suffering, and the effect of his friends’ attacks is to make Job begin to doubt himself. He worries that his children might inadvertently offend God. Bildad directs Job to “make supplication to the Almighty” (Job 8:5) so that Job’s future will be “very great” (Job 8:7) and filled with “laughter” and “shouts of joy” (Job 8:21). Some people experience a similar sense of loss due to retirement, career setback, financial loss or any kind of perceived failure. You have suffered a calamity. Satan says to God that if he removes the blessings he has so richly bestowed on Job, “He will curse you to your face” (Job 1:11; 2:4). We also need God’s spirit as we go about our tasks. This pattern is familiar to us. 2. God’s ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts.
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