The story of Job is of great benefit to all who have and will suffer in this life. In the first chapter, God describes Job as a man who feared Him and who shunned evil. God also declared that there is no one on earth like him, and that Job was blameless and upright. Job was blessed with wealth and ten children. Then, as God allowed, the day came when Satan enters the scene. “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them.” (Job 1:6) In the Bible Satan is revealed as “an angel of light” to deceive and to tempt us. (2 Corin 11:14) With absolute clarity in the first chapter of Job, Satan himself, the fallen angel, a real being, shows up.
Job endured all the tests of his faith. In the end, God restored all that Job lost with a double portion. In this life, we are all tested, and sharpened through suffering to choose God.
In the second chapter we are privy to a conversation between God and Satan. The Lord asked Satan ‘Have you been seeking to find a flaw in my servant Job?’ Satan confidently smirked ‘if Job’s flesh becomes painful he will surely curse you to your face.’ The Lord responded with His permission that Satan could inflict sores, but Job’s life must be spared. NOTE: Satan is kept from killing Job, as God knew the end of the story because he knew the heart of Job.
Jesus suffered, and so must we. Our sorrows in life add compassion to our humanity. “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Like athletes of the faith, we are put under a strict training program that we might win the race. (Heb 12:1)
Job’s wife in her despair encouraged “curse God and die”. While Job’s four friends stuck with him through his painful trials, his friends kept still for seven days. Each friend somehow suspected that sin was the cause of all the tragedy in Job’s life.
In Job’s dream; “A form stood before my eyes, and I heard a hushed voice: Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?” (Job 4:16) Consider God’s description of His servant Job in the beginning. Outwardly prosperous and inwardly upright, Job was living perilously close to becoming self-sufficient, and overly confident in his own ability. When we are immersed in all the beauty and wonders of the world, it is easy to forget God’s purpose in our assigned position. Job’s prominence for influence in the world was of God’s making, and entirely for His purpose.
The question remains; “Why does God allow good people to suffer?” Through suffering, God takes us on a deep inspection of our souls. His purpose in allowing us to suffer is that we may see who we really are.
Consider the Prophet Isaiah. When he saw himself clearly, he fell on his face totally undone an cried out to God “I am a man of unclean lips”. (Is 6:1) When we honestly measure our life to the holiness of God, we discover that we are unclean.
In Job 42 while job is in the midst of great suffering, he is conscious of God’s holy Presence. Job is convinced “surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said ‘Listen now and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You.” The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. Job lived 140 years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. We all know good people who have suffered greatly.
So we are charged to REMEMBER that God allowed His Son to suffer, “then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.” (Mark 15:17) and that Stephen was stoned; (Acts 7:59) and Paul suffered lifelong with; “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” (2Cor 12:7)
Through all the tests, even though Job was miserable, he did not curse God, but in his transparent prayers, Job cursed the day he was born. “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” (James 5:11) In the end of all his suffering Job proclaimed “I know 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) Victory comes is ours as we apply God’s Word with the gift of faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord.
LESSON: The righteous do suffer, but not alone.
Copyright © 2019 by Barbara Alley Hoyle.
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