The ancient story of Job in the Bible has encouraged many men and women throughout the ages. The account reveals the very real activity of a very real devil (Satan) and his malevolent designs against a faithful follower of God.
At the outset of the drama the devil accused God of placing a protective hedge around the wealthy, faithful, ardent, God-fearing landowner and animal herdsman, Job; which was true. He also asserted that Job only served God because of what he could get out of it; which was untrue. Because of Satan’s challenge, God removed His hand of protection, but put limits on Satan’s attacks--Job’s life must be spared.
Catalogue of the devil’s damages in one day in quick succession after God allowed His protective hedge to be lifted:
- Oxen: 500 yoke stolen; Donkeys: 500 female donkeys stolen—GONE
- Sheep: 700 sheep burned up with fire—GONE
- Camels: 3000 camels stolen—GONE
- Children: 7 sons and 3 daughters perished together while sharing a meal—GONE. Only one servant remained to report the losses to Job in each tragedy.
Again Satan appeared before God and challenged Job’s integrity. God allowed more drastic testing but would not allow Satan to take Job’s life. Then followed a second wave of attacks:
- Job’s body: Boils from head to toe brought intense, unceasing pain and torment.
- Job’s wife: Overwhelmed with grief, Job’s wife counseled him to curse God and die.
- Job’s friends: Three friends mourned silently for one week as they sat with him. Then they attacked his integrity unceasingly, accusation upon accusation, verbally abusing him.
- Job’s fourth friend: After the others had finished their criticism, this more youthful friend chimed in, adding to the prevailing attitude that bad things come because the suffering person is guilty—thereby attempting to heap more guilt and multiple accusations against Job.
What occurred after the dreadful exploitation of a faithful servant of God?
- After the babble of Job’s friends, God spoke---words of great wisdom and encouragement that overwhelmed and humbled Job with their majesty. (God ultimately has the last word in all our lives!)
- God instructed Job to pray for his finger-pointing friends, (which would imply he must forgive them for their unjust claims and criticisms).
- After praying for his friends, Job was healed.
- God poured into Job’s life more abundant prosperity, granting him a second family, a prolonged life, and double the flocks and herds that he had previously. Thus Job was exonerated in full view of his friends and all onlookers. The whole story was recorded for benefit of people for ages to come until the end of time.
Only one of many encouragements and lessons from Job’s life for us in the 21st century.
Job demonstrated the kind of faith in God that each of us needs to develop. In the midst of all his grief he was enabled to say, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.” (Job 13:15). When we re-read this book, believed to be penned by Moses, and the first book of the Bible to be written, may the story encourage us to be faithful to God throughout any testing times that come to us. The chronicle of events pulls back the curtain, revealing the incomplete understanding of fellow humans regarding tragedy, the malicious intents of our archenemy the devil--Satan, and the ultimate tender care and protection of our Creator and Sustainer God.