2003-04-29 - Job: General Introduction
Job 1:3,4 His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 Camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants; and that man was the greatest of all the men of the East. And his sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
I am sorry I did not put out a new devo on Monday, but the amount of homework needed to do this one meant I needed some extra time to do it right. Please forgive me.
I would like to deal quickly with these two verses and then give a more general overview to the book in Job in general. Really verses 2, 3, & 4 are just overviews of Job's possessions and some of the practices of his family. There is not too much to comment on here except that he was very rich. In verse 5 we see his practice of a holy life and this is probably why satan came to God and suggested that if he was tempted harshly he would deny his faith in God. Satan was proved wrong in this story and I would like to get into some of the specifics in this devotional. I hope to put this as simply as possible.
The book of Job is mainly broken up into 32 speeches. These speeches only comprise the insight of 8 people.
2. satan (There are two between them)
4. Job's wife (She is not named and only one speech is recorded)
5. Eliphaz (Three between Job and Eliphaz)
6. Bildad (Three between Job and Bildad)
7. Zephar (Two between Job and Zephar)
8. Elihu (Who makes four speeches with no answer given)
Then there are two speeches between God and Job. There are two speeches or parables given by Job. The other speeches given are reply's to these speeches mentioned. But there are really only 8 characters in the book of job. This makes the book a little easier to work with.
There are several things we learn from this book. One is that God is sovereign. Another is a really hard lesson to learn. It is that God sometimes afflicts or allows the affliction of His children. There is a third lesson we can learn from this book that might be hard for some of us. No matter how good our estate, or possessions seem to be, they are always subject to the Lord and His will for our lives. There is security in the grace of Christ, but there is no security in things. I think also that we can learn from Job because we can only look at him and say he had uncommon faith. Who could endure what he did and yet still trust God? We really can learn from his endurance. Lastly, we see in the book of Job that God never forsakes those who are his. If you are like me you are looking forward to looking Job up in heaven and asking how he hung in there during his struggles.
Another thing this book teaches us is that we can't judge someone's inward relationship with the Lord by their outward afflictions. This is tough not to do, but we really have no right to proceed in this manner without first hand knowledge. I know I have been guilty of doing it, but upon reflection, in some cases I don't know if I was right or wrong. The book of Job teaches us to be careful in this area because his three friends, or councilors, were were all condemned by the Lord at the end of the book. There is a pride in such presumption that is unbecoming a Christian. We are to be very careful in this area. The secrets of God's workings are not for us to make a final conclusion on. We can use wisdom and discernment, but in the end it is the Lord who is in control and the book of Job teaches us this in a very personal manner.
If you struggle in this life I encourage you to adopt the wisdom of Job found in Chapter 13 verse 15. He says, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him." This is the mindset we must all take in.
I offer these thoughts on the book of Job in general to get us started. I am not sure how far we will dive into the book, but it is hard to get a handle on it without getting an overview. The lessons we can learn and apply from Job are incredible. I hope these are helpful to me, but to you also.
Soli Deo Gloria,