Job was a righteous man.
The Biblical account points out that Job was a righteous man, perfect and upright, fearing God and rejecting evil. The first few verses of the book (Job 1:1-4) describe the greatness of his wealth and prosperity that he had undoubtedly obtained by being faithful to worship and serve God.
As the narrative continues, we begin to understand the dedication and faithfulness that Job demonstrated toward God. He was continuous in his care over his family and prayed for them before the Lord. His concern was based in fear and doubt that they might potentially sin and curse God. Job 1:5 describes Job’s continual custom of care over his family.
Job 1:5 (NIV)
When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.
Later, after one of the servants reported the great devastation that came upon his possessions, his family and himself, Job reacted in Job 1:19-22.
Job 1:19-22 (ERV)
A strong wind suddenly came in from across the desert and blew the house down. It fell on your sons and daughters, and they are all dead. I am the only one who escaped to come and tell you the news!” When Job heard this, he got up, tore his clothes, and shaved his head to show his sadness. Then he fell to the ground to bow down before God and said, “When I was born into this world, I was naked and had nothing. When I die and leave this world, I will be naked and have nothing. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of the Lord!” Even after all this, Job did not sin. He did not accuse God of doing anything wrong.
The narrative explains that Job did not sin and did not accuse God of doing anything wrong when he spoke.
However, this critical statement by Job reveals his level of understanding. When Job made the statement, “the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away,” he was revealing his version of the truth of the situation based on his own limited perspective while he was in great distress. Let’s explore the actual events that occurred to generate this disaster and that subsequently led Job to make this statement.
Without divine revelation, Job could not possibly have been aware of the activities in the heavenlies that are revealed as the narrative develops. It is important to note that Satan enjoyed direct access to God during a time which predated Abraham, Moses, the Law, and the Ten Commandments. According to Job 1:6-11, Satan presented himself along with a troupe of angels, and God addressed him directly, inquiring of his activities.
Job 1:6-11 (ERV
Then the day came for the angels to meet with the Lord. Even Satan was there with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you been?” Satan answered the Lord, “I have been roaming around the earth, going from place to place. Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him. He is a good, faithful man. He respects God and refuses to do evil.” Satan answered, “But Job has a good reason to respect you. You always protect him, his family, and everything he has. You have blessed him and made him successful in everything he does. He is so wealthy that his herds and flocks are all over the country. But if you were to destroy everything he has, I promise you that he would curse you to your face.”
This part of the account provides us with a great deal of spiritual insight. There is no indication that Job had any revelation of the struggle that was occurring as Satan sought to create mischief. Just think about this for a moment. Based on the narrative, Job did not even know that Satan existed, much less that he had access to God to level accusations against the human population of the earth! Job lived at a time when, in general, there was very little known about spiritual things. By contrast, we now have a great deal of knowledge about spiritual activities because we see these things more clearly through revelation and the lens of time.
Job knew and believed that God existed because Adam would have certainly passed down accounts of his experiences with God when he was in the Garden of Eden. Knowledge of Satan and his activities with God appears to have been absent, however. There probably would have been an account of a talking snake, but the activities going on in the throne room of God were not known.
Job was operating in faith in that he both acknowledged and worshiped God. The ignorance of the interchange between God and Satan was not Job’s fault because he had no revelation of it. His ignorance is actually part of the reason that Job was described as good and faithful. However, another spiritual principle is at work here, one from which Eve also suffered.
Ignorance is not an excuse that can buy a pass to avoid the consequences of that ignorance. A lack of revelation or understanding may relieve an act of sin, but not the consequences of acting contrary to spiritual law.
Next week, we will discuss some practical application...
May God richly bless you in all that you do! - Dr Rich Masek
I invite you to read Ideolatry - God Is Not Your Problem
to go deeper into Job's challenges in
Chapter 11 - Trials and Tribulations
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