His work: Job was a wealthy farmer, herdsman, and landowner. His character: Next to Jesus Christ, no one in the Bible carries a more remarkable résumé. "This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil…. He was the greatest man among all the peoples of the East." His sorrow: Except for his own life and the life of his spouse, Job lost everything: cattle, camels, sheep, buildings, servants, and ten children. No one in all of Scripture—except Jesus—suffered more than he. Then to add to the physical devastation, Job had to endure the cross-examination and derision of three friends who clearly did not know what they were talking about. His triumph: In the end, Job was vindicated by the Lord, and God blessed him with more wealth than he had before. The Lord also gave him ten more children. Key Scriptures: Job 1; 2; 40
It all seems so unfair. God and Satan climbed into opposing grandstands and thrust the unsuspecting Job into the arena.
"There is no one on earth like him," God asserted. "He is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."
"Of course he's faithful," Satan sneered. "Job's no fool. Look at what you've given him. Who wouldn't be upright with all that prosperity? He's got a good thing going." God knew exactly where this conversation was headed. He wrote the script before the earth was formed. "But open your hand and let me strike everything he has," Satan scoffed. "If I do this, he will curse you to your face. Destroy his things, and then we'll see how upright he is."
"Very well," God replied. "His possessions are all yours."
In that moment Job walked into the arena alone. And in less than a single day, he lost everything—five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels. In just a few hours, nearly all of Job's servants were dead, and then, in a final devastating blow, his seven sons and three daughters were destroyed in a tornado.
Job was broken yet steadfast.
But Satan was not ready to concede. "Open your hand and let me strike his body," Satan chortled to God. "No one can deal with that kind of pain. He will surely curse you to your face."
"Very well," God repeated. "His body is yours, but you may not kill him."
Then, just as Job was burying his last child, painful sores broke out over his entire body. From the top of his head to the bottom of his feet, he was covered with horrible wounds.
His wife had seen enough. "Are you still holding on to your God? What's the use?" she mocked. "Curse him and die!"
But Job refused. "Should we accept good from God and not trouble?"
Then three of Job's friends appeared. For one week they sat quietly with their suffering friend. Not a single word was spoken. At first their kindness opened Job's heart. Then it opened his mouth. He began the slow and downward spiral of asking "why?" "Why?" he asked one friend, shaking his head in disbelief. "Why?" he asked another, clinging to his hands. "Why?" he screamed at the sky. He cursed the day of his birth and expressed his longing to die.
Then Job and his three friends entered into a dialogue that lasted for many days. The conversation was deeply philosophical, tedious, and depressing. The words of Job's friends were neither comforting nor helpful.
"How long will you torment me and crush me with your words?" Job finally lamented.
Then God spoke to Job. "Brace yourself like a man," the Almighty began. "I will question you, and you shall answer me."
Job had never heard anything like this.
"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations?" the sovereign God asked. "Tell me, if you understand, who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!"
God's soliloquy continued uninterrupted. He exposed the greatness of his creation and the mystery and power of his being.
Job was stunned by God's words and overwhelmed by God's very presence amid his pain. "My ears had heard of you," Job finally said. "But now my eyes have seen you."Reflect On: Job 40:1–7 Praise God: For this lesson graphically illustrated by his faithful servant. Offer Thanks: For allowing us to draw closer to him no matter how painful our circumstances. Confess: Our propensity to accuse God of unfairness when he allows suffering to come our way. Ask God: To show you his perspective on your pain and your doubts and to grant you his peace—the peace that transcends understanding.