Job 1: Suffering and Loss

Job was a very wealthy man. He had seven sons and three daughters which would have insured a large family. Seven is the number of completeness and God while three symbolizes holiness. His herds were large which provided income and resources. He had many servants which meant more could be done, but as often seen it provided Job with some degree of military might. He was one of the greatest men around.

Every day, one of the sons would host a feast at their house. There was feasting and drinking and general merriment.

Job 1:5 And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

Job was a religious man. After each party, he would make a sacrifice for any possible sins his children might have committed. There was no wrong actually mentioned of being committed, but Job wanted to be sure they were covered. Job was stuck in the religious trappings of doing what was right for God instead of focusing on the relationship with God. This what I consider one of the major themes.

Job 1:6-12 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. (7) The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” (8) And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (9) Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? (10) Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. (11) But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” (12) And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Sons of God is the same phrase that is used in Genesis 6:2 when talking about marrying the daughters of man and evil creations were unleashed on the earth. It is often thought of as an angel, but I personally don’t hold to this. In the midst of this, we see Satan. Being the oldest book, this would have been the first written mention of Satan. The word actually means accuser. This is where we get the idea that Satan goes before God to accuse us. It is interesting, as people often think of Satan living in Hell and controlling it, but here we see him before God, who he rebelled against. He tells God he has been moving about the earth going to and fro. He is saying he goes where he wants to go.

So Satan is in front of God when God asks him if he has noticed Job. The idea that God is pointing Job out to Satan as a sort of challenge can be a bit unsettling. Why would God do this is a big question. There is a back and forth between God and Satan where Satan states that Job is only faithful because God has blessed him abundantly. Satan actually tries to make God strike Job, but God is in control not Satan. God gives Satan the authority to strike all that Job has but not Job.

When Satan strikes, he strikes hard. With in a day, the Sabeans descended and killed the servants and stolen the oxen and donkeys. The fire of God fell from heaven and consumed all of the sheep. An interesting point is that this attack was waged by Satan against Job. The fire wasn’t from God, but if it was heavenly fire, Satan had the ability to call it down when he had the authority. At the same time, Chaldeans came and took all of the camels and killed the servants that were tending / guarding them. The Chaldeans formed into three groups for the attack and we know that three symbolizes holiness. God might not have been actually the one to come against Job, but it might have been his power that was used to provoke the Chaldeans.

If this was not great enough, a great wind came and destroyed the house where his children were having a feast. All of them were killed. Job was now without his wealth, his defenses, and his family. Job had lost all that made him great in that region.

Job 1:20-22 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. (21) And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (22) In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

Job still did not accuse God of doing wrong nor sin. He did not stray away from God despite his great losses. He even said that what Jehovah gave, Jehovah could take away.

I am not sure I would have reacted the same way. The sheer amount of loss has to be unfathomable. I would like to think that if my family had perished that I would know that they would be safely in the hands of God. I have to wonder if Job would have thought the same thing. I trust in Jesus for salvation. What would Job had been trusting in? He has known of God and openly worshipped Him, but no mention of that close relationship to Him.


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