Understanding the Book of Job! An overview of what it is and what it is not! Part 1
(Ver 1.3) This is Part 1 of a series about understanding the Book of Job. The book of Job is a highly controversial book of mostly confusing information. The book of Job has been widely given the theme of patience and we see this mentioned in the New Testament book of James. This reference in James is the only time Job is mentioned by name in the N.T. The name Job is mentioned only 54 times and mostly just in the book of Job. However, the name does occur in Genesis 46 and Ezekiel 14. The book of Job is primarily about the afflictions of Job. However, the initiator of the problems in Job’s life and the cause of the problems are widely misinterpreted. The book of Job is often quoted at funerals and this is another misapplication of the scriptures and I will probably get into these verses later. The first two chapters reveal the afflictions occurring to this righteous man and then starts the words of Job in chapter 3 in an apparent conversation with some of his friends that have come to tell him what to do and this continues for many chapters. The discourse between Job and his friends go back and forth and finally end when God comes into the conversation with some new information that shuts everyone up. The last chapter of Job ends with God’s blessings on him being restored more than he ever had before. Most Bible scholars agree that Job is probably the oldest book of the Bible. The timeframe of Job is probably somewhere between Noah and Moses since it does not refer to Israel, the Old Testament law or any reference to God’s covenant with Abraham. The author of Job is probably the man Job himself, but we do not know this for sure. There are several verses found in Job that reveal things to us that confirm that it belongs in the Bible and that it is the inspired information from the Spirit of God. So I will not attempt to do a verse by verse study of the entire book, there is just too much unknown information found in this book to do this. I will attempt to teach some key verses that I have seen and I will try to use other verses in the Bible to help us to interpret what we find in Job correctly. Always remember that the Bible interprets itself. Let’s start with verse 1:
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
The first verse informs us where Job lived and what his nature and character was in the eyes of God. God calls the man Job a complete man, in other words a righteous man. He was humble and feared God and resisted evil. This is the type of man that God can stand behind as we will find out shortly.
Job 1:2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
The man Job was married as we will also find out and he had 10 children. In the next verse we will see that the blessing of God were upon him.
Job 1:3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
According to this verse Job was the greatest of all of the men of the east. This is strictly in terms of wealth and the blessings of God on his life. This is also a hidden hint to the reasons of things to come. If God’s blessing are on someone, he will get the attention of everyeone else physcially and spiritually speaking. When Satan sees the blessings of God upon Job, Job became a target. In verse 4 of Job 1, you can see that Job had problems with his children. They like to party, eat, drink and be merry. They were into having fun more than they were into work and doing right. This caused Job vast concern of what would happen to his children. This is the introduction to what Job worried about the most.
Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
So Job does some things that I find very interesting. His kids have stopped their partying and Job is offering burnt offering for the number of his children to the Lord. Where does Job get the idea for this? I honestly do not know. As far as I know there is no law, no priests and there was no precedence for doing what he is doing. Is Job a priest of God? I do not know? We know from the N.T. that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (Heb 9:22). So Job was doing the right things, but where did he get this information? Plus was it doing any good since it was his children that were sinning and not him? This verse ends with the statement that Job did this continually so we assume that his kids were continually in a party mode. There is another scripture in the N.T. that I believe should be applied to this information we are given, and it goes like this “God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7). What were Job’s children sowing? Will they reap what they sow regardless of what their father does? I believe God says they will.
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
So here we go with another introduction to some highly confusing information. The book of Job seems to change dramatic focus from the earth to a place in heaven. The “sons of God” are the angels of God and this would include all angels, the good and the bad. This verse says Satan came with them like he is not included in the group of “sons of God”, but I totally disagree with that interpretation and I believe that Satan was their leader and the most high angel. You can see this by reading verses in Ezekiel 28:14 that describe Satan as the anointed cherub and the covering cherub. Then in Isaiah 14:12, Satan is called Lucifer, the son of the morning. Morning is the “Early Light” and since God is Light we can see that Lucifer is called an early son of God.
Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
We are now told that Satan has come from the earth, so we know that he is not on the earth while he is holding this conversation with God. We also learn that Satan is not omnipresent. He must walk across the earth and go from place to place. We therefore know that Satan is not everywhere on the earth at once. However, we do not know how many angels that Satan has under his control on the earth so there may be many angels tormenting people simultaneously and not just Satan doing everything. However, many angels there are, the Bible says in Revelation 12 that 1/3 of them are fallen with Satan. There is also another reality given to us found in the N.T. that helps to explain what is happing to Job. In 1 Peter 5:8 God informs us that Satan is our adversary and he goes about as a roaring lion seeking who he may devour. Is this not exactly describing what is happening here in Job? Satan had just come from walking the earth and he came across Job. He is obviously the adversary of Job that God has hedged out. But, he is seeking to devour Job as we will see as we continue to read in this chapter. We learn from reading 1 Peter 5:8 that Satan is not able to devour everyone if he is seeking ways to do this. This indicates that Satan is not omnipotent and neither does he have direct access to anyone unless certain conditions are met to allow him to come in. Keep 1 Peter 5:8 in your mind as we continue to read about Job:
Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
Why do you think that God brings up Job? I believe it is because God knows what you are thinking. God knows why Satan is there. Job is a spiritually righteous blessed man of God; there is none like him on the earth. In the eyes of God this is why Satan was there to contend for this man.
Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
Satan starts to ask God questions about Job. Why does Satan ask this question? Does Job fear God for no reason or for nothing as he said to God? This sounds like a complaint or accusation to me.
Job 1:10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
Now we begin to see the problem that Satan has and why he is there to see God. Satan is questioning God’s authority to place a hedge of protection around Job and his family. You can clearly see what God is being accused of, the fact that God has blessed Job and given him great wealth and placed a spiritual wall of protection around him so that Satan could not touch him. What gives Satan the right to do this? That is an excellent question to consider, we know that Job’s children are living in sin in a constant state of partying. Job is continually offering sacrifices for his children who do not want sacrifices to be made or at least it appears that they do not care if they are made. The children of Job are not repentant or sorry for what they are doing, they are just being wild crazy rich kids who can get away with whatever they want, or so they think. We know that Satan is called the accuser of the brethren in the Revelation 12:10. This verse in Revelation says that Satan accuses the people of God on the earth both day and night. To accuse is a legal term that means “to charge with an offense”. You do understand that God is the ultimate supreme Judge of the Universe? Satan is the “Plaintiff” that brings accusations against righteous people before the Judge. So why does Satan do this? So these righteous people can be found guilty of violating the spiritual laws that God has established in the spiritual realm. Do you understand this? Satan is looking for a way into your life, he watches your every move, your every action, your every reaction and your every word to see what he can accuse you of doing that violates God’s laws. This is how it works until Revelation 12 comes around and Satan is cast down and he is no longer welcome to come into the heavenly realm to accuse us anymore.
Job 1:11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
So here is where it starts to get even more difficult to understand and to interpret correctly. Satan tells God to stretch His hand and touch all that he has and Job will curse God to His face. So is God the curser or was God the one that blessed Job? If you recall from reading earlier we know that God was the one that blessed Job and made him exceedingly wealthy. It was God who had placed the hedge of protection around him and his family so what would happen if God changes and does the opposite like Satan just said for God to do? If God does what Satan just said, then God becomes a liar. That is pretty strong words, but that is what the Bibles says:
Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not;
According to the Bible, God is a constant never changing force of good. If God would have blessed Job and suddenly bent to the pressure from Satan to change and curse Job then God is guilty of changing. Do you understand that this is impossible? The Bible describes God as being Light. Do you know that the speed of light is a constant? The speed of light does not diminish or change it always stays the same. The distances of stars in our universe are measured in the terms of light years. A light year is the distance that light travels in the course of a year’s time. This is a constant value or we have a major problem on our hands. If you do not understand laws of physics and science about light and the speed of light, just fix your mind on God. If God blessed someone today and tomorrow takes it all away, then God changed and now God is a liar. That is a major problem with most people’s Bible interpretations, they interpret a book of the Bible like Job in a vacuum and ignore the rest of the Bible and this is not a valid interpretation. Here is another challenge for you to consider from something that God said in the book of Deuteronomy:
Deu 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
If God sets before us life or death, blessing or cursing and says to us to choose between the two, whose fault is it which one we get? Uh oh? That is a problem isn’t it? It would appear that if Job got curses instead of blessings, then he made the wrong choices to cause them to occur. Do you understand this?
Job 1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
So we now have God giving permission, or so many people think it says. This however, is not what this verse says. Nowhere in this verse does it say you have won your case, I give you permission. People just read this into the statement because that is what they want to see that it says. All God said was “Behold” and that means look, open your eyes and see. Do you understand that? That is not a statement of permission; it is a directive for Satan to see what has already happened. You cannot behold something that is not already there. I mean God can see into the future, but Satan cannot. If Satan is told to see something it has to be something that he can already see. This is clearly not rocket science, so surely you can comprehend the simple words of the Bible. Then God tells Satan that all that Job has is in his power. Again this is not I give you the power; this is a simple statement that says you already have the power. There is such a huge difference between those two perspectives. The only thing God does is limit what Satan can do and this was not to touch Job. So God was guilty of still trying to protect his righteous man Job. God never gives Satan permission to do anything. God simply said you already have the right to do what Job has chosen.
So who is the author of destruction? Who causes death and tornadoes? We will find out in our next lesson about the story of Job. I hope that you will join me as I continue with this series of very different Bible lessons. Thanks for your time and your comments. God Bless.
If you would like to continue reading in this series you can go to “Part 2“.
Posted on September 7, 2010, in Bible Study, Job and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, Genesis, God, Jesus, Job, Patience, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Satan, Symbolism, Truth. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.