Endurance for Serious Troubles
Book of Job 1:6 - 2:13 A Living Commentary
Introduction to Job: The Character of a Person
The Book of Job is remarkable in the way it gives us a different perspective of life. The great curtain of heaven is pulled back and we get to see the inner workings of God. On the movie The Wizard of Oz we see phoniness when the great curtain is pulled back accidentally. In this scene, however, God Himself pulls back the curtain. He reveals what is really happening in heaven. This is the true picture and the facts reveal His awesome power and authority.
It is probably true that not many of us put much time into thinking what heaven really is like. The Book of Job surprises us with what is shown and what is not shown. We have much interest in knowing about what the angels said to God. Nothing is stated about this. We are interested in our own lives. Nothing is revealed. Instead we find conversations between God and Satan. And in the only two scenes comprising this section, we are astonished by God’s willingness to dangle a saint before the evil one, almost begging the evil one to come test this particular one.
But the most startling fact of all is that although we get to see a picture of Job’s life, he never saw it. The scene was not for Job, at least before it all happened. Job doesn't at all refer to these heavenly scenes during his testing times. But interestingly, this is true of our lives too. The heavenly facts of what God sees and says are there in heaven, but we are not privileged to see the full picture of our lives. That God shows us what it is like for one person shows that He could show us much more of our own lives. He could reveal it to us, but He refuses to do so. We all have another side of our life story that is not being told on this side of time.
What is it that God states about your life? The question is not whether the Lord speaks about your life but what He says about you. Can He boast about the life decisions that you made? How have those decisions helped shape your life or character? Or does He see through you like a window only find that you live for your possessions. In all honesty, you would in a flash be crushed if you like Job were stripped of all. But what happens if this love for things persists and is not interrupted by some difficulty in life? Will you then not be judged as a heathen who loves self rather than God?
God allows two tests to come before Job. God's testings are thorough. Tests are proving times, but these tests reveal what is in ones heart. Job did not just lose most of his wealth but absolutely all of it. He not only lost some of His health but all of it in one quick go. The two sections describing these calamities are clearly divided as seen below. Each time the catastrophe happened rapidly with the intention of increasing the faith of Job.
These special recordings of the events in heaven were not written for Job. They were written for us. This old recording of some past event is purposed to slow down our lives so that we can reflect on who we are and what we really are made of. God wants us to know what happens behind heaven’s curtains so that we will never blame God for the difficult things that come into our lives when we seek to live upright lives. Through Job's two great trials we learn at least three important truths that we need to master if we are going to endure severe trials like Job's.
1) God fully oversees all the affliction that comes to His people.
In the Book of Job God largely discusses the narrow theme of how bad things happen to good people. He does not say this is how He deals with the wicked or even to the lukewarm saints. We need to look elsewhere for instruction on how to understand God's dealings with them. We should not misapply this revelation to the wicked. Although God’s authority is the same, the situations are quite different.
God oversees all the troubles that His people go through. Troubles are dispersed only as far as God judges as right and good. God, then, is ultimately in controlnot the environment, not our bodies, not our enemies nor even the devil. God’s people are specially protected by the power of God.
Instead of trying to justify why we should not have to enter certain affliction, we ought to be fully aware that God is modifying what and when hardships can come our way. Nothing passes to us without His divine control. This truth wonderfully strengthens our faith for difficult times. But another truth is equally important so that we do not fail. It is the backbone of our faith. "No temptation is given to us that we cannot through God’s grace resist. God always provides an escape for what temptation might come our way" (1 Corinthians 10:13). There are not exceptions of this for His people. God watches over every circumstance that His child steps into.
2) God uses troubles to test our heart.
We might not like this truth, but God goes out of the way to point it out to us. Remember the Book of Job is more for us than for him. The Lord purposely uses difficult circumstances to reveal our hearts' affections and trusts. Stressful times have a special curing process through which we can understand our own hearts, dislike our sins, desperately seek after His abundant mercy and walk in His ways. Grace is being dispersed during these trials. He does this for at least two reasons:
We see this later aspect here in Job 1:8. “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”
Most people cannot see their own sins. They simply cannot see the idols they worship. They do not want to see them. The religious man is too prideful to think that his heart has any impurity. The covetous man has clearly convinced himself that he is not ruled by his desires. He doesn't know he is ruled at all. Either he has too many things which hide his discontents (i.e. wanting more) or he denies it by thinking, "If I only had ...."
Job was a wealthy man. His life showed that the wealthy are not all corrupt. Here was a man who happened to be wealthy. Take His loved things away, and He still is the same contented man. His wealth did not make him. So when everything was washed away in the flood of Satan’s attack, he came out of the rubble with the famous verses,
There is an incredible barrage of attacks that came upon Job when his family and possessions were stripped from him. We get used to the things we have. We get to love those that we rear. Our futures are wrapped up in those things around us. Job was no different. But he realized that everything we have is a gift from God. We do not deserve wealth and health. Education is a privilege not a demand.
The godly man is truly the only contented and happy man because he realizes any good thing that he has is a gift of God. He is happy because he knows that he has everything that God wants him to have. We see this come together when we observe that it is his attitude and not the possessions that shape him. We can take those things away and the man is the same. Like Job we can rejoice in our confidence of God’s care for us even through difficult times.
3) The Lord reveals both God and the devil's purposes.
This insight into the unknown spirit world provides a critical clue to rightly understanding life's difficulties. God is intricately involved in the establishing of His people's character.
God is hardly concerned with convincing Satan of Job's blameless character. The Lord has a bigger plan in mind. He is building up Job. He is bringing him to where he otherwise couldn't have reached.
This doesn’t mean that it is easy. Ask if anyone volunteers to go through such difficulties. Of course not! Only God has such wisdom and love to bring a man so close to trouble's precipice and yet always preserve him. His people can rest in the fact that our Heavenly Father cares for us. Though Satan is seeking our destruction, our Lord keeps us in His grace.
There is no neutral ground in the universe;
every square inch, every split second,
is claimed by God and counter claimed by Satan.”
We must also see here that when Satan has an opportunity to destroy man, he takes it. The moment he gets the go-ahead, he springs to action and brings the worse possible scenario about. The evil one wants to destroy our faith and hopes to smash it with the destruction of the things we own and health itself. Like John says, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Never underestimate a ‘little’ temptation. The one behind it seeks to destroy you. All temptations lead down the throat of the dragon.
Our secret lives are not so secret after all! We just don’t know that our deeds are being broadcasted about the universe on stations that we don’t receive! Our fear of the Lord would increase, I suspect, if we could see how all our dirty heart affairs were being made known to heavenly spectators. It is not that God hasn’t warned us. He tells us how we should rightly live. He even tells us that Judgment Day will open all the books and everything we have done or thought is recorded in them. These recordings of Job’s life are important calls to live godly lives so that in the end we can like Job endure and trust in Him.
These two revelations also point us to incessant trust in the Lord. Whether times are good or bad, we should whole-heartedly trust int he Lord's designs and plans. He can make the little things work just in the right time in order to bring about a change in circumstances. Our God specializes in these ways. We can fully trust Him.
The interaction between God, man, events and Satan.
Bible Study Questions
1. How many trials did Job face? What did they consist of?
2. What valuable lessons did you learn about counseling others from Job 1:6-2:13?
3. Do you know of anyone who suffered so much? Share.
4. What would be the hardest part for you to experience?
1. How do you normally handle trials?
2. Identify the truths in the following verses through which we see Job’s responses to these personal crises.
4. Is all suffering because of the evil in our lives?
5. Why does God allow Satan to inflict so much trouble into Job's life?
6. When you go through suffering, what are some important questions you could ask yourself to get some perspective?3. We tend to blame God when we hit difficult times. Job did not do this. “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God” (Job 1:22). Why do we blame God? From our studies here, do we find God responsible for our difficult times? Examine your last difficult trial and analyze your own response. How could you have responded better. (Do note that our bad responses are always based on lies about God).
Overview of Articles on the Book of JobIntroduction to Job Overview of Job Purpose of Job
Job 1:1-5 Job 1:6-2:13 Job 3-37 Job 8_Counseling Job 38-42:9 Job 42:10-17
Other articles on suffering:
Finding Peace in Tragic Times Explanation of Judgment Isaiah53 & Development of Character