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This overview of the Book of Job introduces the Book of Job by providing Job's purpose, a special outline, a brief introduction of the five sections of Job and supplies general questions on each section. Links are provided for longer descriptions of each section of the Book of Job.
The purpose of the Book of Job is to rightly understand life's testings so that we will faithfully serve and trust God during difficult times and also to prove that even righteous men can suffer. For more on the purpose of the Book of Job click here.
1. Thoughts on Life's Goals (1:1-5)
2. Endurance for Serious Troubles (1:6-2:13)
3. Search for Right Perspectives (3-37)
4. Time before a Holy God (38-42:9)
5. Satisfaction with Life's Reward (42:10-17)
This is only an brief overview of the Book of Job. After one has briefly acquainted himself with the Book of Job, he should then read through Job's Living Commentary which discusses each section of Job in much more detail. The links are provided below. Click here for an introduction on the Book of Job.
Yahweh the Lord said of Job, "There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." (Job 1:8)
This list is identical to what we see in Job 1:1. We find four characteristics:
Turning away from evil
God's viewpoint is correct and is born out by Job's response during the severe testing. We should not therefore find fault in Job's responses to God or his friends. Yes, he could be more humble; he could have been closer to God. God knew he needed some 'help' to arrive at that stage.
Job was a great man which we all should learn from. What should we desire to learn from his life? Although his immense wealth was impressive, we know this did not 'make' him. His qualities distinguished him despite his great wealth. With such position, he could have chosen to do many wrong things as his friends intimated. He could have gone beyond the law and got away with it in the eyes of man. Yet, he constrained his behavior because of his fear of the Lord.
Very few could imitate Job in his wealth, possessions or even family size, but we all can strive to be like him in heart. The rich and poor have equal access to having a godly character. Job didn't have any advantage in this area. He faced a tough world even as we do.
Job sets a great example for us as he breaks through the cheap materialistic view of the world and dares to live before God's presence. His possessions did not make him great but his character, that is, his inward godly commitments that shaped his decisions. He did not strive to be wealthy but to be acceptable before God and man. Wealth came as a special calling.
Through Job's two great trials we learn several important truths that are needed to know if we are going to endure severe trials like Job's.
God is in the end overseeing the troubles that His people go through. Troubles can be dispersed only as far as God judges as right and good. God, then, is ultimately in control not the environment, not our bodies, not our enemies nor even the devil. This is great news.
The Lord purposely reveals our hearts' greatest affection and trust. This is most often done through stressful times. He does this for at least two reasons:
1) to expose our sins to ourselves and
2) to bring praise and reward to those who cherish Him .
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." (Job 1:8)
Most people cannot see their own sins. They simply cannot see the idols they worship. 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 discontent from wanting more or he denies it by thinking the statements, "if I only had ...."
Job was a wealthy man. He shows 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 in Job 1:21-22.
This insight into the unknown spirit world serves as 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.
Ask anyone if they volunteer to go through such difficulties and people will incredulously look at you. 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.
"And he said, "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Although counseling is an often used word today, we have learned little of the great mistakes that can be made during counseling sessions. Counselors are often wrong.
The scriptures warns us numerous times about false teachers, but we don't really believe it is a problem that affects us. Is it because we tend to think we are too clever to be doped by someone who has false teachings? Or do we believe counselors live above the problems of theology? After all, have they not earned advanced degrees?
Everyone has a theology or a set of presuppositions about how God, man and the devil operate on this globe. Whenever someone has poor or inaccurate theology, he will certainly misdirect people away from truth and God's will. What we think about God and His world greatly shape what we think of or say to a fellow man about problems they may face.
Job faced four different times of confrontation by his friends. They were courteous enough to show polite respect the first week, but it is as if they were loading up on ammunition the whole time! More than likely they were.
Counseling Session #1 (3-14)
Counseling Session #2 (15-21)
Counseling Session #3 (22-26)
Counseling Session #4 (27-37)
We are quickly reminded of God's assessment of mankind from Romans 3 when we read of Job's shameful response to God. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
Job had a God encounter. This is one of the most feared situations in the scriptures. They have heard that one will die if anyone meets up with God. It makes sense. Here Job was by God declared a righteous man, but he still found himself far short of God's holy standard.
God's Word enabled Job and us to get a close up view of what God thinks about man even at his top performance. God humbled Job so that he could rightly understand God and interpret the world around him. The Lord spoke twice to Job and once to Eliphaz.
Truly this section helps us better understand the importance for men to hear God's voice so that they can gain a right perspective of life.
What is the general tenor of God's message to Job?
How does the LORD get across His point?
How does Job's responses compare to his former responses?
Who did God ask to go to Job to receive forgiveness? Why?
How close have you got to God? What was on your mind? Were you conscious of your sin and deficiencies? What new thoughts did you think of God? Were they different from the scripture's teachings?
The final scene helps us understand the purpose God had in allowing all of these troubles to assail Job, including even his friends' relentless attacks.
"Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit." (John 15:2)
God was not Job's enemy but friend. The Lord desired to advance Job. He wanted Job to be doubly blessed and used around the world to get a clearer picture of God's plan and satan's diabolical ways.
The ending justifies the means. Justice does not demand that sinful man is to avoid suffering but that he is treated rightly in the end.
Job is an example of patience.
How did the LORD treat Job after all of this?
How does it compare to before?
List two or three trials that you have had to endure? How did it end? Did you find any improvement in life? Explain?
Is all suffering because of the evil in our lives?
Why does God allow Satan to inflict so much trouble into Job's life?
What valuable lessons have we learned about counseling others in this book?
When you go through suffering, what are some important questions you could ask yourself to get some perspective?
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988