The book of Job starts with the description of Job’s character: “…and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil” (Chapter 1:1). Most of the book talks about the rebukes of Job’s “friends” to him, and Job’s answers to them. In doing so they also describe the greatness of God, His power and wisdom. Indeed, these details are important and give us knowledge about God, the faithful Creator and sovereign over the whole world. But Job and his “friends” knew about God, they didn’t know God himself . They didn’t have a close and intimate relationship with Him and this of course is also addressed to us, the believers, today. God wants us to know Him and therefore sent Yeshua, in order – “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:10).
God wants from us today a personal and close relationship with Him and not just knowledge about Him: “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
and the knowledge of God (Himself) more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). He knows the intentions of our heart and the motives of our actions. If they are not pure before Him, or if they are not done out of a desire to bring Him honor, He will not accept them and will reproof us, for our benefit. (Eph. 5: 9-10, 15-17).
During Job’s difficult conversation with his “friends”, he realized that God had interfered in his life and allowed everything that happened, to happen to him. He said to them: “…for the hand of God has struck me” (Chapter 19:21).
He didn’t blame Satan. The devil is under God’s authority in any condition. “And the Lord said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person…”(chap. 1:12). We sometimes blame the devil for what is happening to us. In such a case, we give honor to the devil, for having succeeded in harming us. Everything that happens to us is under the control and authority of God and there is a reason for that. When Job was stripped of everything he had in his life: his property, his family, the health of his body, his friends, and was left completely alone in the world, he still gave honor to God and declared in faith: “For I know that my Redeemer lives…”!!! (chap. 19:25). Only at the end did God let him understand that this trial worked for the better in his life.
During the hard conversation between him and his “friends”, the word of God reveals to us where Job failed. “…my righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go…” (chap. 27:5-6). True, God said of him that he was innocent and honest and God-fearing, but when the hardship came upon him with his “friends”, he failed. He sinned by justifying himself! In chapter 32:2, Elihu rebuked him: “…his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God“. And in chapter 33:9, Elihu quoted Job’s words about himself: “I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me”. The word of God in the New Testament teaches us: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10). All of us are still in our sinful flesh and may sin at any moment.
Today, we the believers, those who know God Himself, understand that self-justification is a sin in God’s eyes, it comes out of spiritual pride and that may stand between us and Him, until we will repent. We know we are justified only by the precious blood of Yeshua!!! During a conversation or argument with others, when they accuse us and we are sure it is a false accusation, we must let it go and not fight for our right and our justice. The Lord has already done this for us ! We must trust Him and hold on to His righteousness, despite everything that is happening around us. “…if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:21-22). To do what is pleasing Him are: forgive, bless and pray for those who condemn us and He will act in their lives in His own way and in His own time (Matthew 5:44-48).
In chapter 42:1-6, the word of God clarifies to us the purpose of the book. After God described the wonders of his creation and his mighty rule in nature (chapters 38-41), Job humbly humiliated himself before him and only then, did he begin to understand what God had done in his life. “Then Job answered the Lord and said: I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (v.1-2). He acknowledged that God is omnipotent and controlled every situation in his life and that is true for us too.
“You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (v.3). Job humbled himself and admitted that he did not know and did not understand the deeds of God in his life.
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (v. 5-6). Job declared before God, that until now he had only heard of Him, that is, he knew about Him, but after the hard trial he had gone through, that brought him to humble himself before God, “he saw Him”, a spiritual sight, that is, he felt His presence and knew Him. He therefore confessed that his words were disgusting, he regretted of them and repented.
Sometimes difficult situations in our lives reveal a hidden sin within us. Only when we humble ourselves before God and repent, we “see” Him – feel His presence and understand the purpose of His action in our lives.
After Job repented, God turned to Eliphaz and his two friends and rebuked them for not speaking to Him correctly as Job did. “…the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has” (chap. 42:7). God called him “my servant Job” – Job was a tool in the hands of God, for his “friends” and for all of us.
Latter God guided Job’s “friends”: “Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has” (chap. 42:8). God instructed Job to pray for them and told him that He will hear his prayer and not hurt them, for not speaking to Him correctly.
Job’s “friends” did not understand what God was doing in his life and yet they rebuked him badly.
This case is a teaching for us. Sometimes we think we know what He is doing in the lives of others and rebuke them, but we do not always understand, and may harm those who suffer. Sometimes we also do not understand, what God is doing in our lives, while suffering, or helplessness. But when we come before Him humbly in prayer, asking for His guidance and obey Him, the result is – growth in faith and closeness to God.
Both Job and his “friends” knew about God but they did not know Him personally. Job understood in a difficult way the lesson that God had come to teach him. He understood the greatness of God versus his nothingness (humility), he understood that he could not control his life, he understood that only God could justify him, and he understood that he needed to forgive and pray for those who condemned him. After he confessed and repented, God justified him in relation to his companions and said He will hear his prayer for them. “So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; for the Lord had accepted Job” (Chap. 42:9). God indeed heard and accepted his prayer. After Job prayed for his “friends” and of course forgave them, God blessed him and gave him back twice the property he had before and also gave him seven sons and three daughters. Then his family members and friends came to celebrate with him and comfort him “…for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him” (Chap. 42:11).
Our study from Job’s life story is: We must know God personally. We need to know what He likes and what He hates, what makes Him happy and what grieves Him. We must walk in the fear of God and not in fear of man. We must be sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit (through the word of God, or through brethren, or through situations) and repent.
When we shall know Him, we will understand what He is doing in our lives, in different or difficult situations, because He loves us and has a purpose and plan for our lives. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb.12:6).
When we are in a situation of suffering, we must always remember that God is a merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.
“…You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11).