These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
God’s Justice & Sovereignty
Job speaks to me in so many ways, and I’m seeing that already in the first couple of chapters. A few things for now:
- Most of the book is a debate about what “justice” looks like. Turns out they all were wrong in the end, and Job’s perspective radically changed when he saw and heard from God at the end. I’m praying for that so much in the world today and so much “justice” conversations and debates in the world and church (and I honestly think all of us are wrong to a degree on these things).
- God is in charge–even in the book of Job. He initiates the convo with Satan, and tells him he can go “this far and no further”. What a comfort to us!
- Job is very wealthy (including having many servants), and yet also called upright, righteous/just. Shows that you can have wealth and fear the Lord (I just think it’s harder, and we should acknowledge that).
On the issue of justice, the arguments essentially point to this (as best I understand):
- Job: “I’m innocent, what is happening to me is unjust”
- Friends: “You are guilty, what is happening to you is just”
And the real answer is… (you’ll have to read the end of the book to find out :).
Job 1-2: Job Responds
I am so impressed by Job in chapters 1 & 2:
Isn’t it interesting how it mentions that Job interceded for his family on a regular basis?”5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them (his children), 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 sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did regularly.” Job 1:5-6
1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
As Job’s world is falling apart, his first reaction is to worship. I admit that this is not how I usually handle really tough situations in my life.I am also impressed as Job stands his ground in chapter 2:
2:9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
PHENOMENAL teaching on Job (in my humble opinion).
Job 12-13 – Boldness
“True wisdom and real power belong to God; from him we learn how to live,Job 12:13
and also what to live for.”
I am struck by how bold and secure Job is in his faith. Job does not waver in his dedication to God, even though he is constantly begging for mercy from him.
Please, God, I have two requests; grant them so I’ll know I count with you:Job 13:20
First, lay off the afflictions; the terror is too much for me. Second, address me directly so I can answer you, or let me speak and then you answer me.”
Job is so bold. He wants to square up face-to-face with God Almighty, which (spoiler alert) is a request that is eventually granted.
Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.Job 13:15
I love the recognition that God is doing the slaying. Like Heb. 12. This goes in the face of prosperity gospel teaching.
He is good no matter what befalls us!
Job 19: My Redeemer & Resurrection
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself…Job 19:25-27
What an inspiration!
This is also subtle evidence that resurrection of the dead was believed in the OT. Some claim this wasn’t a belief in the OT (I think Rob Bell, “Love Wins,” made that argument). That people just die and cease to be. Wrong!
Another proof of this is found in the end of Job. He gets double of everything, EXCEPT children. WHY? If children were resurrected later (like Job 19:25-27 talks about him being), then they didn’t permanently go away, and thus he will get double children at the resurrection.
Job 28 – Fear God
Love Job 28:28 – “the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom”
Think also of Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Job 29-30 – An Upright Man
In Job 29 and 30 you get an idea of what it looks like to be both “blameless and upright” (Job 1:1) and rich (see Job 1). As a wealthy man, you also:
- deliver the poor/fatherless who seek help (29:12)
- bless the widows and sick (29:13)
- help the blind and lame (29:15)
- help the needy and strangers (29:16)
- oppose the unrighteous and abusers (29:17)
- weep and grieve over those in really bad places (30:25)
I also think him having “very many servants” (1:3) gave opportunities to them, especially if he treated them with dignity and value.
It’s also amazing how those teachings and principles line up so well with the rest of Scripture even though this book may be the oldest in the Bible.
Job 31 – Your Eyes
Brethren, check out this verse:
1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes;Job 31:1
Why then should I look upon a young woman?”
I have to imagine the women in Job’s day were dressed much more modestly than the women around us today, and I doubt Job was constantly bombarded with over-sexualized billboards, magazines, social media ads, etc. How much more do we need to make a covenant with our eyes!
Job 32 – Stop the Flattery
For I do not know how to flatter, else my Maker would soon take me away.Job 32:22
Amen! I’m so frustrated with false flattery. Just seems so common and dishonest. May we be different
Job 39 & The Animals
I know it’s trivial but why does God use a mountain goat, wild donkey, ostrich, horse, and Hawk to question Job with (Job 39)? They are obviously significant, but I am not seeing the biblical significant as I would with a lion, eagle, bull, man – like in other sections.
There are other animals as well – the raven, leviathan, behemoth, lion, etc.
But in the list you mentioned I do see a possible pattern:
- goat – considered rebellious (used a sign for those who reject God: Matt 25)
- wild donkey – also considered rebellious (Ishmael was called to be a “wild donkey” of a man)
- ostrich – is an unclean bird (Lev. 11:15)
- horse – also unclean, compared with Egypt (in Song of Songs 1), “don’t trust in horses” God says
- hawk – an unclean bird (Lev. 11:15)
The raven, as well, is an unclean bird.I’ve wondered if the point is that God still sustains and works among the unclean/sinful. His ways are beyond your ways.
Job 40 – Behemoth
In my Bible, it says that behemoth is “a large animal, exact identity unknown”. Sure sounds like a dinosaur to me!
15Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you;
He eats grass like an ox.
16 See now, his strength is in his hips,
And his power is in his stomach muscles.
17 He moves his tail like a cedar;
The sinews of his thighs are tightly knit.
18 His bones are like beams of bronze,
His ribs like bars of iron.
19 He is the first of the ways of God;
Only He who made him can bring near His sword.
20 Surely the mountains yield food for him,
And all the beasts of the field play there.
21 He lies under the lotus trees,
In a covert of reeds and marsh.
22 The lotus trees cover him with their shade;
The willows by the brook surround him.
23 Indeed the river may rage,
Yet he is not disturbed;
He is confident, though the Jordan gushes into his mouth,
24 Though he takes it in his eyes,
Or one pierces his nose with a snare.
I can’t think of anything but a dinosaur that is described as “He moves his tail like a cedar,” honestly.
Job 41 – Leviathan
If you read about Leviathan, it sounds very much like a dinosaur/dragon. There are stories of such animals around the world. See Results for Leviathan at Answers In Genesis for more on this.
I have to say Job 39-41 really rocked me. These are chapters people do not talk about much. People often talk about chapter 42 and Job’s fortunes being returned.
I spent most of the book being so incredibly impressed with Job and his response to immense suffering. Also of course frustrated with his “friends” being such miserable comforters. His own wife says “curse God and die,” yet he stays steadfast throughout, clings to the Lord, and renounces sin in his life. It’s honestly incredible and I was putting him on a pedestal. I had forgot God’s initial response in chapters 39-41 and honestly have a hard time making sense of it in light of the humbleness of Job and his response to the suffering. I’m trying to think about this through the lens of justice, but it does not fully match my understanding of the character of God that He was so hard on Job when he was seemingly very blameless. Of course, as Job continued to humble himself before the Lord in the end he was vindicated but it sure seemed to be like a harsh initial response more than that of a loving father.
Check out Job 32:2 to understand why Job was in the wrong. Remember Elihu is commended as wise in the book of Job. He speaks in accordance with God.
Also Job 34:5 and 34:9.
Job 35:3 also shows part of Jobs problem.
Namely, he thought living righteously was only worth it if good things happened to him in return. Reminds me of first part of Psalm 73. He forgot that righteous living is always worth it because God is always worthy—regardless of life circumstances…and there will be a final judgment yet to come that is far more important than what happens in this life.
Last thing for now: Job 37:14 sort of sets the stage for what is to come in Job 38 and so on. Basically, another sin of Job is his pride in all this. Job says: “I’m pure, therefore God is at fault.”
But then God/Elihu rebukes him. How certain can Job be that he is righteous (spoiler: he’s not righteous in comparison with God)? And how certain can Job be that what is happening is punishment for his sin, as opposed to something meant for another purpose altogether? I think He comes off like a “know-it-all” and God has had enough.
I find God’s response interesting as well. Jesus, we have learned, was “filled with grace and truth.” God offers grace to all of us sinners by offering salvation, and this is the picture of God that is often presented, at least from a western evangelical perspective.. I think that this book of Job shows us the “truth” side of God.
As said above, despite the fact that Job was a righteous man, he was not righteous at all compared to God. I think Job finally realizes that God’s way is best, even when it doesn’t make sense, it is agonizingly painful.
In Job 33, Job is rebuked by Elihu (and God, it seems) for assuming fault with God because it was “unfair” that bad things happened to him who was “righteous”. If I’m understanding Job 33 rightly, it seems one thing Job hadn’t considered was how suffering/discipline can proactively teach us. That is, it can help train us to live in the future a better life, as opposed to only being a result of bad things we do. An example given is sickness. True, sickness can be punishment for sin (John 5). But sickness can also help train our soul and be used for Gods glory, even when it’s not a direct response to our sin (see John 9). Such seemed part of the story that Job wasn’t considering.
Some last reflections on Job, if I may…
- Elihu is the only one that is not rebuked by God. He starts speaking in Job 32, and when God starts speaking (via whirlwind) in Job 38, it seems like He is continuing where Elihu left off. Elihu’s speech is kind of like a prelude or beginning to the storm that comes in Job 38. All to say, I don’t think we should treat Elihu the same as the other friends of Job. With this in mind, we see the essential problem with Job and the friends in Job 32:2-3 – “He burned with anger at Job because HE JUSTIFIED HIMSELF RATHER THAN GOD. He burned with anger also at Job’s three friends because THEY HAD FOUND NO ANSWER, ALTHOUGH THEY HAD DECLARED JOB TO BE IN THE WRONG.” In other words, Job spent his time saying how good he was, and the fault was with God. The friends spent their time focusing on how bad Job was. Neither focused on God who’s ways are higher than our ways….
- This is seen in the fact that the main questions God asks Job starts with “WHO”. WHO…made the sea? WHO…sets things this way? WHO…determines things that way? Notice that Job / friends were debating the why and focusing on Job. God wanted a focus to be on Him.
- This climaxes when Job finally sees God for himself. I don’t think this means he saw him face to face. But that God manifested Himself so clearly that Job knew it was God. When that happens he realizes how little and sinful he is compared to this HOLY and GLORIOUS God. “I can only imagine what it will be like” [cue song] when we truly do see God unfiltered. I’d bet A LOT of money that all those things we thought were so “unfair” in this life would seem ridiculous at that time. And we would all realize that anything good we received in life was an act of God’s grace–we truly are unworthy.