Scripture to meditate on:
In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.
One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 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.”
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. – Job 1
The Book of Job is one of the most mysterious books of the Bible. Modern scholars still debate the human authorship, the precise date of its writing and even the original language. What is not in doubt is the wisdom followers of Christ can gain from prayerfully pursuing the story of this patriarch and the heart breaking tragedy of his life.
Notice that this chapter begins and ends with the same observation about Job’s character. “This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (1:1). What follows is the most disastrous personal tragedy any of us would care to imagine. And yet the chapter ends by noting that Job’s character is not changed by the heartbreak. “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (1:22).
The book of Job is often categorized as a book of wisdom. That’s important to remember as we consider some of the more troubling aspects of this chapter. In verse 6, Satan or ‘the accuser’ comes before God asking to test Job’s faithfulness. One commentator cautions us against assuming this is a literal description of the workings of heaven, but reminds us of the larger purpose of this book; to explore the source of wisdom.
In this first chapter we confront one of the central questions of humanity; why is there suffering? This is the larger issue we will confront as we read through the book of Job?
“Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” – Job 1:8
Questions to ponder:
- Are you ever tempted to love God because of His blessings?
- Is your relationship with God dependent on his provision for you?
- How have you responded to God after losing a relationship? A job? A dream?