I got a bit behind on my reading and over the last couple of days did some serious catching up. I read a portion of Nehemiah and Esther yesterday bringing me to the book of Job today. I think this catching up has been a blessing though since it gave me the opportunity to read the entire book of Job today.
Job begins by describing Job as a man who is completely blameless. Satan then asks God to take away from Job to test his faithfulness. So God allows Satan to take his family and possessions. So in a single day Job loses all of his sons and daughters and all his cattle. But he doesn’t curse God. So satan returns to God and says take away Job’s health and he will curse you. So God allows satan to inflict harm to Job’s body but not to take his life. So Job becomes covered in boils from head to foot. It is at this point that the majority of the book begins. Job has three friends come to him. Elihaz, Bildad, and Zophar. And a young man named Elihu is with them.
The book of Job is basically a back and forth dialogue between Job and his friends. His friends basically are telling him that he is being punished by God for some secret sin that he has committed. Job continues to argue his innocence and keeps requesting a meeting with God so he can plead his case. This goes on and on, I believe there are 10 back and forth dialogues between the three friends and Job. Job keeps proclaiming his innocence and asking for God to hear his case, and his friends keep telling him that he has sinned and God has inflicted this punishment on him.
But then Elihu speaks up and instead of accusing Job or saying that God has inflicted punishment, he defends God and His character. Elihu proclaims the mercy of God in Job 33:23-33 and keeps defending different aspects of God’s character. He never accuses Job nor God regarding what has happened to Job.
Listen to me, you who have understanding.
Everyone knows that God doesn’t sin!
The Almighty can do no wrong.
— Job 34:10
And he keeps defending God’s character throughout chapters 34 and 35 and in chapter 36 Elihu makes it clear what his purpose is in speaking…
Let me go on, and I will show you the truth.
For I have not finished defending God!
I will present profound arguments
for the righteousness of my Creator.
— Job 36:2-3
In Chapter 38 God begins speaking right after Elihu and basically questions Job and lets Job know that Job should not be questioning the wisdom of God due to his afflictions. Job is speechless before God and then says:
I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.
I was stunned to realize that Job followed God faithfully only on what he had heard of God, not because he had experienced God or met with God before this encounter. But Job was humbled before God and recognized that he should not have questioned God regarding what had happened to him. I must note that God never condemns nor punishes Job for questioning his wisdom, but God makes it clear that He is just and that He is all powerful and this humbles Job.
God then says he is angry with Jobs three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar for misrepresenting Him. They had basically accused God of punishing Job, which was not true. And it should be noted that God does not mention Elihu, I believe this is because Elihu defended God. Animals were then sacrificed to get rid of this sin that the three friends had committed and then Job prayed for his friends. Job is then healed and God blesses him with twice as many blessings as he had before Job’s trials begin.
The lesson I got from Job is that when things are not going well, when horrible things are happening, that we should never accuse God. But we should do as Elihu did and defend God. Because God is always just and righteous, even if we are unable to understand it.