Ron Graham was called home on March 14, 2013. He began writing this commentary before his death and had asked me, Nathele Graham, to continue his service to our Lord by finishing what he began.
We use the expression “the patience of Job” but have you ever thought about the faith of Job? His trials give us a lot to think about. He was a wealthy man who seemed to have everything going his way. He had a wife, seven sons, three daughters, and much livestock.
“His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.” (Job 1:3).
Aside from his wealth, Job had faith in the Lord. He prayed and offered sacrifices on behalf of his children just in case one had sinned and cursed God. He pretty much had the world by the tail. It is easy to have faith in God when things are going our way but Job was soon to have his faith tested.
Every evil in this world is caused by Satan and it was that master of evil who caused Job to suffer loss of family, health, and wealth. One day Satan happened by and noticed how great Job was doing. Satan never wants to see people who love God prosper so he went before God and got permission to embark on a personal attack that would completely change Job’s life.
In a rush of bad news Job was told that the Sabeans had stolen his oxen and asses and also killed his servants, that fire had fallen from heaven and burned up the sheep along with the servants watching them, and that the Chaldeans had stolen his camels and killed his servants. Probably the most devastating news that day was that his children had died when the house they were in fell on them. Any one of these disasters would be enough to test one’s faith in God, but Job knew better.
“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:20-22).
Yes, he knew the LORD.
More troubles were to befall Job. Satan wasn’t able to break Job’s faith by killing his children and causing the loss of his livestock so he attacked Job’s health. He caused boils to cover Job from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. If that wasn’t enough his wife wasn’t very supportive.
“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.” Job 2:9.
Was she disgusted and thinking he would be better off dead, or was she sympathetic and believed that death would be his only way out of his troubles? Whatever her thoughts her words were less than supportive. Job’s answer to her showed that he was not bitter.
“But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10).
Though Job had lost so much, he did have at least three friends left. Did I say friends? Well, at least they didn’t turn away from him. They heard of his troubles and came to be with him.
“So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great” (Job 2:13).
When things go wrong it’s good to have friends who are just there for you. Tragedy can cause much self-examination, and sometimes others look at the situation and make judgments. Job began having a real pity party. He cursed the day he was born and felt that he should have died.
“Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul; which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures; which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?” (Job 3:20-22).
Job was understandably miserable, but he never blamed God. He questioned why this was happening, and felt God was the cause of his troubles, but he didn’t blame God. He never blamed Satan either. When trials test us we might ask the question “Why me?” Many of our trials are of our own doing, such as spending money foolishly or making bad choices (such as smoking cigarettes) that cause health problems. Some trials are full out attacks by Satan. Job saw his own good works and questioned why this was happening to him. His suffering was to the point that he wished he had never been born, but he never saw Satan as the one who was making the attack.
When Job’s friends began to “advise” him and point out why this was happening they weren’t very complimentary. They pointed out his kind deeds to others, but added criticism and blame.
“Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou has strengthened the feeble knees” (Job 4:3-4).
Eliphaz seems to be very complimentary of Job, but then he accuses him “But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.” Job 4:5.
In other words, Job is now having troubles and is weak and unable to handle the problems. Job’s friends continue along this line of thought. Their words did nothing to comfort or encourage him and only caused Job to feel worse. Then he became upset with them. When a Christian goes through trouble, who do we turn to for advice? A Christian should never seek advice from a weak Christian and certainly not from a non-Christian. First and foremost we should seek the Lord in prayer and through His Holy Word. Our strength is in the Lord.
Eventually Job listened to God. It’s easy to criticize Job, but he had to go through his own self-pity and hear the criticism from his friends before he was finally ready to listen to God.
“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me” (Job 38:1-3).
God had heard enough and told Job to get himself together and face this like a man. Job is ready to listen to God who is now going to point out that He is sovereign, the Creator of all that is, and so much greater than Job himself. After God tells of His strength and power, he questions Job. In the end Job is humbled and truly knew the power of the LORD.
“Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not: things too wonderful for me, which I knew not” (Job 42:1-3).
It was a hard lesson to learn, but Job’s faith was strengthened. Before his troubles Job had faith in the LORD. Now that he finally listened to God his faith became more than just knowledge of the LORD, it was real and God lived in his heart.
Another lesson to be learned from the book of Job is that when you give advice you need to be sure it is Godly advice. God does hear and it matters to Him how He is represented.
“And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath” (Job 42:7).
Study God’s Word and stand firm upon it. Don’t judge others by your own understanding, but be sure your advice comes straight from God’s Word.
What had Job done to receive such a terrible trial perpetrated by Satan and allowed by God Himself? He did nothing more than any other child of God who’s walking with Him but sometimes stumbles. We live in a fallen world and that means bad things happen to everyone. God allowed Satan to have his way with Job, and by doing so God ultimately showed Satan that no matter how hard he tries, not all of the people on earth would be deceived by the treachery of the father of lies.
God knew what Job would do. He knew Job would come through the troubles stronger in his faith. How about you? Do you crumble when faced with adversity or does your faith strengthen in hard times? Satan can only affect the worldly things of life that are fleeting, but he cannot take away a Christian’s life because that belongs to God.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one” ( John 10:27-30).
Christian’s can take comfort in those words Jesus spoke.
Job came through his time of testing and in the end God restored to Job a double measure of all that he’d lost, even to the point that he begat another seven sons and three daughters. Can any one of us avoid trials and tribulation? Not if we believe what the Bible teaches.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
The question is will we be as Job and have our faith strengthened through trials? Will we endure the hatred that’s coming and the unavoidable circumstances that will arise from being a follower of Jesus Christ? Will we “hold fast” to the faith, or will we give in to the pressures of our society. Don’t listen to the advice from worldly friends; turn your whole life over to Christ. He has overcome the world and is our Redeemer.
Long before Christ sacrificed Himself for our redemption, Job said:
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27).
Job had faith. He went through hard trials yet he continued to hold fast to his faith in God. He knew his Redeemer lives. God knew Job and He knew Job wouldn’t fail. My prayer is that God knows this about us also. That in the face of severe persecution and tribulation we, the body of Christ, will hold fast to the faith and truly know that our Redeemer lives!
God bless you all,
Ron & Nathele Graham