By David Brown
Scholars tell us that “Job” is the oldest book in the Bible. They say it was written even before Moses’ Genesis record. Though often misinterpreted, I have found that Job contains many simple but profound truths that can help believers make it through life!
The story of Job is a microcosm of our bittersweet earthly lives! It directly confronts the common confusions and contradictions of life on earth. It doesn’t answer all mysteries but informs us of the fact that mysteries exist and that we must accept them as one of those “facts of life”.
As a committed Bible student, I have to admit that I get bogged down trying to read through the book. It seems to me that the most valuable portions of the account are found in Chapters 1, 2 and 38 through 42. In the introduction to the story we are acquainted with the facts of Job’s righteousness, religion and awareness of God. We are also informed of the spirit realm and it’s connection to the natural world. God is real. Satan is real and good and evil collide in the earthly sphere.
In the latter chapters, we recognize the fact that God, his governance and his words are authoritative, powerful, healing and restorative! We learn that by hearing from God, a bad situation can turn around and that we can win in the end!
Chapters 3 through 37 though, are frustratingly full of Job’s complaints, assumptions and verbalized sufferings along with his “friends” confusions, judgments and religious traditions…although every once in a while a great truth is thrown in. Negativity abounds however on page after page.
(It’s important to note that not every word in this book is true. It is definitely inspired because all scripture is “given” by the inspiration of God. This book is correctly recorded without error. We must remember however that many of the statements of Job and his friends “were” in error. We cannot accept some of their statements as “God’s word” anymore than we can accept Satan’s lie to Adam when he said “Ye shall not surely die”. All scripture is given by the inspiration of God but some statements found in scripture were not spoken by God as our instruction. Some statements found in scripture were spoken by ungodly and uninspired individuals. Their lies and errors however were correctly recorded by God’s inspiration.)
Nevertheless, Job’s complaints, feelings and emotions are common to every human who has suffered. I’m convinced that his friends were sincere in their attempts to comfort him. Their personal opinions, harsh judgments and mistaken reasoning’s are all too common with humans as we seek to make sense of senseless situations today. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons of this ancient book is that it reveals the basic lack of understanding that humans have of suffering as well as the speed we achieve in casting blame, thinking ill of our neighbors and the worst thing ever…blaming suffering on God!
With that said, I have made a list of timeless truths which we can glean from this unique book.
The spirit realm is real.
God is real.
Satan is real.
Good is real.
Evil is real.
God loves people
Satan hates people.
Gods desire is to protect, bless and increase his people.
Satan's desire is to steal, kill and destroy.
God blesses people.
Satan curses people.
God brags about the good in people.
Satan makes accusations concerning the bad in people.
Gods Protection can be compromised and lost.
Bad things happen to good people.
People don’t always know why.
Satan is the one who inflicts pain and suffering in people’s lives.
People often blame God or one another for what Satan does.
The sufferer doesn’t necessarily know why they’re suffering.
People often blame each other for what they don’t understand.
People, even friends, sometimes judge one another falsely and harshly.
Friends cannot always help you.
Those who come to comfort you may be very eloquent, yet very wrong.
Don’t listen to just anyone.
Things other than sin can produce suffering.
Fear is destructive.
At times God must allow Satan's cursing.
The way through life and suffering is a conversation with God.
Conversation with God is more about listening than talking.
When God talks, solutions are found.
God turns defeat into Victory.
God restores lost blessing.
God is a God of abundance.
Mere religious practice is powerless.
Relationship with God is powerful.
Blessing others brings blessing on ourselves.
Tragedy is not the end of your world.
When God speaks, is heard and obeyed, things change.
God doesn’t always explain life’s events to us but if we will trust and obey him, he will restore and bless us!