So then let’s start our study. Or may I suggest - you start YOUR study. Here is my suggested pattern for studying. 1. Read the bible version, chapter by chapter or speech by speech, in the NIV or A.V. 2. Then read the “Easy read version” and check to see if any of the subjects on the list at the end of the Easy read version, are to be found in the speeches listed. If so just tick the box- you can write the verses refs if you wish.. 3. Make an attempt to answer the set questions for each speech 4. Then FINALLY read the study notes, and make note of any new truths which are significant to yourself.
So please read the first three chapters in your Bible plus my "easy read version", and having done so, see if you can answer the following;
Exercise One: Chapters 1 - 3.
1. How did God describe Job’s a, Natural Position; b, Spiritual position? 2. Why did Satan say that Job feared God ( Job’s motive)? 3a. What did Satan say that Job had around him? 3b. What do you think he meant by that, and do you think it was a real one, if not can you suggest what it might be? 4. How would you describe the difference between the first attack of suffering from Satan and the second attack? 5. What was Job’s reaction to the first attack? 6. What is the difference between how God describes Job to Satan in the first chapter, and how he describes him in the second chapter? 7. What do you think “skin for skin” means in Ch.2 v.4.? 8. What does the word “integrity” mean? 9. What did Job’s wife tell Job to do after the second attack? 10. Why did Job’s friends come to see him? 11. From reading Ch.3 v.25. What do you think was the reason for Job fearing God?
So now, compare your own answers and research with the following notes.
Study Notes on ch. 1 & 2.
There are certain things that have to be noticed in these early chapters. Firstly, we must appreciate who Job was, and the position he held. ( there is more reference to this later in the book) Secondly, it is very important to accept God’s testimony about him. The Authorised version calls him “perfect”. We shall discuss this later in the study, but if we are to see Job later as a type of Christ, we have to regard his integrity and perfectness. Thirdly, the Sovereignty of God and the limitations of Satan’s power. Satan is given power only that the purposes of God can be fulfilled. It is not that God likes Satan, enough to grant him his request; as if to give him Job to play with, in a sadistic manner. Fourthly, the two fold nature of suffering. - Inner suffering and outer suffering. In Job’s case we can see that firstly he suffered because he lost certain possessions, his house his cattle his wealth, and in this case his relatives. Then secondly there was direct suffering to himself, his body, soul and spirit. He lost his health in body, but he also lost his spiritual contact with God, which brought him great spiritual agony. We shall clearly see that Job did not just suffer in his body. There are popular misconceptions about Job, concerning his suffering and also his patience. As we understand patience today, Job did not major in it by any stretch of the imagination. The word “patience” in scripture, is better described in our language as “endurance”. It is clear from the narrative that he wasn’t very patient with his friends.
Job and Adam;
To some degree, Job’s situation is a replay of the garden of Eden. We can suppose that a hedge surrounded that garden also and the serpent gained access. Adam’s disobedience meant him being driven outside “of the hedge” and out of access to the tree of life. The law of God is a kind of hedge. Obedience is keeping the hedge in tact. “Do this and live” was the order with the law of Moses. When we break the law we break the hedge. Then Satan has access to bite and we die spiritually. The story of the serpents in the wilderness and Romans chs. 1-8 illustrate and confirm this. But consider this. ...... If Adam or man had not sinned would not Satan have still attacked his environment and his body, in order to get him to sin? Think about it - there is more of that later also. It is significant also that Satan had access to weather control. He sent a whirlwind and fire from heaven to destroy Jobs family and flocks. Jesus also when confronted by stormy weather “rebuked” the winds and waves and brought peace. Much tragedy on this earth is caused by adverse weather conditions. In the epistles Satan is described as "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph.2:2)
Satan’s True Identity; The word Satan means “accuser”. He accused God to Adam, and accused Job to God. His aim is to separate, by slander and suffering. He is referred to in scripture as the Accuser of the brethren. He also seeks to separate man from his fellowman, or christian from fellow christian, by insinuations and lies.
Job’s Integrity. Notice Job’s statement in verse 21 of chapter one. We reiterate these words at funerals, or at least the minister does, but how many genuinely do so from the heart. Do we sincerely acknowledge that what we have lost was never ours, but only on loan, and do we give thanks for the privilege of having “it”, for a while. The natural sinful selfishness of man causes him to regard all that he acquires in life as his own, and seldom avoids some display of resentment when such things are taken from him. We come into this world with nothing and for most people, life becomes a constant, if not frantic effort, to accumulate as much material and human possessions as possible. Even our close family we identify with a personal possessive pronoun - “my mother”, “my daughter” etc. There is often never a thought of thanks or regard for the God who gives these things, and people generally honestly believe that their possessions and their relatives are their genuine possessions by right. Consequently, when they lose them they resent it. God is not thanked for the loan of these things when he decides to “take them back”, but rather, resentment sets in and all too often he/we justify our own sins, or think that they have some excuse for sin, seeing that they think God has proved unjust or fallible. We shall read more of why the wicked sin and the consequences of resentment later in the book. In Job’s case there was a remarkable absence of resentment and his thankfulness is genuine. He says to God, “You gave these things and children to me for a while, now you have taken them back. Many thanks you are wonderful. Blessed be your name.” All this is a remarkable confession.
It is worth mentioning that when the Apostle Paul sets out the Gospel in Romans, that in chapter 1, which tells why the wrath of God is against sinful man, he lists some of his sinful deeds at the end of the chapter. It is a shocking and terrible indictment, but a closer view of the chapter will reveal that all such sinfulness began with the very first act of rebellion, which was that of “failing to give thanks”, for all that God has bestowed upon men through natural creation. Job was not to be numbered among such reprobates.
On a lighter note..... Some people say that Satan’s desire was to bring Job as much suffering as possible. Consequently, he took everything, but left him his wife. Not a very nice thing to say is it? and no doubt untrue, but some nevertheless do say it......!
Also, on a lighter note, we think we can guarantee that if you stay on through these studies and finish them, you will know more about suffering than many others. You may have to suffer snippets of Liverpool humour!
Job's First Speech First answer these questions
1. What do you think Job was really saying in this chapter? Was it:- a, That he wanted to die? b, That he wished he had never been born? c, That he was considering suicide? Please offer your comments or thoughts on why any of the above statements could, or could not, be true of Job. 2. Job’s statement that “I wish I had never been born” could be used to back up the argument in favour of abortion or euthenasia. What do you think?
So now, compare your own answers and research with the following brief notes.
Study Notes on ch. 3.
Job’s first Speech.
The depressive nature of this first speech is enough to put off most potential readers at the first hurdle. Who wants to listen to an old moaner. Job’s friends unfortunately had the same problem. However as we read this book we will see the extent of Job’s suffering, and recognise the magnitude of it. He was not just afflicted with a few boils in unfortunate places. If you have ever had a boil in one of those very sensitive areas of the body then you will know how painful just one boil can be. Job however, had pain and sores far in excess of a boil or two. When the writer was typing out the shortened version of Job some years ago on an old typewriter, one of his daughters glanced at the text and was alarmed to read what he had written. “I wish I had never been born . etc. etc.” She was so alarmed that she immediately asked her mother, “Have you seen what dad has written on his typewriter”. She thought that perhaps dad was writing out his suicide note. Unfortunately for Job he had no such way out. He could not see any point in living, but had recognised it was only God who had the right to take his life.
His complaint was that God would not take his life. He could only regret that he had ever been born. Life had become a trap, and a trap of suffering which seemed to Job to be without purpose and without justice. As a judge and lawyer of highest esteem, he had fulfilled all that God had required of him. His sense of justice told him that if a person obeyed his boss he would be rewarded. If he disobeyed he deserved retribution. Due to his own integrity and blamelessness, and his complete faith in the wisdom and justice of God, he was plunged into total confusion. Why should God do this to him. Throughout his life of piety and obedience to God, he enjoyed wonderful prosperity. But deep within his secret thoughts there had lingered a fear, that perhaps one day the prosperity might end and disaster might come upon him. Perhaps this fear was based in his whole and complete faith in the justice of God. To depart from “the way” would ensure God’s judgement. But though he had continued to shun evil and fear God, he was “rewarded” with the wages of the wicked. His creed had floundered.
He could only believe that God was the Instigator of these sufferings, because he believed that God had everything in his control. Job cannot understand the wisdom or logic of life if the end or purpose is pain and suffering. How could a God who is all wise and all powerful, plan such a thing? Rather than be faced with this problem of judging God, and with the temptation to question the goodness of God, he says he would have preferred not to have been born, or to have died at birth. Then this suffering would not have come to him and he would have been at rest with kings and counsellors who had died. He ponders on those who had been rich and successful, whose lives had been reduced to purposeless ruins by death. They (also) lived for no lasting purpose. At this point he seems to be questioning any purpose in life. Those who had been successful seemed to end in death and ruin, and his own life also had ended (so he thought) in purposeless suffering. Had he died at birth it would have made no difference, for all he had lived for had come to a disastrous end. Nothing was left but pain and suffering. To Job, Death seemed to be a great equaliser for all people of all stations and classes. Some of us may have seen loved ones suffering through their last days on earth. The inevitability of their death makes the suffering of no purpose. Doctors will mercifully keep such people sedated and free from pain. It is the only act of kindness they can do, but with the increase of the sedatives and drugs they know that the end will be hastened.
Euthanasia as a doctrine or practice is abhorrent to many, but such action in the guise of relieving pain is perhaps more acceptable. Who could even suggest that there might be some virtue or value in pain, when death is inevitable. Who wants anyone to die in agony?
Job thought along these lines; Why those who prayed for death could not have their prayers answered was a mystery to Job. In his case he believed God had set the trap, put him in it and would not let him out of it. He was completely hedged in. Little did he know that that was exactly what had happened. He had always had a hedge around him. A hedge of God’s law which protected him as long as he kept within the hedge. However, the intervention of God’s conversation with Satan, caused God, to change Job’s circumstances, not by taking the hedge away but by moving the hedge in, so that certain things that were at one time inside the hedge were outside and therefore accessible to Satan. After the second conversation with Satan the hedge was brought in further so that his body was outside the hedge and accessible to the evil hand of Satan, and the only thing inside the hedge was his life. God told Satan that he could not touch his life. Job seemed to recognise that all he had left was his life and that God held that within a hedge. He thought it was a bad thing, a restrictive thing but in God’s eternal purposes it was a saving and spiritually productive thing. In the case of Jesus his own Son, He took the “hedge” away completely.