Life is complex and complicated. The majority struggle to survive in the intellectual whirlpool of contradictory experiences.
The result of living is experience. Every elderly person will have some philosophy on life, even if it is a resignation to good luck or bad. All superstitions endorse the belief of hidden factors. The Bible teaches that God created all things. Also we are told that God is a Spirit. All physical things with which we appreciate by our five senses had their source in the invisible.
Heb 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. This is well illustrated by the fact that a simple video recording of this process, if reversed would show all things being formed from the invisible Therefore we can conclude that all physical things are subject to spiritual laws. Many of these spiritual laws can be found in the bible. However, the complexity of these laws and the forces which hace access to them are hidden from human eyesight. Amongst other things the book of Job gives us a peep behind the scenes of life- the unseen universe of spiritual forces. The whole universe is caught up in Job’s struggle to understand the cause of his problem.
The fundamental theme of Job is the mystery of Divine Providence ( or Permission) Everything that happens in this world does so within the knowledge and permission of God. He also has the antidote to its poisons and answer to its problems. God had the antidote even before He created the world. It was not God’s will that things should go wrong, when He created Man in his own sovereign ( freewill) image. But just as a loving parent would have medicines in the cupboard, so God had his remedy prepared.
If we compare Genesis and Job we will see a similar pattern in each;
1. Genesis: Adam perfect man ; paradise; Hedge; Serpent.
2. Job: Job Perfect man; paradise; hedge; Satan;
The difference between the two books is that Job did not succumb to Satan’s attack. Satan’s intention was to destroy Job’s faith. Thus cut him off from God. But in all this Job did not charge God foolishly or condemn himself. He does not understand, but refuses all false explanations.
It is significant to notice that Job cries for His REDEEMER. He is calling for someone to come and put every back the way it was. He was confident that he existed. “I know that my Redeemer lives”.
Adam sinned, Job didn’t, yet still he felt the need for a Redeemer! Why would that be so? Are we to draw the conclusion that if man had never sinned, He would still have needed the Redeemer which God had prepared before the foundation of the world. We would be right to draw that conclusion, for Satan would still have attacked man’s paradise (natural world) even if he had not sinned. For he knows that it is far more difficult to overcome the temptation to believe in God's word, when we see little evidence of the love of God in our circumstances, or the world around us. Romans ch 8 v 22 tells us that the whole of creation waits for the day when the Sons of God are revealed and everything is redeemed.
For any who do not wish to plod through this whole book, chapter by chapter, here is a very brief summary, written by Rev Ieaun Jones , Bible lecturer at The Bible College of Wales 1959 1. The Approach
2. The Adversary
3. The Argument
3. The Answer
1. THE APPROACH Job 1:1-15. Job was man of moral integrity, witnessed by many but primarily by God. Ezekiel 14:14 and James endorse this fact.
The cause of Job’s calamity is not clear. His friends believe in their maxims and proverbs. They take the philosophy of Psalm 1, the good prosper and the wicked suffer. It seems inconceivable to them that a righteous God would dispense suffering to an innocent person.
In the rest of scripture it is not difficult to see that certain people are the cause of their own calamity. E.g. David (2 sam.24) see also;
2 Samuel 21:1; Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan…, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.
Sometimes, as in the case of the blind man in John ch. 9, the cause is quite apart from us or our friends.
All material consequences can be traced back to spiritual causes.
The world of Circumstances is governed by the world of the Spirit. Therefore the way to change the world must be to change the real world, i.e. the spiritual world, hence the importance of the weapon of prayer
In Daniel 10:12-13 we read
Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
This gives us a remarkable insight into the world of the Spirit. The King of Persia is mentioned as the physical counterpart of a spiritual enemy. Daniel’s part in the piece was that of prayer, for the “weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” Again we read elsewhere, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, and powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in High Places”
It may seem that the people who oppose us are identifiable humans, but God would have us know the real causes.
There are very few Old Testament pictures of the unseen world. Jacob in Genesis 32, Micaiah in 1Kings 22 and Daniel ch. 10 are worthy of note.
Here in Job we see Jehovah’s awful throne surrounded by spirits- standing, serving, sent, and summoned.
The word “devil” is not to be found in the O.T. Satan is used 19 times in the O.T. In Job 14 times, once in 1Chron, in Zechariah 3 times and once in Psalm 109.
He is called a Son of God, probably the noblest of them. Ezekiel 28 refers to him as “Lucifer, son of the morning, the anointed cherub.
So also in Isaiah 14:12-15 we read.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit .
Here in Job we see Satan;
A) STANDING: He is standing to attention. He has no throne yet has access to the throne of God. He walks on earth with no power except that which is permitted to him.
B) SLANDERING: This is Satan’s way to separate man from God. In Genesis he slanders God to man “Has God said?” He sows the seeds of unbelief. “don’t believe it, God will not do that”
Here in Job he slanders Man to God
He is the accuser of the brethren. He never speaks the truth for real truth exists only in love. He is the Father of lies. He slanders Christian to Christian in a bid to bring disunity.
C) SUPPLICATING: AND
D) SUCCEEDING: Oh the awful sway of Satan. He seeks to rob God of His glory, and take it to Himself. God in his infinite wisdom allows Satan his way.
Wisdom is the key to this book. God is a God of Wisdom, Love and Power. In Job the Love of God is eclipsed. It speaks mainly of his Wisdom and Power. This gives rise to the question “why should a God so great and so good allow such things to happen?”
It is only because of His Wisdom. Wisdom is the way of God. To us. it is usually the long way round, but it is God’s way.
4. THE ARGUMENT:
This constitutes the bulk of the book. It is a log of words. There are nevertheless some wonderful passages and gem verses.
Job’s friends are good, wise counsellors. What they say is true, but in this case not the truth, as far as Job is concerned. They know many answers but not the answer here. They seek to speak for God but they know not the Lord. They are ignorant of the spiritual causes and insist the cause must be a moral one. Slowly they give up their fog of words, one by one fall silent. They eventually come to an end of human understanding and eloquence.
No man can speak for God unbidden or take his place uncommissioned. Elihu attempts to show himself as God’s spokesman, but the answer comes not from reasoning, but from Revelation. God answers at the last for Himself. God is his own interpreter and He will make it plain one day.
Because Job is a judge, the arguments are set in a legal tapestry. Job’s desire for justice causes him to seek an audience with God. If he were to be summoned to appear in God’s court he would wave the summons in triumph. For he knows that God would be just. He feels the need for a mediator (ch 9:33.)
In those days much legal argument was a matter of how many questions one could answer in relation to the opposition. When eventually God speaks he asks 70 questions, of which Job could answer none.
The Lord does not speak until all others have fallen silent.
1. It is a convincing answer: for Job’s friends.
His mighty power in Creation is matched by his patience in Providence. (Ch.38) He who shapes the snowflake with such infinite care will not deal cruelly or casually with man. He who ordains the way of nature will not foolishly destroy the noblest of his creatures. Man’s end marks God’s beginning. A new birth, a new man, a new world. Job’s friends speak much of wisdom but do not understand it.
2. It is a compensating answer for Job
Job received double for all he had lost; Camels 7/4; sheep 3/6; oxen 5/10; asses 5/10; New sons, new daughters, Beauty for boils. And another 70 years on the 70 already lived. The end of the Lord is a new beginning.
3. It is a confounding answer for Satan.
Satan is outwitted. He is the only loser. His accusations prove futile and false The father of Lies is exposed
In spite of his wiles, the way and wisdom of God is vindicated through suffering. The tables are turned on his would-be rival. His efforts have turned out to be an advantage to God’s purposes.
(Further recommended study: It is impossible to understand this book fully without a clear knowledge and understanding of Romans ch 8.)