Introduction to Job, by Melissa Gibbs

Introduction to Job, by Melissa Gibbs

I feel like I am on Day 1, trying to condense all of the Creation account into one concise blog! There is an awful lot going on here. First, let me give you some historical context. It is estimated by scholars, that Job lived at around the same time as the patriarchs; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Many factors point to this assumption, one of which is the fact that Job lived 140 years after his children were grown. This makes his life-span roughly equivalent to Abraham's, which is notable as each generation after the flood lived progressively fewer years. We tend to think of Job as having lived much later in Israel's history, since his book is located more than half-way through the Old Testament. But Job is found in the back half of the OT because it is considered a poetic book. The Old Testament is ordered by category, not chronology, with the historical books first, the poetic books next, and the prophetic books last. The NLT chronology puts him after Genesis, but acknowledges that he could have lived even before Abraham. It just cannot be known for sure.

Job lived in the land of Uz, which was adjacent to Midian, where Moses lived for 40 years before leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses is presumed to have authored the book of Job while living in Midian, based on records that must have been kept by one of the men involved as well as the leading of God's Holy Spirit. Job is one of the oldest books of the Old Testament and deals with the oldest of subjects...why do godly people suffer? It is thought that Moses felt led to write Job's story in light of the suffering of the Israelites during their oppression in Egypt.

The first amazing thing about the account of job is that Satan presents himself before the Lord along with the heavenly court. I was taken aback by the thought that Satan has access to heaven and to the ear of God Almighty! But there are actually several references elsewhere in Scripture referring to Satan being in heaven. Most notably, Jesus tells Peter that Satan has asked the Father for permission to "sift him like wheat". There are also several references to Satan standing before God to accuse His people of sin (Eph. 2:2 and Zech. 3:1). So apparently, Satan has some access to heaven and uses it for the purpose of stirring up trouble. He asked permission to harm Job, hoping to unveil his "true" character (he is accusing Job of being a fair-weather friend of God). And God grants that permission! What does that say to us about God's role in our suffering? For starters, it seems that anything that comes at us from Satan, goes directly through God. How much of Satan's attacks He thwarts, we cannot know. But what he allows, is meant to test us, to refine us, to deepen us, and to advance His purposes in ways similar to what we saw with Joseph. That does not make God responsible for our suffering, as He cannot be held accountable for the actions of Satan or for the sinfulness of man. But we cannot think that God has no hand in our suffering, for He certainly allows a whole lot of pain and tragedy into our lives. But God is sovereign, and whatever suffering exists in our world, even horrific earthquakes, has been permitted for some distinct purpose.

Job displays the integrity and righteousness God ascribed to him in two profound statements. First, after losing all he owns and loves (aside from his wife), Job says "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord"...had to go King James on you, as that translation is so much better! Later, when he has been afflicted with painful sores, he says "should we accept only good things from God and never anything bad?" So true! We will ask "why me?" in the face of something bad, but never in the face of something good. We are surprised when trials come upon us, but not at all surprised when things are going our way. It is as if we feel entitled to God's blessings and offended when we are asked to endure a season of suffering.

As good an example of patient endurance as Job is, his three friends initially do just as good a job modeling the role of companion to someone in pain. They sit with him for 7 days without even saying a word!!! No platitudes, no advice, no dialog. They were just there. This will change in tomorrow's reading, but for these 7 days, they model true friendship as they simply come alongside Job to shoulder his grief.

Tomorrow's reading: Job 5-7

About Melissa Gibbs:

 

Melissa is the mother of four boys and the wife of her junior high sweetheart, JD.  He is the President of Joe Gibbs Racing and the son of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.  JD and Melissa have been married 16 years and are actively involved with Young Life, Motor Racing Outreach, their church, and other ministries.  Their youngest son Taylor is nearing completion of a 3 year treatment protocol for leukemia, which has been a powerful faith walk for their family.  Since his diagnosis, Melissa has been called upon to share their family's testimony with many local churches. Much of her energy is now focused on a huge festival planned for mid May in celebration of Taylor's victory over leukemia and in effort to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer.  If you'd like to check out what she's up to while not blogging, go to www.finishlinefestival.com.

 

Visit Melissa at http://chronologicalbiblein2010.blogspot.com/.

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