By Richard Lim
The stories revealed in the Bible are written for our learning and profit (Rom. 15:4). One such story is that of Job. He was a man of great patience in suffering (Jas. 5:10-11). Some have questioned the authenticity of this book and claimed that the account is fictional. Yet the testimony of the scriptures proof otherwise as we can see that his name has been quoted by other prophets like Ezekiel (Ezek. 14:14, 16, 18, 20). In these passages, Job is named with Noah and Daniel as a real and righteous man. In the New Testament, James through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit has used the example of Job mentioning him as a real, historical person. Paul also quoted Job in 1 Cor. 3:19.
Here are some lessons that we can learn from Job:
God is sovereign and He is in control of everything. He is the almighty God and nothing happens without His knowledge and permission. Satan’s power to inflict the suffering on Job was only due to the permissive will of God and it was limited. In fact, in Job 42:1-6, Job himself declared to us that God is all powerful and all knowing. Thus we are greatly comforted that God always knows what we are going through (Job 34:21).
Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us that Jesus is our high priest who can understand our sufferings and trials because He likewise has gone through it. God also will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability and will also provide a way of escape for us (1 Cor. 10:13).
The sufferings that we experience are not necessarily because of our sin. Job didn’t know why he had to suffer. His friends insisted that his sufferings were due to his sins. However, this was not correct. Today we know the reason because it was revealed to us through the inspired scriptures. In the New Testament, the question of who sinned was being asked in the account written in John 9:1-3 concerning the man who was born blind from birth. To this Jesus answered that the reason was not due to anyone’s sin but that the work of God would be manifested through him.
The message that we must learn is that we cannot look at our life circumstances and determine that suffering means we have sinned. God did not establish a life principle that says that if we suffer, we must have sinned. In fact, Job 2:3 tells us that Job suffered “without reason” or “without cause.” We need to realize that righteous people do suffer. Jesus, the perfect and sinless Son of God, suffered and died. Many who were righteous in the past such as the prophets of old like Daniel and the apostles like Stephen also suffered and died. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim 3:12).
We do not always know why we suffer, but we need to remain faithful like Job. I am amazed at the faith of Job; even after enduring many trials and suffering, he could say:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, Andnaked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).
“You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sinwith his lips (Job 2:10).
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15).
Job proved the old devil wrong because he never turned his back on God nor did he gave up hope in the Lord. Though he spoke like a desperate man at times (Job 6:26), he never cursed God. Instead he trusted God, and due to his overall endurance to his suffering, Job is considered to be a great example of endurance or patience as James declared:
“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy (Jas 5:11).
In our trials and sufferings, we need to seek God’s wisdom (Jas. 1:5-6). James also reminded us that the testing of our faith is for our good. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have itsperfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4 (NKJV).
Let us be reminded of what apostle Peter said,“that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:7 NKJV).