Job was an extremely successful agro entrepreneur – the richest man in Uz. Only this wasn’t your robber baron. This was a man who feared God. He abstained from evil, which of course makes nonsense of the notion that you can’t be successful and godly, or you need to be crooked to be successful. Job had integrity. But Job’s life also exemplified the fact that bad things happen to good people. Let’s dive into the story.
Stupendously wealthy Job had ten kids – seven boys, three girls. Like many children of the rich, these kids loved to party. They even had a roster for parties. The boys took turns hosting parties. After each party circuit Job would make an offering to God for the sins of his kids. These offerings were some sort of insurance policy: “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts,” he used to say. (Job 1:5) Clearly his principal concern was blasphemy – renunciation of God, dishonouring God, or elevation of material wealth above God.
But there were conversations going on behind the scene about Job in another dimension of which Job wasn’t even aware.
The Bible teaches reality is in two dimensions. We occupy the lower of the two dimensions. It’s why we can’t see what’s going on in heaven. But those in heaven can see us because they’re in a higher dimension. And so at any point in time we only have a half picture of reality. Anyway, behind the scene an interesting conversation was taking place. There was an angelic summit in Heaven. Guess who showed up! Satan came for the conference. Seemed he took time off his busy schedule to attend the conference. He said as much. (Job 1:6-7) Satan got into a banter with God: “Hey! What have you been up to?” God asked. Now, to occupiers of our dimension Satan likes to give the impression he’s omnipresent. But he’s not. When God asked him where he’s been he replied, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.” (Job 1:7) So Satan is not omnipresent. He can’t be in two places at once. He has to travel to different locations to know what’s going on. “Have you noticed my friend Job?” God asked. “There’s no one quite like him – honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.” (Job 1:8) Satan counters that the only reason Job goes to church is because God’s been good to him. Take away the prosperity and see what happens! “You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does – he can’t lose!” (Job 1:10 MSG) Satan wagered if God took away the prosperity Job would curse God. So God tells Satan to attack his wealth and “all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” And that’s how the catastrophes began!
Satan was relentless. He went after Job’s wealth, subset after subset till he destroyed everything he had. There was a fast and furious succession of bad news. First, marauding Sabeans attacked his oxen and donkeys killing his field hands. Meat business gone! (Job 1:15) Then bolts of lightning struck his sheep and incinerated them to a crisp. Wool business gone! (Job 1:16) Then Chaldeans raided his camels and slaughtered the camel drivers. Haulage business gone! (Job 1:17) And Satan was sadistic about the whole thing. He would destroy all business personnel but leave a lone survivor to convey the bad news. Then Satan went after the kids. They were partying at the home of the eldest brother when a bizarre tornado swept in from the desert and struck the house. All ten children were killed, along with their friends. As usual Satan left a lone survivor to convey the horrible news. And so Job lost everything in one day! Wealth can be lost in a day. From this story we see Satan can send marauders and robbers, manipulate the elements and weather, go wholesale after entire personnel in a company, and laser-target a household.
It’s a wonder Job didn’t die of heart attack upon hearing these news. He went into mourning, ritually ripped his robe and shaved his head. (Job 1:20) But then he did something strange. He fell to the ground and worshipped God: “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21) You’ve probably heard that at a funeral but what kind of man suffers adversity and praises God! Job was that kind of man. And so one thing was clear: Job wasn’t in it for the money. Job went to church because he truly loved God. Not once did he blame God for his calamity. (Job 1:22) That was how Satan lost that bet. May our faith honour God.
Well, there was a follow up summit and Satan attended this as well. God was still proud of Job apparently. All that pressure and he was still loyal to God! Satan implied he lost the bet because he didn’t apply enough pressure. If he went after Job’s health for instance he was confident Job would renounce God. So we know there are three areas Satan applies pressure – income, family and health. Being confident of Job, God gave Satan permission to go after his health, but no death. (Job 2:4-6) And that was how Job developed ulcers all over his body – skin cancer. From head to foot he was covered with scabs. So we also know Satan causes death and sickness. But this proved too much for Mrs. Job. She had reached breaking point and she gave way to anger and frustration. She didn’t have the incredible equanimity of her husband or his stoic disposition. She’d lost ten kids. So she told Job, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9) In truth it seemed there was no point carrying on. Death seemed a kinder alternative. And she was angry with God. What if Job had cursed God?
Truth is, up till that point there was no Biblical record of anyone who cursed God. The events in the Book of Job took place after 2500 BC but before 2100 BC. The only other epochal event in this time bracket is the story of the Tower of Babel. Your Bible places the Book of Job right before Psalms, and that can give the impression the event took place about the time of David but that’s not so. It took place much earlier. Bible books are not listed chronologically.
The closest we’ve come to someone cursing God in the Bible is the case reported in Leviticus 24:11-16, but that was after the epoch of Job, in the dispensation of the Law. In that incident a half Israeli half Egyptian guy got into a fight. (His mum was the Israeli, from the tribe of Dan). Now, during the fight he cursed blasphemously. This was a violation of Exodus 20:7: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” It also offended against Exodus 22:28: “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.” Well, the law existed but no one knew the punishment. So the man was kept in custody until God made the punishment known. And this was God’s judgment: “Take the blasphemer outside the camp. Have all those who heard him place their hands on his head; then have the entire congregation stone him. Then tell the Israelites, Anyone who curses God will be held accountable; anyone who blasphemes the name of God must be put to death. The entire congregation must stone him.” So under the Law of Moses it was a capital offence to blaspheme. But Job was not under the Law. He lived before the Law. But there was a general understanding in his day you don’t blaspheme God, that it carried deadly consequence. We have that understanding too, only we don’t have a sense of the consequence. And that’s because of the blanket of grace over humanity in this dispensation. (Luke 9:56) As an aside, Jesus lived under the Law. It’s why the religious leaders tried to pin blasphemy charge on him for “calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:18) They were aiming for his judicial assassination.
But would God have killed Job if he’d blasphemed given the circumstances? Most unlikely. He lived under the dispensation of providence not under the Law. Truth is, if the law of blasphemy were strictly enforced today half the world would be dead! How many people say “Godamnit!” “Geez!” (Jesus!) “God Almighty!” “My God!” “Go to Hell!” This is blasphemy apparently. There’s even a peculiar French profanity – “Mon enfant de criss.” (As my son of Christ!) Besides, God loved Job, was very proud of him. And he told Satan not to kill him. Doubtful he would then have done it himself. This is not saying men can blaspheme or curse God, or use swear words. Rather it’s a pointer to the kindness of God, his long suffering with us. From the provision of the Law we know the severity of the offence of blasphemy. But we’re not consumed because “God did not send his only begotten Son into the world to judge and condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17) Grace!
But the Job story did end well. “God restored his fortune – and then doubled it!” (Job 42:10) God blessed his latter life more than his earlier life. He had another seven sons and three daughters. And those girls were so beautiful “there was not a woman in that country as beautiful as Job’s daughters.” One was named Dove, the second, Cinnamon, the third, Darkeyes. (Job. 42:15) “Job lived on another 140 years, living to see his children and grandchildren–four generations of them! Then he died – an old man, a full life.” (Job 42:16-17) God can restore all things. Doesn’t matter what calamity we have suffered. Keep faith in God.
If you’ll like to give your life to Jesus, please pray this prayer: Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.
© #Illuminare Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.orgGod can restore all things. It doesn’t matter what calamity we have suffered. Click To Tweet