JOB: The Historical Example of Suffering to the Glory of God (Part-3)

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Job 1:1 KJV

In magnificence of argument and beauty of style, the book of Job is one of the greatest in literature. It is surrounded by clouds of mystery as to authorship, as to characters presented, and as to the period of its writing. Moreover, there have been almost endless discussions as to the ultimate purpose and value of it. In earlier days of dealing with this book, I described it as 'The problem of pain.' I think that may abide, but if it presents the problem of pain, it does not afford any solution of the problem. It is very difficult, and perhaps impossible, to crystallize into anything like a brief statement the purpose of this book.

Nevertheless its value is that it is the Book of Job. That is to say, it is the story of a man. Everything gathers around that central fact; and as we read, we see this man related to the spirit world, accessible to the approach of spiritual forces outside of his own personality both for good and evil.

—G. Campbell Morgan, The Answers of Jesus to Job (1950) p 70

It is our belief that a clear concise and in-depth understanding of the Book of Job is of ultimate importance to every Christian living in our modern chaotic world. We live in a world where sin and evil is manifested in every area of society. The positional total depravity (cf. Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9) is manifested through immoral degeneracy (cf. Rom. 2:26-32), moral degeneracy (cf. Rom. 2:1-16) and religious degeneracy (cf. Rom. 2:17-29).

Some Examples:

  1. Immoral Degeneracy

    Immoral degeneracy is manifested through:
    1. Murder
    2. Rape
    3. Robbery
    4. Fornication
    5. Adultery
    6. Homosexuality
    7. Mind-altering drug usage
    8. Drunkenness
    9. Demonism
  2. Moral Degeneracy

    Moral Degeneracy is manifested through the refusal to forgive others of their own sins, faults and failures, while in self-righteousness refusing to recognize our own sins, faults, and failures.
    1. Unjustifiable divorce
    2. Unjustifiable child custody cases
    3. Laws and regulations to limit people's volitional choices in the spiritually nonessential areas of food, housing, transportation, education, and health care.
  3. Religious Degeneracy

    Religious degeneracy is the establishment of rituals which have no spiritual reality and rules and taboos which are not founded upon Scriptural principles.
    1. Storehouse only giving
    2. Water baptism as being essential for salvation (thus distorting its Biblical meaning and purpose)
    3. Forbidding of the right of private judgment by denying the right to question any of the pastor's personal opinions or the collective deacon's opinions (i.e. religious organizational tyranny). This does not apply to foundational Bible doctrine.

Job was not perfect in the sense of being blameless. The Bible teaches (and experience supports the fact) that every person falls short of God's standard of perfection (Rom. 3:23). The writer is asserting here that Job could not be justly charged with any moral failure by his fellow men. From the human point of view he was without blame.

—Charles Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible (1986) p779

Dr. Ryrie is correct. Scripture teaches:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:23

The story of Job is the story of a saved sinner, who for many years had served His Redeemer-God. We know this to be a fact, because at the beginning of Job's test (Cf. Job 1:8a; 2:3a) and at the climax of Job's test (Job. 42:7, 8), God the Son called Job "My Servant". An unregenerate person cannot be God's personal servant. God called Abraham "My Servant" (Cf. Gen.26:24). God called Moses "My Servant" (Cf. Nu. 12:7,8; Josh. 1:2,7). God called Caleb "My Servant" (Cf. Nu. 14:24), and God called David "My Servant" (Cf. II Sam. 3:18; 7:5, 9; I Kings 11:13, 32, 34, 36, 38). We believe that Job is Jobab, son of Joktan (Gen. 10:29); and if this is correct then Job is the first person in Scripture to whom God gave the special title of My servant! In the dispensation of the Gentiles the age of Government, God the Son brought Job into the forefront of the spiritual warfare of the angelic conflict

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Job 1:7, 8 KJV

And it is said, 'that man was perfect' —meaning by that, not that there was no evil; that is not the meaning of 'perfect' in Scripture at all, but in the Old Testament it is the word for a man being thoroughly sound —a sound man, not merely a moralist, but a man who was right with God. And besides being sound in that way, he was 'upright' with man. "Perfect and upright" shewed relations, one to God, and the other to men. both ought to go together. The great feature of it was 'fearing God.' Another great feature was that it answered to those other terms— refusing or shunning evil. 'Eschewing' you know is the old English for shunning. He avoided it. So that there you have the fear of God, the great root of his being sound or 'perfect'; and refusing evil, the great mark of his being 'upright'

—William Kelly, Eleven Lectures on Job (1919) p 12, 13

Job was not tested for the purpose of getting him to repent of some secret sin; nor was he tested for the purpose of spiritual growth. for an understanding and appreciation of the spiritual lessons to be found in the study of the trials and tests of Job, it is essential that we clearly understand that his testing originated in direct relationship to the spiritual warfare of the angelic conflict.

God the Son in a conversation with Satan brought up the name of Job and demanded to know if Satan had given any special attention to him. This conversation was held in the spiritual realm of the third heaven. Therefore, the source of Job's unique testing was outside of the material world. It began with a conversation between God the Son and Satan (i.e. Lucifer—Isa. 14:12; Devil—Matt. 4:1; Evil One—John 17:15; Great Red Dragon—Rev. 12:3, 7, 9; Roaring Lion—1 Pet 5:8; Belial—IICor 6:15; god of this World—II Cor. 4:4; Ruler of this World—John 12:31; Prince of the Power of the Air—Eph. 2:3; Enemy—Matt 12:28; Tempter—Matt. 4:3; Murderer—John 8:44a.; Liar—John8:44b; and Accuser—Ps. 109:6; Rev. 12:10).

Now, since Job lived before Abraham and therefore before Moses, he could not have possessed any written Scripture as it is now found in the Canon. The Father had prophets from the beginning (Cf Heb. 1:1; Lu. 1:69, 70; Acts 3:21) and we know that on of them was Enoch (Cf. Jude 1:14). Various Bible teachers have suggested the idea that the various styles of Hebrew writing and Divine names found in Genesis may imply that the Spirit through verbal plenary inspiration led Moses to write Genesis utilizing and editing the non-canonical writings of earlier prophets. The concept of the Spirit leading Moses or Solomon to edit the original autobiography of Job has also been suggested by some Bible teachers. The important thing is that Job possessed and utilized a tremendous amount of Bible doctrine for a man living before the actual writing of the Canon. The fact that so much of the book consists of Job speaking in the first person proves that he was one of the Father's prophets during the dispensation of the Gentiles.

However, since the Father's eternal wise holy perfect sufficient complete supreme sovereign omnipotent immutable loving righteous just blessed progressive chronological unfolding comprehensive grace dispensational protocol plan of the historical ages for the ultimate glorification of His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ was revealed through progressive revelation, he would have possessed a very limited amount of doctrine concerning the spiritual warfare of the angelic conflict. The Son introduced the spiritual warfare to Adam and Eve during His interrogation of them following Adam's original sin (Cf. Gen. 3:15). The only other reference to it before the time of Job would be the doctrinal information concerning the cohabitation between fallen angels and human women (Cf. Gen. 6:1-7). It is important to understand this because Job's trials and tests could not have been anticipated by him in any imaginable way. However, the Father does not send tests to believers that are beyond their spiritual capacity to pass (Cf. I Cor. 10:13).

The battle between the Lord and Satan in the soul of man cannot be over the possession of the soul. The battle is within the soul of the redeemed one as to whether he will honor and glorify God or whether he will live to his own ends.

—Donald Grey Barnhouse, The Invisible War (1965) p 139

Job stands out in Scripture for its uniqueness. However, its unique status is often lost on believers and this would include many who are classified as theologians, pastor-teachers, and teachers. It is a poetic book; but then so are the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. The actual human author of the book cannot be absolutely determined; but hen this is also true of some of the Psalms and of Hebrews. We believe that Job is the original author of the Book of Job; but that under verbal plenary inspiration the Spirit may have led Moses or Solomon to take Job's writings and edit them for the purpose of Canonicity. The Book of Job is the book which teaches us that the undeserved sufferings of believers has historical impact in the spiritual warfare of the angelic conflict and is designed for the ultimate glorification of God!

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:10-12 KJV

The Apostle begins his speech with The Word of Encouragement to Battle, 'Finally, my brethren be strong in the lord;' the best way indeed to prepare them for the following directions. A soul deeply possessed with fear, and dispirited with strong apprehensions of danger, is in no posture for counsel. As we see in an army when put to flight by some sudden alarm, or apprehension of danger, it is hard rallying them into order until the fright occasioned thereby is over; therefore the apostle first raiseth up their spirits, 'be strong in the Lord.' As if he should say, Perhaps some drooping souls find their hears fail them, while they see their enemies so strong, and they so weak; so numerous and they so few; so well appointed, and they so naked and unarmed; so skillful and expert at arms, but they green raw soldiers. Let not these or any other thoughts dismay you; but with undaunted courage march on, and be strong in the Lord, on whose performance lies the stress of the battle, and not on your skill or strength. It is not the least of a minister's care and skill in dividing the Word, so to press the Christian's duty, as not to oppress his spirit with the weight of it, by laying it on the creature's own shoulders, and not on the Lord's strength, as here the apostle teacheth us.

—William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour (1864) p 11, 12

As soldiers in Christ's Royal Army (cf. II Tim. 2:3,4), we are called into the spiritual warfare of the angelic conflict (cf. Eph. 6:10-18). The Book of Job is the Book of Spiritual Warfare Testing in No Man's Land (i.e. the territory between two armies). Job's children were all killed (cf. Job 1:18, 19). Job's wife broke down under the stress of seeing her husband endure such extreme physical pain and encouraged him to abandon the faith-rest life and accept death from he hand of God (cf. Job 2:9).

So went satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto this crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Job 2:7-10 KJV

Here is a man who is overcome with sorrow and grief. Now he has suffered the complete breakdown of his health and sees no human solution to his problems. Parents do not expect to outlive their children; but his children have all been killed. Not only that, but on the day of their deaths, he suffered the loss of almost all of his wealth and the needed assets to seek financial recovery. Then his wife's faith faltered; and she lost the spiritual ability to stand by her man. However, please note, even her failure to comfort and encourage Job did not cause him to abandon his faith and trust in His God. As we will see, she makes a spiritual recovery.

We trust that each one of you will carefully consider the facts that are laid before us. Job's wife has become so overcome with sorrow and grief that in her love for her husband she abandons her faith in God to carry them through the tests. She was unable to give him the loving compassion and sympathy that his soul cried out for in the anguish of the physical suffering he is going through.

Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every on his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

Job 2:11-13 KJV

They came from far to console Job (cf. 11:11-13); but as the dialogue develops, their condoling turns to condemning, and Job's suffering is thereby aggravated to a point of almost unendurable poignancy.

—J. Sidlow Baxter, Explore the Book Vol III (1960) p45

Job's dear friends traveled a long distance to comfort him and mourn with him. but it turned out that their sympathy was no better than a mirage on the desert instead of the oasis he must have expected when they came to his home. Job has become a man alone. As these friends turn upon him and accuse him of practicing secret sins, he discovered the truth that we can never depend completely on any man to help in time of our greatest need (cf. Jer. 17:5). We must trust only in the Lord (cf. Proverbs 3:5-7).

The word of the LORD came again to me, saying, Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it: Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 14:12-14
  1. Job faced four major tests emanating from the sovereign, permissive will of God.
  2. Job, in this pastor's opinion, has been misunderstood and therefore maligned by many expositors (self-included) who have taught from his account.
  3. It is my contention that Job never lost his patience for any length of time and that his major problem has been mistakenly interpreted as an attitude rather than an expression of his feelings.
  4. Contention: Job's expression of feelings in chapters 3 and 19 do not constitute negative volition or reversionism, or even fragmentation; his words simply reflect deep feelings, easily understood if we apply sympathy and compassion rather than condemnatory self-righteousness to our view of the person Job.
  5. Contention: Job's virtue has been maligned not only by his three friends and Elihu, all steeped in religion, but by every pastor who has approached this chronicle without compassion for this suffering man. (again, I include myself in this group.)
  6. This profile is therefore dedicated to the principle of correction as well as to truth. When our teaching principles are based upon truth, they are more accurate and disclose insights otherwise never possibilities.
  7. Contention: The voices of Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu Echo the toxic (mystic) faith of religion.
  8. Job was listed by Ezekiel (14:12-14) in company with Noah and Daniel, as a man who had a great impact in history.
  9. Job's prosperity was apart of his escrow Greater Grace Blessings package in time and had come through grace promotion.
—Carl Neal, Job: A Profile of Virtue (1992) p 1.

When I first received these notes from Pastor Neal in February, 1992, it opened a fantastic doorway of grace understanding to me. We have long considered Job to be one of the greatest men in history; and he is truly one of our Biblical heroes. We all need heroes. Heroes are men and women that we can admire because of their dedication and commitment to go above and beyond the call of duty. We need temporal life heroes; and we need spiritual life heroes. The testimony that the Spirit gave to us through the written Word of God (cf. Job 1:1) and the verbal testimony that the Son gave to the convocation of holy elect angels in His address to Satan confirms that Job had already had a spiritual life impact before he faced his greatest testing. God the Father uses prepared people. Job was spiritually prepared to meet this great trial (which human viewpoint would classify as a catastrophe. This trial was actually the road to greater spiritual and material life blessings for Job). Job was God's man of the hour; and we need to fully recognize that Bible doctrinal fact.

Historical Impact in The Spiritual Warfare of the Angelic Conflict Lesson IV