Friday, January 20, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Introduction and Chapter 1

Job 1

-Introduction: Many Christians tend to shy away from the book of Job, not wanting to even have the thought of tragedy, trial, or trauma that encompasses this book. What those who to attempt to avoid it fail to realize is that Job is a hero with a true relationship with God and a double blessing in the end (Job 42:5, 10). We must keep this perspective in mind as we venture through this work that sees God enter the equation of evil to produce perfect good (evil + God = good). Job is considered by most scholars to be the oldest text in Scripture with events that probably occurred during the time of the patriarchs around 2000-1800 B.C.. Job is the first of the poetic books in the Hebrew Bible. The setting is in the land of Uz, more than likely located northeast of the Promised Land near desert land between Damascus and the Euphrates River. The purpose of this work is to demonstrate God’s sovereignty and the meaning of enduring faith on the part of mankind to come to “see” God (in other words, to know who He truly is, Job 42:5). It addresses the age-old question, “Why do the righteous need to suffer?” God always works through suffering, or going through the bad to get to the great. Defeat turns into victory, and mourning erupts into endless joy. These are the great themes of Job’s life for our application. Other themes include but are not limited to: 1) Satan’s attacks and the limits of his authority, 2) God’s goodness, greatness, testings, and wisdom, 3) Pride, 4) Defending innocence amidst accusation, 5) Dying to self, and 6) Trusting with endurance. The structure can be described as such: Job is Tested (Chapters 1 & 2), Three Friends Attempt to Answer Job (Chapters 3-31), Elihu Attempts to Answer Job (Chapters 32-37), God Answers Job (Chapters 38-41), and God Restores Job (Chapter 42). Job was a man who had it all, lost it, and regained it again through his faith and action in a loving God. Think deeply as we venture into this epic of God’s transcendent plan.

(Ideas extracted from “New American Standard Bible: Life Application Study Bible.” Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, pgs. 834-836)

-Chapter 1: Verse one gives us the setting for this epic in the land of Uz, which was presumably in the middle east somewhere near the Euphrates River in ancient times. Job is introduced as the prominent human character and is described as being “blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil.” He was a prosperous soul and a material giant. He was very wealthy with a listing of his assets in livestock and servants. In fact, he was the greatest man of all the men of the east. His sons would go and hold feasts, “each one on his day,” in their houses inviting their three sisters to eat and drink with them. Times were extremely good in other words. When the days of celebrating were over and had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them all, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offering for them, wanting to purify them just in case they had sinned and cursed God in their hearts. Job was a repentant man and extended intercession. Life and liberty seemed absolutely sublime in this man’s world. He was right with God, his family, and his provision (Job 1:1-5).

-“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.” These give us some indication Scripturally as to who the “host of Heaven” are (Nehemiah 9:6). They are created beings who answer to the LORD. The LORD now speaks to His inferior-counterpart, Satan, “From where do you come?” Lucifer answers Him, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The LORD proceeds to ask Satan a probing question that He knows all about (i.e. omniscient understanding of the end from the beginning), “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Satan, with his great deception and wrangled mind, responds, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your Face.” The accuser didn’t have full knowledge. We can see his limitations here for sure. The father of lies was certainly doing his thing, because Job never would curse God to His Face. The LORD calls Satan on his ignorance and enables in part, “Behold, all that he has in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” After this conversation, Satan departed from the presence of the LORD (Job 1:6-12). With this heightened tension, we can deduce that the enemy does, at least for this season, come into the presence of the LORD, since he is not yet in the abyss or the lake of fire (Revelation 20:1-3, 10).

-The devil does his dirty work, which was allowed by the LORD ultimately for a redemptive purpose, on the day when Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the oldest brother’s house. A messenger came to Job with news that the oxen, while they were plowing, and the donkeys, while they fed beside them, were attacked and taken by Sabean (of southwest Arabia) raiders, and the servants were slain by the edge of the sword. This messenger alone escaped with the grim news. While he was still speaking, another messenger came up with further catastrophe. God’s fire from heaven came down and burned up the sheep and the attending servants. This messenger alone survived to bring this to Job’s attention. While this one was still speaking, another came telling of how the Chaldeans (of the region north of the Persian Gulf) formed three bands and raided their camels, stealing them away and killing the attending servants too with the edge of the sword. This messenger alone made it back to tell of the calamity. But, the worst was yet to come. A final messenger came as the third one was still speaking telling Job that his own sons and daughters, while they were eating and drinking their wine, were killed when a great wind came from across the wilderness and blew down the four corners of the house. He alone escaped the storm to tell the deadly tale. “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head.” This was a cultural sign of intense mourning. He fell upon the ground and worshiped though saying, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the Name of the LORD.” The text next says this in defense of righteous Job, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.”

-*Application* It’s so easy to blame God when things don’t go our way and bad things occur. While it does go through His Hands for permission, it is His rebellious creation that has done the damage. It is never from Him, but He works it all together for a good ending for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, James 1:12-14). Let’s remember that today as we meditate on these deep things of the spiritual realm. Let’s be like Job in our fear of God, our righteous activities, our blameless ways, and our turning away from every evil thing. Let’s also keep lifting high the Name of the LORD even when He takes away. May we never blame God or sin in the times of suffering. Amen.

Verses to Memorize: Job 1:1, 22

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