Job 1:21 “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised”.
This one verse tells us about the most blameless upright man that ever lived. A man who lost all, yet gained all, because he won the favour of God. This man lost all yet he did not blaspheme God in self righteousness; he praised God. In other words, he was victorious though he lost his worldly possessions. He was victorious spiritually. For me, 1:21 is the key verse because he first of all realized all that he had belonged, not to him, but to God. Secondly, when he lost all his materialistic and worldly possessions, Job praised God. It must have been extremely difficult to say and do; yet Job placed God on a much higher pedestal than his materialism and family. This key verse gives us insight as modern day believers on how we, as Christians, should react in difficult circumstances. I recently read the book by Terry Law in which he related the death of his first wife, Jan. The most painful, yet the most illuminating process, was getting up early and praising God shortly after the death of his wife when he was left with three children. But Terry Low tapped into the reservoir of God’s love, healing, comfort and deliverance. The simple key was praise and worship. Praise God, through thick and thin; praise God, through wind or storm. Learn to praise and watch Him lead you through the difficult situation or process in your life.
Authorship: The authorship of Job is uncertain and under an immense amount of speculation. According to Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, p. 171 “the contents of the book indicate that its author was a profound thinker who treats some of the most crucial and difficult problems of human existence from a mature spiritual perspective. According to Jack W. Hayford, p. 130, “perhaps even Solomon himself”. According to the book, Old Testament Survey, p. 562, “the author of Job hides nameless in the background of his work while demonstrating overwhelming sensitivity to the human plight, capacity for massive theological understanding, group of vast areas of culture and learning, insight into deep struggles among opiniated persons and skill in literary craftsmanship”.
Date: According to Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, p. 171, “suggestions for the date of the book’s composition range from the patriarchal era to the post exilic period. Most scholars today date the book between the Solomonic and exilic eras. According to Hayford’s Bible Handbook, “the manners, customs and general lifestyle of Job are from the patriarchal period (about 2000-1800 BC).
Structure: According to the Old Testament Survey by William Sanford, David Allen and Frederic William, p. 564, the structure can be divided into;
“Prologue (prose), Chs 1-2
Job’s lament (poetry) 3
Dialogue between Job 4-27
.. and friends (poetry) in three cycles
.. Eliphaz (Job replies to each)
Poem on Wisdom (poetry) 28
Job’s complaint (poetry) 29-31
Elihu’s speeches (poetry) 32-37
Yahweh’s speeches 9poetry) 38-42:6
Epilogue (prose) 42:7-17
Comparison between Job and Jesus: Was Job a shadow of what was to come? Was Job a type of Christ? W. F. Albright has interpreted the name Job as “where is (my) father?” (taken from Old Testament Survey, p. 560)
Job: Job was a blameless and upright man. He feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1, Job 1:8). There is noone on earth like him. Job 1:21 “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised”. Job 1:12 “Very well then everything he has is in your hands but on the man himself do not lay a finger”. Job was the most blameless and upright man on earth. Job 1:12 tells us that God allowed the devil to bring trials and tests into his life. Job did not deserve it; yet he went through physical pain (2:7), emotional pain (1:200 and psychological pain (3:1). Job, through no fault of his own, was allowed by God to be severely tested by Satan, yet Job did not retaliate; he did not curse God (2:9,10). He went through his pain; he went through his suffering. Job didn’t deserve it, yet it came upon him. Why? Because I believe there is a reason behind it. Nothing that is in the Bible has happened by chance. The story of Job for me has a deep prophetic connotation. Job 42:10-16, 42:12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. At least it has a happy ending!!
Jesus Christ: Matthew 27:23 What crime has he committed, asked Pilate, but they shouted all the louder, crucify Him. Matt. 27:30 They spit on him and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. Key verse: Matt. 27:46 Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani, which means My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.
Jesus was innocent, yet God allowed Jesus to endure immense pain, pressure of our sins, physical and psychological anguish for no fault of his own. Just because of his love for us. When Job, the most blameless, upright man that lived in his time, went through that suffering, did God just see Job .. or did God see Jesus in Job, knowing that one day his only son would go through suffering far worse, through no fault of his own.
Job, the meaning of his name is where is (my) father. Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani. I would like to conclude this comparison with a rhetorical question – Was the suffering and name of Job symbolic to what took place on Calvary? But what took place on Calvary carried immense magnitude – the enormity of the deity dying for us on Calvary.
Application: This book tells us that God allows tests and trials in a person’s life. This transaction stage or process stage, as I heard in a seminar, is called “liminality”. Job went through a liminality stage in his life in which he endured excruciating pain. But in the end, he came out victorious and the latter part of Job’s life was blessed even more than the former. I believe Job is an example of a victorious liminality survivor.
We, as Christians, are in the liminality process, just as Job was in the process. We are waiting for the second coming of Christ. We are in the sanctification process awaiting the time we will be fully glorified in Christ.
Main themes: According to the Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, “the basic question of the book is ‘why do the righteous suffer if God is loving and all powerful?’’ The second theme for me is God’s hand on Job’s life during his suffering and God blessing Job because Job stood strong in his faith in God.
Theological Truths: God is in control. God who is omniscient or all knowing knows about everything, whether it is good or evil, and He is in control. God has a higher plan, a higher purpose in mind. The devil needed God’s permission to attack Job, yet God preserved his life and blessed him more as he came out of his suffering, completely victorious. Isa 48:10 “see I have refined you, though not as silver, I have tested you in the furnace of affliction”. God refines and tests us. We, as His children, go through difficult situations in our life many times, but God never leaves us nor forsakes us. God never tempts us but I believe God allows us to go through hard times in our life so that we come out stronger, ready for His divine call.
Distinctive Pentecostal Beliefs: A distinctive Pentecostal belief here is spiritual warfare. Satan brought about oppression in Job’s life yet Job stood firm. In Job 1:10, it tells us that God put a hedge of protection around Job. In Eph. 6:10-20, the armour of God is our protection. When we, as children of the most high, live to please God, the devil brings about opposition. The devil brings about all kinds of oppression. The devil can attack our mind, our emotions, our finances, our family; but, what I learnt from Job is that the devil cannot take the life of a child of God unless God allows it to happen. The devil has come to steal, to kill and to destroy, but God has come to give us life and give it in abundance. Spiritual warfare is real. I have experienced it in my life but our God is far greater, far mightier. Jesus is our deliverer and redeemer.
Another distinctive Pentecostal belief is the prosperity of Job and the latter part of Job’s prosperity was greater than the former (Job 42:42). Contrary to a pentecostal belief that I have read here in Job is suffering. Many of our charismatic and Pentecostal churches are so caught up in the prosperity and spiritual warfare teaching that they fail to train and help people going through suffering. Many charismatic churches talk about the bed or roses, but those roses have thorns. So I would urge the Pentecostal churches to talk about trials and tribulations or the so called “laminality” process that every person endures during some time of their life.
Application: This book of Job has immensely helped me in my life. I went through a difficult time in my life. In fact, I suffered from depression but this book has given me a hope for the future. I would like to close with a poem I wrote:
Who am I?
That thought in my heart I ponder
What am I meant to be
Oh God, the future I just can’t foresee
Yet you care for me.
You didn’t just let me be,
You have a place and purpose
Thy Word is the key.
I came into the world a little seed,
Curious about the world so mysterious,
Bombarded with emotions hilarious,
At times delirious, at other times, furious
As I started to grow and mature to the tree I was meant to be,
I faced the storms of life
Into temptations I was tossed,
Yet through thy divine grace at Calvary
To temptation I was no longer held in slavery,
You set me free, enabling me to grow in sanctity,
Your word says, You shall bear fruit in season,
Seasons have come, seasons are gone,
Oh God, I feel so alone, why was I ever born,
Yet you on me never did frown,
The veil to enter the holy of holies was torn
By thy divine blood on the cross which was no loss,
At thy feet I place my supplication,
Oh Christ, on me make a divine transformation,
This season, let me see my life has a reason
Let me bear fruit at a dozen
Change my heart, my attitude
As I grow and mature in thy attitude,
As I pray I feel thy presence come as a ray
I feel the power of thy awesome presence like rain on me does spray
Father, when will you use me
Is it today?
I feel the rain come on me washing all my doubts and fears without a trace
Speaking to me through a gentle breeze
Thy love for me will never cease
I hear they voice saying my plans for you will be fulfilled come what may
All your have to do, daughter, is to pray.
Hayford, Jack W., Hayford’s Bible Handbook, Nashville, 1995.
Nelson, Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, Nashville, 1996.
Sanford, William, Allen, David, William Frederic, Old Testament Survey, Michigan, Zondervan, 1982.
Tenney, Merril C., Pictorial Bible Dictionary, Michigan, Zondervan, 1963.