Job 1:20-21 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.
Even though Job was devastated, he chose to worship God instead of cursing him. Praising God in heaven is easier than praising him on earth. And praising God when things go right is easier than praising him when things go wrong. By worshipping God in the midst of loss, Job brought more glory to God than angels above.
Job was able to respond this way because he understood two important things. First, everything he had on earth was only temporary. Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart, he said. He came into the world with nothing, and he would leave with nothing. The important thing to Job was that he still had God.
Second, Job understood that God was in control of his loss. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, he said. Job was not in the hands of fate, chance or the devil. He was in the hands of a good and loving God who is always worthy of praise. So even in the midst of loss, Job gave praise to God.
Job 1:22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Whenever evil strikes, it may seem like God is not doing his job—or is doing it very badly. And if the disaster is overwhelming, we might even think that God is evil. No matter how things appear, however, we must trust that God is good, and is doing something good for us.
A child begged his father not to make him have surgery, but the father insisted because it was best for the child. He was not trying to harm the child, but to help him. Likewise, God may have to hurt us, in order to help us, but he will never harm us. No matter how great the affliction, we should never charge God with wrongdoing. Rather, we should praise God for the good he is doing us, even if we can’t understand it.
Job 2:1-6 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the Lord said to Satan, Where have you come from? Satan answered the Lord, From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.
Then the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.
Skin for skin! Satan replied. A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face. The Lord said to Satan, Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.
Job did so well in his first round of testing that God honored him with a second round of testing. In the first round, Satan was allowed to destroy all that belonged to Job, but not his health. Now he was free to destroy even that. This was a staggering test because, apart from health, there is little that we can even enjoy.
Job 2:7-9 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!
Perhaps the only reason Satan did not take Job’s wife, along with his children, is because he wanted to speak to Job through her. This is the only time she is quoted in the Bible, and it does not reflect well on her. But she lost everything too. And as the mother of ten dead children, her pain may have been even worse than Job’s.
Job’s wife told him to Curse God and die, but Job would do neither. Some are willing to curse God, and some are willing to kill themselves, but Satan’s joy is most complete when people curse God and then kill themselves. Here we see the evilness of Satan, and his twisted will for each of us.
Job 2:10 Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?
Job was the kind of person who did what was right, because it was right, not because it worked. He was loyal to his Maker because it is always right to be loyal to your Maker.
A middle-aged man was taken to the hospital with neck pain. Soon he was paralyzed and unable to speak. He eventually learned to speak again, but he always needed a wheel chair. His son was angry at God, and asked his father why he was not angry too. Why should I accept good from God and not trouble? he said. God is to be honored for who he is, not only for what he gives.
Job 2:11-13 When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.
When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
The presence of friends must have been a comfort to Job, at least for awhile. They showed their sensitivity by sitting with him in silence. This is not always easy. We want to say, I know what you’re going through;I know how you feel; or something theological. But most of the time we do not know what they are going through, how they feel, or how it relates to God. It is wiser to show our concern by simply being present, and saying very little.
Reflection and Review
Why did Job praise God throughout his suffering?
What is Satan’s will for us?
How can we comfort friends who are suffering?