We will be reading the Old Testament book Job together during September.
This short overview of the book is to help you as you read.
When we read Proverbs together, we read that the ‘fear of God was the beginning of wisdom’ (Prov 9:10), Job is the ideal wise man (Job 1:1-5). Job fears God and keeps away from evil. He is both righteous and rich. In the Old Testament these material blessings were signs of God’s favour, yet it doesn’t take long for that favour to disappear. He is brought to rags and ruin, his children are all killed, his wealth is lost and is covered head to toe with sores. What will this do to his faith?
Job is left asking “Why?” As readers we are given something Job isn’t. A behind the scenes view of the spiritual realm. Here we find the reason for Job’s suffering. God has presented Job as his faithful, blameless servant, Satan the accuser has scoffed at the idea and suggested that Job is only a worshipper because of the wealth and riches he has been blessed with. “Remove the blessings and Job will cease to worship God.” Who is speaking the truth God or Satan?
- Ch 1-2 Prose – The Prologue
- Ch 3-31 Poetry – Three rounds of speeches with Job and his friends
- Ch 32-37 Poetry – Elihu Speech
- Ch 38-42:6 Poetry – The Lord answers Job
- Ch 42:7-17 Prose – The Epilogue
Things To Look Out For In Job
- Broken Orthodoxy: Job’s friends come to comfort him, they do well to stay quiet for the first seven days. Once they open their mouth the problems start. They speak many true things (orthodoxy), about God, about man, and about the world. But their words are misdirected at Job. They see his suffering and presume he must have sinned for God to treat him in this way. The accusation’s and the temptation to trade his integrity for the blessings God once showered him with seems to be an echo of Satan in the first chapter.
- Cosmic Scope: In many ways Job is a book like no other in Scripture. Job is outside of the main family lines we are normally so focused on, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David etc. The scope of the book is greater. The opening chapters bring us into the spiritual realm and give us a fascinating insight into the unseen world. The fight between good and evil is going to take place in the life of Job. The big picture to grasp is God’s ultimate sovereignty, the agent of evil is powerless to move without God’s permission. Though there is mystery here there is also comfort. God sits on the throne not Satan.
- Job Innocent but Not Sinless: When we get into the dispute chapters, it can be hard to keep a handle on what is being said. It is important to re-read the first two chapters and be reminded why Job is in the position he is in. Also read the final chapter and the Lord’s eventual verdict. Job is God’s man on earth, an exemplary servant. Job in the dispute chapters is defending his integrity; he knows he has done nothing to deserve the calamities he is enduring. Job does in places overstep the mark and speaks foolishly. That is why he confesses in the final chapter. He is not conceding to the friend’s argument, he is owning foolish words before his creator. As he seeks to get himself out of the dock, he increasingly wants God in the dock, to give and account.
- Seeking and Seeing God in Suffering: Job is vindicated not just in the end by God but throughout the book as he withstands the temptation to ‘curse God and die’. Rather than letting go of God, he pursues him. With the mystery, in the pain, honestly and passionately he seeks God. Then God comes in the closing chapters revealed in a storm and speak to Job. Job encounters God ‘..but now my eyes have seen you.’ And the trial is over. He has found what he was seeking, the answers aren’t given him, but he has the Lord.
- The Gospel in Job.
- Hopes of a mediator. In his defence speeches Job has sensational glimpses of a mediator between man and God. In Ch.9 he speaks of how formidable God is, he wants to challenge him but how can he who is a man speak to the creator? He longs for one who could mediate. Put a hand on the shoulder of Job and reach a hand toward God. In ch.16, and 19 this theme returns and grows. Wonderful glimpses of God’s provision of a mediator fulfilled in Christ.
- The Righteous Sufferer: Job suffers as the righteous servant of God. He prepares us for Christ whose righteousness and suffering exceed that of Job. We also see God’s sovereignty displayed in allowing suffering and bringing about his purposes. We don’t get all the answers but we are left in no doubt about who is in control of this universe and that his purposes are good.
- A Victory over evil: We see God’s way of defeating evil. His activity centres on a man undergoing severe trial and temptation holding onto faith in God throughout. We see that the Devil’s lies don’t stand up to the Word of God. We look forward to the day that God will defeat the accuser once and for all, through another righteous sufferer.
Bay Church Reflections
Through September we will look to refer to the book of Job as often as possible. We hope this will increase our familiarity with the book and provide more opportunity to learn from it.
- Introductory Sermon – Sep 1st
- Home Groups – Second and Fourth Week of September
- Children’s Address during Morning Meeting.
If you have any questions about the book of Job as you read please contact Andrew: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are several books in The Bay Church Library, (Church Office) which uou are welcome to borrow.
Christopher Ash – Job The Wisdom of The Cross (link)
Robert Fyall – How Does God Treat His Friends? (link)
Hywel Jones – Job Commentary (link)