UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.


Used with permission: Character by Character compiled by Selwyn Hughes and Trevor Partridge. Copyright © CWR (www.cwr.org.uk).




Scripture passages referenced and linked in this lesson are written out for your convenience on this page.

UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.


Character by Character

Lesson 9: Job


Scripture passages referenced and linked in this lesson are written out for your convenience on this page.

Job: “Hated”

His terrible trials

Job chapter 1 (click the link to read the passages)

Job appears to be a very rich man

Job is one of the most outstanding characters in the whole of Scripture. In Ezekiel 14:14, God declares that his righteousness is on a par with that of Daniel and Noah.

At the beginning of his career, Job appears to be a very rich man, with much livestock and a large household. Satan sees Job’s spiritual and material prosperity and slanders him before God, affirming that Job’s spirituality will crumble if his material assets are removed.

a series of catastrophes

God allows Satan to put Job through a period of testing and soon, through a series of catastrophes, the good man loses his children, his servants and his livestock. Job’s faith withstands these trials, and he refuses to blame God or fall into sin.

For thought and contemplation:

See how Satan slanders Job. This is a common device of slanderers—to suggest that which they have no reason to think is true. But as there is nothing we should dread more than being hypocrites, so there is nothing we need to dread less than being called and counted so without cause.

“These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:7, NIV)

His scheming adversary

Job 2:1-10

Satan once again presents himself in the heavenly court

Satan once again presents himself in the heavenly court, and when God reminds him that Job still retains his faith and integrity, Satan argues that if Job suffers physically, his faith will fail. God therefore permits Satan to afflict Job with ill health, but will not permit his life to be endangered. Job contracts a loathsome skin disease which causes him to be expelled from society.

he is advised by his wife to curse God and die

He sits in the town refuse dump, where he is advised by his wife to curse God and die. Despite his personal suffering, however, Job stubbornly refuses to say anything against God, thus making Satan’s second test ineffective.

For thought and contemplation:

We ought never to forget that however formidable an enemy Satan appears, he is an enemy on a leash. He can only work within certain limits—limits that are set by the grace and wisdom of God. If God did not put a leash on that ‘roaring lion’, how easily he would overcome us.

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31, NIV)

His misguided friends

Job 2:11-13 & chapters 4, 8, 11, 32; Job 16:2

Three of Job’s friends come to visit him

Three of Job’s friends come to visit him and sit with him for seven days in silent sympathy. They believe that Job’s loss of health, family and possessions is due to the fact that God is punishing him for some secret sin, and attempt to convince Job that this is the cause of his problems. Job stoutly denies this, and hours of disputing follow in which a fourth and younger man joins in. The arguments move backward and forward and no one is convinced.

Job is almost driven to distraction

After a while Job is almost driven to distraction by the attempts of his friends to counsel him, and their lack of real empathy and understanding drive him to look for true comfort in God.

For thought and contemplation:

Job’s friends started their ministry of counselling well—by sitting with him in silent sympathy. How sad that they allowed themselves to become judgmental, thus undoing the work they had begun. When next you sit down with someone in trouble, remember that it’s better to say nothing than to say the wrong thing.

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” (Rom. 14:13, NIV)

His honest response

Job chapters 6 & 7

an outburst from Job

In chapter 6 we see how Job responds to the remarks made by one of his friends, Eliphaz the Temanite. The seven-day silence had been broken by an outburst from Job in which he curses the day he was born (3:1-19). He now justifies himself for that cry of anguish (6:1-7), and asks that God will terminate his life and thus bring his pain and suffering to an end (vv. 8-9). He goes on to rebuke his friends for not trying to understand his predicament (vv. 14-21) and asks for honest words that will show him where he is wrong (vv. 24-27), promising that their honesty will be matched by his (v. 28).

Job then speaks directly to God

Job then speaks directly to God, and honestly shares his thoughts and feelings with the Almighty.

For thought and contemplation:

One of the most damaging things we can do to our personality is to fail to honestly acknowledge our personal feelings—whatever they may be. Repressed or suppressed feelings contribute to inner conflict. So the next time you feel down, don’t hide those feelings. Do as Job did, and talk to God about them.

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.” (Psa. 42:5, NIV)

Some reasons for Job’s suffering

Some reasons for Job’s suffering

1. To silence Satan (1:9-11; 2:4-5)

2. To face himself (42:3-4)

3. To reveal God (42:5)

4. To refine his character (42:6)

5. To help his friends (42:7)

6. To pray for his critics (42:10)

7. To demonstrate God’s goodness (42:13-15)

His glorious God

Job chapters 38 to 41

God now speaks

The speeches of the four wise men and of Job being ended—God now speaks. First He describes His creative works in the inanimate world (chap. 38), and then goes on to the animate creation (chaps. 39-41). The Almighty unfolds the intricacies of the natural order which He has created and over which He has control. Examples are given of the different types of creatures, and their strengths and weaknesses. Job is encouraged not to find fault with God, nor with His ways—however strange and inscrutable (40:1-2).

he is just a creature and cannot truly challenge his creator

The patriarch begins to sense his own insignificance in the midst of a great creation and wishes to remain silent (vv. 3-5). Job is reminded that he is just a creature and cannot truly challenge his Creator.

For thought and contemplation:

Ever thought that the main reason why people get downcast and discouraged is because of a loss of perspective? They fail to see things from God’s point of view. Have you lost your spiritual perspective? Then read through these chapters once more. We’ll be surprised if you don’t feel a whole lot different.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” (Isa. 40:28, NIV)

His humble reply

Job 42:1-6

he humbly repents

Job had demanded to meet God face to face so that he could argue his case (23:3-7)—but now that he meets Him, he humbly repents and acknowledges that had he known what he was talking about, he would never have presumed to question the ways of the Almighty. His conclusion is that if God does not work in the way that Job thinks He ought to, then there is a good and just reason for it—even though it may be hidden from Job’s understanding. The God who was such a delightful reality to Job in the days of his prosperity had not ceased to be. Job realises that the Almighty, though unseen, unfelt and unrecognised, and veiled by tragedy, still cared for him. This conviction brings him through the fog of confusion to renewed confidence.

For thought and contemplation:

Job’s counselling session with God brings him to the awareness that the ways of the Almighty are always for the best. If only we could acknowledge this at the beginning of our troubles, then we would come out with less spiritual wear and tear at the end!

“;For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thought.’” (Isa. 55:8-9, NIV)

His bountiful blessings

Job 42:7-17

intercede for his friends

Job’s trials are now over and Satan has lost a battle (later, through Christ, he was to lose the war!)

Job’s full restoration begins when he turns from focusing on his own troubles and problems to intercede for his friends.

His acquaintances, friends and family gather around and give him comfort and consolation, but the greatest blessings come directly from God.

he is blessed with ten children

The Lord’s blessing upon Job is even greater than he knew in the earlier part of his life, and he is blessed with ten children (seven sons and three daughters), a tremendous amount of livestock, and lives for another 140 years. Job died in a ripe old age full of joy and honour.

For thought and contemplation:

Why was it that when Job prayed for his friends, God suddenly turned the spiritual tide in his favour? Some think Job was angry with his friends, and the moment he gave up his anger, God was able to move mightily in his life. Are you angry with anyone today? Then pray for that person—now.

“Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.” (2 Cor. 2:7, NIV)

The lesson to be learned from Job

he had become preoccupied more with projects than with people

The name of Job has been a household word in every generation since the days in which the patriarch first made his appearance. Proverb after proverb has grown out of the story. In almost every language on the face of the earth, men use such phrases as “the patience of Job”, “the poverty of Job” or “Job’s comforters”. The image of the patriarch, seated amid the ashes with a saintly halo around his head, has adorned the walls of cottages as well as cathedrals.

The great characteristic of Job is not, as might first appear, his patience—but rather, his righteousness. He had lived a righteous life, yet he is treated by God as if he were unrighteous. His friends regard him as a sinner and his wife encourages him to curse God and die. Despite, at times, his desolating doubts, he remains righteous in it all, and stands for all time as evidence of the fact that no matter what happens, or how many doubts may fill our hearts, it is possible to live righteously for God in the midst of a seemingly cruel world.

Used with permission: Character by Character compiled by Selwyn Hughes and Trevor Partridge. Copyright © CWR (www.cwr.org.uk).

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