The text for this lesson is Job 1:1–2:6; 42
- Despite all the troubles the devil threw at Job, God is faithful and did not allow the devil to destroy Job’s faith. Amid the troubles we experience in our lives, God strengthens us through His Word and keeps us in faith to life everlasting..
- Law: The wages of sin is death. Troubles and suffering in this world come as a result of the fall into sin; affect all people, even God’s children; and can make me falter, especially in adversity.
- Gospel: Jesus bore all of the punishment for sin on the cross, so there is none left for me to pay. God gives me strength through His Word to endure the troubles and sufferings that come to me in this life. He uses them to point me to Christ, working all things for my good and keeping me in faith to life everlasting.
- Job is not a descendant of Abraham. He is not a child of God by nationality, but rather by faith. Scholars believe Job lived around 2000 BC in the land to the east of the Jordan. He was not connected to the patriarchs of Israel, and no mention is made of them in his book, but it is possible he lived at the same time as Abraham. Job is an example of hope for people not ethnically born in the Jewish line. God wants all people to have faith in Him and His mercy.
The author of the book of Job states in the first few verses that Job was “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” God confirms this in speaking with Satan (1:8). The Holy Spirit caused this book to be written so that we could hear from God why bad things happen to good people. When God allows Satan to take Job’s property and children, it seems as if God is evil, or at least gives in to Satan’s evil plot.
If God is good and almighty, then why does sin exist and why do bad things happen? This is the problem of evil. It’s a problem because it seems to contradict what the Bible says about God. What we know of God from Holy Scripture is that God is all-powerful, eternal, omniscient, just, and good. What we know about sin is that it entered the world through Adam and did not come from God (Romans 5:12).
It stands to our earthly reason that those who do bad receive punishment. When a car thief gets caught, just punishment means he should go to jail. But what baffles the human mind is that those who appear to be good have bad things happen to them. When the car thief steals the Smiths’ only car while they’re volunteering at a local food pantry, it doesn’t seem like God is fair.
When Satan takes all of Job’s possessions, his children, and his health, and Job’s wife removes her support, Job is confronted with the problem of evil. He must wrestle with why God would allow this to happen to him. His three friends visit him and give their best answer to this problem: bad things do not happen to good people; you must not be good. Job flirts with another answer: God may not be good. Both of these answers contradict the Bible.
We know that all people are sinful, that no one earns God’s favor, that no one is free from all guilt. But we are told in chapter 1 that Job did not earn this calamity. So Job’s friends are wrong, even though he can’t convince them. We know that God is righteous and good and is the judge of all from Psalm 7; Isaiah 45:21; and many other passages. So Job is wrong to think that he would win a court case with God if he went to trial (9:32–33). What we understand as good must be nuanced with the will of God. God’s will is not for the death of the sinner (Ezekiel 33:11). He wants all to turn from their sin and live (1 Timothy 2:4). All trials and crosses in this world work for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). God’s will is to break and hinder every evil purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which try to destroy our faith in Jesus, and to strengthen and keep us firm in His Word and faith until we die.
When we go through trials and crosses in this world, God is shaping and strengthening us. It is for our good so that we can see that He alone is our rock and our salvation. No one escapes this world alive. God prepares us to endure all manner of evil that might get in the way of faith.
In the end, God praises Job’s faith and confession. Job spoke rightly about God (42:8). He confessed God as His Savior and addressed Him as His God throughout his trials.