The book of Job is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I’m not sure if it’s because I can relate to the misunderstood Job or the feeling of unjust suffering or the view of the compassion of God. I can’t pinpoint exactly what continues to draw me to this book other than it is rich with knowledge we all need to possess.
If you’ve never read the book of Job, the environment of the world today makes it vital for you to sit down and read this book with fresh eyes. There are three important lessons to grasp as we read this book.
God’s Purpose is bigger than our perception
The book of Job begins with an inside glimpse of the throne-room of God. Satan is contesting the righteousness of Job with God. This inside glimpse into the conversation in the throne-room of God is not something Job is privy to. So when Job’s life begins to crumble, his friends, his wife, and even his own mind start to look at visible reasons to figure out why. But they lack the knowledge they need to truly understand their circumstances. They lack a divine perspective.
The next 37 chapters consist of several possible explanations for suffering and destruction.
His friends blame a secret sin of Jobs. They accuse his children of sinning and bringing their punishment upon him. They blame his pride. His lack of trust in God. Even Job evaluates the circumstances of his life and demands a court hearing with God to prove his innocence. Everyone in this story focuses on the earthly and temporary things that their eyes and minds can comprehend in order to give meaning and hope to the suffering Job is experiencing.
But their perception of the events was only a partial perception.
When God speaks in chapter 38, God doesn’t tell Job about the interaction with Satan. Instead, God invites Job into his presence. He reminds Job that God has a much bigger and eternal view of life. God opens Job’s eyes to the wisdom of God. By the time God is done talking to Job, we see Job no longer needs to figure out why he was suffering or have an explanation. Instead, we see Job finally viewing the bigness of God, humbling himself, and accepting from God whatever God thinks is wise to give him.
We desperately need to hear this same message.
As the world feels more and more chaotic, we want to understand why these events are happening. Some of us rush to prophecies to predict the end times. Others run to political parties. And some lean into climate change, vaccines, or their understanding of science. But the reality is the true root of the world’s troubles cannot fully be comprehended by man.
We are reminded that “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” We are incapable of truly understanding the divine perspective of God. We would do well to lean into God for wisdom instead of simply trying to make sense of the visible world around us.
God listens and speaks to his children
In the first 37 chapters of Job, God simply listens to the complaints and accusations of Job. At any of those moments, God could have stepped in and stopped Job from complaining. Instead, God let Job vent all his frustrations and anger.
God listens AND speaks to his children.
In chapter 38, after Job has exhausted all his complaints, God opens his mouth and speaks. He knows the root of Job’s problem is a lack of trust that God’s way is good. So God begins by reminding Job of creation.
God then moves through natural disasters, the care of nature, the ability of animals and humans, and finally lets Job understand the power and majesty of God. God spoke compassionately to Job in the midst of his pain, brought Job into God’s presence, and opened Job’s eyes to the truth of who God is.
This lesson is vital for us to understand as well.
Often we tend to read Christian books, run to mentors, or talk to our friends for advice instead of seeking God. We forget that God dwells among us and, as believers, we have been given the Holy Spirit to “teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.” We have the Bible which is “inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness”. God has made a way for us to hear from him. Yet we so often, like Job don’t want to stop and listen. We need to look to Job and be reminded that God hears and speaks to his children.
Being in God’s presence changes your posture in life
Job is a strong man who knows what he wants. At the beginning of the book, we learn he has a large estate, several children, and was the “greatest man among all the people of the east.” Just from these first few sentences, one can see Job is a man of influence and has great power.
We also see this in the way Job responds to advise. He fights back. He challenges what they say. Job is a man who is used to figuring out a way and solving his own problems. Even in the depth of his suffering, he continues to push against any accusations about himself. Instead he states, “if only I could be as in months gone by…men listened to me with expectation, waiting silently for my advice…”
Job lived his life as the the most important one in the room.
Until God spoke to him.
As God begins to draw Job into his presence and open Job’s eyes to who God is, Job responds, “I am so insignificant. How can I answer you?” This is the first time we see Job’s posture begin to change from one of pride to one of humility.
As God continues to speak to him, Job’s posture continues to change. Finally, in chapter 42 Job states, “I spoke about things I did not understand, things too wondrous for me to know…now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I reject my words and am sorry for them…” Once Job sat in the presence of God, he changed from a prideful man who believed he had an explanation and answer for life to a man understanding only God has the answers for life.
We need to change our posture as well
We are all too often caught up in our own pride, and we don’t even know it. Like Job, we trust in our education and our own abilities. We have no idea we think of ourselves more highly than we ought. We are reminded in 1 John that our pride “is not from the Father, but is from the world” but yet, like Job, we justify our pride and refuse to call it what it is. Believers need to look at Job and realize the importance for each of us to sit in the presence of God and let him speak to us on a continual basis. Only then will we have the right posture before God and learn to listen to him in humility.
The book of Job is a fascinating book designed to help you trust God and understand the divine work of God even in the midst of suffering. Only by humbling ourselves before God, changing our posture, listening to God, and trusting his divine purpose is greater than our understanding will we find the peace and dependence we see in Job at the end of this book.
You May Also Want to Read:
- The Book of Esther: How to apply these truths to your life
- Learning to Approach God in the Midst of Suffering: Lessons from Habakkuk
- Understanding the Power of Exodus
- Lessons from Genesis