John T. Willis

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Job Loses His Wealth

As we journey through the book of Job, we turn now to the RESULTS of the prior HEAVENLY COUNCIL related in Job 1:6-12. The RESULTS appear in Job 1:13-22.

One may divide this little paragraph into two parts for convenience:
A. The Losses of Job's Wealth [Possessions]. Job 1:13-19.
B. Job's Response to His Losses. Job 1:20-22.

Three important observations come to mind in studying Job 1:13-19.
A. GOD is NOT the personality who concocts the pain inflicted on Job as described in this passage. Job 1:12 makes it very clear that [the] Satan is the one inflicting pain on Job here. Yes, God ALLOWS [the] Satan to do this, BUT God is not the one who desires or executes these calamities. Keep in mind, that God LIMITS [the] Satan's activities. [The] Satan CAN wreak havoc on what Job HAS [Job's wealth=possessions], BUT God forbids [the] Satan to attack Job's health at this point in the story.
B. [The] Satan dumps ALL of his hurt and hatred and pain and destruction and overthrow on Job. [The] Satan holds back nothing.
1. At this point in Job's life, Job is approximately 60 years of age, as demonstrated by the fact that he has 10 children and all of them are grown and have moved out into their own respective homes. See Job 1:4-5, 13. After living a "full" life of service to God and good health and prosperity, it was a horribly "blow" to destroy all of Job's "possessions."
2. [The] Satan acts in "rapid-fire order." All of this occurs on the same day--Job 1:13. No sooner did one messenger come to Job and relate the first calamity than a second messenger comes and relates the second calamity, then the third, then the fourth. ONE calamity would have been abundant, but [the] Satan mercilessly fires a volley of calamities in "rapid-fire order" like a tommy gun.
3. Each calamity REVERSES ALL the blessings related in Job 1:3-4. [The] Satan omits nothing that "belongs to" Job=Job's possessions, Job's wealth.

I. Job 1:13-19. The ORDER of these calamities is in ABAB structure. The first and third calamities are due to attacks by enemies, while the second and fourth calamities are due to tragedies in nature.
A. Sabeans [People from Seba or Sheba] attacks Job's oxen and donkeys and the servants, carried off all the livestock and killed all the servants but the one who escapes. Verses 14-15.
B. "The fire of God" falls from heaven, burns up the sheep and the servants, only one servant escaping. In the Hebrew Bible, "the fire of God" is LIGHTNING [see Genesis 19:24; Numbers 11:1; 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:12]. Hence, [the] Satan can and does some times use LIGHTNING to execute Satan's purposes. [People often think that God is responsible for death from lightning, but the Bible teaches that at least some times Satan may do this]. Verse 16.
C. Chaldeans [Babylonians] attack Job's camels and carries them off, and kills all the servants except one who escapes to carry the message to Job. Verse 17.
D. A great wind [a sirocco] comes across the desert, strikes down the house in which Job's 10 children are holding a family feast, and they all die, and only one of Job's servants there escapes to report to Job. Verses 18-19. [Again, the Bible teaches that "tornadoes" or horrific winds causing people to die may be due to the destructive work of [the] Satan and not God at all].
*Close study shows that each loss is MORE EXPENSIVE or DEAR to Job than the former calamity. Certainly, Job's children his most "possessions" of all.

II. Job 1:20-22. Job's response is in two stages.
A. First, Job ACTS. His ACTS are CUSTOMARY GESTURES demonstrating great loss and mourning. Job tore his robe, shaved his head, fell on the ground, and worshipped. Verse 20. These gestures occur often in the Bible. See for example, Genesis 23:7,
12; 37:34; Joshua 7:6; 2 Samuel 1:11; 3:31; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 7:29; Ezekiel
7:18; Amos 8:10.
B. Then, Job SPEAKS. Job acknowledges that EVERYTHING he HAS is from God--it is ALL a GIFT from GOD. So Job, as painful as all these losses are, recognizes: "THE LORD GAVE and THE LORD has taken away." Verse 21. Recently, we have learned a song which declares this truth: "You give and take away . . . Blessed be the name of the Lord." This is so hard to accept. BUT this reality is true--and Job recognizes and accepts this reality. Too often, we assume that WE DESERVE all of God's gifts. This is not true. Everything we have is FROM GOD. Paul puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 4:7: "What do you HAVE that you did not RECEIVE?" The reception of this concept can change God's whole life upside down.
C. The NRSV [and I am convinced this translation is correct] reads:
"In all this Job (1) did not sin or (2) charge God with wrongdoing." Verse
22. Many scholars will say the emphasis here is misdirected. But I think not. Here is my point.
1. Job 1:22 states that Job DID NOT SIN. This is a heart matter. At this point, Job did not sin in his heart in his attitude toward God.
2. Job 1:22 states that Job DID NOT CHARGE GOD WITH WRONGDOING. Surely, it must have crossed Job's mind about the possibility that GOD was WRONGING Job in these calamities. But Job restrained his thoughts, and did not charge God with wrongdoing.
The bottom line here is that Job valiantly resists [the] Satan's volley of assault on Job, and Job prevails. I wish could and would be the end of the story. But this is only Job 1. There are 41 chapters yet to go.

What are YOUR thoughts? Share your ideas with your friends, your family, your church, your community. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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