In the book of Job, a wealthy man named Job lives in Uz with his large extended family and several flocks. He continuously keeps in mind how to live a virtuous life and is “upright” and “blameless” (Job 1:1). “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” God says of Job to Satan.
Satan, however, argues that Job is only virtuous because God has lavishly favoured him. Satan challenges God, saying that if suffering is permitted, Job will turn against God and curse him. God allows Satan to experiment with this audacious charge against Job, but he forbids Satan from actually killing Job in this way.
Job had ten children, a large number of slaves, and over a thousand animals. According to both human and divine looks, “he was the greatest man among all the inhabitants of the East” (Job 1:3). We can assume that all of Job’s needs and wants were satisfied by his Lord.
His sons were likewise extravagantly wealthy, and every year, on their birthdays, they would ask their sisters to join them for grande feasts that lasted for days without ceasing. Because of his intense dread of God, he made sure that his children were purified after the feasts in case they offended God while celebrating in any way possible.
Job 1:15 says “Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom”.
The story paints a wonderful picture of Job’s life. The unidentified author is portraying the kindness and innocence of the main character, preparing the audience for the climax where “Satan” is given authorization by the Lord to test Job’s faith and fidelity.
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger” (Job 1:9-12).
In some parts of the story, God had a conversation with Satan; “Skin for skin!” Satan responded. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
God said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life” (Job 2:4-6).
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How Did Job Suffer?
The wealthy man, Job endured severe suffering at the hand of the devil, Satan but was permitted by God Almighty. The Sabeans attacked and stole all of Job’s oxen and donkeys and killed a portion of his servants (Job 1:14-15).
Fire fell from the sky “and burned up the sheep” and more of Job’s servants (Job 1:16).
The Chaldeans attacked and stole Job’s camels, killing even more of his servants (Job 1:17).
“A mighty wind swept in from the desert” and destroyed the house where all of Job’s children were gathered for a feast, killing all of them (Job 1:18-19).
Satan “afflicted Job with painful sores” from the bottoms of his feet to the top of his head (Job 2:7).
How Job Responded
After the first four tragedies, Job weeps (“tore his robe and shaved his head”) and then bows down in adoration to His Lord (Job 1:20–21), saying “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
He sits in a heap of ashes, scratching himself with broken pottery and wishing he had never been born after Satan gives him a flesh-eating sickness (Job 2:8; Job 3:1). But even after his wife urges him to “curse God and die,” his theology holds firm (Job 2:9).
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