Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Book of Job: Settings and Introduction

In light of what's going on in my life, I decided to pour over the Book of Job. It is wonder how I started reading this book in my meditation. There is struggles I am going through right now and there are many Scriptures I can select for discernment. Heh, of all the passages I choose, I choose this book to discern...

Last Monday, I posted the song, Blessed Be Your Name. The title of this worship song is taken from Job 1:21:

He said,
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
And naked I shall return there
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD."

This is Job's response when he found out all that he has is taken away. How can a person say to Bless the name of God in his situation? What is the book of Job all about? Why did God took all that he had? Was it simply a trial? Did Job committed any sin? Did Job's friends committed sin? If so, what were they and why was God so angry at them?

Lastly, more importantly, what can we know about God and His character...hmmm

I heard the Sunday School answers before and read the wiki. Granted they are probably the real answers. But I ain't satisfying in just 'knowing' the answer. I want to go through the Scriptures. Dig around. Observe. Digest. Consume. Reflect. Feed them against my own perception on who God is. Refine me.

I find this book to be extremely refreshing. When I led fellowship and were studying this book, I thought it was hard. So much words and long boring dialog! Perhaps it is only after going through struggles did I ever appreciate this book. Those suffering that Job has to go hurts! Yet the book is so attractive...

This post and a series of posts will be my digging and my thinking in digesting book of Job. I love the way the conversation flows between Job and his friends. They are poetic, full of imagery and extremely beautiful. As my friend said, this is very well crafted. Artistic as its best!

This post will set as an introduction of the story of Job. The first few chapters will set the stage for the rest of the book. I do not recommend to read book of Job like one or two chapters a day. You will miss out. The format of the book is more like a play. It makes more sense to read in sections of conversations. For a breakdown on how the structure of the book is breakdown, go to the wiki. let's start digging around. I pray that God will reveal to me what book of Job is all about. May it not just enter my head but changed my heart. Transform it so I can bless His Name even when darkness crashes in.

Note: This is my interpretation of the book of Job. So there might be certain aspect of my interpretation that is out of context. My scope is within the book of Job and will not bring in Scriptures and texts outside of this book. The objective is to learn how to read the Bible as is. The lesson lies not in the lesson as an end product. Rather it is the preparation of the lesson which will deepen my relationship with God.

Who is Job?

The author stated clearly that Job was a Godly man. He was described as blameless, upright, fear God and turn away from evil (Job 1:1). He is also a rich man, has a lot of possessions and consider to be the greatest of all the men of the east (Job 1:3).

He also Godly in his desire to please God. When his sons and daughters hold a party, Job will always sacrifice to the Lord afterwards.

When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, "Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually.
(Job 1:5)

Why? Just because maybe his children might sinned and cursed God in their hearts. I say maybe because the author used the word, perhaps. Job didn't even know for sure but just in case his kids were sinning against God, he would offer sacrifice on their behalf. Not only that, he did it continually (often) . He also sacrificed early in the morning, a sign that he was serious about this and would offered the best to the Lord (or else he won't rise up early).

For Job, this was no small manner. He feared the Lord and would stop at nothing to offer the best to Him to consecrate for the sins his kids MIGHT have done.

Who else consider Job as worthy? The Lord. In His first conversation with Satan, the Lord told Satan to considered Job because...
"...For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." (Job 1:8)
The Lord confirmed what the author described Job.

We see Satan challenging the Lord in verse 1:10. And already we see God is at work.
Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. (Job 1:10)
Satan is saying that it is the Lord who protected Job and all that he has. Not only that God is the one who blessed Job and made him rich in possessions.

Lesson? Lord is the one that provides!

Not only that, Satan challenges the Lord to see put His hand on Job and touch all that he has and see if Job will curse the Lord (Job 1:11).

Second lesson? God can take away just as much as He provides.

In the next few verses, God let Satan to put his hands on Job....when the 'calamities' hit Job, it took everything from him.

In the intro, the author told us that Job owned the following in verse 3:

- 7,000 sheep
- 3,000 camels
- 500 yoke of oxen
- 500 female donkeys
- many servants
- sons and daughters

From Job 1:13 - 19, we see that everything Job had was taken away from him.

  1. First strike (Job 1:13-14), his donkeys, oxens, and servants were taken away
  2. Second strike (Job 1:15-16), his sheep and servants were consumed by 'fire of God'. I quoted fire of God because the servant assumed it was from God (not Satan..hmm)
  3. Third strike (Job 1:16-17), camels and servants were gone.
  4. Last strike (Job 1:18-19), sons and daughters killed.

How did Job response?

Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped.
(Job 1:20)

I highlighted worshiped because this was least expected. How can Job worship at a time when everything he owned was gone. Even he thinks it is the Lord who is at work (not Satan working) in his response....

He said,
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
And naked I shall return there
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:21)

The author likes to add that despite all these 'calamities' or trials....Job did not sin or blame God (Job 1:22). This is important because we see all the attributes that described Job (blameless, upright, fear God, turn away from evil etc) shown in his actions and in his refusal to sin or blame God. Job recognized that everything was given by God because he was born with nothing.

And we also see a picture that Job and his servants think it is the Lord, God, at work and not Satan. I like to highlight this because it just to show a few things. First, it shows that the people thinks God is at work. Second, it is to show that even Satan has to asks God to touch him. Satan first suggests God to touch Job, not to do it himself (Job 1:11).

What does this mean? This is the sovereignty of God. Not even Satan can take action without God approval. He is always always in control.

Enough for tonight...more to come!

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