Suffering and Sovereignty
I. Job’s Character (1:1-5)
1) He was a Gentile
- ‘Uz’ located in Edom (Southeast of Israel)
- Numerous clues indicate that Job lived during the time of the Patriarchs (2000 BC)
- The speeches in Job are poetic compositions, but the man and his plight is historical (cf. Ezekiel 14:20; James 5:11)
2) He was a Righteous Man (v.1, cf. 1:8, 2:3)
- Job was not a sinless man, but he was a righteous man who knew and loved God
- Job was sensitive to sin and functioned as a Priest in his family (vv. 4-5)
3) He was a Wealthy Man (vv. 2-3)
– The righteous and blameless character of Job is essential to the problem presented to us in this book – ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ ‘Innocent suffering’ is not an illusion – it is real, and followers of God are not immune to suffering.
– It is essential for every Christian to develop a Biblical theology of suffering and divine sovereignty before the storms of life come so that we will worship God in our suffering, and not curse Him because of our suffering
II. Job’s Calamity (1:6 – 2:8)
1) The Heavenly Challenge
- Curtain is pulled back on the heavenly throne room where the King is holding court
- ‘Sons of God’ = angelic beings
- Satan (or ‘the Satan’) = the ‘accuser’. Several other Biblical texts reveal Satan to be a fallen angel known as the ‘devil’.
- Although Satan is a fallen outcast who ‘roams’ the earth, he is also accountable to God and thus appears in the heavenly court
- There is no evidence to suggest that Job ever discovered what went on behind the scenes between God and Satan
- It is God, not Satan who first draws attention to Job’s righteousness (v. 8). Job’s time of testing has been initiated by God Himself
- Satan’s Challenge: Righteous people treasure God’s gifts, rather than God Himself
- Job is not the main person on trial
- God is on trial– is He truly worthy to be worshipped and treasured by His people?
2) The Earthly Calamity
- Satan’s 1st request– removal of Job’s earthly and material blessings (vv. 13-19)
- Human evil – Sabean and Chaldean raiders
- Natural disasters – lightning and tornado
- Satan’s 2nd request – removal of health (vv. 7-8)
– We must banish from our thinking any kind of pagan ‘dualism’ that sees Satan as the evil counterpart of God. Satan is a created being who is subservient to God. He can do absolutely nothing that God does not permit. From beginning to end, the book of Job upholds God’s complete sovereignty over all things – including Satan.
III. Job’s Choice (1:20-22; 2:9-10)
1) The Choice to Worship God in Suffering (vv. 20-22)
- Worship does not mean that we can’t grieve in our suffering or express our deep emotion
- Worship recognizes that God does not owe us anything – grace is a gift, not an obligation
2) The Choice to Bless God and not to Curse (vv. 9-10)
- Job’s wife becomes a mouthpiece for Satan (v. 9)
- Had Job given into this temptation he would have proved Satan’s original thesis: the righteous love God because of His gifts
Application: When tragedy strikes grieve and mourn, but do not curse! Every trial we experience is from God and serves a good purpose in His grand plan.